My Report : Cambridge 551R vs Denon 4308 vs Anthem MRX300 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 03:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I had he chance to compare these 3 amplifiers and I share with you my feelings :

Unpack








551R Close by Denon AVR-4308



Close by Cambridge 650A.
The 551R has exactly the same size but the support are smaller.



One above the other looks better


The remote controller gets the minimum but looks strong and esay to use as the amplifier front panel.



For this report I have used :
  • AUDIO
  • Norah Jones - SACD 2CH - Come away with me - Don't Know Why & Feelin the same way
  • Pink Floyd - Coffret immersion 2011 2CH - Hey you & Time
  • Pink Floyd - SACD DSOTM 6CH - Time & The Creat Gig in the Sky
  • Vilvaldi - 2L Flac HD 24/192 2CH - Cantana RV 679
  • Lee Ritenour - DVD Audio 24/192 6CH - Give me one Reason
  • VIDEO
  • Battle of LA - BR DTS HD
  • Baraka - BR
  • GAME
  • WII Sport ( upsaling test)

My feelings :

Like:
+ Very good design (Silver) as good as the Cambridge 650A
+ Very Easy to set and to use.
+ Nos Noise ( I was anxious about the fan )
+ 7.1 Pre-out & 7.1 In
+ Powerfull : this amplifier is a 50Watt The Denon is a 150Watt. Who is the stronger ?
The Cambridge 50Watt !!! Le 551R's volume at 50% delivers the same power as the Denon 4308 at 70%. Incredible !
+ The sound quality is very close to my 650A amplifier. a bit less fludity and precision but what a sound for HC amplifier !!

D'ont Like
- No OSD during operation (When pop up the volume or changing the source, etc.) OSD is only for setup.
- No Network card or USB connector (as Anthem MRX300)
-HDMI issue (again with this new model) :
  • time to display a source (when jumping from one to the other) is quiet long ( 3 Ã* 4 sec ).
  • Strange sound (sort of little 'crac') when going from one song to the other using bitstream. No issue when using PCM.
  • No DSD Direct ( SACD must be PCM converted First)
  • I had some issue to read audio HD file using bitstream. FLAC 24/192 MCH or 24/192 2CH get some pain to be read. No issue in LPCM.
  • [EDIT 23/04/2012] I have returned the 551R to my dealer. He call me to say this issue come from my amplifier. he gets few in stock and only my mine has HDMI issues. I don't want to try again, I prefer to stay with my 'old' Denon 4308. So I let you make a try and maybe add your experience in this thread.

    Compatiblity issue : Amplifier is not reconized as Audio device using Nvidia 520GT and 440GT vidéo card with Win7 64bits. Less issue with ATI HD 5970 ( the sound come out but the amplifier stills not appeared in the list of audio devices. It works perfectly with Denon, Marantz, Anthem , etc.

    here some screenshots:

    With Denon 4308 ( the same with Anthem, Marantz, etc ) :no problem. The audio device is displayed in the video and Audio device list.



    With the 551R : Amplifier is displayed only in the video device list. HDMI appears as disconnected.



So some test using 7.1 direct
Source PCHC -> Xonar Essence ST + Opamp Burson -> ASIO -> 7.1 Direct.

551R vs 4308 : Sound is warmer with the Denon, but the 551 makes it more "reel" and "Punchy". The 551R delivers more details and the scene is more accurate. Bass are improved. The sound is closer to my 650A (oki this is the same brand). During movie I lost the "buble" effect delivered by the Denon 4308. but the sound quality is one step upper, the voices are very clear.

551R vs 650A : The 650A play almost with the same type of sound but delivers more precision, transparency and dynamique. Voice looks more 'human' and warmer.

In comparison with Anthem MRX300 :
  • Almost the same power
  • No many gadget for both but the 551R is easiest to use. very good usuability
  • Anthem MRX300 doesn't get 'pure Audio' mode
  • Anthem MRX300 doesn't get 7.1 Direct inputs.
  • Anthem is passthru when the amplifier is stand by mode. Not possible with 551R
  • Anthem get OSD during operation.
  • Anthem doesn't get any HDMI issue (as long I know)
  • Anthem know how to read flac HD 24/192 MCH or 2CH. I get issues playing this king of files with the 551R.
  • Anthem MRX300 and 551R doesn't decode DSD (SACD) Direct.
  • Anthem MRX300's audio quality is a bit under the 551R. 551R is more transparent and very close to audiophile amplifier.

My last feeling
I love Cambridge Sound and their Design but...

Cambridge gets very good sound engineer and designers in their team but they should hire good computer scientist...

One more time I'm afraid I will not be the only one on earth to get problems with their HDMI input.
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post #2 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 04:19 AM
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thanks for that set of comparisons - and some superbly taken photos

how does the MRX300 compare to the 4308 ?
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post #3 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabiolander View Post

Cambridge gets very good sound engineer and designers in their team but they should hire good computer scientist...

Unfortunate to hear this, as I have suspected as much. I'm in process of replacing my 540R v2, but this 551 doesn't look like much progess on the front end in the 5 years since I last bought that one. I think the form factor is right and the amplification good, but not so sure with the functionality. Heck I´m tempted to just buy another brand midrange receiver for the front end and plug that into the 540R V2 as a pure multichannel amplifier.

