Is there any receiver that is truly transparent for stereo? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 83 Old 02-04-2018, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there any receiver that is truly transparent for stereo?

Is there any receiver that is transparent for stereo?

In the past I have owned multiple AV receiver. Onkyo, Rotel, Marantz.
I sold my last AV received back in 2013. At that time, I was running a Marantz Pre-Amp (not an AV receiver) with Emotiva 5-channel amp.
B&W 804S, HTM-4, 805 rears. Oppo BDP-105 as my source.
I switched to a 2.1 channel setup and matched with Marantz PM-15s2. Oppo BDP-105 -> Marantz PM-15s2 -> B&W 804S + Velodyne sub.
Completely different world. Completely different world.

Lately felt like getting a HT system back up.
However, I had forgotten how much of a difference and how transparent an integrated amp is compared to AV products.

In the past month, I have purchased the following:
Marantz SR7012
Marantz AV7702
Emotiva A-500
Rotel RMB-1085
All items were burned in.
All tests were conducted with my wife and my younger son (to see if it was just me hearing the difference or not)

The Marantz PM-15s2 has the ability to act a power amp. It's called "Power Direct". So I can test just how transparent or not the pre-amp portion of the unit it.

So I have done the following test.

Oppo (used as source only) -> Marantz PM-15s2 = sound "A"
Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> PM-15s2 (in Power Direct mode. So the volume or tone or anything does absolutely nothing) = sound "A" same sound as above.

So..
I tried the SR7012 first.
Oppo (source) --digital connection --> SR7012 = sound "B"
It sounded good.. but it made the speakers sound like... speakers.
I tried the Oppo's higher end analog output to the SR7012. It sounded better. But only marginally.
The Marantz SR7012 still made the speakers sound like speakers.

I switched back to the PM-15s2.. and it's just soooooo good. No, it is not like a veil being lifted. It's like the speakers completely disappear and the sound becomes real. Like you can touch it.

Next item purchased. Power amps. I didn't know which one I would like so I bought both.
Test #1 Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> PM-15s2 (in Power Direct mode) = sound "A"
Test #2 Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> Emotiva = sound is very similar to sound "A".
Test #3 Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> Rotel = sound is very similar to sound "A".
So I can confirmed that regardless of which power amp I used, they all still kept the B&W 804S at their real potential levels.

Test #4 Oppo (as source, using higher-end analog output) - > Marantz SR7012 -> Marantz PM-15s2 (as power amp) = sound "C")
Yes, it had a bit better. A more full sound compared to the Oppo + SR7012 only combo.. but it still brought the B&W speakers back down to "speaker levels".
Test #5 Same as above, but with the Emotiva.
Test #6 Same as above, but with the Rotel.
I tried so many different things on the SR7012. I tried their Direct Pure Mode. I tried disabling any and every setting adjustment on the SR7012.
I tried resetting the unit to factory reset, then tried again to see if I had any setting that was adding some kind of effect to the sound.
No matter what I tried with the Marantz SR7012, the pre-amp portion of the AV received always changed the sound. It always changed the sound.

More verification.
The following tests, I used only the Oppo, the PM-15s2, and the SR7012
Test #7 Oppo as source -- analog-- > Marantz SR7012 = sound "B"
Test #8 Oppo as source -- analog --> into Marantz PM-15s2, then using the PM-15s2's pre-out --> Marantz SR7012 = sound "B"
So adding the PM-15s2 in the middle, I skipped the PM-15s2's power amplification. It only used the PM-15s2's pre-amp section. The sound did not change at all. This showed me that the Marantz PM-15s2 really is transparent.

Next I reversed the test.
Test #9 Oppo as source -- analog --> Marantz PM-15s2 = sound "A"
Test #1 0 Oppo as source -- analog --> Marantz SR7012 input, then using the pre-amp outputs --> PM-15s2 (as power amp) = sound "B"
This test uses only the pre-amp section of the SR7012. This showed me that it the SR7012 really is NOT transparent.
People always say it's the power amp that fails these AV receivers, but I have found that it's the pre-amp section that really degrade it so much.

