Most "Musical" Receiver????

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brett DiMichele, Dec 17, 2002.

  1. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Folks,

    Lately I have been considering whether it's time to switch
    out my receiver for something new, something better for
    music.

    Now I know to all the 2Ch Buffs the answer is "No Receiver
    is Musical Go Seperates!" and yeah for the most part that is
    true but Receivers have made great strides in recent years.

    Here is what I have currently:

    Receiver: Onkyo TX-DS787 THX Select 6.1/7.1
    Power Amp: Onkyo M-282 WRAT 110W RMS x2

    The 2 Channels of the Receiver for the mains (100W RMS x 2)
    and the 2 channels of the M-282 Power Amp (100W RMS X 2)are
    fed into my mains (Bi Amped).

    This setup is not bad at all mind you.. I can acheive very
    High SPL's (110+) with my 92DB Sensitivity mains. My big
    thing is it seems like the Onk is just not "Dynamic" enough
    on the low end.. I want more Lows.. Yeah I can add a sub and
    I am working on my own 500 watt RMS 12" Sealed Sub but my
    mains also have a 10" Ported Sub in each and I'll be damned
    if I run my mains "Small" and defeat the sub in them.

    The Onk just doesn't seem to output enough bass and I don't
    believe in running tone controls boosted (both bass and treb
    are run 0Db Flat)


    On the other hand DTS and D-D sound fantastic which leads me
    to believe that on the A/V side of things the proccessing is
    better than the music side.

    So I have a few options, I know my source gear bites so here
    is a few ways I could go..

    Upgrade CD Transport (Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000)

    Standalone 2 Channel Pre Amp/Power Amp combo

    Upgrade Receiver and use good seperate Power Amp


    What am I looking for sound wise? Warm I guess is what I am
    looking for from the receiver. I want very punchy Mids with
    Smooth High Frequency and very impactful, dynamic low end
    and I want this in "Direct" mode.

    So what do you guys think?

    If we talk Recievers who do you think makes the best musical
    receiver? Harmon/Kardon, Denon, Rotel, Outlaw, Yamaha, Pio Etc..
     
  2. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett,
    Methinks you should start having a look at dedicated 2 channel preamps (either tube or ss, maybe even passive if your power amp is compatible) and maybe a new source. If HT is pretty good to begin with, I would only look at the stereo side and save some money (hopefully) [​IMG] . A dedicated 2 channel pre will make a big difference over even good HT receivers pre-outs in my experience. A good cd player will make a big difference over a dvd player using its analog outs too. What budget did you have in mind?
    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  3. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Mike,
    I have been considering a Tube Linear Pre. I found a
    nice unit with rave reviews that I can pick up off ebay for
    $400.00 (Audio Experiance: Symphones From YS Audio)
    [​IMG]
    For a CD Transport I am not sure, If I go with a Tube Pre
    it may be overkill to have a Tube CD Transport. I was looking
    towards the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 40000 which sells for under
    $600.00 but couple that with a Tube Pre and what would you
    get? So if I go tube Pre maybe I can just go with a really
    good mainstream CD Transport, Maybe something from Marantz's
    Profesional Line ($400.00 ish..)
    The Power Amp is where the money will come into play. I have
    been looking at Parasound's amps particularly and I like the
    5 Channel (HCA 2200?) I forget what the model number is but
    it puts out 230 or so watts RMS per channel at 8 Ohm that
    would be plenty of power I could use 4 of the 5 channels to
    BiAmp my mains and send the 5th channel to the center or
    not use it at all.
    But yes for Movies the Onkyo 787 works flawlessly.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well I think Rocket Ismael, the well know wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys is hoping he's quite musical as the lead singer of the rap group, 3 Sons of Thunder.
    It's tough to get a read on things there Brett. I read your post and part of me is saying:
    a) well maybe he wants a more euphonic sound for music. So yeah, maybe a tube based pre-amp is what you're looking for. Another thought, not for the purist mind you, might be to consider something like the Behringer products to interface with your existing system
    Examples are http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/...+ULTRA-Q+T1951 Now althought that's available at musiciansfriend.com, they're part of Guitar Center and that chain is all over the country. That particular product goes for $150 there and they're return policy is no hassle. Like it, keep it. Don't like, they'll take it back. BTW, they dicker on price...see if they'll do $125. BTW, there's other alternatives there...look around.
    b)well maybe you're actually underpowered but that's tough to say especially if you're running 2 channel and bypassing the other channels.
    c)maybe you've got some room issues...you stated kicking up the bass and treble is something you don't want to do..but....might want to give another look to how you've got things placed and maybe take a stab at runnning some room response curves.
    d)maybe you really need that subwoofer and that's what's missing. when you finally finish it see what happens. I wouldn' so quickly dismiss running your speakers as small though. In the end, if you're going to keep your speakers (and yeah, I know you really like them!), then you've got to what's right by both your ears and the room. If it means small, then so be it.
    e)maybe those speakers, despite your love for them, just don't cut it for you. yeah, its tough, but could be time to look at something else. Pricey solution though but maybe the right one? Look at it as this woman that you've been dating for the longest time and then one day you get a letter from the Jerry Springer sho [​IMG]
    Myself Brett, I'd be looking at c and d first. Those are things you can deal with and are already financially comitted to. No reason you can't investigate a also seeing how if it doesn't work out, you get your money back with no hassles.
     
