• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

AVR: Replacement or DIY

ITJ

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Messages
10
Likes
3
Hi,

I have been following ASR for quite some time getting myself educated and looking beyond the audio foolery of the marketing departments. (Many thanks for that) For years now I have been using an AVR in the living room powering a 2ch speaker setup. We’re mainly watching TV and listen to music via a Chromecast puck, and play games on an old Ninteno Wii. Occasionally play old school Mario games via a Raspberry Pi, watch TV via a laptop or watch Blu Ray’s all connected via HDMI. Unfortunately this AVR has died and I am looking for options to replace it.


Option 1:
  • another AVR
Disregarding that most AVR’s are mediocre at best, and that most features are worthless for my use, except for Room Correction, but considering that my main listening is happening via Chromecast and Youtube music, and have the convenience off a single box solution.
At the moment in Australia the Anthem MRX540 (4k version) is heavily discounted and I could get one for around $2000 AUD.


Option 2:
  • HDMI switch plus audio extractor
  • MiniDSP Flex
  • Amplifier

This could become a high quality setup that should not be too hard for the rest of the family to deal with. The biggest issue is that it would probably not be cheaper (The Flex landed will probably set me back at least $850AUD), a little more hassle, and not as clean looking as a single box solution.


Option 3:
  • HDMI switch plus audio extractor
  • Digital input for Raspberry Pi
  • Camilla DSP on Pi
  • DAC
  • Integrated Amplifier
This would be the cheapest option as I already have a spare Raspberry Pi, and a spare Topping E30 DAC. A digital input for Raspberry Pi would set me back around $50 AUD.
This is obviously the most complicated setup and will needs some planning to make this convenient to use for other family members.
It does have a lot of potential as well, for adding streaming services, Tidal and Spotify Connect, informative touch screen display and perhaps even (IR) control for the HDMI switch, Topping E30, Amplifier.

I am tech-savvy enough to be able to get things working, trouble shoot, and can program in Python,
and already have a working Raspberry Pi with Camilla DSP that I setup a while ago.


I am interested hearing other people’s experiences with their DIY path and feedback on the opinion that most cheap HDMI audio extractors don’t seem to have a big negative impact on the audio signal.
 
Last edited:

DVDdoug

Major Contributor
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
3,094
Likes
4,085
Electronics don't have to be expensive or complicated to get good sound, as long as you have enough amplifier power.

Disregarding that most AVR’s are mediocre at best.
I wouldn't say that, but I grew-up in the analog days so just about anything digital (and with good speakers) sounds good to me! ;)

and that most features are worthless for our use
I wouldn't say that either. It's the easiest & most economical way to to decode DVD & Blu-Ray formats (unless you're using a computer) and it's the easiest way to get multiple inputs, or to get a crossover for a subwoofer, and remote control, etc. You get a LOT for your money with an AVR.

Personally, I enjoy surround sound (I "only" have 5.1) and with regular stereo music I like to use a soundfield setting to get some delayed reverb in the rear to simulate a larger space.

(My AVR was only about $300 USD.)
 
Top Bottom