Comments on this setup?
I'm putting together a new system from scratch, and was hoping I could get some comments from the experts around here :) It'll be used for 60 to 70% music, mostly rock -- anything from Tom Petty to Metallica -- with a little country thrown in. My room is 17x21x8.
Center: CSiA6 (if I can find a place for it) or CSiA4
No sub yet
Receiver: Yamaha 663
Amp: Emotiva XPA5
My question is with the receiver. A little background: my video needs are very basic. I don't have an HDTV or any HDMI devices, so the 2 HDMI ports, BTB/WTW, and lack of scaling in the 663 isn't an issue to me right now. I do like having the HDMI capability for future expansion though.
Other receivers I looked at were the Pioneer 1018, H/K 254, and Onkyo 706. I passed on all of them for one reason or another.
A few years ago I had a Denon and Polk setup, but I had to sell it when money was tight. I was very happy with the way the two sounded together, and I would love to get another Denon. Plus I've heard good things about the Dynamic Volume capability in their new receivers. Unfortunately, it's a big jump to the 2809 to get pre-outs, and if I were to do that, I would have to put off the separate amp for a while. I budgeted $2000, and the system I spec'ed out above will be around $2200 so I definitely don't want to go much higher than that. Even the prices I'm seeing on last year's 2808 would put me way over what I want to spend right now.
Any opinions? Stick with what I described, or hold off on the amp for the higher end receiver? Other than the Dynamic Volume and a couple minor things (for example being able to listen to digital inputs in zone 2, which is something I would probably use but could work around with just an analog cable), are there any must-have features the Denon provides for 2x the price? Also, are there any other receivers I should be considering in the ~$400 price range of the 663?
Thanks for the help!
I would probably go with your first plan and get the 663 and the amp. The amp will drive all of your speakers much better and you'll gain a lot of bass response with the A7s using the amp. This is especially important because you are not currently runnning a subwoofer. I own a V-661 and it can be a little on the bright side for music, but since you'll be using an external amp, this shouldn't be an issue. I've heard the Emotiva amps sound pretty nuetral. If I were in you're shoes, I would go with the system you outlined above first. The next thing I would do is add a good sub to your system. After you have done this, sit back and evaluate your system. It may be everything you are looking for and more. If not, you could go with a different reciever when your budget allows you to get what you want. Since you will be running an Emotiva amp, I would look at the new line of Emotiva preamps that they are coming out with instead of a reciever as an option. I've heard good things about Emotiva preamps, so I wouldn't expect the new one to be any different. I will probably be doing the same once I get all of my speaker channels powered by external amplifiers. Just something to throw out there.
Welcome Colden. Sounds like you are going to have a slamming system. Don't settle for less than what you want.
You might be able to find a good deal on Audiogon for a Denon.
My setup is in aspects inferior yours and for this iWant.
Also if you need a ~400 dollar receiver and you have some money in savings you could wait for.. Go on ebay and get a 600 dollar receiver through Microsoft's buy-it-now cash back and get 25% back in two months.
This is what I did.
Just a thought.
Thanks for the responses.
Dawg, I had heard about the brightness of Yamaha receivers too. Forgive my ignorance, but that is all in the amp section? That's what I thought, but I just want to make sure.
cfrizz, that's what I was afraid of ;) Buying everything I want could get expensive!
About the Live search cashback for Ebay, is that still going on? I was just looking for that for the Polk Direct site, and it looks like they stopped doing it for Ebay? Maybe I just couldn't find it this time.
I would love to be able to just listen to all these components together, but there's no store in the local area that carries all of these. Especially the Emotiva, of course.
