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Old 01-10-2013, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I am very, very close to purchasing a set of PSB Synchrony Ones and matching center channel (see my speaker posting if you can chime in). I am now trying to figure out how to power them. I have been reading and reading all of the great advice, reviews, etc. The speakers will be for a mix of home theater and 2 channel listening. Sadly, in the store they were hooked up to Esoteric equipment totaling more than $35k including the CD player. So back to reality...

I have been reading and receiving lots of advice on separates vs. integrated. I would like to do this right the first time and not upgrade for a very, very long time. I do not need a huge ton of bells and whistles. Sound quality and the ability to drive the new speakers are most important. If I am going to purchase the Synchrony Ones I want them to sound good. I will mostly play blu rays, DVDs and music CDs, and perhaps MP3s if I decide to resample them to a higher rate. My budget is in the $3k-6k range.

For separates, here are some of the options I have heard and/or read about (in no particular order):

Integra 80.3/70.01 combo
NAD M15/M25 combo (slightly more than the price range I listed)
Marantz 8801/8077 combo
Marantz 7701/7055 combo

On the integrated side, the recommendations are:
NAD T787
NAD T777
Rotel RSX-1562
Marantz SR7007
Sony STR-DA5800ES

Do I go with a less expensive unit like the SR7007 and add an amp to that? Go for the true pre pro/amp combo? Any Synchrony One owners out there that can say what they like? Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 01-10-2013, 05:56 PM
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There is nothing gained by the pre pro/amp combo over an AVR used as a pre pro with dedicated amplifiers. You also can't resample an MP3 to a higher rate with magic software. Once the information is lost by having an MP3 file the information is lost forever unless you have a copy of the original file in a higher rate file. Wav or Apple Lossless for instance or the original cd with the wav file.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

There is nothing gained by the pre pro/amp combo over an AVR used as a pre pro with dedicated amplifiers. You also can't resample an MP3 to a higher rate with magic software. Once the information is lost by having an MP3 file the information is lost forever unless you have a copy of the original file in a higher rate file. Wav or Apple Lossless for instance or the original cd with the wav file.

On the MP3s, I meant to say resample all my CDs which is 99% of my MP3 library. But you are right about no magic software. I was lamenting have to burn them all again. :-(

On the first comment, what is the primary reason that someone would buy a pre/pro instead of an AVR (assuming they were going to add a dedicated amp)?

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:06 PM
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There really has never been any proven added benefit to a pre pro over an AVR as a preamp. Some have claimed some magic isolation clarity from the lack of amplifiers being in a pre pro but it's snake oil. All a pre pro will do is make your wallet a lot lighter with no added performance benefits. They cost more because of supply and demand. Very few of them are made so they're very expensive compared to an AVR with pre outs. The resale is also poor because not many people want them. Later on an AVR can be moved to another room since it has amplifiers in it. It can also be sold easier for the same reasons.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

There really has never been any proven added benefit to a pre pro over an AVR as a preamp. Some have claimed some magic isolation clarity from the lack of amplifiers being in a pre pro but it's snake oil. All a pre pro will do is make your wallet a lot lighter with no added performance benefits. They cost more because of supply and demand. Very few of them are made so they're very expensive compared to an AVR with pre outs. The resale is also poor because not many people want them. Later on an AVR can be moved to another room since it has amplifiers in it. It can also be sold easier for the same reasons.

That's really helpful. Any thoughts on the AVR models above? The NAD units would still lighten my wallet load, although not as much as the M15.

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:15 PM
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I don't have any specific preference over any of those units you have listed. Here's how I would look at making a selection. I would carefully find out what AVR had the bells and whistles I was looking for. Meaning the differences in room correction calibration or any other function that is important to you. There is really no need to buy the most expensive option like the Nad for instance if it doesn't have the functions you want.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:32 PM
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It depends a lot on your room but if I had a do over I would heavily consider an Oppo 105, Parasound P7 and A31 and an ATI2004. For music I am not a fan of DSP but a difficult room could change that.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Jima4a - I will look up that equipment you recommend. I will probably have to go to the Oppo 103 for price issues (even that's a lot). I look forward to checking out the other components.

