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Amp or Receiver - Page 2

post #31 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2obed View Post

I am sure that the Denon will sound just fine, and it should give you many years of trouble free and maintenance free service...

Anyway - I am not trying to convince you to not get the Denon. I am trying to convince you to continue exploring after you get the Denon. Don't take my word for anything.
I understand your perspective but having read about tube amps maintenance, I was not sure I wanted to take on that. I'll make sure I listen to a tube amp some time soon, now that I'm curious about their sound. I didn't want to protract this decision for too long as there are so many choices out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Plus, I have 30 days to return/exchange the receiver so if I don't like its sound, I have an out. I did debate between the Denon and an integrated amp, like the Marantz 5004 or Cambridge Audio 550A so if I don't like the Denon, I would go to an integrated amp next. Some people insist that integrated amps sound better.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #32 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2obed View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post


As far as DACs are concerned - I have not listened to new cheap built in DACs. Perhaps they have become superb. The DAC built in to my HK3490 is no worse than my aging CPDs, it also is no better. All of them are better than the DAC built into a iPod touch (2nd gen, I think) which created a haze to my ears. My kids lived with it happily, they hardly heard it. I trust my kids' opinion that it was not important to them. But for me it was a reality I could not accept in audio reproduction. I could happily live with the DAC in a 30 G iPod of whatever generation. Apparently it was a different DAC - a better DAC for an iPod that was intended primarily for music. I guess the Apple designers decided that there was a difference to the sound. Or perhaps it was just a marketing decisions - though I doubt very much that the average iPod buyer would have heard of Wolfson or Burr-Brown, and TI would mean a calculator smile.gif I now use a relatively cheap outboard DAC ($200) / preamp. To my ears it has improved the depth and width of the soundstage, and cleared up a bit of the haze. (As a bonus, the preamp section was better than the HK pre-amp, so I am bypassing the HK pre-amp and use the HK as a power amp.)

One of the problems with subjective technology is that it is sometimes hard to figure out what is actually meant.

A comparison between an iPod and a home stereo is particularly difficult because unless the listening evaluation is set up right, I can guarantee an audible difference ever if we were comparing two identical iPods. What I'm referrring to is the fact that iPods are usually listened to with earphones or headphones, while receivers and CD players are usually listened to with loudspeakers. That is a huge difference due to the use of such different ways for listening. In general headphones let you hear far more of the detail and the built-in acoustics of the source recording because there is no room to smear the music by adding its own acoustics.

So, lets say that to make this more of an apples-to-apples comparison by hooking the iPod up to the AVR and using the speakers to listen to for both devices. The next big difference will be that unless you do a very careful setup with test recordings and test equipment, the listening levels will be different. Even small differences in listening levels sounds different. Some will tell you that louder always sounds better but I know from experience that is not a true statement for all possible listening levels. However, it is a true statement that different listening levels will sound different and when presented with the same music played at different listening levels you may or may not perceive the difference to be just louder or softer. There will also be changes in timbre, imaging, and inner detail and even haze. Once you get the levels matched closely enough (which can't be done reliably with a SPL meter) there are still other issues that need to be handled.

One of the true and sometimes tough tests of a listening evaluation is that it will produce an outcome of "no differences" when there are actually no differences. This may seem trivial but it is not in actual practice.
Quote:
If you cannot hear the difference between SS and Tube gear, it would be logical to pick the SS gear for its ease of use. No tubes will blow, taking caps with them to audio heaven. Power tubes last about 3000 - 5000 hours before they begin to degrade. It does cost money to replace them. You get a lot more WPC for your buck with SS. SS tends to control bass better than tubes. SS is less sensitive to impedance curves. SS will probably produce less heat in this price range than even an class A/B tube amp. You need a lot more space above a tube amp than above a SS amp for ventilation.

