Bedroom system 2.1-channel integrated/receiver recs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-21-2012, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for a new electronics box for my bedroom, to insert between

two sources (~90% of the time an streaming from an Apple AirPort Express, ~10% of the time spinning black circles on a B&O RX-2 TT)

and a small 2.1 channel speaker system (KEF Q100 mains, DIY sub with a Peerless XLS12, Peerless XLS12 passive radiator, and 500W Oaudio plate amp).

Requirements:
-Attractive construction, with minimalist appearance (a bare minimum of bright lights) and preferably more metal than plastic (will be exposed in a bedroom with decent furnishings)
-Remote control of power/volume/source select
-Three-figure price tag. The lower the better.
-At least 17dBW (50W) of clean power; I'm currently using a KEF Picoforte iPod dock that puts out about 10dBW, and it audibly clips at rousing levels. My Audiolab 8000A has adequate power, but no remote).
-Not from Denon/Marantz: their after-sales support is abysmal, so I'm not interested in providing them further business. McIntosh's support is separate, and...who wouldn't mind Mac gear?
-Subwoofer preout (preferred) or at least preout/main-in loops (after volume control, so a tape monitor won't work)
-No garish logos
-Electrical safety certification from an OSHA-approved NRTL (UL, ETL, CSA, etc.).

Would be nice
-Compact
-Optical digital input OR MM phono stage (can use separate small phono pre)
-An alarm clock function would be kind of cool.
-Room correction

Not opposed to used. Don't care about tubes/SS/Class D as long as it fits my functional, aesthetic, and price requirements, though all else equal a more energy efficient unit would be preferable.

Any recs?

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post #2 of 15 Old 04-21-2012, 08:13 AM
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The Musical Fidelity V-LPS is one of the best phono preamps for under $300, and it is compact and affordable.

The Cambridge Audio 651A is $800 and should do the job.

Another possibility is the NAD 356BEE, and one of those is available used if you check the classifieds.







Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

I'm looking for a new electronics box for my bedroom, to insert between

two sources (~90% of the time an streaming from an Apple AirPort Express, ~10% of the time spinning black circles on a B&O RX-2 TT)

and a small 2.1 channel speaker system (KEF Q100 mains, DIY sub with a Peerless XLS12, Peerless XLS12 passive radiator, and 500W Oaudio plate amp).

Requirements:
-Attractive construction, with minimalist appearance (a bare minimum of bright lights) and preferably more metal than plastic (will be exposed in a bedroom with decent furnishings)
-Remote control of power/volume/source select
-Three-figure price tag. The lower the better.
-At least 17dBW (50W) of clean power; I'm currently using a KEF Picoforte iPod dock that puts out about 10dBW, and it audibly clips at rousing levels. My Audiolab 8000A has adequate power, but no remote).
-Not from Denon/Marantz (their after-sales support is abysmal, so I'm not interested in providing them further business. McIntosh's support is separate, and...who wouldn't mind Mac gear?
-Subwoofer preout (preferred) or at least preout/main-in loops (after volume control, so a tape monitor won't work)
-No garish logos.

Would be nice
-Compact
-Optical digital input OR MM phono stage (can use separate small phono pre)
-An alarm clock function would be kind of cool.
-Room correction

Not opposed to used. Don't care about tubes/SS/Class D as long as it fits my functional, aesthetic, and price requirements, though all else equal a more energy efficient unit would be preferable.

Any recs?

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post #3 of 15 Old 04-21-2012, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Musical Fidelity V-LPS is one of the best phono preamps for under $300, and it is compact and affordable.

Please see edits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Cambridge Audio 651A is $800 and should do the job.

$800 for a conventional-sized audio box?

Not for me.

If I'm going to spend that much and not get something in a more bedroom-friendly form factor, I'll go with the currently-on-closeout Sherwood-Newcastle R-972, or even add a third Anthem MRX 300 to my flat...

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-21-2012, 10:28 AM
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How about the Vincent SV-400. It's a bit pricey at $499 but it does most of you want minus having a phono stage.

50 W
Pre-out for subwoofer
remote control
onboard USB DAC

Another option would be the Music Hall A15.2. 75W, no DAC, MM phono stage...Also $499.

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post #5 of 15 Old 04-21-2012, 01:35 PM
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Not compact, but the HK 3490 does most of what you want. Tons of power. Optical and coxial inputs. Subwoofer out (although no bass management or room correction). There is a dimmer function to make the display less bright or all the way off (dims everything but the power button light).

If you would like a 2 channel receiver with bass management (not compact though), check out the Outlaw RR2150. It has analog crossover switch on the back. That's nice for a turntable since most other receivers have to convert analog signals to digital and then back again to analog for their bass management.

