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Tilpots
Apr 24, 2008, 01:56 PM
Been doing a lot of searching on this lately and haven't found a product that suits my needs. I'm upgrading my audio platform from an old college Aiwa bookshelf system. Looking to buy component pieces rather than an HTiB set-up. This system's gotta last. I've got a Samsung LNT4066F and a MBP that I will be connecting to it and hope to have an :apple:TV/Blu Ray player(hopefully in one package someday;)). My budget for the reciever is around $500, hopefully less. I haven't picked the speakers out yet, but hope to get some recomendations on those as well. So far been looking Acoustech speaker products becasue of the great reviews and pricepoints. Figured I should start with the receiver first and go from there. Connections are a big deal and digital optical would be the preffered route.

Sooooo, I can't find a purely audio receiver. Everything I'm seeing so far is A/V and this just seems like a big waste for my money. I'm more of a videophile than I am an audiophile, so I don't want my video going anywehre near a separate reciever. Having said that, I do love to listen to my collection of Apple lossless files, and be blown away by a movie's sound effects.

Does anybody have knowledge of the type of product I'm searching for? Your help is appreciated.



Killyp
Apr 24, 2008, 02:10 PM
Don't know how you managed not to find anything, there's tonnes of stuff out there!
Sounds to me like you just want a plain stereo amplifier.

I would HIGHLY recommend a Rotel amplifier. Their only 'integrated' amplifier available in North America at the moment (which is where you are I'm assuming) is the RA 1062, a fantastic amplifier, especially for the price.

It's $699, but I'm sure you'll be able to find one second hand. If not, it's worth looking into some of their other products. I've never had a bad amplifier from them (and I've had several).

Also, as far as speakers go, I walk past the Acoustechs from what I can tell online they seem to look as though they use relatively low quality drivers etc, you could just do much better without breaking the bank. I've ALWAYS recommended Bowers & Wilkins speakers. Having owned several pairs myself, and had plenty of other speakers to compare them to, I can't recommend anything else at the price range you're talking about.

How much do you have to spend?

Tilpots
Apr 24, 2008, 02:41 PM
Don't know how you managed not to find anything, there's tonnes of stuff out there!
Sounds to me like you just want a plain stereo amplifier.

I would HIGHLY recommend a Rotel amplifier. Their only 'integrated' amplifier available in North America at the moment (which is where you are I'm assuming) is the RA 1062, a fantastic amplifier, especially for the price.


Thanks for your reply! Yes, I'm in the US. The integrated amplifier seems like a good way to go. I was searching for recievers and not amplifiers. I still got a lot of studying to do on the topic.:o

I checked out the RA 1062 and the only thing I'm not seeing is optical digital inputs. It looks like it only has stereo inputs. I'm eventually hoping to go with a surround sound and I don't think this is possible with this unit.

You've definitelty helped get me on the right track. Overall, I'm looking to spend about $800-900 in the next few months with a 2.1 set-up, but hope to move to 5.1 by year's end.

Killyp
Apr 24, 2008, 02:53 PM
There's no need for digital inputs unless you are going to do surround sound, which you can't with a plain stereo amp.

To include digital inputs would necessitate the addition of 90% of the circuitry found in a fully blown 5.1 A/V receiver.

Advantages of a 'plain' integrated receiver:

Performance is much better in stereo than most surround sound receivers running in stereo mode
They cost much less
There is less to go wrong
They take up less space

Advantages of a fully blown A/V receiver

They offer surround sound
They offer video switching
They often allow for more seamless integration

You may think that video switching etc... built into most A/V receivers is a complete nono, but in the era of HDMI and Component connections, the circuitry found in most surround sound amplifiers which feature these connections has taken a big step up in terms of quality. People do actually now care about picture quality, unlike before when a plain composite connection would do.


If you really want 5.1 sound, start with a good 2.0 system. Remember surround sound isn't better sound, it's just more sound. A system must perform well in stereo to be able to perform well in surround sound.

