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tigger384

Improving sound via a avr

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Gday all

I would like to ask you good souls for some opinions on how to get the best performance out of my system for 2 channel music. After reading many many posts on this and related topics I have become somewhat confused. My currant setup uses a Yamaha rxv1800 avr , a Oppo dv-981hd mutliformat player and my front speakers are Orpheus aurora 3.

I am more than happy with the HT performance but music seems to lack drive and or emotion its difficult for me to really describe but music which I love just doesnt have that zing to it. For example I love Holst , Mars the bring of war but on my set up it just doesnt sound as powerful as i know this piece should be. I recently got a album by Eva Cassidy who has (to my ears) a great voice full of emotion but again it lacks that something, pretty vague I know but i hope someone sort of understands were I am comming from.

How do I go about improving things ? Well I understand that rooms are very critical to sound and I am taking steps to improve the acoustics.

But this is a slow process as I can only get so much past the mrs at a time, she's none to happy about me taking the framed movie posters off the walls and replacing them with acoustic panels.

So I am looking a my gear as to see what I can do there , as always money is tight say $1000-1500 is the budget for any upgrades. On trolling the forums it would seem that I could have several options

A) dedicated cd player , So many to chose from but the Hk hd990 seems to be highly praised here. But it seems one retailer thinks that they are very unreliable as a brand.

:) Use a Dac to improve the currant player may the Cambridge Audio one?

C) Get a 2 channel amp and cdp and connect via the avr ( really confused how you do this)

I can not have a completely separate 2 channel system as I will not purchase an extra set of speakers, wife will not let me Lol

Thanks in advance to any opinions given

Tigger

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Hi Tigger, welcome to SNA.

In my system, I have employed both your options B and C. I have a Cambridge Audio Dacmagic feeding into a Musical Fidelity E11 stereo amplifier, which drives a pair of VAF DCX speakers. I am using a Pioneer DVD player as a transport for the DacMagic. That works just fine in stereo for playing music.

I also have a Marantz SR6200 AVR. This drives another pair of older model DCXs as rear speakers and a DC6 centre channel. I don't have a subwoofer. The AVR does not drive the front speakers directly, but the pre-outs for the front L/R speakers are connected to line inputs on the E11, which is what drives the front speakers.

So, for listening to music in stereo, I just use the DacMagic with the E11 and digital source.

For home theatre, I set the volume level on the E11 to the halfway mark and leave it there, then control everything from the SR6200. So, in this mode the E11 is being used in a similar way to a power amp.

To be able to set things up this way, your AVR will need to have pre-outs for the front channels (the SR6200 has them on all channels). You will also need to calibrate your volume levels with the stereo amp switched on and set to the appropriate level. Given those two conditions, its actually quite easy to set things up this way, and in my system at least, it works quite well.

PS: I used to know a cat called Tigger. :)

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My immediate feel is that you will get your biggest bang per buck from an offboard DAC, and its easy enought to try out. I wouldn't get a CD player until you've exhausted the other options.

Others might be able to comment on whether your speakers might need a bit more power - you may only notice it with 2ch as the rest of the HT sysytem may compensate for it.

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I would say that if you are considering getting another CD player, then an offboard DAC is certainly an alternative worth considering. I ended up buying a DacMagic to replace my old CD player, and I'm happy with my decision.

As far as audio quality for 2-channel music is concerned, it has generally been believed that you will get better sound quality through a good quality dedicated stereo amplifier than through an AVR (although this may not always be the case). In my system, 2-channel music definitely sounds better through my stereo E11 amplifier than it does through the Marantz AVR in 2-channel mode.

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I say none of the above...and does the sub run in 2 channel ?

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You have some fabulous speakers and the making of a fine sounding system. The biggest bang for your Buck will be with amplification. You should find a way of using a good quality 2 channel amplifier with your Orpheus. Whilst the HD990 is a very good CD player, it should be down the list of priorities. The amp first, then the CD player.

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Yep, from my experience having bought a CD player it was only a slight improvement using via the AVR. Buying a 2 channel amp (with HT input) was the big one for me, just as ZB above mentions. Adding a good DAC somewhere would be perhaps the next step IMO.

HT Input. Your AVR has Line outs for all channels. Your speakers are connected directly to the 2 channel amp. Your AVR line outs for front left and right go into the HT input on your 2 channel amp. The HT input on the 2 channel amp is disconnected from the volume so is just acting as a power amp for that input.

Edited by RichardN

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Before spending any money try this, it works great for me.

Hook your Oppo up to your AVR using analogue out into the Multi channel input of your AVR (which you may have done already) and listen to your music this way. Your oppo should give you better digital to analogue conversion and by bringing it in this way your AVR should be only amplifying the signal rather than processing it.

This has been the best option for me and I have tried every conceivable way, having said that though my next improvement will be an external DAC such as the CA Dacmagic to improve the sound even more.

Regards,

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Before spending any money try this, it works great for me.

Hook your Oppo up to your AVR using analogue out into the Multi channel input of your AVR (which you may have done already) and listen to your music this way. Your oppo should give you better digital to analogue conversion and by bringing it in this way your AVR should be only amplifying the signal rather than processing it.

