Upgrade from Onkyo PR-SC5508 - worth it? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I currently have an Onkyo PR-SC5508 processor, but I was wondering how much of an improvement I would get by upgrading it.
I have looked at ADA and Anthem.

I would like to hear your take on what improvements I would get by upgrading processor. I am only using it for movies and I am not using any of their room correction. (I have an external room correction unit), so the only thing the processor should be doing is decoding the signal and convert it to analog.

I have listened to the Anthem a couple of times on other systems and every time I hear it, there is something I like about the bass. Do the processor affect the bass that much?

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post #2 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 11:12 AM
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No, the preamp won't do anything audible to the bass, at least not by default. If it has tone controls or something like that then it could.. or the auto-EQ system obviously would if it found a reason to. But without that, any of them are going to leave the signal alone.

I do not see much of a reason for you to upgrade. Are there extra features you might want, or are you just looking for an overall improvement? If the latter, then you should look at room treatments or speakers (not sure what you have for speakers, but if SQ is your goal, speakers are definitely a better place to look than a new PrePro/AVR)

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post #3 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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That is my understandring as well. I am very satisfied with my system, but I am always looking for upgrades and was adviced to look for a new processor as the Onkyo is known as being a little "thin" sounding.

I have a demo setup next week, where I audition my Onkyo against the Anthem AVM50 with no room correction applied to see if I notice any difference. I can report back in this thread if you're interested.

But if the processor does not do anything to the sound, why are processors in the $15k range being purchased instead of a $2000 Onkyo? (Dont know the MSRP in the states)

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post #4 of 11 Old 05-23-2012, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post

But if the processor does not do anything to the sound, why are processors in the $15k range being purchased instead of a $2000 Onkyo?

Many reasons, some of which include:

-They think it sounds better, but really it's placebo.
-They have a lot of money anyway.
-They like to boast by having expensive stuff.
-They feel good having an expensive setup.
-They like a particular brand, either its design style, or the people who designed it, or whatever

NOT saying all of those applies to everyone. I dunno man. It boggles my mind. Almost all of those people would have just as good a system with a $1000 AVR. Very few people here who have external amps are taking advantage of the extra power, and they do not offer a quality improvement otherwise, either. (Note: I myself do have an external amp, but that's because I build DIY speakers and use an active crossover which means my two front 3-way towers use a total of 6 channels amplification.) But hey, the money that other people spend circulates into the economy which is good for the rest of us, so they can go ahead and continue to spend a lot more than they need to for all I care.

If you are doing a comparison, sure, share the results. And while you are welcome to interpret your results how you want, as well as buy what you want, I will say that unless you do a double-blind ABX test with a bunch of people and a bunch of material, your results aren't going to mean much statistically because of low sample size and such (that would be true for me, and most people here as well). I do not know of any large-scale DB ABX test that has ever been able to show a difference that could be pinpointed accurately by humans. I read of one that someone else mentioned on this forum in another thread where there were only six people and only four people agreed, which is statistically useless information. Still, I am aware that you will (or won't) buy based on your own opinion/experience, but do try to make the test as good as possible. I'd say at least single-blind ABX with a few friends over and at least a few songs, with everything level matched, would be the lowest test that I'd recommend. If it shows a difference enough for you, then... well, do what you feel you have to do. You could try "ABXY" where Y would be the sound you prefer, so it could test both the ability to differentiate them, and also your preference in case you do find that they can be told apart.

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post #5 of 11 Old 05-24-2012, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post

Many reasons, some of which include:

-They think it sounds better, but really it's placebo.
-They have a lot of money anyway.
-They like to boast by having expensive stuff.
-They feel good having an expensive setup.
-They like a particular brand, either its design style, or the people who designed it, or whatever

NOT saying all of those applies to everyone. I dunno man. It boggles my mind. Almost all of those people would have just as good a system with a $1000 AVR. Very few people here who have external amps are taking advantage of the extra power, and they do not offer a quality improvement otherwise, either. (Note: I myself do have an external amp, but that's because I build DIY speakers and use an active crossover which means my two front 3-way towers use a total of 6 channels amplification.) But hey, the money that other people spend circulates into the economy which is good for the rest of us, so they can go ahead and continue to spend a lot more than they need to for all I care.

