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AVR + Poweramp + DAC, help with system optimization

Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
11
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1
Hello dear audio community,

a few years back, life was pretty simple. I had a tiny integrated amp (NAD C316BEE) coupled to some bookshelf speakers and a CD player and a split RCA cable from my 3.5mm output on the computer.

Then I moved and had space (and need) for larger speakers. So I got a pair of used B&W 683 and enjoyed them (heavily underpowered from the NAD) until their tweeters both died. Upgraded to a pair of Klipsch RP 6000F, which i really preferred after an afternoon of comparing similarly priced speakers.

Girlfriend wanted to watch movies more often, so the stereo setup had to play movies, which lead to overly loud sound effects and almost silent dialogues, as the surround mixdown was sh*t literally all the time. So next upgrade to an B-Stock Marantz NR1509 with the hope for a better phantom center from a proper Dolby decoder. No luck here – and a center was thrown in the mix. Dialogues and movies were great all of a sudden, but musical performance notably poor in comparison.

Tried to use the NAD as main amp for the tower speaker through the pre-out for the front L/R channels, but having no HT bypass meant constant fiddling around with the volume knob and the volume balance between all three speakers was constantly off. Wanted to treat myself to a bigger amp with HT bypass, went with an (used) Arcam A39 that was seemingly lacking this feature from its A38 predecessor.. got treated with great stereo sound, but again lost all the ease of use for occasional movies. Went to the store, asked for an integrated amp with bypass, left with a MM7025 power amp instead that is now coupled to the NR1509 as driver for the two main speakers.

But ultimately every signal is passing the pre-stage of the AVR.
The 1509s internal DAC is rather "meh", but the external on the other hand would constantly be converted from analogue to digital before being further processed by all the Audissey trickery - so really a waste of good intention. Or in the Pure Direct mode would still be facing the far inferior (at least according to popular internet opinion) pre-stage. So it feels like i am currently optimizing on the two ends - with a dedicated DAC or a dedicated power amp - but without any merit.

From my E30/L30 headphone-stack i know what a difference a DAC can make if it gets to pass its results untinkered into an amp. And the Arcam has shown me, that the Klipsches are capable of much more. And now i´m curious how you´d optimize the setup.

Do away with the dedicated DAC because there´s no point? Considering the stereo pre-section of the NR1509 as sufficient and file the impressions and opinions under "not noticeable" in a comparative shootout?

Adding another device into the mix (i.e. a separate stereo pre-amp for music) and somehow run them in parallel into the MM7025?
The Sonos connect is subject to leave.. Roon might be an option - hence a DAC replacement would have to maybe also offer streaming. Sure again, the 1509 does all of that.. but probably on a level that is far behind the capabilities of some of the other components in the system.

How to sort the messy signal path? Watching movies with decent still needs to be possible ;)

Bildschirmfoto 2022-02-15 um 00.02.42.png
 

Smitty2k1

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2022
Messages
182
Likes
127
Hello dear audio community,

a few years back, life was pretty simple. I had a tiny integrated amp (NAD C316BEE) coupled to some bookshelf speakers and a CD player and a split RCA cable from my 3.5mm output on the computer.

Then I moved and had space (and need) for larger speakers. So I got a pair of used B&W 683 and enjoyed them (heavily underpowered from the NAD) until their tweeters both died. Upgraded to a pair of Klipsch RP 6000F, which i really preferred after an afternoon of comparing similarly priced speakers.

Girlfriend wanted to watch movies more often, so the stereo setup had to play movies, which lead to overly loud sound effects and almost silent dialogues, as the surround mixdown was sh*t literally all the time. So next upgrade to an B-Stock Marantz NR1509 with the hope for a better phantom center from a proper Dolby decoder. No luck here – and a center was thrown in the mix. Dialogues and movies were great all of a sudden, but musical performance notably poor in comparison.

Tried to use the NAD as main amp for the tower speaker through the pre-out for the front L/R channels, but having no HT bypass meant constant fiddling around with the volume knob and the volume balance between all three speakers was constantly off. Wanted to treat myself to a bigger amp with HT bypass, went with an (used) Arcam A39 that was seemingly lacking this feature from its A38 predecessor.. got treated with great stereo sound, but again lost all the ease of use for occasional movies. Went to the store, asked for an integrated amp with bypass, left with a MM7025 power amp instead that is now coupled to the NR1509 as driver for the two main speakers.

But ultimately every signal is passing the pre-stage of the AVR.
The 1509s internal DAC is rather "meh", but the external on the other hand would constantly be converted from analogue to digital before being further processed by all the Audissey trickery - so really a waste of good intention. Or in the Pure Direct mode would still be facing the far inferior (at least according to popular internet opinion) pre-stage. So it feels like i am currently optimizing on the two ends - with a dedicated DAC or a dedicated power amp - but without any merit.

From my E30/L30 headphone-stack i know what a difference a DAC can make if it gets to pass its results untinkered into an amp. And the Arcam has shown me, that the Klipsches are capable of much more. And now i´m curious how you´d optimize the setup.

Do away with the dedicated DAC because there´s no point? Considering the stereo pre-section of the NR1509 as sufficient and file the impressions and opinions under "not noticeable" in a comparative shootout?

Adding another device into the mix (i.e. a separate stereo pre-amp for music) and somehow run them in parallel into the MM7025?
The Sonos connect is subject to leave.. Roon might be an option - hence a DAC replacement would have to maybe also offer streaming. Sure again, the 1509 does all of that.. but probably on a level that is far behind the capabilities of some of the other components in the system.

How to sort the messy signal path? Watching movies with decent still needs to be possible ;)

View attachment 186704
Did you ever make any changes? I also have the NR1509 and am considering adding a power amp. I like the HEOS functionality but wondering if I'm missing out by using the internal DAC on the Marantz.
 
OP
K
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
1
So for now i went with simplifying the system.

Sonos is gone, dedicated DAC is gone. And I started to stream via AirPlay directly to the Marantz.
Was quite happy with that for a while and focussed more on just listening.

But I moved into a new appartment that requires a mesh Wifi. And I had just to figure out that AirPlay is struggling a lot with it.
So there's the question for a Wiim Pro or similar as streamer, which starts the whole question over again.

If I would be willing to sacrifice the Center speaker, which has proven a great investment for movies - and my significant other would be happy with bookshelfs, I'd almost be tempted to turn to an entire makeover with active speakers and be done with it.

@Smitty2k1
What stops you from adding a Power Amp?
 

HarmonicTHD

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
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1,959
So for now i went with simplifying the system.

Sonos is gone, dedicated DAC is gone. And I started to stream via AirPlay directly to the Marantz.
Was quite happy with that for a while and focussed more on just listening.

But I moved into a new appartment that requires a mesh Wifi. And I had just to figure out that AirPlay is struggling a lot with it.
So there's the question for a Wiim Pro or similar as streamer, which starts the whole question over again.

If I would be willing to sacrifice the Center speaker, which has proven a great investment for movies - and my significant other would be happy with bookshelfs, I'd almost be tempted to turn to an entire makeover with active speakers and be done with it.

@Smitty2k1
What stops you from adding a Power Amp?
Maybe troubleshoot your network first before chasing after another piece of equipment.

I also run a meshed Wifi (6) (Asus) and all my devices run fine including my X3700 Denon and all Airplay, Sonos, UPnP devices and what have you.
 
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