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Hawk and others, need help with receiver match for Vandersteens

 

dcd
Unregistered guest
I'm converting to HT and need an av receiver to match my speaks which are all Vandersteen (2Ce's for fronts, VLRs for the rear, and V2W for sub). Music to movies is 50/50. From an earlier thread, it sounds like I'll need 100 watts continuous per channel to drive the 2Ce's which are 86 dB in a large room (21 x 28). I'm willing to spend up to $2k and the local dealers have Rotel, Yamaha, Arcam, Pioneer Elite, Integra, and Denon in that range. I'm a rookie at this and am hoping this purchase will last me a long time. Thank you.
 

New member
Username: Shawn_f

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2004
DCD,

Having never heard Vandersteen's, but seeing that they are inefficent for the most part, I would look for something outside the receiver route. You can get used seperates, or a new set of Outlaw seperates in that range. The Outlaw will have 200wpc, enough to drive those fronts. I am not fan of Rotel or Yamaha. I also think the Denon will be underwhleming for you because no matter how many watts it says it has, the 3803 has problems driving my Paradigm Studio 60's, which are listed at 91dB... So look at Outlaw they have a great 30-day money back program. So if you don't like the sound, you can send them back and only lose out on shipping. Try the 755 and the outlaw pre-amp. I doubt you will be disappointed. Assuming that the Vandersteens mesh well with them. Just MHO on all this...
 

dcd
Unregistered guest
Shawn- Thanx for the input. I'm really trying to keep the HT simple and know nothing about separates. I am hoping there's an av receiver that will fit the bill.
 

New member
Username: Shawn_f

Post Number: 6
Registered: 02-2004
Well, seperated are pretty simple. But if you are set on a receiver, I would look at NAD or something with a lot of punch to it because the speakers are so inefficent. Rotel seems a bit laid back to me, but they may be good with your speakers. Another option is looking for a used Outlaw 1050 receiver. They can't be bought new anymore and go for $4-500 ($500 was retail) on Audiogon. Good luck. And take a look at the Pre amp/Amp on outlaw's website. It really is a lot like a receiver once it is hooked up. Just bigger and with more options for the future.
 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Post Number: 249
Registered: 12-2003
dcd:

I first heard Vandersteens about 24 years ago and was knocked out by the sound--couldn't afford them then. They have undergone many revisions since then, but they remain one of the finer speakers out there as each revision seems to refine them even more.

One thing about the Vandersteens--they do not tolerate cheap electronics. Brands like Denon, Integra, and Yamaha, unless you go to their top of the line and spend $3K or more, you will not be happy with the sound, if then. I have the Denon 3803, which was priced at over $1K and after a year, I have retired it to the basement. I actually agree with Shawn that you should strongly consider good separates, which can be obtained in your price range. Shawn is right on the money with the Outlaw 950 pre/pro and the 755 power amp.

However, if you want a receiver, I would strongly recommend the NAD T763. I have heard this receiver driving Vandersteens at my local dealer (who also carries Yamaha, Paradigm, Magnepan, and Anthem seperates, so it is a high quality store). The NAD has a fuller and smoother sound than any of the receivers you listed and a better match for the Vandersteens. It is made in the same factory, using many of the same parts as the Arcam receiver, but with much more power. My second choice would be a Marantz SR8400. I haven't heard a Marantz drive Vandersteens, but I have heard this receiver and know its sound, much like I know the sound of the Vandersteens. It would be a good match, IMO.

Given the large size room you have and the revealing sound of the Vandersteens, there are few receivers that are capable of doing a good job. The Arcam is a lovely receiver, but only 70-75 wpc, which is a little light on power for your room. Same with the Rotel. I find Integra to be a joke. Sound & Vision did a bench test of the Onkyo 900, which is the same thing as an Integra, last summer. Although rated at 125 wpc, it was found to clip at 54 wpc, barely 40% of its rated power. This is a typical reult for Onkyos and Integras, which have poor amp sections. I have already told you of my experience owning a Denon--it just lacks both power and personality. The only Yamaha I would consider is the RX-Z1, which is about a grand more than what your budget is--and their lower models also have power generation problems. I have heard the Vandersteens driven by a Yamaha RX-v2300 and I didn't like the sound at all.

Now, Pioneer Elite is fairly popular on this board and is a very well built receiver, provided you go with one of their over $1K models, but they tend to work best with brighter sounding speakers like Monitor Audios, Klipsch, or JMlabs. The Vandersteens are very detailed, but not nearly so bright, so I think the NAD or Marantz is the best choice for those speakers.

Good luck!
 

dcd
Unregistered guest
Hawk, Thanx for the info. The new Rotel 1067 is rated at 100 watts per channel and will be available in my market, unlike the NAD, at approx $2K. Any thoughts on whether it would be a good match?
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Post Number: 179
Registered: 12-2003
I remember buying a pair of Vandy 2ci's in 1983 with a Belles amp---first really good stereo system I ever owned. It caused me being the bane of the apartment complex on Long Island as those speakers sounded great when played reasonably loud. But I learned that enjoying loud music isn't great when living in an apartment that isn't sound insulated very well.

That said--I have a couple of audio friends that still have Vandy's and they tell me they still like good amplification.

I would get the Outlaw Audio pre-pro 950 and the companion 755 (5 channels x 200 watts) which is on sale at Outlaw for $1998. You could save some money by buying the Outlaw 7100 (7 x 100 watts) for the combo price of $1598.

