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scubasteve's picture
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2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (2500 quid)

I have been offered a 2nd onkyo 905 for 600 quid vs spending 2700 on a brand new arcam avr 600.  i cannot demo the sets properly due to location issues but would love to here opinions.

Sources will be lossless music from apple TV and DVD from pioneer DV 989i, blu ray from a ps3

I will only have front three speakers (B&W 805s + HTM4s) plus maybe a sub at some stage.

TV is an older pioneer 435

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25
scubasteve:

I have been offered a 2nd onkyo 905 for 600 quid vs spending 2700 on a brand new arcam avr 600.  i cannot demo the sets properly due to location issues but would love to here opinions.

Sources will be lossless music from apple TV and DVD from pioneer DV 989i, blu ray from a ps3

I will only have front three speakers (B&W 805s + HTM4s) plus maybe a sub at some stage.

TV is an older pioneer 435



You would be better off getting the Onkyo and a separate stereo amp if music is important.

Anonymous
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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25
scubasteve:

I have been offered a 2nd onkyo 905 for 600 quid vs spending 2700 on a brand new arcam avr 600.  i cannot demo the sets properly due to location issues but would love to here opinions.

Sources will be lossless music from apple TV and DVD from pioneer DV 989i, blu ray from a ps3

I will only have front three speakers (B&W 805s + HTM4s) plus maybe a sub at some stage.

TV is an older pioneer 435



If you only run three speakers and have no interest in buying a further two surrounds at least then in my view you'd be best of selling your centre speaker and running a really good stereo setup. You can run a sub by running a set of speaker cables, in parallel with your main cables to the high level input on your sub if it has them, if the amp you end up with doesn't have a sub output. Most stereo ones don't I think.

Now, I've owned both the 905 and the 600 and the 600 is a massive step on from the 905, but it'd be wasted without the surround speakers. Surround steering and fantastic clarity for multichannel music is where it really comes through, why pay for 7 channels of amplification and all the processing if you only run fronts? Much better off just sticking with a stereo pair and a stereo amp if that's what you plan to do. Having said that, if you're going to add them later then go for the home cinema receiver.

At the prices you've mentioned the 905 is amazing. It's a great amp, has no HDMI issues I can think of if it's running the latest firmware so you'll avoid all the current Arcam headaches. But like I said, you have to make the value judgement on that one. The Onk is a fantastic machine and the difference in price is huge.

If you go for a stereo amp, I'd recommend you ditch your PS3 for BluRay and use a Pioneer BDP-51FD which has fantastic analogue outs and will do a great job with BluRays (You can get them now for £250 odd which for the money is outstanding although it's a very slow player to startup, in every other regard it's excellent). Otherwise you need to buy some sort of optical decoder for the Toslink output on the PS3. You have to find some way to get audio off the PS3 without having an AV amp to decode it for you.

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

Agree with Will, though you can output stereo from the PS3 into a stereo amp using the AV multi out socket using the original lead supplied with the PS3, whilst also still outputting video via the HDMI if you wanted to keep the PS3 and go to a stereo setup.

 

The owls are not what they seem...

Anonymous
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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

There you go. You've been told by the Prof! Smile

Really, you're best off with a stereo solution unless you really think you'll add the surround speakers later. Your 989 will thank you for it too, really great quality DVD and CD deck.

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

Thanks guys.sounds like the decision to sell the classe amp was a mistake. 

Most likely purchase then would be a supernait or somthing else with a built in DAC.

at the moment i do not have the centre speaker.  i only have the apple TV, the pioneer DVD and the 805's.  Although I do actually have a cyrus cd8x sitting in a box that i was planning to sell.

The key thing is simplicity (its a wife thing) and i am willing to forgo some quality for this.

I never actually use the PS3 nor do i own any bluray discs at this time so that is less a priority for me. i also have an option to purchase the oppo player here in singapore for a pretty good price (with full multiregion mods)

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

Will,

couple of questions.

1. how hot does the 805 run. i have heard of problems from other owners. Bear in mind that i am in the tropics so it is already 90F every day although aircon is on normally.

 2. the appeal of the arcam or okyno is the simple operation for the wife and family.  everything connected via HDMI (DVD, apple TV, PS3, cable HD box).  are there any digital amps that excel in music but are only two channel audio/video

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

I'm not Will I'm afraid, but

scubasteve:1. how hot does the 805 run. i have heard of problems from other owners. Bear in mind that i am in the tropics so it is already 90F every day although aircon is on normally.

There are wild stories of 905s which run so hot you burn your hand if you touch them - mine runs hot, but you can certainly hold your hand on it indefinitely without fear of scalding yourself! The key is ventilation - I have always had at least 8" of space above it and plenty of room around the sides.

scubasteve:2. the appeal of the arcam or okyno is the simple operation for the wife and family.  everything connected via HDMI (DVD, apple TV, PS3, cable HD box).  are there any digital amps that excel in music but are only two channel audio/video

I'm not sure about digital amps, but if you're looking for a stereo setup, just ensure you get one with at least 4 line level inputs and connect all the sources up using their analogue connections (running the HDMI or Component leads into the TV for video). Or you could look at getting an external DAC with enough digital connections for the above, input all the sources into this via optical or coaxial, and then connect the DAC into the said stereo amp. Or you could go for both a stereo amp and an AV amp with pre-outs as Gerrardasnails points out - connecting your out and out AV sources like the DVD, HD box and PS3 into the AV amp (for the easier connection) and your music sources into the stereo amp (for pure stereo sound).

