AVR 520 Mini Review from a Novice.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Baloga, Aug 28, 2002.

  1. Jim Baloga

    Jim Baloga Agent

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    I am trying to replace my old Pioneer D1S, I have ordered and returned the Pioneer 811s, due to poor music sound.

    I just picked up the AVR 520 and while it sounds much better than the 811s, it still falls a little short for music.

    I'm a little unhappy, I never considered myself an "audiophile" or to be "picky" but I fell in love on how the D1S sounded with the B&W's.

    My last resort is to go to a higher end dealer where I purchased the speakers and listen to them with some of their receivers. I wasn't looking to spend that much, but I might have to.

    I like the way the 520 looks and I'm sure it rocks for HT, so if the other receivers don't "blow my socks off", I might stick with it.

    I will let you know what happens.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Jim
     
  2. MikeRP

    MikeRP Supporting Actor

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    Jim:

    I'm suprised about your eval of the 520. I really like it for music. Also some of the other modes sound very good on music in 5.1. I like DPL2 in Cinema for music especially.

    Check out the AVR 520 posts on this forum and the posts on AVSFORUM.com for the same - interesting reading.

    Play with the settings - you might find you like the 520 more than you tink right now.

    Mike
     
  3. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Jim,
    You might want to try Marantz. I think their overall 'Musicalness' is slightly superior to H/K....and I love my H/K's. [​IMG]
    Or, if you can afford it, add in an amp for the mains. I use an 855A with my 510 using passive bi-amping for the fronts and Music & HT both are very sweet.
     
  4. Dan HH

    Dan HH Auditioning

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    Unfortunately I had a similarly disappointing experience with a H/K 320 and music playback. My existing setup is a H/K Signature 2.0 pre/pro (a very good, but somewhat dated piece) and a Rotel RB-976 60 watt per channel 6 channel amp.

    I have been very happy with that combo for both music and HT, but was eager to try the newer formats, especially DPLII and Logic7. I was concerned about stepping from a separate pre/pro to a receiver, but based on the very favorable reviews of the 520/320, I thought I would give it a try.

    The 320 using its own internal amps was great with HT. But, when I put some CD's on I felt that something was missing. Even my wife agreed. I do not consider myself an audiophile, and I am unfamiliar with audiophile lingo, so it is difficult for me to describe what was lacking. Essentially, the music sounded more muddy, with each individual instrument sounding less distinct. Bass was stronger though.

    Surprisingly, hooking the 320 up to my Rotel amp did almost nothing to change the sound. In fact, my wife could not tell the difference at all between the 320's internal amp's and the Rotel. This may be because I have relatively high sensitivity speakers that are an easy load.

    Ultimately, the 320 is going back to the store. It was great for HT, and based on my comparison to the Rotel, it has very good internal amps. As a 2 channel pre/pro though, although good, in my opinion it left something to be desired for music. Now I am again looking for a suitable upgrade for the Signature 2.0.

    Dan
     
  5. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    I have one word - POWER

    Although HK systematically under-rates their amps compared to some manufacturers, the B&W need more Juice to light them up.

    Keep the 520 and add a Stereo Amp and you be a happy camper.

    John
     
  6. Tim Baldwin

    Tim Baldwin Stunt Coordinator

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    Dan,
    I have deliberated for a long time in a similar situation. I am much more finicky about music repro than movies. I considered a flagship receiver, or modest pre-pro and multi-ch amps, but have decided on an alternate course. I've decided on a low-mid range receiver (like the 520, 4ES, 3802, etc) which I will change fairly frequently as new formats arrive. I will combine this with a 2-ch preamp and amp (or integrated) for stereo music. This should give me very good music, good-enough movies, and require modest outlay to keep up with new formats. It does, however, not yield very good multi-ch music repro - although some might say that is an oxymoron [​IMG]
     
  7. Jim Baloga

    Jim Baloga Agent

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    So, Is the consensus that if I add a good quality amp to the HK, I will get the sound of the D1S and the technology of the 520?

    Or do I just move to a Pioneer Elite model?

    This is insane.
     
  8. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    If you add a good quality amp for frontstage or 2 channel improvement to the 520, not only will the sound you seek improve but you will still have two amps when you are done. The 520 is an amp by itself which can always be put to use in the future. An all-in-one receiver cannot give you this.
     
  9. Jim Baloga

    Jim Baloga Agent

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    Ok, so what would I look for in an amp?
     
  10. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Something warm that matches the H/K sound character. I personally recommend Parasound but there are several makers of warm sounding amps out there. In terms of power...get as much as you can afford and your speakers will be comfortable with...say 125-200W. You will love the difference this makes with Music.

    A 2 channel should suffice but some get a 3 channel for the entire frontstage both for HT and multi-channel Music. Others might recommend monoblocks but your costs will elevate.
     

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