Also wonder why this audiophile AV receiver brand new in 2012 is basically ignoring room correction. It has of course the setup to adjust channel levels, but that's about it. Rotel has taken the same path, I see. But still I suspect both just cant afford to develop room correction tool and dont want to commit to licensing one, rather than thinking it is a useless concept.

So its pretty much as you said - good old-school sound engineering but they are missing the software/front end expertise that is the standard expectation of today.
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post #4 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osamede View Post

Unfortunate to hear this, as I have suspected as much. I'm in process of replacing my 540R v2, but this 551 doesn't look like much progess on the front end in the 5 years since I last bought that one. I think the form factor is right and the amplification good, but not so sure with the functionality. Heck I´m tempted to just buy another brand midrange receiver for the front end and plug that into the 540R V2 as a pure multichannel amplifier.

Also wonder why this audiophile AV receiver brand new in 2012 is basically ignoring room correction. It has of course the setup to adjust channel levels, but that's about it. Rotel has taken the same path, I see. But still I suspect both just cant afford to develop room correction tool and dont want to commit to licensing one, rather than thinking it is a useless concept.

So its pretty much as you said - good old-school sound engineering but they are missing the software/front end expertise that is the standard expectation of today.

I didn't used the Cambridge autocalibration system because it gives always strange results. I prefer to trust my ears my tape measure.

The best one was the ARC system from Anthem but it cuts some frequencies and after correction the sound looks unnatural.

Comparing Denon 4308 and Anthem...
Denon 4308 = a lot of functionality, some are unused for me( Wifi + LAN, 3 rooms controls , etc.) but some are very good and I would like to get it on the Anthem or the Cambridge ( Network control, DSD direct, switch between bi-amp and 7.1, 7.1 input)

The sound Quality is very good for these 3 amplifiers. Denon is warm and musical ( Denon footprint), Anthem is musical with medium in the front and the Cambridge is very transparent, punchy and accurate.

In the other hand I am comparing what I have in my room. Just remenber the 4308 price was in the 2500$ range when Anthem MRX300 and Cambridge 551R are in the 1000$ range. To be honnest we should compare the 4308 with Anthem MRX700 and Cambridge 751R.
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post #5 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 08:11 AM
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Thanks for the review Fabiolander! I always value these types of post as they are very helpful when people, such as my self, do not have a local dealer to demo these types of things. My Denon avr -4308 has been trashed due to Denon screwing me out my warranty (had the unit refurbished by Denon, they did not honor the 30 day warranty that was provided after refurbishing) and I am in the market for a new avr or pre/pro.

I haven't even considered the new Cambridge Audio receivers but after reading this, I might have to change that.
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post #6 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 03:28 PM
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I currently HAVE a Anthem MRX 700 (second unit). I'm looking to exchange it for a Cambridge 650r or Arcam AVR600.

When it comes to the Anthem, SQ is poor IMO. Lots of baseline static (left side both units) clicks, handshake issues. Playing music is awful. No soundstage, no depth - just a mess. I think the processing messes everything up. MOVE ON, nothing to see here, KEEP MOVING.

Cambridge is an appealing option for the SQ focused.

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post #7 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 07:50 PM
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Thank you for the well written review. You did a great job. I found the review to be helpful and useful. The pictures were great quality as well.
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post #8 of 47 Old 04-15-2012, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabiolander View Post

The sound Quality is very good for these 3 amplifiers. Denon is warm and musical ( Denon footprint), Anthem is musical with medium in the front and the Cambridge is very transparent, punchy and accurate.

Try matching levels, and listening blind. You'll find that most of those differences go away when you aren't influenced by mismatched levels and your brand perceptions.

Also, the Denon IS markedly more powerful than the MRX 300. The volume knob reading doesn't tell you anything.

I've had both, and while I couldn't compare them because my 4308 died and prompted the Anthem purchase, I DID compare the MRX 300 to my recently-sold secondary AVR, a Denon 3808 (very similar to the 4308, just a little less power, and smaller chassis), and the when both were pushed the 3808 clearly had more grunt. With normal speakers at even very loud listening levels (I used ~80dB/W/m speakers for my "stress tests") either one will generally be adequate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

Thanks for the review Fabiolander! I always value these types of post as they are very helpful when people, such as my self, do not have a local dealer to demo these types of things. My Denon avr -4308 has been trashed due to Denon screwing me out my warranty (had the unit refurbished by Denon, they did not honor the 30 day warranty that was provided after refurbishing) and I am in the market for a new avr or pre/pro.

I went 4308 to MRX 300. I do not regret it. Anthem's after-sales support is heads and shoulders better than Denon's.

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post #9 of 47 Old 04-16-2012, 01:39 AM
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Agree with the volume knob comment, bench tests have been done on the Anthem and Denon.

Anthem MRX300 hometheater.com bench test:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 71.4 watts
1% distortion at 83.4 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 56.3 watts
1% distortion at 70.9 watts

Denon AVR-4308 Sound+Vision bench test:
Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms)
1 channel driven: 171/280 W (22.3/24.5 dBW)
5 channels driven (8 ohms): 126 W (21 dBW)
7 channels driven (8 ohms): 111 W (20.5 dBW)

The other thing is, you can't say which is more 'accurate' sound without a reference to based on, like you heard the master played in the mixing room.

