2.1 Music for $2k -- Separates or Receiver ? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-12-2016, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Question 2.1 Music for $2k -- Separates or Receiver ?

I'm looking to add a dedicated 2.1 setup for **strictly music** (AirPlay + iPod ) utilizing bookshelfs and occasional headphones (HD Sens 380 Pro) in the den / man cave. I'm trying to decide between going separates (preamp + amp) or receiver route. I've never done separates but I would like to invest high quality music gear that will last.

5.1 is probably overkill as I have zero plans for video. I already have a HT in a different room -- Panny P60VT60 + Denon 3313CI + Emp Tek speakers to be exact --- so why not use that? I already tried the Denon Zone 2 thing and it S-U-C-K-S. Whoever designed the Multi-Zone UI needs to be taken out back and beat with a nerf bat for how confusing this was to setup. The deal breaker is that the volume control on the phone can't be used -- I must use the remote which defeats the WHOLE purpose. That along with wifi streaming drop-outs if I'm too far from the Wifi makes for crappy experience. (I've solved the latter problem with an Apple TV 3rd gen (on order) so devices, technically, don't need to support AirPlay -- that would just be a bonus if they do.)

I'm also not interested in a receiver that doesn't have pre-outs for the mains.

I already have speakers + sub -- and this isn't the forum to post that here anyways. I _might_ be looking to upgrade these down the road. Since the bookshelf speakers I'm using just don't have the bass extension that I like/want/need I'm looking to augment with a sub hence the 2.1 (requirement?). Maybe down the road with better speakers I can go with a strictly 2 channel amp.

Budget is max $2K (spread over 6 months) for pre-amp+amp and/or receiver.

Here are the options I'm currently considering so you can see I've done my homework

* $28 Lepy LP-2020A Hi-Fi Stereo Power Amplifier
* $89 Baitaihem 2.1 Channel Audio Amp Class
* $347 Onkyo A-9050
* $349 Marantz NR1504
* $449 Marantz NR1506
* $549 Music Hall - A15.3 Integrated Amp
* $599 Outlaw Model 5000
* $799 Cambridge Audio CXA60
* $899 NAD C 368
* $899 Yamaha A-S801
* $999 Emotiva Audio XSP-1 Differential Reference Preamp + $899 Emotiva Audio XPA2 stereo audio amplifier

My dream setup would be the Emotiva pre-amp + amp -- but that means months of waiting. Currently I'm seeing an used XPA2 Gen2 on the local Craigslist for $600 so I'm debating pulling the trigger on that. The XPA2 is also appealing because eventually I could upgrade the XPA2 to a XPA5 and replace my Denon 3313CI.

Why is all the cheap < $500 gear listed? I'd prefer something inexpensive short-term as _poor quality music is better then no music_ but I'm also looking down the road to upgrade to something more serious.

The Marantz NR1504 @ $349 looks like to be a REAL sweet spot for price / audio quality -- for the time being. That would hold me over until I can upgrade later. The downside is I'm wondering how does that fit into upgrading later?

Any other alternatives I should be aware of? TIA!

EDIT: Added A-S801, C 368, CXA60

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Last edited by _Michaelangelo_; 11-15-2016 at 10:14 AM. Reason: Added A-S801, C 368, CXA60, A-9050
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-12-2016, 12:34 PM
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Have you looked at NAD integrated amplifiers?
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Tower Cinema - 9.1.6 in a 12'x12' room
Input : Nvidia Shield TV, Panasonic DMP-UB400
Magic : Marantz SR7010, Marantz SR6010, 2x NAD T743
Output : Panasonic TX65EZ952B, SVS PB13 Ultra, Monitor Audio GSLCR 2xGS20 2xGS10 4xGSFX 6xBX1
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-12-2016, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mashie Saldana View Post
Have you looked at NAD integrated amplifiers?
I've briefly have heard the name before but haven't looked into them -- any specifics models I should look at ? i.e. NAD C 165BEE Stereo Preamplifier?

TIA

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post #4 of 13 Old 11-13-2016, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Michaelangelo_ View Post
I've briefly have heard the name before but haven't looked into them -- any specifics models I should look at ? i.e. NAD C 165BEE Stereo Preamplifier?

TIA
Take a look at the C338/C368/C388 that they just released.

Tower Cinema - 9.1.6 in a 12'x12' room
Input : Nvidia Shield TV, Panasonic DMP-UB400
Magic : Marantz SR7010, Marantz SR6010, 2x NAD T743
Output : Panasonic TX65EZ952B, SVS PB13 Ultra, Monitor Audio GSLCR 2xGS20 2xGS10 4xGSFX 6xBX1
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-13-2016, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mashie Saldana View Post
Take a look at the C338/C368/C388 that they just released.
Oooh, very nice! I had my heart set on the Emotiva but you're not making it easy to decide !

In case anyone else is wondering -- to navigate from the main menu:

HI-FI / STEREO products > Hi-Fi Amplifiers

* http://nadelectronics.com/products/h...ated-Amplifier
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-13-2016, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mashie Saldana View Post
Take a look at the C338/C368/C388 that they just released.
While searching for reviews of the NAD C338 I came across another amp that people listed as an alternative:

$799 Cambridge Audio CXA60. What HiFi has this Review.

