looking to replace pio 1014 with separates. 5k budget

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jody_R, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Jody_R

    Jody_R Auditioning

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    It wasn't so long ago that I bought my Paradigm Reference Studio 40 v.3 based system and the pioneer 1014. I bought the Pio with the full intention of upgrading relatively soon after my initial purchase.

    I'm looking for that next big improvement in sound. I enjoy just sitting down and listening to music, so a great sound is more important to me than having every single recent feature. I should say that after this upgrade, I don't intend to upgrade for a long time.

    The short list of what I want for the processor is:

    -great clean sound
    -hdmi switching
    -video upconversion
    -all the basic formats up to DPL IIx
    -iLink would be very nice to have
    -auto-setup and room correction is always nice
    -upgradeability
    -great bass management and tha ability to apply settings to stuff coming in over iLink
    -a high-end look and finish is always nice to have

    -for the amp I only need 5 channels. I live in an apartment and don't anticipate needing more than that any time in the near future. I want it to be crystal clear though.
    **the one thing I like about the Pio 1014 is its ability to bi-amp the Paradigms. I'd really like to keep this capability.

    I realize that hdmi switching will lower my available choices, so I suppose I could use an external switch if worst comes to worst. I'm really most interested in sound quality, with my priority being classical music. I like movies as well, but I'm less critical about the sound during movies.

    I should say that I've always had a soft spot for McIntosh, but I fear that's out of my price range, unless I'm buying a used model that's several years old. Plus, on equipment this expensive, I'd like to have a warranty.

    Any suggestions? particularly on new products that might suit me that are just around the corner? It would be really nice to get hdmi in the processor, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
     
  2. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    $5K budget? Man, I envy you! [​IMG]

    Some brands I'd look into for the separates:

    Outlaw Audio
    Arcam
    NAD

    The 250wpc monoblocks from outlawaudio.com definitely caught my eye. Have heard nothing but good things about this company's products. Since they are Internet Direct, they probably have a 30 day trial period so you'd just be out return shipping if you don't like their stuff.

    Another option to consider is using a HT receiver with the feature list you want as pre-pro and hooking it up to the amp(s).

    BTW, what's the rest of your setup, exactly? The speakers and sub will be of at least equal if not greater influence on the system's overall SQ. If you have a Paradigm sub, I'd save something from your $5K budget for a Hsu or SVS which would be a very significant improvement.
     
  3. Victor Ferguson

    Victor Ferguson Stunt Coordinator

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    I am going second eddieZEN's recommendation on Outlaw equipment. Arcam has a good reputation for being very musical and is worthy of an audition as well.

    eddieZEN - Kudos - Im surprised your not telling him to get a Panny.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Emotiva might be worth a look too:

    http://www.av123.com/products_produc...s&product=22.1 There's a special deal on Audioholics too, that if you use their coupon code when ordering, AV123 will discount the cost of the balanced interconnects when ordering the whole package.

    Paradigm's very own sister company, Anthem might be worthy of your list as well.

    IMO, Arcam sounds great too, definitely one of the first things I'd be listening to.
     
  5. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Victor,

    > eddieZEN - Kudos - Im surprised your not telling him to get a Panny.

    LOL! Well when somebody's ready to drop 5 grand they are likely to regard a suggestion for a $250 receiver as either patently absurd or downright insulting. [​IMG]

    For the record, I don't think any of the analog gear I recommended above would be that huge of an improvement over the Panny in pure SQ, unless he's driving some really difficult 4 ohm speakers.

    However, I am quick to admit that the Panny does have a limited feature list compared to its analog counterparts especially those costing several times more. For example it has no HDMI and poor bass management (80Hz is the lowest setting), both of which the OP listed among his priorities.
     
  6. Jody_R

    Jody_R Auditioning

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    I have to say that while I'm intrigued by Emotiva, there really hasn't been a whole lot written about them on these forums. I've read a couple of good reviews, yes, but I haven't seen many user comments. Everyone knows these types of products often have quirks or little things that aren't quite as they should be. They're definitely attractive units though.

    Outlaw just doesn't appeal to me. I know they get great reviews and are good bang for the buck, but I'll be completely honest here, I want something that looks sexy too [​IMG]

    What do you guys think about going with a McIntosh integrated instead of separates? I love McIntosh in case you can't tell. Musically, do you think something like Emotiva would compare? I'm also consideriny Bel Canto off of Audiogon.

    Btw I realize Paradigm Ref Studios (have a full set, using ADPs as surrounds) aren't the typical match for a high-end setup, but I'll probably upgrade those as well, although probably in the next year as opposed to right now.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    It's high dollar stuff, so there aren't as many owners. They are also relatively new to the game, so individual reviews will also be few. You might check on their forums for private users. I know only one person who has used the Emotiva stuff and the review was positive. There's also a review of each on AH: DMC-1, and MPS-1.
     
