D

ddjr

Audioholic
In my bedroom I have a cd player, a radio receiver, and an amp. The last two are matching nad components. Downstairs i have a denon av500bt. The nad amp just makes the music so lively, it jumps out of the speakers. I'd like a similar setup down here in the living room, but using an av through an amp. Is this possible?
Was listening to abbey road both upstairs, and down, and MAN!! What a difference. Even to my old ears.. I guess I'm looking for a good sounding avr, with no internal amp. Or, one with an internal amp that makes the music pop like my nad combo. If possible.
 
Last edited:
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
In my bedroom I have a cd player, a radio receiver, and an amp. The last two are matching nad components. Downstairs i have a denon av500bt. The nad amp just makes the music so lively, it jumps out of the speakers. I'd like a similar setup down here in the living room, but using an av through an amp. Is this possible?
Was listening to abbey road both upstairs, and down, and MAN!! What a difference. Even to my old ears.. I guess I'm looking for a good sounding avr, with no internal amp. Or, one with an internal amp that makes the music pop like my nad combo. If possible.
Yes, you can get AVR pre-amp units or an AVR with pre-amp out connections in addition to the built in amps, but Denon AVRs sound pretty good to begin with, and in general the amplification has the smallest impact on overall sound quality. The 75W/ch in your S500BT should be enough power unless you're using electrostatics or other low efficiency speakers. Biggest impact on sound is going to be the speakers and the room acoustics. Would help to know what speakers are in the bedroom and downstairs for comparison, and did you run the Audessey room equalization on the Denon? Do you have a subwoofer on the downstairs system and how do the rooms compare in size and shape.

You can even run a little experiment if you have the time. Listen to just your 2 main front speakers downstairs. The Denon should have a Stereo or Direct mode that uses just the mains. Then move the NAD components (and CD player if needed) downstairs and hook them up to your main front speakers. You will likely find that the sound changes little when replacing just the amp. This will depend somewhat on whether the NAD has tone controls that you are using, and whether Audessey was run on the Denon, but in Direct mode the Denon should bypass Audessey and run flat for comparison. If you list your speakers and room dimensions I'm sure others here will have some recommendations.
 
D

ddjr

Audioholic
My avr doesn't have audyssry, but it does have an auto setup program. I find that after I run it, I have to set the levels of the speakers individually, so that I can hear them evenly. I do have a sub. The room is awful, 23x30ish with 18' high peaked ceiling. Two double glass doors at either side in front, open to the kitchen and a stairway in back. I'm using the speakers from upstairs down here now. But I swear they sound better with the nads. The speakers are meadowlark kestrel hotrods. (Micca mb42x's for surround, Dayton sub) ill try to get a picture of the room...
tmp-cam-5059635696108497413.jpg
front view...
tmp-cam-6504761528528148089.jpg
rear view.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
Hopefully others will chime in, but my first impression is that it is the room acoustics primarily. You are dealing with two very different spaces. I looked for some reviews on those speakers and they are rated quite well but can have a small sweet spot. Likely not an issue in the bedroom but could have an impact in the large open space. I would still try the NAD gear downstairs just for kicks if it's not too much trouble. You can leave the AVR in place and set the NAD anywhere the speaker cables will reach and run an extension cord for power (a good heavy 3-prong cord). Your ears are the best test and it will convince you as to whether the amp makes a noticeable difference. May not be able to try the sub with the NAD though.

Maybe play with the speaker placement a little, like adjusting the distance from the wall and also experimenting with toe-in. Speaker toe-in can improve imaging (placement of instruments) but can narrow the sound stage. It's a matter of personal preference. The placement of the sub will also have an impact on how flat a response you can achieve at your main seating position. Those are things you can try first that don't cost any money.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Heya,

Realistically there's going to be less difference that you can audibly tell between an AVR on your speakers vs a discrete amplifier. The biggest differences will be noted in the room itself as a lot of what you're hearing is room response, not the "amp." Changing rooms will have a big change on the sound. Drag your setup into another room and you'll hear the difference. Just use what you have or get a basic stereo receiver and enjoy your audio. Treat the room and optimize placement. Don't worry about having a sound that you think comes from an amp combination, as it doesn't, it's the room.

Very best,
 
D

ddjr

Audioholic
Thanks guys. So it seems that speaker placement, and toe in, and also distance from walls is the culprit? Interesting... and bad news for me. My wife wants the speakers where they are (so as to be symmetrical and to not block the view out the doors... so I am limited to toe in adjustments. She hates it when I run the auto setup program. The noise from the speakers is "horrendous". I've run it twice so far today . Ok, thanks for the tips, guys!
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Send your spouse somewhere for the afternoon. Lunch with her friends, salon, spa, etc. Something. Get her out of the house.

:cool:

Very best,
 
D

ddjr

Audioholic
You really do need to turn it up to adjust it, dont you? I'll get her and the kids out sooner or later...
 
