Looking for feedback/advice on a preamp/processor/receiver choice.

Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
Hello everyone. This is my 1st post here. I have recently purchased and set up a 7ch amp. Currently I am using a 1080P class AVR and its RCA jack equipped pre-outs to drive the amp, and a separate dedicated SW amp. I also recently updated the TV part of this setup to a nice 4K model and also have some other 4K capable devices. What I would like to do is change out the AVR with something that supports XLR pre-outs. While I have a good general grasp of technology and electronics etc., I am certain that some of the collective expertise available from the many folks here would help to better educate or advise me. For example, should I get a "processor" or another AVR that has XLR pre-outs (and leave the built in amp unused).

So what I'll do here is lay out some of my goals and preferences, and also describe what I am currently using for equipment. Okay to start off here are some of my goals/preferences list in no particular order:
  • Budget. It is always a concern for me. I'm not a particularly wealthy guy so dollars matter to me more than maybe someone who has an abundance of disposable income. That automatically means I don't usually want to spend more than necessary to achieve a set of goals. That being said, I think spending money on budget oriented equipment that falls short of goals or requirements is just money wasted. Wasting money is one of the worst things a budget conscious person can do. I'm a big fan of high quality/performance at modest costs.
  • 4K. I want something that can take advantage of any of my 4K sources (some with HDR / Dolby Vision). This is really the main feature which is setting off this whole upgrade chain reaction, so this is a requirement. Additional capability of 8K might be good too for future proofing, if it doesn't increase costs too extremely.
  • Rack mountable, or rackable via a rack shelf. I use a 19 inch equipment rack, so I want whatever I get to work with that. The preference is for gear which can be directly rack mounted, but sitting on a rack shelf is acceptable. In fact that's how my current AVR is mounted.
  • Balanced outputs. I've experienced issues with ground loops between my AVR and different amps. All of my amps support XLR inputs in addition to RCA. Currently I solve the GL issue with the 7ch amp by connecting the amp's grounding lug to my AVR chassis, and my SW dedicated amp via a active ground loop isolator and signal level converter. I'm ready to say that it would be nice to just go XLR all the way and eliminate some of this nonsense. I think it's the way things ought to be.
  • Radio tuner. I do actually listen to the local classical or rock stations occasionally, so a tuner is a nice thing to have. However, it is something I can live without to gain advantage in some other way. Besides, I suppose a stand alone tuner separate could be added in down the road if it was missed too much.
  • Zone 2. I have set up a couple of speakers in my garage and run their cables into my current AVR's zone 2. I work on projects enough in the garage that I appreciate the music there. So zone 2 capability is a nice to have, however, if push came to shove, I could find other ways to drive music to those speakers.
Here is a rundown of my current set up to help understanding of current capabilities:
  • AVR. Yamaha Aventage A810. 7.1 plus 2 presence OR zone 2. 1080P video.
  • Speakers. L&R mains are Klipsch La Scala from 1990, upgraded with Bob Crites tweeters and crossovers. Surround L & R, and rear surround L & R are some cheap Polk 2 way small book shelf style (wall mounted). Zone 2 are a pair of larger Yamaha 3 way book shelf speakers wall mounted.
  • Speaker cabling is 14 AWG twisted pair for zone 2, and 12 AWG untwisted for all the rest.
  • 7ch amp. The 7 channel amp is a Monoprice Monolith 7X, class AB.
  • SW amp. This is a Crown CE-1000A in bridge mode. This Crown amp was from before Crown was sold to Harmon, and was made in Elkhart Indiana. Seems to be pretty good quality class AB.
  • Spectrum analyzer. This is a 1RU OLED based analyzer I designed & made myself with sub-components from various sources. It can get audio signal from HDMI or analog stereo input. Currently, it is being driven from my AVRs secondary HDMI output.
  • Optical player. Sony UBP-X800M2. It's 4K and supports pretty much most all audio and video formats, including SACD.
  • TV. The TV is an LG OLED55C1-PUB.
  • Streaming and or DLNA devices. The TV and optical player support running streaming apps like Netflix etc. Additionally I have an Android TV device which can do the same, but also offers far more in terms of apps. Specifically it supports the KODI app so I can get access to my own home multimedia resources in the best way.
  • Subwoofer. This is a kit build I purchased from Parts Express quite some years ago. It is a Dayton Audio 15inch "Titanic", MK2 if memory serves. It's supposedly rated for 1000W RMS. It has it's own plate amplifier. The plate amp eventually died after a number of years, so I drive the SW with an external amp in the rack. I left the plate amp installed to keep box sealed installed binding terminals for wire.
  • Furman PL-PLUS C power conditioner. This is just a 15AMP model, so I may have to upgrade here too at some point.
So what do you guys think? I was looking at the Denon Pro DN700AVP or DN700AV, but they seem to have been discontinued by Denon and not replaced with anything comparable. They seemed to check a lot of my boxes but unfortunately seem to only be available from some fringe sources if at all. I also looked at the Yamaha CX-A5200, Monoprice HTP-1, etc. Unfortunately the price tag on this stuff is a bit steep for me, though I'm not saying it's out of the question. So yeah, I'm hoping some of you might be able to help learn about what options might be available and their strengths, weaknesses, etc.
 
