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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently using a very very old Shure 5 channel matrix surround processor. I am going to upgrade soon and want to keep the budget to under $1000. I have the Rocket 5.1 speaker package. I have 2 Adcom amplifiers, a 65 X 4 and a 65 X 2. My subwoofer is a Sunfire true sub.


I am pretty out of the loop on surround technology as you can see (15 year old processor!). With $1000 to spend do I want to go with a receiver and put my Adcom amps in storage, or are they still good and would make a good match with a multi channel processor? 7.1 decoding would be a plus for potential future upgrading, but only 5.1 would be used at this time.


Thanks!

Chris

last summers project
 

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You definitely want to keep the Adcom power amplifiers as they are better than anything you'll find in a receiver. Use three channels of one amp to drive the fronts and center. Use the other amp to drive the two surrounds.


Just buy a Dolby Digital receiver with full pre-amp outputs. Pioneer's 811 models has them for under $400. Or you can go right on up in price.


The receivers have the same digital processing as the preamp-processors and are usually priced a little cheaper, plus you get a "free" tuner and five "free" amplifier channels that could come in handy sometime.


The cheap units, like the Pioneer, have the same digital processing as well, although they don't usually have as many of the fancy custom features enabled as the more expensive receiver.


Something like the Rotel RSX-1055 would work great as a tuner/processor for just a little above your budget. There are many choices between things like the cheapo Pioneer and the Rotel.
 

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I got that Pioneer 811s for less than $300 online, but it's a lightweight, plastic front/knobs, no EQ. Another receiver that has preouts for all channels and will give you EQ, heavier build, and 5 year warranty is the Sony DA4ES.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RexCarson
I got that Pioneer 811s for less than $300 online, but it's a lightweight, plastic front/knobs, no EQ.
Big deal. The EQ is a truly worthless gimmick feature.


All mass-market priced products are junk when it comes to build quality compared to the way the stuff used to be built 20 years ago. C'est la vie...what do you expect for $300 500 watt receivers and $99 VHS Hi Fi VCRs?


It's disposable electronics. You buy it for next to nothing and throw it away when it dies. In the meantime, you get a heck of lot of bang for the buck. I go through 10 VCRs today for what I paid for my first generation Hi-Fi VCR (that was built like a brick outhouse).


I don't honestly beleive that one company's disposable electronics is any better or worse than another. It's all the same stuff.
 

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Quote:
C'est la vie...what do you expect for $300 500 watt receivers
Based on advertised rated power, the 811s is a 600 watt receiver. And the DA4ES is a 770 watt receiver.

Quote:
Big deal. The EQ is a truly worthless gimmick feature.
Whatever. I think you better do some serious research and listening because that's one of the most ridiculous things I've seen posted. See:

EQ related discussions:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...er#post2064056
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ghlight=inputs
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ghlight=inputs
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ight=equalizer


EQ related Articles:
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazin...ringer8024.htm
http://www.rane.com/note115.html

Quote:
All mass-market priced products are junk when it comes to build quality compared to the way the stuff used to be built 20 years ago
You keep using your junk then if it makes you feel better. :D


I still have both my DA4ES and Pioneer 811s. While I like my 811s ok, the DA4ES is a much better receiver, cleaner sound, less distortion, great EQ capabilities that allow you to match different speakers, environments, sources, tastes, weighs about 20lb more, and the warranty is FIVE times as long as the 811s. If ite DA4ES is out of your budget, you can get the DA2ES for $100 or so less.


Note: the DA4ES EQ isn't precise enough to allow perfect matching, but it's still a HUGE improvement over systems with NO EQ at all where you are stuck with whatever you get. I've been using EQs for over 20 years, so it doesn't take me long to set one up. I prefer to manually vs MCACC.
 

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For 1k one of the few processors you can get new is the Outlaw ~700. Many people here might prefer a good receiver instead such as the Sony 4ES or HK's 8000 at this price range. The Rotel previously suggested is considered quite good, just a little above your price point. Another option to consider is grabbing a used 5.1 processor which many people are dropping for the latest and greatest 7.1.
 

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The HK525 new runs $700 authorized online. Refurbished WITH warranty runs $500 authorized online. I've seen plenty of Sony 4ES cheap online, but I'm not sure if its authorized/warrantied or not. So both are well under your $1k.
 

