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Would a 5.1 receiver be better than an (old) dedicated music amp?

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
I am thinking of venturing in the 5.1 surround world by acquiring an Onkyo TXSR309 receiver and hooking it up to a 5.1 set of Boston Acoustic speakers.

Whilst my main objective is to use this system to watch movies and play the occasional PS3 game, I am also interested to know if this set up can be used for my music listening needs too.

My question is - will this set up sound better (output from a CD player and iPad) compared to a 15-year old (but still reliable) Yamaha AX-392 amp and B&W DM-601 stereo speakers?


Thanks
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
The older stereo integrated amp would still be the preferable choice for stereo audio. The TXSR309 is the cheapest AV amp Onkyo sell and not even comparable in terms of its stereo performance to some of the cheapest stereo integrated amps currently available.

You need to be looking at AV amps several levels up from the TXSR309 in order to match your AX392's stereo abilities. Expect to spend £300 - 600 on a new AV amp in order to achieve this.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
i've got the onkyo tx-nr 509 mate, meets my needs, record decks, cd, films,
How do you manage that then? The TXNR509 has no phono stage!

"Meeting your needs" was not the question posed. The OP wanted to know if the SQ would be comparable and the answer is no.
 
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PSM1

Distinguished Member
Also the ba speakers are going to be fine for movies but never going to be a match to your current speakers for music.
 

dogtown

Active Member
How do you manage that then? The TXNR509 has no phono stage!

"Meeting your needs" was not the question posed. The OP wanted to know if the SQ would be comparable and the answer is no.

Errr i take the audio leads out the back of my mixer, plug them into the 'Game' input on my amp, then put the 'Game' setting on 'Pure audio'.:laugh:
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
If you want to hear music at a decent quality then i agree with Dante01 and PSM1.

If you just want to hear it then yes, it will create a noise
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
what about using the zone 2 and your amp for music?
Not sure I understand your question or its relevance? The OP hasn't got an AV amp and his stereo integrated amp doesn't have a second zone. It may have A and B speaker terminals, but fail the see what having the ability to power two sets of speakers has to do with his question? He wants to know if a budget AV amp will be comparable to his existing stereo integrated amp for music stereo audio output.
 

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
Thanks e everyone

It seems like the general consensus is that my current oldie amp will sound better for just music.

Dogfish, by Zone 2 did you mean the extra speaker terminals available on the Onkyo? So in other words connect the 5.1 to the surround and then connect my existing speakers to the extra terminals on the Onkyo?
This was my idea exactly, but according to Dante, the SQ of the Onkyo is inferior to that of my old Yamaha, in which case there would be no point doing there....

On the other hand I dont want two Amps.... hmmm a conundrum...

So Dante, which av receiver will be at comparable to my old Yamaha?
Thanks
 

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
And one last question:
my Yamaha only has composite inputs so that's how my CD player is connected right now. What can I do/improve to make use of the superior optical connection, which my CD player is equipped with?
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
As a general guide you need to spend 3 to 4 times the price of a stereo amp to get an av receiver of similar musical ability. Hence you are looking at spending at least £400 to even match the most basic of stereo amp. To match a half decent stereo amp you are looking at £1k+.
Onkyo is not regarded as the best brand musically so you may be better looking at receivers from denon, Yamaha and marantz instead.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
So Dante, which av receiver will be at comparable to my old Yamaha?
Thanks
Try something like the DEnon AVR2312 or the Yamaha RXV771. The Yamaha RX-A810 would be even better if you can afford it. How much do you have to spend?

And one last question:
my Yamaha only has composite inputs so that's how my CD player is connected right now. What can I do/improve to make use of the superior optical connection, which my CD player is equipped with?
Optical isn't necessarily superior, it just allows you to bypass the CD player's own onboard DACs. Whether you get improved audio via optical and its digital signal depends on whether the device you are outputting to has better DACs than your CD player. I used to use analogue RCA output from my CD player for many years, right up until I stopped using a standalone CD player and started to just use my BD player for all disc formats.
 
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Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
Hmm... I wasn't really looking to spend too much more than £400 for receiver and speakers included...

Sounds like the best route is to get the Onkyo + BA speakers and use that exclusively for TV + PS3 sound, whilst keeping my existing set up for music (cd player) only. Luckily I have the space.

Would this be a good compromise?
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Hmm... I wasn't really looking to spend too much more than £400 for receiver and speakers included...

Sounds like the best route is to get the Onkyo + BA speakers and use that exclusively for TV + PS3 sound, whilst keeping my existing set up for music (cd player) only. Luckily I have the space.

Would this be a good compromise?
Maybe take a look at the Denon AVR1912 for £280? This is a reasonably musical AV amp, but still no better than your existing amp in terms of its stereo capabilities. You could just buy a pair of speakers for the rear for now and then add more speakers and an active sub as money allows?
 

