• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Best Bang for the buck for AVR with Pre output

FrantzM

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
803
Likes
371
#21
Hi

I may have not properly framed what I am trying to accomplish with this exercise.

That we are audiophiles hence OCD is a given :).. We want things a certain way and we want it right. Most on this board believe there is such a thing as proper reproduction. The thing is that throughout our search for audio ( and video) nirvana we have been conditioned to believe that newer is always better and that more expensive is also more better :D ... Thus the flight toward ever more expensive components .. to no end ... And most of the times sideways moves and no gain in performance. This no-win game can last a long time.
The purpose of this exercise/system is to educate myself while enjoying movies ( it is an HT first ) and music it is also a MCH system. I have a slew of High End phones and will continue to listen to them but in term of real enjoyment , I have found myself to derive more from the LSR308 and the iFI microDSD in a mediocre room than my Stax with the Berkeley and the Stax headphones/amp ... I never said the LSR 308 were more accurate by the way . To my ears they're not , nor more revealing, nor better ... IMHO the Stax are several order of magnitude better than the LSR 308 and to any speaker I've heard ...The point is enjoyment, not Audio performance.

The system is almost complete. I have the Pre/Pro on order and it may take a month before it get them in my mediocre room. Same with the single LSR 308 (center channel), the 4 pairs of LSR305 ( Surround and back Surround). I have decided to go with 4 flat-pack Parts Express with a 15 inch HO Driver. Amplification for the subs will be courtesy of pair of Behringer iNuke 3000. Looking at the bill of material/components:
3 JBL LSR 308 ...... $450
4 JBL LSR 305 ......$500 ( I may reduce this I am not at all convinced that 7.1 provides much over 5.1
1 Pre/Pro INTEGRA DHC-80.3 9.2-Ch THX Networking A/V Preamp/Processor ....$525
4 Parts Express Flatpack subwoofer Bundle with 15" Driver ....$1100
2 Behringer iNuke 3000 ....$500
1 miniDSP 10x10 Hd ...... $600
1 Accessories, cables, connectors from Belden or other usual suspect Blue Jeans , Cnare ,etc .. $500 (perhaps less)

We're talking about a serious system capable on paper to hit reference levels within the audio band for the elevated expense of $4325 US .. Total cost will be a bit more once they are shipped here and clear Haitian customs. In the here and now I am happy about this...
Now, I have to decide if I need to drop a DRC software ( Acourate? Dirac? Audiolense?) or go the manual road, measure with REW and drop in the filters manually .. through something like the mini_DSP EQ boxes

Perhaps a thread on PJ and screen that would follow the same philosophy: Not perfection. High Performance on a reduced budget. A PJ for less than $2k and a screen for even less. 8 feet wide screen + PJ to light it up correctly for less than $3000 ? A new thread? mhhh?
Thanks people ! In particular Northsky.. Your willingness to share is appreciated and for once your tendency to saturate people with URL has paid dividend ... for me :D

This system while being enjoyed , will help me make a sensible choice toward a very High Performance 2-Ch system and a separated high performance HT/MCH system. I have things like the JBL M2 in my sights for the 2-CH system and the 708P and 705P for the HT .. Could just substitute the 708P for the 308 and leave everything else (LSR 305, Subs, PrePRo, miniDSP box, etc) ... We'll see.
I will keep you abreast of my progress and tribulations ...

THANKS AGAIN!! I don't mind more inputs BTW. I am not closing the thread. ;)
 
Last edited:

FrantzM

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
803
Likes
371
#22
I am buying from Amazon some stands for the speakers as I am typing this. I also need a Grounding Box to make the system better. I don't know where I can buy these online ... :D :rolleyes:
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,912
Likes
2,118
Location
Central Fl
#23
Now, I have to decide if I need to drop a DRC software ( Acourate? Dirac? Audiolense?) or go the manual road, measure with REW and drop in the filters manually .. through something like the mini_DSP EQ boxes
Sounds like your going to have a pretty awesome rig for the money spent.
I wouldn't put out any $ on DRC until you have the kit up and running for a while. You might be very surprised at the results you can get from the included Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 combined with some personal tweaks.
 

NorthSky

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 28, 2016
Messages
4,999
Likes
413
Location
Canada West Coast/Vancouver Island/Victoria area
#24
I am buying from Amazon some stands for the speakers as I am typing this. I also need a Grounding Box to make the system better. I don't know where I can buy these online ... :D :rolleyes:
For speaker stands I made a pair myself using a railway sleeper:


_____


 
Last edited:

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,418
Likes
495
#26
Hi

I may have not properly framed what I am trying to accomplish with this exercise.

