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Talk me down from a ledge (or don't)

vonbladet

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For a few years I have had a bunch of stereo systems based around a Lepai (or Lepy) amplifiers and thrift-shop speakers, except for the living room where I upgraded to Tannoy Mercury M3 floor-standers (which were apparently good entry level speakers in the mid 1990s; I hear rumours that things may have moved on by 2022, but that's what I have now).

For a while, the living room Lepai was fed from either a no-name Chinese Bluetooth receiver or from the television's headphone outputs, after a while I started using the Chromecast as a Spotify endpoint and using the TV output for that too, just because it was easier. (The TV doesn't have RCA outputs, to its lasting shame.) You will already have concluded that I am not very high up the audiophile foodchain, and you will be quite correct.

But recently I bought an Allo Boss2 streamer/DAC -- as glowingly reviewed here -- and that started a process of reconsidering things. The Boss2 sounds great, even through the Lepai it is streets ahead of the TV route, so I bought a passive three-way RCA switch (for 20EUR) as the simplest possible source-selector to switch between the TV and the Boss2. But excellence of the Boss2 made me think that the Lepai is surely now the weakest link in the chain, and I should replace that with Something Nice.

The sensible thing to do would be to get a Yamaha AS-801 (or 701 or 501) to act as a source-selector, pre-amp, power amp and just sit there and do everything at once and then the speakers would be the weakest link anyway. But sadly I am not remotely sensible and after reading the "why are preamps so expensive?" thread I decided to join the faction that says if your sources have volume controls, a pre-amp is arguably superfluous (if you have other solutions for source selection and you don't care about phono stages, EQ or any of the other of the benefits they can offer.)

So I bought a Topping DX3+ Pro DAC just for the TV side of the chain (using the TVs optical out and rejoicing in improved sound and a remote control for volume) and I could now replace the Lepai with a power amp by audiophonics with a Hypex module.

And that's where the wisdom of the forum comes in! I can either:

* still back down, get a Yamaha A-801 to integrate everything in one clearly sensible place, plug the TV and the Boss into it and use the Topping DAC in one of my many offices; or

* steam on regardless and have a passive source selector to switch between the Allo Boss2 and the TV->Topping routes, both running into an Audiophonics power amp.

I really want to do the second of these, obviously, and my wife is OK with a slightly deranged pile of small weird boxes (god bless her), but is it so obviously stupid that anyone here feels like trying to dissuade me?
 

Matias

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Go for it. :)
 

HarmonicTHD

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Currently the „best“ (SINAD over 90dB) one box solutions are one of the Denon X Series AVR (it has Streamer, DAC, EQ, Amp even Preouts, analogue Inputs and handles TV/HDMI). Just connect speakers. All you need really atm for Sota sound.

Sure if one likes many small boxes for any other reason. Go for it.
 

ThatM1key

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It would be nice to know what audiophonics amp you were thinking about getting.

However, I can give some Yamaha advice. The Yamaha AS801 is just a AS701 with a included outdated USB DAC. Both the AS801 and AS701 share the same power figures, so really that extra $100 is being used for an outdated USB DAC. I would recommend getting the Yamaha AS701 over the AS801 (if your going down the Yamaha route). You could plug your TV into the optical input but I never really trusted those digital inputs on these Yamaha amps. It feels like Yamaha just slapped in any digital-inputs boards they could find. My PC features an optical output, but I still use my Topping E30 (via analog), that's how much I don't trust the digital inputs on my Yamaha AS301.



AS701:
AS701.png


AS801:
AS801.png
 

delta76

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If you need a recommendation, denon x3700h. You can add an 701 or 801 later when fund is available, but x3700h alone should serve you very well for a long time
 
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vonbladet

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You are building a system around your tv. It is essentially a home theatre. Go buy an avr and be happy :)
I'm really not! The TV is a grudgingly tolerated guest in my hifi system, and the last thing I want is to encourage its megalomanias.

(This is not a sensible view, and I apologize to the Denon advocates for holding it, but it is mine and it is binding)
 
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vonbladet

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It would be nice to know what audiophonics amp you were thinking about getting.


I was thinking of the S250NC, but events have taken place since.

Specifically, I tried cranking the Lepai to halfway and using the Boss2 and Topping remotes for volume and I was already having to crank the Boss2 down to a point where the discrete volume steps were too big for comfort and I decided that

* unleashing a gazillion watts under those circumstances would not end well; and
* I actually don't need anywhere near that kind of power anyway in my tiny European living room

So I have ordered an Aiyima A07 with a 48V power supply for a pittance and I really expect that to be plenty of juice and have all the buttery mids, taut highs and supple bass I need. (And if it doesn't I now know I can bail out to a Yamaha AS701 and move this amp to one of my many pottering nooks.)

Bonus provocation: I ordered the replacement op-amp while I was at it and I fully intend to install it.
 