Checking one of the local high end audio stores in the area I see Yamaha also has an integrated amp that be worthwhile checking out:

$899 AS801

Decisions, Decisions.

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post #7 of 13 Old 11-15-2016, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mashie Saldana View Post
Have you looked at NAD integrated amplifiers?
Just wanted to say Thank-You Mashie for the NAD suggestion! While researching NAD I've come across another amp to consider:

* $347 Onkyo A-9050

Due to the sheer number of amps, I've started this spreadsheet.

Right now I'm probably leaning heavily towards the Onkyo A-9050 which has the same DAC as the A-9010, the latter which I came across this review. The 9010 doesn't have a sub-out nor pre-out so for $50 more the A-9050 makes more sense.

I'm also strongly considering the Cambridge Audio CXA60.

I'm going to check out some of the local high end audio stores and see if can get a demo of some of these amps. I actually have two rooms for music -- the low price point of the Onkyo A-9050 makes it extremely attractive to get something now; and then upgrade the second room to a more expensive amp.

I'll so debating upgrading my bookshelf speakers now -- I need to hear them on the new amp but I have a suspicion they are lacking the clear bass I'm looking for. Why is audio like pounding out dents? As soon as you get one dent removed you start noticing all the other dents?

Without hearing about NAD I probably never would have come across these other amps. Thank-You again.

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Last edited by _Michaelangelo_; 11-15-2016 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Yamaha already listed, 9050 vs 9010
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-15-2016, 02:38 PM
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I'm glad I could help.

It will be interesting to see what you end up with.

Tower Cinema - 9.1.6 in a 12'x12' room
Input : Nvidia Shield TV, Panasonic DMP-UB400
Magic : Marantz SR7010, Marantz SR6010, 2x NAD T743
Output : Panasonic TX65EZ952B, SVS PB13 Ultra, Monitor Audio GSLCR 2xGS20 2xGS10 4xGSFX 6xBX1
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-10-2016, 04:57 PM
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I'm in a similar boat, looking at some 2-channel integrated amp options, so I'll be watching this thread. I'm currently trying to decide between the NAD 368 and the Yamaha S801 personally.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-11-2016, 08:17 AM
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Emotiva DC-1 DAC and a pair of Emotiva Airmotiv 6s powered monitors. Right at $1000 for all. Simple setup but a larger desk with room behind it ( for the Airmotiv rear ports ) is a must for a 27" to 34" computer monitor. I have a 30" x 60" desk and the Stealth 6 ( pro version of AM6 ), a 30" monitor, a Silverstone SG-05 PC, and the DAC fit fine. A little tight, but fits OK.

Another option would be a DAC from Schiit or the new Oppo Sonica DAC ($800). The Sonica will have the latest Sabre ESS9038 and support DSD512, which is the only thing I miss by having the DC-1.

A sub isn't really necessary for pop, classic rock, alternative, metal, folk, and classical, but I have one for the occasional movie and for EDM and other bass-heavy music. Emotiva just released some nice subs in the 200 to 500 watt range, but I like SVS. SVS SB12-NSD for $400 is a steal if you can still find some on Amazon. Lacking that, I'd go with the SB-2000 ( which replaced the SB12-NSD ), which is a perfect match for Airmotiv 6s in a small to medium room.

Denon AVR X7200WA, Emotiva XPR-5, Emotiva XPA-7, Sony XBR 85" X900F, Oppo UDP-203, Roku Ultra.
DefTech BP7000SC (L/R), CLR3000 (C), SM55 (FH), UIW BPZ/A (SB), UIW 75 (TM).
JBL L7 (Sur), EoSone RSR 350 (RH).
PC 2.1 setup. Emotiva Stealth 6, SVS SB16-Ultra sub, Emotiva DC-1 DAC.

Last edited by jevans64; 12-11-2016 at 08:28 AM.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-04-2017, 06:06 AM
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How about the Parasound Halo P5 Preamplifier (or their Integrated Amplifier in your case)? That's what I'm leaning toward to feed my 2.2 active Genelec speakers and subs with balanced XLR inputs, although I might like to have stereo L/R sub outs (even though many say that's not very useful), in which case I'll likely end up with the Emotiva XSP-1. Even leaving out tubes, it seems there are a lot of obscure hi-fi options out there which probably include numerous gems, but it's hard to sort through them all. http://www.stereophile.com/category/...preamp-reviews

Last edited by lwestfall; 01-04-2017 at 06:17 AM.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-04-2017, 06:31 AM
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Of course if a DAC without sub outs is important, lots of options are out there: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6...-please-25706/ And signals can be separately split to subs using a digital crossover in a DSP like DSPeaker or miniDSP.

Last edited by lwestfall; 01-04-2017 at 06:35 AM.
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-04-2017, 06:42 AM
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Perhaps an active crossover would be worth including in the mix. http://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.c...eCrossover.htm
So many possibilities...
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