40 yr Old Marantz beats my New Onkyo on Sound?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Not trying to start any debates, I'm just looking for some advice.

I've been running a very old Marantz for 2 yrs that my dad gave me. I think it's about 35-40 yrs old. It's not part of my basement home theater, it's just used for music in my living room (no TV). Currently I have Polk rti A1's in use.


The Marantz is rated at 45 watts. Just 2 channels. The sound is really nice, but my left channel has started to cut out on occasion. So I went looking for something to replace it with that might also be used for surround sound if I ever get a TV in the room.


Today my Onkyo 506 came in.


It sounds "cleaner" I suppose, but something else seems to be missing. I don't know the terminology, but the Marantz may have had a 'warmer' sound? The Onkyo kinda sounded hollow or something. The difference seems extremely obvious, which kind of threw me off a bit.


I checked the settings, no subwoofer, no center, surrounds, etc. I even tried setting the bass up to +4 and treble to +4. A bit better, but I'm still a little disappointed.


It does have a EQ though. So my question is:

Can anyone give me any pointers on where to start off with for the EQ to make it sound a bit better?



P.S. - I was getting really nice full sound from the 45 watt Marantz at 1/4 volume. I had the 75 watt Onkyo up to 50 (80 max) to get what I thought was close. Any ideas on that? Maybe the Marantz is rated a bit low? Or does it just have a fuller sound requiring less volume? I don't know the technical sides of that. Just curious.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 07:56 PM
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1. Read the Audyssey procedure in the manual and follow it.
2. Read the Audyssey thread starting here with the FAQs.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=795421

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post #3 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I've used Audyssey in my HT setup. But I didn't think I would need that just for 2 channel's and a CD player....at least not to get sound close to the old Marantz that didn't do any of that.

The Marantz has knobs to adjust bass, mids and treble.

I guess I was hoping to get by with just that. Basically more of a hands on approach that doesn't allow the Audyssey 'computer' to change it so much.




This question is certainly not ment to put down any brand. But do I have to run Audyseey on the Onkyo to get a 2 channel sound that's as good as the 35 yr old Marantz? Seems odd. I can fully understand it with surround sound, no doubt. But wasn't expecting the need for just a simple setup with 2 speakers, no sub. I have nothing to lose by trying though.
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post #4 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 09:29 PM
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You probably have one of the Marantz 22xx series receiver's. Having owned a number of them myself I can tell you right now you will have a hard time with a modern day AVR (not 2 channel) receiver that will sound as good, especially with music. AVR's suck with 2 channel music. If I were you I would buy an integrated 2 channel amp if your looking to replace that Marantz sound.

Audio gear from the 70's was top notch I have alot of it myself still.

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post #5 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 09:33 PM
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I suppose this all hinges on the supposition that the 35 year old Marantz is actually more accurately reproducing the sound. I'm not sure that's a safe assumption... it could be a case where the Onkyo is being more accurate and it ends up sounding more surgical and sort of "dead" in comparison. If you've gotten used to the sound of the Marantz, you may just have to deal with it or try a Denon or HK or go for something a bit more suited (another 2 channel receiver).
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post #6 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 09:47 PM
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post #7 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russdawg View Post

You probably have one of the Marantz 22xx series receiver's. Having owned a number of them myself I caan tell you right now you will have a hard time with a modern day AVR (not 2 channel) receiver that will sound as good.

Audio gear from the 70's was top notch, I collect it as a hobby.

Yeh, it's a Marantz 2240B.


I honestly didn't realize there would be such a difference. Last year I bought a Denon 1907 and it didn't do much for me because of the same situation. Sold it to a friend. I have a Denon 987 for the HT and it does pretty good, but it also has lots of room for tweaking.....and some larger speakers to play with.


I didn't think I would have any issues getting the Onkyo to come close to the old Marantz for simple 2 channel music. I'll continue with some tweaking and see what I can come up with.


Any ideas on the internal EQ settings?

Also, sorry for my lack of knowledge on the subject, but what would you use to describe the sound of the old Marantz? Warmer? Fuller? Just curious.
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post #8 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 10:12 PM
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Is it possible that you are just used to certain sonic character you get from the old receiver? As opposed to it being superior?

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #9 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fronn View Post

it could be a case where the Onkyo is being more accurate and it ends up sounding more surgical and sort of "dead" in comparison.