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vonbladet

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(I'm arguably no longer actually shopping but I still warmly invite mockery and derision -- or even advice! -- of any form)
 

delta76

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I'm really not! The TV is a grudgingly tolerated guest in my hifi system, and the last thing I want is to encourage its megalomanias.

(This is not a sensible view, and I apologize to the Denon advocates for holding it, but it is mine and it is binding)
No worries, whatever that makes you happy. I am not a denon advocate (although I am quite fond of them), just they are currently the best choice for p/p in Avr and I tend to recommend avrs due to their simplicity and features :).
 

DVDdoug

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I'm not really clear about what you're trying to improve...

which were apparently good entry level speakers in the mid 1990s; I hear rumours that things may have moved on by 2022, but that's what I have now).
Not that much has changed. Most speakers are still 2 or 3-way designs with dynamic drivers (magnet, coil, and cone or dome). Except the trend is toward smaller speakers with a separate subwoofer. (And if you don't have a subwoofer you loose the "point one" channel with surround sound.)

If you go-back farther in time they didn't have knowledge or computers & software to design & predict speaker performance so it's now easier to design a good speaker but there were/are some good speakers from 40 or 50 years ago (or longer) and some of them still work like new.

plenty of juice and have all the buttery mids, taut highs and supple bass I need.
I prefer steak and chocolate myself... :D Really, we just have noise, distortion, and frequency response (and reverb & other reflection/timing effects once we get acoustic soundwaves in a room). You can't have 3dB more butter or 3dB more clarity. Don't trust "audiophiles" that use this kind of meaningless terminology :) .
 

FrantzM

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I'm really not! The TV is a grudgingly tolerated guest in my hifi system, and the last thing I want is to encourage its megalomanias.

(This is not a sensible view, and I apologize to the Denon advocates for holding it, but it is mine and it is binding)
@vonbladet

This view is shared by many, wrongly. AVR are not seen and recognized for what they are: Intelligent Hub for any audio or audio-video system. The better examples of AVR include Digital Room Correction, for some strange but difficult to comprehend reasons, they are not advertised as such. They are advertised as Audio VIdeo Receivers... they are more, much more.
To take the example dear to some of us, the Denon AVR-X3700H, reviewed by @Amirm here. The unit is powerful, being able to deliver 168 watts (!!!) at 4 Ohms, when two channels are driven simultaneously. This seems to be you use case. 2-channel with TV picture, out of the picture (ideally) :D...
It does DRC, yes, it does, Audyssey XT32 is: In its basic use out of the AVR, adequate. It becomes "very good" with the use of a $20.oo smartphone app (on IOS and Android store). Raise to superior level of performance and usefulness with the acquisition of the PC app it transforms into a sophisticated Room correction system for up to 9 speakers with 2 subwoofers... 2-channel + 2 subwoofers is handled too..., This latter application is a bit dear at $200.oo but extraordinary flexible. and it works. The smartphone app has been reviewed by Amir and found to be very good in term of performance, if not in ergonomics...
And it is also a streamer of sort a switching center, is a Airplay, Spotify, etc, endpoint and can do multi-zone in your house...

The Denon will do more than most integrated amplifiers, safe for the >$5,000.oo Lyngdorf ... It does it all. It also has Pre-out just in case you feel all nerdy, and want to use external amplifiers ... because ... you read it somewhere..:). The 3700 cost about $1,300.oo , is of the highest performance , clearing 98 db SINAD which made it one of the best measuring AVR ever reviewed here at ASR. In most knpwedgeable people books :D, >80 dB of SINAD is tranparent 98 dB surpass Redbook PCM whic I believe to be 90 dB...
Wait, there is more :). Audyssey works with 2 or up to 9 channels with 0, 1 or 2 subwoofers. It allows the kind of integration , most integrated amplifiers don't and/or, can't.

The AVR-X3700H, does it all, has been proven reliable. What's not to like? Read the reviews. You'll understand why it is the best solution for anyone needing an amp for audio or audio-video. Get the AVR-X3700H and be done.

Peace
 
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vonbladet

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I'm not really clear about what you're trying to improve...
The sound. Right now, the amp is (quantifiably!) the weakest link, but if I fix that the speakers might be.
I prefer steak and chocolate myself... :D Really, we just have noise, distortion, and frequency response (and reverb & other reflection/timing effects once we get acoustic soundwaves in a room). You can't have 3dB more butter or 3dB more clarity. Don't trust "audiophiles" that use this kind of meaningless terminology :) .
I occasionally do Fourier analysis for a living, and if you aren't doing it on a periodic function of finite extent (or integrating to infinity in time, which is even less likely) you may be making some problematic assumptions in your mathematical modelling if you nonetheless assume sine waves is all there is (and just their amplitudes at that!).

But the adjectives were intended purely as teasing, I am not actually a card-carrying subjectivist.
 

Katji

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Don't trust "audiophiles" that use this kind of meaningless terminology :) .

