AVR + Amp: Mixing new with the old and wading into the Audiophile pool

Hi everyone! Total audiophile noob here, so be gentle! You guys are sharks in the wave pool drinking margaratas while I’m knee-deep on the zero depth entry side with my lemonade sippy cup!


Background: As short as I can, an explanation. For about 10 years I have had Denon 1907 AVR with a set of 5.1 Kenwood speakers. Not audiophile equipment to be sure, but better than a sound bar and what most people have. Still, I felt it was time to upgrade. I basically wanted entry-level audiophile level stuff and settled on a Klipsch RP-450C center channel and a Klipsch RP-112SW subwoofer. I knew the Klipsch speakers would be upgrades over my Kenwoods but I was not prepared for the level of difference. It blew me away to the point that I dove directly into the deep end without even checking the water. First, I wanted to complete the Klipsch setup. So I ordered two Klipsch RP-8000f towers and the matching surrounds. Those have not even ARRIVED yet and my audiophile friend (a big jerk who gets me to spend money) convinced me that my Denon 1907 cannot satisfy my Klipsch towers that are coming and that if I really wanted to hear them hum I needed to buy an external amplifier. SO....I talked with him and researched it and bought a mint condition Adcom GFA 555 amplifier. I liked the idea of it because, from what I can tell, if I don’t like it I can sell it for the same amount I paid. That hasn’t even arrived yet either and I realize my old Denon 1907 doesn’t even have pre outs for the amplifier. SO now I need a new receiver. Honestly, I think I did anyway. It was far from top of the line Denon even when it was new.


Problem/Question:  Short Short version; I need a receiver that serves well for HT and is an upgrade in sound to the old Denon 1907, but that also has in mind I want to use the Adcom GFA 555 external to power the towers. I want both worlds. My primary use is HT, by far. That said, this is a new world I’m wading into and I’m definitely interested in discussion of the advantages/disadvantages of my various options. Here are the 3 receivers I’m considering at the moment and my brief thoughts on each. Hopefully enough to spark the conversation I’m hoping for and I DEFINTELY understand it’s all just talk until I hear it for myself. I want to maybe take a step up in HT, but not pay for more than I really need especially considering my use of the external amp.


  • Marantz NR1609-7.2 (50W):  my concern is only 50W. I’m using the Adcom for the towers but is this underpowered for the rest of the speakers? Does the sound quality of the Marantz surpass the old Denon 1907 to the point where the loss of power doesn’t matter? I’m aware not all power is equal and sometimes splashing (100x7) on something doesn’t mean it isn’t crap. How little amperage is too little?

  • Marantz SR6013-9.2 (110W):  my only real concern is if this is just too much Marantz to justify for my setup. Do the Klipsch speakers I purchased need these, given that I’m powering the externals with the Adcom?

  • Pioneer Elite SC-LX701-9.2 (135W):  my jerk audiophile friend likes this ones., Naturally the highest costing of the bunch.

  • And Finally…..what about the potential negatives/benefits of a separate preamp/processor? Now that’s really wading into unfamiliar territory for me but I’m willing to listen.


I really appreciate any of you willing to take the time to chat with a newbie. I love this stuff….I’m just kinda new to it at this level.

First, welcome to the machine. Congrats on significantly upgrading your listening experience, and be forewarned it only gets worse (and considerably more expensive) from here. Heh heh.

That said, I think separates are somewhat jumping the gun at this point as they get considerably more expensive so you might do well to start with a good AVR and go from there. I wouldn’t have recommended a separate amp at this stage since your new towers are very efficient and don’t require much power, and given that and as your system is primarily for HT it’s probably more important to match the amp across the front three speakers than giving the front L/R speakers more power.

Toward that end, if you do end up keeping the Adcom (which I likely wouldn’t) I would not recommend a Marantz AVR as its sound tends to the softer, fuller side than the more neutral character of the GFA 555. My best AVR recommendation, if it has all the features you need, would be the Yamaha RX-A1070 that can be had at Accessories4less.com for $640. It has plenty of power to drive all your Klipsches and would likely be a better sonic match for the Adcom if you decide to keep it, and it’s the cheapest model in Yamaha’s Aventage lineup to use a power transformer. I worked for Magnolia for a while and got to directly compare all their AVRs, and sonically I found the Yamaha Aventage AVRs to be the most transparent and closest in sound to my $25k dedicated stereo system at home. I used an Aventage AVR to demo revealing $9000/pr. B&W 804D3s and it impressively held its own even at that high level, so I’d think it’d also make your similarly revealing Klipsch sing very nicely. Further, and significantly, Yamaha is one of the most reliable mass market AVRs out there. BTW and FYI, Pioneer was bought by Onkyo - one of the least reliable AVRs - in 2015 and then was bought again by a Chinese private equity firm about a year ago. Nuff said.

So, if I’m you I’d see how your system performs with the better AVR and the Adcom and see if the separate amp is worthwhile at this point. Not to go too far off in another direction, but if at some point your new affliction spreads to include wanting better 2-channel performance then looking for a separate stereo amp and preamp (or good stereo integrated amp) starts to make much more sense as you’ll want both the AVR’s preamp and amp sections completely out of the loop for critical stereo listening. Of course at that point you’ll probably want to look at better speakers, and so it goes with this wonderful disease. Similarly, I wouldn’t consider a separate A/V prepro until you’re ready to spend multiples on much better speakers as well.  Anyway, hope some of this makes sense and is somewhat helpful, and best of luck.
Oops.  Forgot to ask what you’re using for cables, interconnects, and power cords.  At this level I don’t recommend spending much $, but you’ve now entered the realm where they do make a difference and allow you to get the most out of your overall system.  If you’ve got budget wires right now I’d recommend Acoustic BBQ run by member @grannyring here.  Very high performance/$ and will be more than fine until you’re ready to and can justify dumping thousands into more esoteric and upscale cables.  Of course there’s also power conditioning and haven’t even broached that yet for fear of potential mental/budget overload.  Just something else to look forward to.  And so it goes...
Anthem is absolutely where you should go. :)  Then if you still feel the need for better amps, you can add a Luxman.
Then if you still feel the need for better amps, you can add a Luxman.

and while he is at it....he could build his own speakers too.
Lol thanks for the posts, everyone! Great stuff. I settled on the Marantz SR6013 because I had reward points at a place selling it. Combining that with a sale they had I got it for $690. At that point I considered it criminal to NOT get it. 
The towers are here and are hooked up to my Denon. They sound great but I have to turn my receiver way up before they sound like what I want and at that volume there is a lot of background noise. The old Denon is, I think, an 85W receiver. The new Marantz coming today is a 110W receiver with discrete amps. It should be much more suited to the task. The Adcom amp comes a day after that. It’s going to be fun to compare with and without. Posts here and another forum have convinced me that I likely don’t NEED the amp. But it may give me a lot more headroom and it’s supposed to be a fantastic sounding amp. So I’ll give it a try with both!