Higher end receiver vs. entry level separates. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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As big as this forum is I'm sure this has been discussed multiple times but, at the risk of being directed to an older thread, I'm going to ask again. What is the general opinion on high end (or higher end) receivers vs entry level separates? For the same money that I spent on the CA 751r receiver, I could have bought a Marantz AV7701 pre and a MM7055 5ch amp. Crutchfield is even offering half off of an additional 2ch amp ($400) if you buy all three together. It was real tempting, but I chose the receiver. I have always wanted separates and in a way kind of regret not trying them, but I'm a believer in the saying that you get what you pay for. The CA receiver is a really nice piece of equiptment. I know nothing of Marantz but can only imagine that the entry level stuff is not built with the same standards as there higher end line of separates. I need something to last a long time. What chall think?
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post #2 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 10:41 AM
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My opinion is certainly not mainstream. I think high end receivers will have more features than outboard processors. Other than that I think it is a wash. I think receivers are a better value overall. Also, I'm not altogether certain that lower end receivers are built with lesser quality. Actually it is difficult for manufacturers to manage different quality levels. I think for the most part, the higher end receivers have more features and a whole lot more gross profit for everyone along the line. I have a near top of the line Pioneer Elite receiver and a bottom of the line Pioneer receiver. The low end receiver has few features aside from the normal video and audio processing but it sounds the same, has the same reliability and looks about the same in terms of overall quality. I could put the low end one where the high end one is and be perfectly content.
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post #3 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Sometimes I think its just in my mind. If I'm looking at a $1000 receiver and there is a $1200 receiver next to it, I always tend to want the more expensive one. There are some big differences in cheap and expensive receivers. Mostly build quality and weight, which neither may not matter at the end of the day, but I like the look and feel of well built stuff, aluminum fnt panels, big transformers etc. I agree with the receiver being a better all around package if your budget is around $4000 or less, but separates start making sense after the price range is inflated. The way I think is you figure your budget first, then list your needs, list your wants, then shop for what you can afford. If my budget is $1000, I probably won't buy a $500 receiver, I will tend to go a few dollars over rather then under. But if my budget was say $6000, I would be shopping separates and not even considering a receiver. But when the lines start to cross, say around $2800 -$3500, then the choice is a little more difficult. Its hard to say which would be better between a great receiver and a decent pre&amp. I guess it would come down to space.
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post #4 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 12:46 PM
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But if my budget was say $6000, I would be shopping separates and not even considering a receiver.

I'd say with that kind money at hand, I'd go with the existing AVR and not upgrade and buy two high performance subs. What could that kinda money fetch??? Dual JTR OS LFU eek.gif

Your avr can playback sound as good as your speakers are. I'd upgrade my subs.

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post #5 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by braveheart123 View Post

I'd say with that kind money at hand, I'd go with the existing AVR and not upgrade and buy two high performance subs. What could that kinda money fetch??? Dual JTR OS LFU eek.gif

Your avr can playback sound as good as your speakers are. I'd upgrade my subs.

What type of speakers does the OP have?

Bill

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post #6 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 01:55 PM
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What type of speakers does the OP have?

That I don't know, but those subs can mate well with any high sensitivity speakers e.g. Klipsch

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post #7 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mike47 View Post

The way I think is you figure your budget first, then list your needs, list your wants, then shop for what you can afford. If my budget is $1000, I probably won't buy a $500 receiver, I will tend to go a few dollars over rather then under. But if my budget was say $6000, I would be shopping separates and not even considering a receiver. But when the lines start to cross, say around $2800 -$3500, then the choice is a little more difficult. Its hard to say which would be better between a great receiver and a decent pre&amp. I guess it would come down to space.

You must have the belief that separates sound better than receivers. That isn't true. An outboard amp can be necessary under some circumstances but the reality is that those circumstances are rather rare for the typical home theater owner. they involve large rooms and the use of a handful of high end speakers. Most outboard amps purchased by audiophiles are wanted rather than needed. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but one can save some bucks by understanding where needs and wants get separated and getting objective about things.

Personally, I think $500 is a sweet spot in most manufacturers' AV receiver lines. Most of them are 7.1 channel with some internet connectivity. They will have 3D pass through as well in case you want that. They won't have preamp outputs and some features like multi room processing. But they will do almost as much as the pricier models. It is a matter of deciding what you need and will use.

