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High End Receiver vs. Seperates (1 Viewer)

Modena

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Nov 24, 2002
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I am currently researching and looking at different options for my home theater that will slowly be built. Right now, I'm looking at my hub. I am thinking of either getting a Denon 5803, Carver Ultimate Receiver, or looking at seperates. The main concern for me right now is features. If I am going to spend a lot here, I would like to have features that may be around the corner included, or things I won't have in a year not be there (I realize this is asking a lot) I figure anything I am looking at for this amount of money (5 grand maybe) should more than satisfy my sound needs. (I love my Denon 2802 for comparision. However, I don't know anything about sperates, but keep reading about how some people try them and never go back. Is there any links available out there where I can read detailed information without the forum question type asking method? I just want to some good info.

Secondly, what are some thoughts on good seperates manufactuers? I have an older carver stereo amp that pumps, it's a tube setup, and was wondering if I could use this in any way for home theater. In all honesty, I love having just one receiver, but am willing to look at a new alternative. Thanks for any input. Here is some equiptment I already own, so I would be interested into what type of performance increase I can expect from just changing out the base for step 1. I'm going to do everything, but need to do it slowly.

Denon 2802
Canon LE 103 Fronts
Carver Sunfire Super Jr. sub
Crappy KEF center (actually it's ok)
Crappy KEF in ceiling rears

By the way, listening to stereo music (DVD audio maybe) is very importannt to me as well.
 

Albert Damico

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Jul 8, 2002
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I have invested about 4+ months in the same search. I am upgrading from my Yamaha RX-V2095. Not to bore you with the details, but I have talked to many people, including some "experts" that publish the reviews in many HT magazines. I have collected to much technical data on almost everything that it spans hundreds of pages. This is what I have come up with, for what its worth. The absolute best HT high end receiver on the market is the B&K AVR 507. This unit really combines the B&K Reference 50 pre/pro and the B&K AV 125.7 amp. There were some tradeoffs when they were combined, but small ones. If you email me I can share with you an authorized (I checked with the manufacturers) brick and morter store that will ship and that will give you an incredible price on it. As far a seperates in the same budget, what I came up with was a combination of the Sherbourn amplifier 5/5210, a beautiful amp! and either a B&K ref 30 or 50 depeding on your budget. If you need to go 7.1 on this seperate configuration, you simply add two monoblock amps for the additional two channels. All of this is well within your budget. Meaning no disrespect, I know that people who own stuff tend to justify it as the best, after all, they own it. I don't own any of this stuff yet. I was going to go NAD, and then Outlaw, and then Parasound, and then Lexicon, and then the Denon 5803, but the two suggestions I made above are the best that I could find that met the criteria.
 

Yogi

Screenwriter
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Jul 25, 2002
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For 5K it behooves you to look at separates. At that price range there are plenty of quality separates that are substantially better then a best flagship receivers out there. Best of luck.
 

Erik_C

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Jun 15, 2000
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186
Anthem AVM-20 pre/pro: $3000-3400
ATI 1505 5ch. amp: $1000-1300
This combo has all the features of a flagship receiver, (and more), and should sound significantly better.
-Erik
 

Bob_M

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Apr 3, 2000
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>I am upgrading from my Yamaha RX-V2095. <
You will really have to go some to improve on this guy, of course I own one so you can't take my word for it. :)

Modena,

>so I would be interested into what type of performance increase I can expect from just changing out the base for step 1. <
I would look at new speakers first. The 2802 is a fine machine so your difference will not be overly apparent. Try upgrading to a matched set across your front, (left, Center, Right). That should make more of a difference that upgrading electronics. I would then look at a new sub and surrounds. Then go look at Electronics.

I wish you luck,

Bob
 

Rich Wenzel

Supporting Actor
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Aug 9, 2002
Messages
556
rotel 1066 and a variety of amps for less than 3500, that will have more power than the denon (in 5.1) and probably the same power as the sunfire...

if it were me, and i was definitely going the receiver route, i would do the sunfire...

if not, i would look at the following pre/pros

rotel 1066 1200-1300
sunfire TGIII (tons of features, very upgradeable) 2500-3000
Anthem AVM20 - 3000ish?
adcom 860 and 880 (due very soon) - under 1300 & 1800?
parasound is also putting out a new classic line

amps i would look at
rotel 1075/1095 850 and 1800 respectively
anthem pva
adcom models (lots to choose from)
parasound 2205
ati (onecall is having a sale on one of them for like 1700)
sunfire CG2
outlaw 770/755


i think the separate route is better to go, just because when you are ready to upgrade, you just have to update the pre/pro and not the amp as well. and great amp now, is a great amp in 3 years from now...
 