At the end of the day, with your setup I can see the attraction of an AV amp in terms of easier connectivity (especially if your TV doesn't have enough HDMI inputs), but for out and out stereo peformance, I'd say a stereo amp is definitely the way to go.

Up to you!

 

The owls are not what they seem...

Anonymous
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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

For two channel and with the quality of your sources, I'd stick with a 2ch analogue amp and the analogue outs of your players. It'll sound great and you will have a far more simple setup.

Even the Oppo has excellent 2ch stereo analogue outs.

My 905 never ran terribly hot. Sure it got warm, but not to the point where I worried about it. It was in a housing with about 7mm either side and 10cms clear above. Open front and back. It's the 875 that used to get scarily hot. 905 was much better.

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

Like Will, I owned a 905 before upgrading to the Arcam AVR600. I was happy with my 905 for movies, but not with stereo sound, music playback being the most important to me.


My 905 did run very hot and used to cut out over prolonged playback, however I only had about 3" of clearance above it despite it being in an open hifi rack. When I increased it to 7" I had no further problems. I must admit this does seem a bit excessive though and not everyone has that amount of space to play with. I sold my 905 for about £500 a few months ago (it only cost me £800 new from Richer Sounds). It was a more recent exmaple with one of the later firmwares installed which rectified some of the early problems with the amp. £600 seems a bit steep for a 905, if you do get a secondhand one, make sure it's got a later firmware installed.


I sold because I wanted better stereo sound, however before selling I bought a CA DacMagic and had it modded with Burson OpAmps. Plus I replaced my QED Silver Anniversay bi-amp wire to bi-amp runs of QED Revelation. Both of these additions made much improvement to the Onkyo's stereo sound, giving it a deeper midrange where before it sounded too lean and harsh.


If you don't want 5.1 sound, I'd agree with others, get your self a good stereo amp, something like the Roksan Kandy K2 or Naim Nait XS. But if you think you might go the whole 5.1 route at some stage, I don't think that the Onkyo on it's own will give you very good stereo sound. Having said that the AVR600 is a hell of a lot more dosh and isn't without it's problems at the moment. Another consideration is the Yamaha DSP-Z7 ( £1650), supposedly excellent with movies and quite adept with stereo. Also a 2009 secondhand Pioneer SC-LX81 has just sold for £950 on the classifieds of another well known Forum of the AV variety, keep an eye out there.

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

thanks guys.  very useful advise.  i am seriously considering a 2nd hand supernait at this stage.  i can get one for around 1500 and it has the DAC for lossless music as well as not needing to buy a new centre speaker.

i am really torn though.  i do have another question for you.  if i do go arcam and full 5.1.  i need to get rear speakers that will go with my 805s and htm4s.  i do not really want to buy an extra set of 805s for the rear at this stage.  any other speakers you would recommend? what about the kef wireless speakers?

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

I've got Proac Studio's at the front, but use the very wife friendly KEF 2005.2's for the rears. Obviously they are well below the quality of the Proacs, but given that the bass below 80Hz is taken care of by the subwoofer, I find them fine with movies. I'm considering replacing them with Proac surrounds which are about £600, but that's only because I listen to surround music and the difference is more noticeable then. If they are only going to be used for movies, don't go too mad with your expenditure.

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

The B&W M-1s would probably fit the bill well for the rears - I use them with my 685 fronts.

 

The owls are not what they seem...

Anonymous
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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

Well, they usually say that you should try to stick with the same manufacturer to try to retain a similar tonality around the room. More relevant with multichannel music such as 5.1 SACD than with movie effects I think.

You could go for a pair of 685 B&Ws for the rears but you could also take a look at the Dali Ikon On-Walls. They're what I'm using and I find they sound quite excellent. They're partnering a set of Helicon 400 MkII fronts and centre which at £6,000 RRP for the three means the £500 a pair On-Walls have their work cut out, but they hold up very very well and blew away my previous Kef 2005.1 eggs which I'd been using as rears before.

Having said that and knowing what we said earlier, I'd snap up that Supernait. It'll hold it's value well and sound like the bargain of the year. That's what I'd buy. I don't think you'd regret it with 805s fronts.

Anonymous
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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

Can I ask where you have been offered the Arcam AVR600 for £2,500 or £2,700 please?

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Re: 2nd hand onkyo 905 (500 quid) vs brand new arcam avr 600 (25

I live in singapore and so it is from the local distributor.  as a repeat customer i was offered a discount.  one of the major reasons for the price difference is the lack of vat in singapore

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