• 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.

Is there a "best choice" among pre/pro units under $3,000?

Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
#1
I realize this is subjective (to a certain extent,) but is there any AV pre/pro unit under $4K list price that has been favorably reviewed here? (note: I am looking for a used unit in the $1500 to $1800 range.) I've looked at the reviews for Marantz AV8802 and Anthem AVM60, as well as a few models of Denon. Based on Amir's measurements and assessments, they all seem to have major shortcomings. I am on a defined budget. Already have a 7x125 channel power amp, and will pick up a 4 channel amp for the Atmos ceiling speakers. Plan B is to get an 11.2 capable AVR, to use as a processor and use its internal amps to power the extra four speakers. Note: not doing the buildout until November - unsure where the subs will go - might want balanced connections in case one has towards rear of the room.
I KNOW I will have to make compromises... just want to get the most for my money.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #3
The reviews on this site - by Amir - showed significant issues with low-level noise and lack of accuracy in the DACs, especially for music. Both of the models I'm interested in got what we're described as failing grades. With the Anthem AVM60, he stated that it should have delivered the same measurements as the AVR they sell which is essentially the same unit but includes the amplifier section. In his closing statements he said that he suspected he had a broken unit and that Anthem needed to provide him with a different one. I'm not questioning his measurements or his judgment, as he is scientifically very astute and has a great deal of experience. But I'm more interested in is people's practical experience using either or both of these units for Atmos surround and for two channel music playback. When I read reviews of these elsewhere, they seem to stack up relatively equal to one another, with some people believing that the anthem is better for music playback and that the marantz's better for video pass through. A friend of my wife's highly technical and built out of home theater during the past several years suggested that Marantz was the best choice because they are very good about issuing firmware updates, which are very easy to install.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #5
Go with plan b. Buy a denon AVR used 8500h would serve u nicely.
That would work if not for the fact that it sells for $3,500 nearly everywhere in the used Market - sometimes more. I'm targeting something that has an original retail price of about $3,500 but will be available used this fall for $1,600 up to $1,800.
 

amper42

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
573
Likes
526
#6
That would work if not for the fact that it sells for $3,500 nearly everywhere in the used Market - sometimes more. I'm targeting something that has an original retail price of about $3,500 but will be available used this fall for $1,600 up to $1,800.
For home theatre, I use the Denon 4700 in full pre-out mode with external amps. The unit sounds great and Audyssey offers lots of EQ control. It measures better than most of the Marantz models. Updates are over rated. Even though both Denon and Marantz offer them it's usually better to let others be the guinea pigs before jumping in. The Denon 6700 would be a great choice too. However, for running in full pre-out mode I don't see much difference between the 4700 and 6700 except my wallet would be lighter.
https://listenup.com/denon-avr-x4700h-8k-av-receiver.html
https://listenup.com/denon-avr-x6700h-8k-av-receiver.html
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #7
For home theatre, I use the Denon 4700 in full pre-out mode with external amps. The unit sounds great and Audyssey offers lots of EQ control. It measures better than most of the Marantz models. Updates are over rated. Even though both Denon and Marantz offer them it's usually better to let others be the guinea pigs before jumping in. The Denon 6700 would be a great choice too. However, for running in full pre-out mode I don't see much difference between the 4700 and 6700 except my wallet would be lighter.
https://listenup.com/denon-avr-x4700h-8k-av-receiver.html
https://listenup.com/denon-avr-x6700h-8k-av-receiver.html
Thanks! That looks like a good bet, and saves me from having to spend another $400 to $500 on an extra 4 channel amp.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
50
Likes
32
#8
I realize this is subjective (to a certain extent,) but is there any AV pre/pro unit under $4K list price that has been favorably reviewed here? (note: I am looking for a used unit in the $1500 to $1800 range.) I've looked at the reviews for Marantz AV8802 and Anthem AVM60, as well as a few models of Denon. Based on Amir's measurements and assessments, they all seem to have major shortcomings. I am on a defined budget. Already have a 7x125 channel power amp, and will pick up a 4 channel amp for the Atmos ceiling speakers. Plan B is to get an 11.2 capable AVR, to use as a processor and use its internal amps to power the extra four speakers. Note: not doing the buildout until November - unsure where the subs will go - might want balanced connections in case one has towards rear of the room.
I KNOW I will have to make compromises... just want to get the most for my money.
How man channels do you need, Honesty the Denon/Marantz stuff in Pre Amp mode are just as clean if not more clean than some of the more esoteric processors that are available. Dene DellaSala was ranting and raving about the SR8015 when it was in pre-amp mode. Personally I have a x4700h and I plan on eventually running it in preamp mode and using the Monoprice 11 channel amplifier with it for a incredible separates set up for a fraction of the cost. The only downside to this set up is that you don't get balanced pre-outs, but i've heard that many of the processors like the Marantz AV8805 aren't actually electrically balanced and just have the XLR connectors on the back, so It really doesn't matter all that much.

