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which receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by planbeta, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. planbeta

    planbeta
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    I have decided to go for 4 kef Q1's and and a Q9c and possibly one of Uncle Erics Velodyne subs, but I'm still undecided on which receiver to buy...

    I want decent stereo sound and will settle for competent movie sound. Here's my shortlist:

    Marantz 5200 £370
    Denon 3082 £650
    Sony STR-DA555ES £780

    Is the increase in price justified by the quality or would the 5200 be fine?

    What do you reckon?

    Cheers
     
  2. MikeK

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    Marantz 5200 £370
    Denon 3082 £650
    Sony STR-DA555ES £780

    Is the increase in price justified by the quality or would the 5200 be fine?

    What do you reckon?



    Only you can really answer that I'm afraid!

    Personally I think the Denon is a better amp overall, but then it should be, as it's nearly twice the price.
    Twice as good? Debatable really - depends on how much you have to spend overall. If it's not an issue, I'd go for the Denon or new Sony (not heard this one yet myself), but if getting one of those means skimping somewhere else, well that's another matter - depends how much and where you have to skimp - if it's a 555 and cheap £100 subwoofer vs a 5200 with a £500 sub, I'd be getting the 5200 I think (all things being equal).
    If buying a complete system, for most people it's always a question of how best to divvie up the available cash between the various bit and bobs,

    You may be able to get a 5200 cheaper than that anyway - it's up for replacement any time by the 5300.
    In fact I've seen ads online offering a 6200 for the same sort of money as the £370 you've been quoted for the 5200.
     
  3. planbeta

    planbeta
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    Some very good points there Mike - you've described my situation perfectly, I'm currently kitting out a room not only with AV gear but audio recording equipment...

    so I am still undecided whether to fork out the extra £400 on a Denon/Sony or spend it on a nice new midi keyboard!? :confused:

    Probably end up flipping a coin or something! ;)

    Cheers
     
  4. Brox

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    I think the key is decent stereo sound I don't think any of the receivers mentioned will perform as well as a dedicated stereo amp around the £200 bracket.

    In my experience sony's are harsh and bright sounding, Denon's a bit 'thin' and the Marantz just not very good (despite what what hifi says)

    It really depends on what you are used to.
     
  5. planbeta

    planbeta
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    Is it possible to have a stereo amp and an AV receiver with the same speakers?

    Thanks
     
  6. KevB_UK

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    I got hold of the SR6200 for £380 from www.avland.co.uk, they are all gone now but look out for good offers elsewhere.

    If your AV receiver has pre-outs then you could use a high end 2ch amp to drive the front L&R pair, with your AV reciever driving the other channels.

    Or you could buy a high end 2ch amp and then add the Yamaha E800 processor, should be around £200ish new. This will drive the centre and surround speakers and use your 2ch for the front L&R. Only problem with this solution is no DPL2 or 6.1. I thought about this option before buying my SR6200, but decided against it as it would be fiddly, so I changed my Marantz 2ch amp for the SR6200 and it's the same sort of sound but more powerful, I was very impressed.

    As someone has already said it depends what sort of kit your used to.
     
  7. MikeK

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    Yes, just pick an AV amp which has pre-outs for at least the front pair channels - then just use a dedicated stereo amp to drive those channels speakers.
    Quite a few people do this to get round the average stereo performance of AV amps in general - but have a listen first - IMO it's often not as bad as it's made out to be, just not especially impressive for the price (not that an AV amp should be judged just on it's performance in stereo).
    I think it's a perception issue, where people coming from a hifi background have been used to getting a certain level of performance for say £400, and they find it a bit of a shock that an AV amp costing twice as much, isn't as good (for stereo).
     
  8. planbeta

    planbeta
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    Thanks Kev and Mike - wasn't aware you could combine hardware like this!

    So the next question is.... would a £400 receiver and a £300 stereo amp out-perform a £750 receiver...??
     
  9. KevB_UK

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    Probably yes, plus you get to choose what the 2ch performance sounds like. Go to a decent shop and ask to demo some amps & receivers and see what you think.
     
  10. planbeta

    planbeta
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  11. MikeK

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    Sadly, it's not quite that simple.
    It would depend on the models in question firstly, and in AV mode, few people I think would suggest a £400 receiver will outperform a £750 one - plus it certainly won't have the features (some of which are gimmicky, fair enough, but some are very useful).
    Likewise, you may not notice a huge amount of difference between a £300 stereo amp and a £750 AV amp for playing CDs. Impossible to be more specific, because as I said earlier, it depends on the models. If you choose carefully you may pull it off, but it'd also be very easy to end up with a solution which isn't as elegant as the AV amp, is less flexible, doesn't perform appreciably better in stereo and is not as good for AV.

    You really need to go and get a listen for yourself, and then make a decision based on your own findings.
    It's a tough one to call!
     
  12. planbeta

    planbeta
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    Hmmnn, like you say, I guess the only way to find out is to have a listen for myself.

