Why are no one talks about stereo receivers? Some of us still love 2ch sound.Which is better? The HK3370 or the Onkyo TX8410. i have DCM time frame speakers.


The reason no one talks about stereo receivers is that the audio companies have all but abandoned the 2 channel market. I have heard both the H/K and the Onkyos and I don't think either is a good choice. Their sound is flat and lacks detail. Same is true of the Denon DRA-395 my buddy got.

For good two channels sound, most audiophiles have retreated to the integrated amp. It really depends upon your budget and what you want (do you want a remote control? Do you need a phono pre-amp?). How much power do you need?

I have a lot of suggestions for integrated amps; however, if you still want a receiver because you want a tuner built in, I have two suggestions:

1. NAD C 730/740: Has the sound you remember from the glory days of stereo with a detailed and sweet sounding amp. I used to have an old NAD 3140 integrated amp with DCM Time Windows speakers--it was easily the best sounding system I have ever owned and the NAD 2 channel receivers still have that wonderful sound today.

2. Marantz 4320: Of the mainline Japanese audio brands, this is the only 2 channel receiver I would consider. It is far more musical than the H/K Onkyo, or Denon receivers. Sonically, I don't enjoy it as much as the NADs but the sound is better than anything else.

Good two channel integrated amps can be had from Rega, Arcam, Cambridge Audio, Myriad, and NAD without breaking the bank. A Rega Brio runs about $499, Arcams start about $500, a nice Cambridge Audio A300 is currently being closed out at Audio Advisors for $199.95 (audioadvisors.com), and you can get a very well reviewed NAD 320bee for about $320 from Kiefs (www.kiefs.com).

I have a SAE180 eq. Will this help?

I don't know as I have not tried using one. However, after extensive listening of my buddy's Denon DRA-395, I would say no. The signal from this receiver (and it sounds just like all of the other mass market two channel receivers I have listened to from Onkyo and H/K) comes out flat sounding--like there is no depth to the soundstage. You get the sound and don't miss any musical notes, but it all sounds lifeless and sterile. An equalizer simply won't help that.

If you have the chance, compare any of these two channel receivers to an NAD 320 integrated and you will see what I mean. With the NAD, or any of these integrateds that I suggested, the sound is so much more alive than from the mass market stereo receivers. I think you would also hear a difference with either the NAD or marantz receivers, too.

I agree about new stereo receivers sounding very flat. I have a H.K. 730 receiver from early seventies. They made great stereo in those days. My suggestion look for vintage equipment for stereo sound.


Matthew B. wrote me on a similar subject and he ended up getting the NAD 320bee integrated amp. He loves it and twice posted messages about how good it was. Check it out. As I said, it costs about $320 from most NAD dealers like Kiefs and Saturday Audio, so it won't break the bank. It will sound great with your DCMs, too.

john rodgers
I also have a Pioneer 8500II integrated amp rated at 65 watts. What do you think?


I don't know as I have never heard your Pioneer integrated amp. However, the real key is whether you like it. If it isn't satisfying to listen to, then I would say you should look elsewhere, like the NAD. If you do like it, I would keep it and use it for my two channel listening.

"Satisfaction" is the standard--whether or not you are satisfied with the sound. When the sound is "right" it will satisfy you and you will enjoy going back to listen for more. If it isn't satisfying, it is almost alwsys because you hear flaws in the sound that you cannot tolerate and you do not get any enjoyment out of the sound. When the sound does not satisfy you, it is really just noise and you will find yourself turning the system off before you planned and you will listen to it less and less, because it does not provide you with that emotional response that is what you want out of stereo sound.

Outlaw Audio will be coming out this winter with a retro-styled stereo amp that also has a USB port for those that want to play MP3's or have a computer hook-up. It will be 75 watts per channel (and Outlaw makes a hefty 75 watts). I think the price will be between $549-$599. It is supposed to have a hellaciously good tuner section also.

If that is too rich for your blood, there are sites such as Audigon.com and look for old stereo receivers or stereo integrated amps.
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