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Help me find my next AVR/Processor

RB23

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Dec 8, 2018
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Over the last few years, the way the family and I use various A/V components in our entertainment room has changed significantly. My current setup for 2.2 and 5.2 listening isn't providing what I'm looking for any longer and so I'm on an adventure to do some upgrading - sound familiar?

It used to be we had many external a/v sources (satellite box, DVR, XBox/PS, CD/Blue-ray, etc), but we no longer use these. With the exception of an external DAC, everything now resides in the TV as apps (AppleTV, Disney+, YouTubeTV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music, NAS media player, BT & Airplay streaming, etc). We actually don't need any video functionality in a processor except perhaps OSD of settings.

Rather than analyzing my way into specific boxes, I'd rather take advantage of this great community of like minded enthusiasts for some suggestions.

Relevant existing gear:
- 4k smart tv with hdmi 2.1
- Marantz 11.2 Pre-Pro with balanced outputs
- Topping DAC for critial listening
- Emotiva 5 channel amp with balanced inputs
- 5.2 speakers

Currently the TV outputs audio and controls the processor volume through HDMI 2.1/eARC, so only a single TV remote is used for everything. This has greatly simplified and improved the usability of the system.

Problems to be solved:
1) Bass management / Room Correction. There is Audyssey xt32 in the Marantz, but no detailed control over it. I think I can do better and am sold on Dirac.
2) Improve sound quality. While I don't claim to be able to hear it, I believe the Marantz processor isn't as competitive in the sound quality as more modern options.

Looking for a solution that has
* HDMI 2.1 / eARC for audio input & volume control
* Modern surround sound decoder (at least 5ch)
* Great measuring DAC's
* Balanced outputs
* Dirac Live

A few possible solutions
1) upgrade to a new processor that has Dirac. (no use for most input switching and video functionality) - all high $$$
2) upgrade to a new AVR with Dirac and just use pre-outs. (no use for input switching, video functionality or amps) - Perhaps Onkyo TX-RZ50
3) keep existing pre-pro and add Minidsp DDRC-88A for Dirac functionality. (concern over double A/D conversion and dated hardware)

Please weigh in if you've been down this road before.....
 

Head_Unit

Addicted to Fun and Learning
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There is Audyssey xt32 in the Marantz, but no detailed control over it.
Which model do you have? Too old to be compatible with the Audyssey App?
Preamp/processors that measure better than the best AVRs are pretty thin on the ground. We're on the same journey, wanting to match a new ATI 525nc.
 
OP
R

RB23

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Dec 8, 2018
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I'm using an older model 7702. Instead of continuing to wait for a new AVR with Dirac to become available I decided to jump in and get started with Dirac using MiniDSP. While I was in gear ordering mode, a new subwoofer dropped into my shopping cart! :p
 

hwest

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Sep 30, 2021
Messages
72
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Over the last few years, the way the family and I use various A/V components in our entertainment room has changed significantly. My current setup for 2.2 and 5.2 listening isn't providing what I'm looking for any longer and so I'm on an adventure to do some upgrading - sound familiar?

It used to be we had many external a/v sources (satellite box, DVR, XBox/PS, CD/Blue-ray, etc), but we no longer use these. With the exception of an external DAC, everything now resides in the TV as apps (AppleTV, Disney+, YouTubeTV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music, NAS media player, BT & Airplay streaming, etc). We actually don't need any video functionality in a processor except perhaps OSD of settings.

Rather than analyzing my way into specific boxes, I'd rather take advantage of this great community of like minded enthusiasts for some suggestions.

Relevant existing gear:
- 4k smart tv with hdmi 2.1
- Marantz 11.2 Pre-Pro with balanced outputs
- Topping DAC for critial listening
- Emotiva 5 channel amp with balanced inputs
- 5.2 speakers

Currently the TV outputs audio and controls the processor volume through HDMI 2.1/eARC, so only a single TV remote is used for everything. This has greatly simplified and improved the usability of the system.

Problems to be solved:
1) Bass management / Room Correction. There is Audyssey xt32 in the Marantz, but no detailed control over it. I think I can do better and am sold on Dirac.
2) Improve sound quality. While I don't claim to be able to hear it, I believe the Marantz processor isn't as competitive in the sound quality as more modern options.

