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Hi All, 

Its come time to start upgrading my home theatre/hifi and would like some advice. The idea is to do it step by step over a year or so.

I use my setup currently for watching movies, listing to music - digital, vinyl. 

Currently I have:

  • Yamaha rxa830 receiver
  • Yamaha 150 series speakers (5.2)
  • 85" 4k tv
  • Project turntable
  • Schitt phono preamp

I am thinking of upgrading to 

  • Bowers and Wilkens 700 series speakers in 5.1 -
    • Front 703s2 (if i come across 702s2 at the right price id jump on that)
    • surround 706s2
    • centre htm71s2
    • Maybe a sub down the line
  • 2 channel power amp - maybe Rotel 1582mk1/2

What do you guys think, any advice or changes?

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If you are serious about music, you should consider a setup like this:

image.png.bea3cece1ce0e95dea4aa02e55157cfe.png

 

An AVR does not do justice to stereo music. And no, pure direct setting and better internal DAC in AVR is not enough to compensate for the poor stereo analogue stages of an AVR. 

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19 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

If you are serious about music, you should consider a setup like this:

image.png.bea3cece1ce0e95dea4aa02e55157cfe.png

 

An AVR does not do justice to stereo music. And no, pure direct setting and better internal DAC in AVR is not enough to compensate for the poor stereo analogue stages of an AVR. 

Thanks, I'll look into, do you have any suggestions on integrated amps to start to look at? If I think about it, I probably use to more for 2ch audio than home theater

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@glenn469 wiht the B&W id look at bradns like rotel, nad, musical fidelity... all have 2ch integrated with a ht bypass ... and will give you a 2ch pre and power upgrade for 2ch... for ht you will also get a 2ch power amp upgrade.

 

it will integrate with ease...the turntable and pho pre you would connect directly to 2ch integrated analog inputs ...

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2 minutes ago, betty boop said:

@glenn469 wiht the B&W id look at bradns like rotel, nad, musical fidelity... all have 2ch integrated with a ht bypass ... and will give you a 2ch pre and power upgrade for 2ch... for ht you will also get a 2ch power amp upgrade.

 

it will integrate with ease...the turntable and pho pre you would connect directly to 2ch integrated analog inputs ...

Wonderful thanks, certainly sounds like the better way of doing it. 

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

If you are serious about music, you should consider a setup like this:

image.png.bea3cece1ce0e95dea4aa02e55157cfe.png

 

An AVR does not do justice to stereo music. And no, pure direct setting and better internal DAC in AVR is not enough to compensate for the poor stereo analogue stages of an AVR. 

 

The problem with this is one is potentially missing out on excellent modern day room correction such as Dirac Live for 2 channel so this does not get my vote of approval.

So one could end up with a good frequency response and subwoofer integration on multi channel and relatively poor with 2 channel.
I'd much prefer an AVR such as a NAD with Dirac Live working on both 2 channel and 7.1 channel or whatever.

If the AVR is found to be lacking in the required power then a 2 channel or multi channel amp could be added on.

Edited by Satanica
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Just now, Satanica said:

The problem with this is one is potentially missing out on excellent modern day room correction such as Dirac Live for 2 channel so this does not get my vote of approval.
I'd much prefer an AVR such as a NAD with Dirac Live working on both 2 channel and 7.1 channel or whatever.

If the AVR is found to be lacking in the required power then a 2 channel or multi channel amp could be added on.

I had an Anthem with ARC, NAD with Dirac Live and currently Arcam with Dirac Live.  All of these AVRs were ok for casual stereo listening but not for serious 2CH music.  However, there are people who are happy to use their AVR for music... 

 

It is up to OP to decide whether to  change the AVR or get an integrated for 2 CH music. 

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Just now, Snoopy8 said:

I had an Anthem with ARC, NAD with Dirac Live and currently Arcam with Dirac Live.  All of these AVRs were ok for casual stereo listening but not for serious 2CH music.  However, there are people who are happy to use their AVR for music... 

 

It is up to OP to decide whether to  change the AVR or get an integrated for 2 CH music. 

agree totally....

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5 minutes ago, betty boop said:

agree totally....

Its going to be tricky, at the moment I'm leaning towards keeping my current AVR as is and adding an integrated amplifier, but that may change with more research and discussion with my partner. 

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3 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

It is up to OP to decide whether to  change the AVR or get an integrated for 2 CH music. 

 

Well of course it is.
I provided a different solution with good intentions (as did you I'm sure).

 

4 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

I had an Anthem with ARC, NAD with Dirac Live and currently Arcam with Dirac Live.  All of these AVRs were ok for casual stereo listening but not for serious 2CH music.  However, there are people who are happy to use their AVR for music...

 

One watches a movie with a good soundtrack E.g. Hans Zimmer room corrected with Dirac Live or ARC or whatever and then decides to listen to the 2 channel soundtrack with a HT bypass 2 channel amp.
Mastering and mixing differences aside we should expect quite different "presentations" and I can't help but think which one is likely to sound more correct?

I'm repeating myself but I think consistent room correction and subwoofer integration is the key giving far more comparable performance (2 channel vs multi channel).