If you are doing a comparison, sure, share the results. And while you are welcome to interpret your results how you want, as well as buy what you want, I will say that unless you do a double-blind ABX test with a bunch of people and a bunch of material, your results aren't going to mean much statistically because of low sample size and such (that would be true for me, and most people here as well). I do not know of any large-scale DB ABX test that has ever been able to show a difference that could be pinpointed accurately by humans. I read of one that someone else mentioned on this forum in another thread where there were only six people and only four people agreed, which is statistically useless information. Still, I am aware that you will (or won't) buy based on your own opinion/experience, but do try to make the test as good as possible. I'd say at least single-blind ABX with a few friends over and at least a few songs, with everything level matched, would be the lowest test that I'd recommend. If it shows a difference enough for you, then... well, do what you feel you have to do. You could try "ABXY" where Y would be the sound you prefer, so it could test both the ability to differentiate them, and also your preference in case you do find that they can be told apart.

Have you done such blind tests yourself? I agree to some point, that the extra price is not always worth the improvement in sound. But thats how it is with this hobby. The last 10% of performance are the most expensive. But to say that a system with external amp for each speaker and a $15k processor would sound the same with a $1000 AVR? That doesnt make any sense to me.

AVR's typically delivers 30-40 watts pr. channel when all channels are driven even though they are spec'ed at 150watt/ch. Thats serious compression. Maybe you wont notice it when watching a movie because of all the "soft clipping" in AVRs, but when you have experienced a system with no compression, you wont miss out on external amps.

But the "SQ difference in power amps" is a whole other topic

If we go back to look at the processors.. Doesnt DACs, implementation, processing power etc have any effect on the SQ?

I will try to be as objective as possible when I audition next week. I am hoping you are right, as I would rather keep my Onkyo and save the money.

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post #6 of 11 Old 06-04-2012, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I listened to the Onkyo 5508 vs Anthem AVM50 on a Procella system last week. I agree, that the differences are not day and night as when you change speakers, but there are differences. The Anthem is more dynamic and "in your face". It had drawbacks too though, as it could be a little too aggressive compared to Onkyo. The bass on the Anthem had more authority too. Hard to explain.

I dont think I am gonna spend money on the Anthem right now, but I do feel that I am missing out on some dynamic/attack with the Onkyo compared to Anthem.

Maybe you're all thinking placebo, and I cant prove that it wasn't. But I would be surprised if it was the case.

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post #7 of 11 Old 06-04-2012, 04:56 AM
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I recently switched from AVM50 to PR-SC5009. With Onkyo all those pesky HDMI problems are finally gone. And what comes to sound, Onkyo with Audyssey MultiEQ xt32 sounds definitely better than plain vanilla AVM50. Well, in my room anyway.

Money well spent.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post

I listened to the Onkyo 5508 vs Anthem AVM50 on a Procella system last week. I agree, that the differences are not day and night as when you change speakers, but there are differences. The Anthem is more dynamic and "in your face". It had drawbacks too though, as it could be a little too aggressive compared to Onkyo. The bass on the Anthem had more authority too. Hard to explain.


I dont think I am gonna spend money on the Anthem right now, but I do feel that I am missing out on some dynamic/attack with the Onkyo compared to Anthem.


Maybe you're all thinking placebo, and I cant prove that it wasn't. But I would be surprised if it was the case.

I auditioned both the Anthem and the Integra twin of the 5008 at a hi end stereo shop

Assuming there is no difference in the sound of the Integra and the Onkyo..I would say the Anthem is hands down a better unit than the Integra( Onkyo)
Is it worth the money?....that is largely defined if you can afford it I guess

While they are close in HT....the Anthem is head and shoulders above the Integra musically

I bought the Onkyo 5508 by the way....as the local shop wanted full MSRP for the Integra unit

The Anthem was not in my price range


Warren

Rm 1 Samsung 64F8500 Onkyo 5508 prepro Sherbourn 5/1500A amp Atlantic technology System 350 THX Ultra speakers
Rm 2 LG 47LE8500 Pioneer SC37 Celestion 305 speaker system
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 09:55 AM
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One of my friends is an exceptional acoustical designer and has what I call golden ears. He used to be in the Audio retail business at the VERY HIGH end. Today he is at the VERY HIGH end of the home theater room design business.

He told me once that "everybody won" -- he went on to say that, over the past few years, both audio design and manufacturing have leveled the playing field in terms of how things sound and what you get for the money.

In other words the difference between $2,000 and $15,000 might be very small in terms of how they sound and even then most might not be be able to detect only a very small part of that. Add to that if your room is not that acoustically perfect you loose even less of the difference.

