Looking to replace B&K Ref50--missing anything on my short list? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-31-2012, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all:

I've been very happily using a B&K Ref 50 for several years now (paired up with a Sherbourn 5/5120 amp), but I'm starting to think it may be time for an update. The primary reason that I'm looking to upgrade is simply that the B&K is getting a bit outdated. It does not have HDMI connections and only has a very rudimentary room eq.

For perspective (audio-wise):

Room treatments: GIK tri traps + GIK bass traps
Speakers: Revel Performas
Sub: Seaton Submersive
Listening habits: 50/50, music/HT

I'm looking for:
1) Preferably dedicated preamp, but wouldn't rule out AVR with pre-outs
2) Room eq. (I have a nasty peak at ~45Hz and another one at ~5kHz with a few other modest peaks/nulls in between...I can post REW graphs if anyone is interested)
3) Would like to have XLR balanced connectors to amp, but not a deal breaker
4) Would like to be in the ~$2k-ish range
5) Need at least 3 HDMI connections
6) Don't care about 3D, not super concerned about 4K
7) Minimally, need 5.1 setup--no immediate plans to add sub or addt'l speakers

That's all I can think of right now....

My short list is:

Marantz AV7005
Rotel RSP-1572
Integra DHC-80.2/80.3
Denon 4311Ci
Anthem MRX series
Maybe, possibly a used Anthem AVM50v (if it's even possible to find one in that price range, this would be my favorite option)

Any suggestions as to what I else I should be considering? Oh...not to sound snotty, but not a particular fan of Onkyo (but am considering the Integra) or Pioneer AVRs. Nothing personal....

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Scott
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-31-2012, 11:25 AM
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I used to own a B&K Ref 50 also (paired it with a B&K Ref 200.5). When I upgraded...I went with the Anthem AVM-50 and loved it!! I later got the Anthem Room Correction (A.R.C.) and dual DSP upgrade. You should add that to your list too as it does everything you require of it and more. smile.gif

As it so happens....mine is for sale right around your price point. It's mint and includes all original boxes and packing materials.

PM me if interested.

Scott
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-31-2012, 12:01 PM
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I went from a B&K Ref 20 to an Anthem MRX300 a few months ago. I just use the Anthem as a pre/pro into the 5 channel amp I already had. It's been working great, no complaints. Anthem is very responsive with firmware upgrades when bugs are reported. No balanced connections though.
The Marantz pre/pro has an outdated version of Audyssey, I'd pass on that. Integra looks good, but my dealer carried that and the Anthem and suggested the much less expensive Anthem due to the room correction.
Denon 4311 is a very popular option around here, probably would have gotten that if not for the MRX.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-31-2012, 01:42 PM
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I have had a (used) Ref 50 S2 which was originally a Ref 50, but returned to the factory for refurbish/update to S2 status by its original owner. It was paired with an Anthem PVA7 amp (unbalanced input only). It was great for a little while, and was certainly a huge leap from my old Yamaha RX-V465 that used to drive my Swan Diva 6.2 and Diva surround system. I recently auditioned the Integra DHC 80.3 much to my excitement, I had been drooling over it for months! I also had an Anthem D2 (NOT the newer D2v).

The Integra sounded very good without any room correction. I was really surprised. I had always thought that my Swan speakers were very "OK" sounding, but the Integra made them sound so much sweeter. The Integra was very musical to my ears. There was much more separation and clarity between each channel compared to the B&K. There was also much more depth and most importantly for me, transparency. As it turns out my Swan speakers are very mid-range heavy. I got very used to this and after doing the XT32 room correction the Integra seemed to completely suck the life out of the speakers. I assume it must have corrected the overzealous mid-range, but it sounded very strange to me. It also seemed to remove some of the transparency to the sound. I would have otherwise gone back to the B&K, but I then tried the Anthem.

The Anthem blew me away! I thought the Integra opened my Swans up, but the Anthem was in another league. The Anthem creates a "wall of sound" from all speakers. There is no hole in the 5 channel surround at all. The best part is the staging between center and L&R. The discrete channels are certainly there, and there was infinitely more transparency and detail from each channel when compared to the B&K. But the way the Anthem blends all of the speakers together is like nothing I have ever heard before. I then did the ARC on the unit and it printed out some really pretty graphs for me. The mid-range hump in each of my speakers was present just as I had thought. But in the last several weeks of listening I have not been displeased with its sound signature. It is very, very neutral. The dynamics are all there and the clarity and transparency is great. I find it also very good for 2 channel music listening, but it doesn't quite compare to my dedicated 2 channel rig.

All that being said, these are just my personal opinions, of course. I was truly blown away by the Anthem. I find that its surround sound presentation is perfect for what I am after. I honestly never thought my Swan speakers would sound so good. I suspect an Anthem AVR would certainly do even better with your Revel speakers as well.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-01-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like moving from B&K to Anthem may be a more popular path than I thought....

It's really good to hear some impressions on ARC too. I know Audyssey is probably the "leader" in auto eq, but sounds like ARC is quite capable too.

KCWolfPck (Scott?): I'm running around like a crazy person at work today, but I'll try to shoot you a PM later.


Scott
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-01-2012, 02:42 PM
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ARC appealed to me because it comes with an individually calibrated mic and uses the power of an external computer to do the processing. You have to step up to Audyssey pro to get those features, which is about $700 in addition to the price of the AVR or pre/pro.
There are some limitations to the MRX line, only 4 HDMI inputs, 1 output., no control via wifi, no airplay, no network connectivity for streaming services, limited to 7.1. I ended up with an Oppo 93 which picked up some of the missing features
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