Upgrade to a true hd amp worth it?

danoliver1

Member
Has anybody upgraded to a new true hd/dts hd amp from an older non hd amp? What are your views was it worth it? Does it sound a bit/lot better?
Reason is iam thinking of upgrading my amp soon to take advantage of my ps3s hd decoding capability. Looking to spend around £600 on such an amp which is soley to be used for audio side of things(ps3 is connected to tv direct) so anyone got any views?
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
I did ! And I wasnt happy ,

I " upgraded " from a Sony STR-DB790 to an Onkyo 605 , I did this based on all the glowing reviews it got , and I didnt arrange to listen to the amp first , big mistake.
It was anything but an upgrade , the old Sony wipes the floor with the onkyo sound wise.

It is wrong to assume that an amp with HD audio decoding abilities will automatically sound better than an amp without them , as I found out !

Some amps sound better with basic DD 5.1 than the Onkyo does with the HD audio , so my advice , whatever your planning on spending your money on , get to listen to it first , otherwise dont buy.

Hd audio has a much better spec than anything gone before , with much higher sampling and bit rates , technically , it should outshine DD5.1 by a very large margin , but it will need a good amp with a good output to do this , the Onkyo is not it , Im currently looking for something better , and Im going to listen to it first this time.
 

danoliver1

Member
I was looking at the onkyo 605 but the more i read about it the more it looks like a very cheap amp with a few bells and wistles bolted on which is where the money went. Other options i have are to buy a blue ray player with preouts and connect that to the amp i have. Or buy a second hand better quality amp that can do true hd via hdmi.
 

MarkTaylor

Novice Member
Other options i have are to buy a blue ray player with preouts and connect that to the amp i have.
If you go down that route do check on the bass management capabilities of the blu-ray player as with most amps when you use the analogue inputs you usually bypass the bass management on the amp so you have to rely on the player to cope and not all of them do that very well.
 

HeweyBoy101

Active Member
I agree with andy1249 - I tried "upgrading" from a Yamaha DSP-A1 to an Onkyo 805. A big mistake. I now have a (non HD) Arcam AVR300 and am much happier. I will now wait for the likes of Arcam to do HD audio (properly).
 

Helicon

Banned
People who own top notch AV amps shouldn't be fooled into replacing it with a cheaper one because it has more up to date features. You still have to be looking at the same price as your current amp, and in some cases a little more. Nothing under a grand could beat a DSP-A1 for sheer quality, only in modern facilities like HDMI's and HD codecs.

I've known people to change from Pioneer VSX-AX10 to 605's, which obviously, that's just asking to be disappointed. And they were.

I made the change and bought an amp of the same price that mine was 5 years ago.....and it's quite a bit better.
 

Pulse1

Well-known Member
Well i had a Denon KAVC-A1SE amp non HD capabilities which cost me £3400 and eventually sold it and replaced it with a Denon AVR-3808 full HD capabilities which cost me £1100 and i would say i certainly made the right choice as the 3808 blows the A1SE out the water even in plain DD and DTS ;) But the new HD soundtracks are truly awesome on this reciever well worth the upgrade in my opinion and Denon have a cheaper model i think around the £800 mark which would be worth an audition :smashin:


Brian
 

HeweyBoy101

Active Member
People who own top notch AV amps shouldn't be fooled into replacing it with a cheaper one because it has more up to date features. You still have to be looking at the same price as your current amp, and in some cases a little more. Nothing under a grand could beat a DSP-A1 for sheer quality, only in modern facilities like HDMI's and HD codecs.

I've known people to change from Pioneer VSX-AX10 to 605's, which obviously, that's just asking to be disappointed. And they were.

I made the change and bought an amp of the same price that mine was 5 years ago.....and it's quite a bit better.
Yeah OK - rub salt in the wounds why don't you:suicide:

Seriously though, when I attempted the upgrade from my DSP-A1 to the Onkyo 805 I did research quite a bit, but (foolishly) did not get a proper demo. I only paid £900 for my A1 (end of line bargain) so I sort of forgot that it was originally a £1700 amp 10 years ago!

Having got rid of the awful Onkyo 805 I then demo'd everything I could priced under £2k and settled for Arcam (without HD audio). This was another end of line bargain (I only paid £550). The Yamaha 3800 and Denon amps (can't remember the model) were both £1400 'ish, and both sounded way better than the Onkyo, but the Arcam was in another league, and half the price as a discontinued model.

