Should I buy a Denon AVP-A1HDCI now? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 111 Old 10-29-2013, 03:30 PM
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Nice display choice...  I wish I had room for a 65", I have a large room but the tv is mounted above the fireplace and only so much space there for it, so 55" is the max for me..

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post #92 of 111 Old 10-29-2013, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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^Thnx. My physical limitation to upgrading was the "Home entertainment center" designed when 40" was a pretty nice big TV.  I had to ditch the whole thing.  Your situation with screen limitation is even more challenging. 


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post #93 of 111 Old 10-29-2013, 05:18 PM
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Yah, when we built the house in 07 who thought I would ever want a tv bigger than 50"s, so we put huge windows on the sides of the fireplace, 55"s leaves a little space on the left and right, 60" leaves a very little space and 65" would be into the moldings of the windows, plus way to high up the wall after the center channel is mounted under it...  Kind of sucks but I honestly don't mind the 55", although I know someday 70-80" displays will be $1500 and I will either have to remodel or buuld a hideaway to get one in there...

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post #94 of 111 Old 10-29-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganymed4 View Post
...
I had several Onkyo AVRs and also the pre/pros 5507 and 5509 before and I can tell you: Big difference in SQ! But I have to say on every single stage form AVR to AVR plus power-amp, pre/pro with power-amp and pre/pro with better power-amp and finally with AVP-A1 plus the same prized Audionet power-amps.

We are talking here about a - list price - $25000 pre/pro power-amp combination - AVP-A1 3D, AMP V and AMP VII with five channels.

However, I bought everything used and paid about $10000 for the equipment. But (!) your approach is still much less expensive and does more or less the same, except you are searching for an excellent sound reproduction.

Please don't misunderstand me, I agree to your approach, which - according my own experience - represents a very reasonable approach to achieve good SQ. But there is more to come, if you go into the direction of an AVP-A1 and excellent power-amps.
Just wanted to mention this here, even the AVP-A1 is already history in this thread, if I am not mistaken.

^Thnx for the input. You managed a really great deal on some top-notch equipment.  You are correct, a few months ago I passed on the best deal I ever found on a used, XT32 upgraded AVP-A1 for $3K-and  I'm not looking back.  I will wait to see what emerges. BTW, I have been following your interesting posts about Denon on the AVP-A1 thread. 


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post #95 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganymed4 View Post

However, there is a substantial difference in SQ between a dedicated pre/pro and an AVR, even with switched of power-amps.

 

You are stating that as a fact, but it is just your opinion.  In fact, there is no evidence that an AVR and its equivalent prepro (eg Onkyo 5009 and Onkyo 5509) will have any different 'sound' to each other at all. Assuming all DSPs, tone controls, EQ etc are either off or set the same, then the 'sound' will be the same in both units.

 

It would be rather disgraceful if this wasn’t so for relatively high-end units: if the units had a 'sound' of their own then they would be distorting the source material they were passing and one would not expect (and doesn't) find this with modern units of this type. Note that I am saying that controls deliberately designed to change the source material - eg tone controls - need to be disabled in this context.

 

If you have any objective evidence that a prepro and its equivalent AVR can be reliably identified, one from another, for example in a properly conducted blind ABX test, then please present it.

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post #96 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

You are stating that as a fact, but it is just your opinion.  In fact, there is no evidence that an AVR and its equivalent prepro (eg Onkyo 5009 and Onkyo 5509) will have any different 'sound' to each other at all. Assuming all DSPs, tone controls, EQ etc are either off or set the same, then the 'sound' will be the same in both units.

It would be rather disgraceful if this wasn’t so for relatively high-end units: if the units had a 'sound' of their own then they would be distorting the source material they were passing and one would not expect (and doesn't) find this with modern units of this type. Note that I am saying that controls deliberately designed to change the source material - eg tone controls - need to be disabled in this context.

If you have any objective evidence that a prepro and its equivalent AVR can be reliably identified, one from another, for example in a properly conducted blind ABX test, then please present it.
I believe Ganymed was talking about a higher end pre/pro where there isn't an AVR equivalent rather than models built off of the exact same platform such as the Onkyo units you referenced (where they basically just remove the amps to create a pre/pro model). While the Denon AVP-A1HDCI does have an AVR counterpart in the 5308, I don't believe the 5308 has the fully balanced preamp stage design that the AVP has. In this case while the 2 models do share some boards, they used the extra room from the amps to make some significant changes for the AVP.
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post #97 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Although this thread elicits opinion and experience with no caveats as to BAB, etc., I would indeed be most  appreciative if anyone could direct me to respectable, sophisticated BABx (and/or bench test comparisons)  that would address the question of just how similar the SQ  is between an AVR and "equivalent" pre/pro at the preout level.

