How much am I missing out on? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-12-2013, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I spend most of my time on the speaker forums here at AVS and I've noticed a pattern of threads that talk something similar to: "And then I plugged the speakers into a quality receiver (for this example use marantz?) and my speakers came alive!!" and some other things along the lines of: "Boy if those speakers were being powered by an integrated amplifier I bet they would really shine!"

I've heard stories that all different kinds of receivers and amps change how the speakers sound, and I'm writing this thread to get a justified answer about this. I can see how an entry level Sony receiver would differ from a Pioneer Elite (This is what I am currently using), but are you guys saying a 900 dollar Onkyo and a 1500 dollar Marantz would differ in how speakers would sound (more bump, cleaner sound etc). I thought they would be all about features in this price range? Aren't you paying for features, or are there drastic internal electronic quality differences in the higher price range units that effect all this?

In the end of it all, I currently own a Pioneer Elite VSX-90TXV and I'm wondering if I'm missing anything, or if I should forget everything I heard about this fact/myth.

Thanks in advanced. Love you all. tongue.gif
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-12-2013, 07:09 PM
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OK,
I'll bite. With a basic level of quality achieved, in a blind test fully level matched, you will never hear a difference.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-12-2013, 07:22 PM
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Popcorn, beer, set, go!!:-D
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-12-2013, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Don't tell me this is one of those controversial things like timbre matching where there are 2 sides and they try to prove each others correctness with SCIENCE O_O
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-12-2013, 07:57 PM
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This topic feels a little dangerous. Like someone saying: "go ahead, jump in. The water's fine.". Only to find out when you jump in the water's actually shark infested.

 

But I will say I recently switched from an Onkyo 809 to a Denon 3313CI in my HT and IMO, and I stress IMO, I feel like I enjoy the sound of the Denon more. No science behind it, just pure subjective opinion. And I readily admit I might be fooling myself. But I am happy with my new Denon and that's all that matters to me. 

 

How's that for noncommittal?

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post #6 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiforce View Post

I spend most of my time on the speaker forums here at AVS and I've noticed a pattern of threads that talk something similar to: "And then I plugged the speakers into a quality receiver (for this example use marantz?) and my speakers came alive!!" and some other things along the lines of: "Boy if those speakers were being powered by an integrated amplifier I bet they would really shine!"

I've heard stories that all different kinds of receivers and amps change how the speakers sound, and I'm writing this thread to get a justified answer about this. I can see how an entry level Sony receiver would differ from a Pioneer Elite (This is what I am currently using), but are you guys saying a 900 dollar Onkyo and a 1500 dollar Marantz would differ in how speakers would sound (more bump, cleaner sound etc). I thought they would be all about features in this price range? Aren't you paying for features, or are there drastic internal electronic quality differences in the higher price range units that effect all this?

In the end of it all, I currently own a Pioneer Elite VSX-90TXV and I'm wondering if I'm missing anything, or if I should forget everything I heard about this fact/myth.

Thanks in advanced. Love you all. tongue.gif

here is some good reading material to help you understand a few things. section 3 in the link specifically talks about amps.

here is the discussion thread regarding the above link.
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I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 05:31 AM
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I've heard stories that all different kinds of receivers and amps change how the speakers sound, and I'm writing this thread to get a justified answer about this. ...
+1 to lespurgeon's comment.

And now my (admittedly limited) personal experiences:
- I remember hearing people swear up and down that adding an Emotiva amp to my 7.1-ch set-up would be a "night and day!" difference. The reality - as best as I could hear it - was a slightly cleaner sound when running the system at very loud volume levels. (The amp does take some of the load off the AVR so, as far as that sort of "peace of mind" goes, I'm happy to have it.)
- I recently switched from a Marantz SR6003 to a Denon AVR-X4000. As far as I can tell, they sound the same. (If there's a difference between them, it's negligible.)
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In the end of it all, I currently own a Pioneer Elite VSX-90TXV and I'm wondering if I'm missing anything, or if I should forget everything I heard about this fact/myth.
I doubt you're missing out on much, if anything, and I'm of the opinion that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". If you're happy with how it sounds, enjoy; if you're not happy, then it's time to upgrade. smile.gif
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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The blind test between the $300 Onkyo and the $3000 dollar Bryston was hilarious! The guy was tricked on which one was currently plugged in, and said his Bryston sounded thin and harsh when he thought the Onkyo was playing! biggrin.gif