Researched, researched, researched...
I went ahead and bought a Marantz AV7702.
I did the same exact tests as above.
I do not mean to offend any AV77XX owners, but man does Marantz rip people off with these.
Even repeating the same as test #9 and test #1 0, the AV7702 degraded the sound so much. Even with the AV7702 (which is suppose to be so good), the B&W 804S once again sounded like.. speakers.
I did test #1 0 with the SR7012.. and then the same test with the AV7702... hardly any difference at all. That was so sad to find that out. Such a rip off.

Now, don't get me wrong, with all the tests, it always sounded great.
However, it wasn't a case of "marginally better". It was that once you see what your speakers can REALLY REALLY REALLY do.. it's hard to accept going back to such a downgrade.

So... back goes the AV7702, the SR7012, and then sold the Rotel.
I thought I would be fine using the Oppo + Emotiva for HT purposes, but no.

So back to the point of this thread.
Is there really any AV receiver that is truly transparent?
Is there an AV receiver that has a pre-amp section that is as good as a real integrated amp?

Would especially love to hear the feedback from NAD, Yamaha, Arcam AV receiver owners.

Thank you.
And sorry for the long post.

Last edited by audioqueso; 02-04-2018 at 09:55 PM.
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post #2 of 83 Old 02-04-2018, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, if you happen to own an Oppo BDP-105 (or 205), an AV receiver, and a power amp, I would recommend to try the same tests. Oppo as pre to power amp directly. Then add the AV receiver in the middle. See if you hear a difference.
If you don't, then maybe you are lucky and you have reached the max potential of your speakers.
But if you do hear a downgrade when adding the receiver, then now you will know just how good your speakers can sound.
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post #3 of 83 Old 02-04-2018, 10:17 PM
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I was really disappointed in the sound of my Pioneer SC-55 for both analog and CD music, whether using the analog outs from the OPPO 105 (or another player) or HDMI. I don't know what they're doing, but even when it's supposedly in "straight line" mode, it really sucks, in spite of its supposed endorsement from the late George Martin's studios. It makes everything sound hollow and imprecise. (Seems fine for movies).

So I reinstalled my old Apt-Holman preamp and Crown power amp and built an amp switch to switch between the two amps and the front left-right speakers. It's amazing how much better that old system (vintage 1980) sounds - anyone who has listened to both systems immediately notices the difference. And the Apt-Holman probably needs to be recapped at the very least. It could probably sound a lot better than it does.
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post #4 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 05:16 AM
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I'm using the zone 2 pre-outs of my Yamaha 3050 AVR as a preamp for an active speaker set-up. It's super clean with very good level. The speakers are highly resolving so I will know if the quality is bad. Before I was using an old Marantz SR8500, the pre-outs were a bit muddled.

With the same speakers I used Yamaha 681 zone 2 pre-outs. Performance is noticeably inferior to the 3050.

Conclusion - Higher end Yamaha AVRs have excellent pre-amp section, that rivals stand alone units.

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten

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post #5 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 05:40 AM
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I remember 2 channel music not sounding as good as it should when I had my onkyo and integra receivers. When I moved to anthem mrx720 and configured a two channel stereo virtual input, the sound dramatically improved. I can't say how it would compare to a true 2 channel preamp. My chain is PC HDMI-->Anthem-->McIntosh 303-->B&Ws. I listen to a ton of music in my room and my 802d3's are absolutely awesome on the setup.

