AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 95 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.


I currently have a dedicated home theater with a projector and 9 foot screen with a 7.1 audio system. The audio is currently controlled by a B&K 307 Receiver, a receiver that listed for $3500 when purchased new. It plays Dolby 5.1 and DTS and sounds just great. However it does not have HDMI connectivity (it is five years old).


Of course I am about to buy a blu-ray player and realize if I keep my current receiver, which has incredible reference quality sound, I WON'T be able to play Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA.


To be honest, if I buy a new receiver I won't be able to spend over $1,000. But I do not know if I should replace my B&K 307 just to be able to play TrueHD and DST-MA sound. That's the quandry.


Opinions everyone...


Do I keep the $3500 receiver which has served me well, or do I replace it with a receiver that is able to play the new audio codex, but in a receiver that costs a lot less than my current receiver (and thus might produce inferior overall sound). Can I hope to get the same quality sound in a $1,000 receiver compared to my $3500 one?


Help, suggestions????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
338 Posts
I've not been overly impressed with DTS-MA or Dolby TrueHD, but I've yet to test them on a player that will bitstream them.


Do you know anyone that has a system capable of playing DTS-MA and TrueHD?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,668 Posts
I was in the same boat as the OP. Yes, it was VERY tough to move from a $4k AVR to a $1500 (Canadian prices!) HDMI-etc. AVR. I am not disappointed. It is trivial to detect the difference between higher-rate digital audio and the standard dts/DD formats, hard to go back, just like going to SD after BD.


Does you AVR have separate amp inputs? If so, maybe you could re-use some of the amp section. The amps is one area the mid-price AVRs aren't so great in, something had to give for the price-point...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
565 Posts
well heres how i see it...i own the onkyo 805 and the arcam 350...the onkyo i paid $700 for and it plays all the newest codecs...the arcam i paid $3000 for and it does not play all the newest codecs...it does have HDMI but it only passes video...i would have to say its a coin toss...the newer formats are slightly more "articulate" so to speak but the quality of the arcam truly shines over the onkyo if you ask me...needless to say i use the arcam in my main theater and the onkyo is in the "other" room...hehe...i really just think most of this TrueHD and DTS master audio is just a glorified marketing scheme...i know others will strongly disagree with me...in short, its worth a try i guess...if you dont like the receiver you purchased over what you currently have you can always take it back...or you can just wait out a little longer...i know alot of the higher end companys are starting to announce that they are working on churning out new receivers with these features built in
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
381 Posts
I would keep your existing gears and upgrade them after they break.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarquee /forum/post/14233113


I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.


I currently have a dedicated home theater with a projector and 9 foot screen with a 7.1 audio system. The audio is currently controlled by a B&K 307 Receiver, a receiver that listed for $3500 when purchased new. It plays Dolby 5.1 and DTS and sounds just great. However it does not have HDMI connectivity (it is five years old).


Of course I am about to buy a blu-ray player and realize if I keep my current receiver, which has incredible reference quality sound, I WON'T be able to play Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA.


To be honest, if I buy a new receiver I won't be able to spend over $1,000. But I do not know if I should replace my B&K 307 just to be able to play TrueHD and DST-MA sound. That's the quandry.


Opinions everyone...


Do I keep the $3500 receiver which has served me well, or do I replace it with a receiver that is able to play the new audio codex, but in a receiver that costs a lot less than my current receiver (and thus might produce inferior overall sound). Can I hope to get the same quality sound in a $1,000 receiver compared to my $3500 one?


Help, suggestions????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Purchase one of the new players that decodes dolby true hd and dts ma and passes through the multi-channel analog outs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
I have the same B&K 307 (317 Upgraded to THX Ultra II and Pro Logic II) and am concerned with the same issue.


It's my understanding that the major differnce between the sound of the B&K and the typical $1,000 receiver outside of the new processing is the amplifier power / quality.


If you are not using analog sources, why spend the money on a receiver that is sweating users that have these needs?


I am considering a Emotiva XPA-5 (5 channels 200watts $800). I would use the B&K as a pre-amp to A B them and see if the seperate Emotiva amp is better than the amps in the B&K AVR.


If the Emotiva is better, I would keep it and save for an inexpensive preamp with all the new processing as they become more prevelent. Integra and Onkyo have them today and soon Emotiva will also have a couple.


This solution would take a little longer but actually help you make the jump from an AVR to seperates.


Besides, if the A B comparison does not produce a clear winner, you can always go with a lesser AVR.


Although slightly outside of you budget, I would also suggest looking at the new Pioneer Elite SC05 or SC07 that come out next month. Prices are decent and street prices should be roughly 75% or 80% of MSRP. These two receivers use B&0's ICE Amp technology. Several companies use the same amps. Rotel, NHT, and several small highend companies. In any case, these ICE Amps seem to be high power, tons of headroom with beautiful sound. Additionally, they are a digital amp and run very cool. These amps are aleady on Pioneer's $7,000 flagship SC-09 and many people claim that they sound as good as seperates.


