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post #1 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in the process of assembling a system to listen to music exclusively. My main music is classical but I also listen to some classic rock. I am narrowing down my speakers and it's come down basically to the Energy RC-70 or Polk Audio RTI10 with the Energy being the front runner. My budget for the whole system is $2000 so for speakers I'm looking to spend no more than $1000 given that I'd also need an amp/receiver and a CD player.

Now I don't need all the whistles and bells that receivers bring, I'm looking for the best component that will drive my speakers. Should I just get an amp and if so, what are some recommendations? If a receiver, again what are good ones for the speakers I've chosen?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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post #2 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 08:54 AM
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My budget for the whole system is $2000 so for speakers I'm looking to spend no more than $1000 given that I'd also need an amp/receiver and a CD player.
This is a poor allocation of resources. Given their relative importance, you should devote the bulk of your budget to speakers. You might want to consider smaller speakers and a good subwoofer.
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Now I don't need all the whistles and bells that receivers bring, I'm looking for the best component that will drive my speakers. Should I just get an amp and if so, what are some recommendations? If a receiver, again what are good ones for the speakers I've chosen?
No, you don't need all the bells and whistles of a modern receiver, but a few of them really do improve the sound quality of your system. In particular, most come with some form of room correction, which can tame some of the problems that occur once the sound escapes from the speakers and starts bouncing around the room. If you go with a sub, receivers can integrate the sound of sub and mains easily.

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post #3 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply.
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

This is a poor allocation of resources. Given their relative importance, you should devote the bulk of your budget to speakers.
Oh? 50% of budget towards speakers too small? I was happy to find the Energy RC-70 for $1000 for the pair. Normally they sell for much more than that. If I spend more than $1000 on speakers, I'd only have $1000 for the receiver and CD player combined, and I don't want to compromise a lot in these two components.
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You might want to consider smaller speakers and a good subwoofer.
Do you have any specific suggestions in mind?
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

No, you don't need all the bells and whistles of a modern receiver, but a few of them really do improve the sound quality of your system. In particular, most come with some form of room correction, which can tame some of the problems that occur once the sound escapes from the speakers and starts bouncing around the room. If you go with a sub, receivers can integrate the sound of sub and mains easily.
Thank you for the explanation. So assuming I forego the sub, seems you'd still recommend a receiver given their potential of improving the sound quality.
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post #4 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 10:04 AM
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Are you in the US or Canada?

The Energy RC-70s have been as low as $800 a pair in the US, maybe even $700 on certain occasions. In Canada, I think around $1000 might be the cheapest they've been (but I'm not sure about that).

They're pretty nice speakers at $1k or less, but they are a little heavy in the mid- and upper-bass, so make sure you have room to place them away from walls if possible.

They're also a pretty easy load for an amp to push, so they shouldn't require anything special in that department.

Any good AVR should do fine with them.

As for the CD player, just about anything will do fine.


How big is the room?

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post #5 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 10:12 AM
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onkyo 809 on sale right now.. super cheap since it got replaced by the 818. by far the best deal going http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR809-Certified-7-2-Channel-Receiver/dp/B00505F01E

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post #6 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Are you in the US or Canada? The Energy RC-70s have been as low as $800 a pair in the US, maybe even $700 on certain occasions. In Canada, I think around $1000 might be the cheapest they've been (but I'm not sure about that).
They're pretty nice speakers at $1k or less, but they are a little heavy in the mid- and upper-bass, so make sure you have room to place them away from walls if possible.
Canada. I think at certain times, they've been as low as $800 but even for $1000 they are a good deal I keep reading. Initially I had my eyes set on this pair of Fluence, which are getting rave reviews, but it's hard to find comparisons between them and the RC-70. Based on the "deal" factor, I'm leaning towards the RC-70.
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They're also a pretty easy load for an amp to push, so they shouldn't require anything special in that department.
Any good AVR should do fine with them.
As for the CD player, just about anything will do fine.
Thanks. So you think these will do?
http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/yamaha-yamaha-5-1-channel-receiver-rxv373-rxv373-b/10197268.aspx?path=f334cda2b376cb8ab41205e994fdb89een02

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/sony-sony-5-disc-cd-player-cdpce500-cdpce500/10168688.aspx?path=bdef6a80bdad9edc5ecfb1c49c9c747cen02

