I wonder if there are any issues with the Marantz AV7706 chip bug other than the gaming one? I had a problem with no audio out on ARC until I turned off "deep color" in my LG TV. Almost never found the solution. What in the world does "color" have to do with sound?History
In the summer of 2009, I bought a significant upgrade to my starter home cinema gear. Purchased predominantly through 1 supplier I bought the kit that was winning all the awards, and particularly in terms of the TV, I bought the TV everyone was after.
12 years later the kit is still going strong and still delivering great quality in terms of sound and vision. It will probably keep going for at least another 12!
I bought a Pioneer Kuro 600A plasma tv, a Pioneer SC Lx81 amplifier, pioneer lx08 blu ray player, and a 5.1 speaker system that consisted of Tannoy Revolution DC6T floor standers, a DC6 centre channel, two tannoy rear speakers attached to the rear walls which I can’t for the life of me remember the name of, but lifestyle type products (there is no room for speakers which have to go on the floor at the rear), and a sunfire hrs-12 subwoofer, which is a gorgeous little thing that bangs out 1000w.and can really rumble.
In the past 12 years I have added and taken away for various reasons, amongst other things a Harman Kardon stereo amp and cd player, a Sonos unit, Sky box and a sky hd box but the basic setup mentioned above has stayed the same. Current inputs are now a Manhattan Freeview box, Nvidia shield (I use it for accessing Netflix, amazon prime, and Kodi (which in turn access my ripped dvd’s and blu-rays which are stored on a NAS drive)), original lx08 blu ray player (which rarely gets an outing), and a PS4.
Off the top of my head, in 2009 I spent about £10k on my current set up.
The kit is set up in my living room and although I have thought about additional speakers, there is very little room to put anything else, without it cluttering up the room. Several times I thought about another subwoofer. I could just about squeeze another one in, if its small and compact like the Sunfire. I did think of 2 additional speakers to give a 7.1 system. But to be honest there’s no space on the walls without it looking stupid. When Atmos came long I thought about ceiling speakers but long story short pulling up the floorboards above the room and/or digging channels into the walls is a nightmare scenario. I am having a sparky come soon to fit some LED ceiling lights so may ask him how easy it would be, but I suspect not very.
When LG brought out the OLED TV my interest was piqued as it looked like something that could supersede the plasma for picture quality. However, there was always something ahead of a new TV in the competition for my cash.
When 4k hit the market, I was again starting to feel ‘I need one of these’ but the appetite to upgrade wasn’t that great.
Maybe like many of you I would often price up killer systems thinking if I had the money, I would buy this amp, this projector, and these speakers. Then look at the telephone number at the bottom of total price and think maybe I’ll just keep doing the lottery. I’m the same with cars. Bought my current one, brand new, 10 years ago and its fine but I do keep pricing up chunks of metal that I just don’t have the money for. It’s nice to dream, eh?.
During my ‘dreams’ I would often covet the Anthem amps. I’ve never heard one but read lots of reviews and was very impressed with the Anthem Room Correction stories.
So that’s the history. Move to current day and. I really do fancy a new 4k TV (don’t see the point in 8k TV’s in the home). A projector just wouldn’t work. As I type this post the LG OLED C1 is arguably the latest and greatest (I’m sure in 6 months there will be something else which is better) and I started to justify the purchase of one to myself. I was pretty set on what TV I was going to buy. The 65” C1 seemed to be the one. Although I would as always do my research.
Now allow me to take you on a tour of my logical but sometimes chaotic brain. A journey where it’s a constant battle of heart over head or vice-versa.
I know that my current Amp is only capable of passing HD signal not 4K so I need a new amp too. Right so I need a ‘4k’ amp and a 4K TV.
65” will be fine. I don’t want smaller. That would be a downgrade. 65” is probably bigger than what I have anyway as the kuro has a big bezel all the way around it. I would like to hear the anthems and the MRX740 was the one that I initially thought would be a good match. Ohhhh, and I know I don’t use it much but I would also need a 4k blu ray player. Good ones are pretty cheap these days, not like when I bought mine. Mmmmm…what about my speakers? Having upgraded everything will the amp be too good for the speakers? Probably not. They are decent speakers. But maybe?