That's sort of what I thought when I started listening to a couple CD's at first. It's certainly clean sounding, I'll give it that. But for whatever reason, it's clean sounding.....but inside of a can.....best way I can explain it sorry.


As mentioned, I have a Denon 987 that I was able to tweak pretty good. But that's in a basement HT room with accoustic panels, etc.


But in my plain ole living room, I figured I could just swap out the receivers, do some minor tweaks, leave everything in place and be pretty happy. I guess I was wrong. The room's not accoustically great, but the old receiver made it work fairly good.


I'll keep messing around with the Onkyo and see what I can come up with. I'm not giving up on it that easy!

I aprreciate the help so far.


Russdawg That Ebay listing is pretty tempting!
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post #10 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 10:31 PM
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Erich...Trust your ears on this one. I'm out.

Good Luck

Russ
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post #11 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Is it possible that you are just used to certain sonic character you get from the old receiver? As opposed to it being superior?

It is superior......By miles and miles.

Russ
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post #12 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 10:41 PM
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45 Watts back then went really far.

My dad has a 1976 or 1977 vintage Yamaha Stereo receiver. It only has 40W per channel but the thing is built like a tank and it cranks like no receiver does today with very low if any distortion. Speakers are 12" JBL's plus mid and tweeter from that era. They put out some pretty serious bass as well. What is amazing about this old stuff is it still works even after all these years. Both my brother and myself abused it throwing all the Kiss, AC/DC and any other hair bands from the 80's we could find.
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post #13 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Is it possible that you are just used to certain sonic character you get from the old receiver? As opposed to it being superior?

Some of that has to come into play, no doubt. And I really don't think the Marantz is necessarily superior. I was actually going to ask this question last year when I got a Denon 1907, but I figured it was a freak thing.....no way my dad's Marantz (that's about as old as me) sounds better.

I wanted more all around, so I built a HT room in my basement with a bigger Denon, bigger everything, and I've been happy listening to music down there.



Now I'm back to the living room, and now it's an Onkyo going up against this old thing and I'm in the same darn situation. So I don't think all of it's just because I'm use to only that one certain sonic character.

I'll be honest, I never put much weight in receivers sounding a lot different. But so far, with the lower level Denon and Onkyo, and only 2 channels, it's almost like going from 'wow' down to home theater in a box sound. I certainly didn't expect that. But more tweaking will be done.


I wonder, If the Marantz has an output that I could run through the Onkyo? Would that give me an idea if it's the Marantz doing something with the signal, or it would tell me if it was the Marantz amp doing something?

Does that make any sense?
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post #14 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 11:15 PM
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I have to chime in on this one. I also own two vintage receivers from the 1970's, a Pioneer SX1080 and a Marantz 2235 (35 watts/2 channel) and both of them destroy my Arcam AVR300 as far as 2 channel music reproduction. I mean it's not even close.

This comes from a long time Arcam owner...

The older recievers from the 70's were exceptional.
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post #15 of 34 Old 12-04-2008, 11:31 PM
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Maybe you should consider a Marantz AV-receiver? I just purchased Marantz SR6003 and the sound is spectacular compared to my old ES line Sony AV-receiver. If the SR6003 is out of your price range SR5003 is cheaper and should sound about same.

I have no other experience with Marantz so I cannot say if the sound is exactly similar to your 2ch Marantz amp but I'd say SR6003 has well balanced sound that is not as clinical as Onkyo or Sony which I've owned before.
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post #16 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 04:05 AM
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I had a Onkyo 605 model receiver a few months back that I picked up on sale at Circuit City. However, I was unhappy with the sound. I returned it and purchased a Marantz SR5002. There was no comparison between the two. The Onkyo had more features for a few hundred dollars less. But it sounded really tinny. The Marantz blew it away from an audio standpoint. Also, the Onkyo degraded the video signal from my Comcast cable box. The Marantz had no effect on it.
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post #17 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich H View Post

Also, sorry for my lack of knowledge on the subject, but what would you use to describe the sound of the old Marantz? Warmer? Fuller? Just curious.

Warm, robust, a hell of a lot bigger soundstage and almost tube like if you have ever heard tubes.

To me anyway.
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post #18 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoga56 View Post

warm, robust, a hell of a lot bigger soundstage and almost tube like if you have ever heard tubes.

To me anyway.