By the way, pretty sure DVD-Audio can't support 6CH 24/192.

Clicks and pops and HDMI issues aren't confined to the CA. Apart from subjective 'feel' nothing really new here.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #10 of 47 Old 04-16-2012, 05:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

Agree with the volume knob comment, bench tests have been done on the Anthem and Denon.

Anthem MRX300 hometheater.com bench test:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 71.4 watts
1% distortion at 83.4 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 56.3 watts
1% distortion at 70.9 watts

Denon AVR-4308 Sound+Vision bench test:
Output at clipping (1 kHz into 8/4 ohms)
1 channel driven: 171/280 W (22.3/24.5 dBW)
5 channels driven (8 ohms): 126 W (21 dBW)
7 channels driven (8 ohms): 111 W (20.5 dBW)

The other thing is, you can't say which is more 'accurate' sound without a reference to based on, like you heard the master played in the mixing room.

By the way, pretty sure DVD-Audio can't support 6CH 24/192.

Clicks and pops and HDMI issues aren't confined to the CA. Apart from subjective 'feel' nothing really new here.

That's why I take care to call it "my feelings" with "I Like" and "I don't like".
Meaning it is not scientist test results but just feelings report from a guy whose eared many different systems since 30 years.

That's my second home theater I build and i tried so many differrent different system :



https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-k....0%20avant.jpg













Of course I don't use spectroscopy but it is really easy to compare both systems. With the 551R you start to see the scene, where are placed the musician, and you can eard little sound like guitar finger touch etc...
With the 650A the experience is really one step up. The musicians are in your room, the human voice are warmer, etc..

Comeback to Denon, the scene is more confused but the sound is really warm and more pleasant. The bass are going deeper but are less punchy.

I cannot answer : How deeper, how much accurate...

But by experience, I can say there are 2 worlds between what is on the paper and how sounds material to your ears. The only thing I can certify is how it sounds to me but of course it could be completely different to you, to you audio system or your room.

The "Clics" and delay when switching from one source to the other or jumping from one track to the other is easy to reproduce.

The fact is it doesn't work with two different computers configuration using Windows 7 64bits and nvidia video card (440GT and 520GT). the third one ( with ATI Video card ) works but the amplifier still doesn't appear in the audio device list.

Hope these problems will be solved quicky but after the bad experiences I had with my previous Cambridge 650R, I sent back the 551R to my seller (thx to him) and keep my 4308 for now.

Enjoy your day ;-)
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post #11 of 47 Old 04-18-2012, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabiolander View Post

I had he chance to compare these 3 amplifiers and I share with you my feelings :


- HDMI issue (again with this new model) :[list][*]time to display a source (when jumping from one to the other) is quiet long ( 3 Ã* 4 sec ).[*]Strange sound (sort of little 'crac') when going from one song to the other using bitstream. No issue when using PCM.[*]I had some issue to read audio HD file using bitstream. FLAC 24/192 MCH or 24/192 2CH get some pain to be read. No issue in LPCM.

One more time I'm afraid I will not be the only one on earth to get problems with their HDMI input.

Your post came at a crucial moment for me (or at least, me finding it did! ). I have just today been to Richer Sounds as I have had a 650R for a month, and from day 1, had the very occasional audio (and video) drop-outs, when using an HDMI input.

After a month of discussion with Cambridge Audio, I have come to the conclusion that it is a Firmware bug:

1. They first tried to convince me it was the source (but I have 3 sources where this is a problem, and one of them is the CA 751BD!)). Once this was made clear, and after much discussion (including much detail about the 3 source devices (751BD/DuneHD/Tvix6500M) and the source content (nearly all types bluray/streamed bluray rips/DVD rips, BluRay Audio multi-channel hi-res LPCM music etc.), they have said they think the unit is faulty, but haven't explained why it only happens on the HDMI (all of them), not the SPDIF coax or TOSLINK inputs, nor why others have reported the same problem.

2. They then said they'd call to explain but 3 weeks later, I'm still waiting.

So, today, I went to Richer Sounds, and explained that I want to either get a refund, or swap the 650R for a 551R (there are no more 650Rs in the company, aparently). I have done enough waiting for CA to explain, I don't want a refund as I love the sound of the 650R, but it has to work reliably. So, assuming Richer Sounds come up with a decent price for the 650R->551R swap, I'll probably do that, but, your post about HDMI problems concerns me, as it sounds very similar.

So, I would be really interested to know, if you could expand on:

Quote:


[*]Strange sound (sort of little 'crac') when going from one song to the other using bitstream. No issue when using PCM."

When you say, one song to the other, do you mean, for example, playing a CD over the HDMI input, or something else? The 650R like the 551R, by the sounds of it, takes a few seconds to lock-on to a new incomming stream, but there are no audio anomolies when this happens (though, this was a problem in earlier versions of the 650R firmware).

Quote:


[*]I had some issue to read audio HD file using bitstream. FLAC 24/192 MCH or 24/192 2CH get some pain to be read. No issue in LPCM.

