Please help me choose an AVR - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 06-13-2014, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Please help me choose an AVR

Hi!
Can you please help me choose an AVR?

- I won't have the chance to listen to any gear before buying
- I will be using the AVR mostly for music
- My room is medium, but opened to another large room,
- I will need room correction as I will not be able to use any room treatment and the sub (SVS SB-2000) will be placed further in a corner.
- My speaker setup is 5.1:

Fronts: Epos M16i with nominal impedance: 4 ohms. Sensitivity: 88.3dB/2.83V/m. Amplifier compatibility: 50–200W.



I have narrowed my list to the following AVRs:

UPDATED 18.06:

Short list:

- Cambridge Audio Azur 551r
- NAD T 748 V2
- NAD T 757
- Sherwood Newcastle R-972
- Harman Kardon 760 (7550)

List B (Were initially in my long list):

Marantz SR7008 (MultiEQ XT32)
Anthem MRX 310 (perhaps not too "musical" also shows distortion at lower levels)


Would these AVRs perform equally well given no DSP is used and they are driven at the same level within their limits?

Please comment/compare/advise!

Thanks!
Y.K.

Last edited by Yanec; 06-17-2014 at 02:31 PM.
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post #2 of 30 Old 06-13-2014, 05:07 PM
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Many forum members have chosen Marantz especially for it's strong performance for critical music listening and with the SR7008 you get Audyssey MultEQ XT32 for room correction.
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post #3 of 30 Old 06-13-2014, 09:02 PM
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Amazon has both the Marantz 7008 and Yamaha 3030 at the same price $2k. Even the 2020 has manual subwoofer eq. Are you getting a better deal or even trying to compare equal prices?
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post #4 of 30 Old 06-13-2014, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Many forum members have chosen Marantz especially for it's strong performance for critical music listening and with the SR7008 you get Audyssey MultEQ XT32 for room correction.
Thanks!

Would you say that the besides having weaker auto room correction the Arcam's amp section would not perform better than the Marantz?

I believe that the amps of all these AVRs would perform equally well given no DSP is used and they are driven within their limits - is that correct? In such case the auto room correction would be the most important second factor for the sound performance and Marantz seems to check all the boxes there!
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Amazon has both the Marantz 7008 and Yamaha 3030 at the same price $2k. Even the 2020 has manual subwoofer eq. Are you getting a better deal or even trying to compare equal prices?
Actually both. What is your advise?

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post #6 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 12:59 AM
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Thanks!

Would you say that the besides having weaker auto room correction the Arcam's amp section would not perform better than the Marantz?

I believe that the amps of all these AVRs would perform equally well given no DSP is used and they are driven within their limits - is that correct? In such case the auto room correction would be the most important second factor for the sound performance and Marantz seems to check all the boxes there!
Yes to both, although the SR7008 has 9CH so you could power 7 in the main zone and still have 2 more for another room (eg. patio, deck, office, bedroom, etc.).
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post #7 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 07:40 AM
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Supposedly, Anthem has the most sophisticated room correction. The most "musical" receivers I could find are Arcam, Cambridge Audio, and NAD in the sense that they're designed for music, devoting few resources to video processing (best left to sources). I ended up with an Arcam 380 despite its less sophisticated room correction and am very pleased with the result. But I did find the Anthem 510 nearly as pleasing in an extended audition.
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post #8 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes to both, although the SR7008 has 9CH so you could power 7 in the main zone and still have 2 more for another room (eg. patio, deck, office, bedroom, etc.).
Thanks!
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post #9 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by virginia bill View Post
Supposedly, Anthem has the most sophisticated room correction. The most "musical" receivers I could find are Arcam, Cambridge Audio, and NAD in the sense that they're designed for music, devoting few resources to video processing (best left to sources). I ended up with an Arcam 380 despite its less sophisticated room correction and am very pleased with the result. But I did find the Anthem 510 nearly as pleasing in an extended audition.
Thank you!
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post #10 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 11:28 AM
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A few years ago I would not hesitate to steer you to the Harman/Kardon line of receivers, but that was before they switched to Class D amps, which are very efficient, but I'm not too sure how good they sound for music, and I have not heard them (the Class D amps). That said, I would not put too much emphasis on room correction, not that they can't help with problem rooms, especially for home theater. But for music I would put more emphasis on clean power and speaker placement to get the sound I want. IMO when it comes to music the less you mess with the original sound the better. So...., I would audition the H/K receiver anyway, or at least read a few reviews if you can find them. H/K receivers have typically handled 4 ohm speakers better than the usual competition, and historically they have been noted for their musicality. I have never heard a harsh H/K receiver, but I cannot say the same for most other brands.
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post #11 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 11:48 AM
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For the money, this isn't a bad choice at all.