That we are audiophiles hence OCD is a given :).. We want things a certain way and we want it right. Most on this board believe there is such a thing as proper reproduction. The thing is that throughout our search for audio ( and video) nirvana we have been conditioned to believe that newer is always better and that more expensive is also more better :D ... Thus the flight toward ever more expensive components .. to no end ... And most of the times sideways moves and no gain in performance. This no-win game can last a long time.
The purpose of this exercise/system is to educate myself while enjoying movies ( it is an HT first ) and music it is also a MCH system. I have a slew of High End phones and will continue to listen to them but in term of real enjoyment , I have found myself to derive more from the LSR308 and the iFI microDSD in a mediocre room than my Stax with the Berkeley and the Stax headphones/amp ... I never said the LSR 308 were more accurate by the way . To my ears they're not , nor more revealing, nor better ... IMHO the Stax are several order of magnitude better than the LSR 308 and to any speaker I've heard ...The point is enjoyment, not Audio performance.

The system is almost complete. I have the Pre/Pro on order and it may take a month before it get them in my mediocre room. Same with the single LSR 308 (center channel), the 4 pairs of LSR305 ( Surround and back Surround). I have decided to go with 4 flat-pack Parts Express with a 15 inch HO Driver. Amplification for the subs will be courtesy of pair of Behringer iNuke 3000. Looking at the bill of material/components:
3 JBL LSR 308 ...... $450
4 JBL LSR 305 ......$500 ( I may reduce this I am not at all convinced that 7.1 provides much over 5.1
1 Pre/Pro INTEGRA DHC-80.3 9.2-Ch THX Networking A/V Preamp/Processor ....$525
4 Parts Express Flatpack subwoofer Bundle with 15" Driver ....$1100
2 Behringer iNuke 3000 ....$500
1 miniDSP 10x10 Hd ...... $600
1 Accessories, cables, connectors from Belden or other usual suspect Blue Jeans , Cnare ,etc .. $500 (perhaps less)

We're talking about a serious system capable on paper to hit reference levels within the audio band for the elevated expense of $4325 US .. Total cost will be a bit more once they are shipped here and clear Haitian customs. In the here and now I am happy about this...
Now, I have to decide if I need to drop a DRC software ( Acourate? Dirac? Audiolense?) or go the manual road, measure with REW and drop in the filters manually .. through something like the mini_DSP EQ boxes

Perhaps a thread on PJ and screen that would follow the same philosophy: Not perfection. High Performance on a reduced budget. A PJ for less than $2k and a screen for even less. 8 feet wide screen + PJ to light it up correctly for less than $3000 ? A new thread? mhhh?
Thanks people ! In particular Northsky.. Your willingness to share is appreciated and for once your tendency to saturate people with URL has paid dividend ... for me :D

This system while being enjoyed , will help me make a sensible choice toward a very High Performance 2-Ch system and a separated high performance HT/MCH system. I have things like the JBL M2 in my sights for the 2-CH system and the 708P and 705P for the HT .. Could just substitute the 708P for the 308 and leave everything else (LSR 305, Subs, PrePRo, miniDSP box, etc) ... We'll see.
I will keep you abreast of my progress and tribulations ...

THANKS AGAIN!! I don't mind more inputs BTW. I am not closing the thread. ;)
I notice the Integra 80.3 prepro. A good choice at a good price. I had a series of Integra prepros for years - 9.8, 80.1, 80.2 - prior to my shift to my current MMPC to DAC setup. It was with these that I was forever smitten by Mch sound and by quality video. They were all good performers.

Earlier, I was somewhat dismissive of the Audyssey EQ the Integras then used. Integra has since switched to their own proprietary EQ, which I think is inferior to the Audyssey XT/32 on the 80.3 based on features and reviews. But, I encourage you to use Audyssey, though I think there are now somewhat better EQ tools. I found Audyssey to be a revelation vs. unEQed sound, nontheless.

And, when doing so, I strongly recommend using the standard target curve, which has the downward sloping characteristic favored in the Target Curve thread here. The so-called Music curve, is flat and not in good accord with theory or practice, although our ruggedly individualistic friend Ray Dunzi still likes a flat target.