What was the source device in this case and you're talking about connecting it to the 551R via HDMI, right? Surely, if a source device is delivering a FLAC 5.1 or 2.0 24/192 (or 24/96) content, it would not be bitstream, but LPCM anyway? I didn't think there was any such thing as "FLAC bitsteam"?

These two issues are important to me, as I don't want to go to the trouble of replacing the 650R, for the 551R (and spend more money), and then find it has the same or similar problems!

Any help/detail, greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Matt.
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post #12 of 47 Old 04-18-2012, 01:58 PM
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This is a good thread to introduce another small brand. I bought a NAD T775HD last year and have been totally pleased with it. No problems whatsoever for me now. Changing sources, osd etc are accurate and fast. Sounds is great too.
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post #13 of 47 Old 04-18-2012, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutant_matt View Post

Your post came at a crucial moment for me (or at least, me finding it did! ). I have just today been to Richer Sounds as I have had a 650R for a month, and from day 1, had the very occasional audio (and video) drop-outs, when using an HDMI input.

After a month of discussion with Cambridge Audio, I have come to the conclusion that it is a Firmware bug:

1. They first tried to convince me it was the source (but I have 3 sources where this is a problem, and one of them is the CA 751BD!)). Once this was made clear, and after much discussion (including much detail about the 3 source devices (751BD/DuneHD/Tvix6500M) and the source content (nearly all types bluray/streamed bluray rips/DVD rips, BluRay Audio multi-channel hi-res LPCM music etc.), they have said they think the unit is faulty, but haven't explained why it only happens on the HDMI (all of them), not the SPDIF coax or TOSLINK inputs, nor why others have reported the same problem.

2. They then said they'd call to explain but 3 weeks later, I'm still waiting.

So, today, I went to Richer Sounds, and explained that I want to either get a refund, or swap the 650R for a 551R (there are no more 650Rs in the company, aparently). I have done enough waiting for CA to explain, I don't want a refund as I love the sound of the 650R, but it has to work reliably. So, assuming Richer Sounds come up with a decent price for the 650R->551R swap, I'll probably do that, but, your post about HDMI problems concerns me, as it sounds very similar.

So, I would be really interested to know, if you could expand on:


When you say, one song to the other, do you mean, for example, playing a CD over the HDMI input, or something else? The 650R like the 551R, by the sounds of it, takes a few seconds to lock-on to a new incomming stream, but there are no audio anomolies when this happens (though, this was a problem in earlier versions of the 650R firmware).


What was the source device in this case and you're talking about connecting it to the 551R via HDMI, right? Surely, if a source device is delivering a FLAC 5.1 or 2.0 24/192 (or 24/96) content, it would not be bitstream, but LPCM anyway? I didn't think there was any such thing as "FLAC bitsteam"?

These two issues are important to me, as I don't want to go to the trouble of replacing the 650R, for the 551R (and spend more money), and then find it has the same or similar problems!

Any help/detail, greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Matt.

I'm happy to know that I'm not alone to have very bad experience with Cambridge after sale services.

I fight during 4 months with them, got 2 different firmware but still have HDMI issue.

Then I jump to different trademark/model ( Anthem, Marrantz, Yamaha ) but I never find similar sound. Finally I found the Cambridge 650A, for stereo music is awesome. My source is a Xonar Essence ST with Burson Opamp. I listen flac or SACD 24/192 2CH-> ASIO for all -> analogique.

The sound is really very dynamique ( up to 124db ) and looks "Perfect" to my ears. But I cannot listen 24/192 MCH

Then I found a good deal for a "old" Denon AVR-4308 on Ebay. The sound is less perfect ( loose scene localization and détail) but it is very warm and pleasant. At the end I cannot say wich one I prefer. 2 type of sound but both are really really good.

I prefere to listen classic music or smooth jazz on the cambridge and rock and variety on the Denon.

Then comes the 551R, I wanted to replace my Denon and my 650A by only one amplifier... You already know my deception regarding the HDMI input.

Because of my old bad experience with Cambridge After sale services I have decided to return the amplifier to my local dealer and to keep my couple 4308 + 650A

Ok compared to the 650R, the HDMI problems looks lighter but... when you pay around 1000$, you would like to have a product matching the specifications and here this is not the case. In addition because the after sale service is just a complain mailbox it is very hazardous to go with this new amplifier.
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post #14 of 47 Old 04-19-2012, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabiolander View Post

I'm happy to know that I'm not alone to have very bad experience with Cambridge after sale services.

I fight during 4 months with them, got 2 different firmware but still have HDMI issue.

This is with the 551R? I still don't quite understand what the 2 HDMI issues you say you had were? Would you mind clarifying please?

Quote:


Then comes the 551R, I wanted to replace my Denon and my 650A by only one amplifier... You already know my deception regarding the HDMI input.

As above, it's not quite clear exactly what your HDMI problems were...

Quote:


Because of my old bad experience with Cambridge After sale services I have decided to return the amplifier to my local dealer and to keep my couple 4308 + 650A

I hope to stay with CA, assuming I swap the 650R for the 551R, and it doesn't have any problems, which is why I'm so interested in finding out the exact detail of your problems. I only use an AVR for it's HDMI connectivity, it's DAC(s) and analog stages, and take all pre-outs to 2-ch amps, so I don't care about the power stages of any AVR. However, true pre-pro's tend to cost a LOT more, and the sound of the CA kit (possibly not just the pre-stage, but the power-stage also), when it's working, is way above anything else at the price point.