^^^ "It goes with the territory."

The best / most simple solution is to filter out all except ASR, view others only via google images.
 

Dj7675

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For a few years I have had a bunch of stereo systems based around a Lepai (or Lepy) amplifiers and thrift-shop speakers, except for the living room where I upgraded to Tannoy Mercury M3 floor-standers (which were apparently good entry level speakers in the mid 1990s; I hear rumours that things may have moved on by 2022, but that's what I have now).

For a while, the living room Lepai was fed from either a no-name Chinese Bluetooth receiver or from the television's headphone outputs, after a while I started using the Chromecast as a Spotify endpoint and using the TV output for that too, just because it was easier. (The TV doesn't have RCA outputs, to its lasting shame.) You will already have concluded that I am not very high up the audiophile foodchain, and you will be quite correct.

But recently I bought an Allo Boss2 streamer/DAC -- as glowingly reviewed here -- and that started a process of reconsidering things. The Boss2 sounds great, even through the Lepai it is streets ahead of the TV route, so I bought a passive three-way RCA switch (for 20EUR) as the simplest possible source-selector to switch between the TV and the Boss2. But excellence of the Boss2 made me think that the Lepai is surely now the weakest link in the chain, and I should replace that with Something Nice.

The sensible thing to do would be to get a Yamaha AS-801 (or 701 or 501) to act as a source-selector, pre-amp, power amp and just sit there and do everything at once and then the speakers would be the weakest link anyway. But sadly I am not remotely sensible and after reading the "why are preamps so expensive?" thread I decided to join the faction that says if your sources have volume controls, a pre-amp is arguably superfluous (if you have other solutions for source selection and you don't care about phono stages, EQ or any of the other of the benefits they can offer.)

So I bought a Topping DX3+ Pro DAC just for the TV side of the chain (using the TVs optical out and rejoicing in improved sound and a remote control for volume) and I could now replace the Lepai with a power amp by audiophonics with a Hypex module.

And that's where the wisdom of the forum comes in! I can either:

* still back down, get a Yamaha A-801 to integrate everything in one clearly sensible place, plug the TV and the Boss into it and use the Topping DAC in one of my many offices; or

* steam on regardless and have a passive source selector to switch between the Allo Boss2 and the TV->Topping routes, both running into an Audiophonics power amp.

I really want to do the second of these, obviously, and my wife is OK with a slightly deranged pile of small weird boxes (god bless her), but is it so obviously stupid that anyone here feels like trying to dissuade me?
Get a Denon x3300-3700. Amps are good, DAC is fine, subwoofer outs, Audyssey EQ is fine (do get the App for $20 additional). The functionality and relative quality is very good. One of the biggest gains you will get is a way to EQ the bass in your room which is very important… All the other solutions are a bit of a mess to me and you get no EQ to EQ all of your sources.
 

sarumbear

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I'm really not! The TV is a grudgingly tolerated guest in my hifi system, and the last thing I want is to encourage its megalomanias.

(This is not a sensible view, and I apologize to the Denon advocates for holding it, but it is mine and it is binding)
For a person who says TV is a guest, you mention TV in your requirements a lot and even have a DAC for that only.
 

amper42

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I'm happy with Denon 4700 for Movies. However, I use RME ADI-2 DAC for stereo music along with Purifi amp. It's a great combination for music with the Revel F328Be. I have an older 2012 MacBook Pro connected via USB to ADI-2 DAC FS and it sounds amazing while supporting Hi-Res Audio up to 768kHz. My RPI4 is limited to 192kHz as well as the Wiim mini, so I like the option to play Higher-Res audio with the computer connection like the 24/352.8kHz Quiet Winter Night - an acoustic Jazz Project that I downloaded from HDTracks. You will find a configuration that works best for you. I used the Denon 4700 for a year with music but the ADI-2 sounded cleaner to my ears. Your milage will vary according to taste. It's hard for anyone to tell you what's best for you. There are many opinions and it's good when people find something that satisfies their ears.
 

Kuppenbender

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Glad to see you got the help you needed!
 
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vonbladet

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@vonbladet

The AVR-X3700H, does it all, has been proven reliable. What's not to like? Read the reviews. You'll understand why it is the best solution for anyone needing an amp for audio or audio-video. Get the AVR-X3700H and be done.

Peace

First review I stumbled on was from arch-subjectivists at WhatHiFi (whomst I hope it isn't a banning offence to cite):

We would also suggest finding a dedicated stereo amp for your music playback, too, but the Denon is still rather impressive as far as sub-grand home cinema amps are concerned.

For what it's worth I am now taking the Denons seriously as a sensible alternative, but I still don't plan to make a sensible choice this time round.

(Also I am worried that AVRs and home cinema generally is a hostage to fortune. This one supports "all the latest HDMI" stuff, but latestness is a function of time, and I even remember a time before HDMI at all and I can probably imagine one after it with modest effort.)
 
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