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Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and AV Duties

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goodmar's picture
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Until recently I have kept my Hi-Fi and AV systems separate and in two rooms. Music is my main priority, therefore the Hi-Fi comes first. However, the upgrade bug caught up with me and an urge to merge the systems back into the main room to allow the wife and children to have the games room back! So I ditched my B&W CDM1 SE's and KEF Q35.2, Q15.2 and Q95c and invested in a Spendor S8e, C9e and SR5 speaker set up for combined Hi-Fi and AV duties. For Hi-Fi duties, Rega Planar 3 + Elys, Linn Genki CD, Linn Wakona Pre-Amp plus Linn LK140 power amp. For AV use, Panasonic DMR E55 DVD Recorder, Denon 1801 AV Receiver and Panasonic TH-37PE30 plasma. Cables: Linn interconnects plus Chord Rumour2 speaker cable. Challenge: To switch between the systems,I have to manually change the front speaker cables over. Not a huge issue, but I have the dreaded nightmare of someone forgetting to switch off the amplification before doing so, plus the fact that I fancy upgrading the old Denon for somethng more higher spec and up to date, good as it has been for the last 6 years. Therefore, any ideas on replacement of the Denon and Linn amplification into a set-up that will satify both needs and remove the manual cable switching. Don't forget that Hi-Fi reproduction is the numero uno priority and the sound has to be as good, but preferably an improvement, over the current Linn gear, otherwise why bother to upgrade. Amps must be able to contain and control the Spendor's Bass, which is the only occasional weak point with the current Linn's. All advice gratefully received to narrow down candidates for demo's. Budget could be between £2000 to £3000.

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matthewpiano's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

What about something like the Naim unit? I can't remember the model number but I think you'd have to go that far to equal or better what you have for music. Alternatively get a top AV amp with pre-outs and use your Linns to drive the front pair of speakers (or replace with an equivalent stereo amp which sorts that weak point).

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goodmar's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

Thanks for the response, first I've had in over 10 years of What Hi-Fi subscription!

I think you may be referring to the Naim Av2 processor? That takes £2500 out of the budget. Talking with my local Audio-T dealer, the AV2 is a bit long in the tooth now and far behind the latest in AV sound processing, but I suspect still sounds amazing with what it can handle. I had been considerng this route, but I think we could be looking at a cost of around £5-7000 if you take an AV2, NAP 150x, NAP 175 plus a stereo pre-amp.

Other options I have thought about: Keeping current sources

Cyrus - Pre vs2 + 8 or X power + PX-R + AV Master 8.0 ??
Audiolab 8000AP (when is it ever going to get released!) + 8000X7 power

But can these do the stereo business as well as my Linn set-up?

Linn route - Unidisk SC (good enough to replace the Genki??) + Majik 5100 (Again expensive)

Then again I could put up with the cable changing and just upgrade stereo and AV amplification as I see fit!

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peteAllen's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

Get the Naim N-Vi for £2395: http://www.creative-audio.co.uk/naimnVinew.htm. As they say in that web page, there is still an upgrade path.

You can keep your dvd recorder for tv/freeview and use the digital link to the Naim's dac.

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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and
matthewpiano's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

user="peteAllen" wrote:
Get the Naim N-Vi for £2395: http://www.creative-audio.co.uk/naimnVinew.htm. As they say in that web page, there is still an upgrade path.

You can keep your dvd recorder for tv/freeview and use the digital link to the Naim's dac.

The N-Vi is the unit I was trying to remember the name of. Would make an excellent purchase.

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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

only thing I would add is I dont see any HD support, if that matters to him...

goodmar's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

user="Mr_Poletski" wrote:
only thing I would add is I dont see any HD support, if that matters to him...

Yep, HD does matter, so that is why I am looking at the amplification and processing in the first instance. (I will be looking at replacing the Pana plasma with one of the latest True HD Pioneers, when the prices ultimately fall next year!). So sourcing a HD DVD will be on the shopping list some time on the future.

Audilab 8000AP is still showing as "Available in December 2007", so still not hit the streets yet.

Thanks for the tips guys.

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Andrew Everard's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

Note that the Audiolab 8000AV doesn't have any HD audio capability, other than via multichannel analogue inputs, and the 8000AP 'only' does hi-rez multichannel audio via Linear PCM over HDMi, and doesn't have onboard decoding for the HD flavours of Dolby and DTS suround sound, if that's important to you.

You could always consider the Onkyo TX-SR875 or even the flagship TX-NR905. I'm running an 875 in my system, and not missing my dedicated stereo and surround set-ups one bit. 

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goodmar's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

user="Andrew Everard" wrote:

Note that the Audiolab 8000AV doesn't have any HD audio capability, other than via multichannel analogue inputs, and the 8000AP 'only' does hi-rez multichannel audio via Linear PCM over HDMi, and doesn't have onboard decoding for the HD flavours of Dolby and DTS suround sound, if that's important to you.

