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In your experience, what is the most natural sounding receiver for a 2.0 setup? I'm going to use Sonus faber Venere 2.0 (wife-approval pending); Magnolia suggested Arcam @ $1K, but I really would like to explore other options.

I'll be listening via turntable for the most part, but wife's requirement is streaming capability via iphone/ipod, too. :D

Any input? Thank you.
 

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My advice is to forget about "natural" sounding at a criteria. Is digital room correction "natural" sounding? The goal behind this technology is to reduce the negative affects of the room, so in a sense music with this kind of digital sound processing could be seen as more natural. Is dynamic EQ "natural"? If one is listening below the reference level that the music was recorded at (which could be considered unnatural right there), then this technology adjusts the high and low frequency to account for our perception (Google "equal loudness contour").

My advice is to get a much cheaper AVR by Denon, Onkyo, or Yamaha with the features you need. Put the money you save into a subwoofer (check out SVS or HSU), which will more "naturally" (or accurately) hit those lowest frequencies found in music and film than virtually any < $5k full-range speaker.
 

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Dynamic eq is for movies not music. You'vegot the right idea about how it works though. Movies are made at a rreference level and LFE signals are meant to give drastic effects so when played at lower than reference levels, dynamic eq compensates allowing the listener to still get the benefits of lfe
 

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You should not have dynamic eq on during music. Also, eq-ing your room and having a stereo integrated amp will make for a more true hi-fi experience than using room EQ imo. Although with some genres it's fun to send a pcm signal to the receiver and Dsp it into Dolby music/etc... I truly enjoy any electronic music like that.
 

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Dynamic eq is for movies not music. You'vegot the right idea about how it works though. Movies are made at a rreference level and LFE signals are meant to give drastic effects so when played at lower than reference levels, dynamic eq compensates allowing the listener to still get the benefits of lfe
I don't agree with that, though it is harder to determine what volume music is mixed at since it is less standardized than film. From Big Daddy's FAQ:

AUDYSSEY AND MUSIC

Movies are mixed in studio rooms calibrated for the film reference level (see the last section below for explanation of the Reference Level). Home theater systems that are calibrated by Audyssey MultEQ will play at home reference level when the Master Volume is set to 0 dB position. To achieve this reference level, the levels of all the speakers/subwoofer(s) are adjusted so that the system plays at the reference level when the master volume is set to 0dB position. This is normally done by playing the internal pink noise generated by the receiver/processor so that it produces 75 dB sound pressure level at the main listening position. The pink noise inside most receivers/processors are band-limited (500Hz – 2000Hz) and recorded at -30dBFS. This is done so that we hear the sound at the same level that was intended by the mixers.

Most people do not listen at reference level and turn the master volume down to -10dB - 15dB. When you turn the master volume down, some of the frequencies, particularly the lower frequencie, will suffer. Audyssey Dynamic EQ was created to make adjustments to maintain the reference response and surround envelopment when the volume is turned down from 0dB. It is referenced to the standard film mix level.

Unfortunately, music recordings do not have a well defined reference level like movies and are recorded at many different levels. In order to alleviate this problem, the Audyssey Dynamic EQ has Reference Level Offset to set for content that does not follow the standard movie refence level. These are the Reference Level Offsets that are suggested by Audyssey:

0 dB (Film Reference): This is the default setting and should be used when listening to movies.

15 dB (Pop/Rock Music): Select this setting for pop/rock music or other program material that is mixed at very high listening levels and has a compressed dynamic range.

10 dB (Jazz & TV Content)): Select this setting for jazz or other music that has a wider dynamic range. This setting should also be selected for TV content as that is usually mixed at 10 dB below film reference.

5 dB (Classical Music): Select this setting for content that has a very wide dynamic range, such as classical music.
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=159948

Similar info is available on the Audyssey FAQ on AVS.
 

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All that is is compression and it is not needed. Imo it sounds like crap. Like he says, there is no standardized level. Music is music. If you want the most out of your music at lower levels thentthat's what the fletcher/Munson curve is used for.
 

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All that is is compression and it is not needed. Imo it sounds like crap. Like he says, there is no standardized level. Music is music. If you want the most out of your music at lower levels thentthat's what the fletcher/Munson curve is used for.
I'm not really following, but this is off topic.

My basic point for the OP is that one should buy a receiver based on features and forget about audiophile ideas about what sounds natural. Here is my view of what does make a difference:

A Brief Guide to Audio for the Skeptical Consumer Part II


And what doesn't:

A Brief Guide to Audio for the Skeptical Consumer
 

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I do believe that receivers are a great option for new people. Your first post randomly started talking about "Is digital room correction "natural" sounding? When no one had brought that up. Just because you bought a receiver doesn't mean one will use room correction or Dsp's. If someone is not willing to fix the acoustics in their room then audyssey can be useful. It's not for everyone. I prefer natural music presentation just like ALL vendors would do at any audiophile convention. Source, volume, amplification speakers andas much acoustic treatment as they can.
Also, the OF mentioned he will be using a turn table. Breaking down that analog signal and turning it into digital and back to analog for room correction is taking a jump backwards and will demolish any bit of hi-fi his system has. I'm not even sure a receiver will do that but possibly.
 