If Blu Ray and the new codecs are an immediate need, you can use your B&K as a amplifier by using the analog ins. This is not ideal as the volume control of the B&K would still be in play. I have also heard mixed feedback as to if this method degrades sound.


Lastly, B&K is about to come out with a new AVR and Preamp series. It's all just rumor, but I have been told that they will offer some sort of upgrade path or trade in to existing customers. This is proably part of the reason why you bought B&K in the first place. The only problem is no word on when or what.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
I'm in the same boat as the OP. I have a three year old NAD T763 which I think I can say will have more power than anything I can buy right now in the sub $1K category (which is all I can justify). I'm considering the Denon AVR-989 or the Pioneer VSX-03TXH. I'm friendly with a dealer so I can probably get about 20% off of MSRP when they come out.


However, my NAD did me a favor and stopped responding to the remote control. I've double checked and the remote isn't the problem. It's the receiver. So in to the shop it goes and if it costs a significant amount to repair, I'm just going to pony up for a new receiver. I need the HDMI switching in addition to the new sound codecs anyway.


In fact, I may be able to get the best of both worlds. If the NAD isn't fixable, I can turn it into a power amp and use either the Denon's or the Pioneer's 5.1 outs to the T763.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you "VVV" for your most helpful post.


I am glad the solution is not as simple as

I thought and my concern seems well founded.


Again, I am in no hurry to upgrade, and I can always

live with Dolby Digital and DTS for the moment and

upgrade as a final solution becomes clearer.


Thanks for everyone's input. Please keep the ideas

coming.


Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,288 Posts

Quote:
Please keep the ideas

coming.

Your only real option is a BD player with analog outs as I see it, if you don't want a new AVR.

Quote:
This is not ideal as the volume control of the B&K would still be in play. I have also heard mixed feedback as to if this method degrades sound.

Compared to...? You'd need a volume control somewhere. With HDMI the B&K volume control would also be in the path. Or am misunderstanding your concern?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarquee /forum/post/14233113


Can I hope to get the same quality sound in a $1,000 receiver compared to my $3500 one?

Let me suggest that you're comparing apples and oranges here. You _do not_ own a $3500 receiver anymore. You own a $1000 one, judging by pricing I've seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,923 Posts
Price is not necessarily an indicator of sound quality, is it ?


The original question, I think, is the relevant question. Is it worth it, to the original poster, to spend money to get lossless audio.


The unfortunate answer is that I know of no demo which can guide the OP in his decision. Dolby Digital runs under 400 kb/s for 5.1 channels. I have no idea what the equivalent MP3 bit rate would be.


I can make a bunch of assumptions, which can be taken for what they are worth -


* 160 kb/s MP3 is pretty darn good (based on my own listening test)

* 160 kbs is the stereo rate, so 80 kb/s is the mono (per channel) rate

* Dolby Digital and MP3 "may" have "roughly" similar compression rates (big assumption here, but it's all I can do with no concrete tests)

* DVD's DD rate is just under 400 kb/s; I have NO clue how they allocate that to the various channel; Let's take a totally wild assumption that the three main channels could be close to 80 kb/s (400/5 == 80, ignoring the lower bandwidth LFE channel); Note that the surround channels should not need that high of an average bit rate as they seem to carry less information; The main channels could then use more of the allowed bit rate, but I am not sure how all that works


Ok, so taking a whole lot of wild azz guesses, it "may" be that Dolby Digital is "comparable" to 160 kb/s MP3 (really, don't take this too seriously I am making a ton of assumptions here.)


In my experience, if these guesses get us anywhere near the truth, Dolby Digital is pretty darn good, especially if we are not talking music. I say this because 160 kb/s MP3s are pretty darn good, and my wild assumption is that DD is in the quality ball park of 160 kb/s MP3.


I would guess, guess being the operative word, that you would get the maximum benefit from lossless for movies that are heavy in music. This is because many people can hear the difference between 160kb/s MP3 and less compressed music. I have run blind tests and demonstrated that point. But it's subtle. It's not like 160 kb/s MP3 sucks - but some people can tell the difference. Which almost certainly means some people can tell the difference with Dolby Digital on DVDs, especially if they could compare a music heavy scene to a lossless copy of that same scene.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatanika /forum/post/14233429


Purchase one of the new players that decodes dolby true hd and dts ma and passes through the multi-channel analog outs.

+1


Exactly what I'm going to do. I currently have a Panasonic BD30 but will be upgrading to the BD50 passing analog to my Anthem AVM 20.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,668 Posts
^ Yes. I think in the back of his mind he's more concerned with the lower build quality of that receiver compared to his B&K. This is the problem with receivers, you have to toss the whole thing, the good parts with the bad parts, the not-up-to-date digital section with the good analog section. The best I can say is plan ahead so it doesn't have to happen again, you know what to do...