You could always consider the Onkyo TX-SR875 or even the flagship TX-NR905. I'm running an 875 in my system, and not missing my dedicated stereo and surround set-ups one bit. 

Thanks Andrew, helpful as ever from reading your responses to other queries. I caught sight of one of your previous threads about running interconnects from L&R pre-amp level outputs from a suitable receiver into the spare input on the stereo amp. I have the facility on my old Denon receiver, so I will give this a whirl first for the time being. Sounds like the ideal solution(?), considering I do like the Linn sound and I am loath to move away if I don't have to. Longer term then, I could invest in some upgraded Linn power amplification, a 2-channel power and 3 channel power amp. Connect a suitable AV processor as per your previous suggestion using the pre-amp outputs. (Or just upgrade the AV side with the Onkyo as per your suggestion and connect as before). I can see a trip to Audio-T in Cheltenham coming along! Thoughts?

One final question, if you can spare the time, in the previous thread you mention the following - "Select the input on the Cyrus you've connected to the receiver's preouts, set the volume on the Cyrus to an easily repeatable position - I'd go for about 10 o'clock - and use the receiver's test-tones to balance up all the channels. The Onkyos, again like most modern receivers, will do this automatically using a test sequence and a microphone supplied in the box." Obviously on my Linn Wakonda I do not have the "10 o'clock" ability, but a numeric output display. So setting that to an easily repeatable position is straight forward. However, how do you go about balancing up the channels using the test tonesif your receiver or AV processor doesn't have the automated test sequence? As I have found with most manuals, they never fully explain how you go about doing this.

Hope you can help and many thanks for your assistance.

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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

After reading your advice here,I wondered if you could do same for me?My system is as follows:Arcam alpha 9 amp,Yamaha dsp e-800 processor,Marantz cd63 mk2 ki signature cd player,Panasonic dmr ex75 dvd/hdd recorder,Toshiba Hd ep30 HD-DVD player,Sony rcd w100 cd recorder,Mission front,rear,centre speakers,Wharfedale sw150 sub,Toshiba sd360 dvd player for multi region duty,Sony kdl26s2010u lcd tv,cabling by qed,dnm,chord and for the moment,a couple of cheapies.Basically,although I`m more than happy with performance of my system even though some of it is getting on a bit,I`d like to change some parts in the near future.I love the sound of the arcam/marantz combo and also the yamaha when watching films,but I have no way of getting HD sound from my Toshiba HD DVD player,connecting it by optical cable for standard 5.1 surround,also,the arcam has been repaired twice now and I think if I have any more problems with it,it may be better to go for an av amp and scrap the arcam+yamaha,even though I`d be sorry to see them go.So,basically,do you know what would be a good buy for movies that also sounds great with music and possibly has HDMI switching,provision for HD audio,etc?I love my music but if poss would also like to unleash the potential of the HD-ep30(in my opinion a great player,what do other people think?).I can`t say what my budget would be as I don`t know myself yet,due to kids and house repairs.Also,any idea how my HD-ep30 can play multi region standard dvd`s so I can scrap my Tosh dvd player?Would really value your advice,thanks guys.PS,does anyone know of any good sites so I can download albums to my laptop for free?

goodmar's picture
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Re: Recommendations required for Amplication for joint Hi-Fi and

user="bot bot" wrote:
After reading your advice here,I wondered if you could do same for me?My system is as follows:Arcam alpha 9 amp,Yamaha dsp e-800 processor,Marantz cd63 mk2 ki signature cd player,Panasonic dmr ex75 dvd/hdd recorder,Toshiba Hd ep30 HD-DVD player,Sony rcd w100 cd recorder,Mission front,rear,centre speakers,Wharfedale sw150 sub,Toshiba sd360 dvd player for multi region duty,Sony kdl26s2010u lcd tv,cabling by qed,dnm,chord and for the moment,a couple of cheapies.Basically,although I`m more than happy with performance of my system even though some of it is getting on a bit,I`d like to change some parts in the near future.I love the sound of the arcam/marantz combo and also the yamaha when watching films,but I have no way of getting HD sound from my Toshiba HD DVD player,connecting it by optical cable for standard 5.1 surround,also,the arcam has been repaired twice now and I think if I have any more problems with it,it may be better to go for an av amp and scrap the arcam+yamaha,even though I`d be sorry to see them go.So,basically,do you know what would be a good buy for movies that also sounds great with music and possibly has HDMI switching,provision for HD audio,etc?I love my music but if poss would also like to unleash the potential of the HD-ep30(in my opinion a great player,what do other people think?).I can`t say what my budget would be as I don`t know myself yet,due to kids and house repairs.Also,any idea how my HD-ep30 can play multi region standard dvd`s so I can scrap my Tosh dvd player?Would really value your advice,thanks guys.PS,does anyone know of any good sites so I can download albums to my laptop for free?

Well, from what I have read, you can't go wrong by investing in one of the latest Onyko AV Receivers, it would do everything you wish, from the TX-SR505 (£250) to the TX-SR875 (£1000).

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