Upgrade options from Yamaha 3070 to Separates

maxbrooker

Active Member
I have upgrade fever whilst stuck at home and am looking to go from my Yamaha 3070 to a Pre/Pro and Power Amp(s) combo. Budget is £5k. My System is 7.1.4 - 80/20% Movies/Music. Professionally Calibrated and sounds pretty good, but perhaps lacking in detail and "oomph" in the surrounds at times.

I currently have an Emotiva XMC-2 and XPA-11 on home trail. Having spent ages setting up the EQ based on similar data from my Yammy it sounds relatively good, but it's not the Wow that I expected for the £5.6k price tag, but it is more detailed. It may need more work and tweeking of course, but it's a little lacking in functionality compared to my old Yamaha in terms of manual EQ settings. There's no option to set crossovers for each speaker, which seems very odd and I hate the interface, it's very basic. Dirac is supposed to be coming, but not sure that be a deal breaker?

I have also lined up a home demo of the Yamaha CX-A5200 and MX-A5200, which whilst a safe option (coming from a Yamaha) does get very good reviews, extremely reliable. Great interface and easy to set up EQ. I don't bother with YPAO. It's also the most cost effective choice with various deals going on. Will see how it sounds by comparison.

I was looking at Arcam as a third option. The professional calibration guy I used suggested Arcam would be the way to go, however the AV860 whilst a good price at the mo is relatively old but the new AV40 is apparently full of bugs and get's mediocre reviews. I prefer to buy the latest tech when I can but If I went with an AV860 I would be looking to pair it with a Conrad Johnson amp for the fronts and perhaps a combo of IOTA VX 7 and 2 channel power amps to power the rest of my set up, or maybe an Emotiva XPA-9. This option is not easy to home trial so would be a make or break.

A final option is to just buy a decent power amp for now and use the existing 3070 mainly as a processor, just powering the height speakers, then save some money and wait to see what new processors come on the market later this year, with Dirac and HDMI 2.1 future proofing.

My big worry is that I end up spending £5k on something that only only sounds 10% better than my current set-up and I regret it.

I would really welcome some other opinions on which options would be worth pursuing.
 

rccarguy

Active Member
I'd say buy a three channel power amp for front three and leave that for now. That'll free up power. Once Yamaha is out of date look into a new AV pre.

Maybe also add a 7+ channel also for replacing all others so Yamaha avr used as av pre so that moves you into av pre path.

Be aware Yamaha avr have poor pre amp voltage so buy a Poweramp with high gain or lose voltage for full power.

Dirac will never be released on that emotiva.

I have a av pre power myself.
 

rccarguy

Active Member
If it was my money is get the Yamaha av pre however it has high thd on XLR. So I'd wait until next version of it.the Yamaha power amps isn't bad, just not as good as best true all channel driven power amps.

Wouldn't buy arcam av pre either.
 

maxbrooker

Active Member
Thanks Rccarguy, if I did just get an amp for now, then I’d only need a 5 channel for the remaining beds as I can power the LR with the Conrad Johnson I already have, which is how it’s set up at the moment.
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
I have also lined up a home demo of the Yamaha CX-A5200 and MX-A5200, which whilst a safe option (coming from a Yamaha) does get very good reviews, extremely reliable. Great interface and easy to set up EQ. I don't bother with YPAO. It's also the most cost effective choice with various deals going on. Will see how it sounds by comparison.
I haven't actually heard any examples of the brands that you mention. However, I'm assuming that you'll have seen yesterday's reviews of the Yamaha CA-X5200 11.2 processor and the Yamaha MX-A5200 11-channel power amplifier.
 

maxbrooker

Active Member
I did, although I’ve not had chance to read it yet. However I’ve decided to put my purchase on hold, these units have been around a while now and are likely to be replaced by newer models sometime over the next 12 months. There‘s bound to be new models from other manufacturers coming out too.

I’m also looking to go to 9.1.4 so I’d like more processing channels, I have home demoed the Emotiva XMC-2 16 channel processor, I wasn’t blown away by it and I couldn’t justify the cost for the small improvement in sound quality, not to mention the bugs and clunky interface. Maybe things will improve and I can revisit it again and give it a second chance.

I ended up buying the IOTA VX 7 channel amp and use my existing Yamaha mainly for processing now, just powering the heights. This combination has made a noticeable difference to my system, it feels much more alive and detailed. Its a beast of a unit and really well made. It’s rumoured that IOTA are bringing out a new pre/pro in the next 12 months, so that’s another one to look out for, particularly if it offers 13-16 channels of processing.
 

rccarguy

Active Member
I did, although I’ve not had chance to read it yet. However I’ve decided to put my purchase on hold, these units have been around a while now and are likely to be replaced by newer models sometime over the next 12 months. There‘s bound to be new models from other manufacturers coming out too.

