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jmjones's picture
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Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Hello Folks,

My DVD32R finally died and AV32R has seen better days. Not exactly HDMI friendly either. The 100*5r is in good order though, and most of my music comes from FLAC files these days, SO for a decent balance of convenience and sound quality (particularly music!) would you:

1. Add an Oppo and Audiolab 1200ap to the 100*5r?

Or:

2. Dump the lot and get a Pioneer SCLX 86 on present bargain prices?

Any advice, other alternatives and discussion much appreciated. My thanks in advance.

 

Oppo 105eu, Tag McLaren 100*5R, Custom HTPC, Samsung 55" TV, Sky HD, Pinnacle Audio Folio (No? Look that iron up!)

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Just off the top op my head: have you considered the new top-of-the-range Marantz processor AV8801? The brand is renowned for it's musical abilites and should do your FLAC-files justice.. If I was lucky enough to own that fine Tag amp you've got I'd opt for that processor. Since you are already in the world of separates I can't find reason to "step-down" to the integrated Pioneer (unless you really dig it's qualites and have little room for the AV8801).

Then again, I've heard good things about the Audiolab 8200AP processor too. Personally I desire the excellent Audyssey calibration tool of the Marantz, but the transparency and simplicity of the 8200AP could prove terrific for a true music lover. Plus, it's tiny and half the price of the AV8801 which might allow to budget for an Oppo player.

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Some very good advice from Ricky. I would not opt for the Pioneer. Keep the Tag amp. Also I would consider using the Anthem MRX 300 as a pre/pro. It too is very very good with music and also boasts the reference level ARC room EQ which is a very powerful tool and has transformed many a listening room. It is a popular choice here and over the pond used in conjunction with a power amp.  

 

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Have you considered a Meridian front end?

You can upload all of your Flac files onto an MC200 or MD600 depending on the size of the library, the MC200 is a source and has digital and analogie outputs.  The stereo sound quality is then upgradeable by adding an MS600 (this is needed with the MD600 as it has no stereo output) - they are wired up and controlled over your home netwrok with a free Ipad app using the Sooloos interface which is very good.

You can then use one of their processors with your existing power amp and you are assured very high sound quality.  You get room correction within the G61R or G68 - only in the bass region where its important and makes a positive difference and the overall sound quality will be far higher than using a receiver as a processor such as the MRX300 especially for music.  The D/A conversion within the Meridian is very high quality and you get their upscaling and apodising of all sources music, tv and even blu ray/ high def

There is a big difference between a receiver (no matter how good the receiver) and a good pre/power but the price difference does go with it - however it depends on your expectations and understanding of the kit as to whether you can get the best from it and whether a receiver will be enough for you.

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Anthem MRX 300 is £1099 and is fantastic used as a processor. The Meridian kit comes in at around £6000 so yes it's going to be much better but it does cost substantially more. . If we are talking these kind of figures I would go for an Anthem D2v processor.  

If you really want to move it up a notch you could also look at the ADA Rhapsody or Datasat RS20i.  >)

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Whilst the Pioneer is one of the best £2k home cinema receivers you can currently buy, I wouldn't say it'll be the most ideal product to replace what you have, unless you're on a budget.

Your first recommendation is a good one. Whilst the 8200AP is quite basic, is an excellent product for hi-fi and home cinema alike, probably because of that reason. It is one of the simplest processors to set up, one of the easiest to use, and one of the best sounding I've heard this side of a Bryston SP3. 

The other possibility is that you could just buy an Oppo BDP105 and use its on board 7.1 processing and plug it direct into your 100/5r, thanks to its onboard pre-amp with variable output. You'll be a little limited with inputs - two HDMI inputs, one coaxial digital and one optical digital inputs, and two USB inputs (asynchronous), but it can stream your music via your network. Whether you feel its onboard pre is good enough will be up to you. With two HDMI outputs, that's one more than the Audiolab...

I've recently added a BDP103 to my 8200AP and am extremely pleased with the results - I can now listen to SACD (a bit more often would be nice, but not at £40/50 a shot!), but CD replay - even over HDMI - is very good, and I have to say that my current set up is as musical as I've ever heard it so far. I'll have to dig out my good old optical cable which has been gathering dust for a few years and see if it can sound any better.

