AV setup with LS50

I just bought a pair of LS50 and need some help with finding a nice but good value home theatre setup. As I am based in Japan, I have easy access to Japanese amps, etc. I will be using it in a small apartment, in a 2 channel setup. Source will be PC and TV.

How does the following options look?
Marantz NR1609:http://us.marantz.com/us/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=avreceivers&ProductId=NR1609
Number of Poweramps 7
Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) 50 W
Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.05% 2ch Drive)
Power Output (6 ohm, 1 kHz, 0.7% 2ch Drive)70 WPower Output (6 ohm, 1 kHz, 10% 1ch Drive)100 W

Onkyo TX-NR686 https://www.onkyousa.com/Products/model.php?m=TX-NR686&class=Receiver&source=prodClass
240 W (3 Ohms, Front)
210 W (4 Ohms, Front)
120 W (8 Ohms, Front)

Yamaha RX-A880
20Hz-20kHz、2ch: 100W/ch(6Ω、0.06%THD)

Open to suggestions/feedbacks thanks.

Fustyler, are you intending to just use your system for just 2-channel listening and watching? Are you looking to upgrade to a 4.1 or 5.1 setup in the future? If you don't need the extra channels I would suggest buying a 2-channel integrated amplifier. Your source would connect directly to your TV and then use an optical out to your integrated amp. That way the amp controls the sound and your source controls the material, no need for all of the AV options if listening in 2-channel.

I own the LS50s, and they require more power than 50 watts from an AV receiver to really sing. 2 channel receivers will sound significantly better at the price point you are considering.

I started with a yamaha A-S501 which offers 85 watts per channel and would give more headroom to your LS-50s. Its a nice entry level amplifier that has plenty of connectivity.

Another good question to ask is the size of your space. It sounds like you are using the speakers for a media set up that isn't near-field. Again this requires more power. I really love the speakers and I think most people run into issues with them because they are both very revealing up upstream equipment quality and require a lot of power to sound confident and in control.

My current setup is 4.1.I use a marantz sr-5010 for my rear speakers, and then run pre-out cables to a separate power amp (red dragon s500) for my LS50's which has 250 watts per channel. For 2-channel listening, I plug my source directly into my power amp via a passive volume control.

It's taken a while to figure out what sounds best for my system, but I am quite happy with how it has turned out. Of course, purchasing both an AV amp and a power/integrated amp costs $$. Again I suggest starting with 2-channel and moving to a surround setup later when you can afford rear speakers and an AV amp. Make sure you eventually choose A/V receiver with pre-out lines for your front speakers. I believe the maratnz nr-1609 does have front speaker pre-out lines.

Happy to answer any questions!
Thanks for the feedback AJ.

To give more information, the apartment is only 40square meters, and the lounge area where this is used is around 15 square meters. For now I will only be using it in a 2 channel setup, though this may change later on if I see a need to upgrade to 5 channel (or if I move to a bigger place)

Any thoughts on the Onkyo TX NR686? It claims to do 100W per channel in a 2 channel setup.

All Channels:
100 W/Ch (8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC)
210 W/Ch (6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 Channel Driven)

Dynamic power:
240 W (3 Ohms, Front)
210 W (4 Ohms, Front)
120 W (8 Ohms, Front)

So I think it’s important to as yourself what’s most important to you, especially at this budget. I know it’s hard to understand but based on my experience and many other users on this forum, a 2 channel amp will have a better sound quality than similarly priced multi channel avr at this price point, and generally well above it. Think of it this way, look at the list of features and the fact that the unit is designed to drive 7 channels compared to something the same price without the bells and whistles (like the Yamaha I posted about before) designed to drive 2 channels. The result will be cleaner power. I’m my experience, 1 watt from an avr does not measure to 1 watt from a good 2 channel amp. If you’re really sold on starting with an avr it’s important to understand all of the manufacturers specs. 

It’s always a challenge to look at manufacturers specs and really understand what they are telling you. Take the unit you pasted about above. The 100 wpc is a nice amount of power, however what you would want for the ls50s is an amplifier that ideally doubles or comes close to doubles the power from 8 ohms to 4 ohms because a lot of the low bass output from the speakers falls in the 4 ohm region (look up Stereophile’s measurements for the ls50s and you might be able to see what I’m talking about). What that means is that it’s harder for an amplifier to drive the speaker for the low frequency part of the audio spectrum. Be careful, the unit you posted claims 210 watts into one channel at 6 ohms with a massive 10% distortion, which to me seems like it would be for a center channel and not your front channels. It’s hard for me to tell without digging too far into reviews. 

I really dont don’t have a huge amount of experience in choosing avr’s because I’ve chosen to focus on the fantastic ability of the ls50s to develop a 2 channel system. My surround setup came after.

Based on the speakers you’ve chosen, I would take advantage of that as well, there is just so much potential there that would be a shame to waste. That’s just my opinion based on my experiences which shouldn’t be taken as the only opinion out there.

I’d be happy to help evaluate anything else you can dig up and try my best to give you some advice. 

