Back on the market for a stereo or AVR

P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#21
I agree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with esoteric gear if you can afford to waste money. I miss my blueish McIntosh back lights. There are a few here that have some less than positive thoughts on their amps with autoformers. I personally liked the couple I had.

So far the x3400, that is the preamp in a Salk 2.x system, performs above what was expected, and is an incredibly great value.

I'm also a huge fan of the Outlaw Audio preamps for being function more than form.
I have to say this again, that the X3400H is incredible, a total surprise. It convinced me to settle for a X4400H to replace my Marnatz prepro in order to do 11.1.4. It has also convinced me I no longer need my class A Cambridge audio preamp, Bryston and Halo power amps, but so far I have only sold one and plan on keeping the others just to feel good to have some two channel separates (real ones.).
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,232 9 16
#22
I have to say this again, that the X3400H is incredible, a total surprise. It convinced me to settle for a X4400H to replace my Marnatz prepro in order to do 11.1.4. It has also convinced me I no longer need my class A Cambridge audio preamp, Bryston and Halo power amps, but so far I have only sold one and plan on keeping the others just to feel good to have some two channel separates (real ones.).
I certainly couldn't get any preamp or integrated with all the bells and whistles that it has, let alone for under $600.
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic General
Ratings
631 6 11
#23
Had a Denon x4400h it’s was good. Didn’t sound any better than the onkyo when i compared them. I returned the x4400. They share the same DAC chips, for the price difference the onkyo was the winner. Sold the onkyo due to a move. Now that I’m settled, i want a new unit. I’m doing 2 Channel now, I’ve got surrounds on order. 5.2. Eventually Atmos.
Maybe I missunderstood, do you have two systems? You said you're doing 2 channels now but you've oredered surrounds 5.2?
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic General
Ratings
631 6 11
#24
class A Cambridge audio preamp
wooow, this could be so valuable for me, there's a lot of Cambridge Audio going around the shops in my city, what are your experiences, do they perform well? They also have some 2ch models that feature USB DAC, I'm on the look out for those
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#25
wooow, this could be so valuable for me, there's a lot of Cambridge Audio going around the shops in my city, what are your experiences, do they perform well? They also have some 2ch models that feature USB DAC, I'm on the look out for those
I only have the preamp, it is built like a tank. Runs quite warm even when turned off, unless you unplug the cable. Actually I might have been wrong about the class A thing. For some reason I thought I emailed tech support before to have them confirm the classification. Just to be sure, I checked my email record with them, and now realized I only asked them about the fully balance or not. They confirmed the preamp is "fully balanced" whereas the power amp is "quasi" balanced. Anyway, since their power amp is class XD, that is some sort of enhanced class A/AB that runs class A up to a relatively higher output level than other class A/AB types, before switching to AB, so I think is it reasonable to expect the preamp to be pure class A. I just email them on this and hopefully they will respond. A or AB makes no audible difference to me, that I am sure. It just feel good and right to have the preamp pure class A, since they don't consume much less power than power amps.

If you are interested in USB DAC, I strongly suggest you go the separate route because then you can choose what you like, and just let amplifiers amplify, otherwise there is little reason going with separate amps, may as well stick with AVRs for the best functionality and connectivity.
 
Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#26
No, they don't use the same series. The Pioneer has the ES9016s, that has better spec than the ES9006/7 in the RX-A1080 and RX-A2080. It is comparable to the ES9026 in the RX-A3080 and the CX-A5200.

The AK4458 in the Denon X4400H and Onkyo RZ820 are arguably more comparable to the ES9006/7. They are already too good for human, so I do not believer people can hear a difference between those DAC chips (all else being equal). Specs are specs though, based on facts and figures, so some are better than others, audible or not.
I guess i said that wrong. I meant they use Sabre in general.
 
Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#27
Maybe I missunderstood, do you have two systems? You said you're doing 2 channels now but you've oredered surrounds 5.2?
I just have one system at the moment. Tested a few AVR units with. I had 2 but sold my other speakers. I ordered an HTM61s2 to match my B&W towers. Also, a pair of B&W M1 satellites for the rears.
 
