Budget amp/receiver for my Chromecast Audio? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 32 Old 06-03-2020, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Budget amp/receiver for my Chromecast Audio?

Looking to spend about $100-$150 on amp to power a Chromecast Audio and Wharfedale bookshelf speakers. Was considering a D class amp but want something with some warmth to it. Any suggestions? Not opposed to used.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 08:04 AM
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this could be a good option

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13194
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Audirvana on Win 10 PC, USB out to SMSL SU8 DAC, XLR out to Crown XLI 1500 amp, full range signal sent via RCA to 12 inch Klipsch sub, Audirvana accesses FLAC Music files on USB Drive
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post #3 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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That one looks like an awesome option. Wish it had a remote control though.....
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post #4 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 10:50 AM
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You'll want to research each option, but at least the list is a starting point
https://www.bestreviews.guide/tube-a...emote-controls

Other than that, is a stereo receiver too big? Options from Yamaha, Sony and Insignia (made by Sony it looks like) are all available at Best Buy within your budget, and an easy return if you don't like it.

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Looking to spend about $100-$150 on amp to power a Chromecast Audio and Wharfedale bookshelf speakers. Was considering a D class amp but want something with some warmth to it. Any suggestions? Not opposed to used.

Thanks!
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post #5 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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You'll want to research each option, but at least the list is a starting point
https://www.bestreviews.guide/tube-a...emote-controls

Other than that, is a stereo receiver too big? Options from Yamaha, Sony and Insignia (made by Sony it looks like) are all available at Best Buy within your budget, and an easy return if you don't like it.
A receiver would be fine too. Any differences in the sound between Yamaha and Sony?
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post #6 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 12:11 PM
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I can't comment on the differences in sound of the receivers, but that's where the return policy saves the day
If either or both are available open-box, it may be worth going that route to preserve the "new" units, but if not, that's what the policy's for.

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A receiver would be fine too. Any differences in the sound between Yamaha and Sony?
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post #7 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 12:31 PM
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SMSL AD-18, 40w/ch to 8 ohms, Bluetooth, DAC, etc... - $144 -

https://www.amazon.com/S-M-S-L-AD18-...dp/B071JN7GXN/

$100 to $150 doesn't buy much of an amp in today's world. The SMSL is highly reviewed, you can find several on YouTube, but the review from Z Reviews is pretty thorough.

Assuming in you are in the USA, there is a company the specializes in B-Stock Amp and Speakers. These can be very high value. B-stock are probably amps that were returned for repair, fixed, and sent to B-Stock Sellers. I have a B-Stock Yamaha that came with a 1 year warranty backed by Yamaha.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ceivers/1.html

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ed-amps/1.html

Sort by PRICE.

Next do you have any Size Requirement?


On a computer Desktop, a compact amp like the SMSL AD-18 is a real advantage. But in a living room/other room Stereo system, perhaps a larger amp is OK.

Given your limited budget, I would say either check around for used equipment, or consider the SMSL AD-18.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #8 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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SMSL AD-18, 40w/ch to 8 ohms, Bluetooth, DAC, etc... - $144 -

https://www.amazon.com/S-M-S-L-AD18-...dp/B071JN7GXN/

$100 to $150 doesn't buy much of an amp in today's world. The SMSL is highly reviewed, you can find several on YouTube, but the review from Z Reviews is pretty thorough.

Assuming in you are in the USA, there is a company the specializes in B-Stock Amp and Speakers. These can be very high value. B-stock are probably amps that were returned for repair, fixed, and sent to B-Stock Sellers. I have a B-Stock Yamaha that came with a 1 year warranty backed by Yamaha.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ceivers/1.html

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ed-amps/1.html

Sort by PRICE.

Next do you have any Size Requirement?


On a computer Desktop, a compact amp like the SMSL AD-18 is a real advantage. But in a living room/other room Stereo system, perhaps a larger amp is OK.

Given your limited budget, I would say either check around for used equipment, or consider the SMSL AD-18.