The main downside of Audyssey, IMO, is the fixed BBC midrange dip between about 2-3K. That is a part of all their stock curves, although I removed it by upgrading to their expensive AudysseyPro calibration tool. But, even with that dip, which I used for years, I am sure you will enjoy the benefits Audyssey provides, especially in the bass.

The only main EQ calibration tips are:

- get a floor standing, boom tripod for the mike during calibration. Not expensive. Don't put the mike on a chair/sofa or place the mike in the reflective area below chair backs.
- eliminate as much noise in the room during calibration as possible, including HVAC turn on/off and outside noises.

Good luck, and happy watching and listening. I think you are off to a great start.
 

FrantzM

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
803
Likes
371
#27
Hi

Must say that I am not that high on Audyssey EQ.. Call it a bias: The few times I heard something with it, I wasn't wowed .. underwhelmed rather. I did hear back in the days a few SigTech and TacT corrected systems and the differences were to me substantial and positive. Hearing about (haven't heard any of those yet ) what can be accomplished with Acourate, Dirac and/or Audiolense ...etc.. I am willing to confront the (steep) learning curve. I anticipate a fun learning experience. Sobering, I came from the Highest End Audio side and seeing what can be accomplished with a dirt-cheap LSR308 ( even the Mk-II) ... Of course they are almost never recommended in audiophile fora and yet ... I am not saying they're the end of it all.. Simply that for what they cost and the performance they offer, they are a superb entry to great sound. I have no doubt that corrected they can match (or surpass) many higher priced models.. (to my ears , repeating here they are superior to both the AudioEngine HD6 and Kef LS50 , I had both and sold them. The Kef was driven by a seriously High End amplifier with the appropriate staggering price tag... To my ears and sighted the LSR308 with their internal dirt-cheap chip amplifier sound better ... uncorrected. I don't know yet how to correct. Inching toward Acourate which I will download shortly :)
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
6,251
Likes
2,298
Location
Riverview, FL
#28

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,912
Likes
2,118
Location
Central Fl
#29
The main downside of Audyssey, IMO, is the fixed BBC midrange dip between about 2-3K. That is a part of all their stock curves, although I removed it by upgrading to their expensive AudysseyPro calibration tool. But, even with that dip, which I used for years, I am sure you will enjoy the benefits Audyssey provides, especially in the bass.
The good news is the latest Audyssey enabled units have a app available that allows quite a bit of custom tuning, it may offer a lot of options to your objections including being able to switch out that dip. It only costs $20 and I understand that Pro is now obsolete.
http://www.audioholics.com/editorials/denon-marantz-audyssey-multeq-editor-app
The bad news is that it's not available on the older unit FrantzM is looking at.

I'm teetering on the edge of buying the Marantz AV7703 for just this reason. Now that the 7704 is out, the 7703 is being closed out at $1500 everywhere.

Edit,
Pretty cool flexibility for a factory DRC rig.
This app allows users to:
  • View the Audyssey MultEQ speaker detection results, to check and modify the configuration, and adjust for any unusual speaker set-ups
  • View before and after results of the Audyssey calibration, making it easy to identify room problems and see just what changes the system is making
  • Edit the Audyssey target curve for each channel pair to suit individual tastes
  • Adjust the overall EQ frequency roll-off for each channel pair
  • Switch between two high-frequency roll-off target curves
  • Enable/Disable midrange compensation to make the sound brighter or smoother, perhaps making dialogue even clearer or taming those hard-edged soundtracks
  • Gives the home theater enthusiast even greater control over the performance of their surround sound system
  • Save calibration results for ‘piece of mind’, ready for instant re-loading should one ever need to reset their system
 
Last edited:

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,418
Likes
495
#30
Hi

Must say that I am not that high on Audyssey EQ.. Call it a bias: The few times I heard something with it, I wasn't wowed .. underwhelmed rather. I did hear back in the days a few SigTech and TacT corrected systems and the differences were to me substantial and positive. Hearing about (haven't heard any of those yet ) what can be accomplished with Acourate, Dirac and/or Audiolense ...etc.. I am willing to confront the (steep) learning curve. I anticipate a fun learning experience. Sobering, I came from the Highest End Audio side and seeing what can be accomplished with a dirt-cheap LSR308 ( even the Mk-II) ... Of course they are almost never recommended in audiophile fora and yet ... I am not saying they're the end of it all.. Simply that for what they cost and the performance they offer, they are a superb entry to great sound. I have no doubt that corrected they can match (or surpass) many higher priced models.. (to my ears , repeating here they are superior to both the AudioEngine HD6 and Kef LS50 , I had both and sold them. The Kef was driven by a seriously High End amplifier with the appropriate staggering price tag... To my ears and sighted the LSR308 with their internal dirt-cheap chip amplifier sound better ... uncorrected. I don't know yet how to correct. Inching toward Acourate which I will download shortly :)
I think the key question re Audyssey is whether it is incrementally better or not vs. noEQ. I found it so, but you might not. OTOH, I, like many others, have found Dirac Live incrementally better still. Although, to your point, Dirac does not impose the degree of learning curve issue that Acourate or Audiolense might. That is partularly true if you have gained some experience with Audyssey.