 
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
50
Likes
32
#9
That would work if not for the fact that it sells for $3,500 nearly everywhere in the used Market - sometimes more. I'm targeting something that has an original retail price of about $3,500 but will be available used this fall for $1,600 up to $1,800.
The Denon ARV-x6700h will now process 13.2 channels just like the x8500 does, if you don't need the built in amps, this is the way i'd go if you find a really good dealer you could probably get the 6700 close to $2000, my dealer gave me a $500 discount on the 4700.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #10
I need 11 channels of processing (L, C, R, 2 side surrounds, 2 rear surrounds, 4 Atmos ceiling speakers.) I already have a 7 channel external amp. I can just use four channels of amplifier power from an AVR to power the ceiling speakers. I'm inclined to think I won't really need the balance to interconnects because my interest in having those would only be if the cable runs to the two subwoofers were going to be really long, but that's unlikely. My hope is to position them on the front wall on the outside of the main towers. That should be a run of no more than 20 ft or less. The reason I'm asking about a pre-pro is because some of them, including the Anthem Avm 60, are described as having better performance with music than some other models. Anticipate at least 50% of my usage is going to be 5.1 surround music listening. Among the AVR and pre-pro models in my price range, it's the really going to be much difference for music,?
 

Breedeng

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
94
Likes
57
Location
Suffolk, VA
#11
Regarding sounding better with music, that has to be generated solely by the opinion of someone which then gets passed along in fourums or social media. We all want “our” stuff to be accepted and praised. Hence the origin of a listener’s bias. Particularly if we’ve just purchased the item. This forum uses measurements and features to separate AVRs not subjective opinions of current owners. On this forum Denon AVRs have shown they have the best measurements and engineering hygiene among comparable brands.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #12
Regarding sounding better with music, that has to be generated solely by the opinion of someone which then gets passed along in fourums or social media. We all want “our” stuff to be accepted and praised. Hence the origin of a listener’s bias. Particularly if we’ve just purchased the item. This forum uses measurements and features to separate AVRs not subjective opinions of current owners. On this forum Denon AVRs have shown they have the best measurements and engineering hygiene among comparable brands.
That is exactly the kind of answer I was hoping to find. Thank you for being so straightforward!
 

Steve Dallas

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
458
Likes
811
Location
A Whole Other Country
#13
I need 11 channels of processing (L, C, R, 2 side surrounds, 2 rear surrounds, 4 Atmos ceiling speakers.) I already have a 7 channel external amp. I can just use four channels of amplifier power from an AVR to power the ceiling speakers. I'm inclined to think I won't really need the balance to interconnects because my interest in having those would only be if the cable runs to the two subwoofers were going to be really long, but that's unlikely. My hope is to position them on the front wall on the outside of the main towers. That should be a run of no more than 20 ft or less. The reason I'm asking about a pre-pro is because some of them, including the Anthem Avm 60, are described as having better performance with music than some other models. Anticipate at least 50% of my usage is going to be 5.1 surround music listening. Among the AVR and pre-pro models in my price range, it's the really going to be much difference for music,?
The 4700 allows you to turn off the front LR channels or all channels. If you intend to use 4 channels of amplification, 3 channels will still be running unused, which is less than ideal. In this configuration, the AVR likely will not outperform one of the better processors. Best to turn off all amps and use all external amplification.