Steve/bluewizard

Thanks! This is for our vacation home and sort of just for playing music but not really "enjoying" music if that makes any sense..... I want it to sound good but it doesn't have to be as good as the home system (Jolida). My biggest concern is just avoiding being too bright because I'm really sensitive to highs.

The amp/receiver will go above where the TV is in this picture (where the flower is). That's where the speakers will go too. Not the best location for either but that's what I have.

I will check out your suggestions!
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post #9 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post
Thanks! This is for our vacation home and sort of just for playing music but not really "enjoying" music if that makes any sense..... I want it to sound good but it doesn't have to be as good as the home system (Jolida). My biggest concern is just avoiding being too bright because I'm really sensitive to highs.

The amp/receiver will go above where the TV is in this picture (where the flower is). That's where the speakers will go too. Not the best location for either but that's what I have.

I will check out your suggestions!
Here is a review by - Z Reviews - it is a bit long, but goes into every detail of the Amp, all the feature, all the adjustable options. Though note the language can get a bit salty at times.


40w/ch to 8 ohms is a pretty fair amount of power for a compact amp. Note the SMSL Amp also has a remote control, but not sure if it will be one of the options on a Universal Remote. Just searched the Logitech My Harmony Remote Control Comparability list, and the SMSL AD-18 is listed there -

https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/...ility%20lookup

But, there really aren't many good options in that price range for New Amps, Used perhaps, but rare in new.

There are a few full sized options at the top of this list at Crutchfield, not great amps but certainly sufficient for casual listening.

The first is the Yamaha R-S202 Stereo Receiver with Bluetooth and 100w/ch - $130 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RS2....html?tp=47041

Sony STR-HD190 Stereo Receiver with Bluetooth and 90w/ch - $150 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_158STD....html?tp=47041

Onkyo TX-8220 Stereo Receiver with Bluetooth and 45w/ch - $199 -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_580TX8....html?tp=47041

In have one of the older Onkyo TX-8220 Receivers, works very well, very clear, but modest, still workable, but modest in power. I've had several amps over the years in the roughly 50w/ch range, they work fine, that's plenty of power for most needs.

At that low price, I would personally lean toward the Yamaha or Onkyo. Sony tend to have somewhat soft power supplies. None of these are great amps, but, as I said, for casual listening they are all fine.

They all have Bluetooth, so you can Stream Music from an Bluetooth enabled Computer or from virtually any Smart Phone/Tablet. Assuming your house has Wireless Networking, the Smart Phone can be connected to the network so it doesn't use Data Minutes. So, connect the Phone output to the Amp by Bluetooth, connect the Phone/Computer/Tablet to the Network, and you are ready to go.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #10 of 32 Old 06-05-2020, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Maybe I should increase my price a little bit? How about $200-$250? I'm definitely fine with used.

My plan is to hook up a Chromecast Audio so I don't have to worry about Bluetooth compression. Just need analog ins or toslink.

Any thoughts on Yamaha vs. Onkyo? I've had Onkyo in the past (1980's) and been pretty happy with them. Would love to get a Cambridge Audio because I hear they're pretty warm but they're too much.

Am I correct that the full size amps would probably sound better than the D-Class amps?
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post #11 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 01:49 PM
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Maybe I should increase my price a little bit? How about $200-$250? I'm definitely fine with used.

My plan is to hook up a Chromecast Audio so I don't have to worry about Bluetooth compression. Just need analog ins or toslink.

Any thoughts on Yamaha vs. Onkyo? I've had Onkyo in the past (1980's) and been pretty happy with them. Would love to get a Cambridge Audio because I hear they're pretty warm but they're too much.

Am I correct that the full size amps would probably sound better than the D-Class amps?

Tough questions. Even with Streaming, Bluetooth can come in handy, don't NOT buy an amp because it has it, but in your situations with Chromecast Audio, you don't really need it, so no need to seek it out.

One example would be if a guest was at your house, and wanted you to hear a song they liked. True you could search it out on one of the Chromecast Streaming Services, but they could also connect to the system by Bluetooth and Stream it direct.