I am also looking at the new NAD T748 (though no dealer near me), but it doesn't have analog multi-channel inputs like the 650R and 551R, but apart from that, looks like a valid competitor in all other areas, at the same price as the 551R. The Emotiva UMC-1 looks interesting (and cheap), but it's not yet clear to me if all the horrendous problems it did have, have all finally been fixed in the last few versions of the latest firmwares. I don't think there is anything else that competes at this price point though.

Quote:


Ok compared to the 650R, the HDMI problems looks lighter but... when you pay around 1000$, you would like to have a product matching the specifications and here this is not the case. In addition because the after sale service is just a complain mailbox it is very hazardous to go with this new amplifier.

Yes, when you pay any money, but especially more than the feature-rich, but sonically-poor entry level AVRs, you expect all features to work fully and if they don't, you expect urgent firmware fixes. I could live with menu quirks or stuff that doesn't affect the audio or video output, but the drop-outs via HDMI on the 650R, I can't live with (even though, mostly, they are very occasional (and CA don't (yet) admit to this being a Firmware issue, but a say it's a faulty unit (the jury is still out, as the unit is perfect on SPDIF coax and TOSLINK inputs). They said they would phone me to explain their position, but 3 weeks later, they haven't).

I may be lucky, but, being in the UK, Richer Sounds are the sole distribution agent for CA, and CA are litterally a few mins walk from both where I work, and from the London City branch of Richer Sounds, which is also a few mins walk from where I work. RS have a direct contact line to CA, and I have previously, been in RS, and they have called up CA, and let me talk to the CA tech guys. The CA website is also nice in at least you can report problems and ask questions and sometimes, have a discussion with CA tech guys. Most electronics companies, you basically have no real way of holding a conversation with anyone technical. We should at least give CA credit where credit is due, on that front.

Cheers,

Matt.
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post #15 of 47 Old 04-19-2012, 03:31 AM
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I'm trying to find out when the 651 and 751 will come out. They were originally scheduled for April.

Some say the 650r is already hard to get.

551r is part of the current line BUT the 651 & 751 have a lot of processing diffs (vs 551) and of course big power bumps.

One thing I like about Cambridge is that ratings for five/seven channels vs two channels holds up much better than much of the competition.

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post #16 of 47 Old 04-19-2012, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

I'm trying to find out when the 651 and 751 will come out. They were originally scheduled for April.

In the UK (here), the 551 was scheduled for April, and came out a couple of weeks ago. There is rumour of the 651 and 751, but I'm betting they won't make it here, as CA are a very niche brand here (and Richer Sounds are the sole distributor, and they mainly focus on the budget end of the market (and so, mostly, that's the type of customers they get)).

Quote:
Some say the 650r is already hard to get.

Again, here in the UK, I know there are none available, new, for sale, as Richers Sounds sold me the very last one (which is part of my problem, as they can't replace my "faulty" unit, unless CA can find them one...)

Quote:
551r is part of the current line BUT the 651 & 751 have a lot of processing diffs (vs 551) and of course big power bumps.

Indeed, though for me personally, I'm not in need of either, so the 551 is all I need, but, yes, I'd want the 651 if I was using the power stage.

Quote:
One thing I like about Cambridge is that ratings for five/seven channels vs two channels holds up much better than much of the competition.

Indeed, except in the much higher end market, where the claims are more meaningful (i.e. fewer lies ), plus NAD, who are known for their accurate claims (and their marketing of it: "NAD Full Disclosure Power").

I'll let you know if I hear anything that might be of use to you.

Cheers,

Matt.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

I'm trying to find out when the 651 and 751 will come out. They were originally scheduled for April.

Some say the 650r is already hard to get.

551r is part of the current line BUT the 651 & 751 have a lot of processing diffs (vs 551) and of course big power bumps.

One thing I like about Cambridge is that ratings for five/seven channels vs two channels holds up much better than much of the competition.

In the old days yes, but not any more. You'd have to be comparing to low end bargain basement products. But in the mid and upper range mainsteam AV receivers, Cambridge actually no longer has an advantage on those terms.

Here in Scandinavia for example the Denon 3312 is priced exactly the same as the Cambridge 551R and sold by the same importer. However, the Denon has far better power output and audio fidelity numbers - in 2 channel or 5 or 7 channel. And I'm talking in 3rd party bench testing, not just manufacturer claims.

So they need something more to hang their hat on. That advantage is almost purely perception at this point.
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post #18 of 47 Old 04-20-2012, 03:02 AM
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Well THAT'S what Denon is for. All the SMART people. Just ASK them. They'll be happy to tell you..........................endlessly.

Anyway, I can't wait to get rid of my erratic/sizzling static/bass in and out Anthem for another receiver that sounds exactly the same, maybe an ARCAM or Cambridge.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

Anyway, I can't wait to get rid of my erratic/sizzling static/bass in and out Anthem for another receiver that sounds exactly the same, maybe an ARCAM or Cambridge.

Obviously, a defective unit will sound different from a functioning unit.

Moreover, I strongly suspect that the Anthems, Arcams, and Cambridges all come from the same Chinese OEM.

