Home audio. I need something simple and GOOD.


New member
Username: Chuckeieio

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-12
Hia. Lemmee get right to it. I have a Pioneer receiver (Elite VSX-45TX)

First off bought it since new. (6 years max)
Thing has been a pain in my butt since I bought it. This is why........

The instruction manual is like a doctorate level nuclear fission "how to" to me and I need to plug it into a TV to see all that it offers. I dun wanna!
It has more holes in the back of it than the last stump i used for target practice in the yard with the .22
The remote looks like the cockpit of a fighter jet and every time I push a wrong button it takes me a week (or a knowledgeable friend) to figure out what I did.
I power 4 (yes a stinkin 4) PSB speakers. 2 tower and 2 bookshelf. (one self powered Vega) I don't care about the 10 million sound features it has. I'd be happy with stereo if it's simple.

I have been asking friends and they all say that NAD makes very good and simple amps that all have anti clipping switches for when i get drunk and decide to blow the speakers. (This amp has blown 2 so far and PSB even recommended NAD when I brought them for repair. )

Still after looking at NAD site they seem just as complicated. Do I need a 1980s amp or does anyone make something that plugs in and goes anymore?

My budget for this is 1500 max. Also I need lots of clean power.

Thanks so much Glad I found this place


Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17505
Registered: May-04

Good question for an election year; what I had six years ago blew stuff up and I want a change. Friends say I should go with "X" but I'm not so sure "X" is what I want.

One problem in answering your post is the number of things we need to cover. First, if you are serious about being happy with stereo, then you'll find simplicity in stereo components.

"Mass market" audio lines like Elite depend on the salesperson pointing out the number of features on the front panel and the remote and all the various connectors on the back panel. Beyond that, mass market HT receivers are a bad shell game, guess which one has the pebble under it and you still win nothing. Pioneer Elite is generally mid fi Pioneer with more features and more buttons. But, they did gold plate the connectors on the back panel to make it look more impressive than it will ever be. Look inside the Elite and all those gold plated connectors are still mounted on a piece of cardboard that runs across the back of the receiver chassis instead of being individual jacks as they should be. Internally, there isn't much difference between the regular Pioneer line sold in every store on every corner in every city and the Elite line sold in the in "upscale" audio salons. So, I assume you bought the Elite because you thought all those buttons and features would be beneficial. But they're not, who really needs one hundred and forty different surround formats? Reading the manual is confusing because the product tries to do so much for so many different buyers yet actually most of what it does is a smoke screen for not putting money into performance items.

And, while NAD is quite a bit simpler than the Elite in operation, going to a NAD HT receiver is still going to be buying a lot of rather useless garbage that doesn't make anything work better. "Home theater" covers too much territory today and there are so many variations in how a HT system might operate that manufacturers tend to throw the kitchen sink at the product hoping one or two items will be seen as beneficial and will sway the sale toward their product. In the end, no one uses most of what is included in any HT receiver.

So I would say your first decision is whether you can actually live with a two channel system or not. You don't really have a full surround system right now so I would tend to think what you can live with - if you really want simplicity - is a decent two channel amplifier. If you don't think you can live with a simplified two channel system which somewhat accommodates your video set up, then you might as well head back to the HT receivers and deal with everything in your price range being pretty much what you already have. In fact, spending more on a HT receiver is only going to make matters worse since there will be even more features and more BS as you go up in price.

Before we move forward though, let's clear up a few things.

"I have been asking friends and they all say that NAD makes very good and simple amps that all have anti clipping switches for when i get drunk and decide to blow the speakers. (This amp has blown 2 so far and PSB even recommended NAD when I brought them for repair. )"

Obviously, the amp has not been what's blowing your speakers. The amp is trying to do what you are telling it to do, play louder than it possibly can. You can't blame the amp for the mistakes you are making. The solution, more than buying an amp with soft clipping, is don't tell the amp to play so loud that it blows up your speakers. It's a very rare instance where a system doesn't put out some distress signals before things go kaflooey and stop working. If you intentionally ignore those distress signals, then you're going to blow up speakers with any amp you buy. Period. NO discussion. You control what the system does and does not do and that includes clipping the amp to the point it damages speakers. Got it? If not, head to the local Best Buy and continue to buy bad audio that breaks. No one can help someone who refuses to cease doing things which are stupid and wrong. Eventually, maybe, you'll pay for enough blown up gear that you get the message.

"Also I need lots of clean power."

No, you don't. You need to learn the limits of what you own. "Clean power" ceases to be what you have when you consciously ignore the warnings the system is putting out. You can clip any amplifier when you are drunk and stupid. And having what you consider to be "lots of clean power" is only going to make you think you can play the system louder than you actually can. Which means you're going to continue to break stuff and you'll continue to blame it on the gear.

I've worked in repair shops and sold audio for decades and you are expressing the same sentiments I've heard over and over from people who simply ignore the physical limits of their system. And you're rather like the drunk who can't have anyone or anything help them until they stop doing what it is they're doing that is destructive. Not a knock on you, you have lots of company when it comes to doing dumb things with audio.

Lots of power doesn't get you much in terms of not blowing things up. Power is, by itself, a very inefficient way to gain volume. If you have a one hundred watt amplifier now, a two hundred watt amplifier wouldn't actually play any louder. Doubling the wattage will gain you +3dB of peak level, about the same as turning up the volume just enough to notice a small change. But the gains will be all at the top end, your average levels won't change at all. And you'll still blow stuff up. What people generally need when they want "lots of clean power" is ten times as much wattage since that is where you need to go to have the gains you really want - a system that will play twice as loud. Even if you could afford a good amp with 1,000 watts, it would blow up your speakers by way of too much power. It's like having a car with 1,000 HP but no brakes. There's a level where things are sensibly balanced and 1,000 watts into PSB speakers is not balanced.

