Upgrading to older equipment for better 2 channel performance - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 01-30-2014, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Curious on your opinions.

I currently have a Yamaha RXV-667 AVR that has been great for movies, but awful for music. I'd like to replace it with an AVR or Preamp that will give me crisp, clean, powerful 2 channel audio with a good soundstage. Basically I'm looking for the performance of a $1,000 integrated amp in a $4,000 AVR that I can pick up used for under $1,000. Running two setups is not an option.

The models I've seen that fit into my price range are typically older models with no HDMI support. I can run toslink from my devices (BluRay, STB, SmartTV), but am I going to be kicking myself for buying an older model with no HDMI?

A few models I am looking at: NAD M15, Rotel RSP 1068, Integra DTC-9.8.

Also curious how you think the entry level products from Emotiva and Outlaw Audio stack up. I also see an Arcam AVR 360 that fits my budget but as a ~$1,800 retail is it going to give me the 2 channel performance I crave?
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post #2 of 34 Old 01-30-2014, 11:16 AM
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If you do not like the sound of the Yamaha RX-V667 for two channel music, but do like it for home theater, then either you have the settings wrong for 2 channels or you don't like your speakers for 2 channel music.  There is nothing at all wrong with that model of receiver for 2 channel use.

 

Many times, people are fine with a particular set of speakers for movies, but are not happy with them for just music.  So you should be looking at new speakers, assuming you have set things up properly.


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post #3 of 34 Old 01-30-2014, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I like the speakers when playing them with a Yamaha A-S700 integrated amp, they have great highs, mids, better bass and a nice soundstage. With the RXV-667 they are muddy with a very linear soundstage. I have never heard an entry level AVR that sounds anywhere near as good as an entry level integrated when it comes to playing music.

I'm a little less-picky when it comes to HT. I'm staring at a screen. When music is playing the TV is off and I'm focusing more on the sound.
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post #4 of 34 Old 01-30-2014, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveXs2 View Post

I like the speakers when playing them with a Yamaha A-S700 integrated amp, they have great highs, mids, better bass and a nice soundstage. With the RXV-667 they are muddy with a very linear soundstage. I have never heard an entry level AVR that sounds anywhere near as good as an entry level integrated when it comes to playing music.

I'm a little less-picky when it comes to HT. I'm staring at a screen. When music is playing the TV is off and I'm focusing more on the sound.

One of two possibilities. The first is that you might be comparing an integrated amp to an AVR with room calibration engaged. The second is that you are dealing with hearing bias or mismatched levels. If you disengage room calibration the two will sound identical if played at exactly the same volume (measured by reading voltage across the speaker terminals.) If they don't then you will need to do a blind test to get to the truth.
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post #5 of 34 Old 01-30-2014, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I play the AVR in Pure Direct mode when playing music.
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post #6 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I bought the Arcsm AVR360 and the difference in performance playing 2 channel music is astounding. All other components have stayed the same but I now have drastically better soundstage, highs, lows, and overall musicality.

I have no idea where the two others who posted here got their info from, but I am now a firm believer that a good AVR can reproduce music very well. Obviously not to high end standards by dedicated stereo setups, but this AVR blows everything else I have owned out of the water. (Yamaha A-S700, Yamaha RXV-667, NAD 1155 w/ Creek A52, etc.)
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post #7 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveXs2 View Post

I bought the Arcsm AVR360 and the difference in performance playing 2 channel music is astounding. All other components have stayed the same but I now have drastically better soundstage, highs, lows, and overall musicality.

I have no idea where the two others who posted here got their info from, but I am now a firm believer that a good AVR can reproduce music very well. Obviously not to high end standards by dedicated stereo setups, but this AVR blows everything else I have owned out of the water. (Yamaha A-S700, Yamaha RXV-667, NAD 1155 w/ Creek A52, etc.)

So it was option #2 - hearing bias. Glad that is resolved.
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post #8 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 02:55 AM
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ignore FMW "Everything sounds the same" If you think a dedicated DAC, 2 channel pre-amp, and power amp sounds the same as a av amp, you're deaf!

