Originally Posted by redspectral
I need to get a new amp. I am big on 2channel audio so I am relatively new to the HT stuff. I did not want to break the bank on Classe or Lexicon amplification and wanted something simple. What do you guys think of the Pioneer VSX 84? It has HDMI switching and is pretty loaded. I think it is a pretty nice amp without breaking the bank.
I am not a pro-fhd1 owner, only a lowly 1140
, but wanted to chime in to those of you looking at new HT receivers. I have been running an Arcam AVR350 for about a month now and could not be happier. 2 channel audio is extremely important to me as well as HT performance. Of everything i've heard, the Arcam line is the best sounding HT receiver in the 2 channel area that i have heard. It's specs aren't as glamorous as some of the other HT amps at 100 wpc, but Arcam rates their amps differently than others and believe me, there is a lot more at peak output than 100 wpc. I upgraded from a high-end marantz receiver and the performance in 2 channel and HT is simply outstanding. Arcam will have fewer processing modes than many other receivers, but they put their r&d money into improvements to audio performance instead of having ludicrous numbers of DSP settings. The AVR350 brings down several technological improvements that Arcam uses in their $4500 av9 pre-amp/processor.
The avr350 has hdmi video switching only, it does not extract audio from HDMI. However, i do not use the hdmi switching with the 1140, i run hdmi directly to the panel. while i did not do any a/b testing, i believe that any additional switching could possibly lead to signal degradation, and the increase in convenience just isn't all that important to me (plus, it's a big pain if you like to watch tv while listening to music, which i do often). just connect your stb/sat receiver/dvd player via coax or optical cable and run HDMI directly to the panel. as far as switching goes, i have a harmony 880 universal remote that gets everything set up right, so hdmi switching just isn't all that important, imo.
a really nice feature of the arcam receivers (and i believe some other receivers have this as well), is the ability to bi-amp the front L and R if you are not using channels 6 and 7 in a 7 channel surround set up. I have a 5.1 channel surround set-up, so this works out extremely well. if your mains are bi-wirable, this will give you a very big increase in accuracy and detail in your 2 channel listening. I am running B&W 804's as my mains and this has brought so much more out of them. additionally, i think the bass management in the arcam is outstanding. it feeds the sub the proper amount of information and i find the low-end response to be very natural, detailed and precise.
hope this helps.