Should I upgrade my receiver or amp for a music first - HT setup? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-20-2019, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Should I upgrade my receiver or amp for a music first - HT setup?

Hi, over the years my listening habits have changed and I find myself enjoying music much more than the HT usage, however I do not have the space for a dedicated music setup. So I still need the whiz bang video and surround capabilities, but looking to improve my music experience.

I’m currently using a Denon 4200 receiver to drive my speakers (4 ohm 88 dB sensitive) and my listening space is at one end of 12x20 foot room.

I’m looking for more warmth and a more musical experience. Would you recommend upgrading the receiver, or adding a 2 (or 3 channel) amp to improve the sound of my system. - or both? I’m trying to figure out which component with have a greater effect on sound quality?


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post #2 of 10 Old 04-20-2019, 11:34 PM
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What speakers you have?

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-21-2019, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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My speakers are Onyx Ref 1 speakers from the now defunct AV123. I suspect they are being limited (not in volume, but in tactility of the music) by my receiver and I'm wondering what would be the best way to make an upgrade
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-21-2019, 10:09 AM
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I checked your speakers https://www.stereophile.com/standlou...ker/index.html


I also looked at the spec of your amp and the price, I think you should get improvement with a new power amp. The Denon is a multi channel amp, just too much bells and whistles for the price, something has to give. I don't know how good is the preamp, there is one option to get a power amp to run the front speakers where it's the most important for stereo music, and still use the center and back amp to complete the surround sound.


I did the same thing before when I had a Harmon Kardon AVR. I just take the front pre-out to drive a better power amp and let the other 3 amps in the HK driving the center and back. It sounded a whole lot better.


Even the Denon spec for 4ohm speaker, I don't think it work that well for 4ohm speaker.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-21-2019, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, so if I’m looking for a warm tube like sound, adding a good amp would do the trick, or would the sound still be limited by the Denon (preamp)?


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post #6 of 10 Old 04-21-2019, 03:37 PM
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That I have no idea. Preamp can be very individual, hard to predict, it's not like power amp part of the Denon that judging by the size and weight and last but not the least, the price, that you just cannot have 5 125W power amps fit in that little chassis and for that money, that it can be that good.

In my case, the Acurus power amp I got sure improved the sound by a mile even though I use the preamp from the Harmon Kardon. I used the HK as preamp for like 15 years before I switch to a better one. To me, the power amp is a lot more critical particularly with 4ohm speakers.

Remember, all these are just an education guess. You have to start somewhere, the power amp would be the one I would change given the info I have. It is my opinion not to buy a better all-in-one AVR unit. The reason is because the preamp, the AV processor are like fashion, in a few years, they might be obsoleted. Then you have to throw away the power amp with it and buy another one. Power amps don't change, the power amps made 30 years ago will work just as good as the same quality power amp as technology have not change much. You invest in a good power amp, it will serve you well for years to come. Then just change the preamp and AV front end like fashion.

If you are willing to take a chance on used, there are good power amp for about $600 to $800. Amps like Adcom GFA555, GFA5500 to name a few. These amps are good enough even if you decide to upgrade your speakers in the future. But of cause, you have to take a chance on a used one.

I don't know what amp has warm tube sound, someone else might have opinion. You have a bookshelf speaker, lagging bottom is not unusual. You might need a sub to give you the bottom. But that's another story for another day.

Own designed power amp, own designed preamp, JM LAB Spectral 913.1 speakers, Rythmik F12SE sub.
Not hooked up: Nakamichi Stasis PA-7 power amp, Velodyne VA1210 sub, Kef Reference Series center, Kef Bookshelf speaker, Monitor Audio bookshelf speaker, Infinity rear speakers. Acurus 3X200W amp.

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post #7 of 10 Old 04-29-2019, 04:53 PM
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Well designed amps with flat frequency response operated below clipping should not make any actual difference in sound....they amplify the signal, not alter it. This would be basically any modern day amp or AVR including your Denon. If you want to change the sound, a good place to start might be with the speakers. The measurements on your speakers reveal them to be somewhat inaccurate as evidence by the Stereophile review linked above.

A tube amp might distort and alter the sound to your liking, but I don't have experience with them in order to make any kind of recommendation.

As far as speakers go, I feel it is often the best bet to go with accurate speakers with excellent on and off axis response, and then just adjust tone controls to taste to achieve a "warmer" or "brighter" sound.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...nce-shows.html

Your speakers:

Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
You have a bookshelf speaker, lagging bottom is not unusual. You might need a sub to give you the bottom. But that's another story for another day.
This is another option to look at. Filling in the bottom end with better quality bass(from a sub or subs) and lower extension would likely reduce how bright they sound.
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Last edited by bear123; 04-29-2019 at 04:56 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-30-2019, 06:10 AM
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The BAT VK-200 SS amp. Would give a nice smooth top end. Available on Audigon for around 1K.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-02-2019, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Class A View Post
The BAT VK-200 SS amp. Would give a nice smooth top end. Available on Audigon for around 1K.


Looks like it’s sold. I don’t see it anymore, but will keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the suggestion.


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post #10 of 10 Old 05-03-2019, 04:07 AM
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If you are taking the first step on an upgrade path for your whole system , a Parasound Halo Integrated would be hard to beat on a number of levels including versatility. Otherwise I suggest the highest power, high current amp you can afford. Adcom, Monoprice, Emotiva maybe.

Sony ES600VW Projector, 110" motorized screen, Yamaha 2060 AVR, Parasound Halo Hint, KEF LS50s, Focal 926 Arias, PS Audio Power Plant, Velodyne 12" Sub-Woofers (2), PSB In Wall Surrounds (4), Music Hall 7 Turntable, Grado Gold, Apple TV, Sonos (6 Zones), , 55" Samsung Q6F, Klipsch Forte IIIs, 75"Sony 940E , Crown Li1500 power amp...330WPC @ 8 ohms
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