Isn't that a bit of a weird mismatch in performance between the $2k Marantz AV preamp and a $10k amp and your $12k Morel speakers?
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Yes, I agree. It's basically part of a larger system which is a hybrid of stereo and home cinema 5.0 sharing the AV proc and front amp/speakers.
But the speakers and AV are given, now need to put the right amp. What price range would sound more logical here? Can you give some example of the amp matching the performance?
Raraavis, if buying new in your price range, i'd 2nd the lovely Modwright KWA-150SE, but if you're also prepared to consider good recent 2nd hand examples, there is a Vitus RI-100 in very good shape here on the 'Gon asking $7k. The RI-100 can be used as an integrated amp with 2 channel, or you can bypass the preamp section and use it as a power amp. You can also add a phono card & dac card later is you need those options. Australian Hifi Magazine wrote a fairly thorough review with labs testing last year. That said, if you only need a power amp, the Pass XA.8 series is very good as well, so it's a matter of taste.
There is one thing you need to be aware of. I have done
thousend of tets in audio. In the past we connected many
poweramps to Marantz, Denon, Rotel, NAD, Cambridge, Arcam
receivers. But all these brands gave a 2 dimensional image
because the stage of a pre amp creates the new outcomming
stage. So connecting an amps which can create a deep and wide
stage only keep their stage when the pre amp is also capable
of giving a deep and wide stage.
Even when a Pass Labs can create a lot of dept and width,
cause of the Marantz the stage will be still 2 dimensional.
When your speakers are easy to drive even a 30.8 can drive
them. But the limitation of the set will be the Marantz.
This mistake is made by many people who have audio as a hobby.
The backside is that you cannot get the full potential out of
the Pass even when you still use the Marantz as a pre amp>
You need to realize that putting a 10K amp on your processor is not only a mismatch but a waste of $. You won't be able to hear the improvement from the 10K amps: resolution, details, stage and macro/micro dynamics due to your Marantz preamp limitation. You can get say a $5K amp and spend the rest on a dedicated 2 channel preamp with HT bypass: JC-2, Ayre K5xe MP, etc... I had the Krell $8000 processor, known to be very good for 2 channel, and it sounds broken next to a $4000 dedicated 2 channel preamp.
My 20 years plus in this hobby has taught me that my system is only at its best when spending the most I can afford on a preamp.
That are the right words; waste of money. This is a mistake many people make.
Still the most common mistake is that people spend a lot of money on speakers and a lot less on amp, source and cables. Many many people play at an even low level of the full potential of their speakers.
I use a mirror to make them understand their mistake. When you bring in a better amp, source and cables they are often stunned. This is how audio needs to demoed. People need to be aware what is missing!
There's just no sense in spending $10K in this set-up. If the Marantz unit MUST stay then why not match it to a Marantz power amp at about the same price point. Use the difference for some of the really sophisticated new tweaks that can radically improve any system. I recently went to the Rocky Mountain Audio Show and was impressed with the improvement that tweaks make even in $100,000+ systems.
At this price range, You may add BAT VK-600SE or Vk-650SE (used one!) to your wish list. You speakers are pretty good. I heard Pass labs X250.5 and Pilinius amps in the shows, they are very good. However I found BAT vk-600se to have a better resolution, dynamic and especially much better Bass with a more defined control of the sound edges. I also tried Krell EVO402e which was very good too but its sound is too analytic and cold, even thought it has an excellent bass.
That's why I ended up with BAT vk-600se which its sound is also more on warm side of neutral. It is obviously based on taste and is all system dependent ...
Yes - the Marantz preamp will limit performance, but there is something else to consider. Especially since your speakers are relatively efficient.
I have a lot of experience with Pass amplifiers (we currently own 5).
First, there is a very significant difference between a X-150.8 and a X-250.8 (the 250.8 is much better).
Second, there is even a bigger difference between the X-250.8 and the XA-30.8. The 30.8 sounds better, much better! I've listened to and compared both of these .5 series amplifiers and we used a 30.5 on our main speakers instead of our 250.5 in a relatively high end system - until we upgraded to our current XA-200.5's.
The only thing the 30.8 will give up to the 250.8 will be the dynamic impacts of bass. Like the dynamics of a drum. Sustained bass notes will be fine. Everything else will be much better with the 30.8. Don't take my word / experience for it, call Pass and ask them this for yourself.
Better yet, find a Pass dealer and listen to the X and XA amplifiers before you decide. It would be worth investing a weekend of time and travel to do this.
IMHO - upgrade the amplifier to a 30.8 and down the road get a good analog pre-amp with home theater pass through. We enjoyed our 30.5 for 3 1/2 years before upgrading to our 200.5's.
Each upgrade will be like listening to a new system. And you'll continue to enjoy your music along the way - which is what it's all about.
I was trying to be diplomatic, but am glad others are being more direct.
It is an absolute waste of money and stellar equipment to put a near reference level $10k amp and your speakers behind a mass consumer grade AV preamp/processor. None of the subtle nuances, resolution, imaging, etc, etc will make it past the preamp, no matter how good the rest of the system is. Your preamp is an insurmountable bottleneck.
As pointed out above, you would be far better off buying a dedicated $4k 2-channel preamp and a $6k amp. Then, just switching the amp inputs when you want to listen to HiFi. It would only take a few seconds
You seriously have great speakers that deserve far better than a consumer grade AV preamp
Yeah, have to agree with others this is a borderline insane idea, especially when it's so easy to just run the front L/R pre outs from the Marantz into a spare input on a good stereo pre. Then you have a true high-end stereo system embedded seamlessly into your HT setup. Let us know if you need more specifics on connections if someone else hasn't already provided them. I'd recommend buying something like a used Plinius SA103 and use the leftover $$$ to get a good stereo preamp. The reason for the Plinius over something like Pass is that, along with providing the sonic qualities qualities you're looking for, it has a low bias mode that you could use when watching movies or TV and greatly decrease your electric bill. Best of luck.
Thanks a lot for you suggestions.
You all were absolutely right - Marantz AV7702 / AV8801 are way lower in terms of quality for such system.
Currently considering to go with either Classe SSP-800 + CA-2300 , or Krell Foundation with 4k support + Duo 300.
Listened to Classe so far, amazing sound, trying to understand their plans for 4K support...