Tonight I have a couple buddies coming over for some scotch, beer, wine, more beer and food. They are bringing some mint gear down for me to sell and we are going to have the battle of the amps.lol. Six people listening. I will post the outcome.
I have went through my 6 kids, Brady bunch kind of equation, and did not have really good gear. Just flat out could not afford it.
Now I have my 5 year old grand-daughter living with us for the school year. Yep, lost a stylus on my Linn (it now sits 20 inches higher on a different rack) and recently had to put the enclosures back on my Gallo's after I vacuum sucked one of the caps back out. She's 5 so no grief given to her. I will take her 7 X 24 with whatever happens. There are only so many 7 X 24's she will be 5 and with us before going back to mama. The gear will survive her, I hope.
Alright, just so everyone knows, what I am about to say does not reflect my recent feeling towards certain brands. It was absolutely anonymous in almost every comparison amongst 6 people. Three people that were into audio, three people that didn't have a clue.
Source were Rega Apollo for music. Sony BDP-S1 blu-ray for movies.
1.) NAD T763 vs H/K 645.
-4 out of 6 prefer NAD in Surround Sound. -6 out of 6 prefer NAD in Two Channel Listening. -6 out of 6 prefer NAD as a two channel pre amp.
Let me just begin to say that I was a bit shocked at how poor the H/K was for two channel listening. Brutal, absolutely brutal. I actually want to hook it up again sometime when I am by myself and see if the thing was in some sort of sound mode that was just bad. In surround sound it was great I thought, sounded like a typical H/K. Very mellow midrange with "squared off" highs and decent low end. The panel claim to hear more "surround sound" from the NAD, with a fuller sound. The panel claimed that the NAD smashed the H/K in two channel listening. Big time. Again, I am going to do more testing with the H/K in two channel though, something couldn't have been right. I will post back with my thoughts on it.
Rotel RMB-1075 vs NAD C272.
6 out of 6 prefer NAD in two channel listening. 5 out of 6 prefer Rotel in a Surround sound enviroment. 1 out of 6 claimed they couldn't hear a difference in surround sound environment.
We will call it a Tie. The NAD did better at what it was built for, and the Rotel was better for what it was built for.
I had very high hopes for the Rotel when I first seen it. Big, mean, and heavy. Looked like a solid contender indeed. I had thought for sure that the panel would have completely prefered it against the NAD. Well sorta... I, and the panel were completely shocked by its dull sound when listening to the likes of Jack Johnson and Diana Krall, and many others. When the NAD was put back in, the panel all had that *ahhhh thats better* sense of emotion. The sound was fuller and more alive. There almost seemed to be a small gap in the music somewhere with the Rotel. Again, totally shocked how lifeless the Rotel was with music. Then we put the Rotel back in for a movie comparison. It was like the Rotel grabbed the NAD by the nuts and said "your in my territory now". Explosions and loud areas of the movies were now more clear and detailed. Very Neutral and detailed sound the Rotel now possessed. When a movie kicked into a scene with loud music to it, again the NAD prevailed, but overall, the "Surround sound" amp of the Rotel truly kicked some butt in what it was built to do. I am sure the two channel Rotel's possess more "pazaz" for music listening. Overall my hated thoughts against Rotel were diminished.
Rotel RMB-1075 vs Bryston 3B
6 out 6 prefer Bryston 3B for Music. 5 out of 6 prefer Bryston in Surround sound enviroment. 1 out of 6 prefer the Rotel in Surround sound enviroment.
Bryston 3B Wins.
lol...This comparison for music wasn't even close. The Bryston made the Rotel sound like the biggest piece of crap power amp...Words can't explain it. The Bryston was clearer, faster, more inspiring, more musical, and seemed to have way way way more Grunt. Both Amps are rated at 120 watts per channel but the Bryston sounded like it was 3 times more powerful. Again though, the Rotel picked up its butt and got the move on when watching a movie scene. This amp truly is a good performer at what it was suppose to be doing. I would never ever recommend this amp for anybody wanted something for music. Not even for bridging it(Don't even think you can). But for a system strictly for movies, hell I would buy it, as it is very good. For movies however the clarity of the Bryston, even only powering the two main speakers, seemed to open detail up slightly beyond the capability of the Rotel(even when its powering all 5 speakers). Music scenes just exploded into the room with the Bryston, and key details were better. Remembering a scene from Black Hawk Down on Blu-Ray in Uncompressed PCM audio. In the scene where the helicopters first fly over the boarders of Africa(or wherever they are) you can actually hear the blades in the propellers with the Bryston. Where as the Rotel you just heard a typical "helicopter noise".
