There’s a used Anthem AVM 60 processor on US Audio Mart for $2300 that would be worth negotiating for. Best of luck.
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First thing. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround formats are fully backward compatible. That means that you can play an Atmos movie on a system that does not support Atmos and the movie/sound will play just fine.
Second, the newer 4K processors are only good if you have a 4K source. Some of the streaming sources will have 4K. So it's up to you as to whether or not you really want to support 4K. Some of the newer processors may have some additional video processing chips that could help. I'm not sure how much.
If you want both 4K and Atmos support, probably the best processor for the money is Marantz AV7703 (or higher). Marantz is an excellent processor with discrete analog stages and great power supply, but it is voiced just slightly on the warm side with rolled off high frequencies. You should be able to get one for under $2k no problem. They are on ebay all the time (AV7703 / AV7704 / AV7705). They support the latest HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 standards.
The AVM 60 is going to have much more high frequency response and could sound a lot more exciting, but it could come across a little bright and I don't think it will have as much fullness and body as the Marantz.
If you want to remove your 4K or atmos requirements, there are a lot of options. Such as Classe SSP800 or an Anthem D2v if you can find one. Heck, even the $1k Outlaw Audio 976 processor is not bad (I've tested it).
The Nuforce AVP-18 is really a bare bones processor (switching power supply and SMD op amps for output). There's hardly anything inside and you have a LOT of options for a significantly better processor.
Yep the avp18 is a basic boogie box for sure but it has been/ is reliable and has done its job.
Will be looking up the Marantz models although they seem huge and bulky and I do like the slimline look of the avp18 I must admit.
We do have 4k tv and 4k streaming service and not into the Atmos right now but always nice to have options.
For reference, there's an internal pic of your AVP here. It actually looks very similar to the low-end processors that Emotiva has offered over the last several years:
Generally speaking, slimline and audio quality don't really go together, especially on processors. There's a reason for that. It takes space for a good transformer linear power supply as well as all the DAC and audio outboard board circuits. I cannot find a good pic of the 7703/7704/7705, but the Marantz is packed full of layers of circuit boards. The Anthem AVM50 is not quite as big, but it's still larger and full of boards.
Probably the best "slimline" type of processor I know is the Krell Foundation 4K, which is excellent, but now you're looking at $4.5k used. It's only 3.5" high!
Funny you should mention Emotiva as my initial thoughts were that the AVP18 was just a recased Emotiva as the menus are EXACTLY the same as found in Emotiva processors( I owned two previously!)
Also the Outlaw 976... one for sale right here right now at $699......
Yes I get the slimline is mostly because there is nothing much in the AVP18....lol
But the Marantz just is too big and I have not checked but it might not even fit in my rack where the AVP18 lives right now.
$4500 is way out of budget, especially for something that is still working quite fine atm.
The Outlaw 976 actually shoots higher than the price, in my opinion. It uses linear power supply. Has very good op amp circuits and LOTS of localized power supply capacitors surrounding the opamps. The XLR output stage is fully balanced/differential. It has a pretty good fullness of sound and the audio actually sounds very natural. It doesn't have the best high frequency response and the bass is not the strongest, but it's probably close to the sound quality of a Marantz AV7703 in my opinion. The Marantz has this thing beat, though, because Marantz has much better power supply and audio circuits.
I actually completely rebuilt a 976 for a friend, upgrading critical op amps for left/center/right/sub as well as completely re-capping the entire audio boards. Replaced all op amps on the XLR output board as well. Probably about 140 total parts.
It is engineered to be a low price product and it shows with the user interface. It's cumbersome because it blanks out the screen completely for a couple seconds when you go into the menu. I think it treats the "menu" as a different source. The menu does not overlay the current video like most other processors. But it is functional and it works. Has a fully parametric EQ - you can dial in exact frequencies. No automatic room correction (if that matters to you).
In some ways, the best bet can be an atmos cheapie receiver, that has preamp outputs. And the amps having inputs, of course. But,. of course, the whole atmos thing is just an attempt to stay alive and get you to buy new again..well..again. and again.
To look at surround sound, as a business, it makes the merry-go-round of stereo audio, look like a bunch of incompetent pikers. the kind of pikers who can't get their buyers to constantly buy new. There are so many dang surround components being thrown and tossed, just to get to the new unsupported no software format, it makes stereo audio upgradeitis look like child's play and level headed sanity.
To buy a new processor for a bunch of movies that are not here, in a market that is trying to eliminate physical media and the reason to have atmos outside of actual theaters. Theaters which are dying off.
So, to not play the game so much, go for a cheapie atmos unit that has preamp outs and add that in..purely for the preamp function. Just the way I would go. Seperate amps, upgrade the processors, by buying the best mid to low cost receiver that has preamp outputs.
Well I had sort of decided on going the Marantz route and was looking at an av7702 that is listed here at a fair price.
Showed the pictures to the wife who disclaimed "why is it so big and fugly?"
