Is there an amp that does 2-channel and all this?


I'm looking for an integrated amplifier/receiver/AVR that does 2-channel well. I don't need 5+ channels but I would not mind it. I have gotten the impression that 2-channel receivers are preferred over 5 channel for 2-channel music. However, if there is a 5 channel receiver with stellar sound quality, I'm all ears!

I'm looking for a piece that has the kitchen sink:

phono stage
dac (usb and spdif)
bass management / variable sub out crossover
tone control
125w+ per channel

IF available, I'd also like room correction

Budget is $4000

Arcam Avr 600. (I'm a dealer) I'm sure others exist. 2 channel on the Arcam is awesome. It does have room correction also. Do some reading on them.
For that price you could get a good preamp/processor with a separate multichannel amp, which would likely sound better than a receiver.

Harman HK-990
Maybe consider an NAD T785HD(or T787) AVR with an outboard NAD PP-3i phono preamp. The NAD is rated at 120w/ch(all channels driven) 170w/ch in stereo. It has stellar 2-channel and multichannel performance, Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction, bass management with two sub preouts, multichannel preouts and inputs. I have the older T773(non HDMI) and it is a powerful beast with fantastic music performance. I am also very pleased with my NAD T175HD pre/pro(same guts as T785HD but without amps). The T785HD has all that you requested except for a phono stage which the PP-3i will take care of.

You might look at the Anthem MX700 receiver. It does not have a phono stage, but you could easily add one and be below your budget. Have not heard it, but the Anthem gear is generally believed to have much better 2 channel sound than the mass market brands. If you wanted to you could also add a better 2 channel amp just for the fronts using the pre-outs. If you do that, the MX500 may be a good option, assuming it has pre-outs.
Sorry, that should be MRX 700.
I agree with the NAD and Anthem options. I'll also add the Arcam AVR600 into the mix. It retails for a bit more than your budget, but I just saw that there is a factory B stock on A-gon for exactly $4K. The internal amps are the best of any A/V receiver of which I am aware. I came really close to buying one of these, but ultimately decided to get an Anthem processor and outboard amps (at a much higher price).

I don't believe the Arcam's room correction is as sophisticated as the Anthem and NAD's, but I think the amp section is superior. Google the reviews on this piece - you'll be pretty amazed. I believe it has a phono section.
So far the only receiver I have found that has all this is the Outlaw RR2150. This receiver has been well praised.

If I were going to go the separates route, could someone recommend a single company that would achieve my goals via separates with one remote control - preferably a nice remote?
I'd suggest either the HK 990 that Kal recommrnds or a suitable pre-pro with a separate 2 channel power amp of your choice - if you can live with a 2 box solution. Many power amps will allow auto triggering, so operationally, there's little to no difference between these options. The separate pre-pro route allows easier switchover to video/multi-channel use down the road, if changing circumstances make that appealing.

Onkyo (Integra), Denon, NAD, and Marantz all come to mind for one brand solutions.
Don't fret about the remote. You can always get a nice Logitech/Harmony remote to control your whole system. I've written about them in other threads. I still vote for the Arcam 600 over all of the other options.
The Arcam AVR600 looks like a great option. It has it all:

phono / tuner / good amp section / usb-spdif in
Is your phono MM or MC? I believe the ARCAM is MM only. Just something to check.
It is MM. I like the Arcam specs. IT looks like THE answer to a simple system. I have another thread for the Arcam here:
+1 HK990, has everything except the tuner.
I might buy the tuner from the EU and get a power converter. The remote would then cover the whole story.
A $4000 Arcam or NAD or Harmon multi-channel receiver is still going to sound crappy compared to a $2000 2-channel integrated amp.

The 2-channel guys have just opted out of responding to this thread just like most vinyl guys don't bother trying to answer the question "What DAC sounds like vinyl?"

I think you'd be better off getting a 2 channel system separately from your HT system, and finding a way to integrate them (usually, say by using a HT bypass option found on some preamps or integrateds).
To clarify:

The HK-990 is a two channel amp with a 150 wpc power amp section derived from a Matti Otala (Citation, Electrocompaniet) design. It adds all the DSP functions that the OP has identified. NAD has a new one that is similar, but does not provide auto room EQ - as best as I can tell from their description. There may be others out there, but these two seem to be unusual in that they combine high quality stereo power amp sections with HT style DSP in the pre-amp sections.

If you're gonna use the DSP functions for music (As I do), separate systems for music and HT don't really work.