The sound quality of your system depends primarily on speakers and room acoustics. The rest of the stuff isn't so important.
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post #8 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I have Polk RTi A7s front and some older Infinity surrounds and center. Sub is old school Polk psw 650 dragged up from the basement when my new 660wi died. Im replacing the sub with two Infinity 10's (not here yet).
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

You must have the belief that separates sound better than receivers. That isn't true. An outboard amp can be necessary under some circumstances but the reality is that those circumstances are rather rare for the typical home theater owner. they involve large rooms and the use of a handful of high end speakers. Most outboard amps purchased by audiophiles are wanted rather than needed. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but one can save some bucks by understanding where needs and wants get separated and getting objective about things.

Personally, I think $500 is a sweet spot in most manufacturers' AV receiver lines. Most of them are 7.1 channel with some internet connectivity. They will have 3D pass through as well in case you want that. They won't have preamp outputs and some features like multi room processing. But they will do almost as much as the pricier models. It is a matter of deciding what you need and will use.




Nothing wrong with a $500 receiver in my eyes, but if my budget is higher then I usually buy higher if not I get what I can afford. Truth be known, I dont think many need a receiver that cost more that $500. That price range has some great features but they tend to be a little lower on power which is important to me because I listen to music in a biggish room and I like to crank it up loud and clear sometimes. Thats why I chose the CA 751r mostly because of its audio abilities and power. Not sure if I could match that with a $500 receiver.
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post #10 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mike47 View Post

I have Polk RTi A7s front and some older Infinity surrounds and center. Sub is old school Polk psw 650 dragged up from the basement when my new 660wi died. Im replacing the sub with two Infinity 10's (not here yet).

Mike,

The Polk RTi A7s look like nice speakers. What are you using for a center speaker? But I have to be honest and suggest (a bit late though) that you should have spent much less on the AVR. The better money spent is on speaker upgrades and not electronics IMO. Nothing against the CA 751r but it is an AVR that lists for $2999 with an entry level version of Audyssey (2EQ). I think spending $2000 on speaker upgrades and $1000 max on an AVR (with preouts) is the way to go.

Bill

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post #11 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:20 PM
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I found a discontinued Denon AVR-4311ci at ONECALL dot com for $1299 and it comes with the Denon 3 year warranty, the ability to drive 4 Ohm speakers, and has Audyssey MultEQ XT-32 which is awesome...If they have any left that could be a good bang-for-your-buck option.
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post #12 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

I found a discontinued Denon AVR-4311ci at ONECALL dot com for $1299 and it comes with the Denon 3 year warranty, the ability to drive 4 Ohm speakers, and has Audyssey MultEQ XT-32 which is awesome...If they have any left that could be a good bang-for-your-buck option.

That is an excellent suggestion. I'm not saying that because I have the 4311 but it really is an excellent AVR especially at $1299.

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post #13 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

Mike,

The Polk RTi A7s look like nice speakers. What are you using for a center speaker? But I have to be honest and suggest (a bit late though) that you should have spent much less on the AVR. The better money spent is on speaker upgrades and not electronics IMO. Nothing against the CA 751r but it is an AVR that lists for $2999 with an entry level version of Audyssey (2EQ). I think spending $2000 on speaker upgrades and $1000 max on an AVR (with preouts) is the way to go.

Bill

Your absolutly right. I must admit that theCA 751 purchase was a bit emotional. I bought a Cambridge Audio 651BD Blu-ray player a few months ago because of its SACD abilitys and 7.1analog outputs. I just fell in love with the build quailty and performance and its look and feel. I actually sought after a Cambrige Audio receiver based on my experiance with the BD player. Of coarse if the CA 751 didnt meet my needs and wants I would not have bought it. Man I just really like their stuff. I think the practical side of my brain is a little weak sometimes.
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post #14 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:47 PM
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Your absolutly right. I must admit that theCA 751 purchase was a bit emotional. I bought a Cambridge Audio 651BD Blu-ray player a few months ago because of its SACD abilitys and 7.1analog outputs. I just fell in love with the build quailty and performance and its look and feel. I actually sought after a Cambrige Audio receiver based on my experiance with the BD player. Of coarse if the CA 751 didnt meet my needs and wants I would not have bought it. Man I just really like their stuff. I think the practical side of my brain is a little weak sometimes.

