Need "Unfatiguing" Reciever/Processor (and other questions....)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rich H, Feb 19, 2002.

  1. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Hi folks,

    I'm just getting into the home theater game. I'm about to buy a Plasma screen and since it will not come with speakers

    I've been doing research on AV loudspeakers/Receivers etc.

    My brain hurts.

    Here's the thing: I think I'm looking for the opposite of what many home theater fans are after. When I get home and pop on a movie, I do not want to be assaulted by mega-dynamics or brilliant, piercing sound.

    I work in sound all day and when I come home my ears are often tired. I certainly appreciate fine sound. It's just that I'm looking to make my AV sound system as unfatiguing, full and smooth as possible.

    I haven't yet decided on separates or a receiver. However,

    this is what I'd like, ideally: A reciever that had a warm, full, unfatiguing sound. And one that allowed me to taylor the sound as much as possible. For instance, I think a dynamic range control would be terrific for evening out the assaultive dynamics of soundtracks.

    For instance: the Perfect Vision review of the Adcom GTP-830

    AV receiver was intriguing. The unit was described as warm and unfatiguing sounding, and had a four-level dynamic range control - the greatest dynamic range control I've yet read about in a receiver. Does anyone have experience with this unit?

    If I end up with a reciever that does not have much dynamic range adjustment, are there any other add-on devices I should know about to address this?

    Sorry for the long post...

    Thank you!

    Rich H.
     
  2. Graham Perks

    Graham Perks Second Unit

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    Good question. The speakers will have the biggest say in how your HT sounds. Search for laid-back speakers, rather than bright ones. For example, cross NHT and Monitor Audio speakers off your list immediately, as they tend to be bright. I like Ruark's sound. The highs are a little rolled off and they're easy on the ears. (With bright-sounding speakers, the highs are slightly emphasized.) You can find other brands with a similar sound.

    I wouldn't rely on the receiver alone to provide the sound you seek.

    Disclaimer, I'm not knocking NHT or MA (I have a pair of NHTs). Bright or laid-back, neither is better than the other. Just everybody has a different pair of ears, and ears and brains all have their individual responses and preferences.
     
  3. Michael Yung

    Michael Yung Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Graham. Pick out the right speaker first and then worry about the receiver. Stay away from metal and horn tweeters. Give the Sonus Faber a try if that's in your price range.

    Sorry but I don't know anything about dynamic range control. I would think that would color the sound and make it more artificial. As long as your receiver's amp unit is powerful enough and have clean and consistent power across the frequency range you should get fairly natural sound as long as your speakers are good.
     
  4. Graham Perks

    Graham Perks Second Unit

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    Oh yeah - dynamic range adjustment. I think this might be part of the DD spec. Certainly my Denon 3200 receiver (circa 1998) has this ability.

    It has four levels, if you count "off" :) Basically it automatically turns the volume up during quiet passages, and down during loud bits. So the volume is more even. This way, at night, when someone else is sleeping, you can set it at a comfortable volume level and not have to keep turning it up to hear quiet whispers, and down during explosions :)

    I have a feeling this is standard with all Dolby Digital decoders, but I could be wrong.
     
  5. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    Mostly all DD receivers have a feature like this, some like to call it "Night" mode or something like that. It does exactly what Graham was talking about, compress the frequency range so you can watch DVD's while other people are sleeping, etc.
     
  6. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    I, too, prefer components that do not assault the ears, yet provide maximum detail and top performance. The following loudspeaker brands fit your requirements (I've heard them all at length): Sonus-Faber (the Grand Piano Home possibly excepted); Vienna Acoustics; Vandersteen; and Polk's impressive new audiophile line, the LSi's.

    As for HT components, McIntosh immediately comes to mind. Pass Labs and Conrad-Johnson do not offer HT preamps, but they do manufacture exceptional, nonfatiguing, multichannel power amps.

    Happy listening!
     
  7. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Rich H, As far as receivers go if I were going to group them with sound characteristics..it would be
    WARM
    B&k
    DENON
    MARANTZ
    HK
    BRIGHT
    SONY
    YAMAHA -- {newer models are supposed to be neutral}
    ONKYO --{arguably neutral}
    NEUTRAL
    PIONEER
    ROTEL
    OUTLAW
    On another note I had the GTP-830 in my house for about 3 weeks, very clean and neutral but not warm..I have NHT and they are, lets just say revealing[​IMG]
     
  8. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

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    Rich,

    I'll reinforce Alex's post. If you are intent on a receiver rather than separates, I suggest that you audition the McIntosh MHT100. I think you'll find its sound will more than satisfy your expressed requirements.*

    Marty

    Alright! It's true. I did move up to this unit a month ago.
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    About to buy a plasma screen? Why? You can get a MUCH BETTER picture for significantly less money with a conventional projector.
     
