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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

This will be my first real 2-channel set-up, and I am comparing integrated amps and speaker combos. For speakers I am looking at the NHT Classic Three at the top of my budget and also Klipsch RB-61 ii, PSB Image B6, Kef Q300, or B&W 685. My main musical interests are rock and jazz, some funk and hip-hop, vocals, and movies. I am coming up from a Yamaha RX-V675 and Klipsch Synergy 5.0 set-up. My usage is 60/40 music/movies. I will later add a sub when i can afford one of the right quality.


Any opinions on Onkyo vs. NAD at this price/features-point? On the speaker choices, based on musical taste? i listen at low to moderate volume in small to medium sized rooms.

I like the Onkyo for it's build quality (40 lbs.) and dual DAC's, but I have been told by a Crutchfield rep that the NAD will outperform the Onkyo in terms of distortion and overall sound.


I am kind of moved by the Onkyo unit based on specs and YouTube videos (HA!), but can't audition either unit locally. Can anyone reflect on their experiences?


I know these choices are entry-level either way, so forgive me if I'm boring anyone. Both amps are above my initial budget; I was initially looking at the Marantz PM6005 and Yamaha AS-500 (would need to add outboard DAC to the Yamaha). There is also the Onkyo A-9050, which sells for about $399 and includes a DAC and 75 watts per channel, but I am concerned that with the SQ of a $400 unit I'd be better off staying with my Yamaha AVR and just doing a 3.1 speaker upgrade.


Anyone? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Guys?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barberfunny  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24471547


Hi,

This will be my first real 2-channel set-up, and I am comparing integrated amps and speaker combos. For speakers I am looking at the NHT Classic Three at the top of my budget and also Klipsch RB-61 ii, PSB Image B6, Kef Q300, or B&W 685. My main musical interests are rock and jazz, some funk and hip-hop, vocals, and movies. I am coming up from a Yamaha RX-V675 and Klipsch Synergy 5.0 set-up. My usage is 60/40 music/movies. I will later add a sub when i can afford one of the right quality.


Any opinions on Onkyo vs. NAD at this price/features-point? On the speaker choices, based on musical taste? i listen at low to moderate volume in small to medium sized rooms.

I like the Onkyo for it's build quality (40 lbs.) and dual DAC's, but I have been told by a Crutchfield rep that the NAD will outperform the Onkyo in terms of distortion and overall sound.


I am kind of moved by the Onkyo unit based on specs and YouTube videos (HA!), but can't audition either unit locally. Can anyone reflect on their experiences?


I know these choices are entry-level either way, so forgive me if I'm boring anyone. Both amps are above my initial budget; I was initially looking at the Marantz PM6005 and Yamaha AS-500 (would need to add outboard DAC to the Yamaha). There is also the Onkyo A-9050, which sells for about $399 and includes a DAC and 75 watts per channel, but I am concerned that with the SQ of a $400 unit I'd be better off staying with my Yamaha AVR and just doing a 3.1 speaker upgrade.


Anyone? Thanks.

I disagree with the direction I seem to be set by the above comments.


I don't see any problem with the Yamaha RX-V675. I sense a bias against AVR SQ which is a common audiophile myth.


I do see a potential problem with the Klipsch Synergy 5.0 which kinda shapes up as a subwoofer-less HTIB-grade speaker system.


However, the existing AVR can effectively drive a wide variety of far better speaker systems and do a far better job of exploiting a good subwoofer than a lot dedicated 2-channel gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, thanks for the reply.


My SF-1 mains and SC-1 center are entry-level no doubt, I've had them for 15 years. But they are not small HTIB satellites, the three speakers alone cost $750. Nice build quality for the price and I've always thought they sounded good, a little harsh with jazz trumpets, maybe. But this new receiver has me restless. It just doesn't sound as good as my old RX-V595 when I play music. I did enjoy the system more when I used to use a sub, of course, but I moved and had to dump it.


My initial interest was in a speaker upgrade.

As I was researching speakers, especially nicer, more power-hungry speakers like the NHT's, I got interested in integrated amps because my understanding was that any good stereo integrated amp will sound far better for 2 channel music than any AVR under $1000, like mine.