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I should hope that for twice as much money you could get a heavier faceplate. I would even concede that you might get a better amplifier section. But, that's not really an issue since the gentleman will be using his Adcoms which are vastly superior to anything in a Dolby Digital receiver.


The EQ is a gimmick and is far more likely to screw up the sound of a system than improve it.


BTW, I'm neither recommending for or against the Pioneer. Just using it as an example of a low-cost product that has full preamp outputs and pointing out that the basic digital surround sound processing will be the same on a cheap product as an expensive product.


As I have said several times, there are real benefits to buying more expensive products (nicer faceplate, more features, maybe better analog c circuitry, etc.), but don't expect better basic surround sound processing from an expensive product because computer chips are computer chips.


I think the Rotel RSX-1055 is worth a thousand dollars more than the Pioneer because it is so much more tasteful than a "Ginza by Night" Japanese receiver, better amplfiiers, and better audio circuitry. But, aside from some of the custom configuration options, I'm not going to say that it's Dolby Digital decoding is any better than a cheapo receiver. For the same money, I'd probably rather have the Pioneer and a Rotel RMB-1075 five channel amplifier.
 

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Quote:
BTW, I'm neither recommending for or against the Pioneer. Just using it as an example of a low-cost product that has full preamp outputs and pointing out that the basic digital surround sound processing will be the same on a cheap product as an expensive product.


As I have said several times, there are real benefits to buying more expensive products (nicer faceplate, more features, maybe better analog c circuitry, etc.), but don't expect better basic surround sound processing from an expensive product because computer chips are computer chips.


I think the Rotel RSX-1055 is worth a thousand dollars more than the Pioneer because it is so much more tasteful than a "Ginza by Night" Japanese receiver, better amplfiiers, and better audio circuitry.
hwc, sorry but applying your own very logic above, nothing makes Rotel so special as compared with those Ginza-by-Night'ers. LOL


The reality today is, the gut of virtually all modestly-priced receivers/amps, regardless of Japanese or British or American brands, are made OEM mostly in Asia (not in Japan, mind you, where it costs way too much) by companies whose name most of us do not even know (well, a notable exception is IRD of Thailand). Most of the processor chips and high-tech parts are designed and made by American or Japanese companies. The British brands may have a faceplate that is perhaps more "tasteful" to some people, but that is about it... Looking at the measurements that I re-posted here , I do not see any objective evidence that the Rotel has particularly better amplifiers.


Now, how about the Rotel RSP-1098 - the pre/pro with a color LCD display??? I would say THAT is a real gimmick! :D
 

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Can't he get a preamp with the inputs for the Adcom amps? I used to have Adcom GFA-555 II and it rocked!!! So his amps are the same era I think, the lower powered ones, so the sound would be awesome. If he can get a good preamp with inputs and surround modes, I suggest he do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the advice guys. It looks like there are two pretty good options right around the $1000 mark. Outlaw makes a preamp/decoder with lots of digital surround modes and Harmon makes a multi channel receiver that is retail around 2500 but you can buy it refurbished direct from them for 1200.


It would be dumb of me to spend the extra money for the receiver though, unless the amp sections in the harmon are better than my existing amps. My amplifiers are rated at only 65 watts per channel, the harmon receiver is 100 or over. Anybody have comments on that? I know advertising in watts can be pretty varied.
 

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I own an Adcom power amp (GFA-555II) for over 10 years, and still very happy with its rock solid performance. I believe that Adcom's specs are conservative, at least in comparison with most of today's multichannel receiver specs.


If I were you, I would stick to the Adcom amps and get a pre/pro.
 

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Quote:
The EQ is a gimmick and is far more likely to screw up the sound of a system than improve it
I guess you know something that Pioneer and Sony do not. The EQ can come in very handy if you use these units as pre/pro's, and if you drive fronts that do no match the center and surrounds. It is much easier to get consistent tonal balance between them with an EQ
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Andrew_B
A 5 band EQ is not going to give consistent tonal balance between unmatched speakers.
My wording didn't come out right. It can help to fill in gaps that may exist. It certainly is a useful tool.
 