One more clarification, if you use subwoofers for music listening (as I do, and, apparently, as the OP does), digital bass management can be extraordinarily satisfying. Obviously, this idea won't appeal to the traditionalists out there, but after trying both approaches (I switched from ARC and Joule preamps to my Onkyo pre-pro) I'm a convert to Audyssey.

Again, YMMV.

I agree with Marty. In my system, anyway, bass management and Anthem Room Correction trumped HT bypass. But it completely depends on your room, speakers, etc.
I do have subs and I would like the crossover option. I am a fan of JBL digital correction for music. I have lots of speakers that I juggle around so flexibility and options are a plus to me. The HK990 looks like my best bet...


If a dedicated 2-channel integrated like the Bryston 60R / Arcam A38 is going to blow any receiver out of the water then that is what I would get and worry about bass/correction later.

What to do!
I can't speak to the Bryston, but I can assure you that the Arcam A38 most definitely will not blow the Arcam AVR 600 out of the water.
Ah, the conundrum... the Harman Kardon 990 is available at $1500 and the AVR600 is $3500. For two channel they should be equally powerful.

Any thoughts on the room correction/processing abilities of the AVR600 for 2-channel?
All this integrated talk got me amped up (pun intended), and I bought the HK990 for my office system. Too good of a deal to pass up at $1,500.

I have a problem with stereo purchases. :-)
MOT wrote:

I have a problem with stereo purchases. :-)

Who here doesn't?


PS At least you made an interesting one!
@Martykl: True! This is like a support group for audiophile addicts.

My name is Mot, and its been 2 days since I bought stereo gear. :-)

I really wish I know of some more alternatives out there. I've looked around and there really isn't much but AVRs that add a receiver. Even the HK 990 left out the radio. I know, radio is on the way out but where I live, they haven't gotten that memo yet.

I checked out the Arcam which seems likt the only high end product out there and I can't see how it competes with the RR2150, aside from much higher price.

Any other ideas on a receiver with dac / bass management / phono would be greatly appreciated!
@Manoterror, how are you liking the HK990? I may be able to pass up the tuner...
I absolutely love the HK990! I originally bought a Marantz PM-11S3 to use in this system, but it sits unopened. I am that satisfied with the sound from this amplifier. Highly recommended!

I have the Harmon Kardon AVR 7200.

Harmon Kardon has a great sound, but I hear the Arcam AVR600 is FAR AND AWAY better in ANY configuration.

Anybody know? The reviews are off the charts! Only problem seemed to be the early units were not quality checked.

Worth a discussion.
Yes, from this thread, I began to investigate the AVR600. It does look to be an good unit for music. While there have been many complaints about pops and clicks regarding the video section, there are a lot of good reviews about the musical ability of the amplifier. That being said, I have also come across sellers that are selling them to move up higher in two channel. This is something that makes me worry because I don't know if the alcolades heaped upon the Arcam are just hype or if the people that are upgrading are truly dissatisfied with the sound. I really like the all in one solution.

I'd also really like to hear from HK990 owners on how they like the sound. Is it a little rolled off at the top / grainy / warm? That has been my (positive) impression of HK.
The early Arcam 600's had some glitches. I had one, but never had an issue. Still, I know they were there. The problems were addressed with firmware updates, and they seem to be excellent now. I have not had any issues with any I have sold. To answer the OP's comment about better 2 channel, certainly there is. For the person that wants everything in one package, it's awesome. If you are on a quest for the "holy grail" of 2 channel, and have the funds, I would look elsewhere. As far as AVR's go, it's darn hard to beat. I won't say one doesn't exist, but I have not used, or heard one myself.

***dealer disclaimer***
What draws me towards a simple solution is that I have limited space. I have found myself in the past with up to four amps, five sets of speakers and all the other components that are "integrated" into a one box receiver. If I end up getting an Arcam, hopefully it will be all I need.

I know the feeling.

I was unable to audition the HK 990 at the time of purchase ((app 2 years ago) so I replaced my server->dac->pre-> active x-over-> DRC unit ->subwoofer + power amp with a 2 box solution. Server straight into Integra pre-pro w/power amp that's triggered by 12 volt.

One button power up!

Great SQ without the hassles.

@MichaelKingdom: My speakers are a bit hot in the treble, and SUPER bass heavy. After running the room correction on the HK990, the sound is very uniform, and really not emphasized in any one category, on my setup. They removed a ton of bass, which cleared up the midrange tremendously. Maybe a tiny bit on the warm side...which is great for me.

Zero grain. Love it. Don't know if this helps at all.