To add to that, we installed the 8200AP and 8200x7 in our demo room back in the summer instead of what was usually in there, and even without room EQ it has been the most enjoyable AV system to listen to so far. 

(oddly enough, we happen to have a DVD32 and AV32r at the store at the moment!)

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

It's possible to pick up used Meridian G61R or G68 (different models) for approx £1500 then you can have them health checked for £300 which includes a few brand new parts and a 3 year warranty so its as good as new all via their main dealers.  Then you get a very good processor for sub £2k that costs nearly £4k brand new.  The anthem D2 is much more going on £9k and I still doubt if will be better for music than the Meridian.

there is a review on another forum comparing the D2V to the Meridian - the review is of the D2V 

I had a Meridian G68 during the review period, and this made an interesting comparison. The Meridian sounded a bit bigger, and better resolved, with music playback from a digital audio source, and had better dynamic neutrality. That is, it was able to fully convey detail resolution and dynamic contrasts, yet avoid harshness and exaggeration of detail.

the fact the Meridian has room correction is why I think it has an advantage over the audiolab, it's very difficult to get perfect in room bass especially from a sub and bad bass ruins the whole presentation. The Meridian system MRC is quite basic but is designed to remove excess fat off the bass that might hinder the sound but can be controlled manually and it shows enough to do what you need to do instead of using additional software such as REW

 

To get HD audio from blu ray you do need to buy an additional HD621 box @ £1500 so that pushes the price up well over a top of the range receiver 

but its a very good solution one of the few (thats in the realms of reality price wise) that give true high quality stereo and movie sound. 

Meridian 861 V4 LPSU, HD621, Bryston 9BSST

Monitor Audio PL100, GXC 150, GXFX, SVS SB13 ULTRA

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Yea the Meridian gear is fantastic and second hand should be a consideration. The D2v does have Anthems ARC room EQ software which is a reference level EQ system. There is a mint second hand D2v for sale at the Home Cinema Centre. Regardless of what you buy I would def go the pre pro route and avoid the Pioneer which will not meet your expectations. 

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

ric71 wrote:

Yea the Meridian gear is fantastic and second hand should be a consideration. The D2v does have Anthems ARC room EQ software which is a reference level EQ system. There is a mint second hand D2v for sale at the Home Cinema Centre. Regardless of what you buy I would def go the pre pro route and avoid the Pioneer which will not meet your expectations. 

Hmm... now I know what you'll be spending your hard earned cash on, rather than upgrading to more Apex speakers to get those height-channels! 

The D2v ought to fit very well with your Statement amp  :rockout: Wink

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Thats why I mentioned what is your expectation level?

A Pioneer Receiver is very good for films and still very good for music - more than good enough for most people.

However if you have very high expectations particularly of stereo playback then the pre power route will satisfy more but cost a lot more factoring in all the additional cabling etc (which you might already have).

 

I would like to have a play / tinker with ARC to see / hear what it does / aims to do to the freq repseonse and whether it factors in decay etc - I have heard it sets up a house curve for the bass which I have only just recently learnt the benefits of (A particular type of house curve, not a standard).  However if it EQ'd above the bass region approx 250hz then It would not be for me.

I had long thought that was the best route to go and have been an advocate on this forum of eq'zing merits - now I understand its not the route to go - room treatment is.  Having a system comprosing of a £9k processor (D2V) and more with a power amp etc seems folly to me if you dont have at least some treatment within the listening room.

Meridian 861 V4 LPSU, HD621, Bryston 9BSST

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Ha ha,

I wish. It's still out of my league financially what with a 9 week old and 3 year old sons that cost a fortune!!!!

Nope it's gonna be the height speakers next!!!

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Yeah, ric, I reckoned you'd have to make that choice! But we can dream, can't we!

I'm still envious of your Statement amp, so there you go!  Blum 3

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

I'm not sure of the upper limits of its EQ but I know that it is totally customisable,i.e. you can set the level of the frequency it will EQ. 

I am a huge believer in room EQ. I agree that a dedicated room should be treated but for the likes of me who only has a sitting room,room EQ is priceless. My present system which can be seen in my sig beats my previous £20k set up that consisted of a Lexicon DC2 fully loaded front end with a high end Micromega transport, silly cables and monster subs. I put this down to Anthems ARC,which in my room is phenomenal. 