Lol, so now have the WAF to consider too.
She likes the old AVP18 simply because it does not look like it belongs on the Enterprise and is very simple and easy to use.
Emotiva XMC-1 for $950?
You can get an upgraded HDMI 2.0 board for this for $399, so that you can support 4K if you want:
Just a thought. XMC-1 has 5-3/4" height.
Marantz 7702 has a 7-3/8" height.
Outlaw 976 has 4-5/8" height.
Krell Foundation has 3-1/2" height.
Nuforce AVP-18 has 3-1/5" height. (basically the shortest height)
I keep forgetting about that processor, mostly because it only has balanced XLR outputs for left/right, but since you are only going to use RCA interconnects to your amp, it shouldn't matter to you. The Sigma SSP uses the same audio stages as the previous SSP-800 (which is a fully balanced design). The Sigma is only 3-3/4" high, which is excellent for you. However, the Sigma SSP also had two versions just like Krell Foundation. The original only supports HDMI 1.4 and 1080p. The newer "mkii" version will support HDMI 2.0 and 4K UHD and some limited Atmos decoding. Here's a "mkii" version for a little more at $2799:
That being said, the Sigma SSP uses switching power supply for everything. Since your AVP-18 also uses switching power supply, it's probably not a big deal for you. The Sigma SSP will still be a significant upgrade from your AVP-18 in all areas.
I think the Krell Foundation will still have better sound quality. One of the things I really like about the Krell design approach is that they use linear power supplies for everything, including both digital control circuits and DAC VREF power supply. Most processors will use a linear power supply for analog sections, but still use switching power supply for digital sections. I think the Foundation is going to sound smoother, fully and more natural than the Sigma SSP, but it's going to be $1700 more, lol. The Sigma SSP will still be a huge improvement over your AVP-18, though. I guess it depends how much you really want to spend, lol.
Yes, two flavor of SSP and I see the TMR one started as a mk1 and was updated to mk2($1000).
Better value to buy the already updated one obviously!
Her who must be obeyed prefers the look of the SSP and as it is not an ultimate endgame HT rig I think it would be just fine.
As you say a big improvement on the avp18 for sure.
And many thanks Auxinput for all your help and advice on this thread, sure been a huge help!
Yamaha Aventage CX-A5200...You simply cannot do better than this phenomenal beast for under 2000 man.
Here's a yamaha factory refurb with warranty for under 2000
Uberwaltz, I have a NOS Integra 803.1 prepro that was their top of the line processor when I got it. It has a TON of features, inputs, etc. and also includes the Audyssey XT32 Room Correction system. This is a phenomenal processor and is big and heavy. It has NEVER been used, I opened the box simply to ensure that everything was intact. I purchased it along with another one for use in a 2nd home we were going to buy. The house deal fell thru and I simply put the unit in a temp/humidity controlled storage area.
The original MSRP was $2495 and I'd be willing to let it go for $1150/OBO. I have been using its sister unit for several years now and it has worked flawlessly and sounds superb. Integra makes *very* good products and this one is built like a tank. It has a terrific UI for setup and the Audyssey works exceptionally well. Also, it is super easy to setup. I can do a full 8-position seating setup in about 20 minutes.
If you'd like an absolute top of the line processor that is in flawless condition for a smokin' price, please get back to me. Check my A'gon feedback; I am a long time member, I have a stellar rating, and I will treat you with the courtesy and respect you deserve
I do have a question for the experts
Do I truly even need a processor that supports the latest HDMI?
I mean the ONLY HDMI source is a Bluray player.
Could I just direct its HDMI out straight to the TV input and take a digital output direct to the processor instead of relying on the processor to pass both audio and video?
Would not that be just as effective?
Yes. Your monitor will get its video input via HDMI- and direct, without going through the processor, which is nothing but extra unnecessary connections. Your processor will get its audio signal via the digital output from the Bluray. In principle, all other things being equal, this would be better. All other things never are equal, it all depends on the quality of the cables. But as for will it work? Yeah, sure.
That was kinda what I thought, surely the video should be better if we cut out one point of interface especially if not truly required.
Digital coax out from the Oppo using a WireWorld Platinum Starlight should be more than good enough.
I am going to try that setup tomorrow with existing processor just to see.
You indicated that you have a 4K HD television. If you want to be able to streaming 4K content and sources, you will need that HDMI 2.0 support in a processor.
The alternative is to connect your source directly to the television, but then you have challenges on how to get the audio signal into the HT processor.
That being said, you don't necessarily have to have a processor that supports HDMI 2.0 and 4K. You can play 1080p video through the processor and TV. The TV will still accept the signal and scale the image to the native 4k resolution.
Using a digital input from bluray player can be done, but it really depends. I have seen some processors having a problem when you have Dolby Digital Plus. Sometimes, the only way to do Dolby Digital Plus is over HDMI on a newer type processor.