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post #1 of 18 Old 03-21-2013, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys. I've recently gotten back into HT and was itching for an upgrade to bring me up to date. I have An Anthem AVM-20v2 driving 2 & 5ch Anthem MCA amps. The AVM doesn't do HDMI but I still love the amps.

I've gone to 2 Anthem dealers and was quite up front about not having the cash for the latest AVM model and inquired about using a receiver or integrating a hdmi switch. Both dealers told me that they had no current model receiver by any brand that would match the audio quality of my 10yr. old Pre/Pro. BUT.. the addition of the newest dolby and dts decoding and rm correction, etc.. would outweigh staying with the AVM if HT was a priority over 2-ch audio and running 25ft. single-ended interconnects to the amps instead of balanced.

I kind of walked away confused and trying to figure out the salespeople's angle and just thinking they wanted to make a sale ( don't get me wrong, I want to buy. Buy properly informed).

Then I mistakenly went to a 2-ch Audio only store. This guy couldn't sell me anything but used to work as recently as last year for a Mid-Fi HT store and took a few loose minutes he had to chat, his opinion concurred with the others as far as the AVM sounding better but suggested a switch or possibly a video processor with a integrated switch and to stay away from a receiver.

I'm really tempted by the new Anthem AVR's as well as the Emotiva, Outlaw and Sherbourne pre/pro's. If waiting a couple years for $$ for a newer AVM is the consensus, no prob, I'll wait it out with a bluray that decodes the latest dolby and dts, maybe an oppo to cover my hdmi switch as well. I really need expert unbiased help to put this behind me and move forward in confidence.

What weight does that sound carry vs. the newer tech available today
I'd still be using my amps just maybe not balanced.
Does buying a unified unit (AVr or pre/pro) outweigh adding another piece of gear (switch) into the mix.

Help needed.

Thanks in advance,

Gcap

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post #2 of 18 Old 03-21-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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New AVR - ALL day. Buy the Pio SC-1221 from newegg for dirt cheap with the killer class d amps that are as clean as there is in an AVR which is the exact same amp as the Pioneer Elite SC-61-63 which as $1,000 plus AVR fro halph price and are amazing and super powerful and if you end up for odd reason not to like the class D then jsut use the preout and the Pioneer is a killer processor and get a used GFA-555 or the like for a few hundred and its still better than anther built in AVR amps. When spending new money and you want a pro for TV it must have HDMI period. Then you talk about adding or removing this or that. The Pio has the airplay, hdmi, pic unconvert, killer amp, preouts, duel subs, pandora, dnla, on and on and on...
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-21-2013, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcap View Post

Hi guys. I've recently gotten back into HT and was itching for an upgrade to bring me up to date. I have An Anthem AVM-20v2 driving 2 & 5ch Anthem MCA amps. The AVM doesn't do HDMI but I still love the amps.

I've gone to 2 Anthem dealers and was quite up front about not having the cash for the latest AVM model and inquired about using a receiver or integrating a hdmi switch. Both dealers told me that they had no current model receiver by any brand that would match the audio quality of my 10yr. old Pre/Pro. BUT.. the addition of the newest dolby and dts decoding and rm correction, etc.. would outweigh staying with the AVM if HT was a priority over 2-ch audio and running 25ft. single-ended interconnects to the amps instead of balanced.

I kind of walked away confused and trying to figure out the salespeople's angle and just thinking they wanted to make a sale ( don't get me wrong, I want to buy. Buy properly informed).

Then I mistakenly went to a 2-ch Audio only store. This guy couldn't sell me anything but used to work as recently as last year for a Mid-Fi HT store and took a few loose minutes he had to chat, his opinion concurred with the others as far as the AVM sounding better but suggested a switch or possibly a video processor with a integrated switch and to stay away from a receiver.

I'm really tempted by the new Anthem AVR's as well as the Emotiva, Outlaw and Sherbourne pre/pro's. If waiting a couple years for $$ for a newer AVM is the consensus, no prob, I'll wait it out with a bluray that decodes the latest dolby and dts, maybe an oppo to cover my hdmi switch as well. I really need expert unbiased help to put this behind me and move forward in confidence.