So save your money :-)
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-19-2012, 11:26 AM
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I would just hold on to your 5508 for now and wait until there is a more affordable pre-pro with Trinnov EQ. ADA has a Trinnov add on but expect to pay close to $10K for it or you could go with the ADA Reference which has integrated Trinnov at a bargain basement price of $40K wink.gif I am hoping the next ADA Cinema Rhapsody features a integrated Trinnov solution

I have not heard the ADA implementation of Trinnov but picked up a Sherwood / Newcastle R-972 for the closeout price and Trinnov is the real deal. Audyssey XT32 does a better job as an EQ on the whole IMO which is clearly evident on the sub channels but the Trinnov 3D re-mapping is what sets Trinnov apart from any other EQ. I don't know how exactly it does it but the best way to describe Trinnov 3D is that the speakers disappear, even if you are just using a 5.1 channel system it sounds like your listening to 10 channels as you are just enveloped by sound. The dialog clarity is also remarkable with Trinnov engaged and when you turn off Trinnov the soundstage does collapse so it really is doing something special.

I am not crazy about how the R-972 sounds with music, even with Trinnov and using various settings but I would bet it is a LOT better with the ADA. as they use the full Trinnov magic were as the R-972 is a slimmed down version. For movies I like the R-972 with Trinnov over the 5508 but the 5508 is better with music.

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post #11 of 11 Old 06-20-2012, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnne1 View Post

I auditioned both the Anthem and the Integra twin of the 5008 at a hi end stereo shop
Assuming there is no difference in the sound of the Integra and the Onkyo..I would say the Anthem is hands down a better unit than the Integra( Onkyo)
Is it worth the money?....that is largely defined if you can afford it I guess
While they are close in HT....the Anthem is head and shoulders above the Integra musically
I bought the Onkyo 5508 by the way....as the local shop wanted full MSRP for the Integra unit
The Anthem was not in my price range
Warren
This is the same experience as I had. The Anthem sounded better - but I dont think the price difference is worth the improvement. If I had unlimited resources then yes, but unfortunately thats not the case smile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmoore55 View Post

One of my friends is an exceptional acoustical designer and has what I call golden ears. He used to be in the Audio retail business at the VERY HIGH end. Today he is at the VERY HIGH end of the home theater room design business.
He told me once that "everybody won" -- he went on to say that, over the past few years, both audio design and manufacturing have leveled the playing field in terms of how things sound and what you get for the money.
In other words the difference between $2,000 and $15,000 might be very small in terms of how they sound and even then most might not be be able to detect only a very small part of that. Add to that if your room is not that acoustically perfect you loose even less of the difference.
So save your money :-)
The law of diminishing of returns. smile.gif But interesting! Does that mean, that when your friend designs a high end home theater, he is just as happy using a Onkyo 5508/Denon 4311 or something similiar to an ADA/Anthem/Lexicon? (Room correction aside.. I assume he uses external correction)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjaudio View Post

I would just hold on to your 5508 for now and wait until there is a more affordable pre-pro with Trinnov EQ. ADA has a Trinnov add on but expect to pay close to $10K for it or you could go with the ADA Reference which has integrated Trinnov at a bargain basement price of $40K wink.gif I am hoping the next ADA Cinema Rhapsody features a integrated Trinnov solution
I have not heard the ADA implementation of Trinnov but picked up a Sherwood / Newcastle R-972 for the closeout price and Trinnov is the real deal. Audyssey XT32 does a better job as an EQ on the whole IMO which is clearly evident on the sub channels but the Trinnov 3D re-mapping is what sets Trinnov apart from any other EQ. I don't know how exactly it does it but the best way to describe Trinnov 3D is that the speakers disappear, even if you are just using a 5.1 channel system it sounds like your listening to 10 channels as you are just enveloped by sound. The dialog clarity is also remarkable with Trinnov engaged and when you turn off Trinnov the soundstage does collapse so it really is doing something special.
I am not crazy about how the R-972 sounds with music, even with Trinnov and using various settings but I would bet it is a LOT better with the ADA. as they use the full Trinnov magic were as the R-972 is a slimmed down version. For movies I like the R-972 with Trinnov over the 5508 but the 5508 is better with music.
Trinnov does look interesting - especially the re-mapping. I already use an external room correction system so I have turned all Audyssey off in the Onkyo. I did try XT32 with the pro kit, but did not love the result.

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