  5. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chu,
    Well shiver me timbers that's a damn good reply! [​IMG]
    I do want to "toy" with Tube sound so I think I may just
    add a Pre on for 2 Channel that's not a big expenditure
    and I can always resell if I am not happy.
    Am I underpowered? I keep asking myself that same dang
    question!
    AR says the AR9's can easily be powered off a 7-10 watt
    S.E.T Amp.. Well yeah that may work for the mids and tweets
    but that would never cut it for the subs (they neglect to
    mention that!)
    The AR9's were tested by Tom N and output 100 Decibels at
    32Hz.. That's no slouch in the least and that's only 10 to
    15 decibels down from some of the "best" stand alone subs
    out there, and the bass is not muddy. So should I need a
    dedicated sub for "music" ? I keep saying no I should not
    need one, For movies of course I do but how many songs
    extend below 32Hz? Of course these things play lower than
    32Hz too, I think they may be down 10Db at 24Hz... I can't
    recall if those were with Room Gain included or Aneoic.
    Yes I do love my speakers, they show how lousy the rest of
    my equipment is! [​IMG] I honestly don't want to change the
    speakers at all But I want to send the best signal to them
    that I can!
    Am I underpowered... I just don't know... Headroom is Headroom..
    I don't see why I couldn't send 300 watts to the LF and 300
    to the HF side of the speakers, more power is never bad as
    long as your not torching voice coils and that shouldn't
    happen with respect for the gear..
    How is my room? Thats a pretty good question... I don't
    have the means to measure the rooms response curve but I
    can say from my "ears" that the room is fairly dead I don't
    have any echoes the room is 16.5' x 13' x 8' flat ceilings.
    Thick carpet, paintings on the walls and the 10' long
    window is covered by Levelor Vertical Blinds (they are not
    very reflective sound wise plus they would break up standing
    waves because they are so non symmetrical. Of course checking
    the response will show me things I can hear with my ears!
    As for speaker positioning, I have my mains about 7 foot
    apart about 2' off the walls, toed up 15 or so degrees and
    toed in about 30 degrees.
    And yes I am running in "Pure" 2 channel mode so when that
    happens it's suposed to be a full 100 Watts RMS per channel
    to each speaker which is 200 Watts RmS to each speaker from
    the Receiver and the Power Amp combo.. Onk also says thier
    power ratings are with all channels driven anyway.
    Now what?
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2001
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett, my inclination is that you should get a good pre-amp, tubed or not is up to you. Or maybe a nice integrated that you can connect your music source to. This way, you won't have the Onk's pre-amp section or power section get in the way. With the sensitivity of your speakers, you don't really need a whole lot of power to drive them to room-shaking levels. I've been toying with the same idea myself and there are a lot of options going down the integrated road.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well hell, I'd look to talking to the boys over at DIY and see what means they come up with to determine room response curves. At the very least, it'd be illuminating, no?
    Only reason I suggested that item from Guitar Center, is that it let's you screw around a little with the tube thing. That particular unit let's you bypass the tubes entirely if I'm not mistaken. Not wanting to get into 'ethical issues' of trying things out just for the hell of it, Muscian's Friend, which has got to be somewhere around you (yellow pages, web search) provides an easy means of checking the whole tube idea out at the cost of your time. Yes, you could buy that unit off of ebay or whereever, but then you've got to wait...try it....don't like it...have to resell it...Check out my approach, at least you'll get an idea, no?
    SET amps?? Yuch! The antithesis of logical thinking!
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 1999
    Messages:
    6,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    After I had a chance to put chu back off ignore I was able to check out his posts which in this case are very good especially regarding speakers. IMHO I think alot of what you are experiencing is the limitations of your speakers. I know you are a "Certified AR fanatic" but I think it would do you alot of good to check out other options in the speaker department.

