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MantisToboggan

Advice on AVR that will primarily be for music

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So I am in the process of replacing most of my hifi components. I have just taken the plunge and picked up a pair of DALI Ikon 7 MkII, but my AVR (Sherwood RD6505) isn't really up to scratch.

I will primarily, and at least initially, be running a two channel set up, however extra channels are more than likely down the line, and I don't want to have to replace the receiver again.

I've got a turntable, but have a NAD PP2, so phono input isn't really important.

Does anyone have any recommendations. I've got a reasonable budget (around $2000, but pretty flexible). I like the idea of NAD stuff, like the T757, but they seem to lack certain features, like DAC.

The new Denon AVR 3313 has caught my eye. Does anyone have any experience with something like this? Will an AVR of this grade have enough juice for the DALIs?

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If the Sherwood has pre-outs get yourself a 2 channel power amp for the Dali's. It will improve the sound and give you the power you need for a cleaner 2 channel sound.

If you go the A/V route I'd say the Denon should handle all your musical needs with the Dali's just fine.

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" I like the idea of NAD stuff, like the T757, but they seem to lack certain features, like DAC."

hi the nads would be a good pick, but dont understand the above statement as in what is it in feature you are needing ? the nad 757 indeed does have a DAC built in if thats what you need.

other avrs would be the cambridge 551R. In denons I'd shy away from the 3313. and would go 4311 at minimum. will find that around traps.

also as suggested if wanting to run a 2ch setup. maybe consider a 2ch integrated with htbypass. upto $2k budget would buy a choice of quite a few nice numbers out there. would give you a 2ch pre and pwr upgrade in one if thats what looking for ?

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Challenge Hifi in Adelaide have specials on the Arcam range.

IME alot better than Denon and most of the usual suspects.

NAD aren't bad but dont get a brand new model, wait for it to be out a few months and check the net to see if they stack up reliability wise.

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Here's a slightly different take: if you are starting with stereo, why not consider initially getting a two-channel integrated amp that has a home theatre bypass function. Then, later when you want to go multiple-channel, you add the avr with pre-out function.

At that point you can decide whether to plug your phono stage and other two-channel sources into the avr, or leave them in the (probably simpler signal chain of the) stereo amp.

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+1 krebetman

But in a pinch, get a second hand mid-high end Denon. Something like the old AVR4810 or the older 53xx series. I used the 4810 as a stereo preamp in a pinch before and thought it was pretty good. Amazing when you partner it with a DenonLink compatible player as well like the old Denon 4010 which is a universal player (just not 3D BR)

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[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349661296' post='775158]

the nad 757 indeed does have a DAC built in if thats what you need.

Ahh, I misunderstood I didn't think that it did.

why not consider initially getting a two-channel integrated amp that has a home theatre bypass function. Then, later when you want to go multiple-channel, you add the avr with pre-out function.

This is all starting to make much more sense. This could very well be the direction I head down. Going with a HT Bypass makes a lot of sense.

Unfortunately I live somewhere pretty devoid of a great deal of proper hifi stores (nth Queensland), so I've had to do most of my research this way.

Thanks heaps for the recommendations.

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How far north ST? I'm in Bowen but that's only just Northish Qld really, are we talking Cairns, Cooktown maybe? If you are close enough to drop by I have the 'occassional' integrated you could check out.

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I would do something a little out of left field here. Its the power amp sections of AVR's that are P.O.S. I would have a dedicated 2 channel amp connected permanently to your speakers. You would connect the L + R pre-out's of the AVR to a line input of the amp if its integrated, or to the input if its a power amp. You could then hook up your CD player to the amp directly or us the DAC on the AVR to the amp.

I have done this for someone recently and the 2 channel amp gets switched on automatically at the same time as the rest of the system. For an integrated amp , have the volume at half way before you calibrate the AVR - all the channels will be balanced automatically. If you are used to reasonable sound, you will be disappointed with an AVR for music without a proper stereo amp. The beauty about this is you can use anything decent - including an old Denon, Kenwood or Technics amp. You can even have the old ones switch on automatically with a load sensing power board from Bunnings.