Here's what you do need; first, an amplifier capable of actually producing useable power into a speaker load and not just a test bench, and, second, a speaker that makes the most of the watts you have on tap. The first means buying a better, higher quality amplifier with a better power supply - putting money where it counts in an amplifier rather than putting money into BS features. The NAD is a better amplifier than the Elite. The same number of watts in NAD will likely play slightly louder and sound better than the Elite. It will also hold up better to the abuse of clipping the amp where the Elite will not at all. So it's not the amount of watts the amplifier can say it has on paper, it's the quality of those watts into a realworld loudspeaker that matter. What that says is not, "you can play the NAD louder when you get stupid". What that simply says is the NAD is the higher quality amplifier. Overdriven amps are overdriven amps and unless you stop overdriving the amp, nothing will change and you'll continue to blow things up.

Next, buying a speaker that simply plays louder with the same amount of watts will - at times - be beneficial when you do get stupid. Look at the PSB's "sensivity" rating and every time you can up that spec by +3dB, it's the same as buying twice the power in your amp. Buying a speaker with six dB higher sensitivity will be the same as buying four times as much wattage. Buying "volume" by picking speakers with the highest sensitivity spec is much more reasonable than is buying "lots of clean power". Look at speakers made by Klipsch and Cerwin Vega for speakers with higher sensitivity specs that your PSB's. If you don't want to buy new speakers, buy a set of headphones for when you need lots of volume. But stop asking your present system to do things it was not designed to accomplish.

There's really no need for a receiver nowdays. Look at either integrated amplifiers (same internal stuff as a receiver but lacking a tuner and generally better build quality) or buy separates. Here you need to decide just how many inputs/outputs you need and whether you can live without a remote control. In general, the fewer the inputs/outputs on the "pre amp" (or the "control" section of the system), the better the gear and the more you buy internally when it comes to quality. Something like a Rega integrated amplifier (http://www.musicdirect.com/p-45595-rega-brio-r-integrated-amp.aspx is very plain and simple. Sounds good but will still blow up speakers when overdriven - as will any amp. Maybe it's too plain and simple. Higher quality gear tends not to have the tone controls and loudness compensation and things which allow the user to boost the bass and treble and do the things most people who want loud music want to have. That's a trade off you have to decide. Do you really want better quality, or do you just want better quality than what you have now.

NAD, Rotel, Marantz, Vincent and Cambridge offer integrated amps with more conventional features and far better construction quality than the Elite. If you really don't need a remote and more buttons, buy something like a Dayton T amp from Parts Express (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-812 or a Creek from Audio Advisor (http://www.musicdirect.com/p-13587-creek-evolution-2-integrated-amp.aspx

If you want higher wattage, buy a separate pre amp and a separate power amp. You can find selections at the sites I've listed above. Separates allow a buyer to pick the pre amp ("control" amp) with enough inputs/outputs and features and then buy a power amp that will have the amount of watts they desire. The thing to keep in mind here is the power supply of each component is typically the most expensive part in the component and then the chassis adds to that expense. Each time you break up the parts into smaller, more distinct parts, you increase the price due to duplication of power supplies and chassis. But you have more flexibility in what exactly you can own. You get this benefit only if you pay this price. That's pretty much how good audio gear works, you can get "this" but you'll have a higher price tag. Or you can buy the Elite and have little to show for what you spent. You decide.

I would say what you really need is someone to talk to and discuss this with where they can answer more of your questions than a forum can. Figure out what you think you want and give one of the retailers I have listed a call. They all have decent people working for them who will get you started on the right products.

If you have any high quality independent audio dealers in your area, go see what they have. Check your local Yellow Pages under "Stereo". It's always better to shop locally where you can listen before you buy. Don't be surprised if you get advice that says you don't need "lots of clean power" and not a lot of features, that's basically what high end audio is about - quality over quantity. And, most of all, if you audition gear at the local shop, don't buy on line for a few dollars less. Brick and mortar stores are a good thing to support and can be very beneficial to someone not quite certain what they need. If you see the same gear on line for less, most independent dealers will be fairly competitive if you buy from them. Just remember, a brick and mortar shop that allows auditions and dispenses good advice needs to pay for things an online retailer doesn't have to worry about. It only takes one component in need of repair before you'll have more invested in the on line retailer than you will in the B&M independent shop.

Your options are many, you just need someone to assist you in weeding through all the options you have. That's nearly impossible on a forum.


Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17506
Registered: May-04


Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 2941
Registered: Oct-07
NAD does make a stereo receiver.
At 50x2 I would suggest speakers on the more sensitive side of the scale. Perhaps 87/88db or above. Anything over 90db will be very good....if all other considerations are met.


I'd buy a receiver ONLY if for some reason I thought I needed the FM. Many other sources of music exist. Computer 'radio' is a going concern as is Small Dish which takes either /both Sirius / XM and downfeeds it to you. I use BOTH the above to good effect.

Some of the newer stereo receivers even feature a DAC which will allow the connection of a digital source....computer or perhaps a CD or DVD player..The last in a combined audio / Video system.


The outlaw, above, has a USB input so you can connect to a music server maybe even an iPod type device.
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us