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Suggestions for two-channel system upgrade in late 2023

bobster

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Looking for suggestions for upgrading my 2-channel system, which I use for both music and video.

Current system:

Marantz AV7005 pre-pro with AirPlay
Emotiva BasX A-150 stereo amp

Panasonic plasma TV TC-P46G10
Oppo BDP-93 disc player - connected to Marantz via HDMI for movies and via analog for CD listening
Apple TV 4K
Thorens TD318 turntable

NAS: Synology DS218+, which hosts my iTunes library (mostly ALAC format)

Revel F36 towers


I'd like to:

- be able to stream ALAC files via the wired network. (The Marantz doesn't support ALAC.) To date I've been streaming via Air Play to the Marantz.

- replace the Marantz with something that Amir (or other reviewers who post test data here) has found to measure well.

- eventually get a higher-powered and better-measuring amp for the F36s (not necessary at the moment)

I was considering the Denon AVR-x4800H, especially if there's another sale - in October and November Adorama sold it for $1,400 and $1,300. But since I have no need, interest, or space for surround sound, it seems like overkill.

Wondering if I can piece together a system of separates for around the same price or less.

For movie audio, I could connect the Apple TV and Oppo to the television via HDMI and then feed the TV's optical out to a DAC. Is this generally a bad idea - could the TV really mess up stereo digital audio between receiving it over HDMI and sending it out via optical?

I'd also like to connect the Oppo digital or analog out to a DAC or preamp for stereo listening, though I rarely listen to CDs.

So I'd need something that has three inputs: for the turntable, the disc player, and the TV audio. If I don't get a receiver, I realize I'll need a preamp for the turntable, and that could have analog or digital outs.

(I don't need or want room correction. I realize that if I change my mind, there's MiniDSP.)

If I could let go of the option of listening to audio CDs, the WiiM Pro Plus could replace the Marantz.

The number of options is overwhelming, and that gets me thinking the AVR would be the best way to go because of the simplicity.

I'd appreciate any thoughts/suggestions.

Thanks!
 
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Daverz

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I would batch convert the ALAC files to FLAC using, for example, ffmpeg.
 
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bobster

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I would batch convert the ALAC files to FLAC

Why? Because the Marantz can play FLAC files?

Hadn't thought of this, but it seems like potentially a lot of work. Also, I rip files, create playlists, and occasionally listen to music in my home office via iTunes on a mac.

Thanks!
 
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bobster

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One possibility: replace the Marantz with these pieces of Schiit :), both recommended by Amir:

Phono preamp - e.g., Schiit Mani ($149)

Passive switch with two analog ins, one analog out - Schiit Sys ($49)

Connect the Mani and the Oppo's analog outs to the Sys, then the Sys' output to the analog input of the WiiM Pro Plus

Thoughts?
 

TurtlePaul

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Either get an OLED TV, replace the F36 or get a sub. While I wouldn’t have chosen some of the electronics you have, upgrading electronics is a waste of time. If you are going to bother with electronics, make sure you get DSP. What is your room like and have you considered treatment?
 
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bobster

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I'm happy with the TV I have, and my budget is limited. No new TV until this one breaks.

The room has wall-to-wall carpeting (which I don't like, but as a renter I have no choice...) and is treated with Real Traps mini traps and micro traps. I'm a professional musician with recording engineering experience and very good ears, and the sound in this room is good enough for my recreational listening. So I'm not interested in room correction via Audyssey, Diraq, etc.

I'm happy with the F36s. They have enough bass for me - no need for a sub (not interested in LFE for movies).
 

Daverz

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Why? Because the Marantz can play FLAC files?

Don't know about the Marantz, but FLAC is more widely supported than Apple's walled garden stuff.

Hadn't thought of this, but it seems like potentially a lot of work.

Shouldn't be much work as the conversion can be automated.

Also, I rip files, create playlists, and occasionally listen to music in my home office via iTunes on a mac.

Thanks!

I hadn't considered that anyone would use iTunes voluntarily. ;)
 

GXAlan

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I'm happy with the TV I have, and my budget is limited. … I'm a professional musician with recording engineering experience and very good ears, and the sound in this room is good enough for my recreational listening. So I'm not interested in room correction via Audyssey, Diraq, etc….
I'm happy with the F36s. They have enough bass for me - no need for a sub (not interested in LFE for movies).

My advice is still to go for upgraded speakers given that you have a great room and do not need more bass. Given that you like your speakers, you just keep saving up. I would rather have your electronics with a better speaker than better electronics with your speaker.

You could pay a high school student to convert your ALAC library to FLAC and pair it with a WiiM Pro so you have some update.

An upgraded processor won’t make much of a difference if you don’t think you will take advantage of the latest EQ or room correction. If you had eARC and a eARC TV, you get some benefits of routing everything through the TV, but you don’t need that.

1) Won’t your AppleTV 4K connect to your iTunes library and then you can supply HDMI audio to your Marantz? I haven’t used Synology to host my iTunes library for a while.

I went the route of separates for HT and separates to the integrated Marantz PM-10 for my 2ch setup. I eventually made my way toward active speakers with AV processors as front end for both rooms.

The F36 should be really good, but I am curious how the Neumann KH150 would sound in your room (if it’s in your budget), which would update your amp and speakers together. They are not as attractive as the Revels, though.

Logically, you would expect the monitors to have better imaging because they are smaller but they are still are able to push out very high SPLs through better transducers. I don’t know if that bears reality in your room, but it’s a thought.
 
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bobster

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You could pay a high school student to convert your ALAC library to FLAC and pair it with a WiiM Pro so you have some update.
I have professional batch conversion software (Myriad), so I could do it if I wanted/needed. In addition to the reasons I mentioned above for not converting to FLAC, it's not necessary for the WiiM Pro Plus - it supports ALAC, as do Denon receivers. (BTW, Apple made ALAC open source and royalty-free in 2011.)
1) Won’t your AppleTV 4K connect to your iTunes library and then you can supply HDMI audio to your Marantz? I haven’t used Synology to host my iTunes library for a while.
I don't think so, because the library is on the NAS. I haven't tested because I want to be able to play audio without the TV, Apple TV or computer involved.

Logically, you would expect the monitors to have better imaging because they are smaller but they are still are able to push out very high SPLs through better transducers. I don’t know if that bears reality in your room, but it’s a thought.

Thanks, but that's not an option, because of my limited budget, the aesthetics, and severely limited placement limitations. Oh, and I don't listen at high SPLs. (I've had enough of that on gigs!)
 
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