Interesting that there is a big difference in price in CD players. I can get this Sony for dirt cheap but there is the Marantz CD6004 for $500. What would be the difference in sound quality?
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How big is the room?
18 by 14 feet.
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post #7 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by uncola View Post

onkyo 809 on sale right now.. super cheap since it got replaced by the 818. by far the best deal going http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-NR809-Certified-7-2-Channel-Receiver/dp/B00505F01E
Unfortunately, it doesn't ship to Canada. On the Canadian version of Amazon, the model is not available.
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post #8 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 11:33 AM
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I think those rc70s and an Integrated amp like the marantz pm5004 and cd5004 would make a nice setup. You could also look at the NAD C326BEE integrated amp and C515BEE cd player.

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post #9 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 11:39 AM
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If I spend more than $1000 on speakers, I'd only have $1000 for the receiver and CD player combined, and I don't want to compromise a lot in these two components.
But I'm saying those are the two components you should compromise on. You're not looking at speakers that are particularly hard to drive. Just about any receiver on the market will handle them. (Remember that modern receivers are built to drive 5-7 channels; driving just two they'll have plenty of power.) And you'll connect CD player to receiver digitally, which means the latter is doing all the work. A <$100 DVD player is all you need in that case.

Back when all amps had tubes and all sources were analog, yes, every component mattered. Today, the sound quality you get is almost entirely determined by the interaction between speakers and the room. Everything else is pretty much transparent under normal circumstances.

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

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post #10 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by callas01 View Post

I think those rc70s and an Integrated amp like the marantz pm5004 and cd5004 would make a nice setup. You could also look at the NAD C326BEE integrated amp and C515BEE cd player.
Thanks. Yeah, I've been looking at the PM5004 and it's looking more and more appealing the more I read about it. I might go cheaper on the CD player as I read the source makes no difference to the sound quality.
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post #11 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

But I'm saying those are the two components you should compromise on. You're not looking at speakers that are particularly hard to drive. Just about any receiver on the market will handle them. (Remember that modern receivers are built to drive 5-7 channels; driving just two they'll have plenty of power.) And you'll connect CD player to receiver digitally, which means the latter is doing all the work. A <$100 DVD player is all you need in that case.
Back when all amps had tubes and all sources were analog, yes, every component mattered. Today, the sound quality you get is almost entirely determined by the interaction between speakers and the room. Everything else is pretty much transparent under normal circumstances.
Got ya. So is there a pair of speakers you would recommend over the RC-70s that would be less than $1500?
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post #12 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 02:42 PM
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I am going to respectfully disagree with a number of posts, i.e the ones that suggest that it does not matter much which CD player or amp you get. Yes, the room is important. - but much of the room interaction can be minimized by placing the speakers in a nearfield position. Yes, speakers are important - but they can only produce what is fed them. FWIW: my listening preferences are Baroque and Classical, and classic rock. I have been searching for something that sounds right to me for 4 years, and I am getting closer. My suggestion for Baroque and Classical: explore a tube amp. Yes, they are a bit more maintenance than SS, but the tube amps clear up the apparent haze on many CDs and show the haze to be room acoustics - reverberation. The result is a clean sound with a window into the recording venue. Don't take my word for it - take the time to explore and then put your precious money where you get the best sound for the buck. Check out Canadian on-line companies like Grant Fidelity and Musical Paradise, and you will find that you can get tube amps from about CAD $300.00. - free shipping. Even the cheap tube amps make my HK3490 sound decidedly MidFi. I have owned an EL84 amp, still own an EL34, and am now mostly listening to a $800 300B amp - which sounds the cleanest to me. The sound staging is remarkable. To my surprise, the 300B amp has also brought to live classic rock.

Regarding CDPs: I think it is helpful to think of a CDP as an integrated transport and DAC. The DAC, to my ears, makes a significant difference to the sound. A cheap CDP will use a cheap DAC. However, if it has a digital out, you have the option to connect it to an outboard DAC. If you already have a CDP with an digital out, you may want to try a separated DAC.
Use a decent gauge OFC speaker wire, and you will have a killer system for $2000.

I have not yet been able to bring myself to buy expensive speakers on-line. But Axiom is another Canadian company with great reviews and credentials, and apparently tube-friendly speakers.