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post #6 of 15 Old 04-21-2012, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Musical Fidelity V-LPS is one of the best phono preamps for under $300, and it is compact and affordable.

The Cambridge Audio 651A is $800 and should do the job.

Another possibility is the NAD 356BEE, and one of those is available used if you check the classifieds.

I wouldn't buy that NAD 356BEE. I've heard from a reliable poster that it doesn't sound good at all!

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post #7 of 15 Old 04-22-2012, 07:45 AM
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fwiw take a look at the teac a-h01 it has pretty much what you need for $599 its compact ,50 watts clean power,sub pre out,well built ,dac built in and optical dig.input and remote

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-22-2012, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasher50 View Post

fwiw take a look at the teac a-h01 it has pretty much what you need for $599 its compact ,50 watts clean power,sub pre out,well built ,dac built in and optical dig.input and remote

Thanks!

That's the kind of thing I was looking for but didn't know enough to find.

Except...it looks like that 50W rating is at 4Ω (oddly, it's rated 22W/8Ω). I assume it uses either the Icepower 50ASX2, or the precedessor model.

So it's not much, if any, more power than the KEF Picoforte dock I'm using now (rated 25W/8Ω).

Doh.

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post #9 of 15 Old 04-22-2012, 06:33 PM
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Would Rega fit the bill (used?)
app.audiogon.com/listings/rega-brio-r-integrated-amplifier (cute and just hits 50W) but it misses the preout.
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-23-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking2 View Post

Would Rega fit the bill (used?)
app.audiogon.com/listings/rega-brio-r-integrated-amplifier (cute and just hits 50W) but it misses the preout.

Sigh. Unfortunately no, because that's the kind of aesthetic I was looking for.

But the preout is required (the plate amp on my sub doesn't have high-level input), as is electrical safety certification from an OSHA-approved NRTL, which Rega seemed too cheap to acquire.

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post #11 of 15 Old 04-23-2012, 01:09 PM
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I think you have a hard set of criteria to satisfy

NAD - C-326BEE? Typical rack width, but low profile in height and lacking in annoying digital display. Does have the NAD logo and model# on it.

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post #12 of 15 Old 04-23-2012, 01:20 PM
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Well, there's the Marantz NR1402, although it has more of the HT receiver aesthetic than you seem to want.

http://us.marantz.com/us/products/pa...oductid=nr1402

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post #13 of 15 Old 04-23-2012, 01:23 PM
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-23-2012, 05:47 PM
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Arcam is another option. Not as nice looking as the Rega. Here's one from ebay.
www .ebay.com/itm/Arcam-FMJ-A18-Integrated-Amplifier-BLACK-/370604842513?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5649c51e11
And a slightly cheaper one on Audiogon. Both have preouts
app .audiogon.com/listings/arcam-a70-intergrated-amp

Modify the links so they work
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post #15 of 15 Old 05-02-2012, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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FWIW, I ended up picking up a used Meridian 551 integrated amp and a Monoprice HDMI -> component video and stereo audio DAC to connect the AppleTV2 I shifted from the living room to the bedroom. (I bought an ATV3 for the living room to replace it.) It's is attractively designed, and reasonably compact at about 13" x 13" x 3.5".

I would have gotten a Peachtree Audio Nova. It's expensive, but I like the way it looks and had a small separate phono preamp I could've used. And, being a long-time Atlantan, I also like the brand name. Had Peachtree been civilized enough to acquire electrical safety certification from an OSHA-approved NRTL, I would've picked one up. But the lack of proper safety certification makes me wonder where else corners were cut.

The 551's not perfect. While it has a phono preamp built-in, it lacks bass management or even preout/main-in loop to allow me to highpass-filter the mains via the sub's plate amp. But I quickly learned that the product I want - a compact and attractive integrated amp or receiver a remote control, and ideally a phono preamp, at least one digital preamp, and some form of bass management - simply doesn't exist.

I'm a little surprised that the "high end" industry has come up so short in this market. Many "budget" integrates out there (Music Hall, Cambridge, NAD etc.) are simply too large. Except for Luddites and retro fetishists, why would anyone willing to use a box that big go for something so obviously inferior in functionality and (due to the lack of room correction) sonics to, say, an Anthem MRX 300 receiver? On the same speakers, ARC and good bass management will invariably lead to superior sonics over a more primitive device.

Add that to the fact that most of the so-called high enders are too cheap/lazy/classless to get the proper NRTL electrical safety certifications - NAD is, here, a notable exception - and no wonder why none of them can offer a satisfying product. They don't understand what "premium" means, any more, except for "high priced."

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