How good is a receiver for stereo music?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ferran Mazzanti, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Ferran Mazzanti

    Ferran Mazzanti Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi folks,
    just a question for you experienced guys. I have a Marantz SR6200 receiver and I'm happy with it. Last saturday I went to the shop and purchased a couple of PMC TB2 speakers, which sounded astonishingly good to my ear. Perfect sound stage, very detailed music etc etc... Then I brought them at home and connected it to my receiver which is paired with a DVD Marantz 4100OSE. he result is that sound is very nice... but not as nice as I heard it at the demo. I know I must wait for the speakers to break in a little bit longer, but still... I though I was going to get THE SYSTEM but simply got a very nice one. So knowing the speakers can deliver a really beautiful sound, I was wondering about the rest of the equipment. I insist I like the sound of my receiver, but now I start wondering if it can really compare to a stereo amp of the same price. Any thoughts about that?
    thanks...
     
  2. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    Consider your room, speaker placement first. CD source is the next thing I'd look at. I did an experiement the other day, I hooked up a $400 HK CD player against a $200 Sony CD player. Using the exact same equipment around, down to the interconnects. The results were staggering...
     
  3. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    This thread probably ought to be moved to Receivers/Amps/Separates.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    When I hear something I really like, I always try to find out every item in the signal chain. Amp/receiver and source, including the listening mode and settings, as well as the type and model of interconnects (whether they are analog or digital). Next is to pay careful attention to the placement of the speakers relative to the room, particularly if it looks like they are very specifically placed. Often at better stores, you may not realize they have internally damped walls, and/or other obvious room treatments, so pay attention to the room as well.

    I agree with paul, try playing around with placement of the speakers within your room. Let the speakers play as much as you can at a reasonable level, with a wide variety of music, even while you are away, to let them break in.

    My sound improved when I moved to a better CD player as well, but I can tell you that my PM7000 (2ch integrated) puts out a much cleaner sound than my 6200 for 2ch. This is why I am now looking for something with more power or an external amp.
     
  5. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Are you using the DACs in the DVD or the receiver? You might try using the one you are not using presently to see how it sounds. The DACs in my Marantz 7200 are much better then those in my Pioneer CD player.
     
  6. Ferran Mazzanti

    Ferran Mazzanti Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks to everybody. I start to play with speaker positioning, but that means building new stands. i'll do that this weekend... And yes, I've tried to use the DACS in the receiver and the DACS in the DVD, and even though there's a difference between the two DACS, it is not really that different...
     
  7. Brian tj

    Brian tj Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi
    When moving the speakers you should only move a little at a time you my not need to make drastic change!! Yes this can be very frustrating [​IMG] But don't let it get to you make it part of the fun[​IMG] [​IMG] Want to see a bright room go to my web page http://users.nac.net/armor/ I have not up dated the site need new photos and time. I have added tapestry's on two walls and the area rug is on the way. Yes I heard a BIG [​IMG] improvement in sound. I experimented with 4 large blankets on the floor. one more thing I would go back to store and look at the comp. they had on the speakers dos not mean yours are bad but where thaw real high end stuff? Have fun with [​IMG] GOOD LUCK
     
  8. david stark

    david stark Second Unit

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    I have a seperate 2 channel amp as well as an AV amp (denon avr2802). the stereo amp (rega brio) is approx half the cost of the denon and eats it for breakfast for stereo music.

    Speaker placement and rooms themselves will produce very different sounds so be aware of this if listening to a demo at a store. If you do listen in a store insist that they use the same or similar equipment to what you have at home. Maybe try and persuade a dealer to let you have a home demo of an amp/cd player and then you can see if these improve the sound in your room.
     
