Is this a wAste of money? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-26-2012, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey now.

I ordered mordaunt short carnival 2 book shelfs tonight and I was curious, if I went with a parasound 2100 and something like onkyos 2ch amp or a Russsound x75 or knoll (all in the 250 price range) gonna give me better sound than a music hall, Cambridge or Onkyo or Yamaha integrated amp that cost about 500-600?

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post #2 of 22 Old 03-26-2012, 10:26 PM
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Hardly. These are very easy speakers and don't require much power. My advice would be to enjoy your system for now. The MS are sweet little speakers, you'll be spending more later - they will push you in a direction that craves transparency. Save up, it gets expensive!

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post #3 of 22 Old 03-26-2012, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
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So your saying to get the pre amp and amp over just integrated amp?

You're not cultured. You're stupid.
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post #4 of 22 Old 03-27-2012, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outlawskinnyd View Post

So your saying to get the pre amp and amp over just integrated amp?

Boy that money must really be burning a hole in your pocket!

What is your zero-cost alternative?
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-27-2012, 07:31 AM
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Do you have anything now to drive the speakers? A receiver perhaps?

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post #6 of 22 Old 03-27-2012, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Its not burning a hole in myocket it's just I'm sitting here for hours on hours looking at the same integrated amps. Hahaha I spent hours looking at onkyo's a5vl and other integrated amps, then I looked at Best Buy and they sell russound and onlyo's 2channel amp.

All I wanna do is listen to my music on something that sounds great. I spend more time looking stuff up then I do enjoying the reason I looked it up in the first place....music.

I figure If it's really worth Otto get a preamp + amp combo I'll run my turntable into an amp, and just manually disconnect iPod/pad and turntable when I'm using one or the other. I'll watch movies with tv Sound until I get a preamp.

Or I cam just get am integrated amp and call it a day.


I just spoke to crutch field and he said my best choice is get a Yamaha as500 and call it a day. The nad I was looking at doesn't have sub output.

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post #7 of 22 Old 03-27-2012, 11:46 AM
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There's no advantage to going the separate pre-amp/ power amp route. ..I know this is heresy to some audiophiles, but the truth is there's just no good reason to pay for a separate chassis, cover, packaging, distribution costs etc... ..Your dollar will go further with an integrated OR a receiver (either 2-channel or A/V). ..If you do go the integrated route, do yourself a favor and look for one with bass/treble controls. ..Their affect on the sound (eg., softening bright recordings, brightening dull ones, tec..) will far exceed any sonic upside you think you'll gain by going with separates.

Basically, buy for features, aesthetics, ergonomics, etc.. rather than some tiny iota of audible difference b/w the amps that you MAY hear only with the lights dimmed, your ears cupped, staring straight ahead and focusing your attention to the point of getting a migraine
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-27-2012, 12:00 PM
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Read this thread (perhaps you've seen it, it is just above yours), it's an excellent conversation:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1402249

IMO, while I love my Mordaunt Short Carnival 2 and would argue their merits, I wouldn't consider them justification to increase my equipment budget. I have them connected to a basic 2 channel receiver (Onkyo TX-8050) and they sound just as sweet as they did powered by an external Anthem 2 channel amp. I've used pure analog, I've used the receiver DSP, I've used my computer's DSP and noticed no significant difference.

As stated above, these speakers have started me on a quest for excellence, so if viewed from that perspective and you want to gradually increase the quality of your gear then you have a good foundation. Otherwise, these speakers themselves do not need expensive gear to shine.

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post #9 of 22 Old 03-27-2012, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I read that thread and I liked it a lot.

With that said, I don't have an int amp, receiver or anything else to play my speakers off of. One day my dad said "I miss when I'd pick you up from school and take you to look at audio equipment" and I listen to so much music that I said **** it, let's go assemble a hifi system.

I've narrowed it down to 2 or 3 int amps. Either the nad 326bee or Yamaha as500.

I need a sub out, as i will be running a sub. The and has an precut which is a plus.

