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Pioneer LX57 vs Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500
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Which Amp?

Looking at a home theatre/projector, in a relatively large and open room. Except for the sub (KEF KUBE 1, that is not regularly used) the speaker set is being upgraded at the same time, I am thinking to KEF LS50's or R300's (with an R200c centre), though other suggestions welcome. I'm updating from an ageing Arcam AVR 200.

Use will be mostly movies though with some gaming and some stereo music for Jazz too - so musicality is still important. And with various clear-out offers they all come in roughly between £1000-£1200.

Does the newer LX57 jump the older LX86 for quality? Or does the quality of the originally more expensive LX86 beat the younger upstart still? How will the ARCAM and Anthem amps fit in to this? Are the musicality of these so far superior? or is the pioneer actually still pretty good for musicality? And in films, could the Arcam or Anthem match the excitement of a Pioneer?

Please comment, vote, discuss and generally praise/slander to ones hearts content!

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RE: Pioneer LX57 vs Pioneer LX86 vs

The LX86 is far superior to LX57, & your Kefs will benefit from it. Personally, I would recommend the Pioneer based on my demo of the R series.

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RE: Which AV amp?

Here is how I see it:

- Arcam for music

- Pioneer for films (with the R Series).

- Anthem the best compromise for both.

 

The R Series / LS50 is a great choice, and seems to suit most brands of amp. For AV, a good sub is essential.

Please try and listen for yourself with your chosen speakers.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

If I was you given your budget I would wait for the new Anthems to come out.  They have just been anounced as you can see in the WHF news and they look very promising. 

Onkyo TX-NR818, Dali Ikon1, Dali C.08, Wharfedale 9DS, Subwoofer Wharfedale 150W.  Synology NAS 112J, PS3, Harmony 650.

PC - Sonic impact T-amp with wharfedale 9DS.

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RE: Anthem

I replaced my Arcam AVR 500 with an Anthem MRX 300. In my room it out performed  the Arcam in every respect. Much of this had to do with the room EQ.  

I'm waiting to take delivery of an MRX 510 which will replace the 300 as a pre/pro. It has a far more powerful room EQ and many enhancements.  

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

Many thanks for all the comments, and apologies for not having come back sooner. To update on this, yesterday I went to my local dealer to have a listen to a few things.

First comment is that I was completely blown away by the quality of the R300's. They projected a huge, extremely clear soundfield and hefty bass. For movie watching the R300's I think will be fantastic. The LS50's couldnt match their expansive soundfield or bass (though were still impressive considering their small size), but felt considerably more accurate and balanced for stereo. Actually they really are quite different speakers, far more different than I expected. I find that the LS50 very top and lower ranges have less emphasis, but aremore cohesive, and better balanced in the midrange, and really do give the accuracy and detail rather than the punch of the R300. But, as I am also looking at investing in a separate stereo system now, the need for stereo quality is diminished for me, and the R300 will be just great for the theatre! Though I also point out, the pro's and con's of the R300 vs LS50 were also highly dictated by the TYPE of music I was testing with.

The advice I received at the shop was to go with Pioneer for the theatre also. He also agreed that the Arcam was better  for music, the Anthem somewhere in the middle, but he recommended the Pioneer over Anthem for ease of use, and believes the Pioneer still provides a perfectly good sound for stereo (just not quite as musical). My priorities have changed a bit, as I am now concentrating on having two separate systems, so the musicality of the Arcam wont be as important to me now.

Price wise, the Arcam AVR400 and Pioneer LX86 are both £900-£1000 on clearout sales, so they both seem extremely appealing at these prices. I did see an Anthem amp for a relatively similar sum, but I'll have to try to find that again, as  I am not sure where it went, or if it still exists!

Thanks for clarifying also that the LX86 will still outperform the LX57, thats very useful, and instantly crosses the LX57 off the list.

At the moment given what you all say here, and the dealers recommendation I am veering toward the Pioneer in this shootout!  

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

In addition to that, I'm a little wary of waiting for the new model Anthem's because simply, at full new proce they will be £1500-£2000 and even if they are great, that's simply too much for me. Otherwise I would pull the LX87 into consideration, but when the LX86 is half price I doubt that there is such a difference between the two to justify that sort of cost difference.

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

Was all your listening done through the Pioneer amp, or did you get a chance to compare?

What 2 channel system do you have in mind.....though make sure the Arcam wouldn't cope with both, as these boxes can get a bit expensive?

Remember to leave money for a decent sub.

The R300s are really good, and are a great choice for a mixture of AV/2 Channel.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

Actually the speaker comparison I had was through a marantz amp, simply its what the shop had set up.

What I mean for my set-up thuogh, is that I will get a completely seperate 2 channel set-up for music, meaning most music will be played on that in my living room, rather than where the projector is sat. This idea came after a shift in realisation of exactly what i wanted in musical terms, in thinking about how I used to listen to music (which I did continually and very specifically, but no longer do - music used to be a HUGE part of my life). I simply feel that if to just listen to music, being forced to relocate to the projector room, then I wont change my current habit that I am trying to break, of making it more a part ofmy everyday life again.

