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Need advice on 5 channel amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by rather, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. rather

    rather Auditioning

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    allen
    Greetings, this is my first post.

    I am returning to the hobby after a decade hiatus and I'd like some reccomendations. I am in the market for replacement components for my HTS which doubles as my two-channel listening. Due to budget restraints (and wife and kids, et al) I am relegated to acquiring one piece at a time.

    Right now the amplifier is up. I am looking into the following power amps to drive my 5.1 system and I'd like advice from the forum. Whatever I choose will be paired with my ancient (and formerly respectable) Yamaha DSP-A1 processor, Denon DVD2200, and Polk speakers. I recently acquired a Samsung LCD HDTV LN-A650 and I'm protecting everything with a Tripp-Lite 2400.

    The 5 channel amps I'm wanting your views on are:

    Parasound 5250
    Rotel RMB-1095
    Outlaw Model 7500
    NAD T955

    Many thanks in advance. /allen
     
  2. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    It's unclear to me what your system is. What is the "head unit"? A receiver or pre-amp/processor. Honestly, unless your budget is rather high, it is usually the best use of your money to use a receiver with pre-amp outputs as your head unit. Then, you can power everything from that, or if you want more power (who doesn't?) use a 3 channel amp for the front speakers. It is generally a better use of funds than an external 5 channel amp, since the surround channels don't require nearly as much power.

    Aside from that, all the brands you listed make excellent equipment and you won't go wrong with any of them.
     
  3. rather

    rather Auditioning

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    Eventually I strive to have a pre/pro as my head unit, as you say, but since I don't have a BD player at the moment and tend to think I'll wait a few months to see what the market does in terms of brand options and pricing, I thought I would use the old Yamaha - which is an integrated amp - as the pre/pro until a viable option surfaced. This could be a dedicated until or an updated A/V receiver with all the pre/pro whistles pre-amped with one of the power options I mention above.

    Of course soon I will grow tired of watching movies via DVD and a BD player is on the horizon for sure but I thought I would at least upgrade the power and pre/pro portions of my system first before sought a suitable BD player.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    If budget is even remotely a factor, which it seems to be, you are best going with a receiver for a head unit, like I had said. Receivers have come a long way. It just makes sense to put the money where there is a payoff, and feeding the surrounds with the same power as the front is a waste of money.
     
  5. Mark C.

    Mark C. Supporting Actor

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    I can tell you about Rotel, since I have the 1095's lesser powered cousin, the RMB 1075. I've used the 1075 in my home theater going on seven years without a hiccup. I power B&W Nautilus 805 mains, matching center and 601 rears. Even at 120 wpc, this thing rocks. The 1095 is just that much more of everything. If I could have afforded it at the time, I would have gone for the 1095.
     
  6. Carl Gaff

    Carl Gaff Second Unit

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    Have you taken a look at teh B&K line of amps?
     
  7. Brent_S

    Brent_S Second Unit

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    I'll second John's recommendation. For around $600 you can get into something like the Onkyo 805. 7x130 of THX Utlra certified amps with the latest audio Codecs, Audyssey EQ, and rather nice Burr-Brown DACS. It's got full 7.1 preouts if/when you decide to upgrade to a separate amp later. Get that horse back in front of the cart.

    -Brent
     
  8. sam37

    sam37 Extra

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    Where do you find an Onkyo 805 for $600? At Onkyo's site, they list them for $1099. If I could find one for $600, i'd look at that very hard. Local circuit city (which carries Onkyo brand) doesnt even list them, the highest they have is the 606.

    Would appreciate any info.

    Thanks
     
  9. rather

    rather Auditioning

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    i haven't as of yet but i will look today. i appreciate the tip.


    I haven't as of yet but I appreciate the tip.
     
  10. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    b&hphoto has the silver 805 for $649 shipped.
     
  11. Brent_S

    Brent_S Second Unit

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    Well, I did say "around $600". [​IMG] That allows for some +/-. Amazon currently has it for $687 shipped. I got mine back in Feb so haven't been tracking prices weekly. Did see some discussions last month for a week or so where Amazon had it for $599 or less...probably a few other vendors as well.

    If you're not afraid of refurbs, they've been had at ShopOnkyo.com for less than $500 with various promotional deals like 4th of July sale, Memorial Day, etc. By the way, with ShopOnkyo, you have to register and login to see the real good prices. Accessorie4Less is another factory authorized refurb dealer...currently $579 there.

    If you're interested in an 805, I'd be stalking your vendor(s) of choice daily. With the 806s showing in stock, they're going to have to start moving the remaining 805s with discount pricing. And don't be afraid to try to negotiate. When I ordered mine back in Feb, Crutchfield was willing to come down a bit from their listed price, but wouldn't quite match Amazon's price. Of course, Crutchfield has an awesome "we'll pay return shipping if you don't like it for any reason" return policy, so they have to protect themselves a little bit.

    -Brent
     
  12. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    $649 shipped is still a pretty good deal for a pretty good avr. Add tax and cab fair to and from CC if they sold it for $600 (and if they're still in business [​IMG] ) and your close to $700 anyway.
     
  13. sam37

    sam37 Extra

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    Thanks! Wow, and these are NEW receivers that are being shipped for $649? If so, I may have found the receiver i've been looking for. Anyone out there that has one of these that can tell me of the quality and sound of this unit?

    The configuration i'll probably be using it for is to take the HDMI from my cable box andthe HDMI from my Blu-Ray player to the receiver, and then HDMI from my receiver to my television. How is the quality of the video when you do that? Do you lose anything or get any kind of picutre degredation from doing it?

