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Need help - receiver/amp to drive B&Ws


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveRana

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Posted May 29 2007 - 03:22 AM

My Outlaw A/V receiver is toast and I need some recos for a new one. I have B&W 600 series speakers in a 5.1 set up. Looking to get an A/V receiver that performs well in a 5.1 mode but also in stereo mode for listening to music. Will it suffice to get a good receiver or should I get a receiver and a pair of amps for listening to music? I'm not a true audiophile but can discern good sound from bad. So, looking to spend 500 or so. TIA

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff_CusBlues

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Posted May 29 2007 - 03:49 AM

I use a Rotel RSX-1056 to drive two 601 S3, two 602 s3 and an LCR600 S3. For me, this has been a great combination both for movies and for music. I believe the RSX-1056 is now replaced with the RSX-1057. The main difference appears to be the addition of two HDMI ports. Good Luck. Edit: I just saw your price range. You can't get the Rotel for $500. Sorry about that. I'm sure somebody else can recommend something in the $500 price range.

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Thornhill

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Posted May 29 2007 - 09:18 AM

I have an almost identical set-up to Jeff and also vouch for Rotel with B&W's.
I know it's not in your budget, but check it out. You might look for an older model like mine or Jeff's on ebay or somewhere else. Or wait until you can pick one up they are definitely worth it IMO. Posted Image
My HT Setup:
 Fronts: B & W DM603 S3  Rears: B & W DM602 S3  Center: B & W LCR600 S3  Sub Woofer: SVS PB-2 PLUS                                                                                                                                  

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   MaxL

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Posted May 29 2007 - 10:12 AM

yeah, i think you're gonna have a hard time finding the kind of amplification you're looking for in that price range. but there are a couple things that pop to mind.
1 - this marantz from onecall. it's video connections are a bit out-dated (no HDMI here) but if that's not important to you, this piece should sound noticeably better than anything out there for $400 new. it also has 7.1 channel pre-outs, which are hard to find at this end of the price scale.

which leads to suggestion 2 - marantz ma 500 monoblock amps. saturday audio has 3 listed in their used section for $175 each. you could drive all of your front channels or just your mains using these and the above receiver. yes they're old, but they should still sound great.

and finally option 3 - a used NAD t762 also from saturday audio for $400. it's an '02 so no HDMI but still has pre-outs.

edit: bad link fixed
HT: Marantz SR8000, PSB Alpha B fronts, Alpha C center, CSW Newton S200 surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo Sub, Marantz DVD, Sony CRT TV

Stereos include vintage Sony receivers/amps into vintage AR and KEF speakers.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveRana

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Posted May 29 2007 - 02:07 PM

Thanks for all your replies. I'm wondering...won't a Yamaha HTR-6040 cut it? Maybe this receiver and a couple of amps to drive the fronts, for music? I guess the question is....what's the big advantage of getting a NAD or Rotel over this $250 Yamaha? Just looking to see if it is worth it for *me* to spring 1k for a receiver......sorry for the noob questions. TIA

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted May 30 2007 - 02:52 AM

Any decent receiver should be able to drive 600 series B&Ws. I've used a plethora of receivers with my old 602s ranging from an inexpensive receiver to entry level separates and no matter what's driving them they always sound like a million bucks. Personally I like the style of Onkyo, Pioneer, Harman/Kardon. I've never been a big Yamaha receiver fan. Currently I'm using an Integra DTR7 that I got used for about $300.

The Marantz mentioned above has the wrong link. The link is http://www.onecall.c...s.aspx?id=33254 . If I were shopping today that would probably be what I would buy. My brother recently got it to replace a very old fried Onkyo receiver, I haven't asked him how he likes it.
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveRana

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Posted May 30 2007 - 03:56 AM

The Marantz listed about doesn't have HDMI ports. I'm wondering if I should just get an Onkyo that does have them? A week before my Outlaw receiver died, I picked up a 50" Panasonic plasma TV that has two HDMI ports so might as well start using them. What's a good Onkyo 5.1 (7.1 can't hurt) receiver that has HDMI ports?

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   MikeNg

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Posted May 30 2007 - 04:26 AM

Expand your budget a little and consider the Denon AVR2807. Price may go down on them as they will be coming out with new products this summer.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted May 30 2007 - 04:40 AM

Why do you need HDMI Ports in the receiver? Just plug your HDMI devices straight to the TV. As far as I'm concerned, Onkyo stuff is good all the way up the range.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveRana

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Posted May 30 2007 - 05:56 AM

I can go up in budget but my speakers are 10 yrs old. In good shape but still, old. When I move house, I'll probably get Martin Logans and that's when I'll get a beefy amp/receiver. So right now, I don't want to go overboard. Thanks for your suggestion though. I'll take a look at the Denon. How's Denon's reliability vis-a-vis that of Onkyo?

