New 2-channel components needed - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 27 Old 05-03-2019, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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New 2-channel components needed

I currently have a home theater setup in my basement, but I want a new 2-channel system for my living room, upstairs. I'm OK with the quality of my AVR (Yamaha Aventage RX-A1010), but it's a little long in the tooth and I would like some more features, not required for a surround sound system. I have some speakers I want to re-purpose, but I will eventually replace them. I don't have any FM reception in my area, so I don't need a receiver. I THINK I want an integrated amp with either Bluesound or HEOS built in, but maybe I am limiting myself with this requirement. So, my options are: 1. an integrated amp with the streaming built in (e.g. NAD C 368 or 388 or HEOS equivalent); 2. An integrated amp without the streaming but add a stand-alone streaming component, e.g. Node2i; 3. a preamp (i.e. a control amp with phono input) and a separate stereo power amp (or two monos). I want the amp to be able to handle a low impedance load, because I haven't selected my speakers yet and am thinking about Maggies, with or without a sub. The control amp should have a line-level sub output.
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post #2 of 27 Old 05-03-2019, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MTVhike View Post
I don't have any FM reception in my area, so I don't need a receiver.
By eliminating receivers and instead only considering integrated amps you won't save money, in fact you may end up actually spending more money to get your desired feature set because you suddenly limit your range to perhaps one twentieth, or so, of the range of candidates and eliminate tons of possible ones including a lot that are very affordable, because of their scale of production. Integrated amps aren't nearly as prevalent as receivers both in number of models on the market to choose from nor numbers produced.


As an analogy, the request is like saying: "I want to buy a luxury sedan but I don't want to have to pay for power steering because although I don't mind it, I don't feel it is important." Sure, I guess if you look hard enough maybe you can find a small handful of candidates but you won't be saving money and you'll decimate the range of possible candidates.

P.S. The common belief that modern day AVRs used in "Pure Direct" mode (for 2ch analog sources) have "audibly inferior sound" to 2ch integrated amps with the same power is a myth and has no basis in evidence based science (controlled listening tests).
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post #3 of 27 Old 05-04-2019, 10:40 AM
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I have a marantz avr and a naim Uniti amp and while the marantz sounds good, it doesn’t have the drivability or bass control the naim does with my 4 ohm speakers. If I used my 8 ohm bookshelf speakers at low-mid volumes you won’t tell the difference. Also the marantz stops producing a clean sounding rise in volume faster then my naim amp does. And yes this is measured with an app meter for volume matching.
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post #4 of 27 Old 05-04-2019, 10:53 AM
 
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I have a marantz avr and a naim Uniti amp and while the marantz sounds good, it doesn’t have the drivability or bass control the naim does with my 4 ohm speakers. If I used my 8 ohm bookshelf speakers at low-mid volumes you won’t tell the difference. Also the marantz stops producing a clean sounding rise in volume faster then my naim amp does. And yes this is measured with an app meter for volume matching.
Your description sure does sound to me like they have different power output capabilities, perhaps especially into 4 ohms.
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post #5 of 27 Old 05-04-2019, 11:54 AM
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Your description sure does sound to me like they have different power output capabilities, perhaps especially into 4 ohms.
I’ve own both a 7008 and now 5010 and the naim amp 70/110 is more robust and produces better and higher SPLs then either marantz did. And the above statements were mirrored with both receivers. The marantz to me also sounds slightly warmer and gives up top-end dynamics in favor of trying to reproduce low-end punch. Where the naim amp seems to have a much more balanced attack.

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post #6 of 27 Old 05-05-2019, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
By eliminating receivers and instead only considering integrated amps you won't save money, in fact you may end up actually spending more money to get your desired feature set because you suddenly limit your range to perhaps one twentieth, or so, of the range of candidates and eliminate tons of possible ones including a lot that are very affordable, because of their scale of production. Integrated amps aren't nearly as prevalent as receivers both in number of models on the market to choose from nor numbers produced.
Two of the integrated amps I am considering are the NAD ones with BlueOS built in and they don't have tuners. I'm still trying to decide if it's "better" to have the BlueOS built in or use the Node2i (the same quandary applies with HEOS). In the specific case of the NADs, the BlueOS module costs $100 less than the Node. Going that way gives a simpler setup in addition to saving the $100. But, am I giving up anything (other than flexibility)?
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post #7 of 27 Old 05-05-2019, 10:59 AM
 
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I always prefer all newer technologies such as streaming services in an a la carte box to my main rig. Those technologies change on an almost yearly basis and may need upgrading yet what makes for good integrated amp/receiver has been the same for decades. I'd rather just have to upgrade the little, light weight box rather than have to swap out my whole main system when that upgrade day comes.
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post #8 of 27 Old 05-06-2019, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I always prefer all newer technologies such as streaming services in an a la carte box to my main rig. Those technologies change on an almost yearly basis and may need upgrading yet what makes for good integrated amp/receiver has been the same for decades. I'd rather just have to upgrade the little, light weight box rather than have to swap out my whole main system when that upgrade day comes.
I agree, but one thing to consider is that NAD does upgrade the modules when necessary. The HDMI module they had for their integrated amps was recently updated for 4k video.