    1. AR speakers aren't well known to be very popular for "music". Perhaps this is a good or bad thing but you don't find them at any stores anymore atleast here or in Dallas which is typically where I go for obscure audio products and generally they have everything.


    I would suggest you go listen to other speakers especially ones that are more than you can afford to determine if you are missing anything. Sometimes listening to a much more higher quality system than you own can show you what you are missing. It might not completely the same as listening to them in your own room(preferred) but it would give you an idea atleast to start with.

    As far as my preference for musical receivers:
    Rotel, NAD, Marantz, and Nakamichi are generally regarded as the most popular for this purpose. Arcam makes a receiver now too apparantly and music is their strong point but even that they would suggest you buy an external amp for the best sound. Receivers have their limitations though we might not want to accept that.
     
  9. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Messages:
    1,591
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett,
    I have a hunch that what you need is a serious amplifier, and maybe bi-amping. I'll have one of my own hopefully (a big amp) within 2 weeks so I can draw my own conclusions. My setup is currently a cheap 80 watt amp powering 87db efficient 4 ohm towers. I experience an effect similar to what you say - especially at higher levels of 95db+ continuous, the sound becomes a bit harsh and loses the neutral or warm tone... the soundstage becomes sort of flat and the texture in the music is gone... and the bass is lacking "slam" and "authority" in music that's supposed to have a lot of it. I have no pre-amp and a decent CD player (relative to the amplifier), and my speakers are obviously not getting the power they deserve; this is what leads me to believe that.
    Provided the source components are decent, and not speaking from actual experience at all [​IMG], I think a good amplifier will have the sonic effect you are looking for. I think that especially if you're looking for better sound at high levels, tubes are not the way to go for now (of course, you could buy both a tube pre-amp and a giant solid state amp if you wanted). I'm quite excited about my own upgrade and I look forward to sharing my impressions.
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    And here I was thinking that a tornado had taken you away Shane! I can now cancel my visit with Dr. Phil.
     
  11. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hmmmmmm, I generally think that the source and preamp will have more effect on sound than well-designed amps (SS anyways) provided that they are not clipping.
    Brett, also, try not reading so many reviews, gear envy/lust sets in pretty quick, they are like a kind of porn [​IMG]
    Mike
     
  12. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2002
    Messages:
    768
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the Onkyo sounds good with HT source, then it sounds like the pre section is OK and it's the poweramp stage that is holding things back. I'd investigate the 2 channel poweramp as the 1st step. See if you can borrow one for a home audition.
    As far as receivers go, I'd agree with Shane except for the Nakamichi. I have always found them a bit harsh but YMMV.
     
  13. Donald Shrum

    Donald Shrum Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Arcam AVR-200. Awsome unit. For a reciever, this thing is incredible.
     