  9. paulBAW

    paulBAW Stunt Coordinator

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    If you spent the same kinda money on your CD player as you did on your speakers and Amp I'm sure you wouldn't have posted. If you can't hear that much of a difference between your source and av receiver DAC's I'd be really curious as to what you are using....most people are so willing to spend money on speakers and amp's when in reality a CD player has as much or more of an effect on your system's performance...
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Realistically you'll need to work a bit more on your speaker placements and perhaps your room. If it turns out your receiver can't deliver the power you need to drive your speakers cleanly then you may benefit from additional amplification.
    Personally, I wouldn't gear my purchacing expenditure towards equal weight with amps or speakers. That's money better spent on better transducers. In the proper setting, driven within their means, a receiver may be the only thing you need. Might be that you want something else, but that's another matter entirely.
     
  11. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

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    Just curious, what equipment were they using with the PMC TB2 speakers in the dealer showroom? Room treatments and speaker placement are extremely important but the upstream equipment is also very important. You really have to factor in EVERYTHING that the dealer was using and also consider everything you are using. Start with room treatments and placement (much less expensive than buying a 2 channel amp). If that doesn't cut it, try the amp, especially if you are satisfied with the sound of the Marantz gear as a pre/pro. More power can really help to make speakers open up. If your speakers sound somewhat boxed in, flat, etc. it may simply be that the Marantz just can't deliver the juice that they need to really sing like they did at the showroom. As others suggest, try to bring the amp home to demo with your system rather than just blindly purchasing whatever the dealer suggests for your speakers. You should do some research on 2 channel amps over on the receivers/separates/amps forum as well.
     
  12. Keith_As

    Keith_As Auditioning

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    I was in a similar situation, I had a Marantz 5200 (using direct mode), a pretty decent pair of speakers, and was using the DACs in the 5200 with my DVD player. I did a lot of work positioning the speakers, getting better interconnects/wires etc., yet I still wasn't getting the kind of music I was expecting.

    So, the first thing I tried was a couple different used power amps (a B&K and an Acurus), thinking that a significant boost in power would help. It really didn't though, the bass was a tad tighter, but not nearly the result I was hoping for.

    Next up, I upgraded my source, by getting a modded MSB Link external DAC. Definite improvement in detail, and the bass had a little more punch and was not nearly as sloppy as before. A worthwhile upgrade, I was happy now.

    Finally, on a bit of a whim -- I was having a weird urge to build something -- I built a DIY tube based pre-amp that cost about $350. Obviously this removed the Marantz from the loop completely, but the results were worhtwhile. The soundstage was much wider and I guess what most refer to as the dynamics were improved, I would just say the music was much more alive now.

    Anyways, I'd agree with the previous poster, that probably the best place to upgrade would be your source with either a CD player or external DAC. If that isn't enough of an improvement for you, I'd buy an amp/preamp combo or an integrated later on.
     
  13. Ferran Mazzanti

    Ferran Mazzanti Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everybody for the advice. However, I have some restrictions. i can not do special room treatment because the equipment is right at the living room, and I can not modify it heavily. Concerning the source, and if you look at the Marantz site, you'll see that the OSE (Original Second Edition) pieces are meant to improve music performance. of course there are players that cost three times what I paid, and for sure there are going to be better than the one I use, but I can not afford them right now and furthermore and as I said, the one I have is supposed to be pretty ok regarding music. Perhaps what I find in two channel mode is a lack of dynamics and a little bit of soundstage... furthermore I have the impression that midrange frequencies are slightly attenuated. And yes, I demoed the speakers at the showroom with an equipment that was exactly mine, but under the specs of mine, and the sound was better...
     
  14. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    Lots of opinions, huh?... here's mine: I think it's unreasonable to expect a setup to sound the same at home as it does at the dealer -- completely different environments -- and for that reason, I have to agree with the room treatment route as the first solution... and since that doesn't seem to be an option, all you're left with is throwing different electronics at it in an effort to guess what might improve the sound... an outboard amp or DAC will certainly change things, but to what degree -- in your room -- is unknown.

    But before you do any of that, the most practical suggestions are:

    1. Let the speakers break in... PMCs are known to need extra long break in time... give them a couple hundred hours at least.