What amazed me is how good the Arcam sounded on vanilla DTS and DD - better even than the Onkyo was on HD audio via HDMI. I am content to wait now until Arcam bring a Blu-ray player to market with top quality DAC's and proper analogue 5.1 bass management.
 

stripe

Active Member
Glad I read this thread, I was looking at "upgrading" my Denon AVC10se for a Onkyo 805. I think I'll hang a while longer and save a bit more and go for the denon 4308
 

jbaker

Novice Member
In my case, I am delighted I upgraded. I had a Pioneer VSX859 which I sold for a Marantz SR8002. The difference in sound quality is huge. Just listening to plain old Pro Logic stuff on the telly is way more detailed. Same applies to DD5.1/DTS 5.1 stuff.
And the TrueHD/DTS-HD MA stuff is in another league.
But then it did cost me £1,100. I think the 7002 can be had for under £800 now. Beautifully built as well. Had a look at an Onkyo 875 in the States last week and it felt really plasticky and cheap.
Best way to know is to take your amp to a hi-fi shop and see what it sounds like against the new amps.:hiya:
 

samhain

Well-known Member
This is interesting as I have the wonderful Denon AVC 11 SR which I have been very happy with but I am getting itchy feet and was looking to replace the amp. I am concerned that I loose a significant amount of quality by changing.

I would have thought based on the above that the £1400 onkyo is the minimum I should consider?
 

HeweyBoy101

Active Member
This is interesting as I have the wonderful Denon AVC 11 SR which I have been very happy with but I am getting itchy feet and was looking to replace the amp. I am concerned that I loose a significant amount of quality by changing.

I would have thought based on the above that the £1400 onkyo is the minimum I should consider?
Get a demo first. I am put off Onkyo for life after trying the 805. The 875 is the next model up (essentially an 805 with slightly more power, and lots of unecessary video processing).The range top model is the 905, which again just adds more and more unecessary bells and whistles (internet radio and god knows what else). It has more power, but then the 805 was supposed to be 140wpc (joke), and it was nothing close to that. Sound quality is what really counts, ahead of HD audio decoding, and with Onkyo, from my experience, you are paying for features at the expense of outright performance.
 

samhain

Well-known Member
Get a demo first. I am put off Onkyo for life after trying the 805. The 875 is the next model up (essentially an 805 with slightly more power, and lots of unecessary video processing).The range top model is the 905, which again just adds more and more unecessary bells and whistles (internet radio and god knows what else). It has more power, but then the 805 was supposed to be 140wpc (joke), and it was nothing close to that. Sound quality is what really counts, ahead of HD audio decoding, and with Onkyo, from my experience, you are paying for features at the expense of outright performance.
I am not necessarily a THX fan but what I do like about the specification is the guarantee in components for power etc. That ofcourse doesn't guarantee sound quality. It's a shame that the latest denons apart from the £3800 mode A1HD and the obsene £10k model are the only two THX Ultra variants which will be more along the sound I am used to
 

clarky78

Active Member
I went from an Yamaha 750SE to a recently aquired Marantz 8001. The difference in regular music and films is not much of an improvement over the other amp, and considering the 8001 is worth £800 more than the Yamaha and is newer I did expect much more. EVen Bi-amped fronts made little difference.

As for HD... No difference, zilch, nadda, nothing. I can flick between DTS master audio, DD, DD+, Dolby True HD, the only thing that changes is the quoted bitrates!! Seriously, it's rediculous! On paper it should be a huge difference. Like 128, and 320kbps Mp3 I suspect, but nope, nothing...

I bought this amp for HD audio and HDMI switching, so far I feel I got a £600 Switch box! Yes, I know it's not decoding the HD in the amp, but it's taking it over LPCM, and it's just not worth it..