All true. One of the ironies of audiophilia is that back in the days when tubes were all we had, there was a more-or-less tacit agreement to try to build tube amps so that they had as little coloration as possible and therefore sounded as much alike as possible. In recent times a goodly portion of the tubed amplifer business is devoted to equipment that to an old-timer like me looks like it is as badly engineered as possible. For example since it was invented in the early 1930s, push-pull operation has been a leading technology for making tubed amps sound as good and uncolored as possible. So, what has tube-audiophilia brought back but SET amplifiers that are not only not push-pull but also have avoided many other technical refinements that helps tube amplifiers sound as good and transparent as possible.
Quote:
I am not sure that tubes are not for beginners. Tubes are what our parents and grandparents grew up with. They did not have the option to progress to tubes from solid state. Most of them lived long enough to reproduce despite the onerousness of tube equipment, Today's entry level tube equipment tends to be auto bias, other than replacing tubes there is little that needs doing. I do watch my tubes when I turn on the amp - just in case. Tube equipment is more prone to hum because of the big transformers - but with a bit of care mine are dead quiet through the speakers. The transformers on my 300B have a physical hum that I can hear from 2 1/2 feet (when there is no music playing.)
The suggestion that tube equipment works like a tone control on SS gear is not consistent with my experience.

One difference being that tone controls are adjustable by the end user while the tonal variations that modern tubed amps add to the music are not easily controlled by anybody. They are largely determined by the impedance curve of the speakers that you use with them.


Quote:
I do think that there appears to be some inconsistency in believing in measurements (Tube equipment tends to measure quite flat over an extended frequency range)

That is incorrect. Tubed amps are especially prone to having non-flat frequency response due to the technical problems of output transformers.

Consider the following test results for a tubed power amp based on 300B tubes::



versus this SS amplfiier (Bryston 7B);



Notice that the vertical dB scale is greatly expanded in the second chart, magnifying the appearance of non-flat frequency response. Its vertical scale is about 4x that of the upper chart, so the same amount of wiggling around represents 4 times smaller actual variations! I would say that it has about 8 times flatter frequency response which in this case means that the tubed amp is probably audibly non-flat and colors the music while the SS amp is probably completely free of audible coloration.
post #33 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

I understand your perspective but having read about tube amps maintenance, I was not sure I wanted to take on that. I'll make sure I listen to a tube amp some time soon, now that I'm curious about their sound. I didn't want to protract this decision for too long as there are so many choices out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Plus, I have 30 days to return/exchange the receiver so if I don't like its sound, I have an out. I did debate between the Denon and an integrated amp, like the Marantz 5004 or Cambridge Audio 550A so if I don't like the Denon, I would go to an integrated amp next. Some people insist that integrated amps sound better.
A well considered decision, and the right one for you.
I have heard a Denon through some big old honking horn speakers, and my system can't touch the bass and tone of that system. I keep scheming to find an affordable way to get me some of those old horns... but the Denon did a beautiful job... on MP3 files...!smile.gif
post #34 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

That is incorrect. Tubed amps are especially prone to having non-flat frequency response due to the technical problems of output transformers.
Consider the following test results for a tubed power amp based on 300B tubes::

versus this SS amplfiier (Bryston 7B);

Notice that the vertical dB scale is greatly expanded in the second chart, magnifying the appearance of non-flat frequency response. Its vertical scale is about 4x that of the upper chart, so the same amount of wiggling around represents 4 times smaller actual variations! I would say that it has about 8 times flatter frequency response which in this case means that the tubed amp is probably audibly non-flat and colors the music while the SS amp is probably completely free of audible coloration.

