Worth Upgrading to 2014?

stevos

Distinguished Member
As the title really. I haven't seen any major new developments amp technology in years, including no new sound formats etc. The only upgrade I can see is 4k support on newer models, but that will be a number of years off still. Ok I am missing 3d support also, but don't really like 3d.

Then you then have inflation effecting prices, which should drive them up.

So my question is does the same amount of money 6 odd years ago, buy you a better amp now.

My Denon cost me about £2.5k, it sounds decent enough for 5.1, but is a little lacking in 2 channel.

Can the same sort of money in 2014 buy a significantly better amp, or should I wait until there is a technological change, for example the new sound formats that are slowly working there ways into cinemas.

My main reason for asking is my current amp seems to be slowly dying, but its not a major problem yet.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
True Ultra HD 4K support will be implemented this year with the introduction of HDMI version 2.0. Ultra HD is the standard for 4k and is not compatible with versions of HDMI prior to version 2.0. Versions earlier than version 2.0 will not passthrough Ultra HD encoded content. Expect HDMI version 2.0 AV receivers in stores within the next two months, many of which have already been announced by the manufacturers. HDMI version 2.0 also expands upon the number of discrete audio cchannels that can be conveyed, but there's as yet no new formats that exploit this. As far as new audio formats go then this may be of interest to you:

The future of surround sound? Auro 3D | AVForums
 
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stevos

Distinguished Member
What worries me is that without a disc format or any current way to play 4k, we will find out that hdmi2.0 doesn't have the bandwidth for it and we end up with 2.1. Not to mention without the media, 4k will die.

Auro is certainly interesting, been keeping an eye on updates for it, but that won't be in the home for a few years. Assuming it even takes off.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Any disc format that is now introduced will have to conform to the same Ultra HD standards implimented into HDMI 2.0. Whether such a disc will ever see the light of day is debatable? It appears as though the studios want to circumvent disc based media altogether and use online delivery, mainly to avoid the aditional costs associted with disc based media, but also as a further step to maintain control of their content and protect it from pracy and illegal copying. The standard is already with us, it is the media with which to deliver it that isn't.
 

stevos

Distinguished Member
Until the disc format has been agreed or a content delivery method, I won't be buying any 4k devices. For sure HDMI is a standard but it doesn't mean that they won't decide to use another standard. Its unlikely but I see no point investing in a maybe.

What I was more interested in though is the actual processing etc, has the changes over the last 5 years made for better sounding amps or has it been more about adding 'features' that hardly anyone uses, like upnp, spotify etc, which are useful but there are more easier to use solutions for them.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
HDMI 2.0 supports Ultra HD and Ultra HD is the standard anything now brought to market in relation to 4K and it is an already agreed upon standard. There's not going to be a new standard for 4K and they've settled on UHD. If the content fails to meet this standard then it will not play on the new 4K TVs that are now being sold as Ultra HD TVs.

HDMI isn't a standard, just the means by which audio and video is conveyed that complies with standards associated with such content. HDMI version 2.0 has no issues in relation to bandwidth or in relation to conveying 4K video at 60 frames per second.

Processing has made little difference to the audio and is more relevant to additional features than it is to the audio capabilities of AV receivers.
 
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stevos

Distinguished Member
It won't be the first time this has happened. Early blurays used HDMI1, and then the standard got changed to allow bitstreaming of hd audio in original codec rather than lpcm, and the original players/receivers didn't support it and needed to go hdmi1.1.

I doubt they will be stupid enough to do it again, but who knows.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
The HDMI standard has nothing to do with the Ultra HD standard. The Ultra HD standard is the standard for 4K and has already been agreed upon. HDMI version 2.0 is compatible with the Ultra HD standard. The two things are not the one and the same thing! HDMI org have nothing at all to do with the formulation of video and audio standards and can only modify HDMI so that it complies with agreed standards it needs t convey. Just like you, they cannot second guess what will happen in the future and pre-empt it.

As it stands, HDMI complies with the current requirements for Ultra HD and also has room for expansion in terms of audio and bandwidth.

The arguement you are making can be made in relation to anything and everything. What are you going to do, never buy anything just in case it will be superceded? If that is the case then you can do nothing other than never buy anything new. At some point HDMI 2.0 will be replaced as will Ultra HD 4k. Wait until that happens and you'll be making the exact same argument again. I suppose those with horse and carts will still be sitting on the fence in expectation of the hover car?

And there's always the fact that if you don't want Ultra HD support then no one is forcing you to go buy a new AV receiver. Is there anything worth upgrading to in 2014? Yes if you want Ultra HD support, but no if you don't.
 
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stevos

Distinguished Member
There is a difference between waiting for hovercars and sitting there deciding what cart to buy, before carts are useable. For sure you can never be certain what changes there will come, but buying something purely for 4k support when there is no content seems a little silly.

Buying an upgrade, that you would otherwise get, and making sure it has support for as many things you could potentially use, is a whole different topic. I wouldn't buy an amp today, that doesn't have 4k support built in, in hope that it will work.

What I was curious about was whether the age of the technology and licenses (DTS, Dolby, etc) plus development costs simplified per model, has meant it is now cheaper to get the same performance, so meaning a £2.5k amp today sounds better than a £2.5k amp 5 years ago.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
You get about the same audio performance from a comparably priced AV receiver as you got 10 years ago. Technology hasn't really changed how amplifiers actually amplify audio and better audio is still more associated with the quality of components used as opposed to the digital processing that is carried out prior to the amplification. The quality aspect of home theatre audio and indeed audio in general is still firmly within the relms of physics and tengineering as opposed to computer science.
 

stevos

Distinguished Member
Thanks, that is what I was suspecting.

The only reason i could see things improving, would be reduction in costs in components or less upfront R&D costs per generation, meaning higher performance parts could be used within the price bracket.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
The only way costs would be reduced is if the cost of commodities fell. It is said that current models actually use poorer quality components due to the world's economic climate. Raw materials are expensive for the manufacturers to buy and the advent of new technology cannot reduce the cost of these materials. You may still get the metal or aluminium faceplate on higher end models, but the volume dial and source select will more likely that not be made of plastic, the size of the power supply unit (transformer) will be smaller and weigh considerably less. A flagship receiver now weighs nearly 0ne third the weight of some of its predecessors! There's been very little progress in developing technologies that would explain or justify this. Many of the new amps feel and look cheap irrespective of the way they sound and this has all happened since the crash.
 

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