http://electronics.woot.com/offers/h...k-a-v-receiver
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post #12 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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A few years ago I would not hesitate to steer you to the Harman/Kardon line of receivers, but that was before they switched to Class D amps, which are very efficient, but I'm not too sure how good they sound for music, and I have not heard them (the Class D amps). That said, I would not put too much emphasis on room correction, not that they can't help with problem rooms, especially for home theater. But for music I would put more emphasis on clean power and speaker placement to get the sound I want. IMO when it comes to music the less you mess with the original sound the better. So...., I would audition the H/K receiver anyway, or at least read a few reviews if you can find them. H/K receivers have typically handled 4 ohm speakers better than the usual competition, and historically they have been noted for their musicality. I have never heard a harsh H/K receiver, but I cannot say the same for most other brands.
Thanks!

I have no experience with room correction I have read just the online reviews and forum hype. I have used different audio systems and HTIB - none of them had EQ room correction and I usually liked the sound (if I didn't the problems were due to the bundled cheap speakers). The only reason I am considering more expensive AVRs is the much hyped Audyssey XT32 and the presumably important bass management that it does.

Some owners mentioned that the Epos M16i may sound bright with more harsh receivers. Are all receivers sounding the same as many blind tests show or is it true that some receivers sound more harsh and other sound warmer? If so the H/K and the Arcam will give better synergy with my Epos M16i/M5i I guess (Anthem and the newer Marantz receivers don't seem to be considered warm or laid back).

One important question - all my music is in lossless format (FLAC, WAV, etc) would the H/K reproduce these from a HDMI, USB or network source?

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post #13 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 05:04 PM
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Amazon has both the Marantz 7008 and Yamaha 3030 at the same price $2k. Even the 2020 has manual subwoofer eq. Are you getting a better deal or even trying to compare equal prices?
Actually both. What is your advise?
The Yamaha 1020 won't hang with the upper end Marantz etc. but the 3030 will. Ypao isn't as good as xt32 but the 2020/30 and above have a good manual eq on all 9.1 channels. Full digital audio to other zones including flac etc. Rock solid reliable with proven software that has no major bugs. Very compatible with any kind of input. Rated as clean sound as any other major brand by audioholics and stereophile. Has plenty of power for a 5.1 system with more adjustable eq than auto eq provides. Xt32 is pretty much take it or leave it. Very little adjustability. Anthem arc works better at auto eq but missing many features and has bugs. Nad has a strong amp but rudimentary audyssey eq at best. Cambridge has the same. Worthless room eq. Bring your own with external amp use only.
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post #14 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kikkenit2 View Post
Amazon has both the Marantz 7008 and Yamaha 3030 at the same price $2k. Even the 2020 has manual subwoofer eq. Are you getting a better deal or even trying to compare equal prices?
Actually both. What is your advise?
The Yamaha 1020 won't hang with the upper end Marantz etc. but the 3030 will. Ypao isn't as good as xt32 but the 2020/30 and above have a good manual eq on all 9.1 channels. Full digital audio to other zones including flac etc. Rock solid reliable with proven software that has no major bugs. Very compatible with any kind of input. Rated as clean sound as any other major brand by audioholics and stereophile. Has plenty of power for a 5.1 system with more adjustable eq than auto eq provides. Xt32 is pretty much take it or leave it. Very little adjustability. Anthem arc works better at auto eq but missing many features and has bugs. Nad has a strong amp but rudimentary audyssey eq at best. Cambridge has the same. Worthless room eq. Bring your own with external amp use only.
I keep reading that if used without any DSP and room corrections Harman/Kardon, Cambridge Audio and NAD have a warmer more laid back sound (sonic character)....otoh I also keep reading that if used without any DSP and room correction all receivers should sound the same - I am getting really confused what is the truth.....as I said I don't have the chance to listen before buying. What do you think - are there differences in sound or not?