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andrew is saying something important here. the pioneer eq is very limited in its frequencies (ie only 5). 99.9% these won't match up correctly with the critically different frequencies creating the tonal imbalance between unmatched speakers. so it might help (or hurt) create the sound you want, but it just isn't flexible enough to do things like match speakers or fix room modes on subwoofers. the sony does let you change the frequencies, but even then it is nothing compared to say a $110 BFD to fix subwoofer response. i'd look at the eq's as a bonus, rather than a big reason to buy one of these units. especially since the person asking for assistance said clearly that he DOES have matching speakers (5.1 Rockets), let's not dwell on this.


Now, there was a question about the HK AVR8000 versus using a cheaper pre/pro with the Adcoms. Now the Adcoms are decent amps, that's for sure. But the 8000 has absolutely wonderful amps for a receiver as well (can actually pump out 85amps, we're talking big current thanks to a torroidial power supply). So the potential advantage of using the Adcoms will be much less compared to the 8000 than a lesser receiver. Several users have said they found very little difference between their 8000 and separate amps (one for sure mentioned Parasound, but try a search if you're interested). I'm not saying the 8000 is better, just that it can keep up with separate amps if you have a moderately easy to drive speaker like the Rockets.


You also would get the 8000 pre/pro section instead, which has many higher end components than the other receivers being compared. It is older, so is missing some "features", but you can rest assured that you have quality parts in there. Besides, most of the changes have been in formats not applicable to your 5.1 setup. The 8000 has a better version of Logic 7 than the lower HK receivers, which you may like (go listen). It also has dual processors, THX processing, etc.


If you have the money, I think it might be good to try the 8000. You can also compare it to your adcoms and see if you even want to keep the adcoms or sell them for some money back. Personally, I also have separate amps to use and I'll probably go with an HK525 since its half the price of the 8000. It might not sound as good as the 8000, but there is a big savings, and the 525 offers bass management for DVDA and SACD unlike every other receiver mentioned (including the 8000).


To be honest, if you are going to drop 1200 on the HK8000, I might suggest spending a little more and trying to find a local Rotel dealer to deal on the $1500 list 1066 pre/pro. This is a real pre/pro, not a receiver, and is really in another league therefore (also smokes the Outlaw according to many, though I haven't heard the Outlaw).


Good luck. You've got lots of good options.
 

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Absolutely no intention to downplay the AVR8000 or other H/K receivers/amps, which I know are wonderful, but I just do not understand the relevance of their "transient max current" specs. Yes, it is nice to know that the AVR8000 can supply 85 amps of transient current, but if you do the very basic math, in order to supply 85 amps to a 4-ohm speaker, you will need 340 volts of swing voltage (or 170 volts for 2 ohm, 680 volts for 8 ohm...), which are way out of range. The swing voltage simply cannot go above the power-supply rail voltage, even transiently (actually there are protection diodes to prevent that to happen). So, even considering the phase difference between the current and swing voltage etc, it does not really click on me...


What is their explanation on this??? (sorry to digress... :D)
 

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I can't really explain their large numbers, but I do know that most receivers won't publish such information. My Parasound amps do publish 60 peak amps. Keep in mind that HK is rather conservative in its ratings, so I'm not as likely to put up the "bull" flag with this, although I wouldn't pick their 85 amps peak receiver over a separate amp that 'only' says 75 amps peak, since peak isn't the entire story. But when published along with real RMS power ratings, I think its a nice indication of a quality built power supply and amplifier. Most also won't even publish true RMS power with all channels driven full range. I'm really tired of people defending their rated power of 1 channel at 1kHz and saying its just as good as similar numbers for 5 channels at 20Hz-20kHz, cause its not. It may not be a perfect test for music ability, but I think HK is doing the right thing by publishing their stricter information, even if many consumers don't realize why their specs look lower.


The AVR8000 has made extremely good ratings in bench tests, maybe somebody can post those links. Again, I'm not saying the 8000 is the world's best amp- just that it has a very strong amp section compared to the other receivers at this price range, and can even compete with many entry-level separate amps.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sushi
Yes, it is nice to know that the AVR8000 can supply 85 amps of transient current, but if you do the very basic math, in order to supply 85 amps to a 4-ohm speaker, you will need 340 volts of swing voltage (or 170 volts for 2 ohm, 680 volts for 8 ohm...), which are way out of range.
is it possible that the 85amp figure is for all channels (like from the power supply)? so on individual channels, it is 85/5=17amp/channel. that is still too high of a number for an 8-ohm load but if it were measured on a 2-ohm load, it would be reasonable.
 
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