You really should have a demo of ARC. This is why I use the MRX as a processor,bolted on to a big power amp and have never been happier compaired with any system I have owned over the last 15 years of AV madness. 

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

ric71 wrote:

I'm not sure of the upper limits of its EQ but I know that it is totally customisable,i.e. you can set the level of the frequency it will EQ. 

I am a huge believer in room EQ. I agree that a dedicated room should be treated but for the likes of me who only has a sitting room,room EQ is priceless. My present system which can be seen in my sig beats my previous £20k set up that consisted of a Lexicon DC2 fully loaded front end with a high end Micromega transport, silly cables and monster subs. I put this down to Anthems ARC,which in my room is phenomenal. 

You really should have a demo of ARC. This is why I use the MRX as a processor,bolted on to a big power amp and have never been happier compaired with any system I have owned over the last 15 years of AV madness. 

 

Comparing old av with new uncompressed formats is unfair really price irrelevant - I also think Room eq has its place but not in stereo playback above the bass region.  If it did all the top brands would have their own systems and there would be no need for room treatments.

Room EQ is secondary to room treatment - you are not going to hear the kit properly as no room eq can remove first reflections all it does is boost and dip the freq response to try and flatten it.   If you google first reflections you can read how they hinder the sound and stop you hearing properly the kit you have.  

I think it is more than possible to have room treatments in an average living room, I do and so does my cousin.  You do need an undertsanding wife but she must be understanding to let you buy all this in the first place.

You can get panels made now that look like canvas art - and you can choose any art you want - so the 2 kids on the wall - you and the mrs are both happy !!  For the price of 2 apex you can get a couple of panels and that will bring a bigger sound improvement to what you currently have.

Meridian 861 V4 LPSU, HD621, Bryston 9BSST

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

ellisdj - you make valid points. It makes perfect sense that room treatment would come before room EQ (being a last resort, in a 'perfect world'), but just like rick71 mentioned I too would have problems getting there. First of all; knowing how to properly implement such treatments in my livingroom. And without hiring specialists that come to your home, takes measurements and tell you exactly what kind of treatment would work best and where to place it - how is one to know for sure what will work and what won't? No matter how much I read up on room treatments and the tons of products available I just end up more confused and skip the idea altogether and rely on my Room EQ. Sure, I could just order some reflection panels and experiment for the sake of it, but the uncertainty of me possibly me wasting time and money or making it wose by not applying them correctly is not very reassuring. I've started to think that hiring specialists who come in and do it for you is the only certain way to go?

(sorry OP for getting off-track here!)

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RE: Replacing Tag McLaren Kit

Hi RickyDeg

 

A full room treatment does require a pro or someone more skilled than me - but first reflection treatment on the side walls and rear walls is easy enough to do with the mirror trick and makes a huge difference.

Basics of it are - just considering stereo atm

You have 2 first reflections points per sidewall one for each speaker - for the room right wall you have a first reflection for the left speaker and right speaker and the same for the left wall.

To locate these you run a mirror along the wall until you can see the reflection of the tweeter of one speaker, mark that location, then find the other tweeter and mark that location.  These are supposed to be used for the centre of your panel.

The back wall is the same - however if you cover a large area directly behind your head will do

You also have these on the ceiling - I have not done my cealing as the boss will not have it, I would love to though.

 

You can make panels for very cheap to test to see if you hear a positive difference before spending ££ on nice / art ones.

Measuring the effects is not difficult but is another load of skills to learn

 

http://acousticsfreq.com/blog/?p=432 - this guy has gone to town but he shows the method in detail for full 5.1 - his panels are butt ugly so dont be put off by that

http://acousticsfreq.com/blog/?p=62 - shows how to make basic panels - there is is better info online how to make them

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9u7k2V4YPw from a pro company showing the theory

http://www.realtraps.com/art_room-setup.htm also from a pro company explaining the theory

Meridian 861 V4 LPSU, HD621, Bryston 9BSST

Monitor Audio PL100, GXC 150, GXFX, SVS SB13 ULTRA

Custom Audio PC LPSU + Batts, JPLAY, JCAT and PPA Studio

Panny 65VT65, Marantz UD7007, Graham Slee Analogue and Digital Cables, Isotek

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