Is this really "audiophile myth"?


If I'm simplifying to 2 speakers from a previous 5.1, there is a similar appeal for me in simplifying the amplification and adding SQ benefits. I would be interested to hear comments about integrated amps in the $1000 range, in terms of how they compete for music listening with a modern middle-end AVR like my Yamaha.


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barberfunny  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24472290


Hi, thanks for the reply.


My SF-1 mains and SC-1 center are entry-level no doubt, I've had them for 15 years. But they are not small HTIB satellites, the three speakers alone cost $750. Nice build quality for the price and I've always thought they sounded good, a little harsh with jazz trumpets, maybe. But this new receiver has me restless. It just doesn't sound as good as my old RX-V595 when I play music. I did enjoy the system more when I used to use a sub, of course, but I moved and had to dump it.

I don't look at price tags. I look at what's in the box. I also looked at "I am coming up from a Yamaha RX-V675 and Klipsch Synergy 5.0 set-up." and tried to figure out what speakers that actually was, and found out that it meant a whole lot of different things, but I didn't see SF-1 and SC-1 on that list. My searching ended up here:

http://www.klipsch.com/quintet-iii/details
Quote:
My initial interest was in a speaker upgrade.

Hold that thought!


One word: subwoofer.
Quote:
As I was researching speakers, especially nicer, more power-hungry speakers like the NHT's, I got interested in integrated amps because my understanding was that any good stereo integrated amp will sound far better for 2 channel music than any AVR under $1000, like mine.

Is this really "audiophile myth"?

Actually several of them.


One myth is that better speakers are more power hungry.


Another myth is that 2 channel integrated amps have significantly more power or will necessarily sound better than a good AVR.
 

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Quote:
As I was researching speakers, especially nicer, more power-hungry speakers like the NHT's, I got interested in integrated amps because my understanding was that any good stereo integrated amp will sound far better for 2 channel music than any AVR under $1000, like mine.

Is this really "audiophile myth"?
Yeah, basically. It's easy to fool yourself into believing otherwise (and there's a whole industry out there encouraging you to do so), but the plan fact is that if you do a fair comparison, you wouldn't be able to tell an integrated apart from an AVR without looking at them.


So keep the AVR, and upgrade speakers or add a sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys.

When I said Klipsch 5.0 setup, I wasn't implying they were the quintet package sold together with a sub definitely required. The SF-1's I have are small towers with rear ports and single 6.5" woofers; the SC-1 is the matching center with dual 5.25" woofers. My rears are a pair of ala carte Quintet II satellites I found on Ebay; their small size was just what I needed for my effects channels in my smaller room. So bass duties have been on the mains since I've been rolling with no sub. Although I realize they are no match for any powered sub, I'm just trying to be clear that I am not running 5 small satellites without a sub and wondering why I'm not liking the sound. Of course if that were the case a sub would be required.


My other question is, isn't there a price point (likely above my budget) in which case an integrated would sound better than an AVR? OR would you have to go to separates to beat my AVR's SQ? Basically I'd like to be able to turn it up a bit and not hear hiss.


But all duly noted, perhaps I should start by upgrading my mains and listening in Pure Direct for a while to hear if there is improvement. I realize that room modes and recording quality also play a major factor so I definitely don't want to spend unnecessary $.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barberfunny  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24473522


Thanks guys.

When I said Klipsch 5.0 setup, I wasn't implying they were the quintet package sold together with a sub definitely required. The SF-1's I have are small towers with rear ports and single 6.5" woofers; the SC-1 is the matching center with dual 5.25" woofers. My rears are a pair of ala carte Quintet II satellites I found on Ebay; their small size was just what I needed for my effects channels in my smaller room. So bass duties have been on the mains since I've been rolling with no sub. Although I realize they are no match for any powered sub, I'm just trying to be clear that I am not running 5 small satellites without a sub and wondering why I'm not liking the sound. Of course if that were the case a sub would be required.