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Audio: Anthem mrx720 running 7.1.4, McIntosh MC-303, MC-152, B&W 802d3 LR, B&W HTM1D3 center, B&W 805d3 surround, B&W 702S2 rear, B&W 706s2 x 4 shelf mounted for atmos, 2 sub arrays both infinite baffle: 4x15 fi audio running on behringer ep4000 + 4x12 fi audio running on 2nd ep4000.
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post #6 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 05:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioqueso
Is there any receiver that is transparent for stereo? ...
The Denon AVR-X4000 I have is transparent for stereo. When I'm listening to music, it's like the receiver's not even there.
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post #7 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugotvijay View Post
I'm using the zone 2 pre-outs of my Yamaha 3050 AVR as a preamp for an active speaker set-up. It's super clean with very good level. The speakers are highly resolving so I will know if the quality is bad. Before I was using an old Marantz SR8500, the pre-outs were a bit muddled.
Conclusion - Higher end Yamaha AVRs have excellent pre-amp section, that rivals stand alone units.
I really don't know much about Yamaha's. I can start researching on their higher end stuff and see if it's worth it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
I remember 2 channel music not sounding as good as it should when I had my onkyo and integra receivers. When I moved to anthem mrx720 and configured a two channel stereo virtual input, the sound dramatically improved. I can't say how it would compare to a true 2 channel preamp. My chain is PC HDMI-->Anthem-->McIntosh 303-->B&Ws. I listen to a ton of music in my room and my 802d3's are absolutely awesome on the setup.
Your post is interesting. You actually have a very nice amp there. What kind of pc is it? (Tower, laptop, etc)
I've always had a media server, but I stopped using the HDMI as the output for audio from a pc a long time ago. HDMI is very noisy compared to a properly filtered USB connection.
If it's a tower, do you have a higher end soundcard (like a RME)? I wonder, have you ever tried going directly from your pc to the McIntosh to see how much the Anthem was or was not adding to the mix?


Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post
The Denon AVR-X4000 I have is transparent for stereo. When I'm listening to music, it's like the receiver's not even there.
Hmm.. I don't know. If you find it as 'it's like the receiver's not even there", then I'm glad you are able to get the max potential of your speakers out of the Denon.
However, if out of the D&M group, the Marantz is the brand advertised as "more musical" out of the two, I doubt the AVR-X4000 will surpass Marantz AV77XX series. Even the AV77xx colored the signal in my particular setup. I highly acclaim Marantz's and Denon's integrated amps. And then their Reference Series is just a completely different level. Even the Denon signature series (I don't believe they sell those in the US), I swear by those. But as much as I have enjoyed owning Marantz AV receivers in the past, D&M receivers are just not there. And these tests that I've done during this past month have really turned me away from D&M AV products.
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Outlaw Audio RR2160. Stereo only. Great sound. They offer 30 day home trial. Read the reviews.
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post #9 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioqueso View Post
Is there any receiver that is transparent for stereo?

In the past I have owned multiple AV receiver. Onkyo, Rotel, Marantz.
I sold my last AV received back in 2013. At that time, I was running a Marantz Pre-Amp (not an AV receiver) with Emotiva 5-channel amp.
B&W 804S, HTM-4, 805 rears. Oppo BDP-105 as my source.
I switched to a 2.1 channel setup and matched with Marantz PM-15s2. Oppo BDP-105 -> Marantz PM-15s2 -> B&W 804S + Velodyne sub.
Completely different world. Completely different world.

Lately felt like getting a HT system back up.
However, I had forgotten how much of a difference and how transparent an integrated amp is compared to AV products.

In the past month, I have purchased the following:
Marantz SR7012
Marantz AV7702
Emotiva A-500
Rotel RMB-1085
All items were burned in.
All tests were conducted with my wife and my younger son (to see if it was just me hearing the difference or not)

The Marantz PM-15s2 has the ability to act a power amp. It's called "Power Direct". So I can test just how transparent or not the pre-amp portion of the unit it.

So I have done the following test.

Oppo (used as source only) -> Marantz PM-15s2 = sound "A"
Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> PM-15s2 (in Power Direct mode. So the volume or tone or anything does absolutely nothing) = sound "A" same sound as above.

So..
I tried the SR7012 first.
Oppo (source) --digital connection --> SR7012 = sound "B"
It sounded good.. but it made the speakers sound like... speakers.
I tried the Oppo's higher end analog output to the SR7012. It sounded better. But only marginally.
The Marantz SR7012 still made the speakers sound like speakers.

I switched back to the PM-15s2.. and it's just soooooo good. No, it is not like a veil being lifted. It's like the speakers completely disappear and the sound becomes real. Like you can touch it.

