Downgrading from pre/pro to receiver? (sanity check) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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My Lexicon MC-1 burned up another power supply board. I have replaced it before, but its time to move on. I'll fix it later and use it for a dedicated 2 channel audio system in the future.

I have 4 hdmi devices (xbox, PC, BD, camera) going to an hdmi switch to my "single" hdmi input TV. My dvr/sat receiver is S-Video so it currently goes through Lexicon, as does all the audio for all the devices and the CD via digital coax or optical. So with the Lexicon down I can still see and hear everything through the TV via hdmi except for the CD (of course) and dvr/sat receiver (which is ruining my life right now because its basketball season).


I want(ed) to join the modern era and get another pre/pro that did hdmi switching and HD decoding so I could, once again, have all my switching done by a single unit. But, in the immediate, I have a $600 (US) hard ceiling budget to get the system running again. Pre/Pro is not going to happen for a while. Also, looking at the usual suspects of receivers in that price range, preamp outs are probably not going to happen either. I know the Onkyo TX-NR709 has pre outs, but I'm still not sold on Onkyo yet.

So, if I'm just going with a receiver without pre outs, it is going to need to have some power. My fronts are Aerial 6 with Aerial CC3B center. They aren't power hungry, but they do need some good honest power to start singing. Other than being in a bad mood from missing basketball games, my highest priority is audio quality. It looks like most of the 7.1 receivers in that range offer some ability to biamp the fronts, which should help. I only have a 5.1 setup and no other zones to worry with. Upconverting analog video to hdmi is pretty high on my list. Networking would be nice, but not a deal killer.

The usual suspects appear to be:
Denon AVR-1912
Yamaha RX-V671
Harman Kardon AVR 1650

I'm sure I'm missing some others. What else should I be considering?
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 10:44 AM
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I used to have a Lexicon DC-1v4. The modern receivers have come a long way in pre-amp sound quality compared to a 15 year old Lexicon.

What amps do you have?

Go find a used Denon AVR-3808, instead of a AVR-1912.
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I am hoping the modern technology + room correction will be in my favor.

For the fronts and center I use a Proceed HPA3. For the rears I use a the power amp section of a 100 watt Yamaha integrated amp (can't recall the model number). That powers Klipsch 2.5s.

The 3808 looks like it would be tough to find in my budget.
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post #4 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 10:55 AM
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For $600 or under you could still stay in the prepro family with a used Onkyo PR-SC885 or PR-SC886. There's probably some right now on Audiogon or Ebay. If you're used to using separates, this is a no-brainer IMO. Just a thought.




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post #5 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarkeBar View Post

For $600 or under you could still stay in the prepro family with a used Onkyo PR-SC885 or PR-SC886. There's probably some right now on Audiogon or Ebay. If you're used to using separates, this is a no-brainer IMO. Just a thought.

I see an 886 on audiogon for $740. I'll keep my eye out for those a little cheaper. I like those balanced outputs. I have 25 ft of rca cable between my preamp and power amp for the fronts. Balanced interconnects would be a bonus!
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JefCon View Post

The 3808 looks like it would be tough to find in my budget.



AVR-3808 sells on ebay for $400-500.
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JefCon View Post

I see an 886 on audiogon for $740. I'll keep my eye out for those a little cheaper. I like those balanced outputs. I have 25 ft of rca cable between my preamp and power amp for the fronts. Balanced interconnects would be a bonus!

Yeah, I just looked after posting and the pickin's are slim on those models right now. You're right to keep checking though. If I didn't love my 885 so much I'd offer it for sale. Good Luck.




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post #8 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post



AVR-3808 sells on ebay for $400-500.

Ok.. I pulled up one that was $1200 refurbished on a google search. I do see several on ebay in my range. I'll hit Denon for a manual.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 23 Old 02-23-2012, 11:36 AM
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A Denon 2112 is a pretty solid little unit with MultEQ XT that streets for $45O. You can get into a 3312 for $800 if you want a new Denon with preouts.
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-24-2012, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

I used to have a Lexicon DC-1v4. The modern receivers have come a long way in pre-amp sound quality compared to a 15 year old Lexicon.