The alternative is to get a lower spec AVR and use it as a preamp only and get one of these beauties for your sound: Movies will sound WAY better as well. In future you just keep the power amps and upgrade the AVR when the next fad hits.

http://www.cattylink.com/page450.html

http://www.cattylink.com/page539.html

Edited by Tasso

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I've contemplated replacing my 2 box setup (Stereo Receiver + AV Processor/3ch amp) with an AVR, but each time I've looked into it I've finished up sticking with what I've got.

For Vinyl, Cassettes, Radio, CD's, 2-channel SACD/DVD-A and Streamed 2-channel material, only the Receiver is in the signal path and most of the time the "CD Direct" or "Pure Direct" switch is engaged as well, so that only the Volume Control and the Power Amp sits between the source component and the speakers.

If I were to switch to an AVR without spending really big money, I would be sacrificing many of the advantages that this setup provices such as amplifier performance and headroom, tuner performance and the S/N, THD etc. will all be worse. It's very difficult to get great tuner performance in an AVR with the extra microprocessors, digital circuitry and video signals. Not a major issue if you're in a good reception area, but important when you're in a fringe area like me.

In your situation I would be leaning towards an Integrated Amp with HT bypass and lower spec'd AVR as others have suggested. (And a Harmony remote so you can control them like a single unit)

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Thing to remember to get an av piece of gear that does 2ch well can cost a lot. And they're few and far between. Far easier to buy bit 2ch gear of choice and partner up with db gear have or need. 2ch gear doesn't get outdated like av gear either. So av gear comes and goes, the 2ch gear stays and this way have best of both worlds :)

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If your interested Im selling a Meridian 561 pre-processor

Performance for 2 channel music is excellent - has built in DACs so will accept digital direct from CD player.

You can specify what (if any) decoding per input - eg 2 channel stereo, CD stereo, DVD Dolby Digital.

Check out some reviews - this was a $5000 processor new & I bet it will blow away the majority of AVRs

http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/a-v-preamplifier/meridian/561/prd_118337_2719crx.aspx

Just need to add a power amp & away you go!

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How far north ST? I'm in Bowen but that's only just Northish Qld really, are we talking Cairns, Cooktown maybe? If you are close enough to drop by I have the 'occassional' integrated you could check out.

I'm in Townsville. Thanks for the offer. If I'm in the area I'll be sure to get back in touch.

In your situation I would be leaning towards an Integrated Amp with HT bypass and lower spec'd AVR as others have suggested. (And a Harmony remote so you can control them like a single unit)

I think I underestimated the power requirements of my new speakers, so this is definitely looking like the direction I am going to head down.

[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349740854' post='775595]

Thing to remember to get an av piece of gear that does 2ch well can cost a lot. And they're few and far between. Far easier to buy bit 2ch gear of choice and partner up with db gear have or need. 2ch gear doesn't get outdated like av gear either. So av gear comes and goes, the 2ch gear stays and this way have best of both worlds :)

That's a really valid point. Thanks. I guess I've been stung by equipment that gets outdated in the past.

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Any reasonable receiver would have no problems at all driving your dalis. They are not a particularly difficult load for an amplifier, and are quite sensitive speakers.

The denon 3313 would do a fine job. As would the outgoing model, the 3312, which you might still be able to pick up for ~$1k.

Independent measurements of the 3312 (US Model, but the amp is the same) can be found here:

http://www.hometheater.com/content/denon-avr-3312ci-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

I'd question the cost:benefit of a pre/power combo, or a seperate 2ch pre/integrated for your particular usage needs, especially if your intent is to move to a 5.1 setup in the future.

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Arcam AVR 300 or 350 would be excellent for what you want and a few 2nd hand on eBay lately for ~$600 a bargain.

And allows you to biamp for stereo.

Edited by alittlewino

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Any reasonable receiver would have no problems at all driving your dalis. They are not a particularly difficult load for an amplifier, and are quite sensitive speakers.

The denon 3313 would do a fine job. As would the outgoing model, the 3312, which you might still be able to pick up for ~$1k.

Independent measurements of the 3312 (US Model, but the amp is the same) can be found here:

http://www.hometheat...t-labs-measures

I'd question the cost:benefit of a pre/power combo, or a seperate 2ch pre/integrated for your particular usage needs, especially if your intent is to move to a 5.1 setup in the future.

I agree the 3312 is very good, but if you want decent 2 channel sound on a regular basis, it won't happen with any AVR I'm afraid. And it doesn't have to cost a lot. The fact that you can get 7 power amps, a preamp, the latest audio and video DACs and processing for around $1000 means there are compromises.

