Question Upgrade Audiolab 8200AP Processor for PMC/Bryston system

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by ARNiTECT, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    Hi All!

    I am looking into upgrading my Audiolab 8200AP processor.

    The Audiolab 8200AP is fantastic, especially with Bluray Audio music, but I have an odd shaped room and I feel like I am missing out on a convincing full surround immersion. I have heard good things about Dirac Live. I have looked into the miniDSP nanoAVR DL, but this is making my system even more complicated and only has 2x HDMI inputs.

    I only need an AV Processor, but these tend to be expensive when compared to using an AV Receiver as a 'processor only' and I would like to keep the cost under £2000.

    I've been looking at the following with Dirac Live:
    NAD T 758 V3
    Arcam FMJ AVR390

    Would these be of equal or better sound quality than my 8200AP? What other AV Processors or Receivers should I be considering, is there anything 'just round the corner' I should wait for?

    ...I also need to consider a future upgrade my Audiolab 8200CDQ stereo preamp/DAC.

    Current setup:
    LG 55" OLED 1080p (5.1 out via optical)
    Panasonic DMP-BDT700EB
    Virgin Media TiVo
    Squeezbox Touch
    Audiolab 8200AP (7.1 channel pre processor)
    Audiolab 8200CDQ (DAC, preamp, CD, AV bypass)
    Bryston 9B SST (5 channel power for PMCs)
    Audiolab M-PWR (2 channel power for KEFs)
    PMC Twenty5 26 (front)
    PMC Twenty5 C (centre)
    PMC DB1i (Surround for 5.1/Rear for 7.1)
    KEF T101 (surround for 7.1)
    SVS SB2000
     
  2. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Hi

    Your system has some similarities to mine -

    Audiolab 8200AP (pre processor)
    PMC OB1i (front), on Townshend isolation podiums (a great upgrade!)
    PMC CB6i (centre)
    PMC DB1i (Surround for 5.1)
    BK XLS400 subwoofer

    Instead of bypassing the processor into an Audiolab CDQ, which I was initially thinking of doing, I use a Townshend Allegri passive 'pre-amp' (a source switch and autotransformer volume control) and I play CD and DAC from the highly modified Audiocom Signature version of the Oppo 105D. I've just bought an Innuos music server, which works like Squeezebox, fed into the USB input of the Oppo.

    I also own a miniDSP nanoAVR DL, which I purchased second-hand to try out, but I've not got around to trying it yet. I'm going to be strengthening your hesitation about getting one for your 8200AP by telling you this - there is apparently an incompatibility issue due to a peculiarity in the Audiolab firmware!

    See my thread here -

    Question - MiniDSP Audiolab 8200AP compatibility

    It seems clear to me that good quality audio is highly important to you. If I were in your shoes I would still be thinking about a separate box for Dirac because I would be looking out for a second-hand Bryston processor, which you should also be able to use as an excellent stereo pre-amp and DAC instead of bypassing through your CDQ. The Bryson should have good longevity because, as new room correction solutions become available, you would only have a separate box to upgrade. Just a thought ........
     
  3. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    Lovely system! I have a CB6i also, which is fantastic, but I felt compelled to swap it out when I recently replaced my FB1i to keep the front 3 similar.

    A second hand Bryston SP3 is still way over my budget, having spent too much on speakers recently.

    There appears to be a solution on your 8200AP/nanoAVR thread involving a couple of computers, does this work?
     
  4. mossym

    mossym
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    not going to help with the dirac, but i'm running a bryston 9b as well into B&W 803's. i can't comment on the audiolab, or your choices of replacement, i run a marantz av7703 so it's an xt32 based system ( i do run an antimode for my sub).

    i wouldn't discount the external dirac box though, i was considering the same. i think you're struggling to find an all in one that offers the room eq you want with the higher audio quality, the obvious answer to me then is separate them out and avoid any compromise.
     
  5. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    With the external Dirac box (if it works with the 8200AP) I would need an HDMI splitter as I have 3 HDMI sources, I also have an optical source from the TV to send surround back to the processor and I've not managed to find a 'multi channel optical to hdmi' box yet. (pulling through a 2nd HDMI cable through our AV joinery looks tight).
     
  6. domin

    domin
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    I confirm it works fine!

    To add hdmi input to my Minidsp NanoAVR DL, I use a DVDO Edge scaler (hdmi 1.4 only, not 4K, like the Minidsp also).
    The Edge have optical input which could go to the hdmi output. So my cd player (optical), go to NanoAVR and I apply Dirac on it!
    But a hdmi switch works correctly too (not for optical).
     
  7. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    Interesting! ...I don't need 4K etc at the moment.

    I couldn't find the 'DVDO Edge scaler' product you have, maybe it has been discontinued?

    It appears the nanoAVR DL doesn't decode and needs LPCM, which is fine for my Blu-ray player, my TiVo seems ok, SmartTV I use optical to avoid decoding but has HDMI out also, nVidia Sheild is stereo only and needs decoding for surround sound.

    Just came across the 'HD Fury', maybe I could use this in the chain:
    HDMI Sources > HDMI switch > HD Fury > nanoAVR DL > 8200AP >
    or I get an HD Fury for each source if necessary, but this is getting towards the cost of the NAD or Arcam mentioned at the top. Then comes down to quality vs convenience?
     