NAD C272 vs Bryston 3B
4 out of 6 prefer the Bryston over the NAD 2 out of 6 claim they could not hear a difference between the two. 4 out of 6 prefer the Bryston over the NAD in Surround sound enviroment. 2 out of 6 claim they couldn't hear a difference.
Now for the people that couldn't tell a difference, I explained to them, The C272 is going at full tilt while the Bryston is going to be held back do to having a NAD in front of it. Again though, to majority of the ears the Bryston was more clear, open and detailed. The timing was better as well. Now surprisingly the NAD held up very well, but was eventually out classed specially when the Bryston was opened up. And low to medium volumes the Bryston seemed a bit better, but when both amps were pushed the Bryston just seemed to pull away with the victory. My Wife claimed she could clearly hear that the Bryston was better in our setup than the NAD now. The Bryston and NAD comparison kinda reminded me of that one year Lance Armstrong was racing side by side a opponent through the mountain course and allowed the guy to stay with him for about Half the course. At the Half way point when the course was about to get hard, Armstrong looked back at the Swiss and said, OK this is where you eat my dust. The Bryston of course is Lance.LOL!!! Overall the Bryston was the clear winner, but the NAD held up better than I had thought it was going to.
Excellent Very Good Good Satisfactory Poor
NAD T763-Excellent for Surround -Good for Music
H/K 645 -Very Good for Surround -Poor for Music(will do more testing)
Rotel RMB 1075 -Excellent for Surround -Satisfactory for Music
NAD C272-Good for Surround -Very Good for Music
Bryston -Excellent for Surround -Excellent for Music
I just re-hooked up the H/K just as a Pre with the Bryston. Made sure all DSP modes were off and Surround Modes were off. Still no good, Very "Electronic" sounding. Just doesn't sound real. I actually prefer the Pioneer Elite's for music.
Yeah my Yammie is as good for music (not good). I have no idea what the reviewers were smoking when they rated my AVR so high for both movies and music....oh well. As a pure AVR it does impress me for the under $400 I paid for it...now to add a good matching set of speakers and a good HT sub. I love my REL sub but it ain't an HT sub and I don't use it for music anymore...hmm.
REL subs sure are sweet. Yeah there are only a few companies these days that are making A/V receivers that still perform well for two channel listening. Well for A/V receivers that is. I was totally surprised by the performance of this 1500 dollar H/K, or lack there of. I won't be recommending them anymore. On the upside my liking of Rotel has went up quite a bit.lol.
I had a dealer recently explain just how good the Bryston 4B was for HT. He described the scene in the Matrix where the helo shoots up the office. With most amps the chain gun just turns into a compressed mash of gunfire, whereas with the Bryston you hear each round of the chain gun without the amp running out steam.
I had a full Rotel HT at one time with a Rotel AVR and separate Rotel power amp for the fronts. I used a set of Paradigm Studio 40's in the front and Studio 20's in the rear. Had the Paradigm Active Reference center channel...easily the best sounding center I've heard. Had a PW2200 sub...let me tell you it was the best and most balanced HT I've ever heard...still to this day. If could recapture that I would, but not at the expense of my Rega 2 channel setup. Someday.....
David- Totally agree with the Bryston description. And I too was surprised as any by the H/K. I just sat there scratching my head.
Art- Wicked HT setup. I bet it did quit well at 2 channel listening too. The Paradigm Center channels to this day are some of the smoothest I have heard, specially once you hit the Studio line like you had. That PW2200 slams hard and could always be used as a second coffee table.lol It is massive.