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G

Golfx

Audioholic
If you are set on xlr, you will need a prepro as all the current AVRs (since 2005~) use only RCA unbalanced outs (not enough space in the back for XLR & speakers). You could buy a used Marantz 8805 or 7705 or Anthem AVM 60. They all three are no longer State of the Art but could get you where you are headed for less than new.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
If you are set on xlr, you will need a prepro as all the current AVRs (since 2005~) use only RCA unbalanced outs (not enough space in the back for XLR & speakers). You could buy a used Marantz 8805 or 7705 or Anthem AVM 60. They all three are no longer State of the Art but could get you where you are headed for less than new.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Thank you. I will dig into your suggestions. In the mean time, keep 'em coming folks.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Thank you. I will dig into your suggestions. In the mean time, keep 'em coming folks.
I have had good results from Marantz pre/pros. I have four in use and one in storage. The first was the 8803. That is the one not in current use, it has had many years service. I have had two 7701s in use for quite a few years now, and still giving good service. I have a 7705 in my theater in use for over two years.

I think it is a good idea to separate the voltage amplification/processing boards etc. from the power amps. I don't like the power supplies shared, nor the heat being generated close to sensitive circuits. If you are going to use separates, then having power amps on doing nothing, is a waste of electricity. I think going the separate route makes for better reliability. It makes for a much more robust installation.

The XLR issue is not a huge advantage unless you have long cable runs. Although XLR connectors give a much more certain connection than RCA connections.

Boutique units tend to be not only expensive but unreliable. I would encourage purchase of Marantz or Yamaha. Probably best to steer clear of the rest.

There are sources for rack mounting kits. My 7705 is rack mounted.



I agree completely that buying quality equipment is the cheapest route in the long run. Buying junk is the most expensive route.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
So what do you guys think? I was looking at the Denon Pro DN700AVP or DN700AV, but they seem to have been discontinued by Denon and not replaced with anything comparable. They seemed to check a lot of my boxes but unfortunately seem to only be available from some fringe sources if at all. I also looked at the Yamaha CX-A5200, Monoprice HTP-1, etc. Unfortunately the price tag on this stuff is a bit steep for me, though I'm not saying it's out of the question. So yeah, I'm hoping some of you might be able to help learn about what options might be available and their strengths, weaknesses, etc.
I have a different opinion on this AVR vs AVP thing for the time being. I have had two Marantz AVP in the last 10 years before I switched back to AVR 3 years ago. All of my AVRs and AVPs have been trouble free and still own all of them except two that I gave away but they are still in top conditions even today.

The fact is, as TLSGuy mentioned, that if you can keep the interconnects short enough, XLRs do not perform better. If you look at the bench test results you will see that quite often RCAs turned in the same, and occasionally better results in terms of SNR and THD+N. There are only two advantages that I can think of, for using XLRs, assuming the interconnects are not too long.

1) They do give a feeling of a more secure connection, though that's really just the feeling as most use the Neutrik type that give a "click" when pushed in all the way.