What weight does that sound carry vs. the newer tech available today
I'd still be using my amps just maybe not balanced.
Does buying a unified unit (AVr or pre/pro) outweigh adding another piece of gear (switch) into the mix.

Help needed.

Thanks in advance,

Gcap

Going with an AVR as a prepro is an excellent option over spending big bucks on an Anthem prepro. If you are looking for HDMI for video you could get an HDMI switch to send the video to your display. If you have a bluray player with a 7.1 analog output you could use that to get the HD audio formats. I had the AVM 30 and used a Monoprice HDMI switch that worked quite well till I bought a HDMI processor. At times I wished I kept the AVM 30 as it and the AVM 20 are excellent prepros IMO. Although you will not have auto room correction if you did stay with the AVM 20. I think for the cost of an HDMI switch it is worth trying smile.gif.

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post #4 of 18 Old 03-22-2013, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys,

I understand that the sound will be a bit different from brand to brand depending on the components they use, that I can understand and live with.
What worries me I guess from speaking with the dealers is how much of a drop in quality as far as solidity and openness of the sound.
I may be making a lot out of nothing but I've never had a receiver in my Setup. I went from a J.E. Sugden 2ch class-A years ago into Ht with pre/pros.

Bill, besides a sound change or shift what would you say the major differences are in your sound? Oh, and are you using the same amps as you were using previously?

G

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post #5 of 18 Old 03-22-2013, 09:41 AM
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The big game changers are room correction and blu-ray audio. Keep your amps and get an Anthem MRX300, it's only $1000, so you won't feel bad if you feel the need to upgrade in a few years if something better comes along. I went from a BK Ref20 to the Anthem last year and have been very happy. I use it in conjunction with a Parasound 5 ch amp.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-22-2013, 04:52 PM
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Since you already have high-end amps I would go with a lossless codec pre-pro. As others have said another option is using a Blu-Ray player with 5.1 analog outputs and a HDMI switch for the video. Adding a receiver to the mix would be like putting one of those cheap steering wheel covers on your M3 or adding those ridiculous stick people stickers on the back. Sure you can do it, but why compromise the quality you already paid for? Having owned several Lexicon processors over the years I got tired of waiting for them to release a new lossless processor and I went with an Outlaw 975. It surpasses the Lexicon in sound quality. I have also heard great things about the Marantz and Cary processors and they are reasonably priced as well. I do like Anthem though, I bought one of their DACs when they were Sonic Frontiers years ago and it was fantastic. smile.gif

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-23-2013, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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HI all, I 'm keeping an open mind regarding my options and agree that if i'm going through this exercise, the new decoding options, hdmi and to a lesser degree room corrections are my goals.

"Lossless decoding"
is this referring to the new dolby and DTS?

"Adding a receiver to the mix would be like putting one of those cheap steering wheel covers on your M3...why compromise the quality you already paid for?"
Although I mostly agree with your comment I wonder about the difference in the "lossless codec pre-pro" mentioned and a receiver. Have the quality of anthem DAC's from 10 yrs ago not tricked down into their new AVR's? How would the components found in them differ from those in the Outlaw? You see these Outlaw, Emotiva or others I'm not aware of in these price ranges confuse me because I see them as Amp-less receivers, receivers with pre-outs usually have more features in the software ( thinking of ARC room correction over the outlaw) basically a stepping stone to when I get enough cash to buy a grown-up version.

Please clarify me if I'm wrong because in general, I really like how they're small and uncluttered. Can't beat the price either.

"It surpasses the Lexicon in sound quality"
I had one of the very early ones also and found the Anthem had better sound quality to my ears, Is this a testament to how good the Outlaw is or more a function of evolving tech? In any case, If it sounds as good as the AVM, I might just bite.

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post #8 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Any opinions?

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post #9 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 04:34 PM
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Adding a receiver to the mix would be like putting one of those cheap steering wheel covers on your M3 or adding those ridiculous stick people stickers on the back. Sure you can do it, but why compromise the quality you already paid for?