Yeah I was using the same performance modified Rotel RCD971 that I have in my second system now for a cd player and the movie duties were being handled by an upper end Marantz DVD player...it was killer. That PW2200 shook the walls hard! Making me anxious to start working on the HT...oh well no money now...darn!
It surprised us all a bit ID. The guy who owned the Rotel was aw shocked. He took it home with him and left me with the Rotel to sell. I have always liked the amp for the money, but now I just like it period. The performance of the C272 for 800 dollars CDN, 650 US is just insane. I don't own one anymore ID, but I would still recommend it to anyone looking for the best performance for the money.
Nick K - I would be interested to hear a little more detail in how the HK sounded. I, too, have had terrible luck with my AVR 247 in 2 channel mode. (So much so, that I went to a seperate 2 channel system). In my theater for surround sound, it's fine, but it's like Jekyl & Hyde when I go to 2 channel. Great write-up.
Totally agree Thom T. I have now hooked up the H/K645 on top of the NAD for an A/B test three times. And have come to the conclusion that this A/V receiver is horrible at two channel listening. When we started Saturday night, I never played a single note through my setup. I hooked up the H/K laying on top of a towel on the NAD. First thing I did was just use the H/K as a Pre amp with the Bryston 3B, and Rega Apollo as the source. I put in Jack Johnson. I got about 10 seconds into the first track and, myself, could clearly hear how bad it was right away. I of course, kept my mouth shut and let my friends listen. My Wife spoke up first and basically told the owner of the H/K that it sounded like crap.LOL! To the panel at this time it was still ok. We listened to a few more tracks from other cd's, and then plugged the NAD back in. It was by far the biggest difference of the night. The music now sounded more real, and less like it was coming from a piece of electronic gear. Fuller, way more tight bass, and symbols now sounded like symbols and such. What I found the H/K to sound like I could describe as "Electical". You totally forgot the fact that you were listening to music and now thought you were just listening to a electronic piece of equipment. As the H/K got turned up louder it became worse, totally losing control of the notes and becoming messy. The highs became "tin" sounding, the bass was weak, and the midrange had a big "hole" in it. It was a totally different story in surround as the unit did a good job. Ive have always been the first guy to recommend H/K products, but I was totally blown away at just how bad it was for music. No A/V receiver is ideal for music Thom T, so going to a two channel setup was the smart choice. But there is A/V receivers out there (not many) that are still built around a two channel philosophy, and this clearly wasn't one of them. Cheers.
Thanks Nick. Your description is pretty close to what I heard on my receiver. According to my owners manual, for true analogue stereo mode, I need to eliminate the sub and turn the "tone" off. I assumed that when I did this the crossovers in the OSD would be inactive, but they are not, and the lowest is 40hz. (I could hear the difference as I changed the crossovers in the OSD, while in stereo mode, no DSP) I figured something wasn't right when Norah Jones vocals made me cringe at moderate volume levels.
Frank- NP. Well maybe not worse than Pioneer.lol. Still shocked myself by it all though. You sell a lot of good stuff Frank. From entry to the high end stuff. I would be super broke if I were in your situation.lol.
Thom T - I too unplugged the sub and turned all DSP and surround modes completely off. It made it a bit better, but still bad/not enjoyable. I couldn't imagine Norah Jones sounding bad.lol. That just isn't acceptable.
i just bought a hk 3480. i used to run my speakers on a kenwood before that. when you listen to individual sounds on the hk it scores higher but when it puts all these sounds together its very harsh on the ears. am thinking of getting rid of it and buying the nad 372. any comments? cant really listen to any of these on my speakers before purchase. live in africa
lol im playing Francis. To my ears the 372 would blow the doors off that H/K unit. I would pick on up if I were you and do a A/B comparison and get rid of the one you that sounds the worse to you. From what you are hearing from the H/K, a lot of integrated amps out there that you would like over it. Thats what I meant by my last comment. In my T763/635 comparison the NAD was the clear winner, by a mile. That wasn't just my opinion either.
