maybe just system synergy
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You're a lucky guy, spend 150k and end up with a receiver! That's one of the best stories I've ever heard. Good on ya, I'm glad it worked out the way it did. I guess I better take a look at one of those Onkyos. I did buy an Onkyo receiver for my bedroom, but have never tried it downstairs. I guess I'll be pulling a couple of systems apart this weekend...
"convinced me into buying the Onkyo 905 with HDMI capability" (my Lexicon did not have this).
"AND IT ALL SOUNDS WAY BETTER THAN the original MUCH MORE ELABORATE AND EXPENSIVE system."
One reason the HDMI on the Onkyo ( and/or any other HDMI equipped system ) may sounds better than the digital coax on the Lexicon (or any Digital Coax interface) .... when playing AC3/DTS/or Red Book is ...
The HDMI protocol has a higher data transfer rate than the older digital coax interface has.
Do you remember way back in B.C. (Before Cable) audiophiles preferred recording and listening to their Reel to Reel tapes at 15ips vs 7.5ips (inches per second)
You can not drive B&W 800 series speakers with a receiver and get what they are capable off.
They are very sensitive to amplification and show the limitations of the built in amps of your 905. Onkyo is a good unit, but not good enough to drive power hungry 800 series. Get yourself some decent amps and use the pre outs of your receiver, you will be in much better shape. Or even better, get the Onkyo pre/pro which has much lower noise levels then the receiver.
Let me know if you need recommendations. Even though I do not sell B&W , I owned them and know them very well.
Great amps are not the "ego" boosters. Even Bryston monos do not do the 800ns a justice.
You have the best processing technology in Onkyo. Pair it with great amplifiers and you will have it all.
Kyomi--thanks for your advice---I too find it very difficult to believe that amps do not make a "noticeable" difference which is why I started this thread--my tech guy absolutely did not want to hook the amps through the pre-outs due to it "not making a difference in the sound quality."
My reading indicates that Classe and McIntosh are the best amps for B&W's---any other thoughts?
Also, it seems that you agree that a preamp is not that critical as long as it has the latest processing technology---correct?
I gave found the Cardas cables can sometimes totally destroy the life in a system. Perhaps that was happening for you. System synergy is a funny thing.
For example, I have been using the Altmann Attraction DAC driving Altmann BYOB amp in one of my five systems, which sounds nice. Herr Altmann insists nothing will drive his amps better than his DAC. I tried a transformer pre in between and it sounded terrible, as did a decent C-J preamp. Then I put my daughter's very humble Qinpu A-1.0X between them, using just the preamp section (the Quinpu is a cheap integrated amp) and the sound is fantastic, with more life and a larger, deeper stage than without it in place. Wierd, but it worked. It has set me off to find a 'better' preamp to do the same trick.