So, this AV receiver will be used 90% for movies/games, and only occasionally for music, with an entirely separate 2 channel set-up in my living room, dedicated for music.

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

CnoEvil wrote:

What 2 channel system do you have in mind.....though make sure the Arcam wouldn't cope with both, as these boxes can get a bit expensive?

Remember to leave money for a decent sub.

To separately answer these questions, yes Iwill have to spend a bit more. The stereo system I am building up in my head and some modest testing, currently looks as follows:

Arcam FMJ A19

Audiolabs 8200CD

Focal 826V

At a total cost of around £2200 (a dealer here has some focals at a hugely cut-down price). Though this is very much subject to change as I really havent done enough testing, and certainly other speakers/components will be considered still.

Basically my cost saving thuoghts mean currently not upgrading my subwoofer (a realtively young KEF KUBE 1) and using my old KEF egg KHT 2005's as 4 x rears in a 7.1 set-up against the r300/r200c front set-up. I am less inclined to upgarde the woofer yet, partly as it doesnt need it a sbadly as the eggs and avr200 do, and partly as if I go too big on bass, I disturb the neighbours! It also leaves a lot of potential for upgrading if I want to at a later date.

If I need to save more to begin with, I feel I can get away with using the AVR200 for stereo temporarily.

Also the 

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

I would have to recommend the Anthem over all of the others mentioned. By far the best sounding for music and movies but a little light on features if that is what you are after. The difference between the MRX300 & 500 is slight, and really you’re paying for the Ethernet port in the back and a squirt of extra power. There are still some 300's & 500's available at various prices, it would be a safe bet.

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RE: Pioneer LX57 Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

Here, new models full of features from 1199 pound...  I hope there will be reviews soon.

http://www.whathifi.com/news/anthem-unveils-three-new-home-cinema-receivers

Onkyo TX-NR818, Dali Ikon1, Dali C.08, Wharfedale 9DS, Subwoofer Wharfedale 150W.  Synology NAS 112J, PS3, Harmony 650.

PC - Sonic impact T-amp with wharfedale 9DS.

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RE: vs Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

£1200 would bring the mrx310 into the fold, but it has a major drawback. Its only a 5 channel amp. That would be fine for the old setup, but with above plan I intend to go to a 7 channel setup. Considering the rest of the kit, an mrx310 simply doesnt have the abilities and features i would want. In addition to that when there are cheap mrx500s available, I think the higher end model will be more appealing as well as 2 extra channels (still falling short of the 9 with pioneer)

 

 

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

As an owner of the Pioneer and the R series I would just like to say I am extremely happy with my choices, and as a match the two really work well together. The Pioneer for that price is a steal. I say go for it. But then I would, wouldn't I? :grin:

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

RLCCM wrote:

To separately answer these questions, yes Iwill have to spend a bit more. The stereo system I am building up in my head and some modest testing, currently looks as follows: 

Arcam FMJ A19
Audiolabs 8200CD
Focal 826V
At a total cost of around £2200 (a dealer here has some focals at a hugely cut-down price). Though this is very much subject to change as I really havent done enough testing, and certainly other speakers/components will be considered still.

Basically my cost saving thuoghts mean currently not upgrading my subwoofer (a realtively young KEF KUBE 1) and using my old KEF egg KHT 2005's as 4 x rears in a 7.1 set-up against the r300/r200c front set-up. I am less inclined to upgarde the woofer yet, partly as it doesnt need it a sbadly as the eggs and avr200 do, and partly as if I go too big on bass, I disturb the neighbours! It also leaves a lot of potential for upgrading if I want to at a later date.

If I need to save more to begin with, I feel I can get away with using the AVR200 for stereo temporarily.

Hear are my thoughts, and I apologize if I sound a little like a stuck record, but I'm just making sure you've thought through the very best way to maximize the money you have available.

Is there any possibility that you would change your mind and consider having your AV and 2 channel in the one room? My reason for pushing this is as follows:

- The R300s are superb with 2 channel.

- The money saved from the 2 channel system can be put into this one system, which saves on duplication.

- I believe an Arcam (preferably AVR450) could sound better (bi-amped) through the R300s than the "in your head" 2 channel system, but you'd need to check this out for yourself; in fact, the 400 itself might be enough.

- The 2 channel system you have in mind will be much more forward and clinical sounding than what you are used to, so a good dem is needed. Never buy a product solely because it's being sold off at a bargain price (tempting as it may seem).

- If possible, I would look at a Linn Sneaky DS as a source.

If you are absolutely set on two systems, ignore the above, but be careful about the presentation of your new 2 channel system.

FWIW. If I had that budget, I would have a two channel system consisting of a Linn Sneaky (£1000) and some R300s (£1000) and bide my time until I could upgrade the amp from that in the Sneaky.