To be honest Francis, I have never heard any professional line amp by Yamaha before so I can't really comment. Their pro stuff, if I can remember use to be pretty heavy duty, but not sure if it still is or not. I guess try it out and see what you think. FWIW on my lunch today for fun I placed the H/K 635 back on top of my T763 and played multiple tracks in an hours time, using it just as a pre amp. Again, thought it was horrible. This thing was a 1500 dollar receiver at one time too.Brutal. Im going to sell it for like 200 shipped.
To your ears Francis, the NAD may or may not give you that sharpness you want. NAD is not known for being sharp but more for its fluid, smooth sound. By being warm and smooth, and with lots of bottom end, it tends to lack on the detail side of things in the high frequencies compared to higher end stuff. For the money though, NAD is still one of my favorites to listen to. Cheers.
bought the t163 and connected it to the yamaha. its much better than the hk. except the bass. also felt could do with the mids coming through a bit more. had a yamaha pro mixer with me so put that in as well (have always wondered why amps dont come standard with level adjustments for highs, mids and lows instead of just treble and bass). but sounds really good now. am sure a better power amp would do more justice to it but its better than what i've had previously. will live in lust for a bryston
The first thing one needs to do before using a multichannel amp for stereo use is, disable all but front channels. I did an a/b test of H/K AVR 240 with similarly priced two channel amps from Denon and Marantz. I bought H/K Clean sound. No contest. But I didn't compare it with a NAD, so no comment on that.
The way my AVR247 works, to my best recollection, is in Stereo mode the other speakers are disabled, aside from the fronts and sub. There is also a 'bypass' mode that eliminates the tone controls and subwoofer. (ie: all digital processing) In either mode, the sound was terrible, the highs were especially harsh. In stereo mode the display shows the 2 fronts and sub. Fronts can be set to large or small in that mode, but in bypass mode the fronts only show on the display as large.
Its surprising, why would someone sell something within a month of buying. The hearing improved so much in one month? Incredible. I cannot ever think myself buying something so disappointing.
I had bought my H/K from after being recommended by many folks at this very forum. 2 years on, I don't find it that disappointing for the money I spent on it. I know there are better ones but hey you get what you pay for.
i wasnt happy with it right from the time i bought it. sold it as soon as i got a buyer for it. i've read rave reviews about the product and also was recommended it by this forum, but i just didnt like the sound of it. to me it seems the pre amp isnt consistent across the range
That is a comment for a Stereophile Class C recommended component? I am amazed, you found fault in a product world wide accepted and recommended by experts so soon. I am sure people like R J Reina, John Atkinson paid more attention to those details. They wouldn't put a product with a problematic pre section in their class 'C', will they?
well, since you educated me that its a class c amplifier i thought i'd look it up.
"Class C amplifiers conduct less than 50% of the input signal and the distortion at the output is high, but high efficiencies (up to 90%) are possible. Some applications (for example, megaphones) can tolerate the distortion. A much more common application for Class C amplifiers is in RF transmitters, where the distortion can be vastly reduced by using tuned loads on the amplifier stage." - taken from the below link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_amplifier
i wont pretend to have a vast experience in music but to my ears the hk didnt sound too hot. dividing the frequency range into 5 (highs and lows - upper and lower, and the mids) the lower highs and the lower lows were really good. the mids and upper lows were flat. and the upper highs were harsh
Nuck, first off, congrats on completing 10k posts. Wrt class 'C', even for a recommendation for that class there were several candidates. The HK beat them all to get there. I agree class C doesn't score too high on audiophile's radar but then if we go by that standard an AVR 240 or HK 3480 costs less than a speaker stand does or less than a good quality speaker cable/IC costs. So, then again, I wouldn't call these disappointing by any measure. Not at least to the extent its being projected. Sorry to differ but I have to.
Francis, mate you got me wrong. I wasn't speaking of class 'c' of amplifiers. I was talking of the class Stereophile chose them in. HK 3480 is a Stereophile recommended component is two categories.
Currently, I am moving to a pair of Bryston monoblocks, but still love the HK for the enjoyment it offered me for the peanuts I spent on them.
raydon, when you look at it in comparison to the price it sells at (i think 250 dollars) its value for money. to be fair to the hk i dont think you'd get a much better 120w rms amp in that price range. personally i still wouldnt touch it though. and apparently the higher end hk avrs have the same problem as well.