Nothing wrong with CA gear thats for sure. I would really look at speaker upgrades before anything else. Having a $3k AVR is great but questionable with $1k speakers IMO. In all honesty you have the cost ratio backwards. One should try to spend 70% of their system budget on speakers not electronics. Of course this is just my opinion. But I have gained larger SQ improvements in my system with speaker upgrades and proper speaker placement than any other upgrades by far.

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post #15 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Sometimes doing the practical thing is just plain boring. See, I'm a machinist by trade and nothing turns me on (at least what can be talked about here) like precion machined billet aluminum. The Cambridge Audio products give me a good feeling. I enjoy using them and I appreciate what they are and how they are put together. The sound is breathtaking. I like their products. Thats what keeps me interested in using and improving my equiptment. I'm afraid that if I bought solely on only what I need, I might start losing interest. You have to admit that it helps if you are truly satisfied with your purchase. You will forget about the price WAY before you forget about the product your stuck with. I actually bought the Polks for a stereo sysem In another room. Speakers will be my next big purchase, but not for a while, maybe next year.
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post #16 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I think buying speakers is the hardest part of the whole thing. I have heard some expensive speakers that did not impress me. I have some 15yo "bugdet " Infinity speakers that sound lots better then the Polks I just bought (not fair that the Polks are not broke in yet), but my piont is that its not fair to judge a speaker by its price just like we dissuced about receivers. I think its personal preferance. Some may not like how their favorite music sounds on expensive highend speakers. Not sure if I do.?
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post #17 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 03:48 PM
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I think a lot of people would be happier if when they shopped they would try and find a speaker that was 94db 1w/1m then almost anything with 50wpc would be dynamic and room filling.
Unfortunately we sometimes fall in love with a speaker that is 4ohm has even lower impeadance dips and is 83/84 db which requires some massive 500wpc rig to get the same loudness his neighbor is getting with a 100wpc AVR running 8ohm speaker with 92/93 db sensitivity .
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post #18 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 03:49 PM
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I have gone the low end separates route.

I have a Yamaha RX-V771 with 6 EPX4000 amps hanging off the pre-outs. The RX-V77x line is pretty much the cheapest receiver there is that gives you full 7.1 pre-outs. The only downside is that it does no EQ on the LFE channel so I needed to add a Behringer DEQ2496 to EQ the sub. An antimode would work much better for LFE but I don't like the idea of a black box with no controls on it.

For the speakers, I have gone full DIY. I went to a local store that sells PA systems and bought a bunch of 12inch drivers, compression drivers with horns and crossovers. For the subs I am using cheap car audio woofers, their efficiency is bad but they make up for it with sheer power. I never built my own speakers before but figured I couldn't screw up too bad with a simple closed box. smile.gif

I am currently keeping my eyes open for a cheap receiver with full pre-outs and Audyssey MultEQ XT32. I know "cheap" and "XT32" should not be said together but sooner or later these high-end features should find their way into cheaper models.

Fun side note: I am using the zone2 pre-out to drive a DMX lighting console, I have a bunch of lasers and movingheads on the ceiling for throwing parties. tongue.gif
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post #19 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I know someone who built big speakers with high dollar EV speakers from a PA system, it was crazy loud and clear up top but not a lot of detail at low volumes. How does yours do?
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post #20 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mike47 View Post

Sometimes doing the practical thing is just plain boring. See, I'm a machinist by trade and nothing turns me on (at least what can be talked about here) like precion machined billet aluminum. The Cambridge Audio products give me a good feeling. I enjoy using them and I appreciate what they are and how they are put together. The sound is breathtaking. I like their products. Thats what keeps me interested in using and improving my equiptment. I'm afraid that if I bought solely on only what I need, I might start losing interest. You have to admit that it helps if you are truly satisfied with your purchase. You will forget about the price WAY before you forget about the product your stuck with. I actually bought the Polks for a stereo sysem In another room. Speakers will be my next big purchase, but not for a while, maybe next year.

