Zen and the art of choosing the right system!

Audiolab 6000CDT Dedicated CD Transport

siju_narayan

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Hi friends,

At the outset, allow me to gush as to how brilliant his forum is. As one of you in a recent post mentioned, you do save souls out here thanks to your frank and educated opinions. :clapping:

This is my first post and am doing so as I face what a lot of us have faced - the prospect of investing hard earned monies into a system that will satisfy our need. Though I don't have a heavy budget, I know:
1. My music:movies = 70:30
2. My sources are - (a) Philips DVP 3996 (has HDMI upscaling), (b) cable TV (i plan to get an LCS/LED soon) and (c) X-Box
3. I can build this system up in instalments only. I plan to start with Amp/AVR and 2 spkrs (bookshelves - I wud have loved to have FS but I have a very active 1 yr old who would not mind toppling them over :D)
4. My ultimate objective is to build a modest 5.1
5. The room in consideration is a regular 14x10

My humble queries:
1. Am I erring in my wish-list somewhere?
2. If my DVP can do 1080p upscaling, can i live with an AVR that just does pass-thru?
3. Though i have read a lot about the superiority of a 2 channel amp vis-a-vis an AVR (in case one is drawn more to music), are the differences that glaring? Would I be pardoned for opting for a 5.1 ch AVR despite a definitive leaning towards music?
4. Am I correct in concluding (based on the tons of posts i have read here) that for my kind of a requirement, an Onkyo or a Marantz is better?
5. I have the option of securing the amp/AVR from the US. Anything that I need to keep in mind?

I know most of my queries sound very, very basic but I would be really very indebted if you could enlighten me!

Looking forward to your giudance!

Cheers!
Siju
 

unleash_me

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My humble queries:
1. Am I erring in my wish-list somewhere?
2. If my DVP can do 1080p upscaling, can i live with an AVR that just does pass-thru?
3. Though i have read a lot about the superiority of a 2 channel amp vis-a-vis an AVR (in case one is drawn more to music), are the differences that glaring? Would I be pardoned for opting for a 5.1 ch AVR despite a definitive leaning towards music?
4. Am I correct in concluding (based on the tons of posts i have read here) that for my kind of a requirement, an Onkyo or a Marantz is better?
5. I have the option of securing the amp/AVR from the US. Anything that I need to keep in mind?

1. No
2. Yes
3. Yes/Yes
4. Yes (Marantz/CA)
5. 110 Vs 220
 
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siju_narayan

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Thanks, unleash_me, for replying to my post. Gratifying to note that some of my basic assumptions haven't been really off the mark!:p

Which Marantz/CA would you suggest and what would be a good speaker pairing? I had audtioned the 3503 with the Mirage satellites and they sounded yummy to my untrained ears.

Regds
Siju
 
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iaudio

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Thanks, unleash_me, for replying to my post. Gratifying to note that some of my basic assumptions haven't been really off the mark!:p

Which Marantz/CA would you suggest and what would be a good speaker pairing? I had audtioned the 3503 with the Mirage satellites and they sounded yummy to my untrained ears.

Regds
Siju

Siju,
What system have you been listening to? Try to avoid satellites, if possible. Even if you build up your system slowly, try to go for a pair of bookshelves or floorstanders that you like! Upgraditis will hit you quite hard and soon if you go for sat-sub combo.
 
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siju_narayan

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Thanks, iaudio, for your inputs. I haven't really gone out and auditioned many. I thought with this forum's help, i'll zero in on a couple of pairings and then try them out. The only ones that I have auditioned have been the marantz 3053+Mirage and Yammy 365+spkrs. I found the former better.
 
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unleash_me

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If its the Nano range you tried from Mirage, steer clear from it! Regarding your shortlisted avrs, hope this helps. An idea of how much you are willing to spend on this endeavor should win you lot of suggestions here.

Happy auditions.
 
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venkatcr

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2. If my DVP can do 1080p upscaling, can i live with an AVR that just does pass-thru?

Though I would have agreed to this a few months ago, the landscape has changed dramatically. Today we are talking about at least three different sources for watching movies - a DVD player, a BR Player, and media player. Though you can get each of these players as upscaling models, you might end up spending more money than if you buy an AVR that acts as a central system with upscaling features. Today even at around 40K you get AVRs with very decent upscaling capabilities.

3. Though i have read a lot about the superiority of a 2 channel amp vis-a-vis an AVR (in case one is drawn more to music), are the differences that glaring? Would I be pardoned for opting for a 5.1 ch AVR despite a definitive leaning towards music?