While Bluetooth isn't perfect, it is probably as good as a typical MP3, so not that bad. Just not as good as better streaming options.

Like I said, I have the non-Bluetooth version of the Onkyo TX8220 Receiver, I use it on my Computer. It has 45w/ch which is fine for most uses. I've used the TX8220 on my TV for Movie watching, and now use it on my Computer. It works fine, and has decent build. I would not say it is bright, but rather it doesn't have the warm bass of the Yamaha. But the Onkyo are exceptionally clear for a low cost amp.

By the way, I have both Yamaha and Onkyo, the best I ever heard my system sound was when I Bi-Amp with the Yamaha on the Bass only, and the Onkyo on the Mid/High only. Good full bass with stunning clarity. But I simply don't have room for that many amps in my system.

Best Value is likely to come with a Stereo Receiver, however, best quality is likely to come from an Integrated Amp, though Integrated amps tend to be more expensive.

Stereo Receivers -

https://www.crutchfield.com/g_356350....html?tp=47041

Integrated Amps -

https://www.crutchfield.com/g_344650...mplifiers.html

Again( I think) Accessories4Less has B-Stock. My 100w/ch Yamaha RX-797 Stereo Receiver is a B-Stock and has been running for nearly a decade without problems.

B-Stock Receivers -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ceivers/1.html

SORT BY PRICE - I can sort them for you, but the link gets very long and messy.

B-Stock Integrated Amp -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ed-amps/1.html

Keep in mind that B-Stock is very much subject to available supply, so stock levels fluctuate. You can see that many products are on Notification, meaning notify me if the product becomes available. Also, COVID-19 is probably not helping matters any.

These Yamaha amps have Networking built-in, but they are still pretty nice amps at a pretty nice price.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ver-new/1.html

The suggested retail on these is closer to $350.

For maximum amp at minimum cost, the Yamaha RS202 has plenty of power, though a somewhat basic amp, but you don't really need a lot of complex features.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RS2....html?tp=47041

If you look at the link, you can find a picture of the back of the Amp. Pretty basic Analog Inputs.

Is this a great amp, no, what it is is $130.

In this low price range, I might rate the Onkyo quality a bit over the most basic Yamaha. Yamaha put their small budget into very powerful so-so amps. Onkyo put their money into slightly better but less powerful amps, though again, 45w/ch is fine.

Also, note that due to COVID-19 many of these amps are out of stock, though they are very common and should be available from 100's of other dealers. Just a matter of finding one with the Amp in stock. A GOOGLE search might be helpful.

Here is another Reliable Source - ABT.com

https://www.abt.com/category/43/Audio-Receivers.html

https://www.abt.com/product/100810/Y...ver-RS202.html

https://www.abt.com/product/116694/O...th-TX8220.html

Notice they have Stereo and AV Receiver mixed together, but there is an option to FILTER and SORT.

Here is another reliable Seller in Chicago -

https://www.musicdirect.com/receiver...tereo-Receiver

The RN303 has Network Streaming built-in, but it is currently on sale at a bargain price.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #12 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 02:52 PM
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....

Am I correct that the full size amps would probably sound better than the D-Class amps?
Class-D Switching Amp have come a long ways. They pretty much have it down. The advantage to Class-D is low power consumption, typically meaning smaller lighter Power Supplies, and compact size.

If you watched the Video Review of the SMSL AD-18, you can see that ZEOS raved about the amp and called it a Sound Bar Killer, meaning he would take that amp with speakers over a similarly priced Sound Bar.

For my computer, I'm considering getting a Small Class-D amp rather than my considerably large Onkyo TX-8220. But, the TX-8220 is FREE, that is, I already have it, but there are Class-D amps that are under $50 that I might consider.

Did you say you have Wharfedale Speakers? Can you tell us the model of the speakers you have?