Thanks again!
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post #15 of 30 Old 06-14-2014, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Yanec View Post
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Originally Posted by kikkenit2 View Post
Amazon has both the Marantz 7008 and Yamaha 3030 at the same price $2k. Even the 2020 has manual subwoofer eq. Are you getting a better deal or even trying to compare equal prices?
Actually both. What is your advise?
The Yamaha 1020 won't hang with the upper end Marantz etc. but the 3030 will. Ypao isn't as good as xt32 but the 2020/30 and above have a good manual eq on all 9.1 channels. Full digital audio to other zones including flac etc. Rock solid reliable with proven software that has no major bugs. Very compatible with any kind of input. Rated as clean sound as any other major brand by audioholics and stereophile. Has plenty of power for a 5.1 system with more adjustable eq than auto eq provides. Xt32 is pretty much take it or leave it. Very little adjustability. Anthem arc works better at auto eq but missing many features and has bugs. Nad has a strong amp but rudimentary audyssey eq at best. Cambridge has the same. Worthless room eq. Bring your own with external amp use only.
I keep reading that if used without any DSP and room corrections Harman/Kardon, Cambridge Audio and NAD have a warmer more laid back sound (sonic character)....otoh I also keep reading that if used without any DSP and room correction all receivers should sound the same - I am getting really confused what is the truth.....as I said I don't have the chance to listen before buying. What do you think - are there differences in sound or not?

Thanks again!
I believe that most of the top shelf equipment is not equal but very close in sound quality. I believe a stronger amp is good but far from the only or most important detail. I believe ending up with a fairly smooth room eq is important but not the deciding factor hands down. Most built-in auto room eq doesn't really do a great job. Proper setup, ease of use, compatibility and lack of bugs are all important factors. Yamaha doesn't do anything outstanding. Other than auto room eq they are all around strong and have custom adjustability that others don't offer..
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post #16 of 30 Old 06-15-2014, 05:07 AM
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My two cents:

You're going to need to EQ your sub, no doubt. Audyssey or ARC will do the best job at this. It sounds like corner placement is your only option. Without measuring it's impossible to know whether or not this placement is good or bad. So definitely EQ.

I would not get caught up in what receivers sound "musical." This is a point of endless debate--and I don't think it's worth getting into here--but if your receiver is not being driven to distortion, the differences in sound will be minuscule at best. I HIGHLY doubt you would ever be able to tell in a blind test. Your speakers and the room will be far be the biggest contributing factor. So I would say go for the receiver that has the features you need. They are all excellent choices.

I like Anthem and ARC for two reasons.

1. It allows you to determine a cutoff for the room correction. So, for instance, you could choose to only EQ the frequencies below 350hz if you choose. Or you can EQ the entire FR range. Or anything in between. You're not stuck with Audyssey's all or nothing approach.

2. ARC also allows you see the before and after on it's own FR graphs. I think this is invaluable as you can see how your speakers are interacting with your room. With Audyssey, if you don't have your own measuring equipment, you'll never know what it did.

Given these two points, I would buy the Anthem. I actually am currently using an Onkyo with Audyssey Multi EQ XT. I'm able to measure the before and after with Fuzzmeasure. I like what Audyssey is doing below 500hz but I don't like what it does above that. So it's a tradeoff. Have the subs sound smoother and have the speakers a bit bright or vice versa. Eventually, I'll either upgrade to an Anthem or use and Antimode with no room correction on the AVR. Both are a bit pricey so I'm being patient and waiting to see a used option pop up.

Good luck and enjoy the speakers.
Dan
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post #17 of 30 Old 06-15-2014, 09:18 AM
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Well, I confess I am one of those people who claim to have heard differences in power amps and receivers while admitting that none were controlled DBX tests. OTOH, I bought and sold almost a dozen power amps (as well as several preamps and pre-pros) and listened to them in my own LR using the same speakers and source material, and I am willing to swear on a stack of bibles that I heard differences. Those audible (to me) differences explain why I kept replacing them until I finally reached power amp nirvana with the fabulous ESL amps designed by Roger Sanders, founder of Innersound and now of Sanders Sound Systems. Roger's patented Magtech amp is arguably the best high power amp in the entire world regardless of price and is a true audio bargain at only $5K.

I also believe that we all hear differently, not to mention we all have different tastes in music and what we like to hear, and our rooms (critical) are different. So every time someone asks about which equipment to buy I offer my experiences with certain brands and then end with advice to listen for yourself and decide what works for you. The good news is there are tons of resources on the internet, one of the best which is ecoustics (see link). But even reviews, whether pro or consumer, should always be considered as one person's opinion, not gospel. So-called "pro" reviews especially can be suspect if the venue is one of those salon magazines like Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, or Positive-Feedback, where the reviewer has little or no technical expertise and they derive income from the overpriced brands they review with such glowing praise. Sound and Vision (magazine, previously Stereo Review and Audio Review) reviews, OTOH, are typically more straightforward and objective, with solid bench testing by technical experts that you can rely on to support their opinions. But even then the ultimate judge has to be you. Good luck.

http://www.ecoustics.com/categories/
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Well, I confess I am one of those people who claim to have heard differences in power amps and receivers while admitting that none were controlled DBX tests. OTOH, I bought and sold almost a dozen power amps (as well as several preamps and pre-pros) and listened to them in my own LR using the same speakers and source material, and I am willing to swear on a stack of bibles that I heard differences. Those audible (to me) differences explain why I kept replacing them until I finally reached power amp nirvana with the fabulous ESL amps designed by Roger Sanders, founder of Innersound and now of Sanders Sound Systems. Roger's patented Magtech amp is arguably the best high power amp in the entire world regardless of price and is a true audio bargain at only $5K.