What amps do you have?

Go find a used Denon AVR-3808, instead of a AVR-1912.

I read the manual for the 3808 last night. It looks pretty promising. I'd be able to continue using my HPA to power the fronts and center, but I could probably just use the amps in the 3808 to power the rears which would let me take my Yamaha amp out of the cabinet. And I could also biamp the fronts and center.

I'd also get the same flexibility from the Onkyo TX-NR709. So now I'm weighing the used Denon AVR-3808 against a new Onkyo TX-NR709 at, or near, the same price point.
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post #11 of 23 Old 02-24-2012, 05:35 AM
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In your list you put the HK AVR 1650. The 1650 does not have pre-outs, also HK changed the way they rate their power on this series to conform more with how other manufacturers are rating. I would recommend the AVR 3600 instead. It has all the Preouts, is 3D capable, and is more powerful. Amazon has it for $544 right now.

http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-.../dp/B002IKKFUA
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post #12 of 23 Old 02-24-2012, 08:06 AM
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Good find.

Love HK kit. Do not like the EZSet/EQ variants though and prefer Audyssey MultEQ XT at a minimum. But the OP may not use Room EQ.




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post #13 of 23 Old 02-24-2012, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweaked05 View Post

In your list you put the HK AVR 1650. The 1650 does not have pre-outs, also HK changed the way they rate their power on this series to conform more with how other manufacturers are rating. I would recommend the AVR 3600 instead. It has all the Preouts, is 3D capable, and is more powerful. Amazon has it for $544 right now.

http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon-.../dp/B002IKKFUA

Ok. I just scanned the manual for the 3600. That is another one added to the list. As a Lexicon user for the last 13 years, it would be nice to still have Logic 7 for music.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarkeBar View Post

Good find.

Love HK kit. Do not like the EZSet/EQ variants though and prefer Audyssey MultEQ XT at a minimum. But the OP may not use Room EQ.

The automated room correction/eq is a whole new ballgame to me. I don't know much about it at all, but I'm pretty excited about hearing the difference it makes in my room. I've read up on the different Audyssey versions, but I have nothing to compare it to since I've had to do all this with a meter on a stand in the past. I suppose EZSet/EQ could be better than doing it manually, but Audyssey XT looks much more robust.

So I now have three competely different models to consider from when I started and they all have preouts so I won't have to change my setup on my fronts and center. I'm glad I hadn't moved that boat anchor of an amp out yet.

The new list:
a used Denon AVR 3808CI, preouts, Audyssey MultiEQ XT
a new Onkyo TX-NR709, preouts, Audyssey MultiEQ XT
or a new H/K AVR-3600, preouts, EZSet/EQ

All these being in budget and only a few dollars from each other, I would be leaning towards the Onkyo if I could hear one somewhere and it sounded good. I went to Best Buy's local Magnolia center and their display audio was flaking out on them. I have heard lots of Denon and H/K stuff over the years and never been disapointed. I know that can vary from model to model, but I feel better about jumping on one of those on blind faith than the Onkyo. I've heard some Onkyo stuff too, but the only thing that's really stood out was an old Onkyo integreated amp and an Onkyo CD player I had. Of course If I got it somewhere with a good return policy it would not be too much of a hassle if I didn't like it. And there's really no way to know what it would sound like in my room with my speakers and amps, without taking there and hooking it up.
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-27-2012, 07:00 AM
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Sorry about the weekend delay in replying.

With the known 709 HDMI board issue, I would certainly shoot for the Denon out of that group. It looks to be a perfect fit for your needs and Denon has a great reputation for reliability. Audyssey MultEQ XT is icing on the cake IMO. Room EQ isn't for everyone apparently, especially with a treated room. But I can't live without it with my untreated one.