Next item purchased. Power amps. I didn't know which one I would like so I bought both.
Test #1 Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> PM-15s2 (in Power Direct mode) = sound "A"
Test #2 Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> Emotiva = sound is very similar to sound "A".
Test #3 Oppo (used as source + pre-amp) -> Rotel = sound is very similar to sound "A".
So I can confirmed that regardless of which power amp I used, they all still kept the B&W 804S at their real potential levels.

Test #4 Oppo (as source, using higher-end analog output) - > Marantz SR7012 -> Marantz PM-15s2 (as power amp) = sound "C")
Yes, it had a bit better. A more full sound compared to the Oppo + SR7012 only combo.. but it still brought the B&W speakers back down to "speaker levels".
Test #5 Same as above, but with the Emotiva.
Test #6 Same as above, but with the Rotel.
I tried so many different things on the SR7012. I tried their Direct Pure Mode. I tried disabling any and every setting adjustment on the SR7012.
I tried resetting the unit to factory reset, then tried again to see if I had any setting that was adding some kind of effect to the sound.
No matter what I tried with the Marantz SR7012, the pre-amp portion of the AV received always changed the sound. It always changed the sound.

More verification.
The following tests, I used only the Oppo, the PM-15s2, and the SR7012
Test #7 Oppo as source -- analog-- > Marantz SR7012 = sound "B"
Test #8 Oppo as source -- analog --> into Marantz PM-15s2, then using the PM-15s2's pre-out --> Marantz SR7012 = sound "B"
So adding the PM-15s2 in the middle, I skipped the PM-15s2's power amplification. It only used the PM-15s2's pre-amp section. The sound did not change at all. This showed me that the Marantz PM-15s2 really is transparent.

Next I reversed the test.
Test #9 Oppo as source -- analog --> Marantz PM-15s2 = sound "A"
Test #1 0 Oppo as source -- analog --> Marantz SR7012 input, then using the pre-amp outputs --> PM-15s2 (as power amp) = sound "B"
This test uses only the pre-amp section of the SR7012. This showed me that it the SR7012 really is NOT transparent.
People always say it's the power amp that fails these AV receivers, but I have found that it's the pre-amp section that really degrade it so much.

Researched, researched, researched...
I went ahead and bought a Marantz AV7702.
I did the same exact tests as above.
I do not mean to offend any AV77XX owners, but man does Marantz rip people off with these.
Even repeating the same as test #9 and test #1 0, the AV7702 degraded the sound so much. Even with the AV7702 (which is suppose to be so good), the B&W 804S once again sounded like.. speakers.
I did test #1 0 with the SR7012.. and then the same test with the AV7702... hardly any difference at all. That was so sad to find that out. Such a rip off.

Now, don't get me wrong, with all the tests, it always sounded great.
However, it wasn't a case of "marginally better". It was that once you see what your speakers can REALLY REALLY REALLY do.. it's hard to accept going back to such a downgrade.

So... back goes the AV7702, the SR7012, and then sold the Rotel.
I thought I would be fine using the Oppo + Emotiva for HT purposes, but no.

So back to the point of this thread.
Is there really any AV receiver that is truly transparent?
Is there an AV receiver that has a pre-amp section that is as good as a real integrated amp?

Would especially love to hear the feedback from NAD, Yamaha, Arcam AV receiver owners.

Thank you.
And sorry for the long post.
Caveat, what is transparent to you , may not be transparent to other people. However, my experience is that , when I listen to my Yamaha R-XA 2070, on Stereo mode, as I often do, I get a very satisfying experience.

Cheers
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post #10 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralarcon View Post
Caveat, what is transparent to you , may not be transparent to other people. However, my experience is that , when I listen to my Yamaha R-XA 2070, on Stereo mode, as I often do, I get a very satisfying experience.

Cheers
I specifically used the word transparent because "what is transparent to you may not be transparent to other people" does not apply.
Testing between a source + a receiver, you will never know if your unit is transparent or not. How can you? There is nothing to be tested in the middle.
However, if you test with three components, source, pre, and pro.. and have the ability to have it all interchangeable, then the test is not one's opinion.
At the end, you wrote "satisfying". That is an opinion. Just as my opinion was "with all the tests, it always sounded great."
But being satisfied doesn't mean that it's transparent. You know what I'm saying, right?
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post #11 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioqueso View Post
Is there any receiver that is transparent for stereo?
I'd say give Anthem a go, but seeing as you're in Japan, not sure if that is an option? At least not for local purchase?

