Onkyo TX-SR803 with MMGs - Amp upgrade YES or NO


I have an Onkyo TX-SR803 connected to a pair of MMGs. The AVR is 4 ohm stable and can easily drive the maggies.
It is a $1000 AV receiver. The sound quality is fantastic. Even when MMG is running as full range in 2 channel stereo, there is no distortion or going to shut off the amp at loud volume but most of the time my listening habits is Moderate to high (75-85 dB), so I’m not going to drive the MMGs hard.

Also, I am using a powered subwoofer with the maggies in a 2.1 setup, crossovered @ 80Hz, so it is important the amplifier has LFE output along bass management and many stand alone stereo amps or power amps do not have this feature except all AV receivers. I don't know any integrated 2 channel amp that has this feature with build-in DAC.

So I am using the build-in DAC (192khz / 24 bit) in Onkyo for 2 channel playback, this way there is no signal loss through analog cable from CD player to amp as well.

That's why I'm considering to get perhaps a better sounding (more audiophile) AV receiver (Marantz, ARCAM, Cambridge Audio, Harman Kardon) instead of a 2 channel integrated amp or separates.

Other option could be a 2 channel power amp connecting into the Onkyo 803 act as a preamp, but still missing the bass management for 2.1 setup and the DACs which I’m using now.

I read a lot about the MMGs that a good two channel, high-current amp that is around 200+ watts/channel @ 4 ohms will help the Maggies open up even more. On the other hand some people drive the MMGs with valve amp @25 watts/channel and reported about great sound with their MMGs. More power is better that’s maybe right, but my MMGs run in a 2.1 setup crossovered @80Hz, so the amp do not need a lot of power to reproduce low frequencies. What is this case, do I still need a lot of power when the load @80Hz goes to subwoofer?

I am aware of good used amps they can let the MMGs sing like:

Adcom GFA-535, 545, or 555, Emotiva UPA-2, Classe DR8, NAD C370, Wyred 4…etc.

Generally, I wonder if I get !AUDIBLE! better clarity, soundstage, details, and more audiophile sonic quality with one of the amps above over Onkyo 803 in a 2.1 setup where the powered sub will do the most work, or it's going to be the same level or even worse (maybe worse because missing the bass management and DACs??)

The big question is, is the effort worth it or not audible?

Thank you guys for help and good advice.
thxbest
"Generally, I wonder if I get !AUDIBLE! better clarity, soundstage, details, and more audiophile sonic quality with one of the amps above over Onkyo 803 in a 2.1 setup where the powered sub will do the most work, or it's going to be the same level or even worse (maybe worse because missing the bass management and DACs??)"

To achieve that, you need to get the HT preamp out of the path. Otherwise you're just wasting your time, because its a huge bottleneck. If your Onkyo has pre in's that allow you to bypass the processor, then you can just get a preamp or maybe even a source that has its own volume control.

"So I am using the build-in DAC (192khz / 24 bit) in Onkyo for 2 channel playback, this way there is no signal loss through analog cable from CD player to amp as well."

That's a mistake. Its a reasonable assumption, but in practice, there's more that can go wrong than right. Unless you need to use very long IC's, signal loss going from your CD player to your preamp is so low that its not a material issue. The dac in your cd player is probably much better than the one in your Onkyo. Also, I can't say for sure, but I think you'll get far less jitter if you let your cd player handle the conversion.

As far as bass management goes, I believe you give up way too much just to have that feature. There's other ways to handle bass. People were integrating subs in their systems long before there was bass management. Its not hard to do.
The MMG is the only speaker I couldn't wait to get rid of.
It sounded like it had a blanket thrown over it.
I was using it with the "Carver Receiver" (in 1987) and
had my mind blown when I heard some CJ "Synthesis" floorstanders.
It was like I'd pulled cotton out of my ears.
Given they cost $550, excuses may be made.
They may have improved but please try some other speakers!

P.S. I own an Onkyo TX-SR876 and don't find it very musical (it's GREAT for HT, however).
That was almost 30 years ago.
Thank you for your post.

As a CD player, I am using a Samsung DVD player 1080p7 that is connected to Onkyo 803 through HDMI and coax digital and act as CD player right now. My HTPC is also connected to Onkyo 803 via HDMI, so I can listen to MP3 music and playback DVD/ Blu rays in HT using the DACs in Onkyo as well. They all use the build-in DACs in the Onkyo.

This is my setup right now. I would like to keep this features if possible, on the other hand I know a separate 2 channel stereo setup for music is definitely better to let the MMGs open up and show their potential.

I would like a 2.1 stereo setup with the MMGs on a budget however, my concern is when I get separates or integrated amp how to get LFE to the subwoofer since the sub has only LFE /line in (No High Level input). Other problem is the DAC how to connect the HTPC to preamp / integrated amp in a digital path without spending too much to get a good DAC?

I'm looking for audiophile Hi-Fi sound quality on a budget, so looking in second hand market.

What is the best way to go in that case?
It's more expensive to integrate 2 channel into a theatre system, than it is to just do 2 systems. The main reason for that is that the HT gear is the bottleneck. You need it out of the way, but you need to use it if you have nothing else. And that's the problem.

Sometimes you have to get creative, or use less common solutions. Start with the bass. You may already be in good shape. Is the lfe input on your sub filtered, or not? If its filtered, you can run a regular line level signal to it and the sub's internal xover will do the job, and that's it. If not, you can use an external xover to get signal to your subs. Doing it this way will allow you to get signal to your MMG's without having the signal go through a processor. That's a really big deal if you want good 2 channel sound. Here's a link to a really nice, low cost xover. Would you be OK with it?

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Behringer/CX3400-Super-X-Pro-Crossover-182464.gc
The LFE on the sub is filtered, so I don't need an external xover for the sub.

Should run a regular line level signal to the sub from line out of a CD player?

How about DAC as I would like to hook up HTPC and CD player
to the amp in a digital path.
I don't know about your Onkyo, but mine sends the LF signal to the sub when I select "Stereo" mode.
"I don't know about your Onkyo, but mine sends the LF signal to the sub when I select "Stereo" mode."

My Onkyo does the same in "Stereo" mode but it does not send LFE signal in "direct" and "pure" mode.
"08-25-15: Thxbest
"I don't know about your Onkyo, but mine sends the LF signal to the sub when I select "Stereo" mode."

My Onkyo does the same in "Stereo" mode but it does not send LFE signal in "direct" and "pure" mode."

With your system, you don't want to send the lfe to the sub. The signal should only pass through an lfe filter 1 time. Since your sub only has 1 input and its filtered, you send it a standard line level signal. You can use an lfe filter in a HT processor, but you should only do so if you can bypass the one in the sub.