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post #9 of 27 Old 05-06-2019, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
By eliminating receivers and instead only considering integrated amps you won't save money, in fact you may end up actually spending more money to get your desired feature set because you suddenly limit your range to perhaps one twentieth, or so, of the range of candidates and eliminate tons of possible ones including a lot that are very affordable, because of their scale of production. Integrated amps aren't nearly as prevalent as receivers both in number of models on the market to choose from nor numbers produced.


As an analogy, the request is like saying: "I want to buy a luxury sedan but I don't want to have to pay for power steering because although I don't mind it, I don't feel it is important." Sure, I guess if you look hard enough maybe you can find a small handful of candidates but you won't be saving money and you'll decimate the range of possible candidates.

P.S. The common belief that modern day AVRs used in "Pure Direct" mode (for 2ch analog sources) have "audibly inferior sound" to 2ch integrated amps with the same power is a myth and has no basis in evidence based science (controlled listening tests).

AVR's are built to sell to the guy at Best Buy who is comparing buzz words and phony watt per channel ratings without even hearing them. They're built to fill out a spec sheet and a price point vs. their competitors; little else.

At least with an integrated amp there is a much higher chance of it being designed by engineers who actually took the time to listen to it and make it sound the best they can inside their budget. Sound quality as a goal and more capable power supplies are much higher up the totem pole in an integrated vs. an AVR generally speaking.
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post #10 of 27 Old 05-06-2019, 09:56 PM
 
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An integrated amp is a receiver missing a tuner.
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post #11 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 08:28 AM
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AVR's are built to sell to the guy at Best Buy who is comparing buzz words and phony watt per channel ratings without even hearing them. They're built to fill out a spec sheet and a price point vs. their competitors; little else.

At least with an integrated amp there is a much higher chance of it being designed by engineers who actually took the time to listen to it and make it sound the best they can inside their budget. Sound quality as a goal and more capable power supplies are much higher up the totem pole in an integrated vs. an AVR generally speaking.
I think much of this is wildly inaccurate but not an uncommon point-of-view within a subset of audio enthusiasts. But as we've both been down this road before, we can just agree to disagree about what constitutes truth vs. fiction on this topic.
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post #12 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 09:22 AM
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An integrated amp is a receiver missing a tuner.

And 9.2.x additional channels, streaming services, a GUI, 500 DSP settings, HDMI ports, etc...

All of that adds additional nonsense to a 2-channel rig.

Want to access bass and treble controls? Sorry, you need a TV for that menu or if you're lucky, and app on your phone.

And you want to match the sound of a good integrated, one has to spend a lot on an AVR to match that. The $399 Yamaha's at BestBuy sound like absolute crap, "pure direct" or not. Even some of the expensive Marantz AVR's are made in China (instead of their reference Japanese factory, where their good stuff comes from).
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post #13 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 10:33 AM
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And 9.2.x additional channels, streaming services, a GUI, 500 DSP settings, HDMI ports, etc...

All of that adds additional nonsense to a 2-channel rig.

Want to access bass and treble controls? Sorry, you need a TV for that menu or if you're lucky, and app on your phone.

And you want to match the sound of a good integrated, one has to spend a lot on an AVR to match that. The $399 Yamaha's at BestBuy sound like absolute crap, "pure direct" or not. Even some of the expensive Marantz AVR's are made in China (instead of their reference Japanese factory, where their good stuff comes from).
i don't even begin "to get"the obsessive hand ringing about "made in china"...... your phone . your tv, your avr , your whatever.. are all likely made in china.. it seems to me it's more a political talking point that has grown from b.s. to myth to "truth"without any thought other than it being a talking point , korean samsung products break with just as great a frequency as chinese brands.. i know mid/fi to hi fi products made in europe tend to be better than low end chinese stuff ..but how much of that is quality of parts vs labor , my thought is that it's mostly parts.. i wish there were more affordable American / european built brands , but the business models don't allow it ..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #14 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 11:03 AM
 