+1

Russ
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post #19 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 05:29 AM
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They just don't make them like that anymore. My dad still has an old Pioneer amp that he doesn't use but hangs on to. I still remember the "clank" feel of its big metal switches on the front and smooth turning tuner knob.
It was something like this one:

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post #20 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 05:40 AM
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Mid level receiver from the past vs a low end AVR from today - no contest.

The only modern unit I know of to compare with that Marantz for 2 ch SQ would be an Arcam AVR350
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post #21 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 05:47 AM
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Why is this a surprise to anyone?

New AVRs are not build with 2-channel in mind at all...There is no volume or much profit any more in critical two channel music stuff.

When Ipod rules the music market and we download compressed versions $.99 songs from itunes or (my favorite) amazon.com there simply can not be much interest in critical listening any more. Heck Someone having a 40yr old system is a shock to me I would upgrade just because it would look too old

The popular AVRs are built for MOVIES!! That doesnt mean they wont playback music well it just means people that love their 2-channel setups for the past 20 or 40 years should not be thinking a new AVR is an upgrade for their 2-channel setup. Its all about Home Theater, HDMI, BluRay, 7.1, Dynamic volume, EQing, etc.

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post #22 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 05:51 AM
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Saying all that, Im really "jonesing" for a Marantz AVR these days!

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post #23 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Saying all that, Im really "jonesing" for a Marantz AVR these days!

PENN....just sold a Marantz SR 8002 on ebay, and miss it already. For sound quality, I don't know that Marantz can be beat. Worth "jonesing" for. If things like fancy video processing, Wi-Fi capability, etc are your thing, look elsewhere.

But, if sound quality is paramount (2 channel, 5 channel, 7 channel), there are few (if any) pieces of audio gear that can better either Marantz or Pioneer Elite when it comes to AVRs.

Yes, both grands throw out a "warm" audio signature. Both brands are well engineered. Both brands, sonically, go well beyond the "specs" that you read on paper (which Onkyo does not).

Music so high you can't get over it....music so low you can't get under it!
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post #24 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 06:23 AM
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Quote:


just sold a Marantz SR 8002 on ebay

That would have been sweet with the cashback offer. For the past week I keep coming across Marantz discussions and I think its time to compare it vs Denon/Yahama/Emotiva (The other current AVRs I own).

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post #25 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Why is this a surprise to anyone?

New AVRs are not build with 2-channel in mind at all...

Why is that? They have 'pure' and 'direct' mode for 2 channel use, so I would assume someone gave it a little thought at least.


I think most people should be surprised that all the new technology, all the new sound fields, processing, etc. can't match the simple 2 channel sound from 35 years ago.


Heck, it's not like I'm using a super cheap Sony, Panasonic, or Samsung model. I think my Marantz was a bit under mid level back then, like this Onkyo model is today.
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post #26 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 06:41 AM
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I bet you also like the 70's Philco FM Car Stereo's. They had the same sound signature. Analog syrup.
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post #28 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich H View Post

Why is that? They have 'pure' and 'direct' mode for 2 channel use, so I would assume someone gave it a little thought at least.

I think most people should be surprised that all the new technology, all the new sound fields, processing, etc. can't match the simple 2 channel sound from 35 years ago.

Heck, it's not like I'm using a super cheap Sony, Panasonic, or Samsung model. I think my Marantz was a bit under mid level back then, like this Onkyo model is today.

This has probably been true since the dawn of time, a general purpose tool that tries to do everything is not going to be as good as a dedicated tool that focuses on doing one thing really well. In electronics this is especially true since most of the audio degration is due to thermal noise. When you start piling on the features in basically the same form factor, you have no choice but to increase the density of the components. Without adequate shielding, all those components huddled together start to negatively affect each other. End results is that the general purpose tool generaly sucks at everything.

That or it's Friday afternoon and I'm slightly depressed about being stuck indoors
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post #29 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the information guys.

I'm going back to that one question I had earlier.


Does anyone have any starter points for the Onkyo's built in EQ? Well, for some decent bookshelf speakers anyway.



Next week I'm going to hook the Marantz back up and use my SPL meter to see what the volume difference is just for kicks. I'm just curious to see how much of the 75 watts the Onkyo needs to match the 1/4 volume of the 45 watt Marantz. Not much of a test I guess, but I'm curious. Maybe I can run a few sweeps keeping everything the same, except the receivers.
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post #30 of 34 Old 12-05-2008, 04:43 PM
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It'd be really interesting to see a FR plot for both receivers with the same speakers. If they sound as different as you say they do then it should show up on a FR plot.
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