Arcam is a upgrade over the Yamaha. Better quality amp stages for one.

Although if you wanted pure 2 channel you could have looked into a dedicated integrated or pre-amp + power amplifiers. ie FMJ A19. Funny how Arcam don't have any stereo pre-amps, they used to (Arcam Alpha 9C for example)

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post #9 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveXs2 View Post

I bought the Arcsm AVR360 and the difference in performance playing 2 channel music is astounding. All other components have stayed the same but I now have drastically better soundstage, highs, lows, and overall musicality.

I have no idea where the two others who posted here got their info from, but I am now a firm believer that a good AVR can reproduce music very well. Obviously not to high end standards by dedicated stereo setups, but this AVR blows everything else I have owned out of the water. (Yamaha A-S700, Yamaha RXV-667, NAD 1155 w/ Creek A52, etc.)

The difference was likely in the pre-amp portion of the AVR. I'm not in the all amps sound exactly the same camp since I have heard very minor differences between amps in specific passages of songs, but I do agree the differences between amps is very subtle. Not obvious, I doubt I could pass a double blind test between the majority of amps.
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post #10 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveXs2 View Post

I play the AVR in Pure Direct mode when playing music.

http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=22

 

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(As I have said, and written, innumerable times, any two amplifiers with high input impedance, low output impedance, flat frequency response, and sufficiently low distortion and noise will sound exactly the same at matched levels if not clipped.) 
 
 
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post #11 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 06:36 AM
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The Audio Critic is also widely known as THE AUDIO CRANK for his off-the wall and sometimes completely bizarre allegations.

A good place to get a lot of total nonsense.

The idea that all amplifiers sound the same, based on their performance when connected to a resistive load, is enough to make any engineer with amplifier design experience either laugh or cry, because it displays a sad level of ignorance. It ain't so, Joe.

Virtually ALL amplifiers have very small amounts of distortion when driving a resistive load. When you connect them to a speaker, some cope well and many do not, and produce a lot of distortion.

All amplifiers have much much larger amounts of distortion when driving an actual speaker, which puts a reactive load on the amplifier, but some do a lot better than others.

Better-designed amplifiers (with equal power ratings). will sound much better because they are designed to deal with the load of a REAL SPEAKER, compared to the cheap amplifiers that can't deal with reactive loads very well.

Anyone who selects an amplifier based on the specifications derived from testing with only a resistive load is making a huge mistake, because that tells you almost NOTHING about how the amplifier will sound when it drives speakers.

Any engineer or person experienced in audio knows that there are lots of 40-watt amplifiers that will sound great driving almost any speaker, while many amplifiers and AVRs that claim they can put out 100 watts or more into a resistive load sound like crap driving almost any speakers.

A number of years ago (1983 or so) I tried out a Yamaha integrated amplifier ($799) rated at 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and it sounded TERRIBLE driving my large Polk RTA-12 Studio Monitor speakers. I replaced it with a NAD 3020 integrated amplifier ($199) rated at 25 watts, and it sounded very good.
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post #12 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 06:38 AM
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I could tell the difference between two analogue pre-amps. Same power amp and speakers.

I had two pre-power brands and changing from same pre-power, to alternative pre-power brands. The pre was the most obvious change.

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post #13 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Audio Critic is also widely known as THE AUDIO CRANK for his of-the wall and sometimes completely bizzare allegations.

 

I think the same about golden-ear listeners.

 

Cheers

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post #14 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 06:55 AM
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I could tell the difference between two analogue pre-amps. Same power amp and speakers.

I had two pre-power brands and changing from same pre-power, to alternative pre-power brands. The pre was the most obvious change.


You mean you actually LISTENED to amplifiers? And heard a DIFFERENCE??

There are lots of people here who will tell you that there is no need to do that because the numbers on the spec sheet prove they all sound the same. They do not realize that this is NOT an good predictor of how they sound when a speaker is connected.