What are the compromises of having an AVR as a prepro to that of a dedicated prepro? I would bet serious money you could not tell the difference between the Onkyo 5009 (AVR) and the Onkyo 5509 (prepro). In your above quoted post you state AVR with no mention of the quality or price range.
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Bill, besides a sound change or shift what would you say the major differences are in your sound? Oh, and are you using the same amps as you were using previously?

That is hard to say as it has been a number of years since I owned the AVM 30. There have been many amp and speaker changes since then. The speaker changes have been the biggest improvements in SQ with my system far above that with the amp changes.

Bill


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post #10 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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What are the compromises of having an AVR as a prepro to that of a dedicated prepro? I would bet serious money you could not tell the difference between the Onkyo 5009 (AVR) and the Onkyo 5509 (prepro).

Bill
I'm sure you're 100% right ( especially staying within the same brand) but I haven't been sure enough of my my short-list to bother a dealer for an in-home trial.
But, that's another pre/pro mystery that I can't get past.
I'm not familiar with the onkyo line but in general this seems to be the case with most manufacturers, as a an example, going back to anthem, 2 of their 3 receivers have USB, Ethernet streaming , and 7 ch amps above what their pre offers at 3 to 4 times the price. $4000 difference is huge even if their avr's room correction is hobbled and they don't offer balanced outputs.
Where's the price difference justification and if it is real and justified, how are Outlaw and Emo doing it at the price of an amp-less receiver? No their SW may not be as sophisticated or have toroidal transformers but can all the audio and video processing be on par?

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post #11 of 18 Old 03-26-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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HI, was sure that I had finally decided to get an oppo drive that would accept and switch another 2 HDMI sources as well as convert them and decode DTS Master and dolby true HD, send digital audio or 8 ch analog out to my 7.1 ch Anthem AVM-2.

Till... I looked and found that my 7.1 pre.pro has 6-ch direct in. Can it be done or have I been looking at this scenario all wrong and an outboard video switcher/upscaler paired with the newest codecs won't even work?

Is an new avr my only real solution if I want it all or can I COMBINE the rear back outs from the processor with those from the Oppo drive?

As a 7.1 pre/pro I never expected that it didn't have 7.1 ins.

G

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post #12 of 18 Old 03-26-2013, 08:16 PM
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I am surprised the AVM20 only has a 5.1 analog input. In that case the only proper way to get the loss less codecs would be a new pre-amp or use the pre-amp section of an AVR.

Bill, the compromises in using an AVR as a pre-pro is that you are using a product that was engineered to perform the major functions of three devices at a certain price point versus a device designed with one function in mind. For example in my Outlaw you have multiple power supplies of varying quality for the job at hand. The DACs get the low EMI toroidal power transformer, separate rectifier, etc.. and the things like the display and illumination get a rather cheap switch mode power supply. In most receivers I have seen, including my own living room Denon, there is single power supply for multiple functions. Things like the quality of the DAC and analog output stage can also be improved upon in a pre-pro when not trying to also fit a power amplifier (with expensive power supply components and output devices!) inside the same chassis and still keep the final cost within the price point of the piece.

That said, I do agree that ones choice of speakers, their placement, and room treatments will make a larger difference than electronics. My wife enjoys both our theater and the Denon and mentions that the Denon sounds "really nice". But that may be because there is only one remote and less confusion. smile.gif

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post #13 of 18 Old 03-26-2013, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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WOW! Although I've never needed them before, I couldn't have imagined that a 7.1 pre would only have 5.1 direct ins. I had my mind set on the workaround of switching in the oppo player and now I see I don't have the options I once thought I did. I'm not going to invest just to have exactly what I can decode already. I can already send hdmi to a screen and decode up to the DTS Discrete et al.

I guess a new budget pre and my older blu ray will do just fine

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post #14 of 18 Old 03-27-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I just checked out the Anthem website to see if maybe the AVM30 had 8ch ins as there is one for sale locally that I could pick up for a Net cost of about $100 after selling my 20.

Their 30, 40, 50 as well as the current 50v3D only have 6ch ins. Didn't check the Statement line as it's out of budget but kind of strange seeing that the all have 10ch output including sub2 and center2.

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post #15 of 18 Old 03-27-2013, 10:44 AM
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Hello gcap.

