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post #1 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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The $64k question for this group

With a $700-$800 receiver budget will any improvement in sound quality of a good 2.1 ch. receiver (not many remaining other than a few offerings from HK, Yammy, Cambridge and Outlaw), sufficient to overwhelm the room equalization benefits of the 5.1, 7.1 ch. offerings? Music only--no TV. Separates are out too as I need a tuner. No biamping either on this budget.

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post #2 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 07:55 AM
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Just look for a stereo audio receiver that suits you needs/budget and get a powered subwoofer with speaker level inputs/outputs.
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post #3 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Just look for a stereo audio receiver that suits you needs/budget and get a powered subwoofer with speaker level inputs/outputs.
What are the benefits of separate speaker level inputs/outputs rather than just an LFE? Thanks.
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post #4 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by prestonrich View Post
What are the benefits of separate speaker level inputs/outputs rather than just an LFE? Thanks.
Because you can purchase any "stereo" audio receiver without concern and add an appropriate sub if you desire the extra "thump".
LFE is for more for movie stuff... not a necessity for stereo music enjoyment.
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post #5 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 09:31 AM
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No. I think an AVR is likely to do better. Not only will you get room calibration but also bass management and the ability to connect video and internet. The reason stereo receivers are hard to find is that they are obselete.
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post #6 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Because you can purchase any "stereo" audio receiver without concern and add an appropriate sub if you desire the extra "thump".
LFE is for more for movie stuff... not a necessity for stereo music enjoyment.
Interesting...So for music listening I should use the speaker high level on/outputs rather than the subwoofer cable jack?
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post #7 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 11:17 AM
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IMO, yes.

Apparently others may try to get you use an alternative. And that's okay as long as you understand.

Since you just need "stereo", an AVR could be an alternative if all the "room correction" bells and whistles are that important for you.

I'd personally go with using $800 for a good stereo receiver and sub since video and internet wasn't a requirement based on your opening post. I just don't see investing hundreds on an AVR if you only need "stereo" audio. BUt...... that's just me.
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post #8 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 11:25 AM
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I'd go for the AVR. Room correction, and bass management features are extremely helpful. Modern electronics, even relatively inexpensive units, have some pretty impressive specifications with the possible exception of power output with all channels driven. That shouldn't be much of a concern for a stereo system though, especially if the speakers present an easy load to drive, and are fairly efficient.

I'm not sure you could make an objective case for improved sound quality of a stereo receiver vs. an AVR. I think most of that comes from subjective speculation/observation. I would postulate that in a level matched ABX comparison we would likely fail in being able to differentiate the two (obviously in a direct mode, no room correction, or bass management)

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post #9 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 12:10 PM
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I would say that if someone is seeking a "stereo only" solution, why spend XX dollars for additional channels of amplification?

Subjective/objective, ABX, SBX, BMX, EIEIO.......

If one thinks that "room correction" is necessary, there are ways to resolve those issues "acoustically" as opposed to "electronically".

"Bass management" for what? It's stereo only. The sub handles the "bass management" (if setup properly).

"Stereo" has been working since the late 50's, early 60's pretty well. Except now, it's possibly less expensive.
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post #10 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
I would say that if someone is seeking a "stereo only" solution, why spend XX dollars for additional channels of amplification?
Agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
If one thinks that "room correction" is necessary, there are ways to resolve those issues "acoustically" as opposed to "electronically".
Agreed

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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
"Bass management" for what? It's stereo only. The sub handles the "bass management" (if setup properly).
Agreed, provided the OP uses a sub.

Only thing I would offer is that not all speakers work well with a receiver at certain volumes. They will function...just not as well as when driven by a more capable amp. I disliked using a sub with my mains versus just running them full range. YMMV/.

To the OP...find a place with a good return policy and try a couple of options out...most of all...have fun.
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post #11 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for the agreements.

Bottom line is...(IMHO), no matter what amp/receiver one may have, poor speakers rain on your parade.

Also... depending on the size/type/quality of the speakers (especially in a "stereo only" situation), a subwoofer may not be necessary.
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post #12 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
I would say that if someone is seeking a "stereo only" solution, why spend XX dollars for additional channels of amplification?

Subjective/objective, ABX, SBX, BMX, EIEIO.......

If one thinks that "room correction" is necessary, there are ways to resolve those issues "acoustically" as opposed to "electronically".