Looking for a solution that has
* HDMI 2.1 / eARC for audio input & volume control
* Modern surround sound decoder (at least 5ch)
* Great measuring DAC's
* Balanced outputs
* Dirac Live

A few possible solutions
1) upgrade to a new processor that has Dirac. (no use for most input switching and video functionality) - all high $$$
2) upgrade to a new AVR with Dirac and just use pre-outs. (no use for input switching, video functionality or amps) - Perhaps Onkyo TX-RZ50
3) keep existing pre-pro and add Minidsp DDRC-88A for Dirac functionality. (concern over double A/D conversion and dated hardware)

Please weigh in if you've been down this road before.....
I am looking also looking for a new receiver very soon and I have narrowed it down to the following so I'm looking for some feedback good or bad I won't be offended. I know Amir is too busy but hopefully someone with 1/10th of his knowledge can help me out here and that would probably be good enough to get a discussion going around what makes these units good bad or?

Choices:
AudioContro Maestro X9
DAC ESS 9038Pro: S/N=140dB / THD+N -122dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N=102dB / THD -100dB / PCM 192KHz

Anthem AVM 90
DAC Ak 4499EQ: S/N=134dB / THD+N -124dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: No data / No Data /PCM 192KHz *Any insight here would be helpdful

Emotive RMC-1 16 DACS (Differential design)
DAC QTY 16 DACS Ak4490 / S/N -140dB / THD+N -112dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor S/N 123dB / PCM 24/192KHz / THD 0.000?

McIntosh MX123
DAC AK 4490EQ: S/N -123dB THD+N -112dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N 96dB / THD 0.005% / PCM 192KHz
 

hwest

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
11
Over the last few years, the way the family and I use various A/V components in our entertainment room has changed significantly. My current setup for 2.2 and 5.2 listening isn't providing what I'm looking for any longer and so I'm on an adventure to do some upgrading - sound familiar?

It used to be we had many external a/v sources (satellite box, DVR, XBox/PS, CD/Blue-ray, etc), but we no longer use these. With the exception of an external DAC, everything now resides in the TV as apps (AppleTV, Disney+, YouTubeTV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music, NAS media player, BT & Airplay streaming, etc). We actually don't need any video functionality in a processor except perhaps OSD of settings.

Rather than analyzing my way into specific boxes, I'd rather take advantage of this great community of like minded enthusiasts for some suggestions.

Relevant existing gear:
- 4k smart tv with hdmi 2.1
- Marantz 11.2 Pre-Pro with balanced outputs
- Topping DAC for critial listening
- Emotiva 5 channel amp with balanced inputs
- 5.2 speakers

Currently the TV outputs audio and controls the processor volume through HDMI 2.1/eARC, so only a single TV remote is used for everything. This has greatly simplified and improved the usability of the system.

Problems to be solved:
1) Bass management / Room Correction. There is Audyssey xt32 in the Marantz, but no detailed control over it. I think I can do better and am sold on Dirac.
2) Improve sound quality. While I don't claim to be able to hear it, I believe the Marantz processor isn't as competitive in the sound quality as more modern options.

Looking for a solution that has
* HDMI 2.1 / eARC for audio input & volume control
* Modern surround sound decoder (at least 5ch)
* Great measuring DAC's
* Balanced outputs
* Dirac Live

A few possible solutions
1) upgrade to a new processor that has Dirac. (no use for most input switching and video functionality) - all high $$$
2) upgrade to a new AVR with Dirac and just use pre-outs. (no use for input switching, video functionality or amps) - Perhaps Onkyo TX-RZ50
3) keep existing pre-pro and add Minidsp DDRC-88A for Dirac functionality. (concern over double A/D conversion and dated hardware)

Please weigh in if you've been down this road before...
 

hwest

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
11
Over the last few years, the way the family and I use various A/V components in our entertainment room has changed significantly. My current setup for 2.2 and 5.2 listening isn't providing what I'm looking for any longer and so I'm on an adventure to do some upgrading - sound familiar?

It used to be we had many external a/v sources (satellite box, DVR, XBox/PS, CD/Blue-ray, etc), but we no longer use these. With the exception of an external DAC, everything now resides in the TV as apps (AppleTV, Disney+, YouTubeTV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music, NAS media player, BT & Airplay streaming, etc). We actually don't need any video functionality in a processor except perhaps OSD of settings.

Rather than analyzing my way into specific boxes, I'd rather take advantage of this great community of like minded enthusiasts for some suggestions.

Relevant existing gear:
- 4k smart tv with hdmi 2.1
- Marantz 11.2 Pre-Pro with balanced outputs
- Topping DAC for critial listening
- Emotiva 5 channel amp with balanced inputs
- 5.2 speakers

Currently the TV outputs audio and controls the processor volume through HDMI 2.1/eARC, so only a single TV remote is used for everything. This has greatly simplified and improved the usability of the system.