I'd start with a good surround sound receiver, and a good pair of stereo receivers and just run it in stereo mode for the time being, adding on extra speakers as you want them (rears, centre and a subwoofer).

You're going to need to spend a little more than you've indicated so far if you really want to get a fantastic system. In terms of sound quality, you get far more for your money at the $1500-2500 overall price range than you do at the $100-1000 range, or indeed the systems costing $3000 and upwards (until you reach really silly money, when things take another big leap again).

It may sound a little daunting, but if you go for this slightly more expensive equipment, you'll find it far more upgradeable and expandable in the future, and therefore cheaper in the long run. Believe me I've been through the same as you before and ended up spending 500 ($1000) on a (at the time) high end Rotel surround sound receiver and some relatively high end B&W speakers (again, all second hand) and got a great deal at the time (if a little more expensive than I was looking for), but there's been no need to upgrade anything.

Tilpots
Apr 24, 2008, 03:25 PM
It may sound a little daunting, but if you go for this slightly more expensive equipment, you'll find it far more upgradeable and expandable in the future, and therefore cheaper in the long run.


Thanks again, Killyp. I appreciate the info and advice you've given. It's daunting buying a product with technology that I don't know much about, so it's great to be able to this part of the forum and ask questions.

I'm going to do quite a bit more research, but it looks like my purchase will be delayed a few months. No worries, I'll take quality over speed anyday!

Killyp
Apr 24, 2008, 03:27 PM
Oh definitely.

A 'mediocre' sound system will sound relatively good for the first few months, then you'll hear something else as you gain interest or whatever, and realise it's not so special.

However, a very good budget system will in many ways be comparable to most high-end systems in at least a few areas, and will last for years and years and still sound fantastic.

Consultant
Apr 28, 2008, 06:05 PM
I have a NAD amp
http://nadelectronics.com

Other brands you might want to look into includes:
Onkyo
harman/kardon

Killyp
Apr 29, 2008, 12:51 AM
Nad is good stuff, although it depends on the speakers you're getting. It matches some speakers better than others.

I have several Nad amplifiers, and they're all fantastic.

bgalizio
Apr 29, 2008, 07:38 AM
Tubes or solid state?

If you want to get into the world of tube playback, there are a few integrated amps that will fit your budget (new or used), such as the Jolida 102b or Sophia Baby. You'll need efficient speakers for those amps, though, as they're fairly low wattage.

For solid state, look at the Cambridge Audio line or Music Hall as well the others previously suggested (NAD in particular).

If you're OK with buying used, check out audiogon.com as there can be great deals there.

Killyp
Apr 29, 2008, 04:03 PM
I wouldn't get tubes personally, they require really careful matching with speakers etc... which isn't really possible at the kinda price range the OP is looking at.

Stick with Solid State - more robust and to my ears - better. More accurate and more dynamic.

Tilpots
Apr 30, 2008, 04:07 PM
Good advice, so far, peoples. I've really been checking out the recommended products and manufacturers. There's a lot to look at and consider!

I think the receiver is probably the way I should go. It offers a bit more flexibility and the ability to upgrade to a surround sound when I'm ready.

I mentioned I may hold out to save longer, but I'm completely without any audio system and I can see it's getting to me fast. So far, I think a new addition to the Onkyo line-up is most in-line with my needs and current budget ($500 now). It's called the TX-SR606 (http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?m=TX-SR606&class=Receiver&p=i). Most retailers have it priced at $499.

Specs look good to work with the HDMI 1.3 found in the HDTV I own and seems to have pretty great connectivity with 4 HDMI inputs. I couldn't fill them all up now, but I hope to in the next few years.

I know none of you has had a hands on experience with this model because it's not out yet (early May), but I wanted to see if anybody knows it's older brother, the TX-SR605. I tired to test out the 605 today at Circuit City, but they didn't have one hooked up and I couldn't wait for them to do so.