Apologies if I have complicated things - but if you have $2000 to spend you have a lot of very nice options beyond the Big Box stores for 2 channel audio. Good luck, and enjoy!
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post #13 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 03:42 PM
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I am going to respectfully disagree with a number of posts, i.e the ones that suggest that it does not matter much which CD player or amp you get. Yes, the room is important. - but much of the room interaction can be minimized by placing the speakers in a nearfield position. Yes, speakers are important - but they can only produce what is fed them. FWIW: my listening preferences are Baroque and Classical, and classic rock. I have been searching for something that sounds right to me for 4 years, and I am getting closer. My suggestion for Baroque and Classical: explore a tube amp. Yes, they are a bit more maintenance than SS, but the tube amps clear up the apparent haze on many CDs and show the haze to be room acoustics - reverberation. The result is a clean sound with a window into the recording venue. Don't take my word for it - take the time to explore and then put your precious money where you get the best sound for the buck. Check out Canadian on-line companies like Grant Fidelity and Musical Paradise, and you will find that you can get tube amps from about CAD $300.00. - free shipping. Even the cheap tube amps make my HK3490 sound decidedly MidFi. I have owned an EL84 amp, still own an EL34, and am now mostly listening to a $800 300B amp - which sounds the cleanest to me. The sound staging is remarkable. To my surprise, the 300B amp has also brought to live classic rock.
Regarding CDPs: I think it is helpful to think of a CDP as an integrated transport and DAC. The DAC, to my ears, makes a significant difference to the sound. A cheap CDP will use a cheap DAC. However, if it has a digital out, you have the option to connect it to an outboard DAC. If you already have a CDP with an digital out, you may want to try a separated DAC.
Use a decent gauge OFC speaker wire, and you will have a killer system for $2000.
I have not yet been able to bring myself to buy expensive speakers on-line. But Axiom is another Canadian company with great reviews and credentials, and apparently tube-friendly speakers.
Apologies if I have complicated things - but if you have $2000 to spend you have a lot of very nice options beyond the Big Box stores for 2 channel audio. Good luck, and enjoy!
+1

Steve
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post #14 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

I am in the process of assembling a system to listen to music exclusively.

It sounds like you've done a bit of homework regarding speakers. As far as the electronics, in my opnion your best bet is an integrated amp. You mentioned the system is exclusively for music, you didn't say only 2 channel but if you are only going to use 2 main speakers an integrated will give you more bang for your buck than a receiver. Onkyo, Cambridge, Arcam and NAD manufacture quality integrated amplifiers in your price range. Arcam and Cambridge also make great cd players. Attached are links to check out examples of the gear I've suggested.

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-arcam-a-70-2012-12-23-integrateds-98501
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-onkyo-a-9310-integrated-amp-new-2012-12-21-integrateds-80120-littleton-co
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/cd-sacd-players-arcam-cd72-very-nice-arcam-cdp-2012-12-22-digital-40203-louisville-ky
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/cd-sacd-players-nad-c521-bee-cd-player-2012-12-23-digital-91941


I realize you're in Canada and most of Audiogon members are in the US but this will give you an idea of what is available.
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post #15 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 05:51 PM
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As an owner of Energy RC speakers (RC-30s), along with an NAD 326, a Cambridge Audio integrated, a Denon AVR, and, well, lots of other gear, I'm pretty confident in telling you that except at extreme volumes, there is no difference in sound quality among the amps/AVRs with the Energy speakers.

Well, no, I take that back. The Denon has Audyssey MultEQ XT and probably does a better job than the NAD or the Cambridge because it can correct for some of the room modes in the bass.

Marantz PM and CD units are nice but a little pricey for what they are, IMO. You're paying a little premium for the name and the looks. If that matters to you, that's fine. I personally like the simplicity and looks of integrated amps like Marantz, NAD, and Cambidge. But if it doesn't matter so much, and/or your budget is restricted, something like the Denon AVR-1713 is a good choice.

I've done a blind A/B of a "high-end" CD player and a friend's $40 DVD player. When level-matched and time-synced, I couldn't tell them apart. Just as above, the Marantz and Cambridge units have a nicer look and feel than a $40 dvd player, but that doesn't mean they sound any better.

The Energy RC-70s should be a good fit for a room your size.