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do this, but I have an older Onkyo TX-8011 Stereo Receiver, which is really a scaled down version, by scaled down I mean cheaper, of the TX-8220 (non-bluetooth). I might consider selling that very cheap just to get rid of it, though you would have to pay the shipping which I can determine in advance. It has a solid 50w/ch, AM/FM, Phono-In, and I'm using it right now, plus I have the original shipping container.

My main computer is having problems, so I have a second older computer set up with the TX-8011 Amp, I use it every day without problems. Also, I'm the original owner of the Amp. I'm thinking under $100 plus shipping, though we can work on the price.

If you click on my username next to my posts, a menu will drop down. One of the options will be to send me a private message. I can give you an email address that we can use to communicate with. You might also want to check my profile. I've been on the forum since 2008 and have nearly 5,000 Posts and 1,500 LIKES. At my profile, you can look under Statistics, and see my past Posting History.

But a NEW Yamaha RS-202 or a NEW Onkyo TX-8220 are still very reasonably priced.

And the Yamaha RS-303 from Music Direct has Network Streaming built-in for about $250, though you don't have to use the Streaming. But as long as you have it, you might as well give it a try. The Chromecast Audio is nice, and very economical, probably the lowest cost quality streaming device available, though I think they stopped making it. That's a decision for you to make though.


The Yamaha RS-303 also has the addition of 1xOptical input and 1xCoaxial input, and of course that means it has a DAC (24b/192k).

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...202/index.html

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...303/index.html

And the SMSL is packed with features, has decent power, is very compact, and is also reasonably priced. The one feature of consideration that the SMSL AD-18 has is a DAC with Digital Inputs, which means you will have no trouble connecting the Digital Output of your TV to the Amp for TV and Movie Watching. That's a consideration.

Onkyo - TX-8220 Stereo Receiver -

https://www.onkyousa.com/product/tx-8220/

SMSL AD-18 -

https://www.smsl-audio.com/portal/pr...il/id/566.html

Note, on the SMSL Class-D amps, they are typically rated at 4 ohms, which increases the apparent Power. The AD-18 is officially rated at 80w/ch to 4 ohms. However, I have rated them to a more standard 8 ohms so you can fairly compare to full sized amps. Though I was conservative. Likely it closer to 45w/ch @ 8 ohms. But I'm estimating.

Steve/bluewizard

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post #13 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the information!

I didn't buy the Wharfedale speakers yet but I have my heart set on a pair of Diamond 225.

I have a couple of old receivers I could use but I was thinking of something newer. I have an Onkyo TX-902 and a Harman Kardon AVR 525. The 525 is way too big for my purposes here. The 902 could work if I don't find anything else.

Thanks for the information on your TX.
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post #14 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 04:53 PM
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Thanks for all the information!

I didn't buy the Wharfedale speakers yet but I have my heart set on a pair of Diamond 225.

I have a couple of old receivers I could use but I was thinking of something newer. I have an Onkyo TX-902 and a Harman Kardon AVR 525. The 525 is way too big for my purposes here. The 902 could work if I don't find anything else.

Thanks for the information on your TX.
I'm not sure the Diamond 225 are the current line up, so their availability is limit. Still very nice speakers. A bit on the warmer side, but excellent for music.

Make sure the speakers will fit in the available space, though it would be OK to place them on their sides. Do the 225 have Flat Sides? I think they might, so that's not a problem.

If you have amps, and either one will fit in the physical space, I would try them both and see if they will get the job done for you. No sense spending money if you don't have too.

When you say the Harman Kardon AVR 525 is too big, do you mean physically too big or too powerful? If it will physically fit in the space with a 2 or 3 inches above, it should do a very good job -

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-dhCIfy...n-AVR-525.html

70w//ch, it doesn't have HDMI but it does have 1xOptical and 2xCoaxial Inputs. If it works and if it fits, I would certainly give it a try.

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I'm not sure the Diamond 225 are the current line up, so their availability is limit. Still very nice speakers. A bit on the warmer side, but excellent for music.

Make sure the speakers will fit in the available space, though it would be OK to place them on their sides. Do the 225 have Flat Sides? I think they might, so that's not a problem.