I especially like the quote “The loudspeaker will determine how your music system sounds. Not the amplifier, not the preamplifier, not the CD or DVD player, nothing but the loudspeaker. Speakers, even the finest, are far less accurate in terms of output compared to input than any of those other components. The speaker will be invariably the weakest link in the chain, the link that limits the quality of sound reproduction.”

Thanks 67Jason for those interesting articles, a huge knowledge gap has been filled in my mind now tongue.gif

A Brief Guide to Audio for the Skeptical Consumer should be required for all members signing up for these forums to read before being able to post lol tongue.gif

Can't believe the speaker break-in topic was also mythical, man the internet is full of a lot of crud biggrin.gif
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 67jason View Post


here is some good reading material to help you understand a few things. section 3 in the link specifically talks about amps.

here is the discussion thread regarding the above link.

Both of these are great links and super educational, thanks jason. I suspected that in a blind test there would be no detectable difference between "audiophile" quality and "average consumer" quality in amps and AVRs. I also was fairly certain that the fact that I enjoyed my Denon a bit more than my Onkyo was simply a product of the fact that I wanted to enjoy it more, simple as that. This article proves that appears to be true. Great stuff. 

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post #10 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 05:39 PM
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My take is that if you are using pure amplification alone, any difference would likely be minimal. However when you factor in the extras like Audyssey & the various brand specific alternatives, you can have some very different sounding AVR's. I did not buy my SR7008 for the pure direct mode. I bought it for the XT32. Not being able to do a DBT has not stopped me or many others from believing there is a improvement over the lesser versions of Audyssey.

So, does my AVR sound better than it's predecessor? IMHO, yep! biggrin.gif
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Marantz guy View Post

My take is that if you are using pure amplification alone, any difference would likely be minimal. However when you factor in the extras like Audyssey & the various brand specific alternatives, you can have some very different sounding AVR's. I did not buy my SR7008 for the pure direct mode. I bought it for the XT32. Not being able to do a DBT has not stopped me or many others from believing there is a improvement over the lesser versions of Audyssey.

So, does my AVR sound better than it's predecessor? IMHO, yep! biggrin.gif

I agree with you on the Audyssey but I don't think that is what the DBT was checking. The two systems in the test, from what I understood, were set up in a similar way. There's no doubt that Audyssey XT32 vs a lesser version of Audyssey should sound better, otherwise what's the point of ever improving calibration software? But if we include room calibration aren't we really running a DBT on the software instead of the AVR or amp?

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post #12 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 06:49 PM
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Isn't it the final result that counts? Why else would you upgrade a amp or avr? More power might get you a improvement for a larger space & if it's the software that gets you a better sounding system, well, like I said, it's the final result I'm interested in.
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post #13 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 07:26 PM
 
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FWIW,

I used to own a vsx-9130txh receiver. Similar if not upgraded from yours, features wise, on paper anyway. Spoiler alert-- you can do better.

I upgraded speakers. They showed the limitations of the pioneer quickly. I auditioned the speakers in a shop with Cambridge amps. Way better than what I experienced at home (in my acoustically treated dedicated room no less.)

In the end I bought an arcam amp... The funeral for the pioneer was beautiful. It was murdered and subsequently buried by the arcam. Gave it to a buddy. He is thrilled with it. smile.gif

Get to a custom install dealer or hifi shop with your amp in hand. You can A/B and see for yourself. The sq jump you are looking for is not at the big box store. smile.gif

You can Demo some high end speakers too. You will be floored. It's free!