I also believe that we all hear differently, not to mention we all have different tastes in music and what we like to hear, and our rooms (critical) are different. So every time someone asks about which equipment to buy I offer my experiences with certain brands and then end with advice to listen for yourself and decide what works for you. The good news is there are tons of resources on the internet, one of the best which is ecoustics (see link). But even reviews, whether pro or consumer, should always be considered as one person's opinion, not gospel. So-called "pro" reviews especially can be suspect if the venue is one of those salon magazines like Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, or Positive-Feedback, where the reviewer has little or no technical expertise and they derive income from the overpriced brands they review with such glowing praise. Sound and Vision (magazine, previously Stereo Review and Audio Review) reviews, OTOH, are typically more straightforward and objective, with solid bench testing by technical experts that you can rely on to support their opinions. But even then the ultimate judge has to be you. Good luck.

http://www.ecoustics.com/categories/
If that's your personal experience, that's cool.

In this case, I would say given that the sub will be in one location, the primary factor in the decision making should be would type of room correction is available, particularly regarding the subs. It's the response below the Shroeder frequency that will require the most attention. This will be what will truly separates the receivers from each other for the OP.* At least, that is how I would decide.

*Unless he decides to use an Anti-mode. Then each receiver's room correction isn't as major of a factor.
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post #19 of 30 Old 06-15-2014, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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My two cents:

You're going to need to EQ your sub, no doubt. Audyssey or ARC will do the best job at this. It sounds like corner placement is your only option. Without measuring it's impossible to know whether or not this placement is good or bad. So definitely EQ.

I would not get caught up in what receivers sound "musical." This is a point of endless debate--and I don't think it's worth getting into here--but if your receiver is not being driven to distortion, the differences in sound will be minuscule at best. I HIGHLY doubt you would ever be able to tell in a blind test. Your speakers and the room will be far be the biggest contributing factor. So I would say go for the receiver that has the features you need. They are all excellent choices.

I like Anthem and ARC for two reasons.

1. It allows you to determine a cutoff for the room correction. So, for instance, you could choose to only EQ the frequencies below 350hz if you choose. Or you can EQ the entire FR range. Or anything in between. You're not stuck with Audyssey's all or nothing approach.

2. ARC also allows you see the before and after on it's own FR graphs. I think this is invaluable as you can see how your speakers are interacting with your room. With Audyssey, if you don't have your own measuring equipment, you'll never know what it did.

Given these two points, I would buy the Anthem. I actually am currently using an Onkyo with Audyssey Multi EQ XT. I'm able to measure the before and after with Fuzzmeasure. I like what Audyssey is doing below 500hz but I don't like what it does above that. So it's a tradeoff. Have the subs sound smoother and have the speakers a bit bright or vice versa. Eventually, I'll either upgrade to an Anthem or use and Antimode with no room correction on the AVR. Both are a bit pricey so I'm being patient and waiting to see a used option pop up.

Good luck and enjoy the speakers.
Dan
Thanks!

Anthem is on my list exactly because of the highly regarded ARC.

On the other hand I am not quite sure how it would drive my 88dB, power hungry speakers which occasionally go below 3.5 Ohm - the Anthem amp section seems to show significant distortion quite low on the power scale with 8 Ohm and 3.5 Ohm might be too much. I am sure the amp will drive my Monitor Audio Silver 10i center and perhaps the 4 Ohm Epos M5 surrounds, but the Epos M16i fronts might be too much to drive to reference levels. Do you have any info on how Anthem works with lower impedance?


Cheers!
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post #20 of 30 Old 06-15-2014, 09:53 AM
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My two cents:

You're going to need to EQ your sub, no doubt. Audyssey or ARC will do the best job at this. It sounds like corner placement is your only option. Without measuring it's impossible to know whether or not this placement is good or bad. So definitely EQ.

I would not get caught up in what receivers sound "musical." This is a point of endless debate--and I don't think it's worth getting into here--but if your receiver is not being driven to distortion, the differences in sound will be minuscule at best. I HIGHLY doubt you would ever be able to tell in a blind test. Your speakers and the room will be far be the biggest contributing factor. So I would say go for the receiver that has the features you need. They are all excellent choices.

