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I have B&W 309/303/LCR3 and look for matching receiver

 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-04
I am starting with a music/surround package and after several sessions of listening to various equipment from local stores, I decided on the Onkyo TX/SR601E with the B&W 309/303/LCR3 combination and later on next year I will reconsider adding a sub. The total price of all these in MK together with cables is 1500EUR.

The whole testing was first done with a Onkyo 501E and finally it got all well with the Onkyo 601E. The thing is I decided that I liked the sound and looks of the speakers but I still wonder if there are other receivers to consider, once I have firmly decided on the speakers.

Do you have any comments on this combination and maybe can suggest some other receivers. These are the options I thought of and that I am able to find round here:

1. Onkyo TX-SR601E (585EUR) and bigger models
2. Yamaha RX-V650RDS (405EUR)
3. Denon 1803 (495EUR) and bigger models
4. Sherwook 8108 (450EUR) and bigger models
5. Pioneer ?? (912, 812, 712)
6. Harman Kardon (1550,130, 230, 330)
7. Sony ??
8. Technics DA-10
9. Marantz various models, but the store manager said it will not suit my music style (read below)

The problem is that I AM NOT ABLE to test the other options, since they are not available in the same store! I have already done technical comparisons, and I have a clear choice based on it (Yamaha for the price), but I don't believe in such choices, I'd rather base discussions round musical comparisons.

So, the most important thing - I will use this for 80% music (CDs, MP3s), 19% movies (DVD, DiVX) and 1% radio (so tuner quality is not really important). And my taste revolves arround Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Enya, but also Hallucinogen, Shpongle, Infected Mushroom, Orbital, and mostly trance. I like punchy bass, dislike exaggerated high frequences and so. Favourite movie: Lord of the Rings.

Thanks in advance. Any help will be welcomed.
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 733
Registered: Feb-04
Your store manager does not seem too knowledgeable. With your 80/20 use and preference for bass over bright treble I would easily suggest Marantz and NAD over all the other options. I sometimes listen to Vangelis and Enya and they work very well with my NAD T743. The details are there, but the sound is very pleasing. I can listen to it all day, while with my old Sony my ears got tired quite fast. Also the bass is much better with the NAD. Marantz works extremely well with music, it's warm and full, without exaggerated highs, but with very detailed and warm midrange.

I would look at NAD T743, Marantz SR4400/4500/5400/5400OSE/5500. H/K could also be a decent choice, go at least for AVR230, the smaller models are very limited.
 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 2
Registered: Sep-04
Hi landroval,

Too bad I can't find any AV receiver from NAD that is withing my 600EUR budget (you see here things a are a much more expensive, the whole B&W set costed me 1000EUR). On the other hand I have not heard any of the Marantz ones, so I don't know now.

This is what he said - Marantz has very slow bass transients so that could ruin the dynamics of most of the goa and progressive trance songs I like. But it could help a lot Vangelis and Enya that are rather slow.

Now I am a bit confused :-) I hope you understood me well, so let me stress explain a bit more in case you didn't ... I am not really into more bass in my music, I just want the bass to be precise, kicking and not too long, but I don't want it to be sacrificed because of that and the whole thing to sound thin and metalic.

What you told me about your experience with the NAD, is it with B&W speakers or?
 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 3
Registered: Sep-04
One more thing:-) Just out of curiosity I went in the other shop they have and talked to a different guy ;) about a good combination set to listen to music and movies, with the same requests as above and for the same kind of money and he suggested:

B&W 303/303/LCR3 or
B&W 602S3/600/LC60
with
Denon 1803 or
Onkyo 601

Now I disregard the 602/600 combination coz I already have speakers and it a bit more expensive, but how about the same receiver suggestions? Seems like they have too much Onkyo or Denon on stock!
 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 4
Registered: Sep-04
I may be starting to get boring but...

to landroval:
- in the other discussion you mentioned that HK 330 would be better than the Yamaha 650 for me. I heard the newer Yamahas were not so thin, but who knows for sure!?

The thing is that I checked and they don't have the 230 and 330 in the store and I don't know when they will get it. They might as well have HK 430, but I'm not sure. They definitely do have the HK 630, but is it overkill for my speakers (or maybe the budget)?
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 736
Registered: Feb-04
Hi, I'm from Finland and we either dont have too low prices on hifi-gear. I actually had two friends who lived a couple years in Skopje because their father was working there (peace-keeping or something similar).