Legit high end shops will welcome your interest and help you compare. Then you will know for yourself... As forum information is dubious at best. tongue.gif
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-13-2013, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Hell Commute View Post

FWIW,

I used to own a vsx-9130txh receiver. Similar if not upgraded from yours, features wise, on paper anyway. Spoiler alert-- you can do better.

I upgraded speakers. They showed the limitations of the pioneer quickly. I auditioned the speakers in a shop with Cambridge amps. Way better than what I experienced at home (in my acoustically treated dedicated room no less.)

In the end I bought an arcam amp... The funeral for the pioneer was beautiful. It was murdered and subsequently buried by the arcam. Gave it to a buddy. He is thrilled with it. smile.gif

Get to a custom install dealer or hifi shop with your amp in hand. You can A/B and see for yourself. The sq jump you are looking for is not at the big box store. smile.gif

You can Demo some high end speakers too. You will be floored. It's free!

Legit high end shops will welcome your interest and help you compare. Then you will know for yourself... As forum information is dubious at best. tongue.gif

very subjective post. most of what is said here wont stand up under scrutiny.

how did you compare the avr to the amp? were they properly level matched (hint you need a volt meter to do this right wink.gif).

listening environment in a store is vastly different from your own room.

nothing wrong with sharing subjective experiences, but it is not accurate to post opinions as absolute fact.

the best audio forums - like this one - allows the sharing of information. i have never know an a/v dealer to discuss double blind tests for example other then in vein attempts to debunk them. after all they want to sell you something rather then teach you anything.

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-14-2013, 05:02 AM
 
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100% agree. Totally my experience only and ymmv.

But.....

When you run 200$ mains I'm not sure any amp will make a difference. (not to be a meany.)

Not too many running Polk with McIntosh, right. smile.gif

Arx A5s on the other hand.... now the quality realm starts.
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-14-2013, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Hell Commute View Post

100% agree. Totally my experience only and ymmv.

But.....

When you run 200$ mains I'm not sure any amp will make a difference. (not to be a meany.)

Not too many running Polk with McIntosh, right. smile.gif

Arx A5s on the other hand.... now the quality realm starts.

what a person may currently use gear wise and what they may have experience with are not always necessarily the same thing...ya never really know now do ya....unless if you are claiming to be omnipotent. wink.gif

if you dont mind, could you answer my question I posted above:

how did you compare the avr to the amp? were they properly level matched?

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-14-2013, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Marantz guy View Post

Isn't it the final result that counts? Why else would you upgrade a amp or avr? More power might get you a improvement for a larger space & if it's the software that gets you a better sounding system, well, like I said, it's the final result I'm interested in.

I agree with you. But I think the point proven with the DBT is if you are choosing between two AVRs that have the same bells and whistles and are running the same software and one costs $1500 and the other $1000 save your money and buy the cheaper one because they should sound the same. 

 

I, on the other hand, am no longer a fan of Onkyo because of recent HDMI issues and the fact that I had one die an early death, it just stopped working one day after a few years (just a year or two past warranty and too early to die, IMO). So I now go with Marantz (as you appear to) and Denon. And I do like them, a lot! They may cost more than Onkyo for similar features and power but I don't care. And yes, I like to think they have better SQ but I'm not sure that would hold up under a DBT, in fact I'm pretty sure it won't. And I believe that's the point of the article jason linked to.

 

I will also acknowledge that all brands have had their problems. But I personally have only had trouble with Onkyo so that's the brand I avoid. That could change in the future.

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post #18 of 20 Old 11-14-2013, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

OK,
I'll bite. With a basic level of quality achieved, in a blind test fully level matched, you will never hear a difference.

Pretty. Much.

Quality loudspeakers. Sensible room. Sensible placement. Adequate AVR...many times with solid room correction.

You'll be in damn good shape.

James

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Me: "Yeah, a case of Diet Mountain Dew walking across my living room."