 

To me, it is reasonable to think that there may be audible (even if only subtle/audiophile-level) differences.  As gsr points out, many of the pre/pros by major OEMs over recent yrs are not simply the AVRs minus the amps.  Rather, there are often design differences in the circuits that supposedly improve SQ.  

 

In any case I  would be very interested to know of any such acceptably controlled head-to-head comparisons, say, of the AVP-A1 vs 5308 or  8801 vs 4520, whether they show differences or not. 


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post #98 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 04:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

You are stating that as a fact, but it is just your opinion.  In fact, there is no evidence that an AVR and its equivalent prepro (eg Onkyo 5009 and Onkyo 5509) will have any different 'sound' to each other at all. Assuming all DSPs, tone controls, EQ etc are either off or set the same, then the 'sound' will be the same in both units.

It would be rather disgraceful if this wasn’t so for relatively high-end units: if the units had a 'sound' of their own then they would be distorting the source material they were passing and one would not expect (and doesn't) find this with modern units of this type. Note that I am saying that controls deliberately designed to change the source material - eg tone controls - need to be disabled in this context.

If you have any objective evidence that a prepro and its equivalent AVR can be reliably identified, one from another, for example in a properly conducted blind ABX test, then please present it.
I believe Ganymed was talking about a higher end pre/pro where there isn't an AVR equivalent rather than models built off of the exact same platform such as the Onkyo units you referenced (where they basically just remove the amps to create a pre/pro model). While the Denon AVP-A1HDCI does have an AVR counterpart in the 5308, I don't believe the 5308 has the fully balanced preamp stage design that the AVP has. In this case while the 2 models do share some boards, they used the extra room from the amps to make some significant changes for the AVP.

 

Fair point. In my original post on this I was comparing the Onkyo 5509 prepro vs the 3010/5010 AVRs and my point stands on that. Clearly, there could be differences between totally different units - one unit could be really badly manufactured for example while the other was not.

 

The question, of course, is not that changes are made internally but whether those changes have any audible impact.

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post #99 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post
 

Although this thread elicits opinion and experience with no caveats as to BAB, etc., I would indeed be most  appreciative if anyone could direct me to respectable, sophisticated BABx (and/or bench test comparisons)  that would address the question of just how similar the SQ  is between an AVR and "equivalent" pre/pro at the preout level.

 

To me, it is reasonable to think that there may be audible (even if only subtle/audiophile-level) differences.  As gsr points out, many of the pre/pros by major OEMs over recent yrs are not simply the AVRs minus the amps.  Rather, there are often design differences in the circuits that supposedly improve SQ.  

 

In any case I  would be very interested to know of any such acceptably controlled head-to-head comparisons, say, of the AVP-A1 vs 5308 or  8801 vs 4520, whether they show differences or not. 

 

It's much more difficult to compare prepros than amps. Amps are designed (or should be) so that they make zero changes to the signal as it passes through the amp, other than level. Prepros, OTOH, are specifically designed to modify the signal: they have tone controls, equalizers, Audyssey, a myriad DSPs and so on, all there solely to modify the signal.

 

What one could test I guess, is the prepro that has a direct AVR equivalent. For example, the Onkyo 5508 and the Onkyo 5008. The modern SS amps used in either case have been shown to have zero audible differences in ABX tests, so if differences can be detected in a properly conducted blind test, then it would have to be the preamp section that was responsible. All systems would have to be set to 'flat' or 'off' or whatever.

 

To state opinion as fact is the main problem in these discussions IMO. It is no more valid to make a statement that prepros and AVRs 'sound different' than it is for me to state that they don't. I am sure that there would be no discernible difference in SQ if I were to swap my 5509/Emo amps for an Onkyo 5010 AVR. They are identically specced units, other than the amps. It doesn’t advance the collective knowledge of the thread for people to make unsupported statements of opinion as though they are facts.  To say, "there is a substantial difference in SQ between a dedicated pre/pro and an AVR"  is to present that opinion as though it were a fact. It isn't - unless there is some objective evidence to support it, which was not presented. 