Woofers that small are not substitutes for even a good cheap subwoofer.
Quote:
My other question is, isn't there a price point (likely above my budget) in which case an integrated would sound better than an AVR?

None known.
Quote:
OR would you have to go to separates to beat my AVR's SQ? Basically I'd like to be able to turn it up a bit and not hear hiss.

Do you hear hiss when you turn up your AVR?


If so, under what conditions?
Quote:
But all duly noted, perhaps I should start by upgrading my mains and listening in Pure Direct for a while to hear if there is improvement. I realize that room modes and recording quality also play a major factor so I definitely don't want to spend unnecessary $.

Speakers and rooms are where the cheap easy gains lie for most people.


If you have halfways decent mains and satellites then a good subwoofer is definitely in order.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barberfunny  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24473522


Although I realize they are no match for any powered sub, I'm just trying to be clear that I am not running 5 small satellites without a sub and wondering why I'm not liking the sound.

Adding a sub will make an immense and agreeable improvement to your sound. In my view the subwoofer is third speaker that should be purchased right after the stereo pair.
Quote:
My other question is, isn't there a price point (likely above my budget) in which case an integrated would sound better than an AVR?

Not in my experience.
Quote:
OR would you have to go to separates to beat my AVR's SQ?

Separates won't improve your sound quality either. There are situations in which a power amplifier will help things but they are less common than you think.
Quote:
Basically I'd like to be able to turn it up a bit and not hear hiss.

Hiss a different issue. If you hear hiss while music is playing then that is abnormal.
Quote:
But all duly noted, perhaps I should start by upgrading my mains and listening in Pure Direct for a while to hear if there is improvement. I realize that room modes and recording quality also play a major factor so I definitely don't want to spend unnecessary $.

Install a subwoofer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I had a sub before and only got rid of it because I didn't have room in the car when I drove cross country to move. I will buy one again regardless.


So a couple of you agree that an average AVR will perform for music at the same level of SQ in 2 channel as any integrated amp or separates rig? That doesn't make much sense to me but fair enough. From what I've read the lower THD ratings on AVRs compared to decent integrateds is due to streamlined/reduced circuitry with less interference from other components and cheaper connectors, wiring, and so forth within the unit.


What I meant by hiss is that it is not dead quiet during moments of silence in the music if I am at a moderate to loud volume.
 

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As someone who owns NAD integrated amps and AVRs, my advice is this:


Keep the Yamaha. The Onkyo and NAD integrated amps have a nice look/feel and good build quality, but they're pricey for what you get. And they won't sound better than your Yamaha, except perhaps at ear-bleeding levels. With those integrated amps, you pay extra money not for improved sound quality but for the improved look and feel. I like the simplicity of integrated amps (that's why I have a few), but really, I don't often recommend them.


The speakers you're considering are all good entry-to-mid level bookshelf speakers, so my only advice there is to try to listen to as many as you can, and if possible, listen to them in your room, and pick whatever you like best.


And finally, use the Yamaha's bass management capability and get a couple of nice small subwoofers when your budget allows. That will give you better sound than all the claimed superiority of the integrated amps ever will.


Note: I just saw your last post. It may seem counterintuitive that an AVR, with its low cost and huge feature set, can sound as good as an integrated. But look at it the other way: Integrated amps are so expensive because they don't sell many at all compared to AVRs, so they don't get good high-volume prices. The integrateds might have slightly better specs, but even the AVR specs are plenty good enough (except, possibly like I said, when cranked to ear-bleeding levels, something you said you don't do - and neither do I).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great answer. Now I will only concern myself with getting mains that are easy enough to drive that if I choose to change my mind again and run 5.1, I'll have enough power with the Yamaha to drive them. I am seriously looking into the NHT Classic Three, which I'm sure my Yammy will drive well in 2 channel. Might be a different story with 5 speakers given the lesser efficiency, and then I'd have to add a more powerful AVR in addition to 3 more speakers.


Maybe I should stick with Klipsch and get a pair of RB-61 ii's. I could pick them up at Fry's and audition them in my room. They come in at $350 cheaper than the NHT's and then I could have money left towards a small SVS sub, and my Yamaha would power the whole set-up easily if I choose to later add the Klipsch center and rears, given their high sensitivity.