Brandon Blair

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May 28, 2002
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For some good seperates in your price range check out Audio Refinement Pre-2 DSP and their Multi-5 amp. They retail for $1395 and $2495 respectively, and would a very big upgrade over your Denon. On the other hand though, I do agree with Bob that you would probably get an even greater improvement by replacing your front and center speakers first. My recomendations for this would be to look at JMlab Electra's or Cobalt's depending on how much you're willing to spend. You can find more info about all of these products at this website; (it is the North American Distributor for both, and you can find a local dealer for them on this site as well.)

www.audioplusservices.com

Good Luck,
Brandon
 

Modena

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Nov 24, 2002
Messages
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Thanks for all the responses. I think I need to do some more reading and get a better feel for what I need. I'm still in the rough stages. I want to end up with a real nice system that combines some good research and buying options to provide me with what I will need and something I can pass down to my kids. However, I have a budget that won't allow me to throw a killer system together at once, so I'm just satisfied with what I have now. The receiver is going to be my first purchase, I want it to be a foundation, and I would like to select my other components off of how they would sound with that particular power source. Does this make sense of a good place to start?
 

Donnie Eldridge

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Jan 3, 2001
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761
The receiver is going to be my first purchase, I want it to be a foundation, and I would like to select my other components off of how they would sound with that particular power source. Does this make sense of a good place to start?
I see your rational, but I think you would be making a mistake. Your speakers will have the hugest impact in your system. This is the area you need to dedicate 60% of your budget even if that means getting your components later. It's a lot easier to find the sound your after if you have your speakers already, rather than vise versa.
 

TomH

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 13, 2001
Messages
267
Be sure to do a search for the receivers vs separates thread.

The receiver will be the first item that you look to upgrade. Invest in basic separates.

Tom
 

Jason Brent

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 12, 2002
Messages
268
How about the new MacIntosh receiver?? I think its full MSRP is $5000. Don't know about street pricing.

I don't know much about this receiver, but I thought I'd throw it in for discussion.

FWIW, I too agree on starting with the speakers. I've read alot about the VMPS RM-40's. They seem to be popular here, too. I would love to hear them some day....
 

Rich Wenzel

Supporting Actor
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Aug 9, 2002
Messages
556
i doubt the mcintosh gets much discounting, its a very high-end brand and they usually dont get discounted much...but then again, i dont really know...

i think the model # is 1000, i forget the prefix...

the only high-end brands that I know that get discounted regularly (and they are borderline high-end) are rotel, parasound, nad, sunfire, B&K, & adcom. And all but rotel allow internet sales to some degree. Arcam and Anthem might get some expeceted discounting, and they dont allow internet sales...

Rich
 

Mike Matheson

Second Unit
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Jul 15, 2000
Messages
416
Modena,

I'm not sure how yor 2802 would fare using its pre-outs (i.e., using it as a processor/preamp), but doing so might allow you to put your money towards a superior set of five speakers plus sub. Then you could still easily have some money to start out buying amplification (for your mains or mains and center). Particularly if you pick up the amp used (try www.audiogon.com). Rich's suggestion of "rotel, parasound, nad, sunfire, B&K, & adcom" is a great one, and lots of used pieces of these brands show up audiogon (not because they're poor, but rather because people have gotten bitten by the bug and now want to upgrade)

As an example:

Speakers:
Rocket Loudspeakers HT Package #1 or #2
(let's say $2400)

Sub:
SVS 20-39PCi or 20-39PC-Plus
(let's say $825)

Amp:
Tons of options at Audiogon. There's an "Anthem MCA-5 200 W 5 CHANNEL AMPLIFIER" listed for $750. A "Sunfire Cinema Grand II" (5 channels at 425 watts each I believe) listed for $1600. A "Cinepro 3k6 I 325W X 6" for $1500. A "Parasound HCA-1205A THX 5 channel amp" for $700. An "acurus a200x5" for $900. The problem here would be narrowing down your options.

So for $2400 + $825 + let's say $1500 = $4725. That gives you a little room for shipping (with a $5K limit).

How do you think that system would sound vs. your current setup driven by a Denon 5803 or similar?

And you could easily come in much less than $4700. A smaller speaker package, the PCi sub instead of the PC-Plus, a 3 or 2 chan amp instead of five chan or more (let your receiver power the rears)--and with the extra money remaining you could either buy software, new sources (how about a progressive scan DVD player than also plays SACD and DVD Audio?), or splurge on a different preamp (Denon 3800/1/3? 4800? again, lots of stuff on Audiogon).

Just trying to give you some more ideas. . .
 

Modena

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 24, 2002
Messages
76
Thanks for all of the help everyone. I need to do more reading and listening to find out what I like, but the ideas were extremely helpful.
 

Bill_Boston

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Feb 18, 2003
Messages
80
Modena:

I would like to have features that may be around the corner included, or things I won't have in a year not be there
Modena ... I'm debating the same thing (and I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this thought). I plan on upgrading my HT this summer/fall. I too plan on spending $5-6K and am looking at the Sunfire Ultimate Theater (as well as a complete speaker/sub overhaul). My research is just beginning.

So, if my main interest is Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 surround (as 7.1 continues to mature), is it worth the investment to purchase something with this functionality now even if I may not use it for 1-2 years ??? This is my dilemma ... 5.1 (for probably less $$) or invest in 7.1 technology. Help !!!

I, like Modena, am interested in a solution that will be very flexible. For me, I'm a 40% DVD, 30% TV, 30% CD music kind of listener, so, I do not want a solution that is only best for HT. I need the flexibility. Will a receiver like the Sunfire UR be a good idea for listening to regular CD 2-channel stereo music ??? Or, is it specifically designed to process HT type signals ??? More Help !!!

Thanks.
 

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