  8. domin

    domin
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    Dvdo edge is occasion only.
    It's too bad because it's really a swissknife.

    Which HdFury would you use? (HdFury is a brand not a model)

    A switch + splitter = a matrix
    4x2 HDMI 1.4 10.2G Matrix Switch - from LINDY UK
    (in hdmi 1.4 for exemple)

    But in hdmi 1.4 (no 4K), switch and splitter is not expensive (30 and 15£ each)
     
  9. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    Thank you for the links.
    It doesn't look like any of the HD Fury products 'decode' audio into LPCM.
    I could use an HDMI switch, but this wouldn't work with my SmartTV or nVidia Shield that can't output LPCM.
    An Oppo UDP203 has an HDMI input and seems to decode and output LPCM, so I could do:
    HDMI Sources > HDMI switch > Oppo UDP203 > nanoAVR DL > 8200AP >
     
  10. domin

    domin
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    I thinks it's OK !

    Apple TV 4K output LPCM too (*)... Perfect combo with Audiolab or NanoAVR!

    (*) Lot of people are angry because there is no bistream (DD 5.1 max) on it but for us is perfect!
     
  11. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    An Apple TV 4K would replace our Smart TV services and the Blu ray into the other nanoAVR DL connection. Not sure what to do with the nvidia Shield, we'll just have to make do with stereo until some possible future update.

    Are you interested in selling this?
     
  12. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Hi mate.

    Not really, thanks.

    I would only be interested in selling the Nano if I couldn't get it to work with the Audiolab reasonably easily, in which case it wouldn't make much sense to sell it to you. Unless you are more technically able than me, of course, and more willing to put up with the hassle, which may well be the case. I really don't fancy the sound of the solution that requires running two computers simultaneously to do the set up.

    I'll make the effort to register the Nano with MiniDSP and try and have a go at making it work within the next couple of weeks, and let you know how I get on. I wonder whether putting something like one of the HD fury products in the chain would eliminate the problem of the bit rate that is sent to the Audiolab?

    Regarding the Bryston processors, I was thinking of an SP2 rather than an SP3. Although I don't know how they SP2 and SP3 differ, I would have thought the SP2 would be a good step up from the Audiolab in audio quality and eliminate any notable benefits of bypassing. It would fit in with your power amp and speakers very well.
     
  13. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    No problem D&C, though I'd ask.

    My current options appear to be:

    Least cost (purchase: nanoAVR DL, HDMI switch & AppleTV 4K)
    LPCM Sources only > HDMI switch > nanoAVR DL > 8200AP > Power amps

    More Flexibility
    (purchase: nanoAVR DL, HDMI switch, Oppo 203 or CA CXUHD)
    All HDMI Sources > HDMI switch > Oppo/CA decoder > nanoAVR DL > 8200AP > Power amps

    Simplest setup with extra features inc Atmos (purchase new AVR)
    All HDMI Sources > NAD 758 / Arcam 390 > Power amps

    The question is, how would the surround sound quality of the AVRs compare as Processors only: 8200AP vs. NAD T 758 V3 vs. the Arcam FMJ AVR390, regardless of cost. When first released, the 8200AP was being compared to the audio of the Bryston SP3. I expect in the years since, the gap has closed and the features and simplicity of the new AVRs are very tempting.
     
  14. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Where are you located ARNiTECT? I'm thinking that if I manage to get the Nano working with the Audiolab, you could come and have a listen if you like?
     
  15. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    Thank you, that is kind of you to offer! (central London)
    However, I have just bought the nanoAVR DL with mic and IR.
    Will get a 4-port IR controllable HDMI switch.
    Next decision is AppleTV 4K, or Oppo UHD203, or Cambridge Audio CXUHD
     
  16. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
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    Excellent. I will be probably soon be asking you how to make it work the Audiolab then :)

    Would the Oppo or the Cambridge Audio play be replacing your CDQ for playing CD; does either of them have dedicated stereo analogue outputs?
     
  17. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    I'm confident we'll both get it working!

    The Oppo UHD203 has a DAC with volume controllable pre-outs and apparently can be connected to my Squeezebox; the Cambridge Audio CXUHD doesn't and is basically a transport. The CA would potentially sound cleaner as there are fewer things affecting the path of the sound, it is also still in production, where as the Oppo would be Ex-demo or second hand.

    I planned to keep my 8200CDQ, with the 8200AP front/left mains going through it's bypass. I assumed the CDQ has a better DAC and preamp for stereo than my AP, I should take the time to compare the the CDQ, AP, my M-DAC and potentially an Oppo. My next upgrade, sometime in the future, would likely be a new stereo DAC/Pre amp (with bypass).
     
  18. ARNiTECT

    ARNiTECT
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    Looks like I wont need an HDMI switch after all:
    nVidia Shield > CXUHD HDMI input
    TV > CXUHD HMDI ARC
    CXUHD > nanoAVR DL HDMI input 1
    TiVO > nanoAVR DL HDMI input 2
    nanoAVR DL HDMI > 8200AP
    8200AP > TV
    Helpfully, I have a programmable remote.
     

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