Problems to be solved:
1) Bass management / Room Correction. There is Audyssey xt32 in the Marantz, but no detailed control over it. I think I can do better and am sold on Dirac.
2) Improve sound quality. While I don't claim to be able to hear it, I believe the Marantz processor isn't as competitive in the sound quality as more modern options.

Looking for a solution that has
* HDMI 2.1 / eARC for audio input & volume control
* Modern surround sound decoder (at least 5ch)
* Great measuring DAC's
* Balanced outputs
* Dirac Live

A few possible solutions
1) upgrade to a new processor that has Dirac. (no use for most input switching and video functionality) - all high $$$
2) upgrade to a new AVR with Dirac and just use pre-outs. (no use for input switching, video functionality or amps) - Perhaps Onkyo TX-RZ50
3) keep existing pre-pro and add Minidsp DDRC-88A for Dirac functionality. (concern over double A/D conversion and dated hardware)

Please weigh in if you've been down this road before.....
I was toying around with a device that splits out Audio and Video from a source and maintains Dolby Vision to my 8K TV while maintaining Dolby Atmos to send to my receiver, it works but I need to measure for any kind of noise this is a new trick just implemented today primarily for movies to get Atmos with the best picture/Dobly Vision.
 

hwest

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
11
I am looking also looking for a new receiver very soon and I have narrowed it down to the following so I'm looking for some feedback good or bad I won't be offended. I know Amir is too busy but hopefully someone with 1/10th of his knowledge can help me out here and that would probably be good enough to get a discussion going around what makes these units good bad or?

Choices:
AudioControl Maestro X9
DAC ESS 9038Pro: S/N=140dB / THD+N -122dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N=102dB / THD -100dB / PCM 192KHz

Anthem AVM 90
DAC Ak 4499EQ: S/N=134dB / THD+N -124dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: No data / No Data /PCM 192KHz *Any insight here would be helpdful

Emotive RMC-1 16 DACS (Differential design)
DAC QTY 16 DACS Ak4490 / S/N -140dB / THD+N -112dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor S/N 123dB / PCM 24/192KHz / THD 0.000?

McIntosh MX123
DAC AK 4490EQ: S/N -123dB THD+N -112dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N 96dB / THD 0.005% / PCM 192KHz
I'm eliminating Emotiva with the recent issues they have had. I'm eliminating McIntosh based on the dB rating vs the others and I understand much of the cost of making a McIntosh goes into just the nice looking chassis leaving less budget for the electronics per McIntosh's own admission. I'm still not a big fan of any AKM DAC implementation I have heard so that leaves really only 1 system for me which is the AudioControl Maestro X9 or X7 and I use balanced connections to my Emotiva amps.
 
Last edited:

hwest

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Messages
72
Likes
11
Over the last few years, the way the family and I use various A/V components in our entertainment room has changed significantly. My current setup for 2.2 and 5.2 listening isn't providing what I'm looking for any longer and so I'm on an adventure to do some upgrading - sound familiar?

It used to be we had many external a/v sources (satellite box, DVR, XBox/PS, CD/Blue-ray, etc), but we no longer use these. With the exception of an external DAC, everything now resides in the TV as apps (AppleTV, Disney+, YouTubeTV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music, NAS media player, BT & Airplay streaming, etc). We actually don't need any video functionality in a processor except perhaps OSD of settings.

Rather than analyzing my way into specific boxes, I'd rather take advantage of this great community of like minded enthusiasts for some suggestions.

Relevant existing gear:
- 4k smart tv with hdmi 2.1
- Marantz 11.2 Pre-Pro with balanced outputs
- Topping DAC for critial listening
- Emotiva 5 channel amp with balanced inputs
- 5.2 speakers

Currently the TV outputs audio and controls the processor volume through HDMI 2.1/eARC, so only a single TV remote is used for everything. This has greatly simplified and improved the usability of the system.

Problems to be solved:
1) Bass management / Room Correction. There is Audyssey xt32 in the Marantz, but no detailed control over it. I think I can do better and am sold on Dirac.
2) Improve sound quality. While I don't claim to be able to hear it, I believe the Marantz processor isn't as competitive in the sound quality as more modern options.

