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mjzee

Need advice on A/V preamp/amp

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I'll be shopping for a new A/V preamp/amp (don't need a tuner). I'd like good sound quality, at least one HDMI input, and 7.1 output. Price is an issue, but I'd be willing to spend for something good. Does anyone have thoughts as to what's out there now? TIA.

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Need to know your price point.

You can go to www.audioadvisor.com and check out what's available. They generally stock quality equipment for those looking for thing better than what's in the box stores.

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Thanks for the info re audio advisor. As for price point, it's really a chicken-and-egg kind of thing: I'd first need to look at the group of preamp/amps that'll do what I need, get a feel for what that would cost ($100 would be totally unrealistic, for example), then choose amongst that selection. I did some preliminary shopping last night on Crutchfield and Amazon; it seems the choice would be between Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo and Marantz. I realize my needs are:

* 7.1 speaker capability (I saw now they have 9.1; is that really necessary?)

* at least 2 HDMI ports

* a photo input

* per the Oppo manual (I just got an Oppo BDP-103), they recommend HDMI v1.4 with decoding capability for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

* It would be nice to have support for Apple AirPlay

I see the price range for the above is roughly $500 - $800, and I'm cool with that. But since sound quality is so important to me, which of the above manufacturers really delivers the goods? I lean towards Denon and Marantz, but am looking for others' suggestions. I truly do appreciate any input.

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Always worth calling AA and seeing what that have as open box, demo, etc. I've gotten some deals this way. That said, I started with a Yamaha and moved up to a Pioneer Elite AV receiver both of which have served me well. Spend some time on the AV forums to get a sense of what's out there. I have never used the tuner section of either.

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I lean toward Marantz. They make a very good quality product at a very fair price.

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Interesting recommendation in today's WSJ:

It takes more than a soundbar to create surround sound convincing enough to rival a megaplex. For that, you need an old-fashioned A/V receiver and the multiple speakers that go with it. One of the most compact combinations: the Marantz NR1504 slimline A/V receiver paired with Energy's Take Classic 5.1 bookshelf speakers. The Marantz's five channels pump out a respectable 60 watts each, and its chassis is considerably squatter than comparable systems. Meanwhile the Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers deliver full, well-balanced sound—especially for their size—and come with a 200-watt subwoofer. Wiring up a system like this is no small undertaking, but the payoff is more than worth it. $499 for the receiver,us.marantz.com; $350 for speakers, energy-speakers.com

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I'm not a surround sound person AT ALL but Marantz or Denon (both the same father company now or at least for a while) are good choices.

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I don't know if he does SS, but Tom Evans in the UK has a great rep for pre amps with the highest quality sound.

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I'm reading the specs on Amazon of the Denon AVR-E400. They list as one of its features that it has "Apple's AirPlay Wireless Streaming." But in reading customer comments and questions, it turns out the unit does not have wireless connectivity with AirPlay. The receiver needs to be connected to your network via an Ethernet cable. Interesting wrinkle.

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You should also look at Emotiva, based in Tennessee. I have their cd player, which is fantastic, and they have had excellent reviews of their amps, which has a lot of quality for the price.

http://www.emotiva.com/

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Thanks; that was interesting.

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You should also look at Emotiva, based in Tennessee. I have their cd player, which is fantastic, and they have had excellent reviews of their amps, which has a lot of quality for the price.

http://www.emotiva.com/

Hi Stefan,

Did you hear their Usp-1 preamp? How does it sound , is the construction sturdy enough?

I'm looking for a replacement of my faithful NAD 1020B preamp for my mastering unit and, since I do not like the professional preamps on the market and I'm not willing to pay crazy prices for Audio Research, Krell or Burmester, this Emotiva preamp sounds like a good deal. Any experience?

Yours comments will be appreciated. :)

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Sorry, I have not heard the preamp. I only have the CD player, and it is a heavy and solidly built machine. The remote is heavy as well.

I would scour the audio forums on Emotiva; they get a lot of positive reviews, and then there will be a product that generates a lot of bad press. For instance, the second version of the CD player has been known to catch fire. It was discontinued. But that seems to be the exception, and I think there is a lot of bias against Emotiva because the parts are built in China then assembled here in Tennessee. Irrational reasoning , I think, if not racist. They guarantee their products and there is a trial period so one can return if not satisfied. I have heard nothing but good things regarding their preamps and amps.

Edited by Stefan Wood

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Well, my needs have changed. I set up the new flat screen, tried hooking up my existing stereo, and really didn't like the results (layout of the room, speaker placement, messing up my usual routine regarding listening to music, and more). I think instead I'll simply go with a Zvox to place underneath the flat screen - reviews are good, and there's been a large price drop, though some reviewers imply the device is mostly to help the hard of hearing, which gives me pause.

I still want to replace my aging Yamaha integrated amp; am looking at Marantz, Denon, maybe NAD and Onkyo. I want to spend up to $500. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

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Music Hall

http://www.audioadvisor.com/Music-Hall-A153-Integrated-Amp/productinfo/MHA153/#.UoT4iRjvqyM

NAD

http://www.audioadvisor.com/NAD-C-316BEE-Integrated-Amplifier/productinfo/NAC316BEE/#.UoT4phjvqyM

Cambridge Audio

http://www.audioadvisor.com/Cambridge-Audio-Topaz-AM10-Integrated-Amp/productinfo/CATOAM10/#.UoT4tBjvqyM

You could also visit www.audiogon.com and look at what is on sale. Part classifieds, part auctions, part dealer clearances, it is well worth checking out.

Edited by Stefan Wood

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Sorry, I have not heard the preamp. I only have the CD player, and it is a heavy and solidly built machine. The remote is heavy as well.

I would scour the audio forums on Emotiva; they get a lot of positive reviews, and then there will be a product that generates a lot of bad press. For instance, the second version of the CD player has been known to catch fire. It was discontinued. But that seems to be the exception, and I think there is a lot of bias against Emotiva because the parts are built in China then assembled here in Tennessee. Irrational reasoning , I think, if not racist. They guarantee their products and there is a trial period so one can return if not satisfied. I have heard nothing but good things regarding their preamps and amps.

Thanks Stefan : I feel this is really worth investigating, I also read nice things in some audio magazines.

I think there is nothing wrong in producing components in China and then having them assembled in the market where they are expected to be sold : we see a similar thing here in Europe where Behringer designs and assembles in Germany their units with components manufactured in China. One can't expect the same ruggedness and performances as from the established professional equipment manufacturers, but then the selling price of these goods are only a fraction of their westerner competitors.

It looks like an european Emotiva distribution center is now set up in Rotterdam : I'll keep an eye on that, since ordering and shipping from USA to Europe doubles the price..!

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