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Advice needed: Amp / AVR for my stereo setup (EU market - France)


Apr 17, 2024
Hi all,

I have been reading you guys for a moment now so I decided to create an account in order to post this. I am far from being an expert but doing my best to learn step by step. I hope this is the right place to post this.

I am looking to build my first 2.0 setup for music streaming (mostly Tidal), vinyl playing and TV by HDMI eARC (LG C3 48). My living room is somewhere around 30 m2 (323 sq ft). I do not wish to play music really loud since we have a little baby at home. I would like to prioritise fidelity over loudness. Needless to say, I am aware that I'll be buying an AVR and that an AVR will often sound poorer than an Amp within the same price range. Sub out is a plus but not required.

My budget range for the Amp / AVR, speakers and turntable is 800€ - 1300€ (the less the better, of course). Initially, I was planning to expend at least 50-60% of my budget on the speakers. I say "initially" because this last week I found online a brand new pair of Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 for 200€ and decided to give them a try. Diamond 12.1 are generally sold for 400€ here in France. I read Amir's pretty good review on them.

Regarding the turntable, I am a newcomer to analog music. I like Pro-Ject turntables aesthetics and I appreciate that they are made here in Europe. Since this is my first turntable, I was planning to buy either a Primary E or a T1 model, but I have end up buying a refurbished Pro-Ject Primary E in very good condition for 140€. I must confess that I was not expecting to "only" spend 340€ for both my speakers and my turntable, but I guess I have been a bit lucky founding those. I also got two NorStone Arran MC speaker cables with pre-mounted banana plugs.

This left me a 600-800€ budget for my Amp / AVR and I had several options in mind:
- Wiim Amp (± 369€) : good all-in-one option but I would rather have an A/B Amp if possible (maybe a false preconception?)
- Marantz PM6007 with Wiim Pro Plus (± 639€) : maybe the best combo? I prefer an all-in-one device and the PM6007 doesn't have HDMI imput.
- Marantz Stereo 70s (± 790€) : love the look of it, it is a all-in-one AVR with an A/B amp but there is little info online regarding its performance and it is the most expensive on the list
- Marantz Cinema 70s (± 670€) : same look as the Stereo 70s, average all-in-one AVR with an A/B amp that did not so great on Amir's review

My first option was the Stereo 70s but I was having a hard time trying to convince myself to expend all the rest of my budget on it.

I know this goes against general recommendations but I finally decided to buy the Cinema 70s because I love its look and because of its slim factor it fits perfect into my TV stand. I bought it even after reading Amir's review of it, I've said to myself that at that price it was worth giving it a try.

I have been testing the Cinema 70s for 2 days now. It is indeed nice and fits perfectly my TV stand, but I am having second thoughts :
- I do not like HEOS app, my wife streams via AirPlay but I have a Samsung phone (I would still have this issue with the Stereo 70s).
- I will never use all of its channels since I am not planning to do a surround setup, I will maybe add only a sub.
- Sound quality is alright but I am not impressed by it. I was maybe expecting too much? (I admit that I don't have another Amp or AVR to compare it to, nor other pair of speakers).
- I feel that I bought the Cinema 70s instead of the Stereo 70s just because of its price, not because it was my first choice, but maybe those two devices are not as different as I think.

All advice is greatly appreciated. I ran out of ideas and I need some fresh thinking regarding my setup and other Amp / AVR possibilities. I hope this was not too long to read. I apologise in advance for any grammar error, English is not my mother tongue and I preferred not to use a translator.

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