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioqueso View Post
I specifically used the word transparent because "what is transparent to you may not be transparent to other people" does not apply.
Testing between a source + a receiver, you will never know if your unit is transparent or not. How can you? There is nothing to be tested in the middle.
However, if you test with three components, source, pre, and pro.. and have the ability to have it all interchangeable, then the test is not one's opinion.
At the end, you wrote "satisfying". That is an opinion. Just as my opinion was "with all the tests, it always sounded great."
But being satisfied doesn't mean that it's transparent. You know what I'm saying, right?
It is what it is, and people can only give opinions. Anything else, as multiple double blinded studies show, is mouse milk.

Cheers
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post #13 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
I'd say give Anthem a go, but seeing as you're in Japan, not sure if that is an option? At least not for local purchase?
Crutchfield sells them. So I can get it through them.
I will research on the Yamaha's and Anthem. I may end getting both and see how they do.
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post #14 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioqueso View Post
Crutchfield sells them. So I can get it through them.
I will research on the Yamaha's and Anthem. I may end getting both and see how they do.
Gotta be a bit pricey shipping to Japan! ??

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #15 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 09:46 AM
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Few years ago for a client . . . Marantz SR5008 used solely for Preamp digital audio & video switching to a Parasound Halo 2 Channel amp feeding a pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 6 speakers. An Oppo 103 Bluray hardwired to a router for network apps and Audio Quest Audio, Video, HDMI & Speaker Cables. All protected by a APC H15 power protection unit.

You didn't mention cables or power conditioning. I would think your Oppo to either Marantz AVR as a preamp to any of the amp combos would be optimum signal path. Sounds like you don't like your amps or your B&W's?

Parasound or PS Audio in Japan?
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post #16 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
Gotta be a bit pricey shipping to Japan! ??
Anthem AVR are made in Vietnam and sold world-wide.

Anthem® | Dealer Locator - Anthem AV
https://www.anthemav.com/locator/index.php
... Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Nz, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Ru, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uk, Ukraine, Vietnam.
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post #17 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 11:27 AM
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Anthem AVR are made in Vietnam and sold world-wide.

Anthem® | Dealer Locator - Anthem AV
https://www.anthemav.com/locator/index.php
... Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Nz, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Ru, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uk, Ukraine, Vietnam.
Yeah, not Japan though, I don't think. One hi-end audio shop I visited there hadn't even heard of Anthem or Paradigm....

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
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2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #18 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
Yeah, not Japan though, I don't think. One hi-end audio shop I visited there hadn't even heard of Anthem or Paradigm....
I'd try Korea, Singapore and/or Macau. Might be cheaper than N. America...
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post #19 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Audioplus93 View Post
Few years ago for a client . . . Marantz SR5008 used solely for Preamp digital audio & video switching to a Parasound Halo 2 Channel...
I've had the Parasound P7 in the past (though just for a month). Gorgeous item. That was before I went 2-channel. The reason I went away from Parasound is still the same reason for not going back; they don't have any updated HT codec. If I want to go back to an HT setup, I don't see the point of paying that much money and not getting some of the latest. They are very slow on that. Thank you for the suggetion though.

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You didn't mention cables or power conditioning. I would think your Oppo to either Marantz AVR as a preamp to any of the amp combos would be optimum signal path.
Irrelevant. If my point was to reach the same level of transparency as the Oppo (as source and pre-amp) -> any of the amps -> B&W provided, than I already have my reference point.
You would think the Oppo to the AVR would be an optimum signal path... well, so does every other Marantz owner. It's not. The pre-amp portion of the Marantz SR and AV products are not definitely not transparent.
I think it's a big advantage that I happen to own a source that can adjust the gain output to act like a pre-amp. Other wise, I probably would not have been able to conduct this test.


I can ship to Japan for free.