They fail to realize that connecting an amplifier to a resistor and connecting it to speakers result in VERY different levels of distortion and frequency response. Their knowledge of amplifier design and performance is not just limited; it is completely devoid of any knowledge of the facts..

They would have you believe that the differences you hear with your ears are only an illusion and that it can't be so.

Anyone who can HEAR and LISTENS know that they are wrong, but you will never convince them.

Their religion says that only published specs matter, and the very mention of "sound quality' is blasphemy.

It never does any good to present a fanatic with the facts; it is waste of time.
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post #15 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by zamsun View Post

I think the same about golden-ear listeners.

Cheers

There is no such thing as a "golden-ear listener".

There are just people who actually listen and those who claim that there is no need to.
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post #16 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:04 AM
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Can also tell difference between various CDP analogue out, then using digital out with a DAC. I liked the Rega Planet 2000 CDP sound.

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

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Jealous of my speakers?

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post #17 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:14 AM
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Can also tell difference between various CDP analogue out, then using digital out with a DAC. I liked the Rega Planet 2000 CDP sound.

And if you hear an OPPO BDP-105, you will be blown away; its SABRE DAC chips are so good that it blows away any player you can buy for less than $10K.

It has made a lot of very expensive players obsolete and redundant.

For several years I used the Ayre C5xe/MP, which was very very good (and cost $6000).

When I got my OPPO, I sold it.

The OPPO is THE state-of-the-art in CD/SACD playback, and for ONLY $1200!

One friend of mine was one of the guys who said all CD players sound the same. He was using a Sony that was about 5 years old (a fairly good one for its price).

When he heard my OPPO, he couldn't get online to order one fast enough.
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post #18 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:16 AM
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I do have a Oppo, 83SE. Considering selling the 83SE to fund a newer Oppo model but 105 is out of my price range. 103/103D more reasonable.

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

Bose Jewel speakers.

 

Jealous of my speakers?

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post #19 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:26 AM
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If you don't care about SACD or video, the Marantz 5004 is a very good CD player at a nice price. Stereophile did a review a while back.

Quote:
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I do have a Oppo, 83SE. Considering selling the 83SE to fund a newer Oppo model but 105 is out of my price range. 103/103D more reasonable.
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post #20 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:31 AM
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Not bothered with CDP anymore, use a squeezebox + DAC. CDP is connected to DAC too (that's for the Hifi) for the HT use Lexicon for DAC, for BD use 5.1 out. DVD use Lexicon DAC from oppo 983

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post #21 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:35 AM
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They fail to realize that connecting an amplifier to a resistor and connecting it to speakers result in VERY different levels of distortion and frequency response. Their knowledge of amplifier design and performance is not just limited; it is completely devoid of any knowledge of the facts..

.

Why do you say that? Every bias controlled comparison of amplifiers has been done with speakers. No knowledge of amplifier design is needed to conduct a proper bias controlled test. See we are not devoid of facts, now are we?
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post #22 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:37 AM
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Why do you say that? Every bias controlled comparison of amplifiers has been done with speakers. No knowledge of amplifier design is needed to conduct a proper bias controlled test. See we are not devoid of facts, now are we?

These guys have bionic ears!

 

Cheers

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post #23 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:38 AM
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I agree with Fatbottom. In this day and age it makes little sense to buy a dedicated CD player. Like most of the rest of us, you should rip them to digital files and use some sort software media player to get the job done. If you are dying to operate a mechanical player with CD's then buy a Blu Ray player. It will do the same job in the same manner, save you some money and even play videos.
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post #24 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:38 AM
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Why do you say that? Every bias controlled comparison of amplifiers has been done with speakers. No knowledge of amplifier design is needed to conduct a proper bias controlled test. See we are not devoid of facts, now are we?

To do a statistically valid "bias controlled test" of an audio A/B comparison you need to

1) Familiarize the subjects thoroughly with a limited number of specific recorded short passages of music before the test begins, and use them.