  8. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    Arcam or Parasound would be at the top of my list if I went with separates. Don't forget about the Arcam AVR 300. It's one of the most musical receivers i've heard and it will deliver all it's rated power which a lot of receivers don't. Good luck!
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    You're going to need more than 5 channels of amplifier then.
     
  10. Shiu

    Shiu Second Unit

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    If you like crystal clear sound, you should audition a Bryston. You could try using the PIO as a prepro first and see how it goes, before going separate all the way.
     
  11. Patrick D

    Patrick D Stunt Coordinator

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    For a little over your mark I replaced my 1014 with a used Anthem AVM-30 and used Parasound Halo amps (51+21). Fantastic sound and good pairing, I think. There was an Arcam or something that was reputed to be better than the Anthem for music, but I don't recall the model (Scott said the 300, I was thinking the P700, or something like that). It was less than the Anthem new, but you could pin someone down for the Anthem used for under $2k. B-stock Halos are around also, but used is still a bit less.

    The all silver rack looks sexy, too. I almost went Outlaw but I still think of them as good B+ equipment, not A grade. I don't think I'd have felt bad with any of it. I would definately try to get some good standalone amps first and try it that way, the Pioneer wasn't all that bad.

    I just have misgivings about the real quality of the Emotiva gear, especially considering where it's sourced and the markups involved (I base this on my experience with their speakers -- nice stuff but the components were not the best you could get, and most of the value was in the pretty box and build). I doubt it would be bad either, though. Unless your speakers cost as much as your car, at this level you're spending a lot of money for that last 5%, IMO. I spent more than I intended to, but until I need to upgrade to DTS HD/Dolby Plus (which the Anthem will undoubtably support with an upgrade -- gotta love those guys), I consider myself done on the electronics side.
     
  12. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Good thing you mentioned this, as I wouldn't recommend spending 5k worth of front end on those speakers.
    BTW your original posts requirements pretty much eliminates most separates from Audiogon, as some of those features are just catching up with the "high end" just now.Quiet frankly I would wait untill you figure it what kind of speakers you wanna upgrade to, then do it all at once. Just my 2 cents.
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I agree. If you must upgrade, I'd say upgrade speakers first, then add outboard amps, then a new front end. Just my opinion. Do whatever makes you happy. Some people like spending lots of money on fancy cables which make no difference whatsoever then convince themselves that they can hear a difference that's not really there. Whatever floats your boat.

    Or you might need the switching for some specific gear, I don't know. In that case outboard switches are much more cost effective.
     
  14. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    Have you considered Rotel?
     
  15. Perry Jonkheer

    Perry Jonkheer Second Unit

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    This is easy...

    Upgrade your speakers to Paradigm Signature 8s and get the Statements to go with. I haven't heard anything better...ever.
     
  16. Scott_N

    Scott_N Second Unit

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    Patrick

    The Arcam AVP700 is the pre/pro you were thinking of. The AVP700 matched with their P1000 7-channel amp is a very good combo for music and HT.
     
  17. Jody_R

    Jody_R Auditioning

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    The initial list of features is more of a "would like to have" list than a necessity. SQ is paramount for me. I'm basically replacing everything over the next year but I want to do the electronics first.

    S-8s are getting great reviews, but they're way too big for me. One of the reasons i went with the 40s is the front port and the fact that they don't look too big for the room aesthetically. I can have them relatively close to the walls and it doesn't ruin the sound. Unfortunately, my apartment has certain constraints that i'm forced to live with for the time being. I'm thinking i'll likely upgrade to the S-4s next year though.

    There are some other speakers I'd like to listen to before I buy, notably some of Sonus Faber's stuff. However, I don't think it's that likely that i'll go that route because they don't produce a dipole speaker for the surrounds, which is absolutely essential for HT, given the configuration of the listening area. I like the Paradigm sound, but I'm very intrigued by Sonus Faber and can't wait to give them a listen because they appeal to the part of me that just loves music and quality craftmanship. I'd kill for a pair of Stradivari ;p

    Along the same lines (of SQ being paramount), i'm seriously considering increasing the budget so that I can buy used McIntosh separates. My only problem with the Macs is their apparent lack of lip-sync adjustment. I suppose I could do away with most everything on the initial list, but lip-sync is essential since I intend to be passing the video through an outboard video processor.

    If I don't go the mac route, I'm likely going the anthem route, or possibly arcam. I've never auditioned arcam though so I don't know how much faith to put in the claims about their musicality being up and above the anthem's. Still, I just love the mac look, and would love to have a couple of mac components sitting on my rack. I don't think i've ever seen better looking components.
     
  18. Perry Jonkheer

    Perry Jonkheer Second Unit

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    My father has the S4s, Signature DiPoles, the insanely enormous center, and the Anthem hardware. I must say this setup sounds absolutely amazing. The S8s are better with the Statement hardware, but then again you also have to have the logical room dimensions for such a setup. Goodluck in your search for a new HT. It's going to be so much fun!
     
  19. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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  20. Jody_R

    Jody_R Auditioning

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    awesome chuck. I hadn't thought to look for something like that. Thanks.
     

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