2ch rig suggestions.

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by panteragstk, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    I've posted a thread about speaker suggestions and would like to now get some suggestions on what DAC/pre/pro and amp combo you guys suggest.

    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/loudspeakers/85011-ascend-sierra-tower-raal-ribbon-upgrade.html

    I don't think the choice of components will depend on the speakers, but I'll take that into consideration if need be.

    I'm thinking of going with a UPA-200 for the amp and a XDA-2 for the DAC. My only source will be a PC so a DAC seems like a good choice. I won't be using a sub so bass management isn't an issue. I'm just looking for something that will complement the speakers as much as possible, and be nice and transparent.

    One thing I've never had to consider is aesthetics. I said it in the speaker thread that this will be downstairs and WAF comes into play big time. The reason I say this is the two components I'm looking at match well. I never though I'd have to consider that, but you just never know.

    Any other suggestions are very welcome for a nice combination that will interface with a PC. I do plan to use the USB feature so I don't have anything interfering with the signal path. I've never had a DAC before and my only experience with them is in the recording world with the audio interfaces I sold. I would go that route, but wonder if they would be right for my needs. If anyone can suggest a good model to look at I may consider that route.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    One thing I'm sure about is that our desires and needs change over time.

    You might not think you need "more" now, but you will never know the future.

    Since DAC technology is so mature now, I believe the best option is to get an AVR or pre-pro/ amp. The DAC inside a mid-price AVR is as good as any mid-price DAC.

    I think a 7.1 AVR from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Pioneer, etc, is the best option.
  3. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    That was actually my plan in the beginning, but it just feels like a waste to use a 7.1 AVR as a 2.0 rig. I have a Pioneer VSX-521k that I was going to use, but with the Sierra's minimum impedance dipping to 4ohms I fear the tiny amp won't be able to keep up.

    If I were to consider an AVR, any particular model you have in mind? I like my 809, but I'm not all that impressed with the 2ch performance and configuration options. I think I may go the Denon route or maybe Yamaha. I believe they both support AirPlay so that could come in handy for all my Apple Fanboy friends.
  4. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    I think the Denon 3312/3313 is great. Call around (Electronics Expo, Onecall, Vanns) and see if you can get a good price - $650 on 3312, $850 on 3313.

    The 3312/3313 allows Pure Direct 2.1 mode, which is different from the others.

    Pure Direct/ Direct will make the Denon sound like a class A pure analog stereo preamp. And the internal DAC will sound as good as any outboard IMO.
  5. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    I'll take a look. Apparently Denon has come out with some new models with higher power amps, but limited features. Pretty much what I'm looking for.

    5.1 Channel 3D Pass Through Network AV Receiver with AirPlay

    EDIT: Hmm, that one doesn't have PD or Direct. Maybe I'll cross it off the list.
  6. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    I'd go for a 2 channel amp or stereo. I hear everything that AccuDefTech guy says but I like the simplicity of a 2 channel rig and you are getting something in your price range that you know will be stable down to 4 ohms and below if need be. I bought the outlaw stereo receiver and it is a heck of a nice unit. It has a usb input but frankly it's not great and so I would add a dac. You could pair the outlaw with the emotiva dac and have a heck of a nice combo for under $1k. Or you could get the NAD 356bee dac which runs around $900.
  7. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    If all I care about is 2Ch audio, I would get one of the ATI pre-pro. The ATP6700 is $600 (MSRP $3000).

    A/V Processors

    I bet the DAC and quality of this $3000 unit is AT LEAST AS GOOD AS any Emotiva unit or Outlaw Receiver.

    Then get an AT1202 2Ch amp for $600 (retail $900).

    Amplifiers

    You might even be able to ask them for a favor and let you have the combo set for $1000 even. :D

    Oh, wait, it doesn't have AirPlay so you would have to spend $95 on an Apple TV.

    But I think the Denon 3312/3313 is the safest bet with AirPlay. Or something similar w/ 4K video, etc.
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  8. bikemig Audioholic Chief

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  9. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    :D Don't really care about AirPlay, it just happened to be a bonus. 2ch is the most important part of this. The WAF part is less important (as long as it matches, she won't care if it's "pretty".) so I want to aim for performance over anything. This will be the first 2ch rig I've purchased in a very long time. I'm not going to make any quick decisions, so I really appreciate the advice.

    I'll have to do a bit of research on that. Thanks. I just wonder if it will fit in the cabinet, and if it runs hot. Wouldn't want to kill it. :rolleyes:
  10. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    IMO, the ATI pre-pro + ATI amp is unequivocally the best possible brand new 2Ch ANALOG Preamp + DAC + Amp combo for the BUDGET. You could find other USED old gears, but not new.

    The ATP6700 is 80% off MSRP ($3000). The ATP8700 is 83% off MSRP ($6000).