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
Well, I wouldn't exactly say that placement or toe-in is the culprit. Just that those things can have an effect on overall sound. Could improve things; could make things worse. It's more a matter of trial and error as each room will behave differently. Having the space to yourself to turn things up and listen carefully does help. ;)
 
D

ddjr

Audioholic
I will turn it up as soon as I can, I promise you. Unfortunately the speakers have to stay where they are. But I'll fool around a bit. What does it mean to "treat the room"?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
You know, take it out, show it a good time..... :) Treating a room would be paying attention to the acoustics and the usual furnishings to an extent, possibly going further with acoustic treatments/devices to help out (like traps, absorbers, diffusers, etc.
I will turn it up as soon as I can, I promise you. Unfortunately the speakers have to stay where they are. But I'll fool around a bit. What does it mean to "treat the room"?
 
D

ddjr

Audioholic
Guys, I took it out, I tried to show it a good time.. I turned it up. LOUD. My denon avr does NOT sound anywhere near as good as my old nad amp and cd player. Granted, I was listening to youtube through the denon, but .... Man. . Can the speakers be too far apart? The separation and staging is good, but the actual sound of everything is not as good. Wine may have been involved... I remember blasting night ranger. Live. 1985. Then maybe madonna... I'm going to have to try this without wine. U2 with pavarotti sounded ok, turned way up. My wife's music sounds like crap.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
I've had similar experiences where a simple dedicated amplifier (low power even) sounded significantly better than an AVR in Direct (unprocessed). An amp can influence frequency response a little. And it's amazing how picky we can be.

In fact, I want to measure it just to see. I will do speakers in the exact location and simply compare an amplifier and an AVR. I'll reference them to 75db with the microphone with a pink noise sweep for the full range without a sub, just the two speakers and compare & share the results. I did a little last night and it was crazy how much the AVR changed the signal when I set it to Direct vs Stereo (Stereo dropped it by almost -10db immediately and made it a little warmer and dropped treble significantly according to the response curve I measured!).

Very best,
 
D

ddjr

Audioholic
Interesting! My avr is on multichannel stereo... Maybe I should set it to direct?
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Interesting! My avr is on multichannel stereo... Maybe I should set it to direct?
I'm not sure; I just noticed it and measured it with my UMIK-1 and REW and even matched at 75db pink noise, the sweeps were different results and it was obvious that Direct and Stereo had different outputs from the AVR with the identical source input with no changes in position or room or anything.

This may just be this AVR specifically. I can't speak for another AVR in that way. I never measured this before and just did it yesterday out of curiosity because it sounded different. This is a low end Onkyo TX-SR333 unit that was new in a box for years. I got it out to see if it even worked. It did. And it might even just be this unit? But it was obvious from hearing and form measuring that the Stereo mode dropped treble a lot and that Direct had more treble. Stereo sounded veiled and overly warm. Direct sounded more neutral. And they measured similar to what I heard so it confirmed my suspicion.

Not trying to re-invent the wheel. It just got me interested. As now I want to compare a few AVR's I have and a few stereo amps I have so that the only difference is the processor (or no processing when using Direct, in theory anyways) and the amp stages and see which amp is doing what to the speaker and resulting room response. They sound different, so I imagine there will be subtle or maybe obvious measurement differences. I figure at least 2~3db differences in places, since I could hear it.

Very best,
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Interesting! My avr is on multichannel stereo... Maybe I should set it to direct?
Personally the only time I'd use that sound mode is for a party where any appreciation for proper 2ch imaging or even proper surround sound is not possible. I do upmix a lot of 2ch music to surround (usually via Dolby upmixer), but much I'll just listen in native form. For surround content I'd never use multi-ch stereo mode, that's just wrong.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Thanks guys. So it seems that speaker placement, and toe in, and also distance from walls is the culprit? Interesting... and bad news for me. My wife wants the speakers where they are (so as to be symmetrical and to not block the view out the doors... so I am limited to toe in adjustments. She hates it when I run the auto setup program. The noise from the speakers is "horrendous". I've run it twice so far today . Ok, thanks for the tips, guys!
Yup. The differences you're hearing are almost certainly differences in room acoustics. If you can get away with even a few inches further out or away from a room boundary sometimes it can help improve things a little bit. You already mentioned toe in and that can help too.

Tell your wife if she'd let you optimize your speakers a little more you might be able to run it one last time and be done with it!
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Interesting! My avr is on multichannel stereo... Maybe I should set it to direct?
Oof. Yeah, I never use that mode either, for anything. I prefer stereo music in stereo and 5.1 mixes in 5.1. Like HD said, sometimes I'll play with upmixing stereo to 5.1 just for fun, but mostly listen to stereo recordings in 2 channel. Multichannel stereo just sounds noisy, unbalanced and off to me.

I'd say experiment between stereo and direct for 2 channel music. My Marantz plays with dsp corrections in stereo and pure direct bypasses all of the dsp settings.
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top