I like to buy gear that looks good and is well built as well. How well ones gear sounds and performs is much more important than how it looks IMO. The point I was trying to make is that expensive well built electronics are not really going to help inexpensive poor sounding speakers sound that much better.

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I think buying speakers is the hardest part of the whole thing. I have heard some expensive speakers that did not impress me. I have some 15yo "bugdet " Infinity speakers that sound lots better then the Polks I just bought (not fair that the Polks are not broke in yet), but my piont is that its not fair to judge a speaker by its price just like we dissuced about receivers. I think its personal preferance. Some may not like how their favorite music sounds on expensive highend speakers. Not sure if I do.?

My earlier point wasn't to say expensive speakers will always sound better. But to budget more money to be spent on speakers than electronics. I suggest that you visit the speaker forum here to see what speakers are getting the most positive reviews. It is nice to be happy with ones purchase from a visual stand point. But I'm more interested in how my system sounds than how visually appealing my gear is smile.gif.

Bill

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post #21 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 04:08 PM
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I know someone who built big speakers with high dollar EV speakers from a PA system, it was crazy loud and clear up top but not a lot of detail at low volumes. How does yours do?
Works great at low and high volumes. I can't compare to high-end home theaters of course, just the HTIB systems of my friends and stereo PA systems.

The room correction on the receiver does need to boost almost 8dB above the crossover point of the tweeters. The only downside is that the horns on the tweeters have a dispersion of 90x40 so you do need to be careful where you put the speakers and which direction you point them at, much more so than normal home theater speakers. I even had to put the calibration mic of the receiver on a tripod to get the best results with the room correction.
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post #22 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 04:14 PM
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Nothing against the CA 751r but it is an AVR that lists for $2999 with an entry level version of Audyssey (2EQ).

I think people who haven't auditioned CA, they tend to look for the weaknesses. If they did; they'd know it blows any version of audyssey out of the water any day just running it raw with dynamicEQ engaged.

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post #23 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 05:02 PM
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I think people who haven't auditioned CA, they tend to look for the weaknesses. If they did; they'd know it blows any version of audyssey out of the water any day just running it raw with dynamicEQ engaged.

I'm not looking for "weaknesses" with the CA 751r just pointing out it has the lowest version of Audyssey available. I tend to try to get the best bang for my buck when buying audio gear. Buying an AVR with a list price of $2999 with room correction that is found in $500 AVRs is not the direction I would go in. The CA 651BD Blu-ray player is essentially a rebadged Oppo 103 but lists for $300 more.

From the Audyssey site: 2EQ - Our basic resolution room correction solution that uses basic resolution filters for the satellites, but does not apply a filter to the subwoofers.

How do you run the CA 751r "raw" and still use DynamicEQ? When you say "raw" I'm assuming you mean with Audyssey off, right?

Bill

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post #24 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm begining to think that the only good equipment is the kind that Bill Mac has.
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post #25 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mike47 View Post

Sometimes I think its just in my mind. If I'm looking at a $1000 receiver and there is a $1200 receiver next to it, I always tend to want the more expensive one. There are some big differences in cheap and expensive receivers. Mostly build quality and weight, which neither may not matter at the end of the day, but I like the look and feel of well built stuff, aluminum fnt panels, big transformers etc. I agree with the receiver being a better all around package if your budget is around $4000 or less, but separates start making sense after the price range is inflated. The way I think is you figure your budget first, then list your needs, list your wants, then shop for what you can afford. If my budget is $1000, I probably won't buy a $500 receiver, I will tend to go a few dollars over rather then under. But if my budget was say $6000, I would be shopping separates and not even considering a receiver. But when the lines start to cross, say around $2800 -$3500, then the choice is a little more difficult. Its hard to say which would be better between a great receiver and a decent pre&amp. I guess it would come down to space.