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post #16 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

As an owner of Energy RC speakers (RC-30s), along with an NAD 326, a Cambridge Audio integrated, a Denon AVR, and, well, lots of other gear, I'm pretty confident in telling you that except at extreme volumes, there is no difference in sound quality among the amps/AVRs with the Energy speakers.
Well, no, I take that back. The Denon has Audyssey MultEQ XT and probably does a better job than the NAD or the Cambridge because it can correct for some of the room modes in the bass.
Marantz PM and CD units are nice but a little pricey for what they are, IMO. You're paying a little premium for the name and the looks. If that matters to you, that's fine. I personally like the simplicity and looks of integrated amps like Marantz, NAD, and Cambidge. But if it doesn't matter so much, and/or your budget is restricted, something like the Denon AVR-1713 is a good choice.
I've done a blind A/B of a "high-end" CD player and a friend's $40 DVD player. When level-matched and time-synced, I couldn't tell them apart. Just as above, the Marantz and Cambridge units have a nicer look and feel than a $40 dvd player, but that doesn't mean they sound any better.
The Energy RC-70s should be a good fit for a room your size.

+1 You could also ditch the CD player all together and stream ripped music directly to the 1713.

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post #17 of 75 Old 12-25-2012, 08:51 PM
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As an owner of Energy RC speakers (RC-30s), along with an NAD 326, a Cambridge Audio integrated, a Denon AVR, and, well, lots of other gear, I'm pretty confident in telling you that except at extreme volumes, there is no difference in sound quality among the amps/AVRs with the Energy speakers.
Well, no, I take that back. The Denon has Audyssey MultEQ XT and probably does a better job than the NAD or the Cambridge because it can correct for some of the room modes in the bass.
Marantz PM and CD units are nice but a little pricey for what they are, IMO. You're paying a little premium for the name and the looks. If that matters to you, that's fine. I personally like the simplicity and looks of integrated amps like Marantz, NAD, and Cambidge. But if it doesn't matter so much, and/or your budget is restricted, something like the Denon AVR-1713 is a good choice.
I've done a blind A/B of a "high-end" CD player and a friend's $40 DVD player. When level-matched and time-synced, I couldn't tell them apart. Just as above, the Marantz and Cambridge units have a nicer look and feel than a $40 dvd player, but that doesn't mean they sound any better.
The Energy RC-70s should be a good fit for a room your size.
That is part of the beauty of this hobby! We each hear things differently, we have different sensitivities, different things that sound grating to us. I hope that 2TVSONECUP will have an opportunity to explore if there is something within his price range that sounds more enjoyable to him than an AV receiver. I became a convert from the Consumer Reports wisdom that all modern electronics are super when I asked a sales person to hook up a Baby Sophia to the Focal speakers instead of a NAD. Same NAD CDP, same everything else. Same speakers, same position in the same part of the store that was not even a demo room. Without any warm up the Baby Sophia projected the sound stage way closer and deeper, and the music came alive. Of course the 11 WPC Baby Sophia was almost twice as expensive as the 50 WPC NAD, and where the NAD was just idling the Baby had its volume control at 2 pm. But to me they certainly did not sound the same. If they were to sound the same to you, it would be illogical for you to spend your money on the Baby Sophia. For me it became illogical to spend the money on the NAD. (Given the generally glowing reviews of NAD products I was quite surprised.)
Most people seem to hear the greatest differences between different speakers. I do too. I have yet to hear a speaker that does not have its own voicing. I think it makes sense to start with selecting a speaker that has agreeable voicing and then to select the electronics. The impedance graph indicates that the Energy rc 70 should be very tube friendly.Given their efficiency they could be an awesome match with a tube amp.
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post #18 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 04:12 AM
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They're also a pretty easy load for an amp to push, so they shouldn't require anything special in that department.
Any good AVR should do fine with them.
As for the CD player, just about anything will do fine.

Thanks. So you think these will do?

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/yamaha-yamaha-5-1-channel-receiver-rxv373-rxv373-b/10197268.aspx?path=f334cda2b376cb8ab41205e994fdb89een02

Yes, I have the earlier rxv371 and it sounds fine.

Particularly if you hook it up to your AVR via a digital connection (optical or coax) and avoid interjecting the converters in the CDP into your audio chain.
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Interesting that there is a big difference in price in CD players. I can get this Sony for dirt cheap but there is the Marantz CD6004 for $500. What would be the difference in sound quality?

