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Am I wasting money? AVR recommendations.

HifiLover

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Hello! Hope everyone is well. We're looking for new receiver for our room. Our budget is a bit over $4000. Unfortunately, it's hard to control the acoustics of the room. We are wanting to do a 5.1.2 setup in a 25x20 room. Our speakers are Bowers and Wilkins 702s2, HTM 72s2, and 706 S2. I'm between Denon, Marantz, or the new Sony line. HDMI 2.1 is important to us for Xbox X. This would obviously be for movies, games, but also 2 channel music as well. I steered far away from Arcam after reading reviews and measurements. Is there any huge benefit to going with a massive receiver with lots of channels when I'm only using it for 7 channels? Another idea I had was purchasing a McIntosh MC8207 (for a fantastic price) and pairing it with a Denon receiver with preouts. Would that be a waste of money? I've gone a little crazy reading lots of reviews from Amir and the rest of you amazing folks and got myself into a rut. I really appreciate any insight. Thank you!
 

Chrispy

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Might depend on listening levels somewhat. A Denon 3800 and the 8207 if that's within your budget certainly would be reasonable and provide more power for your B&Ws.
 
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HifiLover

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Might depend on listening levels somewhat. A Denon 3800 and the 8207 if that's within your budget certainly would be reasonable and provide more power for your B&Ws.
I really appreciate your reply. We don't typically listen to things at high volume. But, from what I have understood, McIntosh tends to last very long time while giving a very low noise floor. I can always upgrade the receiver/processor while keeping the amp.

We were so close to purchasing the Arcam, thus causing the concern and doubt.
 

Mr. Widget

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My suggestion is to go with a lower powered AVR and use pre outs for the LCR speakers. I wouldn't go for a McIntosh amp if budget is a concern.

I don't have a lot of practical experience with the latest crop of HDMI 2.1 AVRs, so can't suggest one, but in my experience the amps in all AVRs is their weak link but they are acceptable for surrounds and ATMOS speakers.
 

ban25

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Room Correction sounds like it will be important given the acoustics you've mentioned. Consider a Denon X4800H, Marantz Cinema 40, or the newly announced Integra DRX-8.4 if you can afford to wait a bit. All three will fit in your budget and have excellent room correction options with Dirac (available in the next couple weeks for Denon/Marantz) and Audyssey (D+M only). The Integra supports DLBC too, in case you go multi-sub, and is Roon Ready if you're a Roon user.

I would not bother with a 7 channel AMP like the MC8207 because really only your front L+R and sometimes the Center channel require significant amplification. If you want to go with a Mac, I would suggest either the MC257 (3-channel) or MC152 (2-channel). Both should be a good match for your B&Ws, and the meters sure look nice. :)
 
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HifiLover

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I would also add - start with the AVR first and add the external amp only if you feel you need it.
That is a fantastic recommendation! Thank you so much. We feel as if the 702 speakers need a little more to shine. We're coming from a Marantz SR7008 and I feel as if they are a little less impact and dynamics. That's why I was considering a separate amp. I've heard people argue that avr's could never match the musicality and dynamics of system of separates which is why I was considering that. Or have receivers really changed a lot since then?

Separate question, could I turn off the left center right channels in the receiver when using the preouts? Or does that not matter?
 

Mr. Widget

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I would also add - start with the AVR first and add the external amp only if you feel you need it.
Good advice, but the 10% lack of improvement is the sort of thing you will learn to live with.

PersonaIly I would jump in. I have set up those 702 S2s with an AVR and with a basic amp. They do like an amp with reserves of current capability and control.
But then again, I am of the school of thought that if it only costs 10X to get 1% better... lets do it! ;)
 

ban25

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Good advice, but the 10% lack of improvement is the sort of thing you will learn to live with.

PersonaIly I would jump in. I have set up those 702 S2s with an AVR and with a basic amp. They do like an amp with reserves of current capability and control.
But then again, I am of the school of thought that if it only costs 10X to get 1% better... lets do it! ;)
It's a good point that those towers dip to 3.1ohm, so a strong 2/3-channel amp would indeed be beneficial.
 
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HifiLover

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It's a good point that those towers dip to 3.1ohm, so a strong 2/3-channel amp would indeed be beneficial.
How are Arcam power amplifiers? Did I potentially make the mistake of generalizing them with their processors? If they have a good noise floor and a great sound, I might take your recommendation and go with the Denon while using a separate amplifier.
 

ban25

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That is a fantastic recommendation! Thank you so much. We feel as if the 702 speakers need a little more to shine. We're coming from a Marantz SR7008 and I feel as if they are a little less impact and dynamics. That's why I was considering a separate amp. I've heard people argue that avr's could never match the musicality and dynamics of system of separates which is why I was considering that. Or have receivers really changed a lot since then?