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post #19 of 20 Old 11-14-2013, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

what a person may currently use gear wise and what they may have experience with are not always necessarily the same thing...ya never really know now do ya....unless if you are claiming to be omnipotent. wink.gif

if you dont mind, could you answer my question I posted above:

how did you compare the avr to the amp? were they properly level matched?

No not at all. For sure. I hope you have enjoyed great gear in your travels through AV geekery. smile.gif

For the testing we used the same material (Michael Jackson's History Disc 1) and listened to it at a normal and comfortable level. I'd say around 70db if I had to guess.

No Volt meters, no DB meters, no oscilloscopes, no gated pulse response tests or sine wave tests with tone generators.....

We just listened. Strange concept I know. HA! The lights were even on and I could see the gear. eek.gif

All kidding aside, have you ever noticed how polarizing the whole debate of science vs subjective always seems to be? I wonder if one day we can all just realize that there are too many variables in any system to generalize or predict anyone's outcome apart from themselves..... Any reliable application of the scientific method is impossible to transfer to something as fluid and dynamic as audio reproduction in the way you are alluding to. The debate between arnyk and John Atkinson touched on these themes. Both are plausibly correct in any opinions they have.... as neither will ever be proved concretely wrong by anything science can conjure up. How do you "measure" the different emotional experience felt between 2 people given the same listening material? Now add an amp or speaker change or cable swap........ At best, their experience must be expressed subjectively. But what if one listener is more articulate than the other? Can we assume they had a dissimilar experience because their use of language is different? The superficial boundaries of measurements quickly become apparent.

67Jason, I'm sure to you your setup is great. That is great. Each system I had before this one was the best I had ever experienced too. smile.gif

However, there are those of us who demand more. We test, and audition, and scrimp and save. Then one day we find that item that adds a certain "synergy" to our system that elevates it to the next level. Maybe a transport, or amp, or DAC, whatever. If that makes us fools that is a shame. I used to own a polk system. Before that an HTIB before that computer speakers as a kid.

The fundamental issue is critical 2 channel listening is a different beast than multichannel. Shortcomings in a system become glaring quickly once you have loudpeakers capable of delivering silly detail, dynamics, clarity, imaging etc.-- especially if they are hard to drive or have wild impedance swings. Like mine seem to have. The amp lacked the grunt to make the speakers "sing" like they did in the store. The midrange was empty and uninvolving. Vocals were one dimensional and thin. They sounded boring! I had just spent thousands on speakers! eek.gif

Kaiforce, like many others here is looking for a subjective opinion. He can read all the same white papers I'm sure you have, and comb through the reviews in the back catalog of all the online mags himself. Ultimately his ears (I hope) will make up his mind. Shouldn't we all use ours for the same end? My guess is that most people with the "measurements" mentality have never had that wow experience that changes the way you enjoy and appreciate the artifice of reproduced sound forever. I understand. I used to be in the measurement camp and comb charts and graphs and plots ad nauseum. They are a tool to use to stink check for loser gear. Not much more than that I'm afraid. I learned to trust my ears and have developed keener hearing as a result of scrutinizing track after track.

What is more interesting is that those with entry level gear always seem to favour the "measurements" rule all camp. Those with midrange to expensive high end gear seem more tempered in their approach to a solely measurement based analysis. Is it a "why bother spending money if they are all the same" logic? If so that is a shame. Those AVR companies need only make one product each then. Then simply wait for the consumer to flip a coin to choose. Silly on their part. tongue.gif
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post #20 of 20 Old 11-15-2013, 01:47 AM
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Amps can make a difference at higher volume if the avr is not capable of handling higher volume. An amp will last for 20-30 year and can be used with avr's with pre-outs. This way a lesser price avr can be purchased in the future. It is also about the signature look of a system. Most of us start cheap and end up in the upgrade camp. It really come down to what you want and the look of your system. My McIntosh sound no better than my Yamaha M 80 amp. A Rolex can't tell time better than a Casio watch or Timex but it is worth a lot more today and will be tomorrow.smile.gif

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