This is what you did not cite from my previous post:
That said, tube equipment is, I am told, sensitive to impedance, and so the impedance curve can impact the relative loudness throughout the frequency range.
I don't think we disagree on this weakness in Tube gear. I mentioned many other drawbacks of tube gear in my post. Tube gear will measure poorly compared to the cheapest of the cheap SS gear. I have no argument to make.
In my case: tone controls on SS cannot make up for what I hear from my 300B. Perhaps with sophisticated measuring equipment and a really great equalizer I might be able to create a nearly flat frequency response in the audible band. Listening as I do in nearfield in a fairly dead room should theoretically be able to get me pretty close to that. But that is not my objective. And my Morel drivers, good as they are, are not perfectly linear. The enclosure adds more problems, Linearity - flat frequency response - is not going to happen in my room in my life time,
I listen to my HK every once in a while. I am sure it measures quite well. It sounds somewhat warm and relaxed compared to my Yamaha - to me. Subjectively. I am sure the Yammie measures flat as well. Yet they do not sound the same. To me. They each have their strengths and weaknesses.
To my ears, lower priced SS gear - the sony, denon yamaha HK NAD etc big x line of electronics - has a presentation that is flat, hazy, grainy and lifeless compared to my similar priced tube gear. I know that other people are not bothered in the least by what bothers me. That is why they make choices that are different from mine. Those are good decisions for them.
I am not trying to make an argument that Tube is better than SS or vice versa. I agree that SS measures better than Tube gear. Tube gear does require more care than SS. All I am trying to argue is that it is OK to explore, and that it is OK to pick whatever sounds better or more enjoyable to you. Even if it is an illusion that one is more enjoyable than the other - based on objective measurements - it would still be logical to pick the one that is more enjoyable to you.
post #35 of 75
BTW, ARNYK: I really do enjoy your logical response. We may have a few different experiences in what we hear - but that is a good thing. If we all heard everything the same way, we would only need one source, one amp, one pair of speakers, and just a few different tunes. Variety is the spice of life for me.
And I love the whole tube experience - very subjective. I love the glow, the warmth, the bit of faint dark blue glow at the top of the 300B tubes. And I love the sound.
I can hear deeper into the music with the 300B SET amp than with any of my other amps. Apparently quite the opposite for you, where you find that SET amps lack transparency. I am driving 85dB (in) efficient speakers - about 42" apart and about 42" from my ears, toed in, well away from any boundaries. Some people hate nearfield like this. For me it is the cat's meow, the best way to hear soundstaging. Except for organ music, where I can use some bass reinforcement and where there is such reverb in the recording that a bit of bouncing of the walls of my listening room adds to the ambiance. smile.gif
Loving the music! Happy new year to all.
post #36 of 75
Quote:
We may have a few different experiences in what we hear - but that is a good thing. If we all heard everything the same way, we would only need one source, one amp, one pair of speakers, and just a few different tunes.
It would probably be more accurate to say that we all hear everything pretty much the same way (assuming our hearing isn't damaged in some way), but we like different things. For whatever reason, you like the sound of your tube system, which is cool. Also, to your credit, you don't fall into the audiophile trap of assuming that what you like has to be technically superior. In my experience, that makes you a rarity among tube fans, or at least the subset of tube fans who post on audio forums.
post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

It would probably be more accurate to say that we all hear everything pretty much the same way (assuming our hearing isn't damaged in some way), but we like different things. For whatever reason, you like the sound of your tube system, which is cool. Also, to your credit, you don't fall into the audiophile trap of assuming that what you like has to be technically superior. In my experience, that makes you a rarity among tube fans, or at least the subset of tube fans who post on audio forums.
Thanks - I try to stay open to new experiences and information, despite inching closer to qualifying for Seniors Discounts and death - hopefully in that order.
post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2obed View Post

BTW, ARNYK: I really do enjoy your logical response. We may have a few different experiences in what we hear - but that is a good thing. If we all heard everything the same way, we would only need one source, one amp, one pair of speakers, and just a few different tunes. Variety is the spice of life for me.

Those of us with normal hearing hear things the same way. Due to the way our brains and personalities work, our perceptions of what we hear of course vary.

Right now there is a lot of variation in what we actually hear due to technical variations in the sound quality of our audio system hardware. We now know that the source of these variations are primarily the speakers and the room, and not so much the amplifiers, cables, and DACs no matter what gets hyped in the audiophile press.

