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!
: Added A-S801, C 368, CXA60