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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,


I have been lurking on this excellent board in anticipation of putting together my system for critical music listening. This board is a pretty AMAZING source of information and feedback. I have been reading through a ton of posts.


I am hoping that I can get some recommendations as I start to source components. The total budget for the system will be around $3,500 plus or minus. So I figure I should not spend more than $1000 on a receiver.


- The system will mainly be used to play my library of redbook CDs.

- I will also play some SACDs and DVD-A

- It will be located in a 14x12 den of a house.


I may watch a movie once in a rare while (once a month at most) so it would be nice if the receiver can do all the latest surround stuff but 99.9% of the use will be used for music.


Any recommendations would be most appreciated. Please also indicate if I need to get a power amp (yes I am a newbie!) or if it is already built in as part of the receiver.
 

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The two receivers that tend to get the best recommendations for their musicality are the Marantz 7200 and the Harmon Kardon 525. Both are respected for the quality and power of their amplifiers and how they sound in two-channel. Neither offer the latest or most in gee-whiz features (the other Japanese receivers offer more of these, especially HT-related features), but the H/K does offer one significant feature that is pretty unique among the affordable receivers... bass management when using DVD-A and SACD (I noted you hope to enjoy those formats). Other receivers require you to add that capability via a somewhat expensive devise like the Outlaw ICBM (I believe it costs $250-300).


Another receiver to consider just outside your price range would be the Rotel 1055. Again, not the fanciest in terms of features, but sonically a highly respected receiver.


btw, I don't have any of these receivers... others will doubtlessly join the discussion with recommendations of receivers they purchased, so YMMV...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Rick. I will take note of your recommendations and see what others say. I understand of course that opinions can be all over the map but I hope to narrow it down to a handful of strongly recommended choices.
 

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You didn't mention whether you are using a subwoofer or not. If so, note that most receivers do not do bass redirection of the multi-channel inputs - including the Harman Kardon AVR8000, Pioneer 45tx, the Onkyo 600 & 700, and most other receivers recommended. Of course it will be a non-issue with your audio CDs.


I highly recommend the Sony DA4ES, although it's really more power than you need for that small room. You can save money by going with the Sony DA2ES. If you bass redirection from multi-channel inputs for a subwoofer, try the HK525, although no EQ at all. Another good choice is the Pioneer 45tx.


You do not need a separate power amp with any of these choices.
 

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The DA4ES bass management is good, it allows you to set different crossover settings for different pairs of speakers. But it's like almost all other receivers with regard to the multi-channel inputs in that it cannot redirect bass sounds to the subwoofer. The HK525 is one of the few that can do bass management from the multi-channel inputs, however, it must digitize/process the music and convert back to analog for the process which does cost you a little bit of quality while the DA4ES bypasses the digital processing with those inputs completely.
 

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this link is for the old HK520:
http://www.harmankardon.com/product_...%20520&sType=H

The X20 series said No to Analog Stereo Bypass Mode and Digital Stereo Mode With Programmable Bass Management. The 525 has these, and "Digital Bass Management of 6-/8-Channel Direct Inputs". With DVDA and SACD, these features may make the change to 525 over 520 more important (previously, the lack of fans and inclusion of main-ins were pros for the 520 over 525). The Bass Management redigitizes I believe, which isn't ideal. But then again, this is the only receiver that even does bass management for DVDA/SACD isn't it? And you still have the bypass mode if desired. So this seems a bit more future proof than say the HK520 or Sony 4ES. The HK525 can be had authorized for $700 brand new online, and there are other deals out there refurbished or without warranty. I've been playing with the 520/525/4ES in my mind for a while, but I think I finally talked myself into the 525 ;-) Best of luck.
 

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IMHO, the MCACC feature of the Pioneer 45TX is plenty useful for critical music listening, too (Rex may disagree, though :D).


You can get the 45TX for well under $1K from authorized dealers.
 

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Sushi, I agree the 45 is great for critical music listening too. :D


But, the 525 may be a better bet due to bass management on the multi-channel input which is important for DVD-A and SACD.


One really can't go wrong with the units priced around $1k. They are all excellent units, and it is tough to decide on one versus another. I'd say narrow the choices down to a handful, then listen, listen, listen, and listen some more to decide. If you can't decide between 2 units, then flip a coin. None of the units recommended here suck. :D


Sorny
 

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IMO if you want to listen to music in surround as well as HT, don't worry about different LF crossovers for all speakers - generally not a good idea anyway, as this link will explain:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...rs-9-2002.html


If you want to stick with a receiver, I recommend a H/K or a NAD. Or consider using a receiver with a separate amp, either for the LR only or all five. The H/K Signature 2.1-Z is a very nice 5 channel amp you can get for $688 at harmanaudio.com. It is a refurb but comes with full warranty. I have used this one in the past and recommend it highly.


Dsmith
 

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Just in case variable cross over settings is deemed important, the H&K 525 offers something called Triple Crossover (from the H/K web site):


"This Harman Kardon product is among the first A/V receivers available with a Triple Crossover Bass Management System. The triple crossover allows you to set different crossover settings for the front left/right, front center and surround channels, making it possible to mix different brands or models of speakers in the same system, while maintaining smooth transition of low-frequency (bass) sounds from the main speakers to the subwoofer. In addition to the three main-channel crossover settings, a

separate setting is provided to tailor the output of the AVR to precisely match your subwoofer."
 

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whether its triple crossovers, or something simpler, the point is that the hk 525 can do some type of bass management for 6 and 8 channel inputs- so you can use things like DVDA and SACD. other receivers just pass the analog, but then most people have full range going to all their speakers which can't handle it. is this right?
 

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At the price range you are looking at the HK 525 is a good choice. It is respected for it's "musical" ability, has excellent bass management for SACD / DVDA, and has really tweekable crossovers.


I'm biased of course, I own one. You should audition the choices yourself - but I am very very happy with mine.


- Rick
 

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I have a Yamaha RX-V2095 receiver and it sounds fabulous. I also have an old Technics receiver and it sounds fine. In my HT room I have a Sherbourn amp and B&K Ref 50, and it is a killer system. But in my music room I have an NAD T-752. In my opinion, I have never heared a more musical receiver, and I believe that was your criteria, right? The T-752 comes with all the current features like PL2, DD, DTS, etc. But I never use them. I use it in two channel stereo mode, and I do not believe that in this mode any of my other equipment, or any of my friend's that I have heard can beat it. You can go with the T-762 if you want 7 channels (the 752 in only a 5 channel receiver) But you can pick up the 752 for under $1,000 and the 762 is only a little bit more, I have heard. You owe it to yourself to check out NAD, if your criteria is music.
 

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Being an owner of the 45tx, I am partial to it. I have found that the amount of time I spend listening to music has greatly increased since The purchase of my 45tx. I use to own the sonyES 50es, and the Newcastle r-956. While owning these earlier receivers, I was about 80/20 theater/music. I find that I am closer to 60/40 theater/music now that I have a receiver that does not fatigue my listening pleasure.

I have seen the HK8000 listed for around $1000. At that price, it would have to be on anyones short list. You may also want to look at some of the Marantz units. Although I haven't had the opportunity to own a Marantz, I had a friend with the 14ex and it was an outstanding unit.
 
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