Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup
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
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!