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  1. #1

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    Default Audio noob seeking advice on receiver/setup for Monitor 70

    Hi all,

    I just bought a pair of Monitor 70s a couple of days ago. I am trying to setup a system for music listening (mainly classical/jazz). This is my first attempt at building my own audio system and require advice on what I would other equipment I would need for the setup.

    Can someone please suggest which stereo receiver would be the best for these speakers? I am looking for something that is below $350. I was looking at the HK 3490 and thought that they would match the speaker requirements. Is it necessary to also go in for an amp? I have been reading many posts related to stereo and HT receivers and am quiet confused

    I would really appreciate your expert advice
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    Hi all,

    I just bought a pair of Monitor 70s a couple of days ago. I am trying to setup a system for music listening (mainly classical/jazz). This is my first attempt at building my own audio system and require advice on what I would other equipment I would need for the setup.

    Can someone please suggest which stereo receiver would be the best for these speakers? I am looking for something that is below $350. I was looking at the HK 3490 and thought that they would match the speaker requirements. Is it necessary to also go in for an amp? I have been reading many posts related to stereo and HT receivers and am quiet confused

    I would really appreciate your expert advice
    Thanks!
    That receiver is one that lots of folks have and it should drive the 70's just fine. A power amp is not necessary if you dont like to really crank it (and even then the HK may suffice). The only real suggestion I have since your starting out is to think about if you want pre-outs. This would allow you to add the power amp later on if you wanted to try it out. Its one thing that can help future proof your setup a bit.

    Regarding which receiver is "best" thats a highly subjective question, so I defer it to others. I will say I see lots of HK's driving gear on this site and no real complaints about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    A power amp is not necessary if you dont like to really crank it.
    Although not "necessary" a seperate power amp, even at low volumes, can add greatly to the overall quality of sound. I live in an apartment and can't crank it most of the time due to being respectful of my neighbors. However when I was using my RTiA7's as my front speakers and they were coupled with a very respectable Pioneer Elite receiver they sounded very good. But when I purchased a Carver TFM-25 and added it to the mix, even at low volumes the difference was night and day. The speakers suddenly had low end that had only existed with the help of a subwoofer. Clarity, presence and detail were immediatley evident. So yes, although not necessary, an amp can add much to the overall enjoyment.

    However if you are on a limited budget the HK will work very nicely until as suggested you can add an amp and use the receivers pre outs. Welcome to Club Polk by the way. Enjoy.
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    If this is for only 2.0 music listening and you only have a source or two you could do something like this for your ~$350 budget:

    Berhinger SRC2496 as your Pre/DAC

    Berhinger A500 Power Amp

    I would be willing to bet that this combo for ~$370 will best any receiver new in same price range albiet a bit more minimalist. It is all dependant on your usage scenario. We are firmly in needs assesment territory here with you.

    The SRC will support up to three sources (AES/EBU, TOSLink, S/PDIF). It is a fully balanced design that will go XLR right into the A500.

    The A500 is realistically measured at 230 watts per channel at 4 ohms 1khz. More than enough balls for your Monitor 70's. The A500 as a matter of fact will drive any speaker in the Polk line up no problem.

    Are there better DACS and Amps than listed? Sure. But if you are talking straight up 2.0 music it's worth looking at.

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    EndersShadow and Fongolio, thanks for your valuable inputs. The HK3490 I am considering does have a pre-amp outs.. so looks like I could go in for it. As you guys suggested I can then add a good amplifier at a later stage (....once I save up sufficient $$$ for one ).... I had one more question.... are 14 gauge speaker cables good and could you suggest a good place where I can order them from?
    Thanks a ton for your support....

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    Monitor 70's were my first speakers and they are awesome. At one point I had them matched up with an HK and they are a good match. I also noticed an improvement when I added an external B&K amp. So it is nice to be able to do it in steps, but if you can afford it, save yourself the future expense and start out with an entry level tube preamp and amp. I found that the difference in sound quality from my HK to a separate preamp and amp was huge.

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    Jinjuku.... You have given me a completely new perspective to the setup... are there anything specific I need to keep in mind for such a setup, with a Pre/ADC and Power amp? I am sorry if I am asking really basic questions, I am very new to audio systems .... Also do you think that performance-wise it is better to go in for a pre/DAC+power amp rather than a single receiver??

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    Hi Ern Dog.... can you suggest some entry level tube preamp and amps I can look for??

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    I had one more question.... are 14 gauge speaker cables good and could you suggest a good place where I can order them from?
    Thanks a ton for your support....
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    Jinjuku.... You have given me a completely new perspective to the setup... are there anything specific I need to keep in mind for such a setup, with a Pre/ADC and Power amp? I am sorry if I am asking really basic questions, I am very new to audio systems .... Also do you think that performance-wise it is better to go in for a pre/DAC+power amp rather than a single receiver??
    If we are talking about distilling the 2.0 listening experience to its' essence then yes, I think something like the SRC and the A500 hands down is a better solution than an AVR of some sort if you are concerned with a straight up listening experience and you don't need a ton of inputs.

    This is all easier said than done since while I had HK AVR 3600 till yesteday and I currently have a Behringer DCX2496 (which shares a lot of the same internals as the SRC) I don't know if the AVR 3600 is in the same sonic or design envelope as the HK you looked at.

    I will say the A500 is a better amp section.

    What are your source(s). Something you don't get with the SRC: A remote. But your source may have this. Again we are currenlty at needs assesment. If you could list your current equipment and desires it will help.

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    Currently, my sources are a Sony DVP-NC800H/B, MacPro and iPod. Maybe at some point I would like to upgrade to better player. My aim for this system is to improve my music listening experience. So do you still think that a DAC and power amp setup is better with what I have currently??

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    You will plug your sources into the DAC. This would be via their digital out.

    The Sony DVD changer has optical out so that is a go. I don't know about your iPod. I haven't seen a docking station with either TOSLink or s/pdif out. So that may be a no go.

    What Mac model is it that you have