If I could run an integrated amp with speaker zones a and b, use a for the carnivals and b in a series or parallel for the sub id be golden. I'd have more options like marantz or Onkyo.

There is something about that Yamaha that I just don't like. Idk what it is

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post #10 of 22 Old 03-28-2012, 05:15 AM
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I wouldn't consider any of those products to have a true sub-out; as far as I know none of them feature a real crossover, so integration with your speakers is unlikely to be perfect. Get something that can do bass management.
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post #11 of 22 Old 03-28-2012, 07:24 AM
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^^ This is true. I'm not sure why most 2 channel receivers have bypassed active bass management when even budget AVRs have effective solutions. I bought the Onkyo without even considering this, although I have no plans to add a subwoofer to either zone it controls, and if I do I can get by with passive.. If this is important then an AVR or pre-pro is your best bet.

I would have thought an integrated like the Yamaha included this.

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post #12 of 22 Old 03-28-2012, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

^^ This is true. I'm not sure why most 2 channel receivers have bypassed active bass management when even budget AVRs have effective solutions. I bought the Onkyo without even considering this, although I have no plans to add a subwoofer to either zone it controls, and if I do I can get by with passive.. If this is important then an AVR or pre-pro is your best bet.

I would have thought an integrated like the Yamaha included this.

I don't know for sure (someone please clarify), but I believe that the active bass management in AVRs is typically part of the DSP. So to play analog audio with bass management, it has to be converted to digital and then back to analog again, which can reduce the audio quality slightly--or at least it changes it. Although I don't understand why they can't build in an adjustable analog high pass filter on an integrated amp so you could use it in conjunction with the low pass filter (crossover) built into a sub.

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post #13 of 22 Old 03-28-2012, 08:20 AM
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It really, really doesn't make sense to me to buy a $250-$600 amp to power $250 speakers. Something like the Audiosource AMP100 will probably get the trick done. It's got a torroidal power supply even for $100. If money is still burning a hole in your pocket, might I suggest some room treatments?

And just to throw a monkeywrench in everything, The Emotiva a100x is $219, 4 ohm stable, 50W, audio out, trigger, and volume control (it's considered an integrated)
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post #14 of 22 Old 03-29-2012, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I don't know for sure (someone please clarify), but I believe that the active bass management in AVRs is typically part of the DSP. So to play analog audio with bass management, it has to be converted to digital and then back to analog again, which can reduce the audio quality slightly--or at least it changes it. Although I don't understand why they can't build in an adjustable analog high pass filter on an integrated amp so you could use it in conjunction with the low pass filter (crossover) built into a sub.

Very good question, I hadn't realized that. Was there never an analog solution before we went all wacky and digital?

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post #15 of 22 Old 03-29-2012, 08:39 AM
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I don't know for sure (someone please clarify), but I believe that the active bass management in AVRs is typically part of the DSP. So to play analog audio with bass management, it has to be converted to digital and then back to analog again,

So far, so good.

Quote:


which can reduce the audio quality slightly--or at least it changes it.

BZZZT. Sending a signal through 10 feet of speaker cable changes it. The question is, how much? And the answer for an ADC/DAC chain is, quite possibly less than sending it through 10 feet of speaker cable. This digital conversion is of no concern whatsoever.

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Although I don't understand why they can't build in an adjustable analog high pass filter on an integrated amp so you could use it in conjunction with the low pass filter (crossover) built into a sub.

I'm sure there's some high-end idiot somewhere doing this, but the general consensus seems to be that digital filters are much better (and no doubt cheaper).

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #16 of 22 Old 03-29-2012, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Very good question, I hadn't realized that. Was there never an analog solution before we went all wacky and digital?

Good question. That is why I went with the HK 3390 over AVRs I tried. I found that I liked the analog out from my Xonar sound card to the direct output from the receivers that bypassed the DSP/bass management. As soon as I started using the bass management, I felt the audio quality suffered a little.

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post #17 of 22 Old 03-29-2012, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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What about the nad 326bee?

That has a sub out.

The more I think about this the more I kick myself for not buying floor standing 3 ways.