Uh, where should I start. Well, the new Yamahas are better than the old ones, but they still sound a bit hard and thin on the bass side. They're quite good with movies, but with music they're just too hard and unmusical. Good features though.

"Now I am a bit confused I hope you understood me well, so let me stress explain a bit more in case you didn't ... I am not really into more bass in my music, I just want the bass to be precise, kicking and not too long, but I don't want it to be sacrificed because of that and the whole thing to sound thin and metalic."

Yes, I got what you meant. What I usually want is smooth pleasing sound, but still well controlled and detailed over the whole frequency spectrum. Good bass is very important, but I definitely dont want boomy exaggerated bass. Neither I want harsh and ear breaking highs (Denon).

For your personal preferences I still would suggest Marantz, NAD and H/K. Maybe also the bigger Pioneer models like AX3, 1014, 2014i.

Here's a good review:
-Marantz SR5400, Onkyo SR701, Pioneer D912...
http://www.homecinemachoice.com/cgi-bin/displayreview.php?reviewid=3637
 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 5
Registered: Sep-04
As for the Marantz, the review mentions some problems with the bass - doesn't 'time' well, rather heavy and sluggish, etc. Maybe this is what the guy from the store was talking about. Another review of the Pioneer you mention, on the same website, says something about boomy bass on occasions.

Second, according to the reviews for 5ch sound... the Onkyo 701 which is stronger than the 601 I tested, gives only 50W/ch, the Marantz is able to produce 85W into 5ch, while the older Yamaha is 39W/ch. Now, the room is just 25 square meters, and the speakers are (quote) "25W - 100W into 8 ohms on unclipped programme" each.

So, for plain stereo music everything will be OK, I guess. But what about 5.1 mixes from dvd audio, or movies or if I want to do a party and connect another set of speakers in another room (optionally) - I guess this wont work since I will have less than 50W with the Onkyo 601.

The real question is, if I have a receiver that produces 80W/ch, will I be able to turn it quiet enough for normal evening listening, or I will have to revert to DSP modes like Night viewing etc. Also, will it not be too much for the speakers I have. That's what I meant, when I said overkill in an earlier post.

Thanks
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 737
Registered: Feb-04
"As for the Marantz, the review mentions some problems with the bass - doesn't 'time' well, rather heavy and sluggish, etc. Maybe this is what the guy from the store was talking about."

Could be, but I think thats way too exagerrated. In my opinion there's no problems with the Marantz bass, at least I cant hear or be annoyed by them. Other makes have much bigger problems with different parts of sound.

About power then. Power is not very important when the differences are small, but 39W vs 85W will be noticeable. It doesn't necessarily mean the Marantz will play much louder, but that it can better keep your floorstanders in control and output a dynamic sound. If you have too little power you might get distortion in loud scenes and definitely lose dynamics in multichannel playback.

You can never have too much power. An overkill amp will give you good control and dynamics even with lower volumes. It's very hard to break your speakers with too much power, but it's quite easy with too little power which will cause distortion and very high sounds that will break the tweeters.

Also a more powerfull amp will sound better than weaker one with low volumes, you can turn it as low as anything else.
 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 6
Registered: Sep-04
So I should do good with any stronger one, if I do have the money. :-)

Now, lets just see what else these 2 (unfortunately there are only 2) stores offer.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bleustar

Pensacola, Florida

Post Number: 76
Registered: Jul-04
For the price range and sound you want I would seriously consider Marantz or HK. Very good sound for the price and much better than Yamaha at this price point.
 

New member
Username: Vva

SkopjeMacedonia

Post Number: 7
Registered: Sep-04
Hey guys, I decided to spend just a little more money and bought the Harman/Kardon 4550.

I had a chance to try the Marantz 5300 before that and it did such a big smoothing to all the bass sounds that it was unbelievable. It sounded as if it was put thru a compressor. Maybe the 5300 is not powerful enough. They didn't have the 5400, just 7400 which was too expensive, and didn't have any of the x500 series.

This time there was another guy at the store, who said he had B&W 602/303 at home with H/K 5550 and he told me the same story about Marantz :-) After trying the 5300, I'm starting to believe them.

Now, I must say that I am really really satisfied with the choice I made. Maybe it is not the latest generation of H/K but it sounds just the way I wanted (compared to all the rest I tried previously).
 

Silver Member
Username: Landroval

Post Number: 754
Registered: Feb-04
Good if you're happy. I find the 4550 laid back and undetailed. IMO The Marantz's (6300, 5400) do give much more detail especially on the midrange. Maybe we hear things differently or something.
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