Is Dirac better or worse than Accourate/Audiolense? Yes, better in terms of ease of learning/use. But, no, Dirac is worse, in terms of sophisticated control features. Sonically, who knows, since each would be separately calibrated with different mike positions, single vs. multipoint, etc.

Audyssey does not preclude use of another EQ tool in a PC used as an input player source to your prepro via HDMI for Mch. Just bypass Audyssey in the prepro for PC input. But, you could still use Audyssey for Cable/Sat TV or other sources hooked directly to the prepro, if you find it advantageous, since it is already built in. TV sound ain't the greatest, but I find it benefits greatly from Dirac in my setup.

For audio plus video on a PC, JRiver as the library/player is my choice, since little else handles audio and video and Mch, etc. It is Kal's choice, too, but just for music, I believe. But, it has something of a learning curve in getting started. Also, it does not handle Netflix, etc. streaming well, if at all.

I have no separate player in my system. I use the optical drives in the PC for direct playback by JRiver of CD, DVD and BD discs, if not already ripped to the JRiver library via those same drives. Slyfox handles DVD and BD de encryption for JRiver playback fairly seamlessly. SACD discs cannot be played directly due to DRM. I rip those to my NAS library separately via an Oppo 103 on my network, together with freeware for the de encryption. That is the Oppo's only purpose in my system, although it could network to JRiver via DLNA if I wanted to.

A friend uses a PC with JRiver as his primary source into his Marantz prepro via HDMI. I did the same for awhile into my Integra 80.2. We both eventually also eliminated Audyssey in favor of PC Dirac, but he holds onto his prepro. I, like Kal, use the Dirac VST plugin which integrates well with JRiver. That is still a beta version, but it is announced to become standard this year.
 
Last edited:

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,418
Likes
495
#31
The good news is the latest Audyssey enabled units have a app available that allows quite a bit of custom tuning, it may offer a lot of options to your objections including being able to switch out that dip. It only costs $20 and I understand that Pro is now obsolete.
http://www.audioholics.com/editorials/denon-marantz-audyssey-multeq-editor-app
The bad news is that it's not available on the older unit FrantzM is looking at.

I'm teetering on the edge of buying the Marantz AV7703 for just this reason. Now that the 7704 is out, the 7703 is being closed out at $1500 everywhere.

Edit,
Pretty cool flexibility for a factory DRC rig.
This app allows users to:
  • View the Audyssey MultEQ speaker detection results, to check and modify the configuration, and adjust for any unusual speaker set-ups
  • View before and after results of the Audyssey calibration, making it easy to identify room problems and see just what changes the system is making
  • Edit the Audyssey target curve for each channel pair to suit individual tastes
  • Adjust the overall EQ frequency roll-off for each channel pair
  • Switch between two high-frequency roll-off target curves
  • Enable/Disable midrange compensation to make the sound brighter or smoother, perhaps making dialogue even clearer or taming those hard-edged soundtracks
  • Gives the home theater enthusiast even greater control over the performance of their surround sound system
  • Save calibration results for ‘piece of mind’, ready for instant re-loading should one ever need to reset their system
Cool. Progress. This is basically the inclusion of some useful features previously only in Audyssey Pro. It seems also directed at competing with Dirac, which has those features in its PC version, though not, likely yet on AVR/prepro versions.

