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post #1 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Old amp with new AVR?

Hi All,

I have the following system currently:

Audiolab 8000A Amp (purchased ca 1995, still going strong)
Royd The Minstrel Speakers (Purchased 1992 still going strong)
Creek Evo CD Player (purchased not too long ago)
PS3 for playing Blu Rays and hooked up to amp

Whilst I don't want to go for a 5 or 7 channel set up, I do want to move into the modern age and be able to play my digital music and internet radio through my system without the need for any cabling, specifically from a tablet (controlling the AVR via an app) or smartphone, likely over bluetooth rather than DLNA (No apples in my house).

What I am wrestling with is determining the next additional component that will help my achieve this goal without breaking the bank (€500 ish limit), but not compromising on sound nor on usage of existing equipment, speicfically the amp.

I have thought about an AVR with offer pre out so that I can still use the Audiolab but I am not sure whether I then need to make some internal adjustments to separate pre and power sections (which would be beyond my capabilities anyway) or whether I can just input the AVR and carry on using the Audiolab.

If this is possible,the next question is which AVR, but that is not a question I expect anyone to answer here - that's my research work.

Question is, can what I am suggesting be done without making internal changes to the Audiolab and is it worth it?

Apreciate anyone's thoughts should you care to offer them.

Thanks!

Last edited by Dans72; 07-29-2014 at 04:41 AM.
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:41 AM
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Change Audiolab 8000A to Audiolab 8000S, job done- better amp, and it has mode switch. Had 8000S for a while in AV system works brilliantly, put it in pre-power AV mode. One thing though pre-outs from 8000S are non functioning so if you bi-amp with S/SX or S/PX you're stuffed, as only 8000S amp functions

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post #3 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:43 AM
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Depends on your budget, but generally lower level models do not have pre-outs; however, at only 50W, you can likely forgo using the amp and just use the new AVR without any loss of power.

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post #4 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:46 AM
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lol Audiolab 8000A would trounce most AVR's in sound, although 8000A is probably poorest in Audiolab range.

Get a 8000S, get a AVR with pre-outs, take l/r from AVR into 8000S power amplifier in. Job done, and better sound than a crappy AVR for stereo duties.

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post #5 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Change Audiolab 8000A to Audiolab 8000S, job done- better amp, and it has mode switch. Had 8000S for a while in AV system works brilliantly, put it in pre-power AV mode. One thing though pre-outs from 8000S are non functioning so if you bi-amp with S/SX or S/PX you're stuffed, as only 8000S amp functions
Not sure how that is job done. Are you suggesting replace my Audiolab 8000a with the 8000s before buying an AVR?
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
lol Audiolab 8000A would trounce most AVR's in sound, although 8000A is probably poorest in Audiolab range.

Get a 8000S, get a AVR with pre-outs, take l/r from AVR into 8000S power amplifier in. Job done, and better sound than a crappy AVR for stereo duties.
Gotcha. But that option necessitates spending double the amount I had hoped to.

Good to know that someone believes the old Audiolab will still trounce a modern AVR though - you see my dilemna now? I don't want to replace it! But it does seem that it won't work in the config I mentioned.

So, either spend a grand on an AVR, which should replace the audiolab and match it's sound (I owuld have thought) or buy an 8000s and an AVR for around the same price, which makes me think I might as well just plump for the first option.
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:50 AM
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Whether you buy it before or after that's up to you, but the 8000S adds the direct power input mode, so you don't have to mess around with volume control everytime you want to watch a movie.

Probably pick up a 8000S for about £250, I had one a while ago, traded up to a 8000Q. That loses the mode input but it's used in a dedicated 2 ch system so it doesn't matter.

Course you could get the new models, not as good as old ones...or look for Tag version think called 60irv.

If you like the Audiolab sound, apparently Kevin Green thinks 8000A/C poorest of the Audiolabs

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post #8 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post
Depends on your budget, but generally lower level models do not have pre-outs; however, at only 50W, you can likely forgo using the amp and just use the new AVR without any loss of power.
There's a few out there reduced in price lately that do seem to fit the bill actually. The Yamaha RX-S600D for example (although this lacks bluetooth). Available for €499.
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dans72 View Post
Gotcha. But that option necessitates spending double the amount I had hoped to.

Good to know that someone believes the old Audiolab will still trounce a modern AVR though - you see my dilemna now? I don't want to replace it! But it does seem that it won't work in the config I mentioned.

So, either spend a grand on an AVR, which should replace the audiolab and match it's sound (I owuld have thought) or buy an 8000s and an AVR for around the same price, which makes me think I might as well just plump for the first option.
No way I'd choose a any AVR over a 8000S + AVR (not having 8000A can't judge) although A is useful as it has tone controls and phono stage, and balance?

8000S destroyed a £400 Yamaha for sound quality.

If you don't mind the two box solution go 8000S+ AVR. I think you'd regret going single box for sound. Course you can go single AVR for now, sell 8000A. See how bad the AVR sounds, then look for a 8000S.

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post #10 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Whether you buy it before or after that's up to you, but the 8000S adds the direct power input mode, so you don't have to mess around with volume control everytime you want to watch a movie.