"Bass management" for what? It's stereo only. The sub handles the "bass management" (if setup properly).

"Stereo" has been working since the late 50's, early 60's pretty well. Except now, it's possibly less expensive.
I specifically tried to answer the OPs questions as directly, and honestly as I could. Is the AVR with room correction, and bass management an absolute necessity? Of course not. IMHO the room correction is an invaluable tool for taming room modes.

Acoustic treatments to correct low frequency room modes are, in many instances, not practical, and can be both expensive, and take a lot of room volume to effectively dampen.

Even fancy, expensive, well treated theater/listening rooms use digital sound processing to flatten frequency response. Why not use all the tools at one's disposal to get the best sound? DSPs weren't even around in the 50's & 60's, why bring up ancient history where it's not applicable?

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post #13 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 12:51 PM
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Whether you go stereo or AVR, I'd still opt for something with bass management if you plan to use a sub. If you have full range fronts, it's not worth worrying about, but with a sub cutting the mains off at whatever frequency is appropriate for your application will help the amp power your mains more efficiently - more power in the frequencies you're using, less going to the lower frequencies the sub should handle.
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post #14 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 01:00 PM
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This looks more like a $700-$800 question.

My experience with my stereo, with an outboard equalizer capable of "room correction" is this:

I still play with it occasionally, small adjustments to the bottom end (no subwoofer - the speakers are good to 30hz), or to assist really funky recordings (I download and listen to "amateur" recordings of live shows).

If the room correction is run on both channels equally - it gives a lot of boosts and cuts above the bass area, that messes up the tonal balance anywhere except where the calibration microphone was placed. The ear/brain works well at providing "adjustments" to keep things sounding right.

If run one channel at a time - then it really messes thing up, as the direct sound becomes unbalanced between the two main speakers due to individual adjustments.

Get some flat equipment, experiment a bit with the symmetrical positioning of the L/R speakers, and kill the objectionable reflections and dampen the bass resonance in the room (room treatment).

Disclaimer: My room correction device may not be as smart as that in the newer AVRs, but I suspect the same result occurs due to my observation of the limitations of FR adjustments.

edit: Tuner: if you have HD stations in your area consider getting a tuner that does HDRadio.

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post #15 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 01:50 PM
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Here ya go...
50's ... 60's... 70's..

You "stereo" only?
Two speakers and an amp/receiver.

Got a problem with the acoustics?
1) room treatments... or
2) parametric or graphic equalizer.

Ancient history hasn't changed when it comes to "STEREO" audio. Laziness (convenience) has taken precedence.
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post #16 of 42 Old 06-23-2014, 07:54 PM
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Another potential advantage of the current AVRs even if you're only doing stereo is the amount of streaming options you have. Internet radio, Internet services like Spotify, pandora, etc, and the ability to stream music from your computer using any format under the sun. I will be getting a Pioneer AVR and only using it in stereo because of the streaming capabilities.
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post #17 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokbyter View Post
Whether you go stereo or AVR, I'd still opt for something with bass management if you plan to use a sub.
Active subs have bass management. It's a Crossover dial.
Whether the receiver performs the management or the sub, it still can produce the same results/benefits.
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post #18 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 10:07 AM
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^not for the mains they don't. the primary benefit (if you'd read the rest of my post) is in not having the lower frequencies sent to the mains (or amp) at all, allowing the amp (and your mains) to run more efficiently.
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post #19 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 10:14 AM
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post #20 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prestonrich View Post
...........................will any improvement in sound quality of a good 2.1 ch. receiver (not many remaining other than a few offerings from HK, Yammy, Cambridge and Outlaw), sufficient to overwhelm the room equalization benefits of the 5.1, 7.1 ch. offerings?
Probably not, if the EQ is important to you.

Just an FYI: no stereo receiver is really "2.1" because music is only 2.0. There is no specifically encoded ".1 channel" (aka the LFE channel) like in movies. Some of these "2.1" receivers only simply provide a summed full-range mono output for use with a subwoofer's line-level input in conjunction with the subwoofer's onboard low-pass filtering capability. Others may truly provide full crossover functionality, with the ability to provide both a low-passed subwoofer signal as well as a high-passed speaker-level signal. Just make certain you know what you are getting and the ramifications of its specific "2.1" implementation if you get one of these receivers.