Stereophile just listed the 950 pre-pro as the best budget preamp--bar none. It is every bit as easy to use as any receiver--maybe easier, as it has a nice backlit remote--the same one used on the $3,000 B&K receiver.

If you can swing the 200 watt--go for it. But it should be fine with the 100 watt amp too.

If you want a receiver I would get either the new NAD T773 or see if you can find a Pioneer Elite 47TX--around $1600, which has the same amp section as the 49Txi--and that cranks out about 148 watts x 5 channels according to Sound and Vision, unless you can find a mint condition used 49TXi at under $2K.

But I favor the Outlaws over the receivers for your speakers. But you should get very good performance from all of the above.
 

dcd
Unregistered guest
Greg, I'm thinking of using the receiver to power the 5 HT speakers plus 2 speakers for the kitchen when we remodel in a year or so. The Rotel 1067 has an extra amp built in for that purpose, which would seemingly be an efficient use of space. But, I'm getting intrigued by the Outlaws and wonder whether I'd be able to use them to also power the kitchen speakers without adding an extra amp. (You can tell I'm an idiot when it comes to this stuff.) Also, if I need repair work on the Outlaw, then what... Finally, on a different topic, I need a DVD player for the system which won't have an HD TV for a few years anyway. I'm planning to use a single changer for movies only. (Our CD player does just fine for our CD collection altho I'll certainly upgrade when it goes out.) Do you foresee any problem with using a Pioneer DV563A DVD player with my setup? Thanks guys!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Post Number: 180
Registered: 12-2003
In addition to the 5 x 200 watt Outlaw amp (the 755), you can buy 200 watt monoblock amps from Outlaw. They are $299 each and the more you buy the cheaper they get. They are about the same length and width as a regular receiver, except they are very thin--maybe a couple of inches. You can see them on the Outlaw Audio site. I am pretty sure the 950 pre-pro has the ability to control a second zone in the kitchen, but go to the Outlaw Audio site and make sure.

Repairwork on the Outlaw is probably easier than repairwork on the Rotel. Outlaw is a reputable US company that even lets you try their equipment for 30 days and return it if you don't like it. So they are quite used to shipping and fixing components at their facility as they deal DIRECTLY with the consumer. With Rotel and other receiver manufacturers you deal with their network of dealers and approved warranty workshops. I would assure you that there is little doubt that Outlaw will service its customers as well and more likely better than Rotel, Onkyo, etc.--because they sell you directly and want to keep you satisfied so you buy more of their products. With other companies your component is most often repaired by some outfit that didn't sell you the item.

There are ways of doing second zone playing even without a receiver or preamp having that control. Since you have to bring wires or have an RF set-up to get power to the kitchen speakers, you can also buy a Niles (or other brand) zone splitter. They are inexpensive and work great. I have one for four zones. Of course, you have to play what is on the main system. You can't listen to the radio and play a cd.



The Pioneer DV563A is certainly a good buy for an inexpensive universal dvd player. But I would also look at the two Denon models below the 2900--that go down to the 2200 for universal players. The new Denons are quite good.
 

dcd1
Unregistered guest
Greg, thanx again for your time. If I want to seriouly consider separates, should I look at other manufacturers who sell to the dealers in my area (St. Louis)? Or is Outlaw hands down the only option worth considering? By reading the threads on this wonderful site, I was getting a half decent feel for av receivers but am utterly clueless about the folks who make separates, their pros and cons, price points, reliability, etc. I seem to recall reading one thread where several owners of separates were switching back to the av receivers, saying the improvement in their quality and features, particularly with the higher end units, were close enough to rival separates with less hassle. So, I'm confused. Any suggestions?
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Post Number: 184
Registered: 12-2003
Adcom separates are good and reasonably priced if you buy them at the right place. You might want the Outlaw preamp with an Adcom amp.

If you want to save money and buy a receiver the NAD T773 can be gotten for $1450 or less. It should give you excellent performance. It is their top of the line model and you should be able to check it out in St. Louis to see if it has the features you want (I am sure it does) and the remote is easy enough to use--always important. NAD is noted for having good amp sections that keep their wattage up even with all channels driven.

Another good choice would be the Pioneer Elite 47TX that can be found between $1600-$1700. Excellent power, beautiful, but not the greatest remote. The 49TX and 49TXi have a much better remote, but they are considerably more expensive. One can always buy a good universal remote if you find it necessary.

Rotels are good if you can find them at the right price. But I think you get more power with all channels running from both the NAD T773 and the PE 47tx. But I doubt the power difference would be critical.

If you can find on audiogon.com a Pioneer Elite 49txi for less than $2,000 that is also an impressive unit, as long as it is in mint condition. It should be in most cases as it hasn't been released for more than 1 and a half years.

Some like the Yamaha RX Z1, which can be had just under $2K.

I would lean towards the NAD for a receiver and pocket the money. The Rotel might be a bit better looking, but I doubt it has anything on the NAD spec-wise or soundwise--and I am sure it will be more expensive.

If you want a THX Ultra 2 receiver go with the PE 47TX--if you don't care about THX certs--and many don't--go with the NAD.

If you go with separates I would stay with the Outlaw 950 combo--either with the 7001 (7 x 100 watts amp or the 755 with 5 x 200 watts--and you can always add the two Outlaw monoblocks at any time). But I think Onecall.com is having a sale on a 5 x 180 watt ATI amp. ATI is an excellent company.

Whichever way you go you should get incredibly good to excellent performance.



A
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