I recently installed a cheap 80 wpc Denon amp from the 80's with my sons' 3312 setup. It is much better sounding than the AVR amps and has way more grunt than the AVR, even though the AVR is supposed to be 125 watts per channel.

Edited by Tasso

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Here's the main problem with AVRs.

One relatively puny transformer and small storage capacitor section that just can't deliver enough grunt to all channels.

If you look at a well designed power amp, you'll see much bigger caps and much bigger transformers to deliver mere 100W per channel like on my Plinius SA-Reference, not to mention the heat sinks needed to dissipate the heat generated.

So most of these power ratings are inflated. There's just no way the AVR can deliver all that power to all the channels they claim they can deliver.

The only exception I have seen are the older higher end Pioneer AVRs which use ICE modules. ICEpower Class D taps directly from the supply rails so each channel is not choked by what the transformer can deliver.

A nice effect I noticed when I added power amps to my Denon AVR in the past was how much more "lively" the surround and centre channels improved because the main channels L/R were no longer draining the small transformer.

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Here's the main problem with AVRs.

One relatively puny transformer and small storage capacitor section that just can't deliver enough grunt to all channels.

If you look at a well designed power amp, you'll see much bigger caps and much bigger transformers to deliver mere 100W per channel like on my Plinius SA-Reference, not to mention the heat sinks needed to dissipate the heat generated.

So most of these power ratings are inflated. There's just no way the AVR can deliver all that power to all the channels they claim they can deliver.

The only exception I have seen are the older higher end Pioneer AVRs which use ICE modules. ICEpower Class D taps directly from the supply rails so each channel is not choked by what the transformer can deliver.

A nice effect I noticed when I added power amps to my Denon AVR in the past was how much more "lively" the surround and centre channels improved because the main channels L/R were no longer draining the small transformer.

I dissagree re your comment on pioneer ice module avrs. theyre just as bad doggie in. they too put silly power claims on them far in excess of their max consumption. not possible sorry no matter how you cut and dice that.

look at most honestly rated standalone power amp (class D included) and its pretty obvious theres no way can fit in the power supply or heatsinking they employ in any avr chasis. there are some big daddy avrs out there sure but theyre also quite expensive big and heavy as a result !

all that said there are also some brands that do honestly rate their avrs. rotel, nad, harman kardon, arcam, cambridge some that come to mind. and for a lot of people they could be quite sufficient in need. others can defintiely look at stand alone power amps. but there too, be carefull go for some of their cheapies and they too are a bit undernourished not much more than what you might get in an avr. so worth choosing wisely :)

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I know its more expensive, but why dont you get a AVP and then add power amps as you need?

Something like this for example?

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[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349859558' post='776382]

I dissagree re your comment on pioneer ice module avrs. theyre just as bad doggie in. they too put silly power claims on them far in excess of their max consumption. not possible sorry no matter how you cut and dice that.

look at most honestly rated standalone power amp (class D included) and its pretty obvious theres no way can fit in the power supply or heatsinking they employ in any avr chasis. there are some big daddy avrs out there sure but theyre also quite expensive big and heavy as a result !

all that said there are also some brands that do honestly rate their avrs. rotel, nad, harman kardon, arcam, cambridge some that come to mind. and for a lot of people they could be quite sufficient in need. others can defintiely look at stand alone power amps. but there too, be carefull go for some of their cheapies and they too are a bit undernourished not much more than what you might get in an avr. so worth choosing wisely :)

http://www.hometheat...er-measurements

With five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads, the amp reaches 0.1% distortion at 199.4 watts and 1% distortion at 267.3 watts.

With seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads, the amp reaches 0.1% distortion at 198.6 watts. I was unable to measure the power level at 1% distortion because the protection circuit engaged before it reached that level. It reached the manufacturer's stated distortion of 0.05% at 181.1 watts, which is not all that far from the 200 watts specified by Pioneer.

This is seriously amazing performance.