 

I know of no tests of the sort you describe, but would be interested in them if anyone can point to them. I doubt they exist. Meanwhile, it is my opinion, that prepros and their equivalent AVRs sound identical :) 

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post #100 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 05:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

 

 

To me, it is reasonable to think that there may be audible (even if only subtle/audiophile-level) differences.  As gsr points out, many of the pre/pros by major OEMs over recent yrs are not simply the AVRs minus the amps.  Rather, there are often design differences in the circuits that supposedly improve SQ.  

 

 

I'd love to see those design differences explained in detail so that we could have a chance of evaluating the differences they make. Changes aren’t an issue - whether the changes give audible differences is what matters - and using 'super duper gold plated this and that' might make a great marketing difference, and justify the considerable additional cost of the prepro over an equivalent AVR, but it's not likely that it will make any audible difference. 

 

One of the touted reasons why a prepro might sound better than an AVR, for example, is that the small, delicate signals in the preamp stage are physically separated from the big, brute force signals of the power amp stage and this separation will reduce the possibility of noise in the preamp stages. Yeah, well this would be the case if the AVR was really crap and really badly designed and made. But we are talking about high quality units from the world's leading manufacturers. They solved the noise problems way back. Or let's say, they are below the levels of audibility and therefore of no concern to us.

 

Best advice I personally could give anyone thinking of buying a prepro is: check if there is an equivalent AVR and buy that instead. It's cheaper to start with and you also get some nice free amps included in the deal! (And I speak as someone who bought a prepro!  But only because there wasn't an equivalent AVR at that time that had Audyssey Pro capability. If I was buying today, I'd choose the Onkyo 3010. But note, it is only Pro-ready in Europe - in the US the marketing chiefs want to protect the Integra brand (not available in Europe) so they blocked the Pro capabilities of the 3010/5010 in the USA).

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post #101 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
 

The question, of course, is not that changes are made internally but whether those changes have any audible impact.

Well put.  That is indeed the question!


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post #102 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

It's much more difficult to compare prepros than amps. Amps are designed (or should be) so that they make zero changes to the signal as it passes through the amp, other than level. Prepros, OTOH, are specifically designed to modify the signal: they have tone controls, equalizers, Audyssey, a myriad DSPs and so on, all there solely to modify the signal.

What one could test I guess, is the prepro that has a direct AVR equivalent. For example, the Onkyo 5508 and the Onkyo 5008. The modern SS amps used in either case have been shown to have zero audible differences in ABX tests, so if differences can be detected in a properly conducted blind test, then it would have to be the preamp section that was responsible. All systems would have to be set to 'flat' or 'off' or whatever.
IMO, the obvious way to do this comparison would be to ignore the amps in the AVR and use the AVR's preouts to the same amp you're using with the prepro. That takes ANY differences in amplification out of the comparison. Otherwise, you're potentially comparing 2 different preamp stages AND 2 different amps, which makes it a lot tougher to arrive to a meaningful conclusion unless the goal is to compare the AVR as a self contained package to a prepro and amp combination. Either way, it's a tough comparison to perform because there's probably no easy way to quickly switch back and forth between the 2. One possibility would be to use a HDMI distribution box between a source and the AVR and prepro, followed by a mutlichannel ABX switcher between the preouts of the AVR / prepro and inputs to the amp. This would allow the source to be completely in sync between the 2 and a quick way to switch whether you're listening to the AVR or prepro output. Probably not an easy test to pull off smile.gif.
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post #103 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 06:43 AM
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I would've bought the AVP-A1HDCI. You can get a nice display from BB, Sears, etc. anytime you want. A new fully balanced prepro of a the AVP's caliber that is still relevant not so much, the sun is setting quickly on that. No doubt that you needed the display upgrade, but the AVP is the real deal.

Woo Hoo
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post #104 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gsr View Post

IMO, the obvious way to do this comparison would be to ignore the amps in the AVR and use the AVR's preouts to the same amp you're using with the prepro...Probably not an easy test to pull off smile.gif.