Any thoughts on the NHTs? LEsser sensitivity and more expensive, but incredibly well reviewed...


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by barberfunny  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24474122


I had a sub before and only got rid of it because I didn't have room in the car when I drove cross country to move. I will buy one again regardless.


So a couple of you agree that an average AVR will perform for music at the same level of SQ in 2 channel as any integrated amp or separates rig?

More than a couple of people!
Quote:
That doesn't make much sense to me but fair enough. From what I've read the lower THD ratings on AVRs compared to decent integrateds is due to streamlined/reduced circuitry with less interference from other components and cheaper connectors, wiring, and so forth within the unit.

AVRs and integrate amps tend to have similar distortion measurements in actual use. The caveat is that THD specs on both AVRs amps, and integrated amps are kinda backwards. The vendors pick a nice even-sounding power output and distortion and just make sure that the actual distortion is less than this on the test bench. The distortion can be reduced by several times by simply picking a slightly lower power level. No matter what, at any output below clipping, the distortion in any reasoanably good AVR or integrated amp is likely to be too low to hear.
Quote:
What I meant by hiss is that it is not dead quiet during moments of silence in the music if I am at a moderate to loud volume.
[/quote]


The hiss may be in the recording. What happens to the hiss if you pause the player?
 

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I would agree with all the above suggestions, your Yamaha is very capable. If you were planning on spending $500 on an integrated amp, and probably another $400-600 on speakers, I would probably start looking at a nicer pair of bookshelves.


The Philhamonitors would be a fantastic choice at $850, they are designed by a very well known speaker designer and are on my short list of speakers to try. Some other good options are the Ascend Sierra-1 and Monitor Audio RX-2.
 

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Hello all,

 

I joined this forum after doing a google search on the Onkyo A-9070 and saw this thread.  I must say that some of the opinions expressed here about comparing certain AV receivers with certain 2-channel integrated amps, are quite surprising. 

 

I owned the aforementioned Yamaha AVR, as well as more than a few Sony ES receivers in the past, and many 2-channel preamps, power amps, and integrated amps. 

 

I currently own a NAD C375BEE.  Comparing an integrated like this(or even the Onkyo A-9070 for that matter) to the Yamaha RX-V675 surround receiver in 2 channel mode, is like night and day, and I've A,B'd all of them mentioned here.  the higher priced 2 channel integrated's have a much bigger, smoother, fuller presentation, and way more dynamic.  Especially in the imaging, the control and *balls* in the low end, not to mention the clarity, detail and soundstaging of the mids and highs.  These amps have the bounce and slam that compared to the AVR is laughable in real world use.  'Thin' sounding is what I'd describe the Yamaha as.  The Onkyo sounds as good as it looks, maybe even better.

 

 

Also, as far as bass management, most if not all AVR's are AD to DA converted and processed via DSP.  I've also tried many analog and digital outboard crossovers and bass management units for my REL subwoofer.  In the end, the natural high pass roll off of the main speakers, and using the preamp outs for low pass on the sub to blend in sounded the best and most seamless.  My mains are Revel M22's mounted on Revel stands. 

 

 

Kindest regards, and happy listening :)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Channels  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24756829


Hello all,


I joined this forum after doing a google search on the Onkyo A-9070 and saw this thread.  I must say that some of the opinions expressed here about comparing certain AV receivers with certain 2-channel integrated amps, are quite surprising. 


I owned the aforementioned Yamaha AVR, as well as more than a few Sony ES receivers in the past, and many 2-channel preamps, power amps, and integrated amps. 


I currently own a NAD C375BEE.  Comparing an integrated like this(or even the Onkyo A-9070 for that matter) to the Yamaha RX-V675 surround receiver in 2 channel mode, is like night and day, and I've A,B'd all of them mentioned here.  the higher priced 2 channel integrated's have a much bigger, smoother, fuller presentation, and way more dynamic.  Especially in the imaging, the control and *balls* in the low end, not to mention the clarity, detail and soundstaging of the mids and highs.  These amps have the bounce and slam that compared to the AVR is laughable in real world use.  'Thin' sounding is what I'd describe the Yamaha as.  The Onkyo sounds as good as it looks, maybe even better.