I want something that will be significantly better than what I have. No point spending say £10k on a system if it’s only going to be 10% better than what I already have. At this stage I had no budget. Like my previous dream system rambles, I just wanted to know if I want significantly better, how much will that cost me? I didn’t want to put a monetary ceiling on it as that might make me, make compromises which couldn’t be undone cheaply. Then again, I’m not made of money so there has to be a limit. I just don’t know what it is yet. I would rather save up and wait than buy something now that’s not as good as it could be.
While researching the Anthem amps I changed tact. Two things made me do this
1) The AVM70 was getting A LOT of positive press so I started to think you know what it would make a lot more sense and be a better-quality system if instead of an integrated amp I went with a pre-processor (like the AVM70) and at least 1 power amp. The more I read the more I was intent on having 2 boxes.
2) Hold on, the Anthems whilst no doubt brilliant seem to have been released with more than a few bugs in the ARC software which I believe at the time of writing still haven’t been fixed. And holy cow. An AVM 70 and a MCA525 isn’t cheap.
So I started to look at other pre/power combinations and a few others caught my eye.
I like the thought of pre and power coming from same stable, so I matched them up accordingly.
Although I said I only have room for a 5.1 system, who knows I may suddenly find room for those additional speakers. Hey what about in-wall speakers? Mmmm…Something else to research.
Currently I have a list of 4. Here it is, and the pros and cons of each amp as I see them. Appreciate it’s not comprehensive.
Anthem AVM70 and MCA525. (£7100)
Ignoring the cost, probably best in group if they get ARC working
Even with a poorly ARC system it prob sounds excellent.
I can’t afford Lyngdorf so as good as I could prob afford
Very Expensive (circa £7k). Can I really justify £7k?
ARC doesn’t work
5 channel power amp. Ok for what I have but If I add more channels, I need another power amp which is even more money.
There’s a lead time.
Monolith HTP-1 and 7 channel power amp ($5700+)
Cheap for what you get
7-channel power amp
Only available in America. Due in UK in 2022 (I asked) but not definite
If purchased from USA additional cost in shipping and taxes. What about warranty?
Small additional cost for DIRAC microphone (£120?)
Emotiva XMC-2 and XPA-9 (£5400)
Very good reviews. Sounded similar to other amps in this list.
9-channel power amp
Forums seem to be full of owners whinging about the company and its post sales service
Marantz AV7706 and MM8077 (£3800)
Very good reviews
Cheapest option by some margin
Potentially best value for money
No negative reviews
Not as good quality as other (more expensive) options?
Odyssey room correction software not as good as ARC or DIRAC
Summary of Amp logic
if money was no object and the anthem didn’t have the ARC issues, I would get that one. I think!
Being a Yorkshire man, money is always an issue and if I could pick the best solution for the best money, I think it would be the monolith, but you can’t buy them yet in the UK. Seems an amazing combo. Do I wait until next year?
The Marantz really appeals to me, as it seems like a lot of processing power for the money. From what I’ve read it’s not quite as good as the other pre/pro combos, but it is very good. The room correction software isn’t as good. But it’s also not far off half the price of the Anthem. The fact that I am comparing it with systems all costing far more says it’s a great choice.
The Emotiva probably comes 4th. Looks like an excellent product but the negative user feedback makes me cautious, and the other combos look better. Either better quality or better VFM.
4K Blu Ray Player
After that I need a 4k blu ray player. These don’t seem like much of a dilemma. £300 would appear to get you a very good one these days. Maybe the Panasonic DP-UB820EB? Problem solved. Move on.
So, I am now at the stage of saying Ok I have chosen my TV and a matching combo of pre-amp and power amp (well one of four). Even a 4k player. Is that it? Are the existing speakers in the system now the weak link? If so, how much would I need to spend so they are as good as the amps driving them, and crucially better than what I already have?
If the answer, is they will be ok, but you could do better, even if it’s a stage 2 purchase, I started looking at other home cinema speaker packages and at what would I need to spend to improve what I have.