  10. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    I too suggest Sonus faber, and will add to the list Thiel.

    My guess is that you will not like B&W; although they make very fine products, their tweeters can be a bit shrill.

    For a preamp processor you might want to consider a Proceed. It is not cheap, and may not contain all the latest HT features, but IMO it is far more musical than most HT prepros and receivers.

    Larry
     
  11. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    How about this:

    Denon 3802 receiver

    B&W 600 series speakers all around.

    Alternately, a Marantz equivalent to the 3802.

    For a more upscale speaker, the Vandersteens are very nice, warm sounding speaker. Some of my favorites.

    Since you don't want to be assaulted, there's really no point in going to separates or higher end receivers.

    Like most everyone else says, it's the speakers that will determine the sonic character of your system, more than anything else.

    Todd
     
  12. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

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    Thanks for the replies so far - very helpful. I have a few more questions.
    First, just to clear the picture up, I'm not a newbie as far as sound and sound quality....I'm a sound effects editor for movies/TV and an audiophile . However, my home set-up has remained a dinky little 27" Panasonic TV over the years - no outboard speakers/receivers at all. I work long days surrounded by "Home Theater" which is why, until recently, I've been less than enthusiastic about coming home to more of the same.
    Seeing the new Plasma screens changed that :)
    (Philip - yeah, I understand your point about projectors, but only a plasma will fit in my living space. Besides, overall, I actually prefer a good plasma picture to projected video. And I say that advisedly as I see projected video all the time in very expensive, professionally calibrated set-ups in mixing theaters etc. I guess it's a taste thing - I prefer plasma).
    Unfortunately, I'm utterly out to lunch when it comes to consumer AV gear because I've completely ignored it until now. I know what I want sonically, but I'm not sure which brands/models will give it to me. PLus, unlike my high-end audio experiences, AV gear does not seem to come with "home auditions," especially in the modest price range I'm looking at. Which is why your feedback is so valuable to me.
    Now, back to the "Unfatiguing Receiver" concept....
    (Still don't know for sure if I'll go separates or receiver).
    This JVC (gasp!) AV Receiver is intriguing to me, seeing as it The Perfect Vision described the sound as rich and unfatiguing:
    http://www.jvc.ca/en/consumer/produc...del=RX-DP10VSL
    It also is one of the few AV receivers I've seen that mentions having a Parametric EQ (if only three-band) for all channels. Given my desire to have some sonic control, to take the "bite" out of movie sound, this would seem to be a good thing.
    My question: Do other AV receivers offer EQs? I assume the EQ in the JVC is a DSP function. Should I expect any significant sonic degradation with the EQ engaged? (I know this is a worry in High-End/Pro audio gear... not that I'm going to be *really* critical about my modest AV set-up).
    Also, I've seen people talking about certain receivers performing well at lower volumes, which is how I'm likely to listen. Is this a problem with many AV Receivers? Does the analogue section, converters or DSP functions start to crap out and get noisy at lower volumes (like earlier digital volume controls?).
    Also (last one), do many receivers also do A/D conversion?
    I'm wondering if I can connect a stereo analogue source to the Receiver (like the JVC), and benefit from any converter/DSP functions.
    Again, I really appreciate all the information provided so far.
    Rich H.
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I believe most receivers do A/D conversion to digitally do DSPs and tone controls.

    Often tone controls do not work on receivers' 5.1 DD and DTS modes. - Check individual receivers.

    Ironically enough I've found that more powerful, higher current amplifiers tend to sound better at low volumes than typical wattage amps. H/K, Marantz, and Onkyo are known for wrapping higher current amps into their receivers.

    If the latest DSP bells and whistles like DPL II are not as important to you as "pure" 5.1 or stereo sound, I would highly recommend that you take a look at the Outlaw Audio 1050 receiver.
     
  14. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Sorry, I disagree that all metal tweeters = bright sound.

    If you want a warm sound, change the room acoustics appropriately. Speakers are the next most important factor and the rest of the equipment is far down the list (in terms of affecting perceived sound).
     
  15. Paul Chalk

    Paul Chalk Stunt Coordinator

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