Happy hunting!
Let me just add that the yamaha a-s501 does not have the capability to use a home theater bypass setting like I am using in my current setup. That type of setting would bypass volume setting on the amplifier that you are using for your front two channels and letting you control the volume from the avr. Its a little hard to grasp, think of it as the 2-channel amplifier only providing the power and letting the avr control how loud the speakers play.

If you wanted to upgrade to a surround sound setup, it would include a greater effort and larger investment to get there from the yamaha. The first unit that I encountered with home theater bypass was peachtree's nova 150, which is beyond what you're looking at currently. With a quick look, the marantz pm8005 has a home theater bypass setting. If you can stretch your budget a little that might be a viable option. The unit claims 70 wps into 8ohms and 100 wpc into 4ohms. I personally think that yamaha's wpc statistics are exaggerated and I would bet that the marantz has more muscle. However I have never heard the marantz, just based on online reviews.

Its challenging to find a balance between features and quality.  For the price of the marantz there are other 2-channel amps that I would recommend if you were not interested in a surround setup. Hopefully I haven't made this sound too complicated. It really comes down to your priorities and what you are interested in. If you really don't see yourself expanding to surround until you move, I strongly recommend a 2 channel setup (you can still add a sub for home theater) if you are looking to get the best quality from your LS-50s that your money can afford.
AJ, Thanks for your comments. It does make sense that if I just need something to power the speakers for now, all I need is a solid 2 channel amplifier, without all the bells and whistles of a cinema AV box. I will take a closer look at this area. A quick check of the Marantz PM8005 shows it is "Rated at 70 watts per channel into 8 ohms, the PM8005 features a robust power supply along with high current capability to deliver 100 watts per channel into 4 ohms" 70W per channel at 8Ohm sounds a bit low?

The Yamaha A-S801 looks interesting:
Standard: 100W+100W/8Ω(20Hz~20kHz、0.019%THD)、120W+120W/6Ω (20Hz~20kHz、0.038%THD)

Dynamic power(IHF)140W/8Ω、170W/6Ω、220W/4Ω、290W/2Ω

Came across this interesting article and it looks like the Rotel A10 is a very good pairing amp for the LS50:
The reviewer recommends a combination of Aries Mini + Rotel RA-10.
How would it work if I need to have multiple sources, like PC, TV?
A few comments here. This article reinforces that watts from an avr do not equal watts from a good two channel amp. A 40wpc 2 channel can dig deep, depending on its design and it sounds like the Rotel a10 can. It’s hard to get without really listening to but I’m glad that you’re open to the idea!

Second, the a10 doesn’t look like it has a remote control, so using that for a dual music/movie/tv setup could become annoying. Also, the 40wpc might be plenty for music but you might consider moving up the line to the a12 or a14 to dig a little deeper for movies. Loud scenes in movies can use substantially more power for longer periods of time than loud parts of a song. The amps look like they’ve been redesigned and I haven’t heard them with the ls50s so that would be a blind recommendation, but if the predecessor sounded good with them, it’s a fairly safe bet that the new ones might. 

Third, these don’t appear to have home theatre bypass, which I think isn’t a big deal. Just keep in mind that when you want to eventually go to a surround setup, it will require replacing the Rotel. I’m sure it will keep some resale value, they are quality components. To be honest, I think you should choose a 2 channel amp that fits your budget and you’ll be happy with without the HTB input because it will limit you. At this price point, there just arnt many options for integrated amps with HTB. 

Fourth, the Rotel a10 doesn’t have any digital inputs, which is why the reviewer recommended a separate DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) for digital sources. Some DACs have multiple inputs that you can switch between for TV and PC. The newer a12/a14 have been redesigned with internal DAC’s so there may be more different with these units than I thought. Just try and find some online reviews, or even better find a dealer to try and demo the amp. That might be hard out of context for you since this seems like you’re first stab at building a system but the best resource is hearing something for yourself. That’s generally why companies offer in home trials for varrrying amounts of time. I started with integrated with internal DAC’s and it’s  a fine way to go. It gives less flexibility in terms of upgrading that in the future but you could always just buy an external DAC and feed it into an analogue source in the Rotel to bypass the internal DAC.

Happy hunting!
Went to the shop and demo'd the Yamaha A-S801 and Marantz PM8006 amp on the LS50 The sound from the Marantz amp had more bass and seemed smoother than the Yamaha. Would have loved to listen to the Rotel RA-10 as well, but this model is not sold in Japan. Price of the Marantz is higher than I would have liked but this sounds the best from what I have heard on the LS50 so far.

On the DAC side of things, I did more research on the weekend and the Raspberry Pi based Allo Katana DAC just got released recently with the latest chipset looks to be the one to get.

I'm glad you were able to go out and demo some equipment! There really is no alternative to hearing something yourself. Just be prepared that if you bring the amp home, it will take time for both your speakers and the amp to break in and sound their best. 

The DAC you mentioned looks like it would insert in a desktop to be used directly from a computer. Go for it if thats what you're looking for. If not, you would want a standalone component that accepts a digital input from your computer for music or TV for home theater. A few notes about DAC's as I have been currently in the process of upgrading mine.

There are a few types of DAC designs, Delta-Sigma (like the allo katana) and r2r multibit. These are two totally different designs and I would look into each of them as they have their own strengths and weaknesses at the sub $1000 price-point.