Most interesting is the difference I heard with the DD+ track on my Yamaha. Now, I heard that DD+ works over optical, then someone said that it doesn't but believe me when I say I was simply amazed how good 300 sounded!!
 

danoliver1

Member
Some interesting views here. My main worry is that i spend £600+ on a new amp then find i cant tell the difference between the old and new formats.
I really need to lend an amp to try it for myself in my own home with my speakers etc. I could always buy it on the credit card mail order then send it back using the distance selling act if i dont like it:devil:
 

bobsplace

Active Member
Some interesting views here. My main worry is that i spend £600+ on a new amp then find i cant tell the difference between the old and new formats.
I really need to lend an amp to try it for myself in my own home with my speakers etc. I could always buy it on the credit card mail order then send it back using the distance selling act if i dont like it:devil:
Could be a plan;)

A demo on an amp is a waste of time imo,its down to your speakers and your own room accoustics which will determine how it sounds.If you already have a half decent amp unless you spend heavy (Denon HD1/Yammy Z1) - et al, I dont think its worth it
 

kkinda

Novice Member
Hello,

The last bit about the Marantz has worried me. I haven't got an amp, and was demoing surround speakers, (4 hours!). Did most of it with an Onkyo 605, as I thought that's what I might get, but i just wanted to compare speakers.

Towards end with MT-30s, they got the Marantz SR6001 out, and I was very impressed with the music above the 605. The high def cinema sound was very good also, (Casino Royale), but I found it hard to differentiate with film much with speaker or amp changes.

They offered me the Marantz at £450, which I thought was a bargain, and going on the principle of sound not features, I was going to get this. Can't really see anything at the moment up to about 6 or £700 that I think would beat it for sound, (can't really do more demoing as it's the last one, and I've reserved it but need to confirm v soon).

However, after the comments around the bigger Marantz above, I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing the wrong thing.
 

McFaber

Well-known Member
The SR7002 would be the one to go for.

It's pretty much on par with the range topper SR8002, but costs quite a lot less if you take discounting into account.
 

The Atheist

Well-known Member
I went from an Yamaha 750SE to a recently aquired Marantz 8001. The difference in regular music and films is not much of an improvement over the other amp, and considering the 8001 is worth £800 more than the Yamaha and is newer I did expect much more. EVen Bi-amped fronts made little difference.

As for HD... No difference, zilch, nadda, nothing. I can flick between DTS master audio, DD, DD+, Dolby True HD, the only thing that changes is the quoted bitrates!! Seriously, it's rediculous! On paper it should be a huge difference. Like 128, and 320kbps Mp3 I suspect, but nope, nothing...

I bought this amp for HD audio and HDMI switching, so far I feel I got a £600 Switch box! Yes, I know it's not decoding the HD in the amp, but it's taking it over LPCM, and it's just not worth it..

Most interesting is the difference I heard with the DD+ track on my Yamaha. Now, I heard that DD+ works over optical, then someone said that it doesn't but believe me when I say I was simply amazed how good 300 sounded!!
You're not hearing any difference because your not hearing the HD audio track! The marantz 8001 does not accept audio over HDMI so it is just an HDMI switching box! see Marantz's official specs here:

http://us.marantz.com/Products/1875.asp
 

clarky78

Active Member
Hello,

The last bit about the Marantz has worried me. I haven't got an amp, and was demoing surround speakers, (4 hours!). Did most of it with an Onkyo 605, as I thought that's what I might get, but i just wanted to compare speakers.

Towards end with MT-30s, they got the Marantz SR6001 out, and I was very impressed with the music above the 605. The high def cinema sound was very good also, (Casino Royale), but I found it hard to differentiate with film much with speaker or amp changes.

They offered me the Marantz at £450, which I thought was a bargain, and going on the principle of sound not features, I was going to get this. Can't really see anything at the moment up to about 6 or £700 that I think would beat it for sound, (can't really do more demoing as it's the last one, and I've reserved it but need to confirm v soon).

However, after the comments around the bigger Marantz above, I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing the wrong thing.
Hi,

Don't get me wrong, the 8001 sounds great, just relative to what I had and more importantly what I expected of HD (wrongly!) I was dissapointed.

I used to own a Marantz stereo amp which my friends now owns and to this day it still impresses me when I hear it. Which is what made me switch to the 8001.

Music is easier IMO to hear differences in sound with, with film, so much is being fired at you, your overcome by sound, and it's harder to focus on certain things. I chose my old my Yamaha purely on it's muscial abilities and never regretted it.

On a note, I watched AVP last night on Blueray.. It sounded awesome! Note to self, if I want a better sound Just turn it up some more!!
 

The Atheist

Well-known Member
Er... if it doesn't take audio over HDMI what am I listening to exactly?!? They did a software update which allowed it to except audio over HDMI.
My apologies, I was merely going by the specs shown on the marantz website. Normally this feature would be stated on the manufacturer's website, but I guess marantz just haven't updated it. I am surprised though that you can't hear any difference between SD audio and HD audio.
 

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