2) For some (not all, far from it) power amps that come with XLR and RCA inputs, the gain are the same so if you use XLR, you can 2X the voltage and that can be advantages, depending on a few other factors.

So if you can talk yourself out of the XLR, then considering quite a few of the popular AVPs including Marantz and Yamaha's seem to be in a state of flux (HDMI related bugs, poorer bench test results than most Denon AVRs etc.) and their high price due to supply chain issues, it may be better to go cheap by grabbing an AVR such as the X3700H and X4700H just to hold you over for a year or two when the bugs have been worked out, improvements made to yield better bench test results and prices hopefully back to "normal". For me, I will not go back to an AVP until things are settled and most importantly, I need to see them actually measure better than those Denon AVRs used as prepros. It is not that I believe their poorer measurements would result in audibly poorer sound quality, but I don't want to pay much more for less performance even if we are talking about performance on paper only.

I do believe the next Marantz prepro, something like AV8807, 7707 may be the one that would make me switch back. The Yamaha CX-A5300 may be okay too.
 
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M

mhat

Enthusiast
Just noting that the new Aventage AVR's do have XLR pre-out for main L+R. At least the upper level ones do (A6A and A8A).
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
Thanks again guys for the info and feedback! @TLS Guy, that is one hell of an equipment "rack" you have there. For me in the form & function arena, I usually tend towards concentrating mostly on function alone; as to me great function/performance has an integral beauty all of its own. I'll say though, that is a real nice looking set up. Also, I see that you have capability for the highest fidelity analog consumer music format in the world: reel to reel. I still remember back when I first started buying music through mail order catalog, that was an available format. In fact, at that time (early 80s), R2R, CC, vinyl, & 8T were all being produced and sold. @PENG: CX-A5300?? I must have missed that. I was just on the Yamaha web site yesterday again, and the CX-A5200 was the latest they listed. Is it in a soon to be released status?

I'm pretty well set on the XLR route. The reasons being that believe it or not, even with short cable runs and using a Furman PL-PLUS C; I have run into ground loop issues. It's far from obvious to me why that is. Believe me, it surprises me too. But it is there just the same. Another reason I like XLR is because one of my pro amps I have driving my sub woofer (the CE1000) is not equipped for 0.75V sensitivity and I have an external level converter to compensate. It's cleaner to get rid of that. And finally the third reason I prefer to go XLR, is the great design of the mechanics of it. Granted, it is by far the least important of these reasons, but damn if that click isn't rather satisfying! ;) Anyway, another benefit of the design in terms of mechanics, is the protection from dust. RCA connections over time can get rather contaminated. They can be cleaned of course, but I like to be as lazy as I can get away with on that, plus I'm picky about it; to the point that I have to break out the Caig Labs Deoxit, Pro Gold and such.

Okay, so after evaluating my goals and priorities and considering feedback I've gotten here; I have made and executed a purchase decision. I just ordered a Marantz 7705! But to help on budget, I ordered a refurb from accessories4less. I hope that doesn't turn out to be problematic. I've only once ever bought electronics that were something other than virgin new, and that was a floor model Yamaha HTR-5280 from Best Buy. That worked out. It's still in use in the main floor living room after all these years! My fingers are crossed on this latest acquisition.
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
@TLS Guy: PS: I noticed your office chair from Herman Miller. I'm sitting in one of those now as I type. They are the best version of an office chair I have ever sat in.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
@PENG[/USER]: CX-A5300?? I must have missed that. I was just on the Yamaha web site yesterday again, and the CX-A5200 was the latest they listed. Is it in a soon to be released status?

