How good are recievers these days?


Hi Folks. I haven't been on here in years. I sort of fell out of the high end audio about 8-9 years ago. Need some advice

So long story short, i have a set of Magnepan MMGw's i use as my mains which replaced a damaged paif of Jmlab Chorus.. I had a Denon 3805 and planned to pick up an outboard amplifier to drive the speakers. A friend loaned me an amp which had serious issues and killed my Denon 3805, so my amp budget got raided to replace it with a used Denon 3806.

As it stands now, it does not sound horrible, but i now have a small budget for an amplifer. between 500-1000 and i had planned on getting something used.

I ran into an old friend when i was picking up a 4k LED TV this weekend who worked at Best Buy (i can already hear your eyes rolling) at thier magnolia center. He mentioned they did multimillion dollar installations, full high end audio, etc. Today i asked him if he had any recommendations for a good 2 channel amp that can handle a 4 ohm load.

His response suprised me, he recommended a Pioneer Elite SC-81 receiver.

He does this stuff for a living, I have been out of the audio hobby and not been paying attention for the better part of the last 10 years. This receiver sports the D3 digital amp, and it claims to be stable with a 4 ohm load.

How good are these digital amps? I remember Velodyne putting digital amps in thier subwoofers a long time ago, but i know nothing else about them. Can that actually push the Magnepan MMGw? or should i go back to looking at a second hand Parasound or even some Adcoms?

Thank you in advance!
slappy
Belles 150A Hotrod
Odyssey Stratos
Sonographe SA-250 or SA-400
Parasound A-23

All of these used are in your price range and will be much better than the Pioneer.
you say receiver so, do you really want the tuner as well?

I am happy with my Outlaw Audio RR2150 which could drive the MMG easily.

fwiw I would avoid Adcom, a dry sounding amp imo
A good used McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe should do you nicely. I have one and used it with my Onkyo receiver for quite a while before I got my Krell amp. Actually, I may go back to the McCormack.
Three points to emphasize:

- A receiver for 2 channel audio performance comparatively lacks the quality build and performance capability of a quality build integrated amplifier, particularly in the power supply. Published stats for "Watts RMS" alone are meaningless. IMO a used quality build Euro or NA integrated amp here on AGON are available within your budget.

- You only get what you pay for..... Full stop.

- System synergy matters - big time . Do your homework on which brands in a large arena of competing brands, work best with the rest of your system. Just because Brand X sounds good in one guy's system is nil assurance that it will sound good in yours .
If you can find a good used Luxman R117 receiver (real 160 watts/ch 8 ohms & stable to 2 ohms) it has an excellent amp and tuner and a good if not great pre-amp for about $300-400. Their M117 amp is also good to 2 ohms as is the receiver & runs $300-400. Most modern day receivers are just cheap crap. A really good integrated amp (no tuner) would be a Classe CAP151 (about $1000).
You will probably not like the D amps used in receivers. The old pioneer elite receivers such as the TXI 56 (on sale on ebay for ($250-300) will sound better & be more stable. However, I have maggies and get great sound out of the luxman. The Magnepan company used to run some of their speakers with Classe equipment. Either way, I'd opt for:
1)Classe CAP 151 $1000 integrated
2)luxman R117 ($300-400)receiver or lower powered R115 ($200)
3)McCormack DNA-1 amp ($700+) or Luxman M117 amp ($350-450)
4)older pioneer elite receiver (non HDMI) EXI 56,49 ...
MMG are four amp rated speakers which can drop below 3 ohms
and blow a 4 ohm rated receiver. In fact I've seen it happen.
Personally, I would never buy anything not rated for 2 ohms.
I usa a Pioneer Elite SC72 in my 3.1 HT system. With a Canbridge BD650, I am amazed how good the sound is with CD, SACD, and DVD-A. I use def tech monitors and center channel and subwoofer. Upstairs, I run def tech ST 8080s in my main stereo system with Marantz 8004, Nuforce preamp, and B&K ref 220.2. --and much better cabling and ICs. Does the B&K beat the Pioneer? yes, but not by much. Not by much.
I usa a Pioneer Elite SC72 in my 3.1 HT system. With a Canbridge BD650, I am amazed how good the sound is with CD, SACD, and DVD-A. I use def tech monitors and center channel and subwoofer. Upstairs, I run def tech ST 8080s in my main stereo system with Marantz 8004, Nuforce preamp, and B&K ref 220.2. --and much better cabling and ICs. Does the B&K beat the Pioneer? yes, but not by much. Not by much.
Never trust what they tell you in Best Buy. They redefine the work incompetent. Do the complete opposite of what they recommend, and you'll probably be better off.
I don't get all the hate for class-d amps. I wonder if there were such feelings when SS first came out.

If you only want a dedicated 2 channel system, get the Classe. However, if you want a multichannel system with decoding of the digital audio formats, like Dolby HD and such, get the Pioneer. Several of the Pioneer models have pre-amp out. If you don't like the sound of the Class-D amps Pioneer supplies you can always get an aftermarket amp in the future.