    Will probably end up with the Denon or Sony in the end ... least I have learnt something new about AV equipment :cool:
     
  13. Brox

    Brox
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    If you want both excellent stereo and AV the only Receiever I know of at the moment near the price range you suggest is the Arcam 200 I think it's RRP is £800. I don't think it has PL II, but it gets round the issue of having 2 amps and the issues that it brings.

    Other receivers that may give you good stereo and AV are NAD and Harman Kardon - both known for quality amplification.

    I personally have the HK AVR500 which I chose because it was good in stereo, and having recently heard the Sony 930 (a direct competitor of HK at the time) I feel the HK is definately it's equal in AV. so maybe worth a demo.
     
  14. dts_boy

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    i would have to second the arcam avr200. it DOES have PLII and is a bit too good in stereo for my liking!!! a friend had just got the arcam and i have the denon avc a1se, to be honest i prefer the warmer sound of the arcam than the denon but there you go (guess a new amp will be my next upgrade:mad: ). have fun choosing, its worth listening to all of them before spending:)
     
  15. MikeK

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    Yes, I'd pretty much agree with that!

    The Arcam doesn't have 6.1 capability, and probably lacks some of the AV setup features and modes of it's Japanese price peers, but if stereo performance is high on your priority list, and those AV features don't worry you then it should certainly be on anyone's shortlist (and pretty near the top too IMO) if looking at the £800 price level (and perhaps even above).

    Have to confess though that I like the typical "Arcam sound" of their amps anyway, so that may make me a bit biased - others may not like them as much, so as ever, try and get a comparison demo first.
     
  16. planbeta

    planbeta
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    I was originally put off the Arcam AVR200 by what hi-fi mag, when they only gave it 3/5 - it also gave the Denon 3802 4/5 and the Sony STR-DA555ES in the same group test.

    However I am becoming a little sceptical about magazine reviews, so I'll have to let MY ears be the judge.

    Just out of curiosity how do you rate the AVR200 in 5.1 and PLII modes?

    Cheers.
    Chris.
     
  17. stranger

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    listen to all sugested models but the sony str-VA555es will take some beating for movies and stereo and it's available around £730.00.
     
  18. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    My Arcam is super in 5.1 and I have to say that I don't know how I lived without DPLII!:) Personally I agree with you when reading mag demos Planbeta: the fastest/quickest effects placement thru the most speakers is all very well, but who cares when the sound which the amp produces isn't nice to listen to?

    Give me a good 5.1 amp with a sound I enjoy listening to so that I can watch the entire film WITHOUT worrying about effects, speaker placement or how low my sub goes.

    I may be biased because the majority of my material is CD based, but a pleasant sound means more to me than extra gismos, effects, etc.

    P.S. I plan to demo the new Sony this week - I hate seeing good kit like my Arcam getting poor ratings just because it has fewer bells and whistles. If the Sony is better, I will accept the decision graciously, but not without seeing/hearing for myself.
    :devil:
     
  19. planbeta

    planbeta
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    Nobber, let us know how the Sony compares please!

    Cheers.
     
  20. MikeK

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    That review of the AVR200 was a pretty shoddy piece IMO.
    In fact the whole group test is a bit poor - is this a taste of what the new format WhatHifi has become?
    You get the impression that they didn't listen to anything but Harry bloody Potter - if so, that's hardly what I'd call a comprehensive test, not even close.

    The bit where he (whoever he is, as they don't seem to want to admit who the reviewer actually is these days) says


    "You might not want such ability, but if that's the case then save yourself a fortune and opt for a standard 5.1 receiver at £250"


    when bemoaning the fact that the Arcam doesn't have any form of 6.1 capability, is IMO an incredibly naive statement from someone you'd hope is an experienced and/or open minded reviewer.
    The guy has completely missed the point, and if he's suggesting that the Arcam can be equalled in performance by a £250 unit, then he's sadly mistaken, at least IMO.


    Personally, I don't think any of the HC magazines are worth their cover price anymore - I only buy them for a nosey at what's new now, but I don't think I'll be bothering for much longer if this is the kind of drivel they are going to be printing from now on.


    As for the AVR200 in 5.1?
    Pretty good overall IMO. It's perhaps not quite as dynamic as the Denon for general AV though, so it really depends where your priorities lie. Overall, for around £650 the Denon is a pretty convincing package - and if the Sony is better (not heard it yet, but that seems to be the general concensus) then it may well be worth shelling out the extra £80 (if you can actually get one for £730).
    That said, you stated that stereo performance was a priority - for you, it's no good having the latest and greatest whizz bang AV receiver if it doesn't cut the mustard in stereo.
    While I don't think the Denon is as bad as some people say, IMO, it's outclassed by the Arcam.

    It's difficult to say which you should go for - and as I've yet to hear the Sony 555 I can't really say much about that.

    If you could locate one, you may find the Marantz SR6200 is a good compromise for you, especially as they were turning them out for £380 a short time ago. Bargain methinks!!!
     

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