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I would suggest a receiver myself incase you ever wanted to upgrade to surround sound. However, if you want "natural" sound then I would suggest tubes. You won't notice much of a difference between solid state amps unless you underpowered powered them. First reflections can add edginess and fatigue and make any naturalness go away very quickly. Greenwood Ave has a great link in his signature.
Also, for your wife, you can buy Bluetooth receiver with analog or digital connections. By receiver Iddon't mean a home theaterreceiver but rrather just a small unit that receives Bluetooth signals then has multiple output connections to hook up to a receiver let's say
 

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I do believe that receivers are a great option for new people. Your first post randomly started talking about "Is digital room correction "natural" sounding? When no one had brought that up. Just because you bought a receiver doesn't mean one will use room correction or Dsp's. If someone is not willing to fix the acoustics in their room then audyssey can be useful. It's not for everyone. I prefer natural music presentation just like ALL vendors would do at any audiophile convention. Source, volume, amplification speakers andas much acoustic treatment as they can.
Also, the OF mentioned he will be using a turn table. Breaking down that analog signal and turning it into digital and back to analog for room correction is taking a jump backwards and will demolish any bit of hi-fi his system has. I'm not even sure a receiver will do that but possibly.
I was trying (not very well) to make the point that "natural" is not a very useful way to describe amplifiers/receivers. My point is that many of the features some audiophiles might consider unnatural are actually quite useful from the perspective of accuracy, which I think is a much more useful concept in hi-fi.
 

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In your experience, what is the most natural sounding receiver for a 2.0 setup? I'm going to use Sonus faber Venere 2.0 (wife-approval pending); Magnolia suggested Arcam @ $1K, but I really would like to explore other options.

I'll be listening via turntable for the most part, but wife's requirement is streaming capability via iphone/ipod, too. :D

Any input? Thank you.
Describe the listening room- if it's mainly hard surfaces, 'natural' won't be the word you'll use to describe the sound unless you listen at moderate levels and the program material just happens to work in that environment.

Do you plan to listen ONLY to two channel? If so, I don't know why you aren't looking at a stereo integrated amp, receiver or separates.
 

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Does it have to be a receiver? Do you need radio? You might want to consider a nice integrated amp.
crn3371: i don't need radio. i am thoroughly confused about the difference between receiver and integrated amp. i was close to purchasing Marantz PM6005 via Amazon because someone said it's better than the other series in Marantz for turntable/tape, etc. but i'm not 100% sure if it'll work for my wife's needs sigh
 

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Hard surfaces...hmn, dry wall + carpet; the 2.0 setup will be in the living hall with bookshelf speakers and er, real bookshelves (my little nook in the entire house) but we'll be opening in to (facing in to) the formal dining, which is currently not filled with any furniture (it's a random play room for kiddo) and also has carpet. And, moderate is usually what suffices me :D
The carpet will remove a lot of reflection, so that's good. High volume makes reflections keep going and a long room will have its own "sound", but you should be OK with these speakers and a nice integrated amp like the Marantz. I was going to mention that brand, but hadn't seen that radio wasn't eliminated.

I was looking for something that would allow me to play vinyl and looked through the lines my distributors carry (I'm a custom integrator) but didn't see the combination of features I really wanted, so I bought separates. The ability to stream isn't something I require a preamp or integrated amp to do, but I did want digital inputs and a good phono section because I don't want little boxes all over the place. Also, I use moving coil cartridges, so I need something that has the ability to provide the extra gain and have different resistance settings.

The Marantz should be very neutral-sounding and I think that makes it a good choice, FWIW. I haven't heard any complaints about their tone controls, but you could use the Source Direct button to eliminate any effect of that section, if you choose.

Any thoughts about using a hard drive to store music? The PM7005 would be a good choice for that. It also handles high resolution audio, like DSD (same format as SACD).
 

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crn3371: i don't need radio. i am thoroughly confused about the difference between receiver and integrated amp. i was close to purchasing Marantz PM6005 via Amazon because someone said it's better than the other series in Marantz for turntable/tape, etc. but i'm not 100% sure if it'll work for my wife's needs sigh
A receiver has a radio or other source reception incorporated into its box, an integrated amp does not is the simplest way to think about it. Receivers can be 2ch and audio only or audio/video with multich and more dsp options.
 

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The Marantz pm6005 would be a nice choice for 2 channel listening. It has a phono stage and DAC. For streaming, just connect an Apple TV or Airport Express. I have an Airport Express connected to my NAD integrated and it works great for streaming off my iPad.
 

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The Marantz PM6005 has 2 digital inputs - one optical and one coaxial - not enough IMO with all the digital music we have these days. As for streaming audio it would need to be connected to a computer or laptop - or an internet radio such as Grace Digital sells. Best bet IMO would be an AVR - seems like they all will stream audio without needing a computer.

For 2 channel on the cheap take a look at the Onkyo TX-8050 - it has 4 digital inputs - two optical and two coaxial - and comes internet ready for wired connections - no wireless though. Quite a deal for $200 with free shipping. The only thing that keeps it from being an integrated amp is it contains a radio. I don't even know if that feature works on mine - and I'll probably never find out. I'm listening to it right now driving a pair of Salk SongTowers - a true 2 way full range (really!) speaker that needs no sub. Sorry - I had to dispel someone's notion from a post above that no under $5k speaker can play low enough that a sub isn't needed. You are half right - for movies a sub is needed. You really should audition the ST's if you ever get the chance. Pretty amazing bass for a speaker with dual 5" woofers. I actually had to turn the bass knob down a click! The 8050 is a temp solution until my next purchase gets here - a Denon 4311. It'll go back to the bedroom once it gets here.
 
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