Class-D amps are more expensive to produce the AB amps. The mid-fi companies are either producing them to waste money, marketing, or they believe they are better.

Meridian uses class-d, as does Mark Levinson, b&o, Classe, Burmester, MBL, Bryston, Audio Research and others. I don't think any of those companies are real slouches and would put out a bad product and risk their name.
12-30-14: Akg_ca
Three points to emphasize:

...

First 2 aren't supported with facts so can be eaisily diminished from equation.

2ch Receiver and integrated amp are practically same, except that receiver may or maynot have built-in tuner.
There is a HUGE list of receivers with unmatched built quality if compared to the today's designs. The only downside of most of them that they don't have capabilities to fit huge power supply needed for larger power into their chassis and therefore most of them averaging to 50wpc. Little Pioneer SX series, Sansui, Kenwood and other receivers of that vintage are specked out conservatively and do sound great.
Magnum Dynalab makes units that completely trash
both the myths and the integrated/separate equal
values.........................................
Hey Slappy, good to hear from you, how ya been?

BTW, Philjolet's recommendation is good for a new piece, take a look here.

Happy New Year and careful in that hot rod Mustang!
They can't be doing million dollar installs with receivers and the speakers they carry.
Everyone has made the point that honest to goodness, real serious good audio can be bought on the used market, that will drive your MMGs.
NOT GOOD!!!!! Buy seperates.........
"http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/"
forum post: "...Another Onkyo bits the dust......?

short answer: bad in many cases - ultra-cheap build quality and short life

Check out he canuckaudiomart posts about the repeated failing ONKYO gear with an average life of less than a year before failure.

edited post takeaway:

"...Bought a new NR818 at Best Buy in April, to replace it.
I know, sucker for punishment.
But, I like them when they work and the menus and setup are awesome and for the money they are great............If they last.

This $1000 piece of crap lasted 6 months before the same issue, no hdmi out.I will take it back to BB and demand a refund, if not, the expected repair cycle is 4-6 months.
If I get the POS back I will sell it....

....If you have one that lasted past the warranty, magic.....I will never buy another Onkyo....

....Want one to last just buy an older one without that $hit HDMI garbage.IMO it is the major cause of receivers failures and don't just think its an onkyo thing, its all of the current crap out now.
....

But this is commonplace with most receiver brands under a certain price level. You just don't get decent build quality or discrete circuitry and power under around the $1700 level. Facts of life with receivers



A new just-posted new 3rd party comment today on the current CAM forum blog re: ONKYO receiver failure.

This guy is allegedly a tech: his edited extract from that post:

"....IMO, stick with separates, even for the switching. Screw convenience, it'll eventually stab you. Always a price to pay, especially when it's a cluster bomb of all in one, like a VCR/DVD/TV. VCR lasts one year, DVD maybe two...and the integrated TV for another 15.

As a guy who sometimes services those all inclusive monstrosities, I'll tell you, I'll never buy or use one. All compromise, for the sake of convenience. From $400, to over $4000, all the same. I've never seen (heard) one make it past a mid-fi sound, no matter the price...."
Or you could buy a $55000 amp that can't even put 1/3 of its RATED power for an hour. Stereophile link Or krell amps that catch fire krell fire

Sometimes products have design flaws. It is how the manufacturer owns up to those issues that is important and Onkyo has agree to fix these units outside of warranty until 2019. extended warranty Not ideal, but not bad. Also, how many of users units here even have HDMI audio?
Re:Clutter. I still wonder, "If you do not have phono equalization and moving coil signal boost, what are all those preamp components doing in big preamps, since the incoming signal doesn't really need improving?" Attenuation, yes, but do active components participate in that?
all receivers are poor values

go the separated route
Yep, all receivers are junk
HK990

I just got a new Denon and am delighted with it. No the sound is not as good as my big system, but it is very enjoyable indeed. The TV picture is fabulous using Wireworld HDMI cables. With the 5.1 working, it delivers a big open sound that is very nice...I have speakers all over the house and around the pool, which enables me to have music around me all the time as I deal with the day. It connects to Spotify, Pandora, et.al. so I have just about all the music that has been written...highly recommended.
"12-31-14: Has2be
Magnum Dynalab makes units that completely trash
both the myths and the integrated/separate equal
values.........................................
Has2be (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

That may be an excellent option. Unless something has changed, Sim Audio makes the amp and preamp sections, and MD makes the tuner.
"12-31-14: Has2be
Magnum Dynalab makes units that completely trash
both the myths and the integrated/separate equal
values.........................................

That may be an excellent option. Unless something has changed, Sim Audio makes the amp and preamp sections, and MD makes the tuner...."

Has2be.....Can please identify which MD model(s) you are referring to generally as an integrated amp trasher, and also the MD price point
Your HK 990 is not a receiver, it is an integrated amp. Still crap with all the processing involved.

Hdmi audio is awful, the only thing hdmi should be used for is video. Co-ax and Ethernet wire is the new revelation of sound.
My bad... It doesn't have a tuner so that moves it closer to hi-fi....