The Rotel uses a lower spec ICEPower module I think but the power doesn't seem to diminish with more channels driven.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/rotel-rsx-1562-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 85.6 watts

1% distortion at 124.3 watts

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 85.5 watts

1% distortion at 124.0 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 84.8 watts

1% distortion at 123.4 watts

Compare that to the Cambridge Audio which uses a "regular" transformer power supply amplifier circuitry where the power delivery drops off significantly with more channels being driven...

http://www.hometheater.com/content/cambridge-audio-azur-551r-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 95.2 watts

1% distortion at 111.3 watts

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 68.2 watts

1% distortion at 81.2 watts

Seven channels driven con- tinuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 61.7 watts

1% distortion at 69.4 watts

I've found that my Wyred4Sound ICEBoxMC 6xASP500 modules have no shortage of grunt because of the ICE architecture.

Edited by DoggieHowser

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http://www.hometheat...er-measurements

With five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads, the amp reaches 0.1% distortion at 199.4 watts and 1% distortion at 267.3 watts.

With seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads, the amp reaches 0.1% distortion at 198.6 watts. I was unable to measure the power level at 1% distortion because the protection circuit engaged before it reached that level. It reached the manufacturer's stated distortion of 0.05% at 181.1 watts, which is not all that far from the 200 watts specified by Pioneer.

This is seriously amazing performance.

I've found that my Wyred4Sound ICEBoxMC 6xASP500 modules have no shortage of grunt because of the ICE architecture.

and thats one of the big daddy avrs I was talking about. theres other serious avrs like the denon avc that have decent power stages too. But I hardly think the op is talking stuff in that terrritory with a budget of $2k.

I also have some serious issues with home theatre magazines measurements. You can check with pioneer, the AVR in question has a max consumption of 550w. thats it. and given the size of the class D amp in it, I've not sure if you have seen it, but I've seen the amp apart. and the power amp lies in the section below, is completely separate it is exactly the same size of one of the small form factor rotel class D amps using the same ice modules. Personally I would still get a separate pre power than get a combined unit such as that. unless stuck for space or need a one box solution. amps like your wyred for sound are in another league.

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~

The Rotel uses a lower spec ICEPower module I think but the power doesn't seem to diminish with more channels driven.

http://www.hometheat...t-labs-measures

Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 85.6 watts

1% distortion at 124.3 watts

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 85.5 watts

1% distortion at 124.0 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 84.8 watts

1% distortion at 123.4 watts

Compare that to the Cambridge Audio which uses a "regular" transformer power supply amplifier circuitry where the power delivery drops off significantly with more channels being driven...

http://www.hometheat...t-labs-measures

Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 95.2 watts

1% distortion at 111.3 watts

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 68.2 watts

1% distortion at 81.2 watts

Seven channels driven con- tinuously into 8-ohm loads:

0.1% distortion at 61.7 watts

1% distortion at 69.4 watts

I've found that my Wyred4Sound ICEBoxMC 6xASP500 modules have no shortage of grunt because of the ICE architecture.

these are avrs probably more in the ilk of the OPs $2k budget, the rotel is $3k here in oz. the cambridge a $1,300 prospect. Both their measurements quoted there are more in line with their power consumptions the rotel's is 500w and cambridge @1050w

Edited by :) al

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Pioneer probably does make some improvements to the basic module. But the main point is that ICEpower amps don't use a single transformer and power supply stage to deliver the power to all the channels which makes it more efficient in its delivery. Not everyone likes how they sound but that's a different story.

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Pioneer probably does make some improvements to the basic module. But the main point is that ICEpower amps don't use a single transformer and power supply stage to deliver the power to all the channels which makes it more efficient in its delivery. Not everyone likes how they sound but that's a different story.

the thing with the sc-09 pio is it weighed about 35kg and cost $7k US nearly 4 years ago. you get what you pay for.

And I do think it really comes down to overall power supply design and configuration and there are many approaches. Ice amps have been known to use both switchmode or more conventional transformer power supplies in some designs have seen. And I'm sure there are designs with either shared or independant supplies just as with class A/AB amps you'll see some makers using one big huge transformer or separate transformers per channel. Just different approaches both can work just as well.

with pioneers latest top of the line avr sc-68/lx86 using class D, can see drop off between 2ch and 5-7 ch driven

http://www.hometheater.com/content/pioneer-elite-sc-68-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

I'd say theyve skimped on the power supply with a power consumption of only 370w

class D is definitely more efficient, so can have smaller/cheaper more efficient power stages, requiring a smaller power supply which can suit use in avrs, but yes as amps theyre not everyones cup of tea !

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