Zip. Zero.

However, I would (and did) skip right past CD players and go for Blu Ray. Most Blu Ray players in the $100-200 range also have the ability to play music off of your PC acting as a music server and the web.
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post #19 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 08:44 AM
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its interesting what you guys think that the Yamaha can do. I have an integra and it doesnt have the dynamics or musical flow of my Naim Integrated amp.


And heres a story, when I first got the naim and connected it to my integra thru its HTBP I was sitting there thinking.. my goodness there's NO difference. I didnt want to say anything to my wife cause I just spend a lot of money and I wasnt happy, she'd be pissed. Then my wife said the same thing, actually; "IDK why you bought that thing its a waste of money theres NO difference!" which made me want to send it back. So I disconnected the Naim and started playing music with my wife right there thru the Integra, as I was about to pack up the Naim, and she said, "Wait. Can you connect just the speakers to the Naim and play that song you always play, with the bass?" So I did. Then she asked for me to play a few other songs, which we did. I was trying to figure out what she was hearing, and believe me, she hates spending money on HT so there had to be something she heard cause getting the money back probably would have made her more happy. Then she asked play for me to play the songs with the Integra only powering the speakers. That is when we both realized that the naims power section even at 60 watts per channel less was killing the Integra. I kept trying to turn up the volume to match the dynamics and sonics of the Naim, and it wasnt happening. Thru pure direct the sound was warm but laidback and recessed sounding and lacking bass. Now if I engaged Dynamic EQ the bass and highs would show up, and there was better bass, but it was muddy and bright. So I said, Im gonna reconnect it all to see if what we thought was happening was, and the power amp fo the Naim made the Integra sound more powerful then it was. I forgot that the Naim was being the power amp, that is why it seemed there was little to no difference. However the Integra is a good unit, if used in conjuction with some type of power amp to improve its dynamics capabilities. That said Id never go back just an AVR powering my setup.

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post #20 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 09:01 AM
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its interesting what you guys think that the Yamaha can do.

The question is why shouldn't it?

Scientific audio wisdom is that any component that has distortion noise and frequency response variations within certain bounds does no audible harm to even the most revealing sources and most critical loudspeakers and ears. The nature of those bounds are well known and most good audio gear including even the bottom of Yamaha's mainstream AVR line operates within those bounds.
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I have an Integra and it doesn't have the dynamics or musical flow of my Naim Integrated amp.

How do you know that and what reliable independent confirmation is there for that?

It is well known that many Integra components are just Onkyos with cosmetic changes - I've confirmed that for myself by comparing service manuals, schematics, and parts lists. AFAIK as a rule they both sound just fine.
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And heres a story, when I first got the naim and connected it to my integra thru its HTBP I was sitting there thinking.. my goodness there's NO difference.

Guess what, HTBP corresponds to know known audio acronym or word.

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I didnt want to say anything to my wife cause I just spend a lot of money and I wasnt happy, she'd be pissed. Then my wife said the same thing, actually; "IDK why you bought that thing its a waste of money theres NO difference!" which made me want to send it back. So I disconnected the Naim and started playing music with my wife right there thru the Integra, as I was about to pack up the Naim, and she said, "Wait. Can you connect just the speakers to the Naim and play that song you always play, with the bass?" So I did. Then she asked for me to play a few other songs, which we did. I was trying to figure out what she was hearing, and believe me, she hates spending money on HT so there had to be something she heard cause getting the money back probably would have made her more happy. Then she asked play for me to play the songs with the Integra only powering the speakers. That is when we both realized that the naims power section even at 60 watts per channel less was killing the Integra. I kept trying to turn up the volume to match the dynamics and sonics of the Naim, and it wasnt happening. Thru pure direct the sound was warm but laidback and recessed sounding and lacking bass. Now if I engaged Dynamic EQ the bass and highs would show up, and there was better bass, but it was muddy and bright. So I said, Im gonna reconnect it all to see if what we thought was happening was, and the power amp fo the Naim made the Integra sound more powerful then it was. I forgot that the Naim was being the power amp, that is why it seemed there was little to no difference. However the Integra is a good unit, if used in conjuction with some type of power amp to improve its dynamics capabilities. That said Id never go back just an AVR powering my setup.