Probably pick up a 8000S for about £250, I had one a while ago, traded up to a 8000Q. That loses the mode input but it's used in a dedicated 2 ch system so it doesn't matter.

Course you could get the new models, not as good as old ones...or look for Tag version think called 60irv.

If you like the Audiolab sound, apparently Kevin Green thinks 8000A/C poorest of the Audiolabs
I like the sound because I have had nothing to compare it with since I bought it!

I can't remember what I demo'd it against back then (I think it was a NAD), but it came out head and shoulders above it's competitor that weekend!
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post #11 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 05:19 AM
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There is always people selling Audiolab, as they moved up the chain, I'm selling off a few Audiolab power amplifiers as well.

The S was direct decoupled, unlike the A. Wouldn't mind two Tag 125M's but they're pretty rare, second after that is get a 100P so have Q/60P/100P system then maybe swap Q for Tag PA20R. I don't like the Tag grey knobs though.

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post #12 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dans72 View Post
Hi All,

I have the following system currently:

Audiolab 8000A Amp (purchased ca 1995, still going strong)
Royd The Minstrel Speakers (Purchased 1992 still going strong)
Creek Evo CD Player (purchased not too long ago)
PS3 for playing Blu Rays and hooked up to amp

Whilst I don't want to go for a 5 or 7 channel set up, I do want to move into the modern age and be able to play my digital music and internet radio through my system without the need for any cabling, specifically from a tablet (controlling the AVR via an app) or smartphone, likely over bluetooth rather than DLNA (No apples in my house).

What I am wrestling with is determining the next additional component that will help my achieve this goal without breaking the bank (€500 ish limit), but not compromising on sound nor on usage of existing equipment, specifically the amp.

I have thought about an AVR with offer pre out so that I can still use the Audiolab but I am not sure whether I then need to make some internal adjustments to separate pre and power sections (which would be beyond my capabilities anyway) or whether I can just input the AVR and carry on using the Audiolab.

If this is possible,the next question is which AVR, but that is not a question I expect anyone to answer here - that's my research work.

Question is, can what I am suggesting be done without making internal changes to the Audiolab and is it worth it?

Apreciate anyone's thoughts should you care to offer them.

Thanks!
If I understand you correctly, your only purpose for the new device is to be able to access your digital music library by some form of wireless protocol (Bluetooth/WiFi/DLNA/Airplay/etc.) and feed it to your amp as stereo analog, using RCA connectors. And, you don't want/need multichannel capability (you are only using 2 speakers).

Do you want/need sound modes or room correction?
Do you want/need input switching capabilities beyond the analog selector switch on your amp?
Do you want/need Dolby/DTS decoding capabilities in this device for streaming movies and/or tv shows from local storage or the internet?

If you answered "yes" to any of these 3 questions then you will want an AVR with stereo analog pre-outs. There are several options in the $350-$600 (US dollars) price range that can do all of the above. Check out 2013 and 2014 models from Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Yamaha. Most other brands are likely to be above your desired price range for models that include the networking features you want. You do not need to do any internal modifications to use any of these with your amp. You just need to make sure that the AVR you pick has stereo analog outputs and Bluetooth, WiFi, DLNA, and/or Airplay built in. Some models will have all four. Some will only have two or three of the four.

If you answered "no" to all 3 of the above questions then you could save some money by forgoing the AVR and getting a $200 Sonos Connect instead. It lacks many of the features that an AVR will give you, but the one thing it does really well is allow you access to your digital music collection and feed it to your amp. It communicates wirelessly with your PC, NAS, and mobile devices, allowing you to play music from any one of them and feed it to your amp using stereo analog outputs.
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post #13 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 06:33 AM
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lol Audiolab 8000A would trounce most AVR's in sound, although 8000A is probably poorest in Audiolab range.
Please state the technical criteria for the above claim.
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post #14 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 08:32 AM
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Given the power of the Audiolab, I think an AVR could meet your needs. If you prefer the amp on the Audio Lab you would need an AVR with pre out jacks. Sadly, that tends to be a feature of more expensive receivers, so you would have to shop around to meet your budget.

As for the audio fidelity question, as you can see that would be endlessly debated. If you are worried that a receiver will somehow lack the fidelity of the Audiolab, make sure you have a return policy you can live with. I don't know why an AVR can't have the fidelity of the Audiolab.

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post #15 of 23 Old 07-29-2014, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Would Front Pre Outs do the job?

The Marantz NR1504/N1B Slim-line 5.1 has these and offers good network connectivity albeit needing an add on dongle for BT.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 03:01 AM
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You need a AVR with left & right pre-outs, because you connect that to your Audiolab input (ideally power amp in on the 8000S, but otherwise into regular line level input, then set 8000A to 12 o clock)

Also I wouldn't get slimline AVR.

Quote:
Given the power of the Audiolab, I think an AVR could meet your needs.
The Audiolab can drive 4ohm speakers. AVR's cannot. Also that60W is understated it's closer to 75W.

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post #17 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 04:17 AM
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The Audiolab can drive 4ohm speakers. AVR's cannot.
Tons of audiophiles, myself included are successfully driving 4 ohm speakers with AVRs.
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 04:52 AM
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Most people can't tell when it sounds crap, so I don't care about other people having cloth ears.

I tried 4ohm speakers on a AVR, sounds like crap. Audiolab drives em much better. 8000A has a larger PSU that complete multi-channel AVR I bet.

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post #19 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Most people can't tell when it sounds crap, so I don't care about other people having cloth ears.

I tried 4ohm speakers on a AVR, sounds like crap. Audiolab drives em much better. 8000A has a larger PSU that complete multi-channel AVR I bet.
I also drive 4 ohm speakers with an AVR. They sound the same as they did when they were driven with separate amplifier. Any audible problems would only occur at full output power and, since that sytem is in my bedroom, full output power would drive me out of the room. Mr. Fatbottom, apparently, abuses his gear in order to make it sound like "crap."
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post #20 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 06:31 AM
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Never needed worrying about 4ohm speakers sounding crap after this

http://www.artech-electronics.com/us...ab/8000px.html

Bigger rated PSU than most AVR's haha

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post #21 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Most people can't tell when it sounds crap, so I don't care about other people having cloth ears.
They tell me that there are people who are highly opinionated, and impugn the good taste of anybody who would be so bold as disagree with them just because.

Science matters, and there is no science that says that no AVR can effectively drive speakers with 4 ohm rated impedance.

Quote:
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I tried 4 ohm speakers on a AVR, sounds like crap.
What does it mean when someone declines to say which AVR and which speakers they tried?

Is this evidence of an imaginary event?

What I do know for sure is that people tend to hear what they want to hear. Anybody who makes indiscriminate claims is not working hard to obtain credibility by telling a believable story.

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Audiolab drives em much better.
Let's apply a sniff test to this statement. A specific but unexceptional amplifier works better than every other AVR that has ever been made based on exactly what? A nameless AVR driving a nameless speaker? Seems highly convincing to me!


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8000A has a larger PSU that complete multi-channel AVR I bet.
I think that it is important to realize that the Audiolab 8000A is not a current product. AFAIK they haven't made a new one for years. If the 8000A was so uniquely the pinnacle of all amplifiers, why did Audiolab stop making them?

Anyhow, let's look at the apparent claim for world-class ability to drive 4 ohm speakers.

Fact is that the Audiolab 8000a only weighs less than 17 pounds, which is similar to a low end AVR. Since power supply current handling capacity is mostly a matter of iron in the power transformer, we can see that the Audiolab 8000a is hardly exceptional in this territory. For example the bottom-end Yamaha RXV 371 weighs almost exactly the same. So in 2 channel mode it can be reasonably be expected to perform similarly.
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post #22 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
You need a AVR with left & right pre-outs, because you connect that to your Audiolab input (ideally power amp in on the 8000S, but otherwise into regular line level input, then set 8000A to 12 o clock)

Also I wouldn't get slimline AVR.



The Audiolab can drive 4ohm speakers. AVR's cannot. Also that60W is understated it's closer to 75W.
There are plenty of AVR's that can power two 4 ohm speakers as well and as cleanly as the Audiolabs in question. If there is a difference in sound, it is likely due to the DSP settings in the AVR. Some manufacturers try for a different sound than others. Usually, there is a Source Direct or Pure Direct mode that can be used to disable any coloration the AVR is doing, in which case it should sound the same as the Audiolab, unless the Audiolab adds its own coloration. It's entirely possible that Audiolab amps do have their own unique sound and that you happen to prefer it. But, that would be a subjective opinion and not necessarily a weakness of AVR's to anyone but you and those who have similar tastes.

To the OP:

Personally, I would recommend demoing some AVR's and purchasing one to go with your existing setup. You can then experiment with it at home, using different settings, and switching between using the AVR as a pre-pro feeding your current Audiolab amp and using the AVR to power your speakers directly. If you decide that you prefer using the AVR by itself then you can sell the Audiolab. If you decide that you prefer using the Audiolab to power your speakers then keep it. And if you decide that you want to upgrade your Audiolab in the future, you can always do that too. I would recommend against upgrading to a different Audiolab model immediately, particularly if that means you would have to hold off on purchasing the AVR. While it is possible that you could get a minor improvement in sound quality just by upgrading from one Audiolab model to another, this will not give you any of the other capabilities you were looking for in your OP.

The Marantz AVR you mentioned certainly has the features you requested without adding a bunch of things that you are unlikely to need at additional cost (although you would have to purchase the Bluetooth dongle separately if that is how you end up transmitting the audio from your digital library to the AVR). I have never owned that particular model myself, so I would suggest checking the owners thread for additional information. I do know that, among the mainstream AVR manufacturers, Marantz has a good reputation for sound quality, particularly when it comes to music.

Last edited by HockeyoAJB; 07-30-2014 at 07:26 AM.
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post #23 of 23 Old 07-30-2014, 07:15 AM
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If you want to stick to the Audiolab sound (but better) look for a Tag Mclaren 60iRV. It's an updated model of the Audiolab 8000S.

The new Audiolabs aren't a patch on the Tag Mclarens.

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