If you have amps, and either one will fit in the physical space, I would try them both and see if they will get the job done for you. No sense spending money if you don't have too.

When you say the Harman Kardon AVR 525 is too big, do you mean physically too big or too powerful? If it will physically fit in the space with a 2 or 3 inches above, it should do a very good job -

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-dhCIfy...n-AVR-525.html

70w//ch, it doesn't have HDMI but it does have 1xOptical and 2xCoaxial Inputs. If it works and if it fits, I would certainly give it a try.

Steve/bluewizard
For the AVR 525, yea, I meant it's pretty large in size. But I could stick it in the entertainment center. And the idea of trying the 2 amps is a good one. Only one issue - I'm in Pittsburgh and the vacation home is in Florida. So, I have to take the amp on the plane with me. :-) Shipping them would probably be too expensive. I'm thinking the HK would probably sound better than the Onkyo but haven't tried them side by side.

The Wharfedales should be pretty warm and I really like a warm sound. Tubes are my fav!
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Based on your posts, I would order a brand-new Yamaha RX-V385 receiver (link below) from the trusty folks at Crutchfield. Presently they're $260, shipping is free, no sales tax to Florida, and you have a 60-day trial refund period. If not satisfied, return shipping is only $10.

We have three late-model Yamaha AVRs in different rooms. Sonically they are neutral to a bit warm. I, too, dislike bright-sounding amplification and use tubes. Our Yamahas are certainly not bright sounding nor fatiguing. Plus, our units run much cooler than our two previous Onkyo AVRs, which got quite hot, and Yamaha has a reputation for reliability.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RXV...a-RX-V385.html
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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Based on your posts, I would order a brand-new Yamaha RX-V385 receiver (link below) from the trusty folks at Crutchfield. Presently they're $260, shipping is free, no sales tax to Florida, and you have a 60-day trial refund period. If not satisfied, return shipping is only $10.

We have three late-model Yamaha AVRs in different rooms. Sonically they are neutral to a bit warm. I, too, dislike bright-sounding amplification and use tubes. Our Yamahas are certainly not bright sounding nor fatiguing. Plus, our units run much cooler than our two previous Onkyo AVRs, which got quite hot, and Yamaha has a reputation for reliability.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022RXV...a-RX-V385.html
Thanks. I hadn't thought of using an AV receiver for music. That's a good price. Do you think it will sound better than the 2 channel Yamaha that's $129?.
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post #18 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 08:46 PM
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Based on your posts, I would order a brand-new Yamaha RX-V385 receiver ...
That is a very modern amp with all the features, and while not the best amp, is certainly in your price range, and will certainly serve all your need.

It is not clear whether it has Network Stream, though it does have Bluetooth, but you (the OP) have the Chromecast-Audio, so if it doesn't have streaming, that's not going to be a problem.

It does have Digital Inputs (optical/coaxial) and I believe using the same Headphone output, the Chromecast-Audio has Optical Out. Likely the 32-bit/384kHz Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converters in the Yamaha are much better than those in the Chromecast, so that should give a slight boost in the audio quality. Perhaps not huge, but you always go with your best DAC.

I would be interested to know how it works out. It is not a huge amp, so space shouldn't be a problem.

If there is a remote chance you (the Original Poster) will need to send it back, keep the Box and Shipping container in pristine condition. Though, I think you will be very satisfied with it.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #19 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 09:05 PM
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Thanks. I hadn't thought of using an AV receiver for music. That's a good price. Do you think it will sound better than the 2 channel Yamaha that's $129?.
Given that we are on the low end of the price scale, the Yamaha RS202 Amp are just OK. They are fine, but their specs are not top of the line. The Yamaha RS303 probably has the same Amps, but for $250, it gives you build in Network Streaming and a 24b/192k DAC. All useful.