Separate question, could I turn off the left center right channels in the receiver when using the preouts? Or does that not matter?
There is an amp disconnect feature in the Denon/Marantz receivers that will boost SINAD a bit when used to disconnect the amps for those front channels. As to AVRs vs Separates, there's really no difference sonically, it's more about what features / performance you're looking for.
 

ban25

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How are Arcam power amplifiers? Did I potentially make the mistake of generalizing them with their processors? If they have a good noise floor and a great sound, I might take your recommendation and go with the Denon while using a separate amplifier.
There's not a lot of data out there about Arcam's amplifiers. They're probably fine, plenty of power on tap in their Class G offerings. But they wouldn't be my first choice. I would go with a more established brand in amplifiers, something from Parasound, Rotel, NAD, Monolith, McIntosh, etc.

Parasound A21+

NAD M23

Rotel RB-1582 MKII

Monoprice Monolith

Lots of good options at a variety of price-points!
 

Golfx

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How are Arcam power amplifiers? Did I potentially make the mistake of generalizing them with their processors? If they have a good noise floor and a great sound, I might take your recommendation and go with the Denon while using a separate amplifier.
I read your earlier post about reading the ASR reviews. If so, did you note the high quality of the Hypex Ncore Class D amps? They have superior bench measurements and tested reliability second to none. They are also much smaller, lighter and run cooler than other amps. Check out Buckeye amps or Nord amps. Very reasonably priced.
I second using a Denon AVR with Pre-Outs for your LCR and using the internal amps for your surrounds and atmos speakers.
If you read through Arcam owner’s forums you will see lots of bugs and iterative firmware fixes over and over.
Also reading through Amir’s reviews you will often see caveats of “likely inaudible” meaning the extremes of SINAD and distortion will be certainly limited by your speakers and human ears. So buy for features and reliability.
 

techsamurai

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How much does Atmos mean to you and how much does convenience mean to you?

If you're watching a 4k UHD or Bluray, the Panasonic player for $150 has a HDMI out which will give you DTS Master HD and Dolby True HD. So you gain nothing there with a new AVR. But you could lose with gaming (although it's compressed to begin with) and with streaming which is more important. I've used a compressed signal in one of my setups and I don't mind it.

Personally, I think you should upgrade but it's a bit tough with regard to the AVR because there are several paths. You could go with DIRAC (Onkyo RZ50) or the new Sony AVRs with Spatial, or just Denon/Marantz Audyssey -> Dirac. You already have Audyssey XT32 so Dirac might be an improvement but Audyssey won't unless you use the app to make adjustments.

First and foremost, you will want an external amp for the 702 S2 so that's $700-$1,000 and you should get that even if you keep the 7008. Re-run Audyssey if you get one.

I would bi-amp the Left and Right. Trust me on that. I do it with my B&W 703 towers (the old ones).

So you need a 4 channel external amp for the Left and Right but I would also add the Center there so I would get a 5 channel.

You have many choices above but I would go toroidal and I would consider the following 2:

Emotiva Basx5 or 7 (almost same price larger toroidal so why not get the A7?) - 95 watts for 5 channels or 90 for 7 (maybe 105-110 for 5)

Outlaw Model 7000 (130 watts for 7 - so 140,150 maybe for 5)

You can also try Class D and see what they sound like - why not? just ship the other one back.
 
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HifiLover

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There's not a lot of data out there about Arcam's amplifiers. They're probably fine, plenty of power on tap in their Class G offerings. But they wouldn't be my first choice. I would go with a more established brand in amplifiers, something from Parasound, Rotel, NAD, Monolith, McIntosh, etc.

Parasound A21+

NAD M23

Rotel RB-1582 MKII

Monoprice Monolith

Lots of good options at a variety of price-points!
So it seems! Wow!

I read your earlier post about reading the ASR reviews. If so, did you note the high quality of the Hypex Ncore Class D amps? They have superior bench measurements and tested reliability second to none. They are also much smaller, lighter and run cooler than other amps. Check out Buckeye amps or Nord amps. Very reasonably priced.
I second using a Denon AVR with Pre-Outs for your LCR and using the internal amps for your surrounds and atmos speakers.
If you read through Arcam owner’s forums you will see lots of bugs and iterative firmware fixes over and over.
Also reading through Amir’s reviews you will often see caveats of “likely inaudible” meaning the extremes of SINAD and distortion will be certainly limited by your speakers and human ears. So buy for features and reliability.

Taking a look at these as well.

How much does Atmos mean to you and how much does convenience mean to you?

If you're watching a 4k UHD or Bluray, the Panasonic player for $150 has a HDMI out which will give you DTS Master HD and Dolby True HD. So you gain nothing there with a new AVR. But you could lose with gaming (although it's compressed to begin with) and with streaming which is more important. I've used a compressed signal in one of my setups and I don't mind it.

Personally, I think you should upgrade but it's a bit tough with regard to the AVR because there are several paths. You could go with DIRAC (Onkyo RZ50) or the new Sony AVRs with Spatial, or just Denon/Marantz Audyssey -> Dirac. You already have Audyssey XT32 so Dirac might be an improvement but Audyssey won't unless you use the app to make adjustments.

First and foremost, you will want an external amp for the 702 S2 so that's $700-$1,000 and you should get that even if you keep the 7008. Re-run Audyssey if you get one.

