Upgrade from a Denon AVR-X2500H to what?

Charlesmaten

Novice Member
Hello
Quite new to this world, and in need of some guidance.

I have been using the last year loosely looking for new speakers to replace my XTZ 99.4 and matching center, and finally ramping up the search for the last couple of months. After auditioning many different speakers, the choice fell on B&W 702S2 with a htm71 center. I did not intent to buy speakers this expensive this time around, but after hearing them and getting a good deal, I could not say no. :)

The problem is I'm still using my old Denon AVR-X2500H and feel like I'm missing out pairing the 702S2's with the Denon. Watching movies and series I would say the experience is okay, but where I'm really missing out is in 2 channel stereo. Which of cause makes sense giving the 2500 driving them.

I need some help on what to upgrade the Denon to, or maybe going a totally different way, and what would make the most sense. I have been doing tons of research on almost everything I could think of including HT-Bypass, integrated amps, processors, receivers, amps and so on. And probably keep getting more confused on which way to go.

I would like to improve the experience on both watching moves and streaming music in stereo. But as I said above, it's the stereo that's really lacking. The setup is going to be used 70% for movies and 30% for music in a living room setup. The budget is around the cost of the Nad T778, since it's my top choice atm. I do also have a turntable, but this is not really a priority.

Here’s the different solutions I have been thinking of, but I'm always open to other ideas:

1. Nad T778
This is the choice I'm leaning most to right now. I have read almost everything about it and seems to produce a stunning stereo experience giving it's an AV Receiver. And with Dirac live and Bluesound and the gorgeous touch screen. This would also be a good base for future upgrades
I'm worried it's maybe dumb to spend so much money on a receiver where I'm only going to be using the left, right and center channel, and one HDMI port to my Nvidia Shield. I'm not expanding into mere channels in the near future before I get a better space, so maybe it's a waste?

2. Receiver with pre-outs + Integrated Amplifier in HT-Bypass
Something like the Denon 3700, and a Rotel RA-1572 MKII running in HT-Bypass. This should give me an awesome stereo experience. But upgrading to the Denon 3700 only for the feature of getting pre-outs, maybe it's not worth it. And it would also mean I had to have 2 separates devices taking up space and a bigger power consumption. And I'm still stuck with Audyssey, where I would like something like Dirac live or ARC

3. Switch of some kind
Buy a switch and an integrated Amplifier and keep the Denon 2500 for movies. This would allow me to switch sources between movies and music. This would be the cheapest option, but I really don't like the idea of a switch.

I appearance all the input you can give me!
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Given you want to try Dirac & favour a 1 box solution I think you've already answered your own dilemma! (Ie Option 1)....

Edit I currently use option 2. A denon 4500H, with a Audiolab 6000A with HT bypass on music duties.

Edit 2: An Anthem MRX also has ARC.

Reading back your post, it appears you currently run a 3.1 system, is that correct? If so is there any reason you don't have surround speakers and or a sub?
 
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Charlesmaten

Novice Member
Given you want to try Dirac & favour a 1 box solution I think you've already answered your own dilemma! (Ie Option 1)....

Edit I currently use option 2. A denon 4500H, with a Audiolab 6000A with HT bypass on music duties.

Edit 2: An Anthem MRX also has ARC.

Reading back your post, it appears you currently run a 3.1 system, is that correct? If so is there any reason you don't have surround speakers and or a sub?
I guess your are right Jester, that I have maybe already answered my own question. So maybe the question was more about confirmation, that it is the right call or I'm missing something in the big picture.

How is the Denon and Audiolab combo treating you, are you happy with the performance, both with movies and music? I see the Audiolab 6000A mentioned a lot in the forums, so maybe I should look into that as well.

I have actually looked quite a bit into the Anthem MRX 740 as well, since they are also known for good music quality, and everything I have read about them they do seem quite equally to the Nad. But the Anthem is just a little bit more where I live, and if I where to audition it, it would be quite the drive.

I only run front left, right and center. I would like surrounds and subs as well but I simply don't have the room at the moment, and have decided to wait to I move to a new place. But that's still a couple of years away.
 

Zarf2007

Active Member
You could always grab this which will give you a fantastic sound for music and movies:


this will do 4k up to 60hz, HDR/HLG/Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X

Does not have eARC (only ARC) or hdmi 2.1 if that’s important to you.

it is the older Arcam FMJ series so practically bug free now and comes with 5 year warranty.

Dirac room correction is one of the more advanced ones and comes with this.
 
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swiftpete

Distinguished Member
I’ve got the denon 3600 with a power amp for the front left and right channels. The power amp is only an inexpensive behringer a800 but it’s very powerful and it sounds amazing in 2 channel stereo.

As long as the amp is powerful enough the only real difference is in room compensation, whether you’d prefer Dirac or ARC to audyssey.
 

Zarf2007

Active Member
I’ve got the denon 3600 with a power amp for the front left and right channels. The power amp is only an inexpensive behringer a800 but it’s very powerful and it sounds amazing in 2 channel stereo.

As long as the amp is powerful enough the only real difference is in room compensation, whether you’d prefer Dirac or ARC to audyssey.
I think all your doing there is amplifying the denons inferior sound. Either a different more musical AVR (arcam/anthem/marantz/nad) or a 2 channel stereo amp with ht bypass would sound much better.
 

Charlesmaten

Novice Member
You could always grab this which will give you a fantastic sound for music and movies:


this will do 4k up to 60hz, HDR/HLG/Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X

Does not have eARC (only ARC) or hdmi 2.1 if that’s important to you.

it is the older Arcam FMJ series so practically bug free now and comes with 5 year warranty.

Dirac room correction is one of the more advanced ones and comes with this.
I have looked at the newer Arcam AVR10 and 20, which do seem nice. But have not looked at the older models. Will give it a look.

Don't really care about eArc and HDMI 2.1 tbh, so that's not important.
Yeah, Dirac do seem nice, that's why I want to try it :)
 

Charlesmaten

Novice Member
I’ve got the denon 3600 with a power amp for the front left and right channels. The power amp is only an inexpensive behringer a800 but it’s very powerful and it sounds amazing in 2 channel stereo.

As long as the amp is powerful enough the only real difference is in room compensation, whether you’d prefer Dirac or ARC to audyssey.
This world of sound is so crazy, it seems to be hard to find any concrete evidence of what's best to do, but as Zarf said, I think I will get a bigger difference buying a higher end AVR. And since I'm not really pushing any loud levels, I'm not sure an amp would be worth it. And my current AVR don't have pre-outs anyway :(
 

Zarf2007

Active Member
I have looked at the newer Arcam AVR10 and 20, which do seem nice. But have not looked at the older models. Will give it a look.

Don't really care about eArc and HDMI 2.1 tbh, so that's not important.
Yeah, Dirac do seem nice, that's why I want to try it :)
I doubt you would regret it and the 550 has a lot of power to drive your speakers which would be nice. Also to find a brand new 550 is very rare, I bet you could offer £100-£200 off and they would accept it.

if you wanted a step up in amplification (class G) for your speakers but same spec internally as the 550, this 850 has been refurbished by Arcam (normally means mint condition) and has full 5 year warranty:



these were £4500 rrp back in the day

here is an AVF review for the 390, the lowest in the range which is still good but would only recommend if you had external amp’s and used it as a processor as the internal amp‘s aren’t massively powerful (though would still likely beat a denon 2500):

 
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