Looking for a solution that has
* HDMI 2.1 / eARC for audio input & volume control
* Modern surround sound decoder (at least 5ch)
* Great measuring DAC's
* Balanced outputs
* Dirac Live

A few possible solutions
1) upgrade to a new processor that has Dirac. (no use for most input switching and video functionality) - all high $$$
2) upgrade to a new AVR with Dirac and just use pre-outs. (no use for input switching, video functionality or amps) - Perhaps Onkyo TX-RZ50
3) keep existing pre-pro and add Minidsp DDRC-88A for Dirac functionality. (concern over double A/D conversion and dated hardware)

Please weigh in if you've been down this road before.....
I'm an Onkyo fan for the price level I think they are still doing something different to get great sound and the HDMI board issues have all but cleared up. I would honestly go for their Integra line as it's even better quality sound. Myself I like the crisp sound I'm getting from my PRSC-5530 Preprocessor but it has the classic Burr Browns although 7 of them. It's hard to do much better than the crisp sound of Onkyo unless you ramp up to something with Parametric EQ like the Audiocontrol Maestro X7/9 in my opinion.
 

EB1000

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Jan 8, 2020
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Location
Israel
McIntosh MX123 is nothing but an overpriced repacked Marantz av8805 with modified layout and FW and "upgraded" power supply. The on screen menus look almost exactly the same. Same for the I/O labels.

mcCrap.jpg
 

hwest

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Messages
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11
I am looking also looking for a new receiver very soon and I have narrowed it down to the following so I'm looking for some feedback good or bad I won't be offended. I know Amir is too busy but hopefully someone with 1/10th of his knowledge can help me out here and that would probably be good enough to get a discussion going around what makes these units good bad or?

Choices:
AudioContro Maestro X9
DAC ESS 9038Pro: S/N=140dB / THD+N -122dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N=102dB / THD -100dB / PCM 192KHz

Anthem AVM 90
DAC Ak 4499EQ: S/N=134dB / THD+N -124dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: No data / No Data /PCM 192KHz *Any insight here would be helpdful

Emotive RMC-1 16 DACS (Differential design)
DAC QTY 16 DACS Ak4490 / S/N -140dB / THD+N -112dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor S/N 123dB / PCM 24/192KHz / THD 0.000?

McIntosh MX123
DAC AK 4490EQ: S/N -123dB THD+N -112dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N 96dB / THD 0.005% / PCM 192KHz
Process of elimination with Emotiva issues and McIntosh being a Marantz I have narrowed my choices to just the two models below:

AudioContro Maestro X9
DAC ESS 9038Pro: S/N=140dB / THD+N -122dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: S/N=102dB / THD -100dB / PCM 192KHz

Anthem AVM 90
DAC Ak 4499EQ: S/N=134dB / THD+N -124dB / PCM 768KHz
Processor: No data / No Data /PCM 192KHz *Any insight here would be helpdful
 

hwest

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Sep 30, 2021
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What about monoprice htp-1?
Hmm. Well good point, it supports dolby vision, it has balanced inputs but it's lacking HMDI 2.1 still. It uses the AK4493 DAC do you know if it's a better implementation than the mushy/warm audio I hear from the others like Marantz, Denon, etc?
 

rccarguy

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May 9, 2020
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Hmm. Well good point, it supports dolby vision, it has balanced inputs but it's lacking HMDI 2.1 still. It uses the AK4493 DAC do you know if it's a better implementation than the mushy/warm audio I hear from the others like Marantz, Denon, etc?

Requiring full fat hdmi 2.1 makes less choice pretty sure obky ones are specific Denon marantz and Yamaha.

Hdmi 2.0 gives you more options if you don't need .1 hdmi revision
 

hwest

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Sep 30, 2021
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Requiring full fat hdmi 2.1 makes less choice pretty sure obky ones are specific Denon marantz and Yamaha.

Hdmi 2.0 gives you more options if you don't need .1 hdmi revision
I have an 8K television but not true 8K sources yet so it might be ok but that high bandwidth will be used in the near future on some devices I'm sure. Although there is never a "future" proof, I think most brands are starting to move towards 2.1 for that bandwidth reason and the future of 8K, I just wish people would start using 4K so it can be upscaled to look decent, we can't even get folks on 4K let alone 8K.
 

Grog

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Nov 30, 2021
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anyone looked at or heard the new Onkyo RZ50 with Dirac? Heard one review that it was impressive esp at 1499.00…I’m waiting for them to unload them down in the docks of San Pedro/LA where it seems everything else for Christmas is located. No one including Onkyo can give an answer as to when they will be in to the dealer…stay tuned
 
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