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Stereo Amp upgrade...from Onk TX-8511

 

Bronze Member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 18
Registered: Apr-04
Hello all, I'm interested in upgrading from my onkyo to a better amp. I'm really interested mainly in 2.1-2.2 audio. I have a Macki 1400i to power my subs, meaning I'm allready in XLR standard for one component.

Here's my problem. The onkyo is just sounding a little too harsh to me. For example, it hurts my ears after long listening sessions due to the exagerated upper mids (like trumpets etc), it seems to lack in the vocal range ( heavier bands like shadows fall end up being a metalic mess in the highs which drowns out all vocals ), and it doesn't have a volume controlled level out besides the headphones, which I realize isn't necessarily built in but that's also an issue.

The Amplifier will be paired with two Athena AS-F2 floorstanding speakers, and two subs.

What I'd like:
-XLR inputs would be great (so that I can chain from the mackie or to the mackie and have one volume control above that) (but not necessary)
-A more relaxed sound, not quite as painful as the Onkyo. I want a flatter frequency response, this one seems all over the place, even our denon is MUCH more laid back and I've heard those named as a "bright" amp.
-Enough power to crank (this is a definite).
-Tight bass response (high dampening).
-At least some way to hook up a sub, or I need a way to split the connection in the first place.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm mainly looking for stereo amps that fit the above criteria.

Thanks in advance.
 

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 888
Registered: Jan-05
I suggest the Yammi RX-Z9.

ooops, whats your budget?

I guess I should ask that first.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 19
Registered: Apr-04
Yeah, that's probably more than I need for stereo... heh.

My budget's under $1000.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 450
Registered: Mar-05
Harman Kardon 3480 should be a huge improvement over the Onkyo, and just $300 shipped (jandr.com) with a conservative 120wpc. Or you can get the refurb for about $100 less from Harman Direct on eBay with full original HK warranty.

Other options: Marantz PM2700 2-channel integrated amp from hifi.com around $500-600 I think.

Also, NAD integrated stereo amps should run around $600-900.

The Marantz and HK should provide a very warm, non-fatiguing sound, the NAD too.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 20
Registered: Apr-04
Thanks, that's the kind of info I was looking for. I listen to music more often than not... in other words, if I'm in my room I'm listening to music, so I need an amplifier that doesn't stress my hearing.

So you believe that the Harman Kardon would be the best option, followed by the marantz and others?
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 452
Registered: Mar-05
Well I'm sure the NAD integrated amp would sound better than the HK but it costs 3 times as much so it darn better.

http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Co de=NAD_C372&Category_Code=NADAMP

It also depends on your speakers. The NAD is known for being able to handle lower impedance speakers (4 ohms to 6 ohms) effortlessly, and to pack the highest amount of current for sudden dynamic bursts of music so it should create a much fuller, more powerful sound with massive headroom.

The other factor is your budget, and how picky you are about your music.

You might get a more noticeable return if instead of spending $900 on the NAD, you spent $300 on the HK 3480 and upgraded from the Athena AS-F2s to say the Ascend CMT-340s for another $600.

I tend to opt for spending less rather than more, so I'd probably try the HK first and if you're happy with how it makes your Athenas sound, stop there. If not, then go to the Ascends, and if still not happy go to the NAD and return the HK. (The Ascends have a 30 day refund policy, you'll just be out about $40 return shipping; jandr.com also is very nice about returns.)

Of course if $1500 is burning a hole in your pocket you could just get the NAD and the Ascends in one fell swoop. : )
 

Bronze Member
Username: Johnharper

Pasadena, CA

Post Number: 16
Registered: Apr-05
New HK3480 on shopping.com for $265 including shipping, no taxes thru Tech for Less
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 21
Registered: Apr-04
Hmm, well I really like the way the athenas sound, and they really go well with the music that I listen to. And I'm not 100% that going with those other speakers would even be an upgrade. The Athena's have been called the best speakers under $1000 on the market by several reviewers, and I've never seen a negative review to date.

I'll probably try going with the nad rather than the HK as it seems like what I want from the description. The dark mid will go well with my Athena's which tend to have a pretty bright mid section.

All I know is that when hooked up to the denon at home the athena's sound better than the pair of B&O pentas hat are usually plugged in there. They are definitely a capable set of speakers. However, their problem is that they are extremely source sensitive. Poorly recorded CD's sound really bad, and the same goes for cheap bright amps.

I'll most likely try to find the nad cheap, if that proves to be impossible I'll go with the HK as per your suggestion.

Thanks for all the help though, it is really appreciated.
 

Silver Member
Username: Edster922

Abubala, Ababala The Occupation

Post Number: 460
Registered: Mar-05
Actually I almost bought the Athenas myself when I was speaker shopping. What drove me to the Ascends was their very natural, flat frequency response and mastery of the midrange which is so crucial to the jazz, classical, and vocal-dominated music that I listen to. They also reveal bad recordings mercilessly, alas.

I'm sure the NAD will make almost any speaker sound amazing though...please fill us in when you get it all set up!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ornlu

Post Number: 23
Registered: Apr-04
I sure will. Everything I've read about the Athenas tells me that they sound better with a better amplifier. I've found this to be true, so I think I'll follow the logical path.
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