Like

What to Buy: NAD, Rotel, Denon, Onkyo?

 

New member
Username: Nipper

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
I am setting up a home theater room in my house on a limited budget. I do not play music exceptionally loud. I do intend to use this a lot for audio only purposes. My priorities in order are: audio quality, reliability, features, price. The main speakers will be Paradigm Studio 40s. I am looking for something that will play classical and acoustic CDs with crystal clarity,as if the performer was there in the room, without requiring room shaking volume. So far I am considering the following:

NAD T763: Good -Seems to be a sonic favorite among professional and consumer reviewers; RS232 port allows online firmware updates. Bad -It appears their reliability is exceptionally bad.

Denon 2805: Good - Sonic reviews good but not as good as NAD; lip-sync feature (At first I thought this was a Milli Vanilli thing until I found out it is for guys like me that go crazy watching movies on Direct TV when the audio/video sync suddenly goes south). Also sounds like it is less expensive and more reliable than NAD. Bad - Haven't heard anything yet. Unknown: Has RS 232 but don't know if firmware can be upgraded online

Rotel 1056: Heard they are good but don't know anything about them

Onkyo: Good - Supposedly very reliable, good audio but not NAD, Unknown - user upgradeable firmware; lip sync feature

If you are going to slam any of the above just to make yourself feel better about whatever brand you own, please don't bother. However, if you have good information or recommendations, enquiring minds like mine want to know.

Thanks

Nipper
 

Silver Member
Username: Rh1

Post Number: 200
Registered: Jun-04
Of those, NAD and Rotel by far.
 

New member
Username: Nipper

Post Number: 2
Registered: Oct-04
What about all the complaints on various forums about NAD problems (hum, hiss, pops, thumps, channels that go dead, overactive thermal couplers, etc.?
 

Silver Member
Username: Bleustar

Pensacola, Florida

Post Number: 127
Registered: Jul-04
Without question, NAD and Rotel are the two with the best sound. I have heard just as much from Rotel as NAD as far as hum, hiss or pop goes.

The Rotel RSX-1056 is a very nice sounding receiver. Even better is the RMB-1075 Power Amp, paired with the RSP-1068 preamp/processor.

The 1056 receiver list is $1299 usa
The 1075/1068 combo list is $2699 usa

It does seem strange that higher end units seem to have more of these problems than other (lesser) brands.
 

Daniel Benatar
Unregistered guest
None of the above can bit NAD - buy it and pray to have a good unit!

Daniel
 

New member
Username: Kiki

Post Number: 5
Registered: Sep-04
I would go fro Rotel either 1065 or 1068+1075 if budget allow.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 77
Registered: Sep-04
Nipper,

In my view the Rotel is a better unit than the NAD. That said, the NAD is a fine unit for a lot less money here in the UK.

Bear in mind that this is a forum and there has been a lot said about the NAD's perceived lack in terms of reliability and noise. My experience is that the NADs are fine, a little noisy on the headphone stage, but not unduly noisy otherwise. Their sound quality is far more musical than the others, except perhaps the Rotel which is a masterpiece of design. I see you want to listen to audio a lot so this must count highly in your ruminations.

My experience with the reliability of the kit (as a retailer) is that NAD and Rotel are actually just as reliable as other makes at this level. The noise issue is one you will have to square up when you hear the units. I believe that the Rotel is the quieter of the two, although I haven't done an A/B comparison between the two for this.

The Rotel and the NAD are both quite superior musically to the Denon/Pioneer/Onkyo/Marantz crowd which really major on their DVD surround ability.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 78
Registered: Sep-04
By the way, beware of the feature set comparison. Every added feature is less money spent on the other parts of the unit. In theory therefore, two similarly priced units may have quite different sound quality because one is festooned with features but has a poor power supply whereas the other is a basic design with a beefed up power supply. With attention to detail and setup, the latter would probably sound better in most installations simply because it has better drive capabilities.

Also, be aware that the auto-setup systems on many of these units are not a panacea for those who don't have the ability to setup these systems. in my experience these programs get a system vaguely right, but extracting the best from the system requires more attention to detail such as better speaker placement and subtler integration of sub than the mic on the unit can discern. The only system I've heard so far which is really good is from Lexicon and this option is more money than you're looking to spend on your amp! :-) There's nothing better than a good pair of ears, an SPL meter and a good dose of patience.