This is just another version of the infamous "It made so much difference that even my wife in the kitchen liked it" anecdote.

The counterpoint is that your wife is nobody's fool, knows how to keep the old man happy, and is aware of hightened activity and excitement on your part. She knows what to say to keep the old man happy after one of his toy-buying expeditions. No problem with that, just it is what we call "anecdotal evidence", but no it isn't any more reliable than your own say-so.
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post #21 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 09:51 AM
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first, I know that Onkyo and Integra are the same. Thanks but that isnt a news flash. I wanted the extra year of warranty and I got just as good of a deal as amazon had on the 708 from the dealer.

Second, my wife is honest, she tells me what she can and cant hear in HT, there are things she thinks Im stupid for spending money on, and others shes OK with. She thinks the DAC is pointless, but she just lets me have it. She was happy I decided to return it. It was the side by side comparison that we did that proved the differences. Most notably the dynamics. I had already come to grips with it wasnt a worthwhile investment as well, so the comparison to me was a mute point; it was going back. I wasnt personally wavering and she settled me into keeping it. But listening to each unit on its own, that was a different story. If I didnt have the Naim, I would probably buy a power-amp, which I have considered as well, but looking at Audiogon the sale prices of the 5i wouldnt put much if any money in my pocket after buying a power amp, so Ill keep the Nait. The dynamics in the bass arent there from the Integra on its own.

HTBP means Home Theater By-Pass, most people I talk to know what that acronym is. and its "NO known"

Dynaudio Focus 260s, Focus 210C, DM 2/6, Hsu VTF2 MK4, Oppo BDP-103,
Naim Nait XS-2, Jolida FX Tube DAC, Integra DTR-40.2, 55" Panasonic Plasma
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post #22 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for your help.

So I bought the RC-70s. Now I have narrowed down my amp/receiver to 2 choices: either a conventional receiver - this Denon or a tube amp. The main drawback of a tube amp is the maintenance; I've read that if used regularly, it will require tube replacements yearly, which to me seems a little too much. If only I could hear the difference in sound then I would be able to decide if it's worth it or not. I might have to go digging for places in the area that would let me listen to tube amp systems.

I have a question regarding the source: seems that the DAC is one of the main components that cause sound quality variability. However, I don't understand why a DAC would be involved at all if all the parts are digital. There are CDs with digital source and a CD player that feeds that digital signal to a receiver via a digital connection. Where in all this is the analog part?
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post #23 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 12:26 PM
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I've never used a tube amp. Tube amps actually color the sound, kind of like tone controls. You might love this, or not care for it. Personally, I prefer the amp to be neutral and to use tone controls, or better still, Audyssey, to make adjustments to the sound.

For a starter, no way would I recommend a tube amp. At some point in the future it might be something you can try out and experiment with, but for someone just getting up and started, stick with a solid state AVR.

That Denon 1713 is a little flimsy in its build quality, but I think its feature set is excellent for the price. I think it's a great choice for you to start with. It has the higher level of Audyssey (MultEQ XT), which you won't find in any other AVRs anywhere near the price of the 1713.

As for the DAC, wherever you are reading that they are a main source of sound quality variation is full of bunk. They're probably the LEAST source of sound quality variation in the entire chain. The speakers and room - and how you place the speakers in the room - make way, way more difference.

Get the Denon and then place the speakers in good spots and enjoy!

(By good spots in the room, I mean leave 1-3 feet between the rear of the speakers and the wall behind them, keep them at least 2-3 feet from side walls, and keep them about 6-8 feet apart and sit in the middle line.)

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #24 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 12:31 PM
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Oh, as for the DACs and analog circuits, CD players have a DAC and the analog circuits, and they also have a digital out.

The Denon AVR will have analog inputs, and it will also have 2 digital inputs. It too has a built-in DAC and associated analog circuitry.

So you could feed the CD player to the Denon with analog or with digital.

There is probably very little sound quality difference, but there may be a difference in levels (volume).

Digital is simple so you could always just use that and be done with it.