I see no sense in a 5.1 system unless you look for units from CA, NAD etc. These are expensive, but provide good music. In the link provided above I have explained the hassles we face in choosing between an AVR leans towards movies, and one that leans towards music.

I see more value in getting a 7.1 capable receiver and using the rear two channels to bi-amp the front speakers. Later one if you get attracted towards the HD Audio that comes with BR, you can always buy two extra speakers and use the rear channels.

If you look at an AVR around the 50K range, unless you are very fastidious audiophile, you find them delivering good music.

If you want both movies and music, the choice basically comes down to Denon or Marantz. If you want to look at music as a priority and not give too much importance to movies CA, and NAD are good bets.

From the US, the best option would be the Emotiva UMC-1 along with a UPA-5 power amplifier. At 1248US, this combination will beat most products available in India hollow and would be superb for music also. The only question is how you can bring it back - together these behemoths will weigh roughly 50Kg.

Cheers
 
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siju_narayan

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thanks, venkat! incidentally, i had gone thru the post indicated by unleash_me earlier. while i get the general drift, i had a couple of questions:
1. could you pls explain the bi-amp part a bit more. Am afraid am an illiterate in this case.
2. while a nad/ca stereo amp setup is good for music, how does it fare when it comes to movies especially the ones with some pristine dialogues?

@unleash_me: i am trying to cap my avr spend upto $500. one reason for doing so is to ensure that I spend better on my speakers.

regds
siju.
 
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venkatcr

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1. could you pls explain the bi-amp part a bit more. Am afraid am an illiterate in this case.

There are lots of threads on bi-amping in the forum. Essentially some speakers have the biamping capability. They have two sets of connectors at the back which are usually shorted to act as one. If you use two amps, you can remove the shorting plates, and send signals to the speakers from two independent amp - one focussing on low frequencies and the other on the rest of the frequencies.

2. while a nad/ca stereo amp setup is good for music, how does it fare when it comes to movies especially the ones with some pristine dialogues?

I am assuming your question refers to AVRs made by CA or NAD? There is never an issue with dialogues. The issue is usually with the large movie soundstage and the capacity to deliver deep thumps and sudden increase in power requirements that these AVRs struggle with.

But, Siju - at 500 US, you should not even bother about these things. It is a different ball game at those prices.

Cheers
 
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siju_narayan

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I am assuming your question refers to AVRs made by CA or NAD? There is never an issue with dialogues. The issue is usually with the large movie soundstage and the capacity to deliver deep thumps and sudden increase in power requirements that these AVRs struggle with.

But, Siju - at 500 US, you should not even bother about these things. It is a different ball game at those prices.

Cheers

venkat i understand what u are trying to say - u did explain in detail in the earlier highlighted link.

so, at 500USD, what should i be looking for? incidentally, for under $500, am seeing deals on Onkyo 607, Yammy 665 and Denon 1910. where do i go?

regds
Siju
 
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venkatcr

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so, at 500USD, what should i be looking for? incidentally, for under $500, am seeing deals on Onkyo 607, Yammy 665 and Denon 1910. where do i go?

You should be looking for an AVR that sounds good for music to your ears.

Forget the Yamaha 665. Listen to both the Onkyo 607 and the Denon 1910 and go for the one your ears like for music. Both are good for movies, so you can skip that part.

Cheers
 
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venkatcr

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thanks, venkat! btw, what is that works against the Y665? i also do not see/hear mention of HK. Any particular reason?

Sigh!!!

There is a thread somewhere that has discussed the Yamaha 665 in great detail. In short, the previous year models (2008-2009) ending with xx3 instead of xx5 were world beaters. They sounded super, had ample power and could sound super for both movies and music.

When Yamaha brought out the xx5 series they went and screwed the power unit in the AVRs, and increased the prices. In just one action they completely lost the market they had build up. The xx5 are under powered and gasp for breath when you have powerful action scenes.

Denon and Onkyo, on the other hand, continued with their success and actually improved their AVRs and added more features.

I have heard the HK AVR only once in Dubai about 10 days ago. I will let someone else comment on it's capabilities.

Cheers
 
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siju_narayan

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venkat - thanks and appreciate your clarifying the xx5 issue. this really helps. in my mind, am going to decide between the Den1910 and Onk607. any suggestions on the best speakers to pair these with? Bookshelves at less than 20K INR.

audio_engr - thanks for that tip. Will keep that in mind.

Regds
Siju
 
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