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
Thanks again Dante

My local Richer Sounds are doing a deal on the Onkyo TXNR 609. It has 2 speaker zones, so I could continue using my B&W for stereo.
How would you rate that amp (for both stereo and 5.1) and what type of speakers would you pair it to for 5.1?
Thanks again
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Thanks again Dante

My local Richer Sounds are doing a deal on the Onkyo TXNR 609. It has 2 speaker zones, so I could continue using my B&W for stereo.
How would you rate that amp (for both stereo and 5.1) and what type of speakers would you pair it to for 5.1?
Thanks again
Consensus seems to suggest that the Denon I mentioned is better with audio (especially music). Many also mention the Yamaha RXV671 as a better alternative to the Onkyo. These amps are all one step up from the budget lines made by the manufacturers and as such deserve better speakers than the lifestyle packages sold alongside many of the budget amps. Youu need to be spending at least £400 - 500 on speakers and sub to get the best results from amps at this level. You can spend up to £1500 on a speaker package and it will still be justified with any one of the three amps mentioned. The more conventionally designed speakers are the order of the day at this level.
 

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
Thanks again Dante

Since your recommendation I read plenty of reviews and the Yamaha 671 seems to come top (in that price bracket) for pure SQ. Thanks for the heads up. In fact I read plenty of review on the Onkyo 609 too and whilst many are happy with it, there is also a fair share of users who say it's running too hot and that the HDMI inputs are prone to failure.

So i think the Yamaha has taken the pole position...
If I was to pair that to a set of speakers such as the Cambridge Minx or the Monitor Audio Vector, do you think the SQ will be of a decent quality or even that will be inferior to my stereo current set up. My initial budget was much lower than the above set up idea, but frankly - if I am to purchase a 5.1 system,, I might as well do it properly and kill two birds (Surround and Stereo) with one stone, so to speak.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Thanks again Dante

Since your recommendation I read plenty of reviews and the Yamaha 671 seems to come top (in that price bracket) for pure SQ. Thanks for the heads up. In fact I read plenty of review on the Onkyo 609 too and whilst many are happy with it, there is also a fair share of users who say it's running too hot and that the HDMI inputs are prone to failure.

So i think the Yamaha has taken the pole position...
If I was to pair that to a set of speakers such as the Cambridge Minx or the Monitor Audio Vector, do you think the SQ will be of a decent quality or even that will be inferior to my stereo current set up. My initial budget was much lower than the above set up idea, but frankly - if I am to purchase a 5.1 system,, I might as well do it properly and kill two birds (Surround and Stereo) with one stone, so to speak.

I think you'll be reasonably happy with the SQ, even with music if you opt for the Monitor Audio Vectors. You can't really beat full size cabinet speakers though and stereo amps still rule when it comes to pure stereo and music.

You pay for 7 channels of amplification in an AV amp so it isn't that hard to do the math and work out that a similarly priced stereo amp with only 2 onboard amps is going to be using better components. Something has to give somewhere along the line in order for an AV amp to be able to power all those speakers and still be reasonably affordable.
 

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
I think you'll be reasonably happy with the SQ, even with music if you opt for the Monitor Audio Vectors. You can't really beat full size cabinet speakers though and stereo amps still rule when it comes to pure stereo and music.

You pay for 7 channels of amplification in an AV amp so it isn't that hard to do the math and work out that a similarly priced stereo amp with only 2 onboard amps is going to be using better components. Something has to give somewhere along the line in order for an AV amp to be able to power all those speakers and still be reasonably affordable.

Well, I can always have my 2 B&W full size speakers connected in Zone 2 and thus use those for stereo... (or even together with the 5.1).

And you seem to favour the Audio Monitor over the Cambridge Audio Minx? Is that because of their size (slightly larger) or some other reason?
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Well, I can always have my 2 B&W full size speakers connected in Zone 2 and thus use those for stereo... (or even together with the 5.1).

And you seem to favour the Audio Monitor over the Cambridge Audio Minx? Is that because of their size (slightly larger) or some other reason?

Both size (physical presence) and better drive units. They utilise the same gold dome tweeters found in many of MA's bigger speakers. The speakers also go down below 70Hz so it makes it easier to set them up in accordance with the amp's own crossover options. The minx speakers are heavily reliant on the subwoofer for anything below 140Hz.
 

Tremolo Arm

Novice Member
Dante,

Just to let you know, I pulled the trigger on a Yamaha 671 and a 5.1 set of Monitor Audio Vector. Both purchased from Richer Sounds, including cabling for £900 (a couple of price match and negotiating techniques were involved).

So there I am. This is a huge difference with my initial budget, but I took the "investment" view for what it's worth (I just needed an excuse of some sort)... :laugh:

I have yet not hooked up the system as I still don't have all the HDMI and optical cables, but I have unboxed everything and am admiring the view... :D

Thanks again for your help!:smashin:

PS A couple of technical questions

1. The subwoofer has 2 inputs, but the amp just one. Do I connect via a single audio cable to one of the L or R on the SW and leave the other unconnected?

2. Due to room restrictions (sofas, etc.) the only unobtrusive location I have found for the front L and R satellites would be each positioned 2m away from the centre. Is this too far from the screen? (viewing distance is 3.5m from the screen)
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
1. The subwoofer has 2 inputs, but the amp just one. Do I connect via a single audio cable to one of the L or R on the SW and leave the other unconnected?
You simly use one of the inputs on the sub.


2. Due to room restrictions (sofas, etc.) the only unobtrusive location I have found for the front L and R satellites would be each positioned 2m away from the centre. Is this too far from the screen? (viewing distance is 3.5m from the screen)
Generally in a 2 channel system, the listening position and the loudspeakers should form an equilateral triangle. The speakers should be positioned approximately 1.8 - 3m apart from one another.
 

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