Show me one study that says HDMI audio is worse than coax in any way. I think it is the only way to get the lossless sound off a blu-ray digitally. Also, no SACD players output their signal digitally except on HDMI.

The future is DSP. Roomperfect, Dirac, just the beginning of the future.
No processing is the way of the future. DSD tubes and straight digital.
I think it is the only way to get the
lossless sound off a blu-ray digitally. Also, no SACD
players output their signal digitally except on HDMI.

The future is DSP. Roomperfect, Dirac, just the beginning of
the future.

Sorry sport, initial Blu-ray players had 7.1 analog outputs
to obtain lossless sound into legacy, non HDMI equipment.
My friend still does this into his non HDMI Sunfire HT
system. Further, I happen to own an old Pioneer DVD player,
DV578A (in mothballs), that outputs 5.1 SACD via analog
outputs. In fact, you may not know this but SACD was out
long before HDMI.

But if you're actually talking about outputting the signal
from the player, digitally, then yes, I suppose you need
HDMI. So it can only converted to analog somewhere else
down the chain.

Better be careful or you'll date yourself as a newbie with a
digital agenda. Why I'll bet you also believe that all amps
sounds the same too. Have a good one pal.
Wow...lots of vitriol on this thread. Let's remember these are mostly opinions, and thus subject to personal taste.

I have the Pioneer Elite SC-57, that I had modified by Stereo Dave's. I run Mirage OMD-28s (bi-amped & tri-wired) fronts and the OMD-C2 (bi-amped & wired) center channel. I am no longer using surrounds. I also have the fantastic Harmon Kardon HK990. My audiophile friend and I did an A/B on the two amps, and the Pioneer won hands down...on these speakers. The amp presented a much cleaner sound in the upper range. In addition, the class-d amps offer a higher dampening factor, so the bass is much tighter.

Both these amps are great, but I would recommend the Pioneer Elite receiver, especially the newer ones with upgraded DACs and amps. When mine dies, I will get another one. Now I had the Tannoy Definition DC8s in my bedroom with the HK, and it was an incredible setup. So a lot of it boils down to system synergy.

Every Magnepan dealer I've ever been to demos them with class-d, and the desktop mini-mags even come with the class-d Wadia 151 if you buy as a set. There seems to be a good synergy with them. I think the Pioneer Elite would be a great fit. BTW, What HiFi regularly awards them as the best receivers to buy, if you are looking for a professional review.

One last option for you is to check out Music Direct. They currently have the Wadia 151 PowerDac discounted to $500, and a pair of Music Direct M1 Mono-block amps for $800. Worth a look.

Hope this helps,
Mot
Hi Slappy:

In re-reading your original post, it seems that you already bought another receiver, the Denon 3806 and you were asking which 2 channel amp would mate with it. I don't know your receiver but can you de-couple the preamp and amp sections? And are you looking to use the new amp with the preamp section of the Denon?

It seems the recommendations above, although all good, all of them might not be answering your question, with the except of mofimadness' answer.

Just wondering....
My father just picked up an Anthem MXR510 and it's awesome. Great feature set with no gimmicky stuff you'll never use. Easy to set up and use and it sounds great driving his Sonus Faber Concertos and solo center. I'm strictly 2 channel but if I ever did surround in another room I would not hesitate to pick one up.
Actually a good question especially if one keeps a reasonable perspective that we're discussing Home Theater which is essentially a digital media that will pass through more of your systems digital conversions before it gets to your ears.

I was never able to maintain the level of sound stage and imaging from my two channel system with a big ass display between the main speakers. Likewise, I found the surround effect suffers when dissimilar speakers, even from the same manufacture, are used in a 7.1 system. You end up using more EQ and/or room correction to compensate. In both cases speaker placement is critical and any deviation requires more digital tailoring.

In most cases the room needed to evenly space home theater speakers around the listening position is impossible so the quality and adjustability of the room correction within consumer receivers becomes more important than the amplification circuits.

So, if you maintain the perspective that its simply TV, even todays economical consumer receivers actually do a pretty good job of increasing one television experience.

I enjoy music videos and usually at loud volumes. Along with all the digital conversions I mentioned earlier I've found that finding higher sensitivity speakers a bigger bang for the buck than spending money on high powered separates. This is were switching (class D) amplification technology trumps linear A/B amplification in a receiver. The power supplies required for seven channels of 100 watt A/B amplification is simply impossible for a consumer receiver. With class D its not a problem.

I can crank my class D Pioneer Elite receiver all the way up without any discernible congestion or fatiguing shrill through my Triangle Comete Speakers. I could never do that with with my old A/B Denon or Integra receivers. Now, comes 4K. Isn' it easier to upgrade a receiver than separates to accommodate the higher resolution?
Update: The ARC room correction utility is awesome. I did the USB upate and ARC software update in about 5 min. The firmware updates and ARC utility are super easy to use.

I did a quick Auto ARC with 5 measurement points, the computer traced the response of each position, crunched the numbers and automatically updated the receiver's ARC files automatically. The Sonus Fabers have never sounded better, this is an impressive piece of hardware