Last edited by audioqueso; 02-05-2018 at 04:23 PM.
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post #20 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 05:33 PM
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I believe you're 100% correct on the Oppo going direct to the Amp, obviously relying the Oppo transport and preamp as optimal. Never heard of it, however the Oppo may be suspect culprit?
Have you tried another source, phono, CD, MP3 any other source to A/B with the Oppo? Seems like you can start diagnosing the weak point from there? Speakers, cables, amp, preamp . . . you obviously have the time, energy and $$$$ invested, that's my next move.
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post #21 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 05:45 PM
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Your post is interesting. You actually have a very nice amp there. What kind of pc is it? (Tower, laptop, etc)
I've always had a media server, but I stopped using the HDMI as the output for audio from a pc a long time ago. HDMI is very noisy compared to a properly filtered USB connection.
If it's a tower, do you have a higher end soundcard (like a RME)? I wonder, have you ever tried going directly from your pc to the McIntosh to see how much the Anthem was or was not adding to the mix?
It's a tower / dedicated HTPC. The video card is an nvidia 1080ti so the HDMI sound driver is NVIDIA's HDMI driver. Since it is just sending digital PCM to the receiver, I don't think there' any value in a better sound card because we are bypassing the DAC in the PC entirely. The anthem has decent AKM DACs and in my opinion they sound very good. I don't buy into HDMI being worse than USB cables for digital audio. Most USB audio gear is USB 2.0. This is 480mbit max speed. HDMI is 18gbit max speed. My PC is stable running HDR video at 4k/60/4:4:4 to my old JVC projector. This requires the 18gbit link and that's over a 40 foot run. The run from the PC to the anthem is only 1 meter. Uncompressed 2 channel audio is only around 1500kbit. I did try SPDIF via optical cable a year ago and didn't notice any difference in sound.

I'm sure my Anthem isn't as good as say a McIntosh 2 channel preamp. But I'm quite pleased with it. Anthem does a really good job keeping its feature set minimal so it can focus on sound and video quality. The anthem is awesome because it has virtual inputs. This is unlike any other brand of receiver / video processor I've ever seen. Each input is virtual. So you can create a virtual input for your main video. You select a video input, an audio input and a sound profile. This allows me to set up PC Video as input 1. That takes in HDMI1 for video, HDMI1 for sound, and my PC movie profile which enables all 11 speakers for atmos and can also enable the ARC room correction etc. In this profile, I tell the input to upscale 2 channel to atmos. This works great for movies but is terrible for music. I then set up a second virtual input called PC Music. Here, I also select HDMI1 for video, HDMI1 for audio and I point it to a second audio profile for PC Music. The music profile outputs 2 channel input as stereo output. I can also configure the PC Audio profile for different crossovers, disable ARC, configure which speakers are in use, and change the levels of speakers per profile. So my movie profile runs 11 speakers in atmos with a specific set of crossovers. The music profile runs 2 channel stereo only, front left and right speakers are enabled at 0db, my B&W 805d3 are enabled in rear for rear fill (still in stereo no surround processing here) at -6db just for some rear fill. The ceiling speakers are off. Sub levels and crossovers are set separately between movie and music etc.

I think this contributes a ton to why the anthem sounds good and works so well for me on music.
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Video: JVC RS4500 135" screen in pure black room no light, htpc nvidia 1080ti.
Audio: Anthem mrx720 running 7.1.4, McIntosh MC-303, MC-152, B&W 802d3 LR, B&W HTM1D3 center, B&W 805d3 surround, B&W 702S2 rear, B&W 706s2 x 4 shelf mounted for atmos, 2 sub arrays both infinite baffle: 4x15 fi audio running on behringer ep4000 + 4x12 fi audio running on 2nd ep4000.
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post #22 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by audioqueso View Post
So back to the point of this thread.
Is there really any AV receiver that is truly transparent?
Is there an AV receiver that has a pre-amp section that is as good as a real integrated amp?
Home theater receivers have gone away from accepting multichannel analog inputs on almost all models. The ones that have them still kept them mostly for legacy compatiblity and many newer products are immediatley doing an Analog to Digital conversion on the input regardless of "Pure Direct" modes, etc. I can't recall off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure D&M no longer offers a direct pass-through on the analog inputs. It may say in the owner's manual.