I’m also looking to go to 9.1.4 so I’d like more processing channels, I have home demoed the Emotiva EMC-2 16 channel processor, I wasn’t blown away by it and I couldn’t justify the cost for the small improvement in sound quality, not to mention the bugs and clunky interface. Maybe things will improve and I can revisit it again and give it a second chance.

I ended up buying the IOTA VX 7 channel amp and use my existing Yamaha mainly for processing now, just powering the heights. This combination has made a noticeable difference to my system, it feels much more alive and detailed. Its a beast of a unit and really well made. It’s rumoured that IOTA are bringing out a new pre/pro in the next 12 months, so that’s another one to look out for, particularly if it offers 13-16 channels of processing.
Yamaha av Amps aren't renowned for their power, 3000 series yamha 7 channels driven is 50w so yeah iota a big upgrade in power output
 

Owl40

Active Member
I’ve got a 3070 and looking to add a power amp for the same reasons as you mentioned. I’m tempted to get a 3 channel amp to start with for LCR and looking at the nord purifi 3 channel as a possibility.
 

rccarguy

Active Member
Only issue is poor voltage on Yamaha pre outs so get a power amp with low voltage for full power.
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
I did, although I’ve not had chance to read it yet. However I’ve decided to put my purchase on hold, these units have been around a while now and are likely to be replaced by newer models sometime over the next 12 months. There‘s bound to be new models from other manufacturers coming out too.

I’m also looking to go to 9.1.4 so I’d like more processing channels, I have home demoed the Emotiva XMC-2 16 channel processor, I wasn’t blown away by it and I couldn’t justify the cost for the small improvement in sound quality, not to mention the bugs and clunky interface. Maybe things will improve and I can revisit it again and give it a second chance.

I ended up buying the IOTA VX 7 channel amp and use my existing Yamaha mainly for processing now, just powering the heights. This combination has made a noticeable difference to my system, it feels much more alive and detailed. Its a beast of a unit and really well made. It’s rumoured that IOTA are bringing out a new pre/pro in the next 12 months, so that’s another one to look out for, particularly if it offers 13-16 channels of processing.
I'm glad that the IOTA power amplifier has made a real difference to your base 7.1 layer, as I would have expected it to, because the review of the IOTA here on AVForums said that there was an instant improvement in power over another Yamaha receiver's built-in amplification. . Actually, since you still have your existing Yamaha 3070 with its built-in nine channels of amplification, you may not need to buy any more amplification ever again, or at least for another five to ten years. I sense that you are a careful man and will want to ensure, before purchase, that any new component makes a real improvement, in your existing system. Certainly I've seen a bad review of an Emotiva processor (as opposed to an Emotiva power amplfier) so I'm not surprised that you were not impressed with another Emotiva processor. Maybe try the Marantz 8805 processor?
 

maxbrooker

Active Member
The chap who calibrated my system recommended Arcam Pre/Pro but the new AV40 has had such bad reviews I think I’ll avoid it for now. I have looked at the Marantz especially as 13 channels of processing and generally it gets good reviews, but like the Yamaha pre/pro it’s been around a while and there are probably replacement models on the horizon that might be worth waiting for. If I do eventually go to 9.1.4 set up with a new pre/pro I would definitely buy another IOTA amp.
 

Owl40

Active Member
I’ve been doing a lot of tweaking to my 3070 over the last week and other tweaks like speaker position and some cheap granite plinths for speakers. I’ve got a dedicated room so can move the speakers exactly where they need to be without much hassle. This has noticeably improved the depth of the soundstage and I’ve got a better mid bass to midrange transition. I’m pleased with the differences. I do think though adding a power amp especially for the LCR would make a big difference especially for more complex parts of action films where the dialogue can get a little obscured at times. I’m also convinced that an AT screen would be my next best upgrade after that and use a dedicated matching speaker to my fronts instead of the centre MA gold which is on a plinth on the floor angled to ear height.

I’m going to keep my 3070 going for as long as possible and I don’t think I would upgrade to a processor until I’ve got big funds available. I’m sure a Storm or Trinnov would be a night and day difference to what I have currently, but less convinced by the 3-5k processors on the market.

My thoughts are that the biggest improvements I can make are amp, screen, speakers/subs. Processor can wait......
 

maxbrooker

Active Member
Like you Owl40 I’ve been try to tweek many aspects of my system, including granite plinths under all my floorstanders. Having the system professionally calibrated by Steve Kemp was one of the most worthwhile “upgrades” too and produced a far superior result than the YPAO. Whatever pre/pro i end up going with in the future I shall get Steve out again to recalibrate everything. It’s the same old rule with hifi upgrades, you have to spend at least 5 times the money for a 10% improvement in sound.
 

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