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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Until recently, I was leaning towards a receiver, with a used Arcam 300 topping my list of candidates. I'm starting to think seriously about separates though, and was wondering if I'd get appreciably more bang for not TOO many more bucks that way.


I'm planning to audition the Nuforce AV-16 pre/pro in the near future, based on what I've heard about its music performance (and attractive pricing).


Does anyone have detailed impressions of quality budget 7 channel amps? My range is about $750-$1000 for used. Naturally, I plan to do some listening myself, but others' experiences can be a great head start.


So, I guess I have two questions:


1. What are the best budget 7 channel power amps out there? (Detailed observations and comparisons are especially welcome!)


2. Am I likely to hear a distinct improvement in SQ (especially with 2 channel music, but I also care about multi-channel and movies) over a superb receiver, such as the Arcam 300 (or, let's even say for the sake of argument, the 350, which I haven't heard yet)?


My fronts and surrounds are KEF 201s; 202 center; and PSW4000. (I plan to add rear surrounds as soon as everything else is in place and my budget has recovered.) I'm currently using an older Sony surround receiver, which, though not terrible, leaves much room for improvement.


OK, thanks for any thoughts.
 

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1. Probably Emotiva

2. Unlikely, you'd do better upgrading your speakers.
 

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5 of the Behringer A-500's. Run 3 bridged mono (500 x 3) and two in stereo (150 x 2)

$995 plus shipping, brand new. Ridiculous sound quality for the $$ and way more power supply than anything even remotely close to the money. Good online reviews.

The only drawback is rack space and you'll want a 20 amp line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I hadn't thought of Behringer for HT, but that sounds like a great idea. That will probably be the way I go if I end up taking the separates path. I also want to hear the Emotiva though.


I'm still wondering if a good receiver might be sufficient for my purposes. Here's a follow-up question. I've heard that virtually all receiver manufacturers, including Arcam, cut corners on the surround channels. (I can't attest to this myself, since I've only heard Arcam receivers in stereo mode). For those who know more about this, do the limitations mainly lie in the preamp section or the amp (or both)?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylester /forum/post/0


I hadn't thought of Behringer for HT, but that sounds like a great idea. That will probably be the way I go if I end up taking the separates path. I also want to hear the Emotiva though.


I'm still wondering if a good receiver might be sufficient for my purposes. Here's a follow-up question. I've heard that virtually all receiver manufacturers, including Arcam, cut corners on the surround channels. (I can't attest to this myself, since I've only heard Arcam receivers in stereo mode). For those who know more about this, do the limitations mainly lie in the preamp section or the amp (or both)?

Ummm, no corners have been cut in the surround channels on Arcam receivers I can assure you!


John Dawson (Arcam)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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I have the Outlaw 7125 and I'm very happy with it

Thanks, I will definitely check out the 7125. I've heard good things about their amps but have had only brief first-hand experience.

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Ummm, no corners have been cut in the surround channels on Arcam receivers I can assure you!

Fair enough. I should have said alleged limitations, since I'm reporting mere heresay. (Why is it so commonly maintained that even the higher-end receivers are weaker in the surround--or center & surround--channels?)


Given that I have no interest in changing my speakers, I'm still wondering how much benefit I would get from separates vs. a very good receiver, such as the Arcam 300. (For example: $1400 for a used Arcam 300 vs. $1600 for used Nuforce Av-16 & used Outlaw 7125.)


I realize I'll have to decide in the end for myself, but I'm still interested in hearing impressions...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dawson /forum/post/0


Ummm, no corners have been cut in the surround channels on Arcam receivers I can assure you!


John Dawson (Arcam)

I can assure you that everything in this world is a work of compromise (cutting cornors).


that includes the Arcam or any other receivers, in spite the claims to the contrary.
 

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I really HATE, repeat HATE when manufacturers reps come on the board and drop statements like that. Some of them feel the need to come here and "correct" every negative thing that gets said about their products. We used to get this constantly from SVS and still do from HSU. Everytime something is said about their company or product there they are trying to control the conversation. Then there are other reps who contribute without much editorializing. Paul of Triad comes to mind. Guess who I'd be willing to buy from and who not.


