If you mean $20,000.00, you can have several of each. If you mean $2,000.00, the B&K is out of your price range, with the five-channel starting at over three grand.
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First, if you buy smart, you can get the B&K 507 S2. One if for sale as of today on Audiogon for $1750 (this is about half price off new and is a very good deal). Note, I am not selling this unit, just happened to see it.
I have a 507 S2 and I compared it to various receivers (Rotel, Denon, . . .) all in my home. At the time I was using B&W speakers and now run Totem speakers. I chose the B&K as it seemed to do better in 2 channel (my primary concern) than the others.
I have heard very good things about the Arcam's (300 and 350) for the same reasons I chose the B&K. I was not able to listen to one of these with my system, but they are well regarded with many forum submissions liking these as much or better than the B&K.
My experience with the B&K:
With B&W speakers - excellent sound in stereo, seemed to me like very good sound in HT (I was not very knowledgeable in this area). With the Totem speakers, the receiver is a bit bright on the upper end. I had installed a Cal Audio tubed DAC which helped siginificantly with this and the totems.
The B&K offers a lot of flexibility in set-up and programming. It offers some controls for room problems (which I have not determined is good or not), but it is available if you have major room acoustic problem it will probably be nice.
The B&K is fairly easy to install and configure.
Plenty of power for my room (12' X 18' with a 9 to 12' cathedral ceiling)
Great remote control - best I have worked with
I like the zone 2 set-up on the B&K, although mine is not hard wired for zone 2 (they come either hard wired for zone 2 or for channels 6&7). If you want to run zone 2 and it is wired for channels 6 & 7, you have the choice to use an additional power amp or take the unit in to an autorized B&K dealer and they can change the jumpers/wires (I have not done this as my B&K dealer in Kalamazoo Michigan is clueless and state that it will take them a month to do this!)
Processing? It seems to do a good job and has the latest formats covered (no video upconverting - not an issue for me as my TV has tons of inputs). I would not recommend sending video through any receiver - period! This is just my feeling.
All in all, I don't think you would be disappointed with either the Arcam or the B&K. I hear the Arcam is a bit more laidback like a UK based component. I find the B&K more forward and even bright with my new speakers.
FWIW: I now have a Conrad Johnson MF 5600 5 channel amp that I use for my front 3 channels and my zone 2 speakers. Initially, I was just looking for a zone 2 power amp (my tubes didn't have enough juice for my speakers in zone 2) and found the Conrad Johnson which I feel has been musical performance than the B&K.
If there are more specific questions and want more details, feel free to e-mail me directly or send me your number and I can give you a call.
Based on your metric use of measurements, I am guessing you are not in the States. Not sure whether that plays any role. B&K service from the company is excellent, replies the same day with detailed answers to any questions.
I think both offer free software upgrades (I know B&K does, and they are fairly easy to do). The remote also can be modified and comes with a CD rom for changing the screen layout, etc. . . Convenient if you want to label different inputs, etc. . .
Check out the used 507, at $1750 it is a very good buy.
Hi Hthf, I have the B&k 507 series 1 and couldn't be happier. Great for voices, and that was the main thing i listened for when I was buying. Arcam 300 was on my short list, it seemed better for music than the 507, but I was buying for movies at the time. after about a year of owning the B&K I bought a Hi-End CD player and was blown away by the music it was producing, then I became a beginer audiofool. Now my theater is in the den and I have a seperate 2 chanel room. B&K is great for movies but limited, no HDMI,no 2 zone for outdoor system which would be nice. Just my 2 cents,good luck
The B&K 507 S2 has a second zone which even allows you to play a completely different (or the same if you want) source than in zone one (all at the same time).
It does not have HDMI or video upconverting, but again not sure what the benefit of this is? If your DVD has HDMI out why take the video signal through the receiver? Just another step for it to get stepped on.
Also, not so sure that HDMI is the end all. Lots of different opinions on this and seems like there is not a finalized standard - lots of different implementations on different brands of equipment.
Arcam's also have a great reputation. I don't think you can go wrong with either. Try to listen and compare. At the price of the used 507 S2 you can buy it and test it and then sell it for the same price if you are not fully satisfied. If you can buy used at good prices, you can usually get 100% or close to it of your money back if you decide not to keep it.
guys, thank you all for your replies. It really helps!
I don't really cared about any video processing in a receiver either. Like Ckoffend said, it's just one more step for the signals to travel through and very possibly got degraded in the process. I will just connect all my video outputs to the monitor, be it a TV or a projecter. I am also not very sure what HDMI's benefit will be in this time. The standard is just unconvincing even with the 1.3 version.
And one more question, what's the difference between B&K 507 S1 and S2? Is this only a software upgrade or is there any hardware upgrade as well? I just couldn't find any info on their website.
Thank you all again!
Fans, give a ring to a B&K dealer and ask them what the difference is. Tell 'em you have a S1 and a friend with an S2 and by listening you can't tell any difference but wanted to know if an upgrade is likely in your purchasing future. I believe the differences are minimal.
By the way, since our back and forth yesterday, I remember seeing an S1 being advertised somewhere for about $1400. I think it was even a dealer demo. BOL
Ckoffend, thank you for all the responses. You are very kind. I will probably go with a 507 S2 since someone is offering it for $1929(just within my budget) on eBay, plus shipping. Shipping is a big cost factor for me because of where I live. I'm praying for a smooth transaction since this is really the first time I am buying online.
A couple of the big differences between the S1 and the S2 is that the S2 has 3 notch filters (for setting up room calibration) where the S1 only has 1. Also, the S1 did not do a very good job of describing how to set up these filters. But pretty much, you find frequencies in your room that are overexagerated (I used a simple SPL meter and plotted the output of every frequency in Excel to see where the peaks were. Then you just find the peaks, and set up the notch filters to cancel out these peaks (same frequency range, opposite signal peak). And I believe these can be set to bring up frequencies that are deficient in you setup as well.
The other upgrade you probably won't care about because it has to do with transcoding any imput to component video. It does not "up-convert" because there is no processing in the resolution, it just sends the video signal out over the component video jacks.
Also the remote ROCKS!!
Hope this helps.
Oh yea, one other thing I didn't think of. You can use a spectrum analyzer to get your room's response. But these machines run about $1200 I think. If you have a friend with one, it would greatly cut down on your time. Being a college student with no access to that kind of money or equipment, it didn't occur to me, then again, not everyone on here is in my situation. Hope this helps.
If music is really important to you then I would definitely recommend the Arcam. I have the AVR300 and love it (using it with Nola speakers). I prefer it with an aftermarket power cord, which doesn't have to be an expensive noe BTW.
I've had a couple B&K amps and listened to their receivers. B&K do make a very nice product.
But for me, the transparency, body, dynamics and overall sophistication of the Arcams are great not just for movies but also for music - and much closer to the sonics I'm used to with my high end audio system. I don't want to give those virtues up in my second/HT system. I want it all, sound quality and convenience, and that's why I'm a big fan of the Arcam receivers.