It is kinda ridiculous people seem to be saying the new sound formats don't sound better or aren't worthwhile. Or are they really saying don't buy a cheap AVR? That I can agree with, a cheap AVR with lousy amps and analog section to get the new higher-quality sound formats...doesn't make sense at all to me, but it seems to sell. I believe in quality-matching, from source to speaker.


An analog output player is a good temporary solution, but HDMI is going to be hard to ignore for real long, they're not making it easy...


Edit: I can easily tell the diff between lossless and the core formats. That is a trivial test with a BD player, hard to imagine others can't notice it. I find the MP3 borderline to be 192kbps, the border between fairly tolerable and intolerable *for me*. The trick is to compare with the "original" tune, either LP or CD through a good DAC, and NOT with higher or lower rate MP3s. But then I am an old man, not brought up in the compressed and lossy era, and my sonic criteria are different...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,653 Posts
My Merdian/Apogee DACs setup is still better with regular DD/DTS than using the new HD codecs over analgue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,923 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfraser /forum/post/14236144


It is kinda ridiculous people seem to be saying the new sound formats don't sound better or aren't worthwhile.

It should not surprise you that some people are not hearing a difference.


Lossy audio at sufficient bit rates is very much like the lossless original. I ripped the song 'Toys in the attic' at various bitrates. Only 64 kb/s (32 kb/s per track) was obviously compressed. I could hear differences between higher bitrates, but they were hardly obvious. And that's comparing the exact same song on the exact same listening equipment.


Does it make sense to try to convince people they are hearing a difference that they say they are not hearing? If they don't hear it, good for them.


People have sometimes told me that they did not buy a stereo because their boom box sounded fine to them. Good for them! They are going to save a lot of money that way. I don't want them mixing my music, but there's nothing wrong with not hearing a difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
mmarquee,

I ordered an onkyo 606 few days ago marking my stepping up to the HD world, its still on its way so I cant give you a first hand opinion on the hd audio just yet


however lots of members in respected forums say that it sound purely amazing. so, yes, its supposed to be that good, as lossless is bit to bit identical to the original recording.


have you thought about visiting some HT store so they can show you a demo of a blu ray movie ? for that I suggest you bring a blu ray movie with you (best is a movie you already know well in terms of audio) and ask them to play it for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman /forum/post/14236264


It should not surprise you that some people are not hearing a difference.


Lossy audio at sufficient bit rates is very much like the lossless original. I ripped the song 'Toys in the attic' at various bitrates. Only 64 kb/s (32 kb/s per track) was obviously compressed. I could hear differences between higher bitrates, but they were hardly obvious. And that's comparing the exact same song on the exact same listening equipment.


Does it make sense to try to convince people they are hearing a difference that they say they are not hearing? If they don't hear it, good for them.


People have sometimes told me that they did not buy a stereo because their boom box sounded fine to them. Good for them! They are going to save a lot of money that way. I don't want them mixing my music, but there's nothing wrong with not hearing a difference.

so lossless audio is just a big scam? evidently, a lot of blu ray movies reviews state that the lossless formats are far more superior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
Some people can hear the difference, some can't. The fact is ... there is a difference, whether or not you can personally hear it is another issue entirely.


If your $3500 receiver has 7.1 Multi-Analog Inputs, then get yourself a BD player with 7.1 Multi-Analog outputs and internal decoding of the new lossless formats. Bingo, you get the best of both worlds - a modern 7.1 DTS-HD and TrueHD decoder, with a superior amplifier. It won't say Dolby or DTS on the receiver's display, and that's the only major downside I see.


In my situation, my perfectly good RX-V2500 Yamaha and newly acquired Panasonic BD-30 only had 5.1 multi-analog inputs and outputs, so I was screwed if I wanted 7.1 HD audio. So, I bought a new Pioneer VSX-94TXH. Problem solved. Now I got a $1200 paperweight in the closet.


Greg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Great points- with a bd player with analogs you can enjoy all the new formats now! Down the upgrade path you still have the hdmi to use on your new set-up. Only you own your ears! style, taste, music and movie preference, volume you require, the amount of bass you like etc. Then theres room shape and volume, floor, wall design, sound proofing, type of wall & floor covering, acoustic treatment, room eq, and probably alot more. Only you can say if a receiver suits you better than seperates. I like loud rock on dvd-a, sacd, and music video @ concert levels. I use 300 watt mono-blocs and a 5-channel amp, with a preamp/processor, paradigm reference 100's v2 & 3 subs. A friend has a marantz flagship receiver with d-sonic 500 watt 3channell and 200 watt rotel connected that he loves. My mom who has her masters in music listens to chamber music @ about 70 decibels on her 20 watt receiver and wonders why anyone could possibly want more! Bottom line, go to a reputable dealer, bring music you're familiar with, and listen to as many systems as possible, then you will know, remember it will sound different in your room so a loaner or satisfaction guaranty is a must!
 
1 - 20 of 95 Posts
Top