It's still in use in the main floor living room after all these years! My fingers are crossed on this latest acquisition.
You did not miss anything, the CX-A5300 is not out yet. That's why I suggested people should wait if they don't want to pay more for less. IMO, the current CX-A and Marantz AV products are really disappointing, but their replacements should be good based on what I have seen so far with their latest AVRs, (not so much the A8A but the SR8015 offers much better performance than the AV8805 and 7705 so there is hope for the upcoming AVPs. The 7705 perform really bad on the bench, but its distortions, while high relatively speaking, is arguable still below the threshold of audibility. You made a good choice though ordering from AC4L, hope you got a good price as that would make it a better value despite the poor measurements.
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
@PENG Ah crud. I'm a bit bumbed. I think AC4L won't process my order until Monday. Perhaps there is something else there that they wouldn't mind modifying the order for. I'm not sure if they would be willing to completely cancel the order w/o charging but I could ask. But let's say that I can change the order to something else but not cancel altogether, what should I be looking at? AV8805? Something else? BTW the refurb discount was 14%. I'm not sure how good that is or not since I'm not accustomed to shopping refurb.

PS: what area are these measurements in. I should maybe take a look, though I am not an expert at interpretting the results.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
More "affordable" AVP?

If the Yamaha CX-A5200 (0.015% THD+N XLR 4V) or CX-A5100 (0.003% THD+N XLR 4V) were available, I would definitely get either of those 1st.

Nobody is going to hear THD+N of less than 0.1%, so THD+N are more academic than practical. THD+N doesn't prove anything about sound quality, reliability, heat production, customer service, music streaming and WiFi remote apps or other features that are more important.

Unfortunately, no Yamaha AVP are available or will be available for a while.

So I guess that leaves the Marantz AV7706, unless you can wait for who knows how long.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
@PENG Ah crud. I'm a bit bumbed. I think AC4L won't process my order until Monday. Perhaps there is something else there that they wouldn't mind modifying the order for. I'm not sure if they would be willing to completely cancel the order w/o charging but I could ask. But let's say that I can change the order to something else but not cancel altogether, what should I be looking at? AV8805? Something else? BTW the refurb discount was 14%. I'm not sure how good that is or not since I'm not accustomed to shopping refurb.

PS: what area are these measurements in. I should maybe take a look, though I am not an expert at interpretting the results.
Fort 14% discount if I were you I would cancel the order, would recommend the 7706 either.

You can buy my AV8801 for $800.:D

I hate to discourage you but now is not good time to buy an AVP. I understand ADTG's point on the CX-A5200's much higher THD not being an issue but as an engineer I cannot force myself to knowingly spend so much on something that clearly has an issue that we don't know the cause. As he alluded to, it's not available anyway.

If you can't wait, and you would not consider AVRs, then I guess you probably should consider the Anthem AVM70, or the Monolith HTP-1. They may have bugs but are likely fixable via FW updates. For something that sophisticated, better buy new with a good 3 year warranty.
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
Thanks guys. I'm going to try and cancel my order and wait a while. And wouldn't you know it, my new set of XLR cables just got dropped off by the mailman. Yes, they deliver Prime stuff for Amazon on Sundays. Anyway, the HTP-1 and the like are a bit much (4 grand) on the budget. If the soon to be released CX-A5300 compares favorably with the likes of those, it would be more budget friendly (assuming Yamaha sticks with its pricing habits), plus it has a radio tuner. On the other hand if it doesn't.... then waiting and saving longer for the HTP-1 might just have to happen. Even then though, I would rather see that MP can in fact fix their bugs via firmware before forking over that much cheddar.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
If as you say budget is a concern I think your money can do better elsewhere than getting a processor just for XLR. There's no real gain performance wise unless you have unusually long 100' runs or something. The only real reason for upgrading your processor is if you need updated for modern connections or new features.

I have a Monolith 7 too. That amp is a beast!
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
To get ahead of this, I'm planning to contact my CC company and having them decline the transaction in the event for some reason AC4L fails to read my cancellation email or get my phone call I plan to make to them tomorrow morning. It might be helpful if I knew what to expect AC4L to appear as to the CC company. Often times the name of the vendor as seen by the CC company is significantly different than the DBA name customers see at time of purchase. For those of you who have ordered from AC4L in the past, can you do me a huge favor? Can you look up how AC4L appeared on your statement? I appreciate the help, though after some time I will just contact my CC company with the info I do have and it will probably be enough.