I have to say that some of these guys do add some technical info to the conversations which I think is cool. It's just the ones who feel the need to come in and spin every issue that annoy me and turn me off instantly from their products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm still curious about whether affordable, quality separates (like the ones people have been mentioning), are likely to make a clear difference over a very good receiver.


Better yet, does anyone have a sense of whether the speakers I have are such that I could expect an audible difference in SQ with the right separates? If not, I'd prefer the convenience of a receiver. Again, I know there's a lot of room for personal taste and disagreement about what counts as an appreciable difference--all I'm asking for are impressions from people who've done more extensive listening than I have.


(About 5 minutes ago, I picked up a pair of used (mint) 203s on Ebay, so I have four 201s for surrounds/rear surrounds, a 202c, and a PSW4000.)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylester /forum/post/0


I'm still curious about whether affordable, quality separates (like the ones people have been mentioning), are likely to make a clear difference over a very good receiver.

Yes I agree - I'm willing to bet that a good used Arcam AVR300 will give an overall better sound experience than any of the above combos.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylester /forum/post/0


I've heard that virtually all receiver manufacturers, including Arcam, cut corners on the surround channels

I have not heard that. If you can substantiate it, I would like to see a link to some tests. Five or so years ago, that might have been true with Dolby Pro Logic units. Some even had a center channel at lower power than the L/R channels.


Yamaha, for example rates all their channels equally. So they must all be using the same rail voltage. They must use the same power transistors as all the channels have the same output rating. They all eat from the same dish so to speak, sharing the power supply. I can't fathom them using different DAC's per channel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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They must use the same power transistors as all the channels have the same output rating.

Good question. Aren't there other variables, though? Or is that a misconception on my part? (I've read descriptions of these things, but, admittedly, I don't have the technical background to evaluate, or even adequately retain, a great deal of it.) Besides voltage and DACs, what distinguishes a higher- from a lower-end receiver, and is it likely that there's variation among the different channels of the same receiver even at the high end?
 

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From a recent buyer of Emotiva I would recommend the LMC-1/LPA-1 combo.


I've never heard a receiver in any configuration(yes I have heard the Arcam's many times) that comes close in terms of sound quality.


The user interface on the LMC-1 controller is absolutely awful IMO, but the sound quality is superb. If you can live with its limitations the Combo is superb and if you can't then get the LPA-1 amp which has to be the best value in AV.
 

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Quote:
I really HATE, repeat HATE when manufacturers reps come on the board and drop statements like that. Some of them feel the need to come here and "correct" every negative thing that gets said about their products. We used to get this constantly from SVS and still do from HSU. Everytime something is said about their company or product there they are trying to control the conversation. Then there are other reps who contribute without much editorializing. Paul of Triad comes to mind. Guess who I'd be willing to buy from and who not.


I have to say that some of these guys do add some technical info to the conversations which I think is cool. It's just the ones who feel the need to come in and spin every issue that annoy me and turn me off instantly from their products.

The original comment was that Arcam had compromises with their surround channels, even though the person making the comment had never listened to the receiver's surround channels! As much as I hate manufacturers jumping in at inappropriate times I can understand their need to correct misinformation. Perhaps you should also hate posters who make completely unsubstantiated claims?

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I can't fathom them using different DAC's per channel.

Some units do use different amounts of processing for each channel. Heck, even a Theta offers different processing boards for each channel (most users use the "cheap" DAC boards for the rear surrounds).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_R /forum/post/0


The original comment was that Arcam had compromises with their surround channels, even though the person making the comment had never listened to the receiver's surround channels! As much as I hate manufacturers jumping in at inappropriate times I can understand their need to correct misinformation. Perhaps you should also hate posters who make completely unsubstantiated claims?


Some units do use different amounts of processing for each channel. Heck, even a Theta offers different processing boards for each channel (most users use the "cheap" DAC boards for the rear surrounds).

With all due respect, and I probably should not let myself feel this way, but I don't really care if someone complains that their receiver will not work properly underwater. Somehow it still bothers me that the reps come here to make comments. My feeling is that there are enough smart people around here to call posters out when they are not on solid ground. At least that way we have a free flow of information rather than a marketing opportunity. I see your point, defenately though.
 
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