    So for me personally, if all I cared about was pure 2Ch music + DAC, the ATP8700 + AT2002 would unequivocally be in my audio rack.

    But I care a lot about HDMI, movies, AirPlay, etc. I can't live without these features. :D
  11. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

    panteragstk
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    That would be over my budget. I think $1200 is going to be the max. The ATP6700 and AT1202 look pretty great for the price. I will use this for all the sound coming from my PC, so using COAX for the sound isn't an issue.

    I do plan to use this for TV, but I've got the theater room for movies. My main concern is 2ch music performance. I would go with a receiver with everything built in, but all those features would be mostly wasted. HDMI would be nice from a simplicity standpoint, but the ATP6700 has RS232 so I'd be able to control it with my pc. That is a big plus for me, and for WAF since it simplifies things.

    When I get my cabinet I'll take some measurements to make sure things won't be cramped and overheat anything.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  12. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
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    If your computer is the source I would dump the pre-pro and just get a sound card and go straight to Amp.

    Take a look at the Yamaha PS2500:

    photolibrary_amp_p-s_image04_759x175.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  13. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

    AcuDefTechGuy
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    The most expensive sound card I've used was the $300 Asus Xonar, which was the first to feature decoding for DTS-HD & Dolby TrueHD; it also has Burr-Brown DAC.

    And I don't know why, but I've never been able to get great sound from any sound card from any PC. I always had to bitstream and let my AVR handle the DAC. I must have done something wrong. I don't know.
  14. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

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    It's basically a $4,000 system for $1200.

    You don't know how many times I've been tempted to purchase the ATI ATP! :)

    I'm still thinking about it; trying to figure out how to work it in. If it had HDMI inputs, I would have never even bought a single Denon. :D

    All I need are 6 HDMI inputs, DTS & DD decoding, Channel Level Adjust, Pure Direct 2.1.

    I can't believe they did not just change the DVI to HDMI! That would have done it for me. What a shame, what a shame. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  15. jinjuku Moderator

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    I've never had a problem getting stellar sound out of a PC. Neither do most recording engineers.
  16. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

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    I thought about going that route and getting a pro audio interface or some sort of USB DAC straight to a pro amp, but hiding the amp would be the issue. If I had the ability to hide everything in a closet like the theater room I wouldn't even think about aesthetics, but since this will be in a "formal" dining room/TV area/pool table room it needs to be "nicer" looking than any pro amp I've seen. I'm also needing to consider heat since when the doors are closed when I'm not watching TV it has the potential to get hot in the cabinet.

    All about the audio interface. The PC aspect has nothing to do with it. ;) I've toyed with that idea many times. What interface would you suggest? I've had my eye on a profire 610 for a few years. I'm still curious to see how good one is.
  17. jinjuku Moderator

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    I would just go to guitar center and look/listen. Presonus makes some killer USB devices for almost every budget.
  18. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

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    So, I'm still debating on whether to get a "regular' AVR intended for 5.1/7/1 duty and using it for 2ch only. The benefit here is networking features, HDMI, mobile device control, and the possibility of re-purposing it to surround duty when I upgrade. None of which has anything to do with 2ch ability. That and the fact that I want it to handle 4ohm loads without crying may make that option a problem (unless I go higher end).

    For getting the ATI combo as suggested it has surround capability, but lacks quite a few advanced features found on even the most modest AVR's. Not really relevant because I would treat it as a stereo pre-amp and amp combo. For 2ch this should be a potent combination. It is also the high end of my budget ($1200). Should be a fantastic value considering MSRP.

    Get a USB capable DAC and amp for 2ch use. That or a "pro" soundcard with a built in DAC. This setup will only have a PC as a source so that is a consideration.

    With the ATI combo I can use optical out from my PC and let the ATI do all processing (preferable to letting the PC do it). The USB DAC would be a little better due to the PC compatibility (whether or not the DAC would be of high quality is another thing all together.) The last would be an AVR with HDMI. I know this combination works and will be simple to use, but the question of fidelity comes into play. I wouldn't use half the features of any AVR I would purchase, plus I wonder how the amp section would handle 4ohm loads. I would spend the max of my budget, but I'd end up with a better surround capable receiver than I have in my theater room. That doesn't make sense considering I'd be smarter to put that receiver in the movie room and use my 809 as the 2ch receiver. I don't really like the 809 for 2ch only duty so I'd rather stay away from that option.

    So, having said all that, what would you guys say the best path is? Cheaper AVR with 4ohm capability? Higher end ATI setup for 2ch only? USB DAC or soundcard/DAC and amp?
  19. AcuDefTechGuy Audioholic Slumlord

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    ATI $4,000 MSRP high-end quality combo and never look back! :D

    It's not everyday you can afford a "$4,000" system. :D
  20. panteragstk Audioholic Chief

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    Yep, main reason I lean toward that option. Those are new units on classic audio correct?

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