Upgrade suggestion for metal music from old Onkyo AV to stereo amp - Marantz? Yamaha?

Darimo

Novice Member
Hi everyone. I am pretty new with all the Hi-Fi stuff and I am experimenting every day in search for the best sound.

I am looking for advice as I am not really satisfied with my current setup.
I know that the sky is the limit and that one system is more expensive than other but I need a somewhat budget stereo amplifier that can better handle the more expreme music styles to make it sound good.
I listen mostly to all kind of metal (heavy, speed, thrash, death...) but I am not really satisfied anymore while having listened through my latest CD:s (Amaranthe - Nexus and Ex Deo - 13 years of Nero).
The sound somewhat felt like both albums were missing good separation. It felt really strange, as if the voice and synth/orchestral parts just dissapeared in the rest of the instruments.

Funny thing is that it sounds perfect when I listen to my ZZ Top CD collection. I am well aware that the issue could be the mastering of the albums but it's interesting that those specified albums sound much better in FLAC through FIIO and Foobar2000. Even listeting to them from Spotify with OnePlus buds sounds damn alot better.

I have fiddled with Onkyo and disabled stuff like dynamic volume and tried different sound options like Direct, Stereo, All stereo, Neo6, Pure Direct.
It sounds best in Pure Direct but still not desirable.
Also, the Sony x700 seems to be sending stereo out, as it should.

My setup is as following:

Sony Blu-Ray x700 (digital out cable to digital in Onkyo)
Onkyo TX-NR616 AV Receiver
2x Yamaha NS-333 (150 Watt, 6 ohm)
1x Yamaha C-444 (center speaker, I disconnected to be sure about full stereo)
1x Yamaha SW subwoofer (disconnected in Pure Direct).

I was almost ready to order Marantz PM6007 as it got good reviews but I am not ready to do so because I am afraid of someone describing that Marantz has "bright" and "warm" sound, and I want it to sound hard and heavy :). Also, as a novice, I am afraid that upgrading to PM6007 wont fix anything because problem maybe lies in the speakers or the room they are in...
At the same time, I started looking and comparing PM6007 with Yamaha A-S301 and A-S501 as I wonder if Yamaha would suit my needs better.

Does anyone have good experience with which stereo system would suit metal music the best?

Thank you in advance.
 

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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
A new stereo amp would be the first place to start imo.

But before that I’d try those albums through Spotify then through your hifi as it is.

Have you got a cable with which you can connect your phone or tablet to the onkyo and play Spotify through that set up?
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
A couple of other things too, before you spend any serious money.

The speakers should be higher, such that the tweeter is around ear height from your seating position.

You could wall mount them or buy desktop stands such as these.


(You could use half a dozen books to see if it helps first).

And the speakers should not be so close to the rear wall, it tends to over enhance bass, causing a bit of a muddled sound, especially at volume.

The desktop stands would help out with both the height and distance.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I suspect though that the Onkyo isn’t the best.

If you can I’d try to get a used Anthem MRX av receiver. They are wonderful with music and films. And ARC room correction is worth the price by itself.

Either that or an Arcam receiver; also excellent with music.
 

Darimo

Novice Member
Thanks for all the fast replies and awesome tips.
You are correct, I will do the "easy" adjustments before spending any serious money, as you said. Yeah, the Onkyo is pretty much no Hi-Fi Gold Standard but I have a memory that it used to sound nice before I moved it to the all new "media room" at home. After that, something just felt wrong if it is my ears or something else :p.

Question remains though, would it still be worth investing in an stereo amp like Marantz or Yamaha or should I place the money on another AV receiver (even though I only use Onkyo for a 2-channel stereo as I use Samsung HW-Q960A soundbar for movies)?
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I wouldn't be put off by terms such as bright and warm. Amongst other brands, I use a lot of Arcam and Monitor Audio gear in my set ups. Arcam is often described as warm and MA often described as bright and I regularly listen to metal ranging from Van Halen through to Voivod.

A quick google suggests the Onkyo was a budget AVR and I have no doubt the Marantz you mention would bring huge improvements. I don't know the first thing about your speakers though so hopefully those more familiar with them may share their thoughts as to what may be a good match, or if perhaps you may want to allocate some of your budget to put towards a speaker change.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
First thing to double check if you have recently moved the Hifi is that all of the speakers are connected red to red and black to black on the speaker/amp connections.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thanks for all the fast replies and awesome tips.
You are correct, I will do the "easy" adjustments before spending any serious money, as you said. Yeah, the Onkyo is pretty much no Hi-Fi Gold Standard but I have a memory that it used to sound nice before I moved it to the all new "media room" at home. After that, something just felt wrong if it is my ears or something else :p.

Question remains though, would it still be worth investing in an stereo amp like Marantz or Yamaha or should I place the money on another AV receiver (even though I only use Onkyo for a 2-channel stereo as I use Samsung HW-Q960A soundbar for movies)?

Aha!

Well that makes all the difference.

In that case a stereo amp is certainly the way to go.

I’d consider the Yamaha A-S501, or, even better, the A-S701, both have a good power supply as from what I can gather your speakers like a good dollop of power to sound at their best.

And you might consider the Denon PMA-800.

Also, the Cambridge Audio AXR100, an excellent amp with plenty of current reserve.

And there’s the Rotel RA-11, another amp with lots of current in reserve.

All the above amps are very good indeed and will happily drive better speakers should you decide to change them later on.
 

Darimo

Novice Member
Thanks for the tip, @Ugg10 . Cables are checked and corectly connected.

@Paul7777x Now I have put some temporary stuff under the speakers to tilt them up a bit and you were right, it made difference. The sound was even better when I sat down on the floor. Sadly, I have no possibility to put them higher/on wall/on stands as where they are now, they would block the projector screen for me.
I also came to think off to try and listen through headphones by connecting my Philips Fidelio x2hr to phone in and it sounded fantastic on every sound mode. This which was very intresting and confirms the tweeter height importance pretty well for the speakers.

I think that the conclusion as for now would be like this; if I want it to sound somewhat better through my Yamaha speakers, I would have to move the stereo parts to another room, put the speakers on stands and to get some better sound quality, get a better amp.

Thanks all for all your help. It is much appreciated and helped with stuff I overlooked pretty badly :)
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
You could invest in a beanbag! My cinema room has low level speakers under the screen and for the rare occasions I play music on that system, I have a beanbag to place in front of the sofa that puts me at about the right height.
 

Darimo

Novice Member
You could invest in a beanbag! My cinema room has low level speakers under the screen and for the rare occasions I play music on that system, I have a beanbag to place in front of the sofa that puts me at about the right height.
Dang, not stupid at all! That would probably be the cheapest and most comfy investment in this case as well :D.
 

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