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveRana

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Posted May 30 2007 - 06:01 AM

To be honest, the first time I heard of HDMI was a week ago by a visiting relative. Two days later my receiver died and that's when I started looking up what's new. Anyway, I thought HDMI bundles audio/video in one cable. It will make sense to connect the DVD player to the receiver via HDMI and then HDMI from the receiver to the TV...so that the receiver can split the audio/video signal....send the audio to the speakers and video to the TV via HDMI. Maybe I got this all wrong.... but then why do receivers have HDMI ports?

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 30 2007 - 07:58 AM

How large are these B&Ws you own? Small bookshelfs or floorstanders with dual woofers? Because despite their published efficiency/SPL ratings, compared to other types of speakers, highly accurate speakers like theirs always need a beefier amp (relative to more "colored" speaker brands) to drive them to their full potential. And obviously, how large your room is and your own listening level preference has a lot to do with the type of amp you need. And in the future if you choose a Martin-Logan with an electrostatic panel, personally speaking I wouldn't bother with any receiver - I would go straight for a preamp/power amp combination. Electrostatics are notoriously diffcult electrical loads (they usually have very low impedance ratings but especially, they are capacitive devices i.e. they act like temporary batteries) and the amp driving them needs to be really well built. Though maybe the ML's with the smaller panels - say around 3ft X 6" - can operate O.K. with a receiver in the $3000 or so range.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 30 2007 - 08:00 AM

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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   DaveRana

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Posted May 30 2007 - 08:21 AM

The front B&Ws are floor standers with dual woofers - 604s; the rears and center speaker are bookshelfs. I listen to music as much as I watch movies and so, I'd like the amp/receiver to have adequate power to drive the front speakers alone for music tracks. I value clear, distortion-free sound more than bells and whistles. Thanks for the info on Martin Logans but I'll get to them when I get to them. For now, I really need to order a decent receiver to run my set up for the next 3-5 yrs. Oh, I also have a powered SVS sub and a 50" Panasonic Plasma and a nothing-fancy Sony DVD player.

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff_CusBlues

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Posted May 30 2007 - 11:41 AM

I agree with Phil here. I hook my cable box directly to my Toshiba DLP set via HDMI (actually DVI to HDMI) and have always wondered why I would need a receiver with HDMI. It is also one less item (the video) I need to switch with my receiver.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 30 2007 - 05:57 PM

If those floorstanders use dual 6.5" woofers, then pretty much no receiver under $500 can really drive them 100%.

But you could buy a less expensive receiver with preouts, like a Pioneer VSX-816 for about $300 and with the remainder + a few more additional $$ buy a separate and much gutsier stereo power amp (use the receiver's internal amps to drive the surrounds and center). Here's a basic one from AudioSource. Never owned their gear myself, but played around with their amps at Fry's & they seem to be built quite well for their price.

External amps may have the same numerical wattage rating as the VSX-816 but the conditions they actually rate most external amps' power are usually much more realistic (which is why the amp above weighs so much more).

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted May 31 2007 - 05:20 AM

I completely disagree. That might be true (though I don't think so) if we're talking about a full range signal (which the speakers can't accurately reproduce anyway), but for a frequency limited signal with a subwoofer in the mix (this is a 5.1 system) there should be no problem with virtually any receiver on the market. My 602s are 10 years old also and I expect that I'll still be using them 10 years from now. Good sound doesn't get old.
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#18 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 31 2007 - 06:40 AM

Philip: most of the reason I suggested the external power amp idea was that he mentioned "clear, distortion-free sound" but wasn't sure how large his listening room is.........though to be honest, I forgot he said that for music "drive the front speakers alone", "alone" being the key word i.e. the receiver's power supply only has to operate two channels then. Oops. Posted Image

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   MikeNg

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Posted May 31 2007 - 07:28 AM

Phil beat me to the punch. That's my feeling also. "Clear, distortion-free sound" can be had if you use quality amplifiers (many lower quality amps in receivers will audibly distort way before they reach their peak). Many modern AVR's these days have enough headroom to do that at pretty high levels. Rotel, HK, Denon, Adcom, NAD to name a few. So unless there's an unusual load being presented by his speakers, I don't think that'll be a problem. In addition, the better receiver will have discreet circuitry for their amp section.




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