I'm looking forward to the days when we get our speakers and rooms under control, and that many of these variations disappear.
post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

I understand your perspective but having read about tube amps maintenance, I was not sure I wanted to take on that. I'll make sure I listen to a tube amp some time soon, now that I'm curious about their sound.

You have to consider tubes by hours of life/use not calendar time. It depends on how hard the tubes are driven by the design and how often/how long you use the system, although when you estimate use you can back calculate it to approximate calendar time.

Small signal/preamp tubes can last a long time, 5,000 hours or more, isn't an unreasonable estimate. Rectifier tubes as well typically last a very long time. Power tubes are the biggest variable but i'd say 2,000 hours would be a reasonable assumption.

The big problem with tubes isn't that wear-out replacement is the big expense (well, it can be depending on the tube compliment) but the bigger expense will come when you (almost inevitably) get caught up in "tube rolling"; trying out different brands/styles of tubes to see if your amp sounds better with certain ones.
Edited by whoaru99 - 12/28/12 at 6:33am
post #40 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

I understand your perspective but having read about tube amps maintenance, I was not sure I wanted to take on that. I'll make sure I listen to a tube amp some time soon, now that I'm curious about their sound.

You have to consider tubes by hours of life/use not calendar time. It depends on how hard the tubes are driven by the design and how often/how long you use the system.

Small signal/preamp tubes can last a long time, 5,000 hours or more, isn't an unreasonable estimate. Rectifier tubes as well typically last a very long time. Power tubes are the biggest variable but i'd say 2,000 hours would be a reasonable assumption..

Yes, tubes tend to not go bad in storage, which may be a good guide to their proper use in modern times! ;-)
post #41 of 75
If you have any tubes in storage let me know. smile.gif
post #42 of 75
Haha, that's a good line.

Similar thing could apply to oil painting etc, where digital photograph now a days bring more accuracy, inherently less coloration. smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Yes, tubes tend to not go bad in storage, which may be a good guide to their proper use in modern times! ;-)
post #43 of 75
Hey 2tvsonecup. I’m in a sort of similar situation. I’ve had a pair of Epos M12.2 bookshelves, and a Naim NAIT 5i stereo integrated amp for a few yerars now. Recently I moved and now my stereo has to double as a home theater system. After reading that apparently “all good amps sound the same” I thought that maybe I could get a receiver and retire the Naim altogether. So I got a Denon AVR-1713 just like yours, and guess what – it does sound the same to my ears indeed. Did an A/B test, level matched, tried really hard to hear a difference. Also, Denon costs four times less, and has like 10 times the features. Kinda feel silly spending all that money on Naim.
The DAC is audibly better than the one in 10 year-old SB Live! PCI card I’ve been using too. I’ll get a friends emu1212m card to get a final opinion on the DAC, but so far I’m very impressed with Denon.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone should get a receiver – after all, before the Naim I had an old mid 90s Pioneer av receiver and I’m certain the sound was worse. Wait, maybe I need to check again…
All that tube stuff doesn't rock my boat. I've got a 50 watt tube guitar amp and that's all the tube distortion I want to hear. In hi-fi - no thanks. If you want to check out any hi-end gear however, tube or not, be sure to do a proper test. Level matching, same test tracks well known for you, excerpts rather than whole tracks. Else it's easy to get seduced by those sleek aluminium front panels, mysterious lights and glowing tubes. I was.
post #44 of 75
I agree, do a proper listening test. It is easy to get seduced by distortion numbers and watts per channel. I was. I have a solid state clock radio, and the grit, grain and harshess I get from that is about all I can stand. In a hifi - no thanks.
post #45 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2obed View Post

I agree, do a proper listening test. It is easy to get seduced by distortion numbers and watts per channel. I was. I have a solid state clock radio, and the grit, grain and harshess I get from that is about all I can stand. In a hifi - no thanks.
What speaker do you have it hooked up to? rolleyes.gif
post #46 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoEleven View Post

I've got a 50 watt tube guitar amp and that's all the tube distortion I want to hear. In hi-fi - no thanks.

