Better buy: old flagship or new tier 2 AVR

I have recently upgraded my Athena F1 fronts to Martin Logan Aerius I's and need to drive them. I need a new AVR with some guts. I have read the reviews and countless forums (I know....seperates).

I can get an old flagship, B&K AVR202 or Yamaha DSP-A1 delivered for under $600. Or for that price I can get a tier 2 AVR Denon 3805 or Yamaha RXV2500. I cannot spend more.

My listening is 90% HT. I have a 5.1 set-up. Room EQ and features are nice, but my priority is sound quality. My main concern with an older flagship AVR (pre-2000) is that sound benefits i would gain by a superior amp section would be offset by dated technology, older DACS etc.

If you were in my shoes, what would your choice be?
what are you using now? perhaps it would be a better idea to purchase an amplifier and run it off your current receivers preamp outputs. that would be my first thought.
Receivers do not work well with ML speakers. Even the more powerful ones just don't have the guts to drive them. Plus the few that can drive them as well as separates are as expensive as separates.

My favorite budget set-up for ML's is to use an AVR for processing (entry level new usually has the same processing cappabilities as the flagship new) and external power amps to drive the speakers. Power amps do not get outdated as quickly as processors.

Just a less expensive step towards separates.

Good luck!
Thanks for the response, If my current AVR had preouts I would have an easier decision, unfortunately I have to start from scratch.

Anyone with ML have success with an old flagship type AVR? I have read that the B&k AVR 202 is a Ref 20 and AV5000 in one box, same transformer, caps, etc.

I understand that these speakers come alive with quality power, but currently I have to go for best bang for the buck.

I do have a smaller room and do not play movies or music very loud (my wife does not share my passion for loud HT and music).
I would say buy the old flagship if you are planning to have it drive the Aeriuses. Just be aware you will need a good power amp down the road if you are keeping the MLs. Although a new tier 2 has all the new processing modes, you definitely need power to make the MLs sound their best.

I have ML Aeriuses (non-i) for my fronts and drove them for a little while with my Yamaha RX-V1. Good sound, but not great, and the quality of the bass was sub-optimal. Didn't really like listening for long periods of time. I do about 85% music, only 15% movies.

Bought a Parasound 1205A when funds allowed, even before I filled in the rest of the HT system. The V1 is now just a preamp. I now have Magnepan MMG Ws for rears and the MMG C center. Planar sound on a small budget, and they integrate well together. All of these speakers love high current amps, and the Parasound has done well for movies.

Best of luck in your search!

I previously owned 2 B&K AVR-202s. It is a very good HT receiver. It has excellent build quality and more available umph than you will generally find with most receivers. I would still own it today, except I hated the ergonomics. I couldn't figure out how to use it most of the time! I think the issue was that B&K used an off-the-shelf programmable learning remote to control the receiver and the application just didn't make sense to me. It was made even worse on the second one I bought because they changed remotes and stuck "updated" loose pages into the instruction book.

Overall, I liked the B&K AVR-202 and I think it would drive your speakers as well as about any other receiver. If you can figure out the ergonomics of controlling the darn thing, you would have a fine receiver for $600.


IF you put something like this...

...with an AVR you will have ample power for FL/FR while freeing up some power for the C/SL/SR.

Good luck!
Thanks for the suggestions, I bit the bullet and bought the AVR202. Adding an amp to drive the front channels is something I can explore later, budget permitting. Now I can spend the next few days pining over the decision waiting for it to arrive.

A4or3s, i'm interested in your review of integrating a MMG Center. How well do they integrate with your Aerius'? I am ditching my Athena center and going Phantom until I can get a well matched center.

I haven't seen posts of too many people integrating Maggies and ML. ML centers are pricey and get snapped up pretty quick when on the used market.
Regarding your integration question, I have to start by saying I don't have much of a basis for comparison, and I'm not a huge movie buff. What I can tell you is that the MMG C was basically plug and play. The soundstage across the front is pretty seamless. When you have action that pans across the front 3 speakers, I don't really detect much of a change in the quality of sound. Concert DVDs retain much of the characteristic airiness for the mids and highs that planars are known for.

I have a small room, 18x12x9, and have the system along one of the long walls, actually a staircase wall. The size and weight of typical ML centers would have made it difficult to place. The MMG C is sized just right to span my audio rack. Not to mention, the MLs start at twice the price of the MMG C. The Ws are no slouches either. I have them mounted on the wall behind the couch, and swing them out when in use.

I use a Quad L sub to fill out the deep end, and have not had trouble getting it to integrate with the MLs. The remote is very convenient for tweaking settings from your chair, and you can set up presets for music and movies separately.

Congratulations with your purchase, and happy new year!