The Yamaha RX-V-385 is an AV Receiver with 5 channels at 70w/ch. I has lots of features that would be nice for Movie watching - Dynamic Range, HDMI in, Room Correction, Sub Bass Management, etc..., but I'm not sure you need all that. But you can certainly have it if you want to. I suspect the amp specs are a bit better than the RS-202/303, but the 202/303 are still fine, so not that big of a deal.

You have to weigh where you priorities are and what you budget is, then make the decision that serves you best.

But, I think now you have three very nice amps to choose from -

Yamaha RS-202 ($130)
- very low cost, basic features, decent power.

Yamaha RS-303 ($250) -
more money but still attractively priced, same amps as the RS202, but it gives you built-in Network Streaming and a DAC (24b/192k).

Yamaha RX-V 385 AV Receiver ($250) - 5-Channel AV Receiver with a very good DAC and all the extra features typically associated with a AV Receiver. 70w/ch, an up-to-date and modern Amp. (probably no Network Streaming though)

I'm not sure you can go wrong with any of these choices. Just a matter of working out which works best for you.

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post #20 of 32 Old 06-06-2020, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post
Thanks. I hadn't thought of using an AV receiver for music. That's a good price. Do you think it will sound better than the 2 channel Yamaha that's $129?.
I haven't heard the R-S202 or similar stereo receivers from Yamaha, so I cannot comment on sound quality. But I noticed it utilizes cheap spring-clip speaker connectors, a sign of bargain-basement build quality, which likely extends to internal components as well. The RX-V385 apparently provides better parts quality, offers considerably more features, and has future expansion capabilities regarding potential video use. The choice, obviously, is yours to make.

Good luck!
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #21 of 32 Old 06-07-2020, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Great advice everyone. Thank you!
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post #22 of 32 Old 06-07-2020, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
... R-S202 ... utilizes cheap spring-clip speaker connectors, a sign of bargain-basement build quality, ....
Good luck!
You are correct. The RS202 did have to cut some corners to meet that price point ($130). And indeed does have the lower cost Spring Clip Speaker Terminals.

But, the RS303 and the RX-V385 both have the more standard 5-Way Binding Posts for Speaker Terminals. But, both cost nearly twice as much.

It is about working out priorities.

There is a guy on YouTube called Vinyl Eyezz who has a vinyl setup based around the Yamaha RS202. He seems pretty satisfied, though he may have upgraded by now. I know he has upgrades his Speaker to Klipsch Bookshelf. He is trying to build a quality Vinyl system on a budget, and he seems to have hit the mark pretty well.


So, for the very limited money, the RA202 is decent ... for the money. However, if you have more money, you can move up from there.

It is all about priorities.

I think the Original Poster now has THREE very good options spanning the range of his budget. Now it is just a matter of working out which best serves him.

RS202 = cheap
RS303 = same amp, Network Streaming, DAC, better build quality (sort of).
RX-V385 = 5-Channel, not sure about networking, 70w/ch, good DAC, Room EQ, Bass Management, ...


At $130, the RS202 had to cut some corners to hit that low price point. But, it is hard to do better in a full sized amp for a modest $130.

Steve/bluewizard
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It occurred to me that if you will not be using an AV receiver for video purposes, buying one may not be a good idea after all. AVRs use a menu system to access many or most functions. One thus needs a TV hooked up to the AVR to see the menu and to make many adjustments, including those for audio.

Apologies for not thinking about this earlier.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #24 of 32 Old 06-07-2020, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
It occurred to me that if you will not be using an AV receiver for video purposes, buying one may not be a good idea after all. AVRs use a menu system to access many or most functions. One thus needs a TV hooked up to the AVR to see the menu and to make many adjustments, including those for audio.

Apologies for not thinking about this earlier.
Good point!
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So, what if I decided to go up to $400? What kind of possibilities does that open up? Marantz, Cambridge? Or still stick with Yamaha and Onkyo?
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post #27 of 32 Old 06-08-2020, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post
So, what if I decided to go up to $400? What kind of possibilities does that open up? Marantz, Cambridge? Or still stick with Yamaha and Onkyo?
Well the answer, though unhelpful, is simply, if you can go to $400, then you can afford a $400 AVR or a $400 Stereo.