I like Anthem and ARC for two reasons.

1. It allows you to determine a cutoff for the room correction. So, for instance, you could choose to only EQ the frequencies below 350hz if you choose. Or you can EQ the entire FR range. Or anything in between. You're not stuck with Audyssey's all or nothing approach.

2. ARC also allows you see the before and after on it's own FR graphs. I think this is invaluable as you can see how your speakers are interacting with your room. With Audyssey, if you don't have your own measuring equipment, you'll never know what it did.

Given these two points, I would buy the Anthem. I actually am currently using an Onkyo with Audyssey Multi EQ XT. I'm able to measure the before and after with Fuzzmeasure. I like what Audyssey is doing below 500hz but I don't like what it does above that. So it's a tradeoff. Have the subs sound smoother and have the speakers a bit bright or vice versa. Eventually, I'll either upgrade to an Anthem or use and Antimode with no room correction on the AVR. Both are a bit pricey so I'm being patient and waiting to see a used option pop up.

Good luck and enjoy the speakers.
Dan
Thanks!

Anthem is on my list exactly because of the highly regarded ARC.

On the other hand I am not quite sure how it would drive my 88dB, power hungry speakers which occasionally go below 3.5 Ohm - the Anthem amp section seems to show significant distortion quite low on the power scale with 8 Ohm and 3.5 Ohm might be too much. I am sure the amp will drive my Monitor Audio Silver 10i center and perhaps the 4 Ohm Epos M5 surrounds, but the Epos M16i fronts might be too much to drive to reference levels. Do you have any info on how Anthem works with lower impedance?


Cheers!
Here's how the previous version did on the bench with Sound and Vision:

http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...-labs-measures

I don't think the Anthem will have any problems at all with your speakers. It has an excellent amplifier section. You could always ask this question in the forum dedicated to this amp and see if anyone has experience with speakers like yours.

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post #21 of 30 Old 06-15-2014, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I confess I am one of those people who claim to have heard differences in power amps and receivers while admitting that none were controlled DBX tests. OTOH, I bought and sold almost a dozen power amps (as well as several preamps and pre-pros) and listened to them in my own LR using the same speakers and source material, and I am willing to swear on a stack of bibles that I heard differences. Those audible (to me) differences explain why I kept replacing them until I finally reached power amp nirvana with the fabulous ESL amps designed by Roger Sanders, founder of Innersound and now of Sanders Sound Systems. Roger's patented Magtech amp is arguably the best high power amp in the entire world regardless of price and is a true audio bargain at only $5K.

I also believe that we all hear differently, not to mention we all have different tastes in music and what we like to hear, and our rooms (critical) are different. So every time someone asks about which equipment to buy I offer my experiences with certain brands and then end with advice to listen for yourself and decide what works for you. The good news is there are tons of resources on the internet, one of the best which is ecoustics (see link). But even reviews, whether pro or consumer, should always be considered as one person's opinion, not gospel. So-called "pro" reviews especially can be suspect if the venue is one of those salon magazines like Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, or Positive-Feedback, where the reviewer has little or no technical expertise and they derive income from the overpriced brands they review with such glowing praise. Sound and Vision (magazine, previously Stereo Review and Audio Review) reviews, OTOH, are typically more straightforward and objective, with solid bench testing by technical experts that you can rely on to support their opinions. But even then the ultimate judge has to be you. Good luck.

http://www.ecoustics.com/categories/
Thank you for your comment on this question! As I said unfortunately due to some conditions I am unable to audition myself any gear, otherwise I wouldn't be posting - I really care just about what I personally like.

As you said I take with a grain of salt all online reviews. Being a photographer myself I know very, very well how biased and even wrong are some online gear reviews. Thanks for recommending and pointing to Ecoustics!

Would you please share - based on your experience - which brands/receivers have a warmer and more laid back sound? I prefer warmer and laidback sound but my Epos M16i/Epos M5/Monitor Audio Silver 10i although quite flat and neutral are so detailed and revealing in the mids and highs that they are unforgiving to harsh/bright recordings and sources.

Cheers!