I always thought my room, though lacking space for proper layout, was well damped acoustically with carpeting, upholstered furniture, curtains, wall hangings, etc. I thought the highs were under control while the Bass was boomy and concussive and needed EQ. But toggling between Stereo Mode w/Audyssey and Pure Direct revealed a good deal. In fact, my highs and high-mids still needed help along with the Bass. While Pure Direct tends to reveal what I struggle to describe as a somewhat more detailed sound, it is misleading. The sound is 'thin' and 'brighter' and while still not fatiguing, it lacks the fullness provided by the EQ. Highs without fuller Mids will often be described as more detailed. While Pure Direct has seemingly more distinct separation of content frequencies, the canvas upon which they project is basic and lacks substance. When the Mids are more fully fleshed out and properly balanced and the Bass is more under control, the SQ is simply better IMHO. Many who eschew Room EQ find the new sound is just more congested. I know what they mean but I disagree with their take on it.

As always, YMMV. Let us know what you decide.




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post #15 of 23 Old 02-27-2012, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I had a scare this weekend. With my system down, I emptied the cabinet to dust and rearrange some cabling. No problem there. But I also took the big honking triple monoblock amp out of the tv stand to clean it up. I came downstairs Sunday and there were little picture frames in its place. Before I could scream in horror, my wife says how much she is going to like having that shelf back. I managed to get some reason back into her (I think). But, it took some pleading in techno jargin that came out in a long run on sentence, which was admittedly quite whiny by the end. I don't remember most of it, but I do recall the phrases "6 ohm 86db rated speakers", "catastrphic overload", and I think I heard myself say "temporal flux" too. So at least she understands the amps existence in the system is directly correlated to my mental stability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClarkeBar View Post

Sorry about the weekend delay in replying.

With the known 709 HDMI board issue, I would certainly shoot for the Denon. It looks to be a perfect fit for your needs and Denon has a great reputation for reliability. Audyssey MultEQ XT is icing on the cake IMO. Room EQ isn't for everyone apparently, especially with a treated room. But I can't live without it with my untreated one.

I keep seeing things about the 709 losing HDMI output. I have to admit I really like the 709, but it does have a 'too good to be true' air about it. I also would be putting it in a cabinet, which I'm learning is a bad idea for an Onkyo. Although my cabinet is fan vented and runs about 10 degrees below the ambient room temp (when empty).



At lunch today I'm hitting a couple local hifi stores to see what they have in their "back rooms" used. But the Denon 3808 still seems like a winner, especially at what they're going for used.
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post #16 of 23 Old 02-27-2012, 09:32 AM
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PM Sent.
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post #17 of 23 Old 02-27-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JefCon View Post

I had a scare this weekend. With my system down, I emptied the cabinet to dust and rearrange some cabling. No problem there. But I also took the big honking triple monoblock amp out of the tv stand to clean it up. I came downstairs Sunday and there were little picture frames in its place. Before I could scream in horror, my wife says how much she is going to like having that shelf back. I managed to get some reason back into her (I think). But, it took some pleading in techno jargin that came out in a long run on sentence, which was admittedly quite whiny by the end. I don't remember most of it, but I do recall the phrases "6 ohm 86db rated speakers", "catastrphic overload", and I think I heard myself say "temporal flux" too. So at least she understands the amps existence in the system is directly correlated to my mental stability.



I keep seeing things about the 709 losing HDMI output. I have to admit I really like the 709, but it does have a 'too good to be true' air about it. I also would be putting it in a cabinet, which I'm learning is a bad idea for an Onkyo. Although my cabinet is fan vented and runs about 10 degrees below the ambient room temp (when empty).



At lunch today I'm hitting a couple local hifi stores to see what they have in their "back rooms" used. But the Denon 3808 still seems like a winner, especially at what they're going for used.

LOL! While I haven't had to use the ol' 'temporal flux capacitor' language yet, I do hold it in reserve for 'that day'.

Good Luck with the hunt.




