Best receiver to match B&W 300 series speakers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Fran Lu, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. Fran Lu

    Fran Lu Extra

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    I'm starting to piece together my home theater. I like the sound and affordability of the 300 series (303 bookshelves, 300 center and 300 sub), and need a receiver that will be best paired with these speakers.

    I know that the Denon 3803 has received high ratings, but have not heard it with the B&Ws before. I have heard an Integra receiver coupled with Paradigm Performance series speakers and liked the sound of that. Just curious what people suggest.

    My intended use will be not only be for home theater, but a good portion will also be used for music as well.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    Dude,

    The Rotel 1055 which I have will work very well with your speakers. The Denon should sound great as well. Both receivers do music VERY well albeit with somewhat different attitudes....Good Luck
     
  3. Luke_Lemmings

    Luke_Lemmings Stunt Coordinator

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    I would have to say that the Rotel 1055 is a better match with your B&W. Denon does NOT do music very well at all comparatively and if a good portion will be music I would not suggest the 3803.
     
  4. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    If you want something that works well for HT but is also very musical try the Arcam AVR200 (DD/PLII/DTS 5.1) at $1200 or the forthcoming AVR300 (DD EX/PLIIx/DTS ES 7.1) at $2000. Arcam has a great reputation for being excellent for both music and HT audio, and I've been very pleased with mine (the AVR200). I also have an Arcan Alpha 10 2-channel Integrated Amp I use for playing LPs and it's excellent.

    see...
    www.aslgroup.com
    www.arcam.co.uk

    Dean
     
  5. CarlosM

    CarlosM Stunt Coordinator

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    I dont think the Arcam, or Rotel recievers is what Fran Lu is looking for, considering the leading characterisitic of the DM300 series being affordability...

    Fran: I use an HK AVR-225 (55x5) to power my DM 602 S3's, DM 601 S3's, and LCR60. Im running them with 12ga Sound King, in a small room (16x11.5, opening up into a very small dining room), and I must say... at reference levels i am floored and enjoy the level and quality of the HK..

    It cost me 317 shipped from Harman Kardon's e-bay store (it was refurbished with full 2yr warranty).

    You may want to consider the HK line. The 525 model has a bit more power, but will cost you a significant amount more.

    Their site is very informative as far as specs go.
     
  6. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    I have a buddy who runs 2 pair of the 303's and the matching center. He uses a Denon 2803. It sounds fantastic with movies and music. He uses an Adire Rava sub.
    My setup cost considerably more than his (which i put together for him staying in his budget) but i'm impressed with it. YMMV.
     
  7. Fran Lu

    Fran Lu Extra

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    I suppose what "sounds good" is such a subjective thing. But what's frustrating is that it's tough to compare when you don't have all of the equipment that you're interested in always available in the store. One retailer will carry B&Ws, but not H/K and doesn't have Denon in stock. Another will carry Paradigms, but not Denons. ANd the "superstores" absolutely suck for any kind of auditioning.

    When I auditioned the 303s, I believe I was listen to them through a Rotel receiver. That being the case, I loved the way it all sounded... very natural, very smooth.

    Now, I am willing to spend a little more on a receiver that is a solid performer and will last awhile. From what I gather on the Rotel site, you can upgrade the 1055 with software updates - which I guess I'm unsure what that really means. All of which is to say, I'd spend a couple extra hundred bucks if I know it's going to be a worthwhile purchase, and is in my budget. My cap for a receiver will probably be $1300. That being the case, I take it the Rotel 1055 still falls within the budget?
     
  8. CarlosM

    CarlosM Stunt Coordinator

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    well Fran, you'd definetely be satisfied with the Rotel, but I dont think you'd be justified in spending that much on a receiver when you're spending so little on speakers, compared.

    over 50% of your total cost being devoted to the receiver is just lopsided, and i really believe you'd get more benefit out of downgrading the reciever, and upgrading the speakers, possibly to the 600 series.

    a rotel reciever would just be overkill, and i dont think its needed if the 300 series is your target.
     
  9. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    I disagree with CarlosM and other's assesment of what to allocate to a receiver in a budget. There's nothing wrong with buying a great receiver with small speakers. It's likely to make the speakers sound much better.

    Great speakers matched with a mediocre receiver, OTOH, may do nothing more than reveal the flaws of a cheaper receiver and end up not sounding anywhere as good as they should. The whole thing could end up sounding worse than a good receiver with smaller speakers.