    2. Try some variation in speaker placement... as described above, subtle re-positioning can make a substantial difference.

    3. Be prepared to acknowledge that, given your particular needs, the PMCs might not be an optimal match for your environment, regardless of what they sounded like at the showroom... there are lots of other speakers with lots of different sonic qualities, and maybe that's where the experimentation should take place.
     
  15. Ferran Mazzanti

    Ferran Mazzanti Stunt Coordinator

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    @gregD,
    I appreciate very much your comments, as I did with the rest of the posters who replied here. One thing that surprises me the most is what you say about the PMCs time to break in... according to the manual, only 10 to 20 hours are required to run them in. I don't know exactly for how long have I played them already, but I guess I must be over the 20 hours limit more or less... and I must admit that I keep feeling how they improve. Yesterday night I took some time to play with them and ended up feeling they sound better than the day I posted here. According to what you say, these PMCs are going to take MUCH more time to give their best. Can you please confirm that it is really going to take that long? I would be happy if this was the answer to my problem (or part of it at least) because that means that I must run them longer to reach the highest performance level.
    Oh well maybe you're right that these may not be the best speakers for me, but you know... I've purchased all my equipment at the same shop. I know the guy there and he knows exactly what I have. he showed me several speakers at the same price and said the PMCs were the best for me. I demoed them and I agreed they sounded (to my ears) better than the others. I trust him and feel I bought the best I could in my price range, mostly considering also the reviews I've read abou these TB2... however, that doesn't mean this is THE TRUTH, I agree.
     
  16. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    Ferran... can't confirm that firsthand, as I don't own them, but the PMC rep where I auditioned them acknowledged a long break-in time is beneficial... also, reviews of the TB2's big brother FB1 have made a point of the same thing... and apparently, the manual says something else... and like you say, THE TRUTH is hard to come by.

    Break-in time is a debateable issue... some say it's a non-issue, citing the psychological factor of 'getting used to' the new gear... others say that it's perfectly reasonable to allow newly-manufactured gear to run-in to realize the full performance as heard on the test bench... I personally subscribe to the 'break-in' notion.

    In any event, 1-200 hours is not that long a time to give a fair chance to very good speakers (I almost pulled the trigger on the FB1's)... and it sounds like your dealer is very attentive, and will work hard to set you up with satisfying speakers, just in case the TB2's don't work out.

    My main point was that it may be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to replicate the exact sound you experienced in the showroom.
     
  17. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  18. Ferran Mazzanti

    Ferran Mazzanti Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh guys you are being quite helpfull... all of you. You know, this is the first time I spend big money on speakers (big money at least for me [​IMG] ) and I'd like to be sure of what I have.
    I must say that I do believe in break-in. Actually I didn't believe in it until I brought my TB2 home. When I first ran them, the sound was somewhat ugly, and I got surprised of how it improved in 5 hours more or less, to the point that they sounded nice. How nice? Not as nice as in the store, but quite ok... now my batle is for bringing that 'quite ok' to a 'really rocks!". Right now I'm in the middle of it and, as I said in my last post, I can hear how speakers improve... or how I get used to them. In the end, and even if I believe in breaking-in, I can not rule out that there is also a spycholoical factor there. As an exemple, I would say that I've run the speakers for 3o hours since purchase, more or less. I go to work every morning and come back home at night. Then I start listening to my favourite records. At the beginning, I have this feeling about the speakers not sounding as good as they should, but one hour or two later (when i've played a couple of CDs) sound seems to improve considerably. Next day more or less the same...
    30 hours is far from the 200 hours commented above, but I don't know if what I feel makes sense: can it be that during break-in you hear it worse at the beginning, and it improves after 1-2 hours use, and the next day the cycle starts all over again? I don't know if that makes sense or I'm going nuts. Still, I must say that after a couple of hours of music I end up enjoying the music very much.
    And it is true, the guy at the store is very friendly and helpful...
     

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