Agreed, to simplify and clarify matters I'd use the preouts of the AVR to the same ext amp as the pre/pro.  I'd do tests in stereo as it's simpler to do-and easier to hear subtle differences in detail and imaging.  I'd have all processing off to begin with so we're just listening to the basic preamp circuits.    We need a single source of music for both, the switching part requires the right gear and is clearly not easy to do.  Same goes for comparisons of int amps vs ext amps or various ext amps to one another -all are difficult.  And THEN there's level-matching and executing the BAB....:eek:

 

That's why pretty much no one does this sort of highly controlled, scientifically based sort of comparison.  :(

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post #105 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flyingshane View Post

I would've bought the AVP-A1HDCI... the AVP is the real deal.

Here ya go, this one is available for just over $2K (but doesn't have the XT32 upgrade). 

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/processors-denon-a1hdci-flagship-preamp-processor-2013-10-29-home-theater-55304

;)


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Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

Here ya go, this one is available for just over $2K (but doesn't have the XT32 upgrade). 
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/processors-denon-a1hdci-flagship-preamp-processor-2013-10-29-home-theater-55304
wink.gif

That's actually not a bad deal, my treated room benefits very little from XT32 anyway. I've been on the XMC-1 waiting list for 5 years, and at this point with an imminent release date I'm holding out for that(insert emotiva joke here). Considered an AVP last year but they are still a chunk of change, and I'd want one with XT32 whether I used it or not, simply for the resale value.

Woo Hoo
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post #107 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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^He-he, hope springs eternal for that Emo processor.  I have their XPA-5 amp and really liked the SQ of the UMC1 analog HT Bypass prepro. The USP1 sounded clean too, but with my untreated room my SQ lives and dies by DSP.  Not that it would necessarily be of interest but I did a thread on my early experience with abandoning DSP in favor of a purer analog chain through HT bypass preamps:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1300698/preamps-with-ht-bypass-for-under-2k#post_19700441


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post #108 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

I believe Ganymed was talking about a higher end pre/pro where there isn't an AVR equivalent rather than models built off of the exact same platform such as the Onkyo units you referenced (where they basically just remove the amps to create a pre/pro model). While the Denon AVP-A1HDCI does have an AVR counterpart in the 5308, I don't believe the 5308 has the fully balanced preamp stage design that the AVP has. In this case while the 2 models do share some boards, they used the extra room from the amps to make some significant changes for the AVP.

Thank you gsr for helping me out here but I meant the difference between the Onkyo 905 and the 5507 I made some time ago with an external Marantz MM 8003. I could here a slight difference.

As people think there is a difference in the sound, it is not. The basics are clearly the same. The difference is in the speed and more clarity in the sound reproduction. You hear the 'second-row' and getting up the ladder the 'third-row' sound clearer and more accentuated. This is for me the main difference. You can compare this with the measurements you can see sending a rectangular impulse through the equipment and see the result on an oscilloscope. The less 'jaggies' you have the better the impulse reproduction is. If you hear this or not, is up to you.
Everybody hears different and has a different perception, therefore, I am far away from saying this is the only truth. There are many factors and why do sound tube amps so nice?

Even this comparison was far away from being scientific or accurate in the sense of equipment compared (905 vs. 5507), it also showed the smallest difference between all kinds of comparisons, I made. I just checked the old equipment vs. the new, when I bought something new.
This is not really a comparison and therefore, everybody writing here, it is just my impression is right.

But if you have the chance, I would recommend you to do such tests on your own and judge yourself.

My philosophy is to buy equipment only, if I can hear a difference. Up to now, I was lucky and reached a level, I am very happy with. If that is also good for you, I can not say. I can only say, for me it worked.
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post #109 of 111 Old 10-30-2013, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SoundofMind View Post

^Thnx for the input. You managed a really great deal on some top-notch equipment.  You are correct, a few months ago I passed on the best deal I ever found on a used, XT32 upgraded AVP-A1 for $3K-and  I'm not looking back.  I will wait to see what emerges. BTW, I have been following your interesting posts about Denon on the AVP-A1 thread. 

Thank you. This is very kind and I am happy that you found this interesting.
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post #110 of 111 Old 10-31-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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^welcome, bot.  I couldn't agree more.


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post #111 of 111 Old 10-31-2013, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by freecanben View Post

you can now distinctly hear the opposite speaker and that creates a stereo effect where there was none previously.
nrBe

And I do not understand,,
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