I don't know if any of them require more rigorous QC than the others, though.

I would say the build quality of the Anthem is about on par what for what it really is: a $350 receiver with $2000 in room correction hardware/software. (I consider that combination, at the current $1000 MSRP of the MRX 300 at least, to be a very good value.)

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. MOVE ON, nothing to see here, KEEP MOVING

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post #21 of 47 Old 04-20-2012, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Moreover, I strongly suspect that the Anthems, Arcams, and Cambridges all come from the same Chinese OEM.

I don't know if any of them require more rigorous QC than the others, though.

I don't know where the other brands are sourced although QC level is up to each manufacturer. There's the production line QC provided by the vendor. Add some of our supply chain dept. employees, one of which is an American residing in China just for this purpose, ready to visit the factory once any action is needed. On top of that we buy the services of an independent QC outfit which does spotchecks on all production after it's been packed and palletized in a holding area. A common statistical method is to test 4 out of 100 units and if they pass, chances are reasonable that the rest in the lot are good. If one of the 4 fails, the lot is rejected. If you pay extra, you can get 10 of 100 spotchecked and that's what we do. As well, one of our long time Canadian engineers was present while the MRX production line was set up and initial production rolled.

In summary any level of quality can be had from an overseas vendor but only as long as every step is specified and someone is there to make sure it's carried out.

Some may wonder, why not spot check 100 out of 100? That would make things less efficient:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accepta...ling#Rationale

Sorry for the infomercial aspect but I hope it explains a few things which aren't so obvious and may be of interest. I'm sure many other manufacturers put their heart and soul in their products just the same.

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post #22 of 47 Old 04-20-2012, 09:39 PM
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Response from Cambridge.

651r and 751r hardware is final. SW is still testing.

"couple months".

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post #23 of 47 Old 04-20-2012, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutant_matt View Post

Your post came at a crucial moment for me (or at least, me finding it did! ). I have just today been to Richer Sounds as I have had a 650R for a month, and from day 1, had the very occasional audio (and video) drop-outs, when using an HDMI input.

After a month of discussion with Cambridge Audio, I have come to the conclusion that it is a Firmware bug:

1. They first tried to convince me it was the source (but I have 3 sources where this is a problem, and one of them is the CA 751BD!)). Once this was made clear, and after much discussion (including much detail about the 3 source devices (751BD/DuneHD/Tvix6500M) and the source content (nearly all types bluray/streamed bluray rips/DVD rips, BluRay Audio multi-channel hi-res LPCM music etc.), they have said they think the unit is faulty, but haven't explained why it only happens on the HDMI (all of them), not the SPDIF coax or TOSLINK inputs, nor why others have reported the same problem.

2. They then said they'd call to explain but 3 weeks later, I'm still waiting.

So, today, I went to Richer Sounds, and explained that I want to either get a refund, or swap the 650R for a 551R (there are no more 650Rs in the company, aparently). I have done enough waiting for CA to explain, I don't want a refund as I love the sound of the 650R, but it has to work reliably. So, assuming Richer Sounds come up with a decent price for the 650R->551R swap, I'll probably do that, but, your post about HDMI problems concerns me, as it sounds very similar.

So, I would be really interested to know, if you could expand on:


When you say, one song to the other, do you mean, for example, playing a CD over the HDMI input, or something else? The 650R like the 551R, by the sounds of it, takes a few seconds to lock-on to a new incomming stream, but there are no audio anomolies when this happens (though, this was a problem in earlier versions of the 650R firmware).


What was the source device in this case and you're talking about connecting it to the 551R via HDMI, right? Surely, if a source device is delivering a FLAC 5.1 or 2.0 24/192 (or 24/96) content, it would not be bitstream, but LPCM anyway? I didn't think there was any such thing as "FLAC bitsteam"?

These two issues are important to me, as I don't want to go to the trouble of replacing the 650R, for the 551R (and spend more money), and then find it has the same or similar problems!

Any help/detail, greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Matt.

Matt, I had a 650r that I got back in 2010 and I had constant problems with it. Sound would drop, major clicks, missing first few seconds of audio from digital sources, etc... Then I took it back, had the firmware upgraded and it got worse. Audio and video dropouts AND... the unit would just turn itself off for no reason. (That was my second one. The first one out of the box had something broken rolling around inside). I got my MRX700 less than a year later and the only problem I had with it was a recent issue and since I have upgraded the firmware I haven't had another problem. Also, the 650r had a one year warranty and the MRX series has a 3 year warranty! I can't complain about my receiver and I have never seen an AVR company browse the forums and respond to questions and work actively to fix problems like Anthem has been doing in the MRX thread.

As for Denon, I haven't used any of their stuff so I can't comment but for me ARC has really made my system sound good and that is with some older speakers that are a custom brand not made anymore.
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post #24 of 47 Old 04-20-2012, 11:47 PM
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Be careful for the MRX lovers.

I have had TWO Anthem MRX 700's and they are terrible.

BOTH have had static in the left channels. First a gurgling static in the left surround that kept getting louder and louder. The second, has a sizzling static from the front left channel. The sizzling static increases and decreases in volume all by itself. ANd trust me I've tried EVERYTHING from a research POV.