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #25 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 12:41 PM
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So I bought the RC-70s. Now I have narrowed down my amp/receiver to 2 choices: either a conventional receiver - this Denon or a tube amp. The main drawback of a tube amp is the maintenance; I've read that if used regularly, it will require tube replacements yearly, which to me seems a little too much. If only I could hear the difference in sound then I would be able to decide if it's worth it or not. I might have to go digging for places in the area that would let me listen to tube amp systems.
I agree with the comment above that beginners should stay away from tubes. (Frankly, I would extend that well beyond beginners; you should understand why and how they are different before deciding whether you want to experiment with them.)
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I have a question regarding the source: seems that the DAC is one of the main components that cause sound quality variability. However, I don't understand why a DAC would be involved at all if all the parts are digital. There are CDs with digital source and a CD player that feeds that digital signal to a receiver via a digital connection. Where in all this is the analog part?
DAC=Digital Analog Converter. The DAC converts the digital to an analog signal. This can happen either inside the CD player, or in the receiver, depending on the connection you use. As a practical matter, even dirt-cheap DAC chips are so good nowadays (and have been for quite a while), that no one's been able to prove they can hear a difference between them, despite the usual audiophile claims.

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

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despite the usual audiophile claims.
And salesman claims.
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post #27 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks beaveav and mcnarus for your explanations. Decision made: it's the Denon AVR-1713 receiver. As far as CDP, I'll try using my Sony BDPS590 Blu-ray, which is currently used in my home theatre and see how I like the sound. If it's good, I'll get another Blu-ray just for my music system.

I also like the suggestion of ripping the CDs with a lossless coder-decoder like FLAC and then streaming off my network. But that seems like so much work - I've got 600+ CDs. A few at a time, I guess ...
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post #28 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

Thanks beaveav and mcnarus for your explanations. Decision made: it's the Denon AVR-1713 receiver. As far as CDP, I'll try using my Sony BDPS590 Blu-ray, which is currently used in my home theatre and see how I like the sound. If it's good, I'll get another Blu-ray just for my music system.
I also like the suggestion of ripping the CDs with a lossless coder-decoder like FLAC and then streaming off my network. But that seems like so much work - I've got 600+ CDs. A few at a time, I guess ...
Congrats on reaching a decision. I am sure that the Denon will sound just fine, and it should give you many years of trouble free and maintenance free service. I bought my HK3490 after I became aware that I really wanted a tube amp - because it should be trouble and maintenance free (and has been), and it can drive a 4 ohm load in just about any room without clipping. There are definite advantages to SS. I knew I was going to move, but I did not know exactly where, so I needed something that permitted flexibility.
Beyond that: I hope that you will continue your own exploration. I had huge mistrust of the audiophile claims about sound quality - because they were able to hear things that were beyond meaningful 'scientific' measurements. Yea, right! Bloody audiophiles! But I do hear differences - so who should I trust? The experts who say that things that cannot be measured therefore cannot be heard? Or the experts that say that because they cannot hear a difference, I must not be able to hear a difference either? (and so it must be all in my mind.) Perhaps it is all in my mind - but if the illusion is real to me, I will still decide to enjoy my illusion. That only seems logical: my money, my illusion, my happiness with my illusion. But of course I do not believe it is an illusion. I think the measurements that are performed on audio equipment are relevant for the functioning of the circuits - but they may not be relevant to what actually makes a difference to how we hear music reproduction.
As far as DACs are concerned - I have not listened to new cheap built in DACs. Perhaps they have become superb. The DAC built in to my HK3490 is no worse than my aging CPDs, it also is no better. All of them are better than the DAC built into a iPod touch (2nd gen, I think) which created a haze to my ears. My kids lived with it happily, they hardly heard it. I trust my kids' opinion that it was not important to them. But for me it was a reality I could not accept in audio reproduction. I could happily live with the DAC in a 30 G iPod of whatever generation. Apparently it was a different DAC - a better DAC for an iPod that was intended primarily for music. I guess the Apple designers decided that there was a difference to the sound. Or perhaps it was just a marketing decisions - though I doubt very much that the average iPod buyer would have heard of Wolfson or Burr-Brown, and TI would mean a calculator smile.gif I now use a relatively cheap outboard DAC ($200) / preamp. To my ears it has improved the depth and width of the soundstage, and cleared up a bit of the haze. (As a bonus, the preamp section was better than the HK pre-amp, so I am bypassing the HK pre-amp and use the HK as a power amp.)
If you cannot hear the difference between SS and Tube gear, it would be logical to pick the SS gear for its ease of use. No tubes will blow, taking caps with them to audio heaven. Power tubes last about 3000 - 5000 hours before they begin to degrade. It does cost money to replace them. You get a lot more WPC for your buck with SS. SS tends to control bass better than tubes. SS is less sensitive to impedance curves. SS will probably produce less heat in this price range than even an class A/B tube amp. You need a lot more space above a tube amp than above a SS amp for ventilation.
I am not sure that tubes are not for beginners. Tubes are what our parents and grandparents grew up with. They did not have the option to progress to tubes from solid state. Most of them lived long enough to reproduce despite the onerousness of tube equipment, Today's entry level tube equipment tends to be auto bias, other than replacing tubes there is little that needs doing. I do watch my tubes when I turn on the amp - just in case. Tube equipment is more prone to hum because of the big transformers - but with a bit of care mine are dead quiet through the speakers. The transformers on my 300B have a physical hum that I can hear from 2 1/2 feet (when there is no music playing.)
The suggestion that tube equipment works like a tone control on SS gear is not consistent with my experience. But I believe it to be completely valid to the experience of the person who wrote it - why would he make it up? I do think that there appears to be some inconsistency in believing in measurements (Tube equipment tends to measure quite flat over an extended frequency range) and stating that tube equipment acts as tone controls. That said, tube equipment is, I am told, sensitive to impedance, and so the impedance curve can impact the relative loudness throughout the frequency range. But the impedance curve on your RC-70 measures quite flat, dipping down to about 4 Ohm over a significant part of the frequency range. (I suspect a modern Denon is built for that - my old Yammie had trouble with a nominal 6 Ohm load dipping down to just under 4).
Anyway - I am not trying to convince you to not get the Denon. I am trying to convince you to continue exploring after you get the Denon. Don't take my word for anything. Trust your own ears - you are going to have to live with your own ears, not mine or anyone else's. Audio opinions tend to become quite dogmatic: if it works for me, it must be true for everyone else. I am probably guilty of that, though I try to be logical... So don't trust my opinions. Do your own experiments. Enjoy the journey. And most of all: enjoy the music!
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post #29 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 10:05 PM
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... Good decision.

