Question Upgrading from a Dead Yamaha DSP-Z7

Turbo Tony

I posted this in the receiver section, but I think it may be better here, considering I'm looking to upgrade to a Pre/Power setup.

My Yamaha DSP-Z7 keeps going into protection mode as soon as it's turned on. I'm getting it checked out by E&M Audio, but they say parts are rare and it may be unrepairable. I've got to face the prospect of a replacement and wanted your thoughts.

Existing Setup
The amp is powering a 5.1 B&W CM setup - the fronts are the CM9 S1 floorstanders, the centre is the B&W Centre 2 and the rears are the B&W DS3 running in dipole mode. They're accompanied by a BK Monolith+ DF.
The system sounds a little too bright to me.
The bass in my room (approx 7m x 4m) is a little node-y and I'm thinking of buying an antimode to help with that. if that doesn't work, it may be time to swap out the Monolith for something that can go a little deeper.

Although the system is used mostly for movies (around 70%), I'm much more interested in stereo performance with music.
What I'd like is to warm up the sound. My setup has always sounded too bright for me and its harshness becomes fatiguing after some time. I was planning on swapping the speakers, but I love the centre for movies and, now that the amp might be dead, I'll try to affect it with the amp change.
I'm looking for a warm, rich, slick sound.
My front speakers have a sensitivity of 89 dB.

1) Should I consider another AV amp, or are pre/power arrangements still offering better quality?
2) Currently, the front speakers are bi-amped. Should I continue doing this, or should I just run them off two channels?
3) Would you recommend using a completely separate amp to run the fronts? My fronts aren't very sensitive at 89dB, so I think they take a fair bit of oomph to get them going.

Products I'm Looking at:
I'm considering the Marantz line, because I've always liked what I've heard from them. I'd love an AV 8802a, but I'm concerned that it's due for a replacement soon. Is the AV 7703 worth considering? Would they best be paired with a Marantz MM8077 amp, or is there another brand I should be considering? Maybe I should just buy an SR7011 and wait for the AV8804 to be released next year?

I've also been looking at Anthem MRX 1120 or AVM60. Personally, I find their looks a little ugly but I'd be willing to ignore that for the reputed sound quality. I'm worried they will sound a little harsh for me though - most reviews have commented on their cooler sound. They're also really expensive!

Finally, there's the Arcam AVR850. I don't know a lot about that one, except that it comes with the highly-rated Dirac room EQ.

Based on reading threads on here and on AVS, I've largely discounted the new Yamaha range, but I'm open to suggestions/recommendations from anyone who has auditioned any of the products I've mentioned (or others that I haven't). I'll do my best to get an in-home demo of anything I plan to buy.

The Way I'm Thinking of Going

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the replacement for the Marantz AV8802a, when it comes out (hopefully in 2018). I'll likely buy a used Marantz SR70xx receiver for the interim, so I can wait until the price begins to drop of the 8804.

Any thoughts?


Well-known Member
The Marantz 8802a is an absolutely fantastic processor.I heard it with a B&W CM10 L&R/CM8 Surrounds/CM Centre 2 S2/CCM In ceiling spkrs in a 5.1.2 Atmos system and was powered with the 8077. It sounded lovely to me. The 8802a was the real star of the show as well.

The Arcam 850 is a different beast and Dirac can make a big difference as well. It is a very musical AVR and a great high end 'one box' solution. You will not need and additional interconnects as you will with a pre-power. The Marantz has more bells and whistles and is a two box solution obviously.

It is a tough choice and one only you can make so get an audition of both if you can. The newer Yamaha's are little too bright for my liking to be honest but that was a 1070 so not in the same league as the Marnatz/Arcam kit.

Turbo Tony

Thanks so much for the sense check. I'd love to try the Dirac - the videos I've seen of it make it look like an amazing tool and I know I have an awkward room.

I think I'll test the water with a Marantz receiver first, then look to upgrade once the later models of processor and/or power amp are released. That'll give me some time to save up too!


Well-known Member
Have you considered the Emotiva XMC-1.


Well-known Member
If I had the cash I would definitely have one. There is a long thread dedicated to the XMC-1 and with a UK distributor it makes them a viable option.

Their power amps are also excellent.

Turbo Tony

Thanks, i'll look it up... Shows how much I know... I thought the XMC-1 was an amp, not a processor!

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