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post #22 of 30 Old 06-15-2014, 01:18 PM
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After measuring the auto room eq results of xt32 and ypao I found other graphs around here that convinced me that no built in auto eq is up to snuff. And who wants to pay another $700 for xt pro? Much cheaper to measure the results with a usb mic and free rew software. Then react to those results.
http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-...m_campaign=pla

Only Yamaha that I know of has any kind of manual sub eq built in. So most people are better off adding an external eq module to the auto eq results. $90 for the mic and $105 for the sub eq module. Minidsp works good. http://www.minidsp.com/products/mini...ox/minidsp-2x4

They make a good usb measurement mic also. Even the guy that wrote the audyssey faq uses the two pieces that I linked with his xt32. Now he has a very smooth bass response. There are usually some areas that need eq help above 80hz also. Yamaha has that covered internally with a peq for the mains.
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post #23 of 30 Old 06-16-2014, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post
Well, I confess I am one of those people who claim to have heard differences in power amps and receivers while admitting that none were controlled DBX tests. OTOH, I bought and sold almost a dozen power amps (as well as several preamps and pre-pros) and listened to them in my own LR using the same speakers and source material, and I am willing to swear on a stack of bibles that I heard differences. Those audible (to me) differences explain why I kept replacing them until I finally reached power amp nirvana with the fabulous ESL amps designed by Roger Sanders, founder of Innersound and now of Sanders Sound Systems. Roger's patented Magtech amp is arguably the best high power amp in the entire world regardless of price and is a true audio bargain at only $5K.

I also believe that we all hear differently, not to mention we all have different tastes in music and what we like to hear, and our rooms (critical) are different. So every time someone asks about which equipment to buy I offer my experiences with certain brands and then end with advice to listen for yourself and decide what works for you. The good news is there are tons of resources on the internet, one of the best which is ecoustics (see link). But even reviews, whether pro or consumer, should always be considered as one person's opinion, not gospel. So-called "pro" reviews especially can be suspect if the venue is one of those salon magazines like Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, or Positive-Feedback, where the reviewer has little or no technical expertise and they derive income from the overpriced brands they review with such glowing praise. Sound and Vision (magazine, previously Stereo Review and Audio Review) reviews, OTOH, are typically more straightforward and objective, with solid bench testing by technical experts that you can rely on to support their opinions. But even then the ultimate judge has to be you. Good luck.

http://www.ecoustics.com/categories/
Thank you for your comment on this question! As I said unfortunately due to some conditions I am unable to audition myself any gear, otherwise I wouldn't be posting - I really care just about what I personally like.

As you said I take with a grain of salt all online reviews. Being a photographer myself I know very, very well how biased and even wrong are some online gear reviews. Thanks for recommending and pointing to Ecoustics!

Would you please share - based on your experience - which brands/receivers have a warmer and more laid back sound? I prefer warmer and laidback sound but my Epos M16i/Epos M5/Monitor Audio Silver 10i although quite flat and neutral are so detailed and revealing in the mids and highs that they are unforgiving to harsh/bright recordings and sources.

Cheers!

As I said in my first post my preference historically would be Harman Kardon, but I have not heard how they sound with their Class D amp sections. Also, I have not used a receiver for more than a dozen years, having long ago gone with separates. My brother and my nephew both use H/K receivers I recommended and they are very pleased with them - but their H/K receivers have the older Class A-B amps. Since you are unable to audition then you really are just shooting in the dark. Even if I swear on a stack of bibles that you will love the H/K AVR you may decide otherwise. I'm not an expert on room corrections but from what I have read it is mainly intended to smooth out bass response and so I doubt if it will have much effect on harshness or brightness, which I believe is best handled with acoustic treatment to tame the higher frequencies. Then there is your source to consider - are you using a CD player or a media player? Are you listening to MP3 or WAV files (or CDs)? Of course you should avoid lossy compression, even high bit rate, if you are bothered by harshness. Then there is the matter of what do you consider harsh? Harshness, like beauty, can be in the eyes (ears) of the beholder. I am very sensitive to high frequency noise and vibrations, which is one reason I went through so many devices to get where I am. But it was trial and error listening that literally took years. So in the end there are no shortcuts - you have to buy and try. If you can't audition (which itself is iffy since you are not in your own room) at least buy from dealers or manufacturers that have a 30-day return policy. But first make sure your source (CD, PC, Media player, DAC) is free of problems before focusing on the reciever or amp. Also, keep in mind you can use an AVR as a pre/pro and use a separate power amp if the AVR has preouts.

Most of the amps I auditioned are no longer available, at least not new. But just for the record, here are the power amps I found most easy on the ears, if sometimes lacking in detail: H/K PA-5800; Sherwood Newcastle A-965 (much better than the PA-5800, note Sherwood Newcastle made a nice receiver using the same basic power section, the P-965, at one time); Theta Digital Intrepid (highly recommended if you can find one). Then of course there are the Roger Sanders designed Innersound ESL and Sanders System power amps, but I'm guessing you are not ready to put down $4K for a 2 ch power amp. But if you are you cannot do better at any price, IMO.