On BOTH, I also have the well known issues with lots of clicks(at all weird times), occasional pops, LOOOONNNNGGG sloppy HDMI handshakes, dropped CODEC, high-pitched whistle, and sound quality deterioration. For instance a DRAMATIC drop in bass and later a return of the bass. "Flaky" is my experience. I think the rather loud static and nutty behavior is related to the processing. I WILL say I've never had the mysterious shutdown/lockup issue. It should ALSO be noted that Anthem has been working on the pops, lockups, etc for a year and a half and although, I've seen improvements, the Anthem's STILL suffer from too many things that other receivers NEVER have to deal with.

I also found ARC's improvement to be minimal. Better than Audyssey, but still rather unimpressive. After moving the speakers around, I found ARC to be more "thinning" of the sound, than positive. There IS a REASON audiophiles leave everything OFF. The negatives usually out-weight the positives, especially once the novelty wears off. But if I had no high end on my speakers and WAAAY too much bass, I'd probably think ARC is GREAT!

Listening to a CD was awful. Once the music all kicks in the sound is a mess. No soundstage, no depth just noise pushed at you, very disappointing.

I don't know what HW all those Anthem fans have listened to, but they need to check out better HW to know what good sound is like.

The only people I think that should like the Anthems are those that need to tame EXCESSIVE bass from POOR speaker decisions.

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post #25 of 47 Old 04-21-2012, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
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Star wars, 5th element, judge dread, blade runner, i robot, which movie?

Naked Gun Series.

on youTube

1. naked gun driving instructor scene(full scene)
2. Can't find it. After OJ gets shot sown at the pier a cop is using a blow horn to disperse 3 people.

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post #26 of 47 Old 04-21-2012, 01:18 AM
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I considered the CA650R when it came out, went to the dealers but it hadn't arrived. Had a look at the 540R and 650BDP and wasn't impressed by the metal finish. I never went back. Also considered the Anthem at some point but really hate the styling. Recently I got a lightly used Arcam AVR600 (made in the UK) with nearly all of remaining 5 year warranty for less than half price and am really pleased. The build and style is so much better than the others and fit in with all my other Arcams. It comes with a Quality Assurance Certificate signed by five people, for Audio Test, Video Test, Amp Adjustment, Appearance & Packaging, and a letter signed by the MD. It's a big upgrade from my 10 year old NAD, which still works except the on/off LED. The NADs aren't that cheap in Canada (!) so I might just as well go Arcam this time. NAD and Arcam had their initial problems with HDMI too but Arcam at least have largely fixed them.

For me the only appeal to go CA is the price, not compared to mass market Japanese brands as I don't regard them sharing a common clientèle, but as the most affordable audiophile brand. It appears they aren't up to it in the AVR products, which isn't surprising given their relative late entry and inexperience in the game. To be fair HDMI problems aren't always the receiving end's fault but here if the same brand BDP is having problems then it looks bad and frankly embarassing. I hear the CA751 works with the Arcam, so here you are. CA receivers are largely designed by Anem Electronics so it explains why CA staff aren't quick to respond to problems.

Life is too short to be doing free beta-testing and constantly dealing with dealers (however nice and sympathetic they may be) and manufacturer(/distributor if you are abroad), not for me anyway. I'd rather be enjoying the movies and music.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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Nice post Killian. I agree.

I've heard Arcam gave up on Chinese manufacturing.

The 500 is legendary for all the problems, one reason it was replaced with the 400. The 600, I believe was started in China, but moved back. And I heard about the impressive check system you mentioned to head off the issues BEFORE the customer gets them.

I heard the 600 started with tons of problems too. Some say the move back to UK was the fix.

I'm mostly interested in the 400. Is that manu'd in the UK too? What's your opinion?

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post #28 of 47 Old 04-21-2012, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick @ Anthem View Post

I don't know where the other brands are sourced although QC level is up to each manufacturer. There's the production line QC provided by the vendor. Add some of our supply chain dept. employees, one of which is an American residing in China just for this purpose, ready to visit the factory once any action is needed. On top of that we buy the services of an independent QC outfit which does spotchecks on all production after it's been packed and palletized in a holding area. A common statistical method is to test 4 out of 100 units and if they pass, chances are reasonable that the rest in the lot are good. If one of the 4 fails, the lot is rejected. If you pay extra, you can get 10 of 100 spotchecked and that's what we do. As well, one of our long time Canadian engineers was present while the MRX production line was set up and initial production rolled.

***

Sorry for the infomercial aspect but I hope it explains a few things which aren't so obvious and may be of interest. I'm sure many other manufacturers put their heart and soul in their products just the same.

Thanks for the background. Didn't read like an infomercial at all.

My experience (which is worth exactly what any other n=3 sample is worth, i.e. not much) is that my first MRX 300 shipped with a dead HDMI board (pink-purple screen), my second and third (used in a second system) were A-OK out of the box. I've admittedly had a run of bad luck with audio electronics; in addition to the dead MRX 300 I bought a couple sub amps that were either completely DOA or very noisy and required return or exchange.

I don't know if you're with Anthem any longer, but if so one thing to look at for future runs is the mechanical integrity of the shields on the RCA preouts. They seem to fall off if one breathes on them. (True, slide them back in and them seem to work fine.) That's the case on both of my MRX 300's, and others have noted the same issue on the official thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

I also found ARC's improvement to be minimal. Better than Audyssey, but still rather unimpressive.

