HiFi Help - Choose a receiver for me!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jay42, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #1
    I'm looking for advice from any hi fi enthusiasts that follow the current trends in the markets. I have yet to brave the audiophile boards because frankly, its still a little over my head.

    Anyway, I'm building a 2ch stereo set up with some older Acoustic Research bookshelf speakers that a friend gave me (to be upgraded later) but I have nothing to plug them into. My source is primarily going to be optical out of my PoweBook playing lossless files on itunes.

    I'm looking to spend around $300 (I know...I'm broke). Used is okay if its really going to make a difference but I would prefer something new.

    What receiver should I get? Do I need a DAC if my receiver has digital inputs? What about analog?

    Also, I've noticed a lot of hype about D-class and Tripath ("T-Class") amplifiers being great bang for your buck. Should I go with one of these?

    Here are a couple I've been looking at...

    HK 3490

    Yamaha RX 497
     
  2. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #2
    The cheapo class D amplifiers are generally pretty poor, with the exception of a few which demand incredibly sensitive speakers. Ultimately, they're not really an easy option to go for.

    I would personally look at Nad. Their C series is a no-frills 'does what it says on the tin' series.

    If you can push the budget up a little, I consider Rotel to be a step up. The design is significantly better, as is build quality, and performance is IMO a little better too. Rotel generally tends to gel well with a bigger selection of speakers too. With the Nad, you have to be careful which speakers you use with it otherwise you won't be getting it's best performance.
     
  3. Horst Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #3
    I second Nad, really good stuff for the money.
    Or you could go Vintage, pre 70s Sansui and Marantz recievers are pretty good.
    Buying used is not for the faint of heart, though.
     
  4. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #4
    Most amplifiers are class AB some are D but these aren't that popular and i wouldn't say for your price range + speakers you should look at anything but Class AB.

    Don't buy Rotel its so long in the tooth for the price, NAD is okay.... meh.... bit lackluster.

    You'd be best looking at Marantz's maybe at a push Denon, even Onkyo/Pioneer.
     
  5. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #5
    I wouldn't want to compare Marantz, Pioneer et. al. to Nad. As good as high-end Marantz kit is, their budget kit is lackluster, often metallic sounding and lacks any sort of sonic qualities that make me want to buy it.

    My Nad kit produces a very sweet high end which is very pleasing to listen to. The Rotel kit produces a very dynamic and transparent sound which is quite exciting when paired correctly.
     
  6. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #6
    Oh yeah I Agree, i have the NAD C541i CD Player + Rotel Surround System, though sonically i've never really been impressed with the Rotel, much prefer the sound from Arcam Kit. Marantz, i agree is has a metallic sound. I love the NAD CD player though but was never impressed with the amps.
     
  7. dirtleg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Location:
    St. Louis
    #7
    I have a very nice Pioneer purchased about 5 years ago, with Paradigm speakers. Didn't cost a fortune but has nice sound for both our TV system and my vinyl collection as well as digital music.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #8
    Oh really? Which speakers have you been pairing that with? I bought myself an RSX-1055 off ebay a few years ago and I've been very impressed with it.
     
  9. Vashti macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #9
    Onkyo gives you a LOT of bang for the buck. Look at their lower end receivers. This will also let you grow into surround sound or better equipment later.
     
  10. Horst Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #10
    Imho, Nad made their best stuff in the 80s and early 90s, Marantz in the 60s/ early 70s, if you are looking for budget components.
    Of course you need to find a unit in pristine condition to enjoy it.

    Japanese audio took a bad hit when the Yen got stronger in the 70s, then came the tech craze of the 80s, and in the 90s Surround etc. killed all the affordable offerings in terms of quality.
    Kinda what the iPod did to Apple ;).

    If it works with your home theater, it sucks ;), keep that in mind.

    The above mentioned Arcam , also Creek , might be worth looking into.

    For 300$, a fairly new, used British reciever might be your best bet.
     
  11. Jay42 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #11
    The thing that made me interested in the Harmon Kardon are the digital inputs it provides. Is that the same thing as running optical through a DAC into analog RCA inputs? Would it make a noticable difference in sound quality? Again, I'm planning on using lossless files from my PowerBook....


    Thanks for all the help so far - specific model recommendations are also greatly appreciated.
     
  12. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #12
    B&W DM602 S3's
     

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