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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
The reason stereo receivers are hard to find is that they are obselete.
Plain ol' stereo receivers are not obsolete nor hard to find. The OP is specifically talking about 2.1 receivers, that have dedicated line-level subwoofer outputs. These are rare and always have been.


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"Bass management" for what? It's stereo only. The sub handles the "bass management" (if setup properly).
For high-passing his speakers. Few subwoofers have high-passed speaker-level outputs and of most of those that do, the "filter" is supposedly of very poor quality.

That said, for a music only system, if the room EQ is not important, I agree with the advice to simply use a stereo receiver with speakers run full-range and a subwoofer with its low-pass adjusted to the speakers' natural roll-off (or to taste).

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post #21 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 11:43 AM
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Or... with the money saved by not purchasing a 7 channel receiver, just apply that to a good active sub.
Or... get a nice pair of full range speakers, then a sub is probably not necessary.

The options are virtually limitless based on today's needs, tomorrow's expectations, and a open budget.
Also, let's take into consideration... how large a room? Have speakers already?

Any chance the OP can expand/clarify what he/she has today and what need to added/upgraded. Or is this a "stereo only" build up from scratch with a $800 budget?
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post #22 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 03:56 PM
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What about power consumption stereo receiver vs. AVR?
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post #23 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 04:08 PM
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It will consume as much needed to put out. Mono, Stereo or more channels. Also... it depends on how "loud" you play with your toy.
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post #24 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 04:11 PM
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What about power consumption stereo receiver vs. AVR?
The only dufference will be a slight additional draw from the bias currents of the other unused amplifier channels, a couple of watts/ch.
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post #25 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rokbyter View Post
^not for the mains they don't. the primary benefit (if you'd read the rest of my post) is in not having the lower frequencies sent to the mains (or amp) at all, allowing the amp (and your mains) to run more efficiently.
Some active subs have line level in and outs intended to sit in between the pre and the amp. With a little trickery and a receiver/integrated with a tape loop or processor loop or jumpers which connect the pre section to the amp section would allow you to use bass mangement from the sub.
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post #26 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Or... get a nice pair of full range speakers, then a sub is probably not necessary.
Strongly consider this.
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post #27 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by urapnes1 View Post
Some active subs have line level in and outs intended to sit in between the pre and the amp. With a little trickery and a receiver/integrated with a tape loop or processor loop or jumpers which connect the pre section to the amp section would allow you to use bass mangement from the sub.
Yes, some subs have this and fewer receivers/integrateds have that, but yes, let's seek out the most difficult solution to a simple question.
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post #28 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 05:09 PM
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Yes, some subs have this and fewer receivers/integrateds have that, but yes, let's seek out the most difficult solution to a simple question.
Why limit the choices? You can pickup a killer integrated amp for pennies on the dollar if you consider sources such as flea-bay. Many integrateds only offer tape record loops on 2 channel models. Jolida used to make some fun tube integrates. Nothing wrong with one of those and a nice pair of speakers, and if you want more bass, you could add a sub. I'd hardly call using a record loop as the "most difficult solution".
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post #29 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by urapnes1 View Post
Why limit the choices? You can pickup a killer integrated amp for pennies on the dollar if you consider sources such as flea-bay. Many integrateds only offer tape record loops on 2 channel models. Jolida used to make some fun tube integrates. Nothing wrong with one of those and a nice pair of speakers, and if you want more bass, you could add a sub. I'd hardly call using a record loop as the "most difficult solution".
Why limit choices indeed. That's the point - the situation you describe has very limited choices to make it happen. I was looking for just such a combination of components just a few years ago and came up with nothing that was affordable (recall the OP's price range) and/or from a trustworthy source. The options have only dwindled since.
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post #30 of 42 Old 06-24-2014, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by rokbyter View Post
Why limit choices indeed. That's the point - the situation you describe has very limited choices to make it happen. I was looking for just such a combination of components just a few years ago and came up with nothing that was affordable (recall the OP's price range) and/or from a trustworthy source. The options have only dwindled since.
Not sure what your criteria was, but it's not the same as mine. Regardless of our differing opinions, the fact still remains that great integrateds are available new or used that are in the OP price range, and through the simple use of a tape-loop or processor loop a subwoofer can be added with minimal pain. Minidsp comes to mind.
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