Another newbie question for this thread. I understand the Synchrony Ones are 4 ohm speakers. As I looked at some of the components above, specifically the Marantz pieces, none of the amps are rated for 4 ohms. How big an issue is this? Should I only be looking at 4 ohm amps? Right now I am contemplating a Marantz 7701 (or 8801) coupled with a NAD M25 which is 4 ohm rated. Should I not buy the Synchrony Ones because of this issue and look for a speaker to give me more flexibility?

Just when I thought I was close to understanding some of this.... At least it's all fun to learn about.

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Old 01-11-2013, 12:22 AM
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As noted in the Speaker Thread, pick your speakers first and build around those.

i would not go with the P7 without the 105 as it has better DACs and analog section

NAD stuff is good.

Since you are looking for HT also, I'm guessing, suggest:

Marantz 8801 with ATI AT3005 (or AT2005) Oppo 103. Or

Denon 4520 with A31 (or AT3003) and 103.

Order ATI from ClassicAudioParts, talk to Jeff in sales. May need 20 amp circuit for AT3005.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Ayre K-5xeMP, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olfac87 View Post

Jima4a - I will look up that equipment you recommend. I will probably have to go to the Oppo 103 for price issues (even that's a lot). I look forward to checking out the other components.

Another newbie question for this thread. I understand the Synchrony Ones are 4 ohm speakers. As I looked at some of the components above, specifically the Marantz pieces, none of the amps are rated for 4 ohms. How big an issue is this? Should I only be looking at 4 ohm amps? Right now I am contemplating a Marantz 7701 (or 8801) coupled with a NAD M25 which is 4 ohm rated. Should I not buy the Synchrony Ones because of this issue and look for a speaker to give me more flexibility?

Just when I thought I was close to understanding some of this.... At least it's all fun to learn about.

If you're going to get 4ohm speakers you need a 4ohm stable amplifier or AVR.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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If you're going to get 4ohm speakers you need a 4ohm stable amplifier or AVR.

Secret Squirrel - that's what I have heard. I was looking at the NAD integrated amps and read this in a review. Am I reading this correctly? I don't see the word "stable."
"The T787 and T777 both start off with sturdy, very low distortion, 7-channel amplifiers that are power output rated at 4 ohms with all channels driven across the full 20Hz to 20kHz frequency range."

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Old 01-11-2013, 05:16 PM
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From the way they have that worded the amplifiers are suited for 4ohm loads. It is possible to use 4ohm speakers with a 6-8ohm amplifier at lower or modest volumes but as you increase the volume with certain frequencies playing you might run into problems. I personally don't want to be thinking about possibly having amplifier problems. I would rather just be prepared with a 4ohm capable amplifier with 4ohm speakers or speakers with difficult impedance dips. I have some speakers that are that way.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that reply. I went back and checked some of the Marantz offerings and they are not rated for 4 ohms. I am a cautious person by nature and don't want to wonder if I will have problems at higher volumes. I will definitely check the specs of pieces as I look at them.

I wish I could say I was any closer. I continue to go back to the NAD equipment, although shelling out for the Masters series seems excessive. The ATIs don't seem like the right fit for my new Synchrony One speakers (and some the aesthetics don't work for me) and the AVR 600 had some mixed reviews. Maybe Integra or Emotiva? I am really, really trying to overcome the bias that more money automatically means better. Yes, I am sure some aspects are great but I want what I need, not necessarily more than that. So who's to say the Integra 80.3/70.1 combo won't work great and be half the price of the NAD M15/M25 combo?

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Old 01-13-2013, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Update:

I have been comparing a lot of amps online, making spreadsheets with specs, etc. Here is where it's at and perhaps some of you could offer some advice. (And for those who have on my other thread, thank you.)