The best possible way to get sound out of a multichannel AVR nowadays is to feed it a digital signal.

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post #23 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
I don't buy into HDMI being worse than USB cables for digital audio. Most USB audio gear is USB 2.0. This is 480mbit max speed. HDMI is 18gbit max speed. My PC is stable running HDR video at 4k/60/4:4:4 to my old JVC projector. This requires the 18gbit link and that's over a 40 foot run. The run from the PC to the anthem is only 1 meter. Uncompressed 2 channel audio is only around 1500kbit. I did try SPDIF via optical cable a year ago and didn't notice any difference in sound.
You don't have to buy into it. I do admit the the difference is not so so substantial. I wrote "filtered USB". The max speed of USB vs HDMI play very little in stereo audio.
Understood though.


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The anthem is awesome because it has virtual inputs. This is unlike any other brand of receiver / video processor I've ever seen. Each input is virtual.
So this part sounds interesting.. and also creating doubts at the same time.
The idea of it sounds very nice for flexibility and HT stuff.
But is it really all virtual? Are there no pure analog connections from the analog input all the way to the speaker output?
I think that is what flaws AV receivers so much versus integrated amp. For a pure stereo connection, it would be ideal to have the RCA input, through the att/gain channels, and out to the amplification. Recently, I have been researching to see if any AV receiver really offers that. I haven't found one though.
I ever tried to see if I can make that modification myself.
The closest I ever really tested was the Marantz AV receiver I had back in the day (SR7005). The "Direct Mode" that supposedly bypasses the receiver's processing doesn't really bypass it. I had a thread in HTGuide about it years ago. I actually had the receiver opened and hooked up to oscopes and voltmeters to see if the selecting "Direct Mode" really did bypass it. It doesn't even turn off the modules. It just does a virtual bypass... but it still runs through the processor boards.
I would safely assume that is why integrated amps sound so much better than AV receivers. That was why I wanted the Parasound P7 back then. It is absolutely gorgeous for music. However, these new HT codecs really do make that much of a difference in HT.
The Oppo BDP-105, which is regarded so highly, sounds beautiful for music. Using the analog output for HT sound real clear. But even the Oppo + Emotiva or Rotel which sound good for music... it's no comparison to any of the AV receivers for movies. Those codecs really do make a difference.
Which is why I have not settled for the Oppo+amp only combo.


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Originally Posted by dwaleke View Post
Home theater receivers have gone away from accepting multichannel analog inputs on almost all models. The ones that have them still kept them mostly for legacy compatiblity and many newer products are immediatley doing an Analog to Digital conversion on the input regardless of "Pure Direct" modes, etc. I can't recall off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure D&M no longer offers a direct pass-through on the analog inputs. It may say in the owner's manual.
The best possible way to get sound out of a multichannel AVR nowadays is to feed it a digital signal.
I'm not talking about multichannel input. D&M still do offer "Direct Mode". I mentioned it above.
And as far as a true "direct pass-through", I just wrote about that in respond to markmon's post. The receiver I was talking about was a Marantz SR7005. I believe that was back in 2008. So if there ever was a true "direct pass-through" mode in their AV receivers, it was not anytime after 2008.


I am probably going to order the Anthem and Yamaha this week.
As much as I don't want to, I feel like I will probably end up keeping the PM-15s2 AND an AV receiver at the same time.
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post #24 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 09:16 PM
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B&W match

I've had B&W 604's for 15+ years. Paired them with many different receivers. It's funny how this brand of speakers sound so different depending on the receiver even in Pure Direct Stereo mode. The 604's are power hungry on the bottom end but bright on the top which in my experience makes them challenging to mate to a typical AVR. I'm not familiar with you're 800's. I'm guessing they're a more neutral and less sensitive but otherwise similar genes.

I'm currently running the Yamaha 2060 which is last years version of the current 2070. It's a good match with the B&W's 600's.
No one mentioned calibration which it sounds like you probably did on the Marantz. On Yamaha you'll want to do the YPAO calibration.
Other's have mentioned that they run the Yamaha in Stereo mode. Me too. Stereo mode uses the DSP mappings to tune the sound to the environmental acoustics. It does a great job. You may want to compare Stereo & Pure Direct modes.