You're not cultured. You're stupid.
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-29-2012, 02:19 PM
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Emotiva's pre-amp (it's like what? $400) has better bass management than most any other "hi-fi" stereo component; it's got LPF/HPF on the back to integrate a sub. Not quite as accurate as an AVR perhaps, but better than a lot of the audiophile noisemakers out there (http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/.../products/usp1).

I've seen schematics (in the DIY space) for active crossovers (using tubes no less) that aren't dreadfully expensive to build; maybe a hundred or so in parts and a not insubstantial amount of labor. So this cannot be *that* complicated to do without a DSP, but yes, it generally is done within a DSP (which can mean more accuracy and lower BOM cost).

The bottom line, I think, for why most stereo products lack true bass management is one of two factors:

- Cost; if you've got something like an $80 Sherwood receiver, or the Sony DH100, it probably is not cost effective to put any sort of management (even an LPF) into the package. Again, consider the DIY example, and if we figure that dropping the tubes will cut the price not insubstantially, but still keep it up there; even $20-$30 of additional parts is expensive when the finished box is $99.99.

or

- Audiophile appeal; most of the two-channel products you'll find are from boutique outfits like NAD and Naim that rake in the dough by selling (dramatically) overpriced components to customers who are terrified of complexity or computerization, and spend their time obsessing over signal purity. So while something in the price-range of a NAD or Naim integrated amplifier could easily have DSPs or fancy analog bass management components built-in, it wouldn't sell as well to the flat earth crowd.

On the extreme high-end, I know Accuphase champions active multi-tiered amplification and external crossovers (like this one: http://www.accuphase.com/model/df-55.html), but the price is just absurd. I think they're probably mostly alone here though; they're one of the few that doesn't really sell to the flat earthers (again, I cannot overstate: absurdly expensive).
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post #19 of 22 Old 03-29-2012, 03:23 PM
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Probably going to ruffle some feathers, but if you need to add a crossover to handle sub integration to a stereo preamp that lacks such features, and are afraid of digital, I would recommend a simple state variable adjustable crossover from the prosoind world. Dbx has a nice one, behringer I think for a little cheaper.

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post #20 of 22 Old 04-01-2012, 12:01 PM
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I have the NAD 325BEE in my AV system at one house driving KEF iQ9 speakers, and the sound is pretty good.

Right now, the Cambridge Audio 550A is a good value because it is going to be discontinued, and that is what you might want to look at for $399 (was $599). I can certainly recommend it, and it has preamp out jacks if you want to use them for a subwoofer.

IMO, from my listening experience, it will sound much better than any AV receiver you can buy for under $1000 (and so will the 326BEE). I prefer the Cambridge sound quality slightly compared to NAD, but they are both decent.

For another whole level of sound, you could get the excellent Musical Fidelity M3i, but that is $1500.

Integrated amplifiers are generally much more cost-effective until you get up to 3 or 4 thousand dollars; hard to get a decent preamp for under $2000 these days. The cheaper Parasound preamps are not really very good.

The cheapest separates that I would consider are the Vincent SA-31 preamp, which is the best preamp I know of for under $1500 (only $650, actually!), and the Vincent SP-331 power amplifier for $1300. Both of these got awards from The Absolute Sound magazine for their high quality and good prices. Both of those units approach the sound of stuff that costs 3 times as much; very high performance.

The Carnival 2 speakers are not bad. If you want some bass to add to them, you might want to look at the Polk PSW505 subwoofer, which is a steal now for only $250 on Amazon. To get better you would need to double that price.




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Originally Posted by outlawskinnyd View Post

What about the nad 326bee?

That has a sub out.

The more I think about this the more I kick myself for not buying floor standing 3 ways.

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post #21 of 22 Old 04-01-2012, 02:40 PM
 
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from my listening experience,

Is this one of those with 1db + variance in volume level difference between amps?
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post #22 of 22 Old 04-01-2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:


Is this one of those with 1db + variance in volume level difference between amps?

No, this is one where he listens to The Absolute Sound.

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