I do understand your dilemma in a very intimate way. A couple of years ago, I went from using an HDMI-less Marantz flagship AVR as a pre-pro w/a Marantz multi-channel amp combo to an older dedicated Rotel pre-pro with Anthem MCA 20 and MCA 5 amplifiers, not unlike what you have now. Prior to replacing the Marantz combo, I used a 3/1 HDMI switcher and routed video directly to the monitor. For High Res audio, I used the 7.1 analogue multi-channel outs from the blu-ray player to the Marantz AVR. It worked flawlessly. But, even though I was experiencing both higher video and audio resolution, I wanted better efficiency, less cables and if it was possible, improved audio quality.

The thing is, as much as I love new technology, when I acquired the Rotel RSP-1069, while it does provide me with HDMI (v1.1) switching, room correction or the pre-pro's ability to decode hi-res audio still wasn't a priority to me. I was very comfortable with using calibration discs, an SPL meter and my eyes and ears to hone in the settings. As far as experiencing hi-res audio, I allow the blu-ray player to decode the hi-res signal, convert to LPCM then send it to the Rotel via HDMI. Again, it works flawlessly. For SACD and DVD-A audio, I do employ the multi-channel inputs. I still use the HDMI switcher due to the fact that the 1069 only has 4 HDMI inputs and I have 6 HDMI capable devices. So there has been some streamlining when it comes to number of cables required.

The quest for improved sound quality is a difficult task if relying on the devices to make a difference. That being said, it's hard to say if I'm experiencing improved quality in sound. Right now, I'm satisfied with the end product, but I am now considering the newer technology such as 3D, networking, room correction, 4K and decoding the hi-res audio at the pre-pro stage instead of at the source device. So the question is:

-Do I replace my Rotel pre-pro with the most recent mid-range AVR with all the bells and whistles and hope the pre-amp section is worthy of producing the audio quality I'm accustomed to.

-Opt for the recent moderate priced pre-pro offerings from Emotiva, Sherborne, Outlaw, and the like. Pre-pro config satisfied, but what are the compromises, if any? Audio quality? Build quality? Prestige? (Pride of ownership) It does matter!wink.gif

-Or take the same route to took when I purchased the Rotel.... save money by finding a 1-2 year old higher end pre-pro with that will give you quasi-current technology like, a minimum of v1.3 HDMI switching, mid -level room correction and some networking capability and excellent audio quality?

Gcap, all of this sound familiar, right? The bottom line comes down to $$$$$, the budget. What are you willing to invest at this moment. That will have the biggest impact on determining your path. $4-600, $700-999, $1000+ ..... there's a lot of choices in those price ranges.

You can find a pre-owned Emotiva UMC-1 pre-pro for $400 and that will give you the basics in current technology and hold you over until you're ready to make the big move.

Or find a discontinued Marantz AV7005 or maybe an Onkyo 5507/Integra 80.1 pre-pro for a grand or so. Higher quality than the Emotiva, but more money of course.

You can also opt for a new entry to mid level Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Yammie AVR as a pre-pro that will have the most recent feature sets, keeping it all digital and of course hope for decent audio quality. Some will argue about the quality of the analogue stages and DAC's at this level.

Then of course, there is the HDMI switcher option and staying with what you have until you save up for the big purchase, which is fine, but if that is really a consideration, then that means you are willing to forgo any new technology for the time being and be content with the AVM20's attributes. If that's the case, find an Emotiva UMC-1 and wait it out.

I myself, am considering a 1-2 year old higher end pre-pro. One that will give me features that I my 1069 lacks, such as 3D pass-thru, hi-res decoding at the pre-pro and USB connectivity. What can I say, I'm a creature of habit.wink.gif

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post #16 of 18 Old 03-27-2013, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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HAHAHA, yeah pretty much sounds as spot on as it gets.

My unwillingness to spend big and pride of ownership factor are what are making me look for the absolute cheapest way into this upgrade ( the $$ is going on an FP in this year's spending) personally I love the Anthem line but feel that other than hdmi and new processing, they haven't been any more than incremental updates since the 20 that I own.
I've found a used Marantz 7005 but it's more than the new UMC-200. The magor advantage for the 7005 is that is has balanced outputs and I wouldn't have to buy xlr to rca adapters.