A tube guitar amp is quite a different situation than a tube amp intended for hi-fi.
post #47 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

What speaker do you have it hooked up to? rolleyes.gif
Why, one of those tower speakers that people hook up to their HD TV to bypass the built in speakers, of course. It's the only way to go;)
post #48 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

A tube guitar amp is quite a different situation than a tube amp intended for hi-fi.
+1
post #49 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoEleven View Post

I've got a 50 watt tube guitar amp and that's all the tube distortion I want to hear. In hi-fi - no thanks.

A tube guitar amp is quite a different situation than a tube amp intended for hi-fi.

Yes and no.

First off, the market of tubed amps intended for hi-fi is composed of two different products:

(1) Tubed amps intended to be as clean as is reasonably possible. This includes legacy designs and retro-designs.

(2) Tubed amps intended to maximize their "tube sound". This includes SETs.

Category 2 amplifiers are just EFX boxes disguised as power amplifiers and are pretty close to guitar amps in terms of SQ. In fact some tubed guitar amps are actually pretty well designed and fairly clean and may be, technically speaking better amps than some SETs.

There is only one logical reason to have a tubed amp, and that is to get the "tube sound". "Tube sound" represents a retreat from sonic transparency or High Fidelity. If you want the cleanest most accurate sound possible you will not choose tubed amps.
post #50 of 75
Yeah, I agree with yes and no, although I think most "clean" tube guitar amps have largely gone away for the same reason you say...people buy tubes to get the tube sound.

For the most part tube guitar amps are designed to take advantage of, or perhaps maximize, certain potential characteristics of tube amps by manipulation of saggy power supplies, mismatched plate load, output transformer frequency response, saturation characteristics, etc. Whereas, even with SET in a hi-fi amp, these things are typically designed to minimize all those effects...still realizing from a technical perspective they'll never match up specs-wise to a SS amp.
Edited by whoaru99 - 1/4/13 at 5:43am
post #51 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

Yeah, I agree with yes and no, although I think most "clean" tube guitar amps have largely gone away for the same reason you say...people buy tubes to get the tube sound.

For the most part tube guitar amps are designed to take advantage of, or perhaps maximize, certain potential characteristics of tube amps by manipulation of saggy power supplies, mismatched plate load, output transformer frequency response, saturation characteristics, etc.

Agreed.
Quote:
Whereas, even with SET in a hi-fi amp, these things are typically designed to minimize all those effects...

Not in my opinion. I designed and built tubed hi fi amps back in the days when tubes were all we had. SET's seem to me to be intentionally do everything wrong, starting out with the abandonment of push-pull.
Quote:
still realizing from a technical perspective they'll never match up specs-wise to a SS amp.

Making the point that the performance and specs of most SS amps are deep into overkill. Just because a tubed amp can't do 0.02% THD 20-20K doesn't mean that it is sonically less than clean.
post #52 of 75
Thread Starter 
So I wanted to give some feedback on my system after listening to it for about two weeks now. I ended up buying a Marantz amp as well, as I wanted to listen for myself. After two weeks of comparing back and forth, back and forth, I decided on keeping the Marantz amp and returned the Denon AVR. So now I've got the following:

Energy RC-70
Marantz CD5003
Marantz PM6004

Love the sound!

I compared the PM6004 with the AVR-1713 for about a week. Listened mostly to classical music: symphonies, piano and violin concertos, chamber music and lots of solo piano and cello music. I found the Marantz amp sounded better to me. Definite, distinguishable difference in sound quality. Not in your face difference but nevertheless difference that can be heard when you listen to detail in the music. Also noticeable in the overall presentation. The Denon receiver has a pretty good sound, I think I would have been happy with it. But now having compared with the Marantz, I'm glad I got it. The Marantz has a cleaner presentation easily heard when there is a thick texture in the music as in certain passages of symphonies. Whereas the Denon had a big, bold sound, the Marantz revealed more detail, it was like removing a layer or two of mist from the sound. The Marantz also had better soundstage presentation, I could more easily locate instruments and instrument groups within the orchestra. Also, the base is more taut and punchier on the Marantz. Similarly, in chamber music, the Marantz presentation was cleaner.