Finally, you haven't mentioned what source you're using. Please note that all DVD players do not sound alike, whether or not you're using them simply as transports or using their internal DACs. Try to reserve a good amount of cash for the DVD player in order to maximise the potential in your amp, or if you're listening to 2-channel audio, go for a quality dedicated CD player to really get the system motoring. An NAD C542 CD player (£329) will come close to the performance of an Arcam DV79 (£1000). This is especially true if you use its internal DACs, thus using the amp as purely an analogue amplifier. Cable it up with some decent cable and you're onto a winner.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Nipper

Post Number: 3
Registered: Oct-04
Frank

Thanks for the valuable input. Also, is the HK 630 not in the same league? I see CNET has given it very high ratings although I know many consumers and some reviewers base their opinion as much on features as sound.

I like the Rotel however the 1067 is a bit pricey for me and the 1056 does not have 7 amp channels. I don't want a separate amp and I actually intend to use the extra 2 channels for a second zone.

The NAD 763 looks good, offers 7 channels and is in my price range. I notice it also has the higher grade transformers versus the 753 and 743, however I do not see where they offer the lip sync feature.

Nipper
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 791
Registered: Feb-04
T763 has only 6 onboard amps, so you'll need an external with it also.
 

Silver Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 706
Registered: Dec-03
Since the Rotel's are out that leaves the NAD in a class by itself. If you are open to other suggestions and since you have the Studio 40's I would consider the Yamaha 2500 when it comes out. I am not saying it is in NAD class but I would prefer it to the Denon and the Onkyo doesn't really match well with Paradigm anyway. I have not liked Yamaha for the last 20 years but I do like the 1400/2400 and the new models should be even better. Good luck.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 84
Registered: Sep-04
Nipper,

I have very little experience with HK which is not a big player in the UK. The little experience I have tells me that HK is not my cup of tea in terms of presentation.

Over here, the Rotel 1056 retails for similar money to the Arcam AVR300. Now the Arcam has the ability to drive both 5.1 and the 2nd zone you're looking for. I don't know how much it costs where you are, but over here, it's a natural option in the 1056's price range.

The Arcam is an absolute knockout of an amp - very clean all the way to very high volumes. I regularly demo it at 85 (out of 100) on the volume knob. It's just very clean and has loads of drive. It's also very good at music, better than any other receiver I've heard at this price. Perhaps this would be an option?

Regards,
Frank.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sound_advice

Post Number: 54
Registered: Sep-04
Nipper,

Of the above stated recievers I definetly agree with most posts that the Nad, Rotel and even Arcam make some of the best sounding amplifier, you definetly can't go wrong with any of these. Actually it's would be difficult to say one is better than the other, so my opinion doesn't really count here I suggest you listen to them...your ears will decide which one is better for you.
 

New member
Username: Nipper

Post Number: 4
Registered: Oct-04
After all this reading I am thinking of another approach. I see good prices on used Rotel 5 channel amps. Seeing as the front end technology keeps advancing I might as well get a good amp and change processors as technology improves. Also, I realize the 7.1 back channels and remote listening won't be that critical to me anyway. I have lots of other equipment to power those including my old Heathkits. One amp I am considering is the Rotel RMP 985 (5 x 100). Any thoughts?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Mgkaplan

Calabasas, CA USA

Post Number: 81
Registered: Mar-04
Buy Rotel or Arcam.
 

Silver Member
Username: Falp

Post Number: 103
Registered: Mar-04
If you intend to use this a lot for audio only purposes, I only recommend this brands of AVreceivers: Arcam, Rotel, Nad, Marantz.

 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Highlands Ranch, CO USA

Post Number: 654
Registered: Dec-03
Nipper:

I have both an NAD and a Rotel. Either brand is superb, but I give a big edge to the NAD in a sound that is a little more pleasing to my ears. The NAD sounds a little warmer with a fuller range, where the Rotel has a leaner, cooler sound. Arcam, Cambridge Audio and Marantz also make good sounding receivers that I recommend.

Onkyo is a poor product, IMO. I would point you to the April issue of Sound & Vision, I believe, where the Onkyo 901 was reviewed. Rated at 125 wpc by the manufacturer, S&V found it capable of only 50 wpc when all seven channels were driven. I find that inexcuseable from the top of the line model of any manufacturer. It means the power supply is no good. Finally, if you listen to an Onkyo compared to an NAD or Marantz, for instance, you will be amazed at how bad the sound of the onkyo is when compared.

Denon was the brand of receiver I had before I bought my NAD (the 3803). I found the sound to be dry and lifeless--it was also hard to match with a good speaker as the Denon had the effect of reducing the depth of the soundstage on most speakers I tried. I retired the Denon--good riddance. although not as bad as Onkyo, when driving more than two channels, the denon will also suffer large reductions in power from the manufacturer's specification.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Facebook

Shop Related Deals

Directory

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us