But, @FrantzM 's Integra 80.3 would not have all those features, since an earlier Audyssey version is used and its DSP processor is not up to all those tasks.
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,912
Likes
2,118
Location
Central Fl
#32
I have no separate player in my system. I use the optical drives in the PC for direct playback by JRiver of CD, DVD and BD discs, if not already ripped to the JRiver library via those same drives. Slyfox handles DVD and BD de encryption for JRiver playback fairly seamlessly. SACD discs cannot be played directly due to DRM. I rip those to my NAS library separately via an Oppo 103 on my network, together with freeware for the de encryption. That is the Oppo's only purpose in my system, although it could network to JRiver via DLNA if I wanted to.
Man the options a complications are limitless.
I think FrantzM said he wanted his GF to be able to handle the system though.
Don't know how techie she is. LOL
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,912
Likes
2,118
Location
Central Fl
#33
Cool. Progress. This is basically the inclusion of some useful features previously only in Audyssey Pro. It seems also directed at competing with Dirac, which has those features in its PC version, though not, likely yet on AVR/prepro versions.
About time they did something to get close to Dirac without having to spend a bundle extra.
Only avavilable on the latest 2017-18 stuff from the big name Audyssey supporting manufacturers

But, @FrantzM 's Integra 80.3 would not have all those features, since an earlier Audyssey version is used and its DSP processor is not up to all those tasks.
Not sure that he actually pulled the trigger on the Integra, a good unit but a bit behind the times in the fast paced world of AV. No ATMOs or other immersive tech either.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,418
Likes
495
#35
Man the options a complications are limitless.
I think FrantzM said he wanted his GF to be able to handle the system though.
Don't know how techie she is. LOL
Yeah, Sal, I covered that several posts ago. I advised him to avoid the "Total" HTPC idea for that very reason. It might be to "flaky" for her. So, he subsequently has bought a decent prepro, as I advised, but he can still play with the PC idea as a library and input source to that. They can judge if that is still not easy enough to use. But, they can still always use regular disc players into the prepro.
 

FrantzM

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 12, 2016
Messages
803
Likes
371
#36
Back to this thread ...

I kind of moved sideways. I have now a 5.1 system with 3 LSR 308 front and 2 LSR 305 surround. Subwoofer are for now the bucket subs .. For now. i am learning with them, I will likely replace them with DIY subs from Parts Express or Ryhtmik... . PJ and screen to discuss later ... I am simply amazed by what can be accomplished with a little bit of research .. The gig plays louder than I care or anticipated it would ... 105 dB is hit with regularity ... By themselves the LSR308 and 305 scream a bit once you reach the mid-90s db SPL .. but with all of them working , such SPL is not an issue ... re-wow.. I need to put some absorption in the room, perhaps a wrap-around absorbing curtain ...

PrePro is the Integra .. it is huge... Cost me a bundle when it went through the customs ...
Thanks people!!!
 

sonci

Active Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
167
Likes
53
#37
Good luck with your set up, even though IME, a good 2.1 system is as good as it gets, for music and movies. I think HT sound is overrated and for music it sucks whatever receiver you buy..
 

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
4,912
Likes
2,118
Location
Central Fl
#38
Good luck with your set up, even though IME, a good 2.1 system is as good as it gets, for music and movies. I think HT sound is overrated and for music it sucks whatever receiver you buy..
Couldn't disagree with you more, you sound like a guy in 1955 saying mono is as good as it gets. :p
My current 5.2.4 Atmos install does incredible immersive movie sound presentations that a 2 channel system could never approach.
As for music, there are many here that will argue how big a improvement discreet 5+ channel playblack is over stereo.
Step out of the distant past @sonci, the times they are a changin.
 

TimW

Active Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
108
Likes
236
#39
Hey Frantz cool to hear you went with the JBL LSR speakers. I have a surround sound system consisting of 4 JBL LSR30X speakers and two Bic F12 subs. I thought about getting an Integra AVR with preouts from accessories4less but I wanted balanced outputs and didn't want to spend too much. I ended up getting a used Marantz AV7005 and am kind of regretting it now. The dsp features of it are very limited and almost useless, I have to have a minidsp connected to the sub output to perform room correction. Also it is incompatible with my Roku which creates odd sounds when connected via HDMI, so I have to have it connected to my Oppo BDP-105 and I can only use analog surround connections from the Oppo to avoid these sounds. I also have to use the Oppo to split the center channel signal to the fronts because the Marantz won't perform that function when using analog inputs apparently.

So I wanted to ask you what you think about your Integra Pre/Pro and if you would recommend it. Also which model is it?
 

maverickronin

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
461
Likes
331
Location
Midwest, USA
#40
My current 5.2.4 Atmos install does incredible immersive movie sound presentations that a 2 channel system could never approach.
Assuming appropriate mix or DSP processing and a properly treated room two channel is all that's needed to hear sound from any direction since you only have two ears.

Discrete multichannel is useful in that it gives a much larger sweet spot and compensates for less than perfect room treatment.
 
Top Bottom