Other that sound, the Marantz has a much better finish and is easier to use in my case, which is just listening to 2-channel music. An interesting note about the power ratings: the Marantz is rated at 45W @ 0.08% while the Denon at 80W @ 0.08% but the Marantz seems like the more powerful unit. With the Denon, I can get to almost 80% of max volume before starting to fear for my hearing whereas with the Marantz, I've never gone past the 11 o'clock position.

Also, I found a difference in the CD players: was using my HT Sony Blu-ray player and the CD5003 had a better sound.
post #53 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

Love the sound!

Congratulations!

It's great to hear that you were able to compare components in your home at your own speed without prejudice and come to a conclusion as to a preference. That is how this hobby should be enjoyed.
post #54 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

That is how this hobby should be enjoyed.
Depends on what this hobby is about. If it's about hi-fi, then no.
post #55 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

So I wanted to give some feedback on my system after listening to it for about two weeks now. I ended up buying a Marantz amp as well, as I wanted to listen for myself. After two weeks of comparing back and forth, back and forth, I decided on keeping the Marantz amp and returned the Denon AVR. So now I've got the following:

Energy RC-70
Marantz CD5003
Marantz PM6004

Love the sound!

I compared the PM6004 with the AVR-1713 for about a week. Listened mostly to classical music: symphonies, piano and violin concertos, chamber music and lots of solo piano and cello music. I found the Marantz amp sounded better to me. Definite, distinguishable difference in sound quality. Not in your face difference but nevertheless difference that can be heard when you listen to detail in the music. Also noticeable in the overall presentation. The Denon receiver has a pretty good sound, I think I would have been happy with it. But now having compared with the Marantz, I'm glad I got it. The Marantz has a cleaner presentation easily heard when there is a thick texture in the music as in certain passages of symphonies. Whereas the Denon had a big, bold sound, the Marantz revealed more detail, it was like removing a layer or two of mist from the sound. The Marantz also had better soundstage presentation, I could more easily locate instruments and instrument groups within the orchestra. Also, the base is more taut and punchier on the Marantz. Similarly, in chamber music, the Marantz presentation was cleaner..

Very nice but the above is a good example of how to do everything wrong.

First of, this was obviously a sighted evaluation. Secondly, the way you did things, it is likely that much of the time you were listening to different recordings or different parts of the same recordings, Finally, no mention of level matching. With all of those mistakes in place there is virtually no way that you wouldn't think that there was a difference between the two AVRs, even if they were the same AVR.

There is a very interesting thing. Just about every time that kind of comparision was done doing everything right, people couldn't tell any difference.

As things stand there is no way that you were able to do a direct comparison between the two AVRs. If you can't do a direct comparison, you will not be able to remember exactly what each AVR actually sounded like, and of course they will sound different to you.

I guarantee you that I could take two AVR 1713s, put them into black boxes that concealed their identities, put a big A on one and big B on the other. You'd come back a week later and tell us similar things only you'd be forced to refer to them as A and B.
post #56 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

That is how this hobby should be enjoyed.
Depends on what this hobby is about. If it's about hi-fi, then no.

Good point. If the hi fi hobby is about listening to music, then it is meaningless whether or not receivers sound exactly the same, mostly the same or even somewhat the same. It would be all about the music.
post #57 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

Congratulations!

It's great to hear that you were able to compare components in your home at your own speed without prejudice and come to a conclusion as to a preference. That is how this hobby should be enjoyed.
Thanks! Yeah, I'm very happy with my system now. I'm looking forward to upgrading in the future but I can see myself satisfied with what I have for years.
post #58 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Very nice but the above is a good example of how to do everything wrong.