I hope I've given some food for thought......though if not, nothing is lost, other than the time taken to read it.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Pioneer LX86 vs Arcam AVR 400 vs Anthem MRX 500

CnoEvil wrote:

Hear are my thoughts, and I apologize if I sound a little like a stuck record, but I'm just making sure you've thought through the very best way to maximize the money you have available.

Not at all, I appreciate the thoroughness!

CnoEvil wrote:

Is there any possibility that you would change your mind and consider having your AV and 2 channel in the one room?

No, absolutely none. The reason I have changed my track so to speak is as follows. I am lucky enough to have two spaces, the first is my living room/kitchen that I spend most of my time in, eating/resting/computering (a lot)/tv etc... Most of my time is spent here, and I wish to listen to music here, properly, without moving upstairs to the open mezzanine where the theatre is (though its a mezzanine, its actually much bigger than the living room - hard to explain, but its kind-of like a loft space under the roof and fits a large dedicated theatre). At the moment if I want to listen to music, I must go upstairs, which though it sounds silly, actually means almost I never do, as I tend to have to be downstairs on the computer a lot/relaxing infront of the tv/cooking. So, i rarely listen to music properly - which really bothers me, as it was until not so many years ago, a HUGE part of my life (I played Jazz professionally for a little while, or at least tried to!). I've been in this apartment less than a year actually, and previously would listen to the Arcam/KEF for stereo also, all in the same room (before I had a projector). But now the system is upstairs, and my rooms much bigger, it no longer really does the job, hence all the purchasing ideas! (besides them being a 2nd hand and 10 year old set!)

CnoEvil wrote:

My reason for pushing this is as follows:

- The R300s are superb with 2 channel.

I completely agree having heard them, but also add BIG reservations and qualifications to that. They throw out a massive sound field, which is hugely enjoyable and impressive, fantastic for movies undoubtedly, and an instant WOW that makes me want them! But, and this is key - they only suit some types of music - mostly pop and rock music - which enjoy large full bass sound. But though I listen to the odd bit of rock and a tiny occasional pop, I mostly wish to buy something for relatively specific Jazz recordings - to rediscover my love for it, and the R300's simply dont have the balance or accuracy to convey the detail properly. Especially in the bass, which I felt too big, and too boomy for what I want - I need the utmost control and detail in the bass, as mostly I am listenning to recordings with a double-bass which has a whole more natural sound than any form of bass guitar or electronically generated form as you get in pop these days. Actually in the test I had, I preferred the rather less meaty but more accurate and concise sounding LS50 for the recordings they had in the shop that were close to what I listen, despite the wow factor the R300's have and their hugely enjoyable expansive sound field.

CnoEvil wrote:

- The money saved from the 2 channel system can be put into this one system, which saves on duplication.

Yes as was my original plan, but my thoughts and priorities changed after a few realisations!

CnoEvil wrote:

- I believe an Arcam (preferably AVR450) could sound better (bi-amped) through the R300s than the "in your head" 2 channel system, but you'd need to check this out for yourself; in fact, the 400 itself might be enough.

- The 2 channel system you have in mind will be much more forward and clinical sounding than what you are used to, so a good dem is needed. Never buy a product solely because it's being sold off at a bargain price (tempting as it may seem).

I have no experience with bi-amping, so have no idea what difference it makes unfortunately, its something I know nothing about. I have been told repeatedly that a dedicated 2 channel stereo amp (like the A19), will sound much better than any AVR however. I could be wrong about that of course, but am led to believe it from decently reliable sources, and at least 2 channel systems are much cheaper for similar/better musical quality!

Actually, I have demo'd the focals and a couple of other floorstanders (though more closely I demo'd the 700 series), thats how I know about them! They are quite impressive, but my next step will be to go back to the store with a full set of my own CD's to really listen to everything again with my exact musical tastes! What the floorstanders have given me so far is the open clarity in the bass, whilst still being full, that the bookshelves simply cant match. Though I agree the R300 for many things is more enjoyable, it's not as good for what I want. 

CnoEvil wrote:
 

- If possible, I would look at a Linn Sneaky DS as a source.

Thanks for the suggestion - i've just checked it out online, but actually I have hardly any digitalised/downlaoded music, my entire collection is on CD, so the DAC capability of the audiolabs is plenty good enough for me, actually I dont really feel I need that capability at all honestly, and am more interested in getting the best sound quality from a CD source. This habit is unlikely to change hugely either, I prefer to buy most of my Jazz CD's in a shop, where I can really look at what the recording is. Online, its much harder to tell, as well as much harder to find that little gem of a CD that yuo wouldnt actually go out to look for to begin with. That is the benefit of a good CD shop!

CnoEvil wrote:

I hope I've given some food for thought......though if not, nothing is lost, other than the time taken to read it.

really they are very fair comments which I agree would certainly apply to many people, and appreciate your time that it took to put together an alternative option. But, I think it wouldnt suit me personally - if not just because I am looking at two separate rooms. If it was all one room, I would probably look at a pair of floormounts for stereo (like R700's) paired to a surround system of R300's, and buy the most musical AVR that I could.

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