In your situation, you can create a second preset for 5.1 music and turn off all the amps. In that mode, the AVR will be at its cleanest. I do this with my setup, but I run mine 2.2, as I do not care for music in 5.1 except in rare circumstances. Some internal amps for movies and TV, no internal amps for music.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #14
The 4700 allows you to turn off the front LR channels or all channels. If you intend to use 4 channels of amplification, 3 channels will still be running unused, which is less than ideal. In this configuration, the AVR likely will not outperform one of the better processors. Best to turn off all amps and use all external amplification.

In your situation, you can create a second preset for 5.1 music and turn off all the amps. In that mode, the AVR will be at its cleanest. I do this with my setup, but I run mine 2.2, as I do not care for music in 5.1 except in rare circumstances. Some internal amps for movies and TV, no internal amps for music.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #15
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. This has me feeling like I should go back to looking at a separate processor and just plunking down the cash for the four channel Emotiva amp when it's back in stock.
 

Steve Dallas

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
458
Likes
811
Location
A Whole Other Country
#16
Thanks for the thoughtful reply. This has me feeling like I should go back to looking at a separate processor and just plunking down the cash for the four channel Emotiva amp when it's back in stock.
Hang on. With all amps off, Denon AVRs outperform most processors and do it at lower cost with fewer bugs.

And you will not notice the SINAD difference for movies and TV anyway--especially if streaming your content.
 

enricoclaudio

Active Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
180
Likes
275
#17
I personally own a Denon X6500H (bedroom setup) and a Denon X6700H (living room setup). Both configured as pre amps as I drive all my speakers with external amps. To be honest, after owning a few receivers/processors, including Marantz SR7008, Emotiva XMC-1, Anthem AV60, ARCAM AV40 and JBL SDP-55, I can say that the Denon's have been the most reliable receivers/processors of all. Not to mention that they sound great. I don't see myself getting any other processor or receiver in the future different than Denon. Funny story is that when I got them, I did it without knowing the fact that they measured much better than any other processor or receiver tested here at ASR by Amir. That would have saved me lot of time and $$$.
 
OP
P
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
19
Likes
6
Thread Starter #18
Hang on. With all amps off, Denon AVRs outperform most processors and do it at lower cost with fewer bugs.

And you will not notice the SINAD difference for movies and TV anyway--especially if streaming your content.
Thanks!
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
50
Likes
32
#19
I personally own a Denon X6500H (bedroom setup) and a Denon X6700H (living room setup). Both configured as pre amps as I drive all my speakers with external amps. To be honest, after owning a few receivers/processors, including Marantz SR7008, Emotiva XMC-1, Anthem AV60, ARCAM AV40 and JBL SDP-55, I can say that the Denon's have been the most reliable receivers/processors of all. Not to mention that they sound great. I don't see myself getting any other processor or receiver in the future different than Denon. Funny story is that when I got them, I did it without knowing the fact that they measured much better than any other processor or receiver tested here at ASR by Amir. That would have saved me lot of time and $$$.
THIS
 

Steve Dallas

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
458
Likes
811
Location
A Whole Other Country
#20
To elaborate on this, Denon receivers support 2 speaker configuration presets. The presets save and contain all speaker settings and individual Audyssey profiles. You can switch between them with the push of a button. In my media room, I have:

Preset 1: Movies: Front LR amps off, all other amps on, 7 speakers with 2 subs configured with Audyssey
Preset 2: Music: All amps off (preamp mode), 2 speakers with 2 subs configured with Audyssey

The front LR are always powered by a Nova 300.

I use the AVR's amps for center and surround duties in preset 1 for movies and TV.

The AVR is at its cleanest in preset 2, when I need it to be. Since you have 5 channels of external amplification, you can do the same thing for your 5.1 setup.

We talk about SOTA engineering on this forum, but some level below that is acceptable to human hearing in a typical domestic environment. I can't put a number on that, but I find Denon AVRs to be at least as good as my hearing. I have a Schiit Modius with 113dB SINAD sitting next to the AVR, which allows me to bypass the AVR and use a laptop to feed Dirac processed music directly into the Nova 300. The only difference I can hear (with subs turned off) is the difference between Audyssey and Dirac. One does not sound better than the other to me from a hardware perspective.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom