Came across this forum and I have to say it is absolutely phenomenal. There's an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise here that is very much appreciated.
I just spend a couple of hours demoing an AVR280 at a local shop. From a sound quality perspective I am absolutely impressed compared with some other models I've listened to. The actual unit he's suggesting is the AVR350 and is prepared to demo an AVR300 for me next Thursday if I so choose. He's stating that the 350 and 300 are identical in sound quality, it's just that the 350 includes support for pre-amping and some other doo-dads. If I'm not pre-amping, would you guys suggest that a 300 would be 'just as good'?
I ask because I have seen a few posts that suggest one can stick with an AVR 280 and be 'just as happy' with the sound quality.
My current setup is:
Paradigm Monitor 11's (v3) - Mains (bi-amp'd)
Paradigm CC370 (v3) - Centre
Paradigm Titans - Rears
Paradigm Reference Seismic 12 - Sub
Yamaha RX-V420 - Receiver (blah)
Co-incidentally, the shop had Paradigm 9's setup for the demonstration. My gut tells me (particularly in comparison to what I have and the Marantz I listened to), that the AVR280 brought the Paradigms to life. I've always felt that my Yamaha amp never brought out the full potential of my Monitor 11's.
Ultimately, the rep is suggesting the AVR350 and has given me (what I believe to be) a decent price on the unit - wouldn't mind a PM here to validate or invalidate this.
I have some concern around the fact that the unit has been out for a while and I suspect something new is around the corner that has more support for HDMI audio and newer audio standards. I also want to know if the unit will be upgradeable over time, or are these new technologies hardware-dependent and I'll be outpaced immediately. Thoughts here?
The devices I believe I'll ultimately have in my setup will be:
- X-Box (component and optical)
- X-Box Elite (has HDMI support)
- Some SACD / DVD player
* Note here that I understand I might 'back-up' my support of newer audio technologies by making sure that my player is "higher end" and will decode the formats so the amp won't have to - is this correct?
- HD PVR from Shaw Cable
I *think* I'll be covered with something like the AVR350 without compromising quality. I am concerned, however, that I'll be limited in room for expansion. Thoughts here?
Thanks very much for reading and providing any insight you might have. I've waited two years to get serious about upgrading the amp and hope this is the right "moment in time" to do so.