  14. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all the replies and lots of great info in all of
    them.
    I do think that my biggest problem is power I think I just
    need more clean power. But I don't think that a good pre
    will "hurt" me any, and would probably be a fantastic 2ch
    upgrade. And I know I need a better CD transport too.
    As far as speakers go, AR isn't well known period these
    days Shane. The Hi Res series is not something you would
    find in Best Buy or Circuit City and honestly has no
    comparison to the cheap lines that those stores carry
    (Stature, Performance Series). In fact Stereophile rated
    them as Class B... Sure I'd love Class A.... But I can't
    afford Class A products and I know, don't listen to reviews
    but the truth is AR doesn't have 5 page color adds in
    Stereophile, so why would they give them a Class B rating
    unless they were truly good?
    I am not unhappy with my mains, never have been. I am just
    unhappy with what I am feeding them from. Could I find a
    better speaker? Sure I could but I honestly don't want to
    replace something I am happy with. We know my source gear
    and amplification is weak so perhaps I should fix those
    weak links and see what I get?
    Chu,
    I thank you for the info about Musiciansfriend I will have
    to look into it. Your right, I may not like tubes at all
    once I hear them (I dunno, I don't think that's going to
    be the case though) perhaps I should try something out
    first.
    I am going to try and get some response curves of the room
    also.
    Thanks all!
    I am still listening..
    Infact this morning I turned on Manheim Steamroller's Christmas
    HDCD and I sat back and I said "You know.. It's Not that bad
    at all...."
    I sure would like to get someone else to sit there listen
    and have them look at me and say "what exactly sounds bad
    to you because I don't hear it.."
    Maybe I am just bitten by the upgrade bug... Yeah it's worse
    than porn! [​IMG]
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Tis the season to dream, huh Brett?
     
  16. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
  17. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chu,
    I checked out the Ultra Tube-Q and I have to say it has me
    very interested. Not only being that it looks like a good
    quality EQ Circuit but the addition of the tube stage and
    adjustable warmth and the ability to cut the tube circuit
    entirely and the under 150 price tag has me pondering.
    It's Behringer so I know it's a quality component and sure
    it may be against the "purests" but at this point it may be
    a very good way for me to "try before I buy" a dedicated
    tube Pre..
    And if I really like what it does then I can always get a
    good tube pre or just a good S.S Pre like the Parasound Halo
    and go with the Ah! CD Transport..
    Just for kicks today I ran the Onk in stereo mode rather
    than direct and I did mess with the Tone Controls ( +6DB )
    on the Bass side... WOAH.... The house was shaking from all
    angles... The music was slamming my chest and it was not
    boomy.... Now why am I not getting that at a flat 0DB setting...
    Either it's close but not enough power or the room or the
    receiver... I am still betting it's not enough juice...
    But with the Bass at +6 DB and well beyond reference there
    was no distorsion at all and I could hear the music outside
    as well as I could inside the house... LOL
    I bet the neighbors just love me to pieces.. (Or, wait..
    Maybe they want to blow me to pieces)
    As the Joker once said, "Wait'n'till they get a load of me"
    I just got my Stryke Audio AV-12 Sub today.... Time to work
    on my Carver/Sunfire 500 watt powered, sealed AV12.....
    [​IMG]
    Muahaha [​IMG]
     
  18. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brett,

    if you can get CLEAN sound by boosting the bass trim, then your system does have the power it needs. Further, since DD and DTS sound good to you, I suspect you prefer extra bass, rather than a flat response, when listening to music. The tone control is clearly a workable solution.

    If you are uncomfortable with setting the bass control off the flat mark, put a label saying "Music balance control" under the knob(button), or imagine one in your setup menu. Then enjoy.

    Marty
     
  19. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    0
    Marty,
    LOL
    I love that response!
    But, but.. I want to be a "Flat" tone control purist! I
    don't wanna turn my knobs! [​IMG]
    I dunno.. I still think more amp headroom would give me
    more adequate bass during lower volume levels, I think
    that's my main issue, having to go to reference to get the
    impact I want while critically listening at lower volume
    levels.
    Well, that and I am itching to blow money on something! [​IMG]
     

Share This Page