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post #18 of 23 Old 02-28-2012, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I am down to doing some serious waffling between these two right now.

a used Denon AVR 3808CI
vs.
a new H/K AVR-3600

I have such a fondness for Harman having dealt with them in the past. With the 3600 I get a new unit at less than half msrp with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty. I don't get MultEQ XT, but up until a week ago I'd never heard of it so I'm having a hard time 'missing' it. Dolby Volume is another thing that draws me towards the 3600 because we watch a lot of movies after the kids in bed. I'm really hoping this is a win/win choice that I'll never look back on, like the weeks I spent trying to decide between my Aerials and the Vandersteens.

Making it even worse...my wife wants me to get the H/K because she now knows (through my mumblings) that the same company owns Lexicon. God help me if I get the Denon and it breaks.
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post #19 of 23 Old 02-28-2012, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JefCon View Post

Ok, I am down to doing some serious waffling between these two right now.

a used Denon AVR 3808CI
vs.
a new H/K AVR-3600

I have such a fondness for Harman having dealt with them in the past. With the 3600 I get a new unit at less than half msrp with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty. I don't get MultEQ XT, but up until a week ago I'd never heard of it so I'm having a hard time 'missing' it. Dolby Volume is another thing that draws me towards the 3600 because we watch a lot of movies after the kids in bed. I'm really hoping this is a win/win choice that I'll never look back on, like the weeks I spent trying to decide between my Aerials and the Vandersteens.

Making it even worse...my wife wants me to get the H/K because she now knows (through my mumblings) that the same company owns Lexicon. God help me if I get the Denon and it breaks.

Get whichever you want, but I'd be worried about that fan humming on the back of the H/K.
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post #20 of 23 Old 02-28-2012, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

Get whichever you want, but I'd be worried about that fan humming on the back of the H/K.

Thanks, I hadn't thought about the fan, but I doubt it would be heard over the fan I have in the cabinet. That sucker sounds like a jet landing! Very annoying.

Do Denons tend to run cool or hot?
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post #21 of 23 Old 02-28-2012, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JefCon View Post

Thanks, I hadn't thought about the fan, but I doubt it would be heard over the fan I have in the cabinet. That sucker sounds like a jet landing! Very annoying.

Do Denons tend to run cool or hot?

Mine run cool. I don't recommend keeping receivers in a cabinet. You can find dozens of threads here discussing failures that are likely heat related.
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post #22 of 23 Old 03-01-2012, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's help and input!

I went with a Denon AVR-3808CI from eBay. It has original box, manual, remotes, microphone and antennae. It looks well cared for, hopefully it is.

I was pretty sure I was going with the H/K 3600 for reasons listed earlier in the thread. But I kept looking at the Onkyo 709 because of all the connection options, MultEQ XT, Phono input and triggers - until I was tempted to ignore the HDMI reported issues and try my luck with it. Ultimately I felt better trying my luck on the used Denon instead, which has all of those features, is about the same price and seems to have a pretty loyal following here and elsewhere.

I hope I made the right choice. I can't wait for that sucker to get here!
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post #23 of 23 Old 03-05-2012, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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The Denon arrived on Saturday mid day. By late afternoon I had it set up, calibrated and making pretty noises come out of the speakers.


I don't have any pictures out of the box. I was pretty impressed by how good it looked in the box. Original packing! Always a plus in my book.



Sunday I committed to installing it in my cabinet.

So far I'm still working on the sound. I ran Audyssey for the first time so I can't swear by its results. I used 8 listening positions. I'll give it a few more tries, but Pure Direct sounds better to me right now. Even at the low end of the learning curve I'm getting better sound out of my system than with the Lexicon.

I have tested it with Pixar's Rio on BluRay, Attack of the Clones on DVD, Acoustic Alchemy's 'The New Edge' and Elton John's 'Tumble Weed Connection' both on CD. The bass management is a clear improvement in the 4 year old Denon vs the 15 year old Lexicon. Not necessarily that it was louder, just more of it. The interaction between the Sub and my 5 'large' speakers was more seamless and they all seemed to work better with each other. More differences will probably reveal themselves, but the bass management was hard to ignore.


So far so good.
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