I would bi-amp the Left and Right. Trust me on that. I do it with my B&W 703 towers (the old ones).

So you need a 4 channel external amp for the Left and Right but I would also add the Center there so I would get a 5 channel.

You have many choices above but I would go toroidal and I would consider the following 2:

Emotiva Basx5 or 7 (almost same price larger toroidal so why not get the A7?) - 95 watts for 5 channels or 90 for 7 (maybe 105-110 for 5)

Outlaw Model 7000 (130 watts for 7 - so 140,150 maybe for 5)

You can also try Class D and see what they sound like - why not? just ship the other one back.

The reason why I am considering Arcam or McIntosh for the power amplifier is because I can get a pretty good deal on them. Enough of a deal to make me consider them. Yes, McIntosh is going to be a bit more, but from what I've heard they last a very long time. Then again, you mention that the hypex class D amplifiers have a good track record as well.

Do I really need to buy amp if I'm going with a five or seven Channel amplifier that has incredible power output or could I get away with buy wiring from something like a Macintosh or whatever?

Also, thank you everyone for letting me test out the reply feature on all of you. Still trying to figure out how to work this site.
 

ban25

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The reason why I am considering Arcam or McIntosh for the power amplifier is because I can get a pretty good deal on them. Enough of a deal to make me consider them. Yes, McIntosh is going to be a bit more, but from what I've heard they last a very long time. Then again, you mention that the hypex class D amplifiers have a good track record as well.

Do I really need to buy amp if I'm going with a five or seven Channel amplifier that has incredible power output or could I get away with buy wiring from something like a Macintosh or whatever?
You know, a fine Class AB McIntosh amplifier is like a Rolex watch, it's an heirloom. As to 5/7 channel, unless you are buying a full pre-pro, don't bother. You'd be surprised how infrequently the surround and height channels actually fire up in a movie. A solid 2-channel amp will drive your low-impedance speakers fine and take the load off the AVR's power supply.

If you know a solid deal on a MC152, let me know because I'm in the market!
 

Golfx

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So it seems! Wow!



Taking a look at these as well.



The reason why I am considering Arcam or McIntosh for the power amplifier is because I can get a pretty good deal on them. Enough of a deal to make me consider them. Yes, McIntosh is going to be a bit more, but from what I've heard they last a very long time. Then again, you mention that the hypex class D amplifiers have a good track record as well.

Do I really need to buy amp if I'm going with a five or seven Channel amplifier that has incredible power output or could I get away with buy wiring from something like a Macintosh or whatever?

Also, thank you everyone for letting me test out the reply feature on all of you. Still trying to figure out how to work this site.
Hi again. Did you mean 5 or 7 Channel AVR? If you are asking do you need an external amp instead of just using the power from the internal amps of the AVR, no you don’t. Your speakers are 8ohm speakers and it looks like they are around 87-90 sensitivity. A moderate AVR (70-80w/channel all channels driven) should drive your speakers just fine. If you are not satisfied after listening for awhile, you then can buy an external 3 channel amp for your LCR which would free up the AVRs power supply which would allow more power for the remaining channels. (Many of us succumb to the itch to upgrade from time to time and adding external amps seems to satisfy us for at least a couple of years.)
 
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HifiLover

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Hi again. Did you mean 5 or 7 Channel AVR? If you are asking do you need an external amp instead of just using the power from the internal amps of the AVR, no you don’t. Your speakers are 8ohm speakers and it looks like they are around 87-90 sensitivity. A moderate AVR (70-80w/channel all channels driven) should drive your speakers just fine. If you are not satisfied after listening for awhile, you then can buy an external 3 channel amp for your LCR which would free up the AVRs power supply which would allow more power for the remaining channels. (Many of us succumb to the itch to upgrade from time to time and adding external amps seems to satisfy us for at least a couple of years.)
Yes, I meant a 7 Channel AVR while using prey-outs for a separate power amplifier. The reason I'm thinking about getting something separate is because I wasn't entirely happy with the overall performance of the Marantz sr7008 with the 702 and Center speaker. I felt it lacked the impact I've heard from these speakers before.
 

techsamurai

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Yes, I meant a 7 Channel AVR while using prey-outs for a separate power amplifier. The reason I'm thinking about getting something separate is because I wasn't entirely happy with the overall performance of the Marantz sr7008 with the 702 and Center speaker. I felt it lacked the impact I've heard from these speakers before.

I was going to ask you how you bought the 702. What was it connected to when you auditioned it?
 

Golfx

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Yes, I meant a 7 Channel AVR while using prey-outs for a separate power amplifier. The reason I'm thinking about getting something separate is because I wasn't entirely happy with the overall performance of the Marantz sr7008 with the 702 and Center speaker. I felt it lacked the impact I've heard from these speakers before.
Well then most of your decision is made. You just need to decide which AVR I’d suggest Denon or Marantz because you can improve the SINAD by channel by separating off the internal amps from the respective pre-out. External amps are your choice but again I would recommend Class D. Below is one of Amir’s reviews.
 
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