2) Include at least 20 subjects (a minimum for any semblance of statistical validity)

3) conduct the testing for each subject within a relatively short time frame

4) only have two items under comparison testing (A and B)

5) a carefully developed valid objective repeatable protocol for evaluating the subject responses

For these reasons, I have NEVER seen any published results from a "properly done bias-controlled test" in the audio field in my life.

The methodology of the tests people seem to refer to is invariably badly flawed, and of course the results are incapable of proving anything.

When you actually FIND something that has any significance, let me know; I don't see anything yet.

Any test with bad methodology can prove NOTHING!

I challenge you to refer to ANY allegedly valid A/B test of amplifier sound quality that proved ANYTHING, one way or the other, and give complete evidence of why it can be considered statistically reliable.
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post #25 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 07:53 AM
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I challenge you to refer to ANY test of amplifier sound quality that proved ANYTHING, one way or the other.

You should get back to reading them Stereophile reviews.

 

Cheers

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post #26 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 08:06 AM
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As anyone who has read them is well aware, Stereophile reviews use the most expensive and sophisticated distortion analysis equipment available to do amplifier evaluations.

Objectivists who preach the efficacy of hard test data should be the first to applaud this and take note of the accurately measured results.

I know of no other publication that does anything comparable (other than Home Theater, which is a sister publication).

They also do extensive listening tests using various speakers for comparisons and varying types of music.

Anyone who wants to criticize them or dismiss their reviews should be prepared to discuss how they are flawed and should be improved.

It would also only be fair to cite another publication that does a better job, and why and how that is so.

I WILL continue to read their reviews as long as they seem to offer the most complete testing of products available in a periodical publication.

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You should get back to reading them Stereophile reviews.

Cheers
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post #27 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I agree with Fatbottom. In this day and age it makes little sense to buy a dedicated CD player. Like most of the rest of us, you should rip them to digital files and use some sort software media player to get the job done. If you are dying to operate a mechanical player with CD's then buy a Blu Ray player. It will do the same job in the same manner, save you some money and even play videos.

The OPPO BDP-105 does everything mentioned, and can function as a 7.1-channel preamp and a DAC independently also.

It also can play back the 1500 CDs and SACDs I already have accumulated over 30+ years, plus files from a computer or USB memory "stick".
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post #28 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

As anyone who has read them is well aware, Stereophile reviews use the most expensive and sophisticated distortion analysis equipment available to do amplifier evaluations.

Objectivists who preach the efficacy of hard test data should be the first to applaud this and take note of the results.

I know of no other publication that does anything comparable. They also do extensive listening tests using various speakers for comparisons and varying types of music.

Anyone who wants to criticize them or dismiss their reviews should be prepared to discuss how they are flawed and should be improved.

It would also only be fair to cite another publication that does a better job, and why and how that is so.

I WILL continue to read them as long as they seem to offer the best information available in a periodical publication.


Measurements and reviewer opinions always match? Do you know how magazines make revenue?

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post #29 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The OPPO BDP-105 does everything mentioned, and can function as a 7.1-channel preamp and a DAC independently also.

It also can play back the 1500 CDs and SACDs I already have accumulated over 30+ years.

I wouldn't connect a source directly into a poweramp. Does it have gain to drive ouputs like a pre-amp? And no actual volume control, what about power on and power off noise/thuds?

Don't like the sound of that.

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post #30 of 34 Old 02-19-2014, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
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I wouldn't connect a source directly into a poweramp. Does it have gain to drive ouputs like a pre-amp? And no actual volume control, what about power on and power off noise/thuds?

Don't like the sound of that.


You really should look at the spec sheet for the BDP-105 before you make uninformed comments.

It does have a volume control for its outputs, and is initially silenced before it comes on with no "thuds'.

Several people on this forum have said that they use the OPPO 105 and 103 (and some other similar units) directly into power amps, apparently with no problems.

It even has both wireless and wired internet streaming capability for both audio and video.
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