Stereo - Receivers -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_532HK3...n-HK-3770.html

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_580TX8...o-TX-8260.html

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_779AXR...dio-AXR85.html

The Harman Kardon is very long of features, and very high powered (120w/ch). Probably Medium Quality but well worth considering.

The Onkyo also have a lot of nice features with very decent 80w/ch of Power.

The Cambridge also very nice with 85w/ch but not quite as many features as the other two.

Stereo - Integrated Amp -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_022AS3....html?tp=34948

More basic Yamaha Integrated, few features, but 60w/ch with Optical and Coaxial Inputs. Worth considering if you want something more basic.

Home Theater -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_033AVS...019-model.html

This Denon is closest to your budget. Decent Power (75w/ch) it has Network Streaming, and pretty much all the features you would expect from a AVR.

These are all very common models, so if out of stock at CRUTCHFIELD, do a Google Search and you should find them from other sources.

Again, it is a matter of working out your Priorities.

Steve/bluewizard
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post #28 of 32 Old 06-08-2020, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exander View Post

Though over budget, these are the best two deals at Accessories4Less -

Yamaha AS501, 85w/ch, DAC - $449 -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...c-black/1.html

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...501/index.html

Yamaha RN602 Stereo Network Receiver, 80w/ch, DAC, Networking - $449 -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audi...602/index.html

In an Integrated Amp, the Yamaha AS-501 is a Top Seller and is considered very high value ...in... an integrated amp.

The Yamaha RN602 is a very good Receiver, with wired and wireless Network Streaming, and a nice DAC with 2xOptical and 2xCoaxial input.

Other bargain AV Receivers from Accessories4Less -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html

Note the above is very high up in the Denon line, this is the S940, the others are the S650 and the S750. Though all are good. But the S940 is probably one model year behind the S-n50 models

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ver-new/1.html

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html

Note the just above is the DENON AVR-S650, the same one that was available for $400 at Crutchfield's.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-w/heos/1.html

The just above is the next Denon model up the S750 for $349.

Just a trace over budget, but this is a pretty nice Yamaha AVR -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

If you really want to scale back to something closer to your original budget, these are probably fine -

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...eceiver/1.html

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...ver-new/1.html

These are not the absolute greatest, but they are real bargains in Receivers that have decent power and all the modern features you would expect from a AV Receiver.

The field of options keeps expanding, the way to narrow it down, is to look at what it is that you really want to do, and find what best that serves that need.

The Denon S650 at $300 is a pretty good deal, when you consider it usually sells for $400, and the next model up, the Denon S750 is still a good deal at $350 when it normally sells for $500.

Myself, and this is just me, I would be more inclined to go with a Stereo, but those AVRs should serve your needs very nicely, and they will all have Network Streaming Built-In.

So, given the suggestions at Accessories4Less, you should be able to do very well for UNDER $400, and if you want to scale back, there were some decent options in roughly the $200 to $260 range.

The absolute Top Bargains are going to be the Denon S650 and the Denon S750, but again, if you have to scale back nothing wrong with the $200 Denon S540 AVR or the $260 Yamaha V385 AVR.

Steve/bluewizard
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Last edited by bluewizard; 06-08-2020 at 01:43 PM.
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post #29 of 32 Old 06-08-2020, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you again for the very thorough answers! You mentioned narrowing it down by what I need. My needs are really simple - I just want to hook up the Chromecast Audio and play music. Controlling volume with a remote would be nice but I can do that with the Chromecast also. Pretty much any of these would work!

Regarding the Denon - I tried a Denon about 30 years ago and didn't really like it. I think it was too detailed for me (but it could have been the speakers - I can't remember). That's why I was looking at the Marantz because they tend to be more laid back from what I remember. Of course, 30 years is a loooooong time ago. :-)
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post #30 of 32 Old 06-08-2020, 02:45 PM
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https://www.crutchfield.com/S-FxmqJg...-built-in.html

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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