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And 9.2.x additional channels, streaming services, a GUI, 500 DSP settings, HDMI ports, etc...
You've never heard of a stereo receiver? Not as common as they once were but they are exactly "an integrated amp with a tuner built in".
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post #15 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 11:14 AM
 
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The $399 Yamaha's at BestBuy sound like absolute crap, "pure direct" or not. Even some of the expensive Marantz AVR's are made in China (instead of their reference Japanese factory, where their good stuff comes from).
My controlled testing of a similarly priced Yamaha integrated [comparable to their stereo receivers at the time, but without a tuner] was that it was indistinguishable compared to a markedly more expensive power amp from Proceed (Mark Levinson) according to the ears of an audiophile "expert listener" [his words] recording engineer I tested, in order to settle a bet:
The Mark Levinson factory where this amp was made was in the US [I've toured it] and this particular Yamaha was made in Malaysia.
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post #16 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 11:37 AM
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i don't even begin "to get"the obsessive hand ringing about "made in china"...... your phone . your tv, your avr , your whatever.. are all likely made in china.. it seems to me it's more a political talking point that has grown from b.s. to myth to "truth"without any thought other than it being a talking point , korean samsung products break with just as great a frequency as chinese brands.. i know mid/fi to hi fi products made in europe tend to be better than low end chinese stuff ..but how much of that is quality of parts vs labor , my thought is that it's mostly parts.. i wish there were more affordable American / european built brands , but the business models don't allow it ..
I'm specifically talking about audio companies...not other random goods so don't read into things too much.

Companies like Marantz build their "good" stuff in Japan in a reference factory and everything else in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc. There are also English and American companies that do much the same (with respect to their home countries). Nothing more, nothing less. Note that the more expensive components are typically built in their respective home countries. Read into that what you will.


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My testing of a similarly priced Yamaha integrated [comparable to their stereo receivers at the time, but without a tuner] was that it was indistinguishable compared to a markedly more expensive power amp from Proceed (Mark Levinson) according to the ears of an audiophile "expert listener" [his words] recording engineer I tested, in order to settle a bet:

The Mark Levinson factory where this amp was made was in the US [I've toured it] and this particular Yamaha was made in Malaysia.

Yep, there it is. I was waiting for someone to chime in with something like this. I think some of you just like to argue. By all means though...enjoy your $399 Yamaha and I'll enjoy my more (wasteful, apparently) expensive components.
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post #17 of 27 Old 05-07-2019, 11:58 AM
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I'm specifically talking about audio companies...not other random goods so don't read into things too much.

Companies like Marantz build their "good" stuff in Japan in a reference factory and everything else in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc. There are also English and American companies that do much the same (with respect to their home countries). Nothing more, nothing less. Note that the more expensive components are typically built in their respective home countries. Read into that what you will.





Yep, there it is. I was waiting for someone to chime in with something like this. I think some of you just like to argue. By all means though...enjoy your $399 Yamaha and I'll enjoy my more (wasteful, apparently) expensive components.
ok, the specificity of this changes my opinion of the original thoughts...

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #18 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MTVhike View Post
I currently have a home theater setup in my basement, but I want a new 2-channel system for my living room, upstairs. I'm OK with the quality of my AVR (Yamaha Aventage RX-A1010), but it's a little long in the tooth and I would like some more features, not required for a surround sound system. I have some speakers I want to re-purpose, but I will eventually replace them. I don't have any FM reception in my area, so I don't need a receiver. I THINK I want an integrated amp with either Bluesound or HEOS built in, but maybe I am limiting myself with this requirement. So, my options are: 1. an integrated amp with the streaming built in (e.g. NAD C 368 or 388 or HEOS equivalent); 2. An integrated amp without the streaming but add a stand-alone streaming component, e.g. Node2i; 3. a preamp (i.e. a control amp with phono input) and a separate stereo power amp (or two monos). I want the amp to be able to handle a low impedance load, because I haven't selected my speakers yet and am thinking about Maggies, with or without a sub. The control amp should have a line-level sub output.
Of your listed options, I would say "option 4" , which is to use an external device for all streaming and start with using your current AVR in pure direct, then adjust as (or if) needed after you get your speakers.

Streaming hardware will always become obsolete. Even if the hardware could support newer formats, manufacturers stop issuing firmware updates shortly after a new model comes out. Standalone streaming devices will stay current much longer with firmware updates because that's all the device does and stopping firmware updates on that will be like the manufacturer killing the device. Even if the standalone streaming device does go obsolete, you can just buy a new streaming device.

For streaming built into AVR's, most manufacturers stop firmware updates not long after the new AVR models come out, then you need a new AVR/amp when it goes obsolete (and the market value of your old AVR/amp also plummets because it is obsolete). Of course, then you could add standalone streaming to your AVR/amp, but better to start with standalone and never worry about the amp/AVR becoming obsolete.