When I look at speakers, I usually start with I need a very good stereo pair for listening to music on, then build on that by adding a matching centre channel then adding the surrounds and possibly an additional matching sub (loathe to lose my existing Sunfire).
I looked at all sorts from the insanely good but stupidly eye wateringly expensive Kef Reference range, through PMC Twenty5. 26i and multiple M&K variants. For a 5.1 system prices ranged between £36k and £5k.
In the end however two packages catch my eye. And as with the amps there are pros and cons.
Package 1 would be
- Monitor Audio (Gold)
Fronts: MA Gold 300 floor standers @£4400
Centre: MA Gold C250 £1200
Rears: MA Gold FX at £1870
Sub: (optional) Gold W12 sub at £2300 (maybe too large)
Approx. £9.8k with sub or £7.4k without)
Look stunning. Really stunning.
Great reviews (although not many of them)
Still expensive. Do I need to spend this much to hear an improvement on my Tannoys?
Sub looks large
Package 2 would be some individually selected Klipsch speakers
Fronts: Klipsch RF-7 III @£3600
Centre: Klipsch RC-64C III @ £1350
Rears: Klipsch RP-502S @ £825
Sub (optional) no idea but assume I buy another sunfire at say £1500
Approx. £7.2 k with sub and £5.8K without.
Look nice but nowhere near as nice as the MA’s
In terms of VFM this seems fantastic VFM
The front floor standers are enormous. Really enormous. Maybe too large for the room. Maybe…
Back to the TV
Final spanner in the works (aka latest change in direction)
I’m in Costco on Sunday and I often just glance at the TVs on display. Costco don’t often have the latest and greatest in, but I like to peruse.
I noticed 2 LG models which looked stunning. I’m sure they were being fed a 4k demo disc with all the processing turned on. But that aside the picture looked breath taking. I checked out the models. There was a 65” C1 and a 77” C1. The 77” looked so much better than the 65. Oh god I wanted it.
The 65 was on offer for another 2 days for £2100. £400 less than list and the beautiful 77” was £3200 down from £3600 (also £400). My brain quickly started doing emergency calculations.
If I get this 77” for £3200 and then buy the Marantz pre/pro for £3800, that’s £7k. Can I afford that? Do I want to spend that? I don’t need new speakers yet. I don’t need a new blu ray player yet. I don’t need another sub. I wonder how much I would get for my KRP600 and LX81 amp?
In the end I didn’t do it. I rarely impulse buy and thought they will reduce again, at some point. Don’t buy something without thinking it through, right?
Conclusion (pull it all together)
So, not sure of timings but my thoughts are before the year is out, I believe I will buy.
LG OLED 77 C1 – for say £3000ish
Marantz AV7706 and MM8077. For £3800. Whilst not ‘cheap’, the price just seems to shout far better VFM.
(optional) 4k Blu-Ray Player: Panasonic DP-UB820EB - £300.
Total Cost Circa £7100
Then next year or later…
Buy another Sunfire hrs-12 sub. Circa £1500. Hopefully less.
If needed, get the Klipsch speakers without sub (just got to get my head around the enormous and very heavy front speakers) for £5.7K
Stage 2 and 3 Total cost circa: £7.2k
Total Cost Circa £14.3k. Hopefully less.
I hope to offset it by selling some of my old kit although other than the Kuro I doubt I would get a lot for it.
I have absolutely no idea what I expect you to do with any of this information I have blasted you with. If you’ve read the entire post by the way without skipping, well done sir (or madam).
I think my biggest concern is the pre/power combo. Would spending more money get me much better?
Maybe you could empathise with my journey or maybe you have suggestions I haven’t considered. Surely, I can’t be the only one who goes through this decision anguish? Although I’m sure no one reading this waits 12 years between upgrading like I have.
Either way thanks for reading.
I wonder if there are any issues with the Marantz AV7706 chip bug other than the gaming one? I had a problem with no audio out on ARC until I turned off "deep color" in my LG TV. Almost never found the solution. What in the world does "color" have to do with sound?