As to "auditioning" you can buy fully-warranted refurb receivers direct from Harman Kardon at their on-line outlet store (see link below) or from their eBay store, and they offer 30-day satisfaction. In all honesty, I suggest you start there, and you can save a ton of money. The H/K AVRs used by my brother and nephew are refurbs and they have never had any problems with them. You really can't go wrong going this route. Here is the link:

http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_br...onditioned.asp


PS: One last thought - for high quality stereo music I would avoid using the AVR's DACs if possible and rely instead on a CD player's DAC or a separate DAC. Unfortunately not all AVRs have a true analog bypass that avoids ADC and DAC conversions. I think H/K AVRs do (they used to) but cannot verify if current models have a stereo bypass.

One last tip: For some amazing music in either stereo or surround consider a Citation 7.0 analog (no digital inputs) pre/pro. I used one for years and loved it. You will need a separate power amp of course. A good used 7.0 can probably be had for $200-400 (originally $4k).
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As I said in my first post my preference historically would be Harman Kardon, but I have not heard how they sound with their Class D amp sections. Also, I have not used a receiver for more than a dozen years, having long ago gone with separates. My brother and my nephew both use H/K receivers I recommended and they are very pleased with them - but their H/K receivers have the older Class A-B amps. Since you are unable to audition then you really are just shooting in the dark. Even if I swear on a stack of bibles that you will love the H/K AVR you may decide otherwise. I'm not an expert on room corrections but from what I have read it is mainly intended to smooth out bass response and so I doubt if it will have much effect on harshness or brightness, which I believe is best handled with acoustic treatment to tame the higher frequencies. Then there is your source to consider - are you using a CD player or a media player? Are you listening to MP3 or WAV files (or CDs)? Of course you should avoid lossy compression, even high bit rate, if you are bothered by harshness. Then there is the matter of what do you consider harsh? Harshness, like beauty, can be in the eyes (ears) of the beholder. I am very sensitive to high frequency noise and vibrations, which is one reason I went through so many devices to get where I am. But it was trial and error listening that literally took years. So in the end there are no shortcuts - you have to buy and try. If you can't audition (which itself is iffy since you are not in your own room) at least buy from dealers or manufacturers that have a 30-day return policy. But first make sure your source (CD, PC, Media player, DAC) is free of problems before focusing on the reciever or amp. Also, keep in mind you can use an AVR as a pre/pro and use a separate power amp if the AVR has preouts.

Most of the amps I auditioned are no longer available, at least not new. But just for the record, here are the power amps I found most easy on the ears, if sometimes lacking in detail: H/K PA-5800; Sherwood Newcastle A-965 (much better than the PA-5800, note Sherwood Newcastle made a nice receiver using the same basic power section, the P-965, at one time); Theta Digital Intrepid (highly recommended if you can find one). Then of course there are the Roger Sanders designed Innersound ESL and Sanders System power amps, but I'm guessing you are not ready to put down $4K for a 2 ch power amp. But if you are you cannot do better at any price, IMO.

As to "auditioning" you can buy fully-warranted refurb receivers direct from Harman Kardon at their on-line outlet store (see link below) or from their eBay store, and they offer 30-day satisfaction. In all honesty, I suggest you start there, and you can save a ton of money. The H/K AVRs used by my brother and nephew are refurbs and they have never had any problems with them. You really can't go wrong going this route. Here is the link:

http://www.harmanaudio.com/search_br...onditioned.asp


PS: One last thought - for high quality stereo music I would avoid using the AVR's DACs if possible and rely instead on a CD player's DAC or a separate DAC. Unfortunately not all AVRs have a true analog bypass that avoids ADC and DAC conversions. I think H/K AVRs do (they used to) but cannot verify if current models have a stereo bypass.

One last tip: For some amazing music in either stereo or surround consider a Citation 7.0 analog (no digital inputs) pre/pro. I used one for years and loved it. You will need a separate power amp of course. A good used 7.0 can probably be had for $200-400 (originally $4k).

Thanks again! Your advise confirms what many other advised - go for a Harman/Kardon, but go for an older US model. The thread here on the newest H/K receiver models suggests that the 3700 and 2700 (made and engineered in China) don't carry the sonic signature of older models unfortunately. People suggest to look for the H/K 760/7550. Are there any other H/K models you would suggest looking for? Also I am looking all over the internet to find a Sherwood Newcastle R-972 (due to good feedback and Trinnov).