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Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#28
Didn’t realize how much the Marantz sr7012 came down in price! It’s just 999. Or i can get refurb for 849. That unit has always had my attention. It’s also around what i want to spend on an AVR.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#29
Didn’t realize how much the Marantz sr7012 came down in price! It’s just 999. Or i can get refurb for 849. That unit has always had my attention. It’s also around what i want to spend on an AVR.
So for $100 more, you can have the most likely useless 7.1 analog inputs, and gain a HDAM preamp buffer stage that theoretically should make no audible difference but also has little down side other than more parts got jammed in to one box to make a little more heat, but it gets you the bragging right to say there is HDAM onboard.:D

It really is a fantastic deal that likely won't last long. We had a briefly better deal in Canada ($999.95 at BB but in C$) for a very short time, I would have grabbed it for back up to my X4400H but I missed that opportunity. So if you like the port hole, go for it. Otherwise, fyi the $899 X4400H really is an audibly/theoretically speaking identical twin.
 
Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#30
So for $100 more, you can have the most likely useless 7.1 analog inputs, and gain a HDAM preamp buffer stage that theoretically should make no audible difference but also has little down side other than more parts got jammed in to one box to make a little more heat, but it gets you the bragging right to say there is HDAM onboard.:D

It really is a fantastic deal that likely won't last long. We had a briefly better deal in Canada ($999.95 at BB but in C$) for a very short time, I would have grabbed it for back up to my X4400H but I missed that opportunity. So if you like the port hole, go for it. Otherwise, fyi the $899 X4400H really is an audibly/theoretically speaking identical twin.
I’ve noticed that comparing specs. That would be the reason i grabbed it over the denon (styling). I’ve also looked at the new x4500h and can not justify the price difference. There’s hardly anything new and double the price. I wish harman and kardon would up the ante with their avrs. They used to sound great back in the day.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
919 1 1
#31
So for $100 more, you can have the most likely useless 7.1 analog inputs, and gain a HDAM preamp buffer stage that theoretically should make no audible difference but also has little down side other than more parts got jammed in to one box to make a little more heat, but it gets you the bragging right to say there is HDAM onboard.:D

It really is a fantastic deal that likely won't last long. We had a briefly better deal in Canada ($999.95 at BB but in C$) for a very short time, I would have grabbed it for back up to my X4400H but I missed that opportunity. So if you like the port hole, go for it. Otherwise, fyi the $899 X4400H really is an audibly/theoretically speaking identical twin.
And those Demons run hot so they keep your coffee mug warm too. :)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#32
And those Demons run hot so they keep your coffee mug warm too. :)
Haha, that's funny, but seriously I bet the SR7012 will run slightly warmer than the AVR-X4400H. That's because the HDAM modules, while just a unity gain stage, will add some heat even when idling. Expect a couple or more deg F higher when idling but not in standby mode.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#33
I’ve noticed that comparing specs. That would be the reason i grabbed it over the denon (styling). I’ve also looked at the new x4500h and can not justify the price difference. There’s hardly anything new and double the price. I wish harman and kardon would up the ante with their avrs. They used to sound great back in the day.
I am familiar with the so called HK sound, have heard the beloved HK3490 stereo receiver that is more powerful than any HK AVR except the AVR 7300. They sounded neutral as they should. The SR7012 should sound as good as any AVR if paired with good speakers and quality media source/players.
 
Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#34
I am familiar with the so called HK sound, have heard the beloved HK3490 stereo receiver that is more powerful than any HK AVR except the AVR 7300. They sounded neutral as they should. The SR7012 should sound as good as any AVR if paired with good speakers and quality media source/players.
The 7012 appeases the wife, so that’s a bonus. She said she loves the way it looks and sounds as well. We demoed it at Best Buy magnolia about a year ago. But at the time, it was out of my range at 2100. Another thing i was wondering, will direct mode practically sound the same on AVR units? Say a new model vs one that’s 10 years old? Or does that still depend on internals? DACs, etc....?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#35
The 7012 appeases the wife, so that’s a bonus. She said she loves the way it looks and sounds as well. We demoed it at Best Buy magnolia about a year ago. But at the time, it was out of my range at 2100. Another thing i was wondering, will direct mode practically sound the same on AVR units? Say a new model vs one that’s 10 years old? Or does that still depend on internals? DACs, etc....?
Based on my experience, I would say in pure direct mode they do sound the same if used well below their output power limits. Different DACs have different specs but they really are not the bottleneck anyway, not even close.

Incidentally, hometheaterhifi has an article by Dr. Rich on this very topic you raised, and I linked it a few times before elsewhere, but here it is again for your convenience. I hope you will enjoy the whole article, to save you time, I am quoting the part in the conclusion paragraph. It might have actually answered your question.