Let us know what you find.
Cheers.
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post #25 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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No one mentioned calibration which it sounds like you probably did on the Marantz.
Yes, I did mention it.
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post #26 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by audioqueso View Post
So this part sounds interesting.. and also creating doubts at the same time.
The idea of it sounds very nice for flexibility and HT stuff.
But is it really all virtual? Are there no pure analog connections from the analog input all the way to the speaker output?
This is the breakdown I think. We are talking HDMI / digital input - there is no analog input. The PC / Player is not the DAC, the receiver is. Thankfully, too. The PC is a very noisy source to be a good DAC. I think the anthem DAC is pretty good. The inputs get routed to the internal DAC and then to the outputs. So the virtual input thing only selects which digital input to use and shouldn't negatively impact anything.

Video: JVC RS4500 135" screen in pure black room no light, htpc nvidia 1080ti.
Audio: Anthem mrx720 running 7.1.4, McIntosh MC-303, MC-152, B&W 802d3 LR, B&W HTM1D3 center, B&W 805d3 surround, B&W 702S2 rear, B&W 706s2 x 4 shelf mounted for atmos, 2 sub arrays both infinite baffle: 4x15 fi audio running on behringer ep4000 + 4x12 fi audio running on 2nd ep4000.
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post #27 of 83 Old 02-05-2018, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
This is the breakdown I think. We are talking HDMI / digital input - there is no analog input. The PC / Player is not the DAC, the receiver is. Thankfully, too. The PC is a very noisy source to be a good DAC. I think the anthem DAC is pretty good. The inputs get routed to the internal DAC and then to the outputs. So the virtual input thing only selects which digital input to use and shouldn't negatively impact anything.
No, no... I understand that in YOUR setup, you use the PC as the source, but send it all digital to the Anthem. In your particular case, that is probably optimal to have it digital all the to the Anthem.

However, in my particular case, I would very likely be using the analog output of the Oppo BPD-105. Sure, I can compare between the Anthem's DAC vs the Oppo's DAC.
In the case that I continue to prefer the use of the Oppo's DAC versus the Anthem, it would be optimal to have the connection after the Oppo to be all analog (hence why I have the PM-15s2) and not get it converted again.

However... your last comment is confusing me.
"there is no analog input"
Are you referring to your setup (meaning that you don't use any analog connections) or the Anthem has no analog connections?
I'm looking at the picture of the back of the MRX-720 right now. There are analog inputs under the HDMI area. Am I missing something here??

So if everything is virtual, are you saying that the analog inputs on the MRX do not remain analog? Is that what you mean? That every single connection is virtual?

(Thank you. I greatly appreciate your input)
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post #28 of 83 Old 02-06-2018, 10:12 AM
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I can ship to Japan for free.
Excellent! Makes trying the Anthem worth while. I hope you get the results for which you are looking.

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #29 of 83 Old 02-08-2018, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Just placed my order for the Anthem.
I thought I would order the Yamaha as well, but after reading through the owner's thread, I lost interest in it. Plus the unit's depth is a lot bigger than I'd like it to be. So I will try out the Anthem and do the same tests as I did above.
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post #30 of 83 Old 02-08-2018, 07:13 AM
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Just placed my order for the Anthem.
I thought I would order the Yamaha as well, but after reading through the owner's thread, I lost interest in it. Plus the unit's depth is a lot bigger than I'd like it to be. So I will try out the Anthem and do the same tests as I did above.
I'm very interested in the opinion on this.

Video: JVC RS4500 135" screen in pure black room no light, htpc nvidia 1080ti.
Audio: Anthem mrx720 running 7.1.4, McIntosh MC-303, MC-152, B&W 802d3 LR, B&W HTM1D3 center, B&W 805d3 surround, B&W 702S2 rear, B&W 706s2 x 4 shelf mounted for atmos, 2 sub arrays both infinite baffle: 4x15 fi audio running on behringer ep4000 + 4x12 fi audio running on 2nd ep4000.
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