First of, this was obviously a sighted evaluation. Secondly, the way you did things, it is likely that much of the time you were listening to different recordings or different parts of the same recordings, Finally, no mention of level matching. With all of those mistakes in place there is virtually no way that you wouldn't think that there was a difference between the two AVRs, even if they were the same AVR.

There is a very interesting thing. Just about every time that kind of comparision was done doing everything right, people couldn't tell any difference.

As things stand there is no way that you were able to do a direct comparison between the two AVRs. If you can't do a direct comparison, you will not be able to remember exactly what each AVR actually sounded like, and of course they will sound different to you.

I guarantee you that I could take two AVR 1713s, put them into black boxes that concealed their identities, put a big A on one and big B on the other. You'd come back a week later and tell us similar things only you'd be forced to refer to them as A and B.

You make some incorrect assumptions. Just because I didn't mention in my post, you can't conclude I didn't level match. I did. And of course I listened to the SAME PARTS of the recordings when comparing. Doesn't take a lot of brain power to figure that you need to do that for an accurate comparison. No blind test as I wasn't prepared to go through that much trouble. But I am certain I heard a difference in the quality. I have excellent aural memory and there was no doubt of the difference when listening to the SAME PART of a recording at the SAME LEVEL to one amp and then the other.
post #59 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Depends on what this hobby is about. If it's about hi-fi, then no.
If the hobby is about hi-fi, then it makes sense to me that the hobbyist tries to find the best sound (best being a very subjective thing) in their environment. I'm not sure I would call myself a hi-fi hobbyist, though. Seems like a lot of commitment that I don't thing I'll have time for.
post #60 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tvsonecup View Post

So I wanted to give some feedback on my system after listening to it for about two weeks now. I ended up buying a Marantz amp as well, as I wanted to listen for myself. After two weeks of comparing back and forth, back and forth, I decided on keeping the Marantz amp and returned the Denon AVR. So now I've got the following:

Energy RC-70
Marantz CD5003
Marantz PM6004

Love the sound!

I compared the PM6004 with the AVR-1713 for about a week. Listened mostly to classical music: symphonies, piano and violin concertos, chamber music and lots of solo piano and cello music. I found the Marantz amp sounded better to me. Definite, distinguishable difference in sound quality. Not in your face difference but nevertheless difference that can be heard when you listen to detail in the music. Also noticeable in the overall presentation. The Denon receiver has a pretty good sound, I think I would have been happy with it. But now having compared with the Marantz, I'm glad I got it. The Marantz has a cleaner presentation easily heard when there is a thick texture in the music as in certain passages of symphonies. Whereas the Denon had a big, bold sound, the Marantz revealed more detail, it was like removing a layer or two of mist from the sound. The Marantz also had better soundstage presentation, I could more easily locate instruments and instrument groups within the orchestra. Also, the base is more taut and punchier on the Marantz. Similarly, in chamber music, the Marantz presentation was cleaner.

Other that sound, the Marantz has a much better finish and is easier to use in my case, which is just listening to 2-channel music. An interesting note about the power ratings: the Marantz is rated at 45W @ 0.08% while the Denon at 80W @ 0.08% but the Marantz seems like the more powerful unit. With the Denon, I can get to almost 80% of max volume before starting to fear for my hearing whereas with the Marantz, I've never gone past the 11 o'clock position.

Also, I found a difference in the CD players: was using my HT Sony Blu-ray player and the CD5003 had a better sound.

I would think a stereo preamp/amp would sound better than a 5.x AVR simply because they are different beasts even putting aside the fact that Denon and Marantz share component designs and R&D. The Marantz PM6004 lists for $600 and all that only has to go into an audio path. The Denon AVR-1713 lists for $450 and that has to be shared between very expensive video components and equally expensive audio components. Something has to give and it is usually audio for a receiver of this price. A more fair comparison might be the 2113 or 2313.

For 2-channel only, I would definitely go with a decent 2-channel amp rather than a similarly-priced AVR.
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