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Receiver with Audyssey > preout > Stereo Amp vs Dedicated Stereo Amp

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!

Long time reader, first time poster. I'm looking for an upgrade to my setup.
I've got an ONKYO NR-TX709 connected to a 5.1 set with B&W 685 speakers as fronts and I'm a very happy Audyssey user.

The Onkyo is great for HT but I'm not very happy with it's stereo output and I'm thinking about adding a stereo amp to my setup.
I could go the dedicated stereo amp route, but that way I'll be leaving the Onkyo's Audyssey out of the loop.

Which option would you pick and would you recommend any amps?
a. Receiver + Audyssey preout to Stereo Amp
b. Separate Stereo Amp leaving the Receiver out of the loop completely

Thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to your thoughts.
post #2 of 7
^^^

- what aren't you happy with?

- what do you think the stereo amp is going to get you?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
- what aren't you happy with?
Music sounds a bit flat, a bit tiring, lifeless and clinical, especially if there is a lot going on in the song.
Quote:
- what do you think the stereo amp is going to get you?
I'm reading a lot about people having a separate stereo amp to get the best of both worlds (HT & Stereo).

Most articles state that one should keep the HT receiver out of the loop and use the pre and power stages of the dedicated stereo amp, however I'd give up the Audyssey EQ from the Onkyo.

I'm wondering if people have experience with this situation and which choice they have made.

Cheers!

Chris
post #4 of 7
"Music sounds a bit flat, a bit tiring, lifeless and clinical, especially if there is a lot going on in the song."

Is your music compressed or uncompressed and if you've ripped it, what format did you rip it.

A lot of today's music quality has to do with your DAC'a ability and the quality level you ripped the music.

"Most articles state that one should keep the HT receiver out of the loop and use the pre and power stages of the dedicated stereo amp, however I'd give up the Audyssey EQ from the Onkyo."

A lot of subjective goes into articles of that kind. You have in the mix, a mixture of speakers, quality of the rip, DAC and how everything is connected to address the sound quality. Then enters the room's sonic characteristics to dice things up even more.

"I'm looking for an upgrade to my setup."

Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, what's your budget and how willing are you to stretch this budget? Is this going be for home theater or strictly music? Which is primary and which secondary; music or theater sound? How do you listen to your music: while partying or critically, when no one is around?
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
My budget is 400-600 euro's, to be spend solely on improving the quality of the music playback.
I listen critically to .flac files with mostly I'd say average compressed music (Aerosmith, GNR, Queen, John Mayer, Jason mRaz).
I'm using a WD Mediastreamer for the .flac files or Spotify Extreme Quality via AppleTV (both via HDMI to the receiver).
post #6 of 7
I'd listen to the the two posters above.

A separate stereo amp is going to do probably absolutely nothing to improve the "sound quality" of your music, unless the Onkyo is having trouble driving the speakers, which I very, very much doubt (how large is your room, BTW?)

It's more likely that either the recording you are listening to is badly recorded, or that you are listening to highly compressed music which has audible compression artifacts, or you are simply sitting below the twitter level -- I don't know why B&Ws are so popular, but many of their models have pretty mediocre off-center coverage and going off center will cause a dip.

Moreover, many B&Ws seem to have large dips right in the 1-4kHz band, which is right where the human ear is most sensitive -- a 2dB dip at 2kHz is likely to be audible, while a 20dB dip at 80Hz is likely not.

Anyway, the short answer is, don't bother with a stereo amp, but rather invest the $$$ either in a sub (you do not mention if you have one) or in better speakers.

P.S. Just saw your post about the music you listen to. It's worth noting that while Spotify advertises 320k, it appears that the majority (they refuse to disclose what portion) of their streams are still at 160k, which would make a noticeable difference. That's why I use MOG, which streams mostly at 320k. smile.gif
Edited by Ryan1 - 7/9/12 at 5:28pm
post #7 of 7
One should find an improvement by using an optical out from the source and let the receiver's DAC unpackage the digital stream.

How does your system sound when listening straight from a CD?

Are you using an optical out to your Onkyo?

Considering the Onkyo unit you have, another question I might ask would regard the circuit your receiver is plugged into and the amount of current draw the circuit is capable of providing.

-
Edited by BeeMan458 - 7/9/12 at 7:21pm
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