Also, as far as bass management, most if not all AVR's are AD to DA converted and processed via DSP.  I've also tried many analog and digital outboard crossovers and bass management units for my REL subwoofer.  In the end, the natural high pass roll off of the main speakers, and using the preamp outs for low pass on the sub to blend in sounded the best and most seamless.  My mains are Revel M22's mounted on Revel stands. 



Kindest regards, and happy listening

You should check out the Outlaw Audio RR2150.

It features ANALOG bass mgmt.
http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/rr2150.html


No thinness there. Pure analog 2.1 channel goodness.
 

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Hi Grasshoppers,

 

I actually had 2 Outlaw RR2150's over the years.  The first one(around 2008) was very harsh sounding, almost on par with a dentists' drill in the midrange department.  After a couple of weeks I sent it back for a refund. Could have been an early version or just a bad unit.   The second one I purchased around a year ago.  This one sounded really nice, but had a lack of control of the speakers in the low end, and the dynamics were rather compressed.  I think this may be due to the power amp section being of a different 'switching' design, rather than the traditional 'Class A/B' type.

 

I did try it as a 2.1 channel preamp/tuner using the analog bass management, running the mains into the NAD's power amplifier inputs.  Now we're talking!  The emotion and slam returned.  I did feel that the preamp section of the NAD was a bit warmer and more transparent in the highs, though.  I must say for $600.00 the Outlaw is a great deal for the price, especially using a good sounding external power amp :)
 

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Check out the new Rotel integrated amps series:

http://www.rotel.com/UK/products/ProductDetails.htm?Id=504

http://www.rotel.com/UK/products/ProductDetails.htm?Id=505

Both RA-11 and RA 12 have the Wolfson WM8740 24 bit/192kHz DAC inside and a lot of features (USB input , aplications for Apple, iPhone and iPad)

 

 

Every time someone's asking a 2 channel amplifier advice the answer here is the same: "How about an multichannel A/V receiver?" It's quite funny ,maybe it should be a sticky thread here with the title:" For anyone interested in  integrated 2 channel amplifiers don't bother ...get an AVR instead."

 
Quote:
I must say that some of the opinions expressed here about comparing certain AV receivers with certain 2-channel integrated amps, are quite surprising.
Not at all as long as you have the word "bias" in mind.
 

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For sound quality, I would rank the AVRs, in general. as follows:


#1- Cambridge Audio


#2-NAD


#3- Marantz


#4- Denon


The others do not meet my minimum standard for sound quality in most cases; too much distortion when they have to work hard.



In an integrated amplifier, the Music Hall 15.3 is an outstanding one for only $549, and the NAD C326BEE is very good.


I would advise PSB speakers or Monitor Audio or KEF rather than most others, to get the best sound for your dollar.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Channels  /t/1522167/first-real-2-channel-rig-nad-356bee-dac-or-onkyo-a-9070#post_24756952


Hi Grasshoppers,


I actually had 2 Outlaw RR2150's over the years. This one sounded really nice, but had a lack of control of the speakers in the low end, and the dynamics were rather compressed.  I think this may be due to the power amp section being of a different 'switching' design, rather than the traditional 'Class A/B' type.

I am curious about a couple of things you stated in the post above.


1st- the "lack out control in the low end,and the dynamics were rather compressed". I have heard these

Terms thrown around loosely a few times but never really explained in detail.

Could you elaborate please?


2nd-Regarding the amp section having a "switching design" versus the traditional "class A/B design"

None of the documentation or reviews I have seen ever show this.

Could you provide a link or some other form of documentation ??


I am aware that the Outlaw M2200 mono-block amp employs this switching design.

Up to 80 watts it uses A/B, then above 80 it switches to Class G. But like I said this is the

First time I have heard of this in the RR2150.


Link: http://www.outlawaudio.com/support/faq_2200.html
 
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