Thanks again
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
To get ahead of this, I'm planning to contact my CC company and having them decline the transaction in the event for some reason AC4L fails to read my cancellation email or get my phone call I plan to make to them tomorrow morning. It might be helpful if I knew what to expect AC4L to appear as to the CC company. Often times the name of the vendor as seen by the CC company is significantly different than the DBA name customers see at time of purchase. For those of you who have ordered from AC4L in the past, can you do me a huge favor? Can you look up how AC4L appeared on your statement? I appreciate the help, though after some time I will just contact my CC company with the info I do have and it will probably be enough.

Thanks again
If they have not shipped it yet then they should let you cancel it. To be sure, I think you are right to contact the CC company first thing tomorrow morning.

I hope you won't let them talk you into getting something else such as the AV8805. Again, the recent AVPs are so feature rich, lots of thing can go wrong and in some cases you may never know its there for a long time or until you use the specific feature and under some specific conditions. So in my opinion, the more feature rich the product is, the more reason to buy brand new from an authorized dealer with full factory warranty and a good return/refund policy.

What are you using now anyway? And have you visit the ASR site to see the bench test performance? Below is the latest chart ranking by SINAD (THD+N):

Marantz AV7705 Review (AV Processor) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Edit: the first review I linked was incorrect, the correct is:

1636918225177.png


Note that the two units of the AV7705 have been bench tested, you can see that it ranks pretty low, the first one scored higher (92 dB SINAD) but that's measured at 1/2 the normal output voltage just to see if it did better at lower output, and it did. The normal standard is for 2 V RCA and 4 V XLR.
 
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Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
If as you say budget is a concern I think your money can do better elsewhere than getting a processor just for XLR. There's no real gain performance wise unless you have unusually long 100' runs or something. The only real reason for upgrading your processor is if you need updated for modern connections or new features.

I have a Monolith 7 too. That amp is a beast!
Hi Pogre. It looks like you may have missed some of the detail as to why I am upgrading, and why XLR is fairly important to me. You can find all that detail up above in the thread, but I try to do a quick recap here.

I recently purchased a new 4k OLED TV in my home theater room. I am wanting to upgrade my AVR to an AVR or AVP which support at least 4K with HDR blah blah etc., so that means HDMI 2.1 & HDCP 2.3 and also have balanced XLR outs. I am making such a push on the XLR because I experience ground loops (which I am currently correcting in other ways), and my SW amp does not support sensativity for 0.775V (line level RCA). It does support levels typically found on XLR balanced signals (2.4V etc.) though. If it weren't for those issues, I would be more open to letting go the superior noise floor and dust protection etc. of XLR connections, and settle for good old RCA plugs. The difference in noise floor between properly working quality RCA connections and XLR is likely not audible. As to the dust, that's just starting to be a little bit anal retentive but hey, it's not bad to have as an incidental benefit. :)
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
If they have not shipped it yet then they should let you cancel it. To be sure, I think you are right to contact the CC company first thing tomorrow morning.

I hope you won't let them talk you into getting something else such as the AV8805. Again, the recent AVPs are so feature rich, lots of thing can go wrong and in some cases you may never know its there for a long time or until you use the specific feature and under some specific conditions. So in my opinion, the more feature rich the product is, the more reason to buy brand new from an authorized dealer with full factory warranty and a good return/refund policy.

What are you using now anyway?
Right now I think he has a Yamaha Aventage A810.
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
If they have not shipped it yet then they should let you cancel it. To be sure, I think you are right to contact the CC company first thing tomorrow morning.

I hope you won't let them talk you into getting something else such as the AV8805. Again, the recent AVPs are so feature rich, lots of thing can go wrong and in some cases you may never know its there for a long time or until you use the specific feature and under some specific conditions. So in my opinion, the more feature rich the product is, the more reason to buy brand new from an authorized dealer with full factory warranty and a good return/refund policy.

What are you using now anyway?
Hi PENG. I'm using a Yamaha Aventage RX-A810 as my AVR. The 1st message in the thread lists everything if you want to know the rest. Oh, with the exception that I forgot to list my Furman power conditioner.
 
Z

Zero Snake Oil

Junior Audioholic
Since I plan to cancel my order, I think I'll go ahead and resume building home made RCA interconnects. I'm using quality microphone cable and Amphenol connectors!
 
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