This has been the best option for me and I have tried every conceivable way, having said that though my next improvement will be an external DAC such as the CA Dacmagic to improve the sound even more.

Regards,

Good advice here I think. Try options that cost nothing first.

Just to throw a spanner in the works, here is another option; buy a power amplifier for your mains and connect it using the pre-outs on your AV Receiver. The benefits should be noticeable and two-fold:

Firstly, it will take the load off your AV Receiver for the mains allowing it to better service the other speakers; and

Secondly, it will provide more power to your mains that may provide the extra detail and soundstage that you are looking for.

You should be able to pick up a decent power amp for your budget and may even have some funds over to explore using an external DAC such as a Gigaworks.

Edited by Telecine

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Just to throw a spanner in the works, here is another option; buy a power amplifier for your mains and connect it using the pre-outs on your AV Receiver. The benefits should be noticeable and two-fold:

.

That how I've got mine setup. I've always used pre/power for music. When I got my 1st avr, I took out the pre amp and 2 channel music sounded like 'cxxp'!

I now have my pre-amp back in the loop for 2 channel music but for HT, the power amp pumps the mains. I've got a mono block for the centre so the avr just powers the rears.

Rgds

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Do people thiink I would see a considerable improvement if I were to use preouts from my Rotel rsx-965 into a power amp?

Hopefully some people here are familiar with the receiver.

I listen to a wide range of music and have Lenehan Ml1 Plus speakers.

Cheers

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Do people thiink I would see a considerable improvement if I were to use preouts from my Rotel rsx-965 into a power amp?

Hopefully some people here are familiar with the receiver.

I listen to a wide range of music and have Lenehan Ml1 Plus speakers.

Cheers

Almost certainly but it depends on which power amp. The reasons are:

1. It will take the load off your AV Receiver for the mains allowing it to better service the other speakers;

2. It will provide more power to your mains that the Lenehans would appreciate.

A Rotel power amp would probably be be a good match in your system if your like the current sound.

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Tigger, changing things like sources and amps will give you subtle changes and improvements, but it sounds like you want far more than that, so I don't expect you will be satisfied there. The big differences will come from speakers and the room.

Firstly, how are your speakers placed? Are they into the room away from walls and toed in?

What is the acoustics of your room like?

Can you tell us more about the change you want?

music seems to lack drive and or emotion its difficult for me to really describe but music which I love just doesnt have that zing to it. For example I love Holst , Mars the bring of war but on my set up it just doesnt sound as powerful as i know this piece should be. I recently got a album by Eva Cassidy who has (to my ears) a great voice full of emotion but again it lacks that something, pretty vague I know but i hope someone sort of understands were I am comming from.

Lacking drive or emotion - that could mean you are getting limited dynamics. That can relate to the music, often there is so much compression used in the recording that the life is removed. It can also mean that when you turn it up, your amp is clipping and your speakers are straining. That would suggest you need a more powerful amp and more efficient speakers. If it occurs at all volume levels, then look elsewhere.

About lacking emotion. Possibly this could mean that you don't have quite the right tonal balance. Sometimes things like using EQ to create a house curve can make a big difference. I find that music with a flat response sounds a bit dull. Reducing the treble slightly and enhancing the bass can make quite a difference if done right.

Do you find that the sound is a bit analytical?

Zing? Hmmm, that's a hard one. That could mean you want more treble, but this is rarely an improvement.

Is it possible that you don't have any great recordings and that what you are talking about isn't the sound system at all?

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get an intergrated amp from the preouts like others have said. Made a huge change to mine

but also play with placement like others have said, i noticed a change for the better when i toed mine in a bit

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Yes I agree with previous posts about adding a power amp.It was the biggest change (for the better) to my system.

I tried a couple of DACs and couldn't hear any difference. This could be because most AVR's still use there internal DACs even in Direct/Pure modes. There is no way to bypass them.

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I use a marantz SR6003 AVR but power my mains with a rotel RB-1552 using the pre-out jacks on the AVR for the same reasons others have mentioned in this threat. However since going HT i listen to my music in 4.1 mode (stereo but includes the rears as well plus sub). On my AVR you can set the sub, centre and rear speaker levels independently whch is helpful as i have the sub at a higher level for HT than music. I have also used the calibration system on the AVR (this will set the EQ for each speaker). My source for music is a Denon 5 disc changer (uses burr brown DACs) and a marantz DV8400 for SACD's. I find this gives a pretty good sound for music but i did experiment around with speaker placement and levels. I think your speakers might need a better amp with more "headroom" to bring out the best in them and perhaps some experimentation with speaker placement.

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If you already have an XPA-5, you shouldn't need to upgrade your power amp or see significant benefit from a dedicated stereo power amp. See if you can borrow a dacmagic for a week, and run analog into your AVR in pure direct mode.

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Hi Adamp

Since posting I purchased the XPA-5 and have updated by signature to reflect this. The addition of the power amp made a significant improvement to the quality of both music and movie tracks. I will post again shortly ( off to work now) with my views on the Emotiva.

Cheers

tigger

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