And yes, as far as the ripping project, it can be a bit of a bear. Particularly if you're anal about getting all the art *just right* and then double-checking and correcting any errors in the title/track info and adding other relevant CD release data. To make things a bit easier, pick up a good program such as dBpoweramp for your ripping/conversion needs. And as you say, do a handful per week. Slowly but surely, you'll make a real 'dent' in your collection. Or if you're anything like me, you'll intend to do just a few on a weekend afternoon but at some point in the process, you find yourself saying say to yourself, "Ah ok, I"ll just do one more!" and then all of the sudden, another 20-25 discs are done in one sitting and the afternoon has turned into the evening! eek.gifbiggrin.gif
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........ Yes, they are a bit more maintenance than SS, but the tube amps clear up the apparent haze on many CDs and show the haze to be room acoustics - reverberation. The result is a clean sound with a window into the recording venue.

Not sure what you're trying to communicate here. Doesn't make sense to me, as constructed. So is the "haze" from the CD? Or the room acoustics? If it's the room acoustics, why not treat that issue directly (with some combination of treatment, speaker positioning and/or room EQ) instead of masking the symptoms with the tube amp?

Mourning the disappearing usage of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #30 of 75 Old 12-26-2012, 10:32 PM
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...
Not sure what you're trying to communicate here. Doesn't make sense to me, as constructed. So is the "haze" from the CD? Or the room acoustics? If it's the room acoustics, why not treat that issue directly (with some combination of treatment, speaker positioning and/or room EQ) instead of masking the symptoms with the tube amp?

The 'Haze' I hear on many CDs are actually the acoustics/reverberation of the recording venue. Quite separate from the listening room. I did not recognize the haze for what it was (or suspect it is) until I started listening to the tube amps. I am not sure how this works, but I suspect that studio recordings of modern music are more able to control acoustics than a symphony orchestra in a venue that was not primarily designed as a recording studio. With the tube amps I hear a 3D soundstage much more clearly. My listening room is relatively dead, and I listen in nearfield to minimize the acoustics of the listening room. Hope this helps.
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