Regarding the source - my huge music library is exclusively in lossless - FLAC and WAV some SACD - many up to 24/192. My library is on a Popcorn Hour A-410 which uses an ESS Tecnhologies Sabre 9023 24/192 DAC - jitter free, 112dB DNR and with DSD support. Would it be a better choice to use this DAC instead of the receivers DAC?

Cheers!
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Yamaha and Pioneer has very different sound DSP
i have a pioneer amp
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Yamaha and Pioneer has very different sound DSP
i have a pioneer amp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yzG7hEm-rI
OK. I hope you enjoy your AVR!

Still I am not considering these receivers - my preferences and choice are different and narrowed to:

- Cambridge Audio Azur 551r
- NAD T 748 V2
- NAD T 757
- Sherwood Newcastle R-972
- Harman Kardon 760 (7550)

Would you comment on these?

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post #27 of 30 Old 06-17-2014, 02:46 PM
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Out of those, I would probably take one of the NAD, but I would take an Anthem over all of them. I'm using the 310 to drive my Monitor Audio speakers which are 88db, 6 Ohm and it has no issue getting them loud without distortion. You could always pair the 310 with an amp from Emotiva.
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OK. I hope you enjoy your AVR!

Still I am not considering these receivers - my preferences and choice are different and narrowed to:

- Cambridge Audio Azur 551r
- NAD T 748 V2
- NAD T 757
- Sherwood Newcastle R-972
- Harman Kardon 760 (7550)

Would you comment on these?
Thanks for your comment

I've never heard of that models
But I heard NAD doesn't good video processor!
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post #29 of 30 Old 06-18-2014, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Out of those, I would probably take one of the NAD, but I would take an Anthem over all of them. I'm using the 310 to drive my Monitor Audio speakers which are 88db, 6 Ohm and it has no issue getting them loud without distortion. You could always pair the 310 with an amp from Emotiva.
Thanks! I was considering the MRX 310 but some reports on it sounding bright for music in stereo mode made me remove it from my list since my Epos M16i and M5 although highly recommended in reviews, very flat and neutral are really detailed and unforgiving to brighter sources. And bright is not my type of sound for music.

Do you have some experience or impressions with some of the mentioned receivers? I would really like some more feedback on them!

Y.K.
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post #30 of 30 Old 06-18-2014, 06:01 AM
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Thanks again! Your advise confirms what many other advised - go for a Harman/Kardon, but go for an older US model. The thread here on the newest H/K receiver models suggests that the 3700 and 2700 (made and engineered in China) don't carry the sonic signature of older models unfortunately. People suggest to look for the H/K 760/7550. Are there any other H/K models you would suggest looking for? Also I am looking all over the internet to find a Sherwood Newcastle R-972 (due to good feedback and Trinnov).

Regarding the source - my huge music library is exclusively in lossless - FLAC and WAV some SACD - many up to 24/192. My library is on a Popcorn Hour A-410 which uses an ESS Tecnhologies Sabre 9023 24/192 DAC - jitter free, 112dB DNR and with DSD support. Would it be a better choice to use this DAC instead of the receivers DAC?

Cheers!
I don't claim to be a DAC expert but I don't know if any DAC is truly jitter-free, only that some do a better job of removing the effects of jitter than others. I use the Benchmark DAC-1, which legit experts say is as close to perfect a DAC as is available. As to choice of DAC, let your ears be your guide. I'm not familiar with the Popcorn server other than a few reviews I have read, but unless your receiver has a true analog stereo bypass you will not be able to avoid putting it's ADC and/or DAC processor into the mix, so look for a true bypass. Also be aware that there is more involved than just the DAC chip in your device - the DAC's analog output section can affect sound quality enough to defeat whatever benefits the DAC chip provides, and that is one of the great things about the Benchmark DAC - it's preamp and analog ouput is essentially perfect according to those who have done measurements. For music in surround you will probably want to use the receiver's DACs, and one of the best thing about H/K receivers is they include the Logic-7 surround format, which I really like with music in surround (Note my preamp/pro is the JBL Synthesis AV-1 which was made for JBL by Lexicon and includes Logic-7). Then there is the question of your subwoofer. My main stereo speakers are full-range and do not require a sub so with music in stereo my sub is idle. But with a sub-sat system you will need to find a way to get LF to the sub. I'm not 100% positive but I think the H/K receivers have an analog crossover for subs when using their bypass, but you will need to check on that by reading a review or asking owners. Otherwise you will need an external crossover and I have no advice for you there other than to do some reading and ask others for their advice. Of course you can go the old-fashion route and use the sub's built-in crossover (assuming it has one). Maybe contact SVS Subwoofers for their advice.
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