I would tend to agree with you with the brightnes being caused mainly by the amp section of the reciever. If indeed, this is the case, having your speakers being powered by an external amp certainly should lessing the brightness if you are using a warm or nuetral sounding amp. There's always the possibility that there may be some brightness being created by the Yamies audio processors though. I am using my 661 in my bedroom system, so I don't have a great need to add an amp. I have never tried the 661 with an external amp to see if the inherit "brightness" is being caused by the amp, processors, or both. Hopefully somebody on here will have experience with this and can chime in on their experiences with a 663 and an external amp. I know with my main system, I have added some external amps, and the sound is pretty much the same as the straight-up recievers sound, but with a bigger soundstage and far more headroom. I can turn the system all the way up (not that I recommend this) without any noticable distortion. I could definitely not do this powering the speakers with the reciever alone before. Of course that goes to show that the amps I am running tend to be nuetral in sound, with no "coloring".
Welcome colden. Have you bought those speakers already? If not...for a 70% music rig, and if you have/plan to get the Emotiva amp, I would go with LSi9's, LSiC and LSi7's, which are at a good price now at the Polk ebay store. Nothing wrong with the RTiA line, but they are more geared to HT than music. LSi's excels at both music & HT.
colden, I have the 663 and run an EMO LPA1 amp but do not run any speakers close to your choices. EMO claims that their amps are very neutral. As the LPA 1 is the only amp I have ever had I can't say how this neutrality would compare to other manufactures. But I can say that other than the expected strengthening of the bass and a little added sound stage I did not see any difference in the brightness with the amp added. The 663 replaced a 20 yr old Denon, which had a warmer sound that I prefer over the 663. But I do not find the 663 to be overly bright, just not as warm as the Denon. I upgraded to go from ProLogic to the new processing and did not like the larger $$ of a Denon that had pre-outs, which was a must for me and I feel that should be one thing on everyones list. I am happy with my set up for now considering the cost. The LSi series always get's the nod for music around here by many experienced members who have had many Polk set ups and speak with first hand knowledge. The LSi are all 4 ohm and for the most part pretty power hungry, so the amp would be needed immediately if you go that route. The speakers in your OP I think could sound all right with the 663 amp or an equal size Denon AVR. But to really get them to perform up to their fullest potential would need a bit more so the amp would still be a big improvement, but could be picked up a little later on. Myself I think I would take advantage of the EMO sale on the XPA5 now then fill in the rest of the system with your first choice RTiA's or the LSi's and AVR you decide on as funds permit. For me the 663 or the Pioneer 1018, H/K 254 is the way to go. But you should think about saving for the Denon if you are concerned about brightness because if you go with the 663 and find it too bright for you, you will be kicking yourself in the butt for not waiting until you could get the Denon.
Thanks again for the comments. I haven't bought anything yet, and probably won't until after Christmas. I'm expecting to get some money as a gift, but don't want to count my chickens before they're hatched!
I'd be open to the LSi's. I'd of course want to listen to them first; unfortunately the only place I know of to hear both LSi's and RTiA's around here is 2 hrs away. We do have family there though, so it's not a big inconvenience to make the drive. Given my budget and prices on the Polk Direct site, I'd probably only be able to get the LSi9's and the center now. Then wait to get either the 7's for surrounds, or 15's for fronts and move the 9's to surrounds.
apphd, thanks for the information. I hear you on kicking myself later... I'm really torn. I'm eying a great price on Denon 988's, but just can't decide if the more advanced Audyssey features on the 989/2809 are worth the extra bucks. Maybe I should just find a place with a liberal return policy and buy them both... or I should stop thinking so much and just pick one already! :rolleyes:
I have a Yamaha HTR-6160 which is identical to the 663 and am running RTiA7's for fronts in my home theater setup. I'd read about the Yamaha's possible brightness but wanted the Yamaha for HDMI switching. I have not seen any problem with over brightness and I'm not even using an external amp on the HT setup. Before the Yamaha I was using a Pioneer Elite VSX-52Txi. I find the Yamaha more detailed suprisingly. In my two channel setup the RTiA7's with the Carver TFM-25 amp and CT-Seven pre amp totally shine. The speakers are on a switch to allow me to change from HT to two channel.