I am initially powering a set of PSB Synchrony One towers and the Synchrony One C (center channel). I want a five channel amp (eventually will have rears). For new amps, I think I have narrowed it down to:

** ATI AT2005
** Outlaw Model 7500
** Parasound Halo A51 (maybe A52??)

The wrinkle in all this is audiogon has an unused Bryston 9B-SST from 2006 (note: not the SST2). While all the amps listed here have good reviews floating around the Internet and great testimonials on places like avsforum, the Bryston seems to stand out.

The question/dilemma: do I go with a newer (and potentially less expensive) model or the one-generation old Bryston which isn't too much more but is a steal from the original MSRP?

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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jima4a - I found this post that you started a few months back. What did you ultimately decide? It looked like you were heading to the 80.3 and then maybe went with the 4311?

I recently pulled the trigger on a Bryston 9B-SST and now need to make a decision on the pre-amp side.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by olfac87 View Post

Jima4a - I will look up that equipment you recommend. I will probably have to go to the Oppo 103 for price issues (even that's a lot). I look forward to checking out the other components.

Another newbie question for this thread. I understand the Synchrony Ones are 4 ohm speakers. As I looked at some of the components above, specifically the Marantz pieces, none of the amps are rated for 4 ohms. How big an issue is this? Should I only be looking at 4 ohm amps? Right now I am contemplating a Marantz 7701 (or 8801) coupled with a NAD M25 which is 4 ohm rated. Should I not buy the Synchrony Ones because of this issue and look for a speaker to give me more flexibility?

Just when I thought I was close to understanding some of this.... At least it's all fun to learn about.

If you're going to get 4ohm speakers you need a 4ohm stable amplifier or AVR.

Not that finding such a thing is any kind of a trick.

Many people are confused by the fact that many AVRs lack FTC (government-mandated) power ratings for operation into 4 ohm loads.

That doesn't mean that they get into trouble with 4 ohm speakers. For example, most of the current Yamaha AVRs are rated for operation into 4 and even 2 ohm loads (but not per FTC standards). In the real world they work fine!

FTC ratings are based on bench tests with pure tones and resistive loads that are far tougher than listening to music.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I am hoping to resurrect my own thread with an update. For those following along at home, I am building a music/HT setup. I now have:

1. PSB Synchrony One Towers and center
2. A 9B-SST 5-channel amplifier

Many of you have given me great advice on the next part: should I go "2-channel pre-amp+receiver" or "multi-channel pre-amp." Both camps have made strong cases. At the moment let's assume the 2-channel + receiver route. Now I am compiling a list of sub-$2k 2-channel pre-amps with HT bypass. For new, so far I have the following:

New:
* Emotiva USP-1
(Edit) * Emotiva XSP-1
* Parasound 2100
* Parasound 7 (technically not a 2-channel amp but seems to be highly regarded for 2 channel listening)

On the used front I have lines on:
* Cambridge Audio 840E
* Bel Canto PRe 6 Gen II

Most of the threads I have encountered are 2-4 years old so I want to see if anyone has any thoughts on the choices above or if there is something else I should consider. Thanks as always.

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Old 01-24-2013, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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So I thought I would close out my own thread in case anyone is still following. My (almost) final setup now looks like:

Panasonic P65VT50 television
PSB Synchrony One towers
PSB Synchrony One center
Rears (TBD)
Bryston 9B-SST 5 channel amplifier
Krell KAV-250p pre-amplifier
Marantz SR5007 AVR (ok, not ordered yet but it's next)
Oppo BDP-103 (ok, not ordered yet but it's next)
Power Sound XV15 subwoofer
Cables (TBD)
Standout Designs Haven 72" Media Console

Thanks everyone for the help and I'm sure I will be posting some more. Feel free to provide any comments or suggestions on the setup above as I look forward to the setup stage.

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