What speakers are you running? How many subs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

There IS a REASON audiophiles leave everything OFF.

Actually, I can think of three nonexclusive reasons:

(1) ignorance of what the various systems do,
(2) incompetence at executing the measurements (even though it's not that difficult with either ARC or Audyssey),
(3) preference for low-fidelity reproduction

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Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

The only people I think that should like the Anthems are those that need to tame EXCESSIVE bass from POOR speaker decisions.

Unfounded and ignorant.

Please, for instance, show me the "EXCESSIVE" bass from this three-sub Geddes-style bass array, PRIOR to room correction:


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post #29 of 47 Old 04-21-2012, 05:35 AM
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What speakers are you running? How many subs?



Actually, I can think of three nonexclusive reasons:

(1) ignorance of what the various systems do,
(2) incompetence at executing the measurements (even though it's not that difficult with either ARC or Audyssey),
(3) preference for low-fidelity reproduction



Unfounded and ignorant.

Please, for instance, show me the "EXCESSIVE" bass from this three-sub Geddes-style bass array, PRIOR to room correction:

Canton Ergo Line. Decent line, especially for the price.

I bought them for the excellent tweeters. Clear/delicate yet not harsh.

"subs" you assume I have MORE than one?

If I had excessive subs I would probably need LOTS of.......oh, um, never mind.

Leaving off room correction is a "preference for low-fidelity reproduction"?
You mean I SHOULD add processing to IMPROVE SQ? it's ASSUMED they ADD to SQ?
You assume ARC does not distort the sound. I find it "thins" the mid-range and harshens the upper end a little.
All of these things have give and take. Usually, more take.

Charts are nice. Do flat lines mean good sound? or just flat lines?
I've seen a lot of terrible speakers with nice flat lines. They mean little to me, except maybe to point out blown drivers and such. Some of the best stuff I've heard would do poorly "by the numbers" but sound fantastic. Numbers are for your "Denon" type folks. The "on the toilet" spec sheet readers.

subs, subs, subs. What's your high-end sound like? Voices? hear the pluck of strings? echo off the walls? wind instrument player inhaling? "See" the drummer BEHIND the singer? THAT's great sound. I've heard 2 channel systems with room filling sound like surround. Sounds that come from BEYOND the speaker, literally a couple feet past it. THAT's great sound.

What about dialog? The center channel. I can hear BIG diffs in speakers. That's a MUCH more important question than "what are your subs?" in a HT setup. No chart is going to tell you that. No sub will give it to you.

But that's the age old battle between audiophiles and HT guys. Clear upper end/warm full mid-range vs. bass, lots and lots of bass with muffled dialog.

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post #30 of 47 Old 04-21-2012, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
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Canton Ergo Line. Decent line, especially for the price.

I guess...if one likes the colored upper midrange that is endemic to every single loudspeaker with a fairly large midwoofer and a tweeter mounted on that 180 degree waveguide known as a flat baffle.

(I would never consider a loudspeaker whose designers did not control the directivity of the tweeter at the bottom of its passband.)

And Canton's typically Teutonic "es wird doch mehr Hochfrequenzen gebraucht!" voicing.

Do you at least run three towers or bookshelves up front? Otherwise...nobody who considers a toppled-MTM center sonically acceptable has any basis to discuss high fidelity reproduction, because high fidelity reproduction is obviously not important to that person.

(There are two ways to set up one's three front mains: identical loudspeakers in the same orientation at the same height, and low-fidelity.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

"subs" you assume I have MORE than one?

Yes, if you care about high fidelity music reproduction.

Anyone who actually cares about reproducing music with high fidelity will have multiple subwoofers to smooth out response in the modal region.

Quote:
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If I had excessive subs I would probably need LOTS of.......oh, um, never mind.

Your scope shift from multiple subs to excessive subs suggests a fundamental lack of understanding about the real problems with reproducing music in small rooms.

Careful deployment and setup of multiple subwoofers has nothing to do with high SPL, and everything to do with response smoothing in the modal region.

The individual subs can be quite small, or gigantic, or anything in between. That's out of the scope of this particular discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

Leaving off room correction is a "preference for low-fidelity reproduction"?

That is one of three non-exclusive possibilities I suggested as possibilities, yes.

Though your use of "is" implies a relatively low level of reading comprehension. A more sophisticated reply would have used a verb such as "may."

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You assume ARC does not distort the sound. I find it "thins" the mid-range and harshens the upper end a little.

Perhaps if you tried better loudspeakers, you would have different results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

Charts are nice. Do flat lines mean good sound? or just flat lines?

In the bass, it means smooth response, which means higher fidelity reproduction than rough response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean-l View Post

I've seen a lot of terrible speakers with nice flat lines.

Perhaps you have a preference for colored sound. Your speakers certainly offer it! That, and you're looking at the wrong graphs. Obviously, except down low, an on-axis measurement tells one very little. Horizontal polars are far more useful, because they tell you how a loudspeaker will interact with the room.

I've never heard a speaker that measures badly sound good. I've rarely heard a speaker with reasonably flat response and controlled midrange directivity sound bad, unless it was grossly misused.

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