Thanks for your inout

G

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post #17 of 18 Old 03-27-2013, 03:36 PM
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HAHAHA, yeah pretty much sounds as spot on as it gets.

My unwillingness to spend big and pride of ownership factor are what are making me look for the absolute cheapest way into this upgrade ( the $$ is going on an FP in this year's spending) personally I love the Anthem line but feel that other than hdmi and new processing, they haven't been any more than incremental updates since the 20 that I own.
I've found a used Marantz 7005 but it's more than the new UMC-200. The magor advantage for the 7005 is that is has balanced outputs and I wouldn't have to buy xlr to rca adapters.

Thanks for your inout

G

Hey man, I feel your pain. By the way, based on the equipment you have listed in your signature block, you have an impressive ensemble as it currently sits. The Paradigm Studio Reference package really allows for a lot of latitude when it comes to sound quality, meaning, you can pretty much connect anything of decent quality to them and your audio is going to be outstanding. Speakers and their placement along with treatments in the room will be the biggest contributor to sound quality. The components although important, can be interchangeable and still get pretty much achieve similar performance.

I've considered the Marantz AV7005, only because of my previous satisfying experience with Marantz products. But, reality always sets in and life's priorities throws a hey-maker right at the cranium! Both college and private school tuitions puts thing in perspective!rolleyes.gif So if I do anything, it must make economical sense! (Big bang for the buck, I'm talking: Huge!) Not only that, the device must be able to maintain relevancy for at least 3 years!tongue.gif I remember the days, when you could purchase a device, depending on what it was, would be good for at least 5-10 years before you developed the urgency to upgrade. Not now! Those days are over. 3 years, tops! There's no money in longevity!frown.gif
Analogue is slowly being phased out. I just saw the new Denon AVR E-Series AVR's and it had only HDMI inputs, USB, ethernet inputs and speaker terminals! That's it! One or No Component Video, a couple of composites and only 4 (max) L&R audio inputs. No multi-channel in's, no pre outs. It all happens at the Denon or it doesn't happen at all! Eventually, you will be forced to convert to an all digital pathway. So with that said, how will you be able to determine/measure audio quality. Digital is digital. 1's and 0's. That will just take the fun out of the relentless pursuit of achieving the best audio quality.

The Emotiva UMC-200 is a decent choice, but it I suggest that you invest some time over in the Emotiva lounge and get a idea of how it's trending. The followers over there, are raw! They will express under no uncertain terms how they feel about the products. The UMC-1 had a lot of issues but for the most part, with all of the firmware updates, have been resolved and many give it glowing reviews. The UMC-200 although more advanced, still has some kinks that need to be ironed out.

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post #18 of 18 Old 03-27-2013, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiophil View Post

Bill, the compromises in using an AVR as a pre-pro is that you are using a product that was engineered to perform the major functions of three devices at a certain price point versus a device designed with one function in mind. For example in my Outlaw you have multiple power supplies of varying quality for the job at hand. The DACs get the low EMI toroidal power transformer, separate rectifier, etc.. and the things like the display and illumination get a rather cheap switch mode power supply. In most receivers I have seen, including my own living room Denon, there is single power supply for multiple functions. Things like the quality of the DAC and analog output stage can also be improved upon in a pre-pro when not trying to also fit a power amplifier (with expensive power supply components and output devices!) inside the same chassis and still keep the final cost within the price point of the piece.

Phil,

I agree with your points that a prepro has an advantage to focus on build quality and components due to not having to stuff an amp section in the box. But my point from my earlier post is do all the factors you mention really equate to an obvious SQ improvement? I have not found it to be true but that is just my opinion smile.gif.

Bill


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, watch it grow and my wallet shrink ;-).

 

Denon 4311 (in preamp mode), Parasound 2100, Boston Acoustics A7200 amp, Oppo BDP-103, Consonance CD120, Panasonic TC-P60GT50 plasma, Panamax 5100EX, Salk Song Towers, Song Center, ADS 300C (surrounds) and two Rythmik F12SEs.
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