What AV Amp for <£1,500?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Lower-41, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Lower-41

    Lower-41
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    Hi Guy’s,

    I am in the market for a replacement AV Amp or Receiver for under £1,500 and I would welcome your recommendations and reasons?

    Good sound quality for music is my first priority as I will be using it as a processor and pre-amp to supply an Exposure VIII Super power-amp which drives my front speakers. The centre and rear speakers will be driven directly by the AV Amp.

    Many thanks for your advice.

    My current system comprises of:
    TV: Samsung PS-50Q97HD (50" Plasma)
    BR/DVD: Sony PS3 60GB
    Satellite Receiver: Pace (Sky+HD)
    AV Receiver: Sony STR-DB940
    Parametric EQ (Sub): Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro FBQ-2496
    Power Amp: Exposure VIII Super
    Speakers:
    Front: SD Acoustics SD1's
    Ctr: Heybrook HB2’s
    Rear: Mission ?
    Sub: BK Monolith-DF
     
  2. Lower-41

    Lower-41
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    Ok,
    I'm auditioning one of the new Rotel RSX-1550’s and a Pioneer SC-LX81 today. Its hard to do a direct comparison as the auditions are in different dealers and with different setups. Anyone have any views on these receivers or any other advice?
    Please!
     
  3. deckingman

    deckingman
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    If you are going to use it as a processor/pre-amp then would you not be better off looking at such devices? Something from Audiolab perhaps? Why pay for the power amp stages etc if they are not going to be used?

    Edit, Sorry didn't read the post in full.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  4. Adsters

    Adsters
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    I have just purchased the Rotel RSX-1550 to power my Kefs,

    The AV receiver is top notch!! Love it, although the remote does not really do the system justice, it looks a little old and tacky compared to the system itself and the instructions for use are poor.

    The sound quality is great and the video decoding and upscaling is just surperb!!

    I cannot compare it to the Pioneer, never seen it!! although I did a comparison on these three.

    Marantz sr6003
    Onkyo tx-sr806 [
    Rotel rsx-1550

    All are exellent brands, and each have a certain philosophy. The onkyo is highest on spec, sort of a best buy product. The rotel has a clear advantage in 2ch music, since it is built on that philosophy. The Marantz is a cheaper Rotel, and stands for a lot of the same. All brands support the hd format and do scaling up to 1080p.

    Hope this helps
    Adsters
    AV-KIT , Rotel RSX-1550, Samsung LE52A866S1M, KEF 5005.2W, Samsung BD-P1500, Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Xbox360, Macbook Air.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  5. mhouston

    mhouston
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    Hi Adsters,

    Am also in the market for a new AV/music setup with my current top options being all in 1 using the Rotel 1550 or using a marantz 6003 for av and Roksan Kandy K2 for music duties.

    How did the Marantz stack up against the Rotel for surround?
     
  6. Adsters

    Adsters
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    To be honest, the difference was negligible with regards to the quality of sound. Personal taste really when it comes to this. A couple of specs that helped me with my decision were as follows.
    1. Marantz supports 7.1 surround with the Rotel also supporting 7.1 (has a 7 channel processing unit) but you need to purchase an additional power amp for the two extra channels. Output is about the same for the two AVRs so the idea of more power going to the 5 channels (as per my speaker setup) was a better one in my opinion. I have a very small flat so no real need for the extra two channels.
    2. The Marantz has HMDI setup of 3in and 2out compared with the Rotel which has 5in and 1out. I already had three devices planned as input, apple tv, blue ray and xbox360 so the idea of having a couple spare was nice!! (but this depends on your requirements, you may prefer to have an extra out!)
    3. Looks, both system are great looking pieces of kit, but the Rotel I think just edges it, plus it is available in black!

    I think the Rotel is a higher spec in general, but the price difference is considerable, (well it is in Norway).

    The Rotel was perhaps a little overkill for my little KEFS

    The Rotel is a great system, only gripe is the remote, it is a little awkward to operate and just feels like a little bit of an after thought by the engineers
    Anyway, I recommend testing them both, see which one you prefer and matches you requirements.
    Adsters
    AV-KIT , Rotel RSX-1550, Samsung LE52A866S1M, KEF 5005.2W, Samsung BD-P1500, Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Xbox360, Macbook Air.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  7. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    I'd have thought with music being a priority an Audiolab 8000AP and umm 8000P and 8000M (second hand or new) would be the best bet but it is three boxs (they are damn low profile though).
     
  8. Adsters

    Adsters
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    Lower-41

    How did the audition go, What did you think of the two amps tested? I would be interested to hear your thoughts!

    Adsters
     
  9. Lower-41

    Lower-41
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    Hi Adsters,

    Difficult to do a good comparison to my home system as my audio equipment is of a different generation, very old but very good quality.

    Rotel RSX-1550 vs. Pioneer SC-LX81

    The demonstrations were in separate dealerships and used different speakers so again I cannot do a direct comparison.
    My feelings though are that the Rotel is slightly more detailed in its presentation than the Pioneer both in movies and 2-channel music but in a slightly clinical way that left music lacking a bit of emotion. The remote control certainly looks like a cheap afterthought and I feel that the main unit itself did not ‘look’ like £1.5k’s worth.

    The Pioneer has a lot more ‘bells and whistles’ ie 7.1, THX Ultra2Plus, 2 HDMI outputs, 4 HDMI inputs, Auto setup etc. None of these extras really bothered me. The SC-LX81 gave a more emotional and exciting representation of films and music. The remote is of better quality but not exceptional and the receiver itself is a big beast that has a classy appearance.

    So, what did I go for?

    It was an extremely difficult decision. After much pacing up and down the High Street and cups of coffee I could still not make a decision between the two, detail vs emotion. At one point I thought of flipping a coin but then decided that music, for me, needs to be emotional and so I now have a LX81 sitting on top of my rack at home on trial. To be absolutely honest I think that I would have been happy with either of the receivers. The differences in sound could be down to the choice of speakers available in the dealership rather the units themselves.

    On first impressions at home (straight out of the box, not ‘set-up’ in any way) I am very pleased with my choice, a noticeable improvement over my previous AVR which had lost its centre channel. Today I will set the receiver up properly using the built in MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System) and manually using my SPL meter and REW (Room Equalisation Wizard) software and report back with my findings.

    Cheers,

    Lower-41
     
  10. Lower-41

    Lower-41
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    Hi Eaglemmoomin,

    If I could have found the Audiolabs available within my sub £1500 limit I would have gone for them. Unfortunatly I have a time constraint working against me as my current AVR has just packed up and I have a bunch of guys coming over on Saturday to watch the Six-Nations opening games. Big screen, HD and my beer.:rolleyes:

    Thanks

    Lower-41
     
  11. Adsters

    Adsters
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    Lower-41

    Glad to see you have made a decision, Just looked at the pioneer on the web, nice looking AVR.

    I think when you start paying this sort of money, the quality of the receiver and of the output generated is a given. (with trusted brands). As you said, more down to personal taste.

    Well enjoy the rugby!!

    Adsters
     
  12. Lower-41

    Lower-41
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    Thanks for your help guys.
    I’m extremely pleased with my SC-LX81:thumbsup:. It has taken a couple of weeks for me to work out the many and rather confusing sound options and some guys with the LX81 have some minor issues with the HDMI Control options but all appear to be as pleased with the sound quality as me.
    I will place any further posts on the Pioneer SC-LX81 Owners Forum. I hope to post my full views on the LX81 in the near future.
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/pioneer-owners-forum/849445-pioneer-sc-lx81-owners.html
    Lower-41
     

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