Traditionally, this argument concerning price range is very valid, as also the notion that for most people, the quality of electronics simply will not matter. But the whole model is being challenged on its head by new internet direct companies. There are numerous ones in the speaker business. For electronics, two companies are taking the industry by storm - Outlaw Audio and Emotiva. I initially thought they must be too good to be true, but having listened to these products I have to admit I was wrong. These companies obviously do not have the dealer network or marketing budget of the commodity manufacturing giants (which is why they are inexpensive in the first place), but knowing consumers are increasingly embracing them.
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post #26 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Traditionally, this argument concerning price range is very valid, as also the notion that for most people, the quality of electronics simply will not matter. But the whole model is being challenged on its head by new internet direct companies. There are numerous ones in the speaker business. For electronics, two companies are taking the industry by storm - Outlaw Audio and Emotiva. I initially thought they must be too good to be true, but having listened to these products I have to admit I was wrong. These companies obviously do not have the dealer network or marketing budget of the commodity manufacturing giants (which is why they are inexpensive in the first place), but knowing consumers are increasingly embracing them.


Yea I read a lot of good things about Emotiva and was quite surprised at the low prices. I may have to try sometime.
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post #27 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 05:46 PM
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I'm begining to think that the only good equipment is the kind that Bill Mac has.

Really? Not true. You started a thread asking for advice about future upgrades then when you don't hear what you want to hear this is your response. Should everyone just rave about CA gear so you will feel better? CA makes excellent gear but I think it is overpriced for the performance given. I suggest you do your home work before making future A/V purchases. You might save some money and buy components with similar or better performance. Emotiva is a great place to start for very good gear at excellent prices.

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post #28 of 140 Old 08-31-2013, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gravi View Post

Traditionally, this argument concerning price range is very valid, as also the notion that for most people, the quality of electronics simply will not matter. But the whole model is being challenged on its head by new internet direct companies. There are numerous ones in the speaker business. For electronics, two companies are taking the industry by storm - Outlaw Audio and Emotiva. I initially thought they must be too good to be true, but having listened to these products I have to admit I was wrong. These companies obviously do not have the dealer network or marketing budget of the commodity manufacturing giants (which is why they are inexpensive in the first place), but knowing consumers are increasingly embracing them.

Very true. I have owned components from Outlaw and Emotiva. Both companies offer excellent gear and service for very fair prices.

Bill

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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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post #29 of 140 Old 09-01-2013, 01:04 AM
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How do you run the CA 751r "raw" and still use DynamicEQ? When you say "raw" I'm assuming you mean with Audyssey off, right?

CA were smart enough and knew their equipment prowess. They wanted dynamicEQ but it was a conditional purchase i.e. it had to be with any version of Audyssey; hence they went with lowest version of audyssey to keep the cost low. CA's implementation of dynamicEQ is the best I've found thus far in any avr. It is not linked with audyssey. One just needs to adjust speaker levels and delays and simply enable dynamicEQ without using audyssey.

Also, there is no reference level. You keep cranking up the volume as much as your speakers and sub can handle. 00 on master volume means nothing. CA said they implemented it this way coz people have different preferences towards how loud they crank their system. And they are very right. Dolby reference is nothing; whatever loudest volume one is comfortable with is the reference. DynamicEQ on CA doesn't go berserk trying to implement superfluous eq curve based on how far MV is from 0dB. There simply is no reference.

As regards room eq programs; I've heard some of the best sounding systems uneqd. Room treatments are the best and correct alternative for great sound.

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post #30 of 140 Old 09-01-2013, 05:25 AM
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I think buying speakers is the hardest part of the whole thing. I have heard some expensive speakers that did not impress me. I have some 15yo "bugdet " Infinity speakers that sound lots better then the Polks I just bought (not fair that the Polks are not broke in yet), but my piont is that its not fair to judge a speaker by its price just like we dissuced about receivers. I think its personal preferance. Some may not like how their favorite music sounds on expensive highend speakers. Not sure if I do.?

No question about it. Speakers are where the sonic characteristics of the entire system lie. They are what matters. You are correct that price is an unreliable criterion for chooseing speakers. As an example, my main speakers cost $695. They are cheap because they are made in China and then sold manufacturer direct on the internet with no middle man markups. To me they sound better than anything under $2000 I've heard. Most of the expensive speakers are expensive because they are made in small quantities without any economies of scale. Then, if they get a great review, that adds to their value and the price goes up again. Your best bet is to listen to speakers and buy what appeals to you within your budget. You can do that in an audio store or even in your own home with internet direct products.
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