"A key takeaway: circuit quality in the direct mode (stereo or 7.1) is almost always invariant to AVR prices in the range of $400 to $2,000. As examples, the $250 Yamaha RX-V367 and Marantz AV8801 ($3000) use the same Renesas LSI chip (R2A15220FP). With the LSI analog chip in these products, the sound of the direct mode is relatively constant, although a more robust power supplies, addition a quality output buffer and enhanced DC blocking capacitor quality can make small differences. "

I believe Dr. Rich is right, not because of the fact that he has a PhD in EE, but because it sounds logical and it is consistent with my own experience. The only part that pissed me off big time is, he compared the Marantz AV8801 to a $250 Yamaha RX-V367. I paid over $3000 for the AV8801 before I read that article. Marantz has since upgraded the HDAM modules that uses more transistors to replace some op amps, but the real bottleneck, the LSI chip Dr. Rich identified still present on the AV8802 and SR7010.
 
Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#36
Based on my experience, I would say in pure direct mode they do sound the same if used well below their output power limits. Different DACs have different specs but they really are not the bottleneck anyway, not even close.

Incidentally, hometheaterhifi has an article by Dr. Rich on this very topic you raised, and I linked it a few times before elsewhere, but here it is again for your convenience. I hope you will enjoy the whole article, to save you time, I am quoting the part in the conclusion paragraph. It might have actually answered your question.

"A key takeaway: circuit quality in the direct mode (stereo or 7.1) is almost always invariant to AVR prices in the range of $400 to $2,000. As examples, the $250 Yamaha RX-V367 and Marantz AV8801 ($3000) use the same Renesas LSI chip (R2A15220FP). With the LSI analog chip in these products, the sound of the direct mode is relatively constant, although a more robust power supplies, addition a quality output buffer and enhanced DC blocking capacitor quality can make small differences. "

I believe Dr. Rich is right, not because of the fact that he has a PhD in EE, but because it sounds logical and it is consistent with my own experience. The only part that pissed me off big time is, he compared the Marantz AV8801 to a $250 Yamaha RX-V367. I paid over $3000 for the AV8801 before I read that article. Marantz has since upgraded the HDAM modules that uses more transistors to replace some op amps, but the real bottleneck, the LSI chip Dr. Rich identified still present on the AV8802 and SR7010.
Wow! That literally blew my mind! Awesome information! Thank you for the clarification. So is the same LSI chip found on the newer models? 7012, 6013 etc...?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#37
Wow! That literally blew my mind! Awesome information! Thank you for the clarification. So is the same LSI chip found on the newer models? 7012, 6013 etc...?
Nope, they have different ones but I am not sure if they are better, LSI or MSI (medium scales..) chips. They probably are MSI, and better, but likely still the bottleneck relative to the amp cct and dacs, but I am guessing.
 
Ken32

Ken32

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
16
#38
Nope, they have different ones but I am not sure if they are better, LSI or MSI (medium scales..) chips. They probably are MSI, and better, but likely still the bottleneck relative to the amp cct and dacs, but I am guessing.
Well, all that info makes sense. If the chips are the bottlenecks and D&M use the same akm DACs as onkyo RZ series. Should i just save money and go back to the 820 series at 549? I don’t want to spend extra if it’s unnecessary or if it won’t gain performance.
 
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
Ratings
598 1
#39
I am familiar with the so called HK sound, have heard the beloved HK3490 stereo receiver that is more powerful than any HK AVR except the AVR 7300. They sounded neutral as they should. The SR7012 should sound as good as any AVR if paired with good speakers and quality media source/players.
The amplifier circuit in the 3490 was designed by Richie Miller (based in WoodBury, NY),same guy also did the HK Citation series.. The most powerful HK AVR to the best of my knowledge was the AVR8000 rated @125W/channel..

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,017 7 1
#40
The amplifier circuit in the 3490 was designed by Richie Miller (based in WoodBury, NY),same guy also did the HK Citation series.. The most powerful HK AVR to the best of my knowledge was the AVR8000 rated @125W/channel..

Just my $0.02... ;)
I went by S&V's bench tests, that showed the AVR-7300 is more powerful than the AVR-8000.

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/harmankardon-avr-8000-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures
https://www.soundandvision.com/content/harman-kardon-avr-7300-av-receiver-measurements

Neither one managed to beat the Onkyo TX-SR805 or the Denon AVR-4308CI in two channel driven into 4 ohms, but the HK AVR 7300 did do similarly good as the Denon and the Onkyo, but not the HK AVR 8000.

Again, that's just based on S&V's measuring protocols. Anyone of those are going to be hard to match by any of today's 9,11,13 channel AVRs in terms of outputs into 8,4 ohms, 1,2,5 or 7 channel driven.:(
 

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