    Oh and sorry for hijacking your thread, Allen [​IMG]

    Thanks
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Sam, no loss of picture quality by doing that. You will probably get some if you use the analog>hdmi upscaling in the receiver. But you are not required to do that, and if you don't have any analog video sources, it's not an issue anyway.
     
  15. RegeG

    RegeG Auditioning

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    I had a ROTEL RSP985(pre/pro) and RB985( 5 channel amplifier) setup.

    I bought the ONKYO 705 and was using it with the RB985. It sounds great. The ONKYO 705 is smaller than the ONKYO 805 and does not have the BURR BROWN DACS. The 705 is thx select where the 805 is thx ultra.

    I disconnected the RB985 from the ONKYO 705 and it still sounds great.

    I am satistifed with the ONKYO 705.
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    See Allen. Several people are steering you in the same direction. Possibly you should consider the advice.
     
  17. rather

    rather Auditioning

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    Are you kidding? I'm learning a lot too. No worries. /allen
     
  18. rather

    rather Auditioning

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    M

    I get it, i get it! Truly, I do, I didn't respond sooner because I was away on business. I am now presently shifting my focus on an A/V receiver and researching several models, most of whom have been mentioned here.

    But I gotta tell you why I initially leaned towards the power amp first, not to convince you but rather to show my path.

    Money is an issue, true. What I envision my system being once I'm done (at least with this upgrade) is a 5.1 system (no room at the moment for a 7.1) driven by dedicated 5 channel power amp. The head unit would either be one of those budget pre/pros or an A/V receiver. But there is a sequential time element here.

    Because I am convinced - at least I am at the moment - that I should wait 6 months for a BD player and hence why I didn't need to be initially concerned about the head unit until I had a source component that could deliver the latest codecs (BD player) and the preamp to process this information. Although some BD players exisit now, there are not that many models available so I thought I'd wait until the holidays to see what arrived.

    Since I can expect to acquire one component at a time, I thought before my wife and kids widdle away my rainy day fund (as sure as death and taxes if I hang on to the money long enough), I should get the power portion of the equation out of the way while I waited to see what new products came out of the budget pre/pro market. I certainly know now the A/V receiver market has what I need right now.

    Anyway, that's why I angled for the power part first. This component does not have to be 'future proof' as much as the head unit does so initially I thought I would wait to see what new releases would be out in the fall.

    BTW, does any retailer discount Parasaound? It doesn't seem so. I see that Audio Advisor has the 5250 "factory refreshed' for $1000 less than full retail. What a great price but that scares the hell out of me. What does it typically mean, 'factory refreshed' and should this impact my buy decision (when I get there). /allen
     
  19. sam37

    sam37 Extra

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    On that Onkyo 805, how bad is the heat issue? I mean, is it going to roast the components inside...or worse, start a fire?

    I like the idea of this receiver, because it fits in my price range, but if the heat is going to be a major issue, then it will probably not be my choice (granted, I could put a fan in there to dissipate the heat). The other option is the Denon 3808CI that I have read about on here...granted it is MUCH more expensive, but if I can find one for around $1100, then it would be more feasible. At $1699, it is out of my price range. Also, been reading that the Denon model that has the MultiEQ and the Dynamic Equalization whereas the Onkyo does not allow for the DynamicEQ.

    For what I have been reading, the Onkyo seems to fit the bill for me, i'm just concerned about the heat this thing is producing. I don't want to overheat my other components nor do I want to start a fire.
     
  20. Brent_S

    Brent_S Second Unit

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    To a large extent, it depends on how much air space you have around the 805 and your ambient room temp. Granted, Onkyo's recommendation of 8" above and on either side of the unit for proper cooling due tend to sound extreme. FWIW, the heat souce in the 805 is the preamp section...hard to id the exact culprit since the area is packed with boards for both audio and video. Since the various audio/video chips used are likely the same or similar to those used by other brands, Onkyo may have arranged their boards in such a way to localize the heat a little more, creating the perception of a hotter unit.

    The 705/805 have "secret" key combinations that will display the readings from some internal heat probes, fan speed, etc.. I run my 805 as a prepro only with about 6" of space above and 10" or so to either side in an open back armoire, doors are are usually closed. Before adding external fans, the probes would stabilize around 56°C after 2 hours or so of DVD/HD-DVD/DVD-A/CD usage at -15dB to Reference and the 805's case was uncomfortably hot to the touch over the right-rear quadrant where the main processing boards sit. While I think this is within Onkyo's design envelope, for peace of mind I added a couple of 140mm Yate Loon low speed computer case fans ($7 @ Jab-tech) spliced into an adjustable voltage wall-wart from RadioShack and placed them over the rear cooling vents using some rubber bumper feet as standoffs. Operating temp now stabilizes around 44°C. From what I've seen, these are pretty typical numbers, even for people using the 805's amps. From others' experience, it looks like the 805's internal fans don't even engage until somewhere in the 60°C+ range...maybe even as high as 69. The 705's engage a little lower.

    I mentioned specific sources above for a reason. Using the FM tuner seems to generate a bit more heat. With playback levels in the -30dB range (background music when working from home) using the DPLII or All Channel Stereo, temps would hover in the low 50°s even with the external fans .

    In short, I think the heat concern is a bit exaggerated. The chips in current generation receivers are not really that much different than the CPU, GPU, or memory in your computer. Ever tried to touch one of those components after your computer's been running for a while? Past generation receivers didn't try to cram as much digital processing power into a chassis so there's bound to be an increase in heat when comparing old to new.

    -Brent
     

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