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2 minutes ago, glenn469 said:

Its going to be tricky, at the moment I'm leaning towards keeping my current AVR as is and adding an integrated amplifier, but that may change with more research and discussion with my partner. 

absolutely... this is the benefit of the approach is can keep everything as is ... just augment in area where improvement needed... i discovered htbypass in 2004 ! and been enjoying the benefit of best of both worlds since ... 2ch and AV...

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14 minutes ago, betty boop said:

absolutely... this is the benefit of the approach is can keep everything as is ... just augment in area where improvement needed... i discovered htbypass in 2004 ! and been enjoying the benefit of best of both worlds since ... 2ch and AV...

very difficult. the other advantage of upgrading AVRs is for atmos

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4 minutes ago, glenn469 said:

very difficult. the other advantage of upgrading AVRs is for atmos

and this is the problem will face all the time with AVRs... is they will need updating as that side moves along at quite a pace ... also if trying to get an aVR with decent 2ch you are looking at very top of tree models and even then as snoopy indicated its still not upto snuff for the money with dedicated 2ch gear... so well worth separating the need.

 

with need for atmos... if that is all need is .. you really dont need to look for latest and greatest avr though....even one from 2015 will do... consider your needs and look 2nd hand as these things depreciate quite a bit and usually good bargains to be had 2nd hand or if looking to buy new ... buy the run out models. if into yamaha their range is getting refreshed right now with hdmi 2.1 gaming and such which hardly anyone will need and a good chance to grab the previous model ..

 

the beauty with this approach is over years av gear will get refreshed but the 2ch can stay ...and no need to over invite in av gear for beyond your ht needs...

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8 minutes ago, betty boop said:

and this is the problem will face all the time with AVRs... is they will need updating as that side moves along at quite a pace ... also if trying to get an aVR with decent 2ch you are looking at very top of tree models and even then as snoopy indicated its still not upto snuff for the money with dedicated 2ch gear... so well worth separating the need.

 

with need for atmos... if that is all need is .. you really dont need to look for latest and greatest avr though....even one from 2015 will do... consider your needs and look 2nd hand as these things depreciate quite a bit and usually good bargains to be had 2nd hand or if looking to buy new ... buy the run out models. if into yamaha their range is getting refreshed right now with hdmi 2.1 gaming and such which hardly anyone will need and a good chance to grab the previous model ..

 

the beauty with this approach is over years av gear will get refreshed but the 2ch can stay ...and no need to over invite in av gear for beyond your ht needs...

It seems to be better way / more cost effective way of doing it. If I look at the fundamental reasons for upgrading, it's primarily to improve my 2ch aspect of the system, I am reasonably satisfied with the current HT side of things (except for the centre speaker).

 

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31 minutes ago, Satanica said:

One watches a movie with a good soundtrack E.g. Hans Zimmer room corrected with Dirac Live or ARC or whatever and then decides to listen to the 2 channel soundtrack with a HT bypass 2 channel amp.

Mastering and mixing differences aside we should expect quite different "presentations" and I can't help but think which one is likely to sound more correct?

I'm repeating myself but I think consistent room correction and subwoofer integration is the key giving far more comparable performance (2 channel vs multi channel).

Over the years, I have compared exact same 2CH tracks on my HT with Dirac Live (or ARC) with various stereo setups (without room correction).  And using the same mains.  The stereo setup won every time.

 

Let's not get side tracked comparing 2CH vs MCH. They are different.

 

43 minutes ago, glenn469 said:

Its going to be tricky, at the moment I'm leaning towards keeping my current AVR as is and adding an integrated amplifier, but that may change with more research and discussion with my partner. 

Given you already use an AVR for music, and if partner wants one box only, then upgrading to an AVR with better room correction software is an option.  However, you may need to add additional power amps depending on what Atmos setup you are looking for.

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2 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Let's not get side tracked comparing 2CH vs MCH. They are different.

 

Depends on the system. In mine they are treated virtually the same.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Over the years, I have compared exact same 2CH tracks on my HT with Dirac Live (or ARC) with various stereo setups (without room correction).  And using the same mains.  The stereo setup won every time.

 

Over the years, this place has been a battleground of experience versus intelligence.

Seeing as though the former seems to trump the latter for many perhaps most even I'll give mine.

 

So, I tried an integrated amp with HT bypass (2K) and it was the worst amp I've ever used or heard.

Sure it could amplify a signal, make it louder, but it did so with such a channel imbalance that I wouldn't expect from a $200 job from jaycar.

Was it just faulty? Well I don't know but unacceptable especially at the price so it went back pretty quick from whence it came.

 

When I turned it up to levels where the imbalance was not very noticeable, then sure it could be a decent amplifier but I quickly scratched my head as to why this thing was held in such high regard over AVR's or AVR's plus a power amplifier. I tried for a while, a week or two and nothing changed, just same same.

 

Now, turn Dirac Live On/Off or equivalent on practically any system and the difference between the two will be 1000 fold (experience + intelligence).

 

It has been a while since an AVR has graced my entertainment unit but I've had a few in the past considerably cheaper than that audiophile brand integrated with HT bypass I owned for a short while and every one has had perfect channel balance.

Edited by Satanica
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