When you say you are looking for "more features", what features are you looking for. I guess the big question is: do you plan to use room EQ?

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\P.S. The common belief that modern day AVRs used in "Pure Direct" mode (for 2ch analog sources) have "audibly inferior sound" to 2ch integrated amps with the same power is a myth and has no basis in evidence based science (controlled listening tests).
I don't think that is the common belief. The reality is that, because there are no standards, "direct" modes are often not direct, depending on how the manufacturer designed the component and depending on what features you enable. I have probably (unintentionally) personally helped that myth along by posting several times that my AVR's have never sounded good for music -- which is true, but I haven't really played with direct modes enough because mine are used 99% for theater applications. It's not always easy to know or prevent an AVR from digitizing, which is why I always recommend dedicated 2-channel when starting from scratch for a stereo system, but I'm also a big believer in reusing what can be reused and that new is not always better than old.

If an AVR is truly operating in pure direct mode, where there is no internal digitization of the content, then AVR's don't necessarily have a significant deficit to integrated stereo amps. If the AVR has true pure direct, I agree with the rest of the post that the OP should start with the current AVR and then adjust later after speakers are in place to determine if any changes are needed (and there's a good chance there is no need unless the speakers selected are outside the operational range of the AVR).

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post #19 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Of your listed options, I would say "option 4" , which is to use an external device for all streaming and start with using your current AVR in pure direct, then adjust as (or if) needed after you get your speakers.

Streaming hardware will always become obsolete. Even if the hardware could support newer formats, manufacturers stop issuing firmware updates shortly after a new model comes out. Standalone streaming devices will stay current much longer with firmware updates because that's all the device does and stopping firmware updates on that will be like the manufacturer killing the device. Even if the standalone streaming device does go obsolete, you can just buy a new streaming device.
I didn't list option 4 because my current AVR is in use elsewhere and I plan to use it for my basement HT setup. The new system will be in my living room, so I need to get a new amp. For the NAD units I am considering, the BluOS feature is a plug-in module and I assume the features of which are included in the Node 2i.

Thanks for your input.
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post #20 of 27 Old 05-16-2019, 11:27 AM
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I didn't list option 4 because my current AVR is in use elsewhere and I plan to use it for my basement HT setup. The new system will be in my living room, so I need to get a new amp. For the NAD units I am considering, the BluOS feature is a plug-in module and I assume the features of which are included in the Node 2i.

Thanks for your input.
Sorry, I misinterpreted your original post to think the AVR was still in the running. It's really nice to have integrated and that NAD seems better than most in terms of not becoming obsolete, but unless you really need integrated (lack of space, need a clean look), I still think it's far safer to separate streaming from the amp. The "best of breed" streaming device in 5 or 10 years might be very different. A great pure amp will still be useful (and retain significant value) 10, 20, 30 years from now. That same amp with obsolete internal streaming will be worth far less because the front end of it is viewed (correctly) by the market as obsolete (even though the internal amp section is not obsolete at all).
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post #21 of 27 Old 05-21-2019, 08:38 AM
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Hi, I want to buy a new 2-channel system. I would listen to jazz mostly. Well, I need advice and recommendations for speakers, receiver, streamer, cables and where to set up speakers. The room is not ideal 5.75m with 2.85m I will sitting next to the window. The budgets is somewhere around 5k. This is something I looked at: KEF R3 speakers,KEF performance speaker stands,Naim Uniti Atom,Moon Neo Ace.
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post #22 of 27 Old 05-21-2019, 08:48 AM
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Hi, I want to buy a new 2-channel system. I would listen to jazz mostly. Well, I need advice and recommendations for speakers, receiver, streamer, cables and where to set up speakers. The room is not ideal 5.75m with 2.85m I will sitting next to the window. The budgets is somewhere around 5k. This is something I looked at: KEF R3 speakers,KEF performance speaker stands,Naim Uniti Atom,Moon Neo Ace.
Welcome to AVS. You definitely should start a new thread rather than insert your question into this one because your requirements are totally different.
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post #23 of 27 Old 05-21-2019, 08:59 AM
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Ok.
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post #24 of 27 Old 05-29-2019, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
P.S. The common belief that modern day AVRs used in "Pure Direct" mode (for 2ch analog sources) have "audibly inferior sound" to 2ch integrated amps with the same power is a myth and has no basis in evidence based science (controlled listening tests).

I agree, I have a HT with the Denon AVR-X6500H (140W Ch) and vintage Sansui SP-X9 (300W) speakers up front. My separate 2CH system is vintage Sansui AU-G99X (160W Ch) Integrated Amp with vintage Sansui SP-X9 (300W) speakers. Both systems in the same room and sound/perform outstanding when listening to like music.
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post #25 of 27 Old 06-02-2019, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
You've never heard of a stereo receiver? Not as common as they once were but they are exactly "an integrated amp with a tuner built in".
And there's literally more than a gazillion to choose from on Amazon from household names to budget/house brands and anywhere from $90.00 to up to $1,000 and there are ones with decent reviews in every price range and Brand name. I don't even blindly discriminate brand names, anymore just put out a decently made and sounding product and I'll try it!

I even tried a TechnicalPro receiver that had a enough decent reviews and it's not much different in sound than the entry level yamaha stereo receiver. It does have dual subwoofer outs and can be used as a 2 channel preamp which for $139.00 is not too common, no AM though, but I don't really listen to much radio anyway. The sony STRDH190 has no AM as well. unlike the RS202/201 and the Sony the TechnicalPro has Binding posts for the main channels.

It's been going for over a year and a half, and it's better than the similar priced Pyle receiver despite appearing to be made in the same factory. And The Dude at B&H uses his with Monitor audio Bronze 5's. It does emit the same sound you hear from budget studio monitors but you literally have to be like 5-10 inches from the speakers for it to bother you. and when music/tv is playing all you hear is music or Tv.

I avoided the pyle because of too may reviews of smoking popping units

The big companies don't put out as many as they used to, NAD scrapped their stereo receivers all togeather, so did denon they got rid of their DRA series. Sony only makes 1 stereo receiver. Sherwood makes like 4.

I also prefer to have the amp/receiver to be the receiver/amp and have an external DAC or streaming box so that when the streaming goes belly up for whatever reason i'm not stuck with a half working amp.
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post #26 of 27 Old 06-03-2019, 04:29 PM
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BUDGET?!?!

You won't get any meaningful replies until you make your working budget clear. If it is there, I couldn't find it.

Also, list all the other equipment that will be in this system? ...by brand and model.

You seem to be skewing the discussion purposely toward NAD, if you want a NAD then buy a NAD. But there are other options to consider. The best of which would be one of these -

Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, AM/FM, 80w/ch, Network Streaming, 2xOptical, 2xCoaxial, 1xUSB-Media, etc.... - $600


https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RN6...RN602&skipvs=T

Yamaha RN803 Network Receiver, 100w/ch, Network Streaming, 2xOptical, 2xCoaxial, 1xUSB-Media, Room EQ, Full Bass Management, etc... - $900 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RN8...h=Yamaha_RN803

Again with no budget, I can recommend Network Streaming at $17,000, and amps up to $100,000, so without budget, we are treading water here.

If you are looking at NAD Integrated with BlueOS then that is between $1300 and $2000. Do you have that kind of money?

NAD C 368 BlueOS-2i Integrated, 80w/ch, DAC, Network Streaming - £1300 -


https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745C36...-BluOS-2i.html

NAD C 388 BlueOS-2i Integrated, 150w/ch, DAC, Network Streaming - £2000-

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_745C38...-BluOS-2i.html

These are Class-D amps not Class-A/B as most Stereo Amp are, however in the modern age that means less than it once did in the past, just be aware that they are Class-D.

Again, we are lost without a Stated Budget -

Here is an option -

Yamaha AS801 Integrated, 100w/ch,DAC (Opt, Coax, USB-PC) - $900-

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS8...801-Black.html

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS8...01-Silver.html

Yamaha WXC-50 Network Streamer/Pre-Amp - $350 -


https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022WXC...ha-WXC-50.html

Or the Yamaha AS801 with Bluesound Node-2i -

Bluesound Node-2i Network Streamer - $500 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813NOD...-2i-Black.html

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813NOD...-2i-White.html

$900 = Yamaha AS801
$500 = Bluesound Node-2i
----------------------------------
$1400 = Total

Or the Rotel RA-1592 Integrated, 200w/ch, DAC - $2500 -

https://www.abt.com/product/100804/R...r-FR51240.html

https://www.abt.com/product/108678/R...r-FR51740.html

I can go to $5000 amps or $10,000 amps if you would like. How about $7,000 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS3...00-Silver.html

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #27 of 27 Old 06-05-2019, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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My nominal limit was $1000. When I went back to my audio store, they had the NAD C-368 with the BlueOS module on sale for $975 (display model). Just now learning how to use it. One thing I find frustrating is that there are three sets of controls: front panel, remote, and iPhone app. I can't do everything with any one of them! However, I may learn how to do more.
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