    Dean
     
  10. CarlosM

    CarlosM Stunt Coordinator

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    but we are not talking about great speakers with a cheap receiver. We're talking about B&W's lowest model with a modest reciever like HK or Denon.


    While I support your theory of not matching great speakers with cheap receiver, this is not that case.


    He would be better off pairing a modest reciever with better speakers (as in upgrading to the 600 series), than a better reciever with modest speakers (a $1300 rotel reciever for B&W 300 series)
     
  11. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    You're welcome to believe that but I don't. I stand by what I already said, even with relation to lower cost gear. You'd be amazed at how relatively inexpensive speakers can shine when backed by good quality source and pre/pwr-amplification. Good speakers are wasted if they aren't being driven with appropriate quality and power.

    But the best suggestion I can make to anyone is to judge for themself. Try it both ways and let your ears be the final judge. It's the only proper way to build your own system anyway.

    Personally, I put my money on the source first and work my way to the output. I spent more on my DVD player than on my receiver (although that won't be true in a month or so). On my LP playback system my turntable is by far the costliest component.

    Dean
     
  12. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    lol
     
  13. Fran Lu

    Fran Lu Extra

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    Would this be a fair analogy: an HDTV signal (source) to EDTV device(output)? So, if you have a higher grade source, your output is likely to look (or in my case, sound) better, even if you don't have an equally higher quality output device?

    Granted, if you had a POS output device (1970's B&W TV), a high-grade source wouldn't make a bit of difference. But, if you had fairly decent quality output device, you'd see remarkable differences, no? I'm sure even though the DM303s are affordable, I don't think people would consider them "junk".

    So is this a fair assessment?

    Of course, this isn't to say that I necessarily NEED to spend $1300 on a receiver. I may be happy with the $800 receiver, but, it's nice to have a range of options to decide on. I think, again - it's the ability to actually audition all the various pieces in a single environment so that I can actually compare apples to apples.

    Curious though... I downloaded the Home Theater Brochure off of the Rotel site, only to notice that the piece was co-sponsored by B&W speakers. Is there some connection with the two companies?
     
  14. BobJ

    BobJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, there is.

    I agree it would be nice to hear everything together, but it's often not possible. One thing I try in this situation is to try and listen to the same "level" of equipment. While not the same to listening to the exact equipment you want, it will give you some idea.

    Of course everything is subjective and will depend on your own preferences.

    That said, a good pair of quality small speakers driven by a very good source will sound better than when driven by a crappy or average source. Speaker size my be limited by room size or other considerations (WAF, for example), but the source will be limited only by your budget.

    Don't believe me? Listen to the 300's with the cheapest receiver in the store and then try the Rotel. The difference in detail will be amazing. This will be true with most quality speakers, the better the source the better they sound.

    If you can consider a bit larger speakers, then try the B&W 600 line with something like a mid level Integra/Onkyo. Mix things up and try lots of different combinations.

    If you're looking at the B&W's bookshelves, also check out the JMLab Focus Chorus S Line. They are similar in price/size and they live for a good source like the Rotel.

    The Rotel 1055 is an excellent receiver and would be a good investment. Rotel gives great service and support and the 1055 is something you could keep for years and years and match with many different speakers over time.

    Here's a good 1055 review:

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...er-5-2003.html
     
  15. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    If you're willing to spend $1200 I still suggest you audition the Arcam AVR200. This unit sounds awesome, and I'm sure it'll make your speakers sound better than you realized possible. I've had mine for a year and love it. I am trading it up to the new AVR300 when it becomes available in a month or so, but I've never been anything but impressed with the AVR200. It's also excellent for music - I use it for CDs via the analog outputs from my DVD player and they sound great (mostly play classical/jazz, but I'm picky about quality).

    Many Arcam dealers will arrange to let you audition the AVR200 in your home, with your speakers and setup.

    And with something like the AVR200, you are ready if/when you decide to upgrade your speakers. The Arcam is capable of driving more demanding higher end speakers. I use it with Dynaudio Audience speakers (4 ohm), which require good quality amplification to sound right. And I can reach very loud levels without distortion/clipping.

    I hate going to the theater anymore becuase the sound sucks by comparison, even in a modern DTS or SDDS theater.

    I think you'll be more satisfied with a good amp and your current speakers than you will upgrading speakers and shortchanging your system on an inadequate amp.

    Dean
     
  16. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    Dudes,

    Dean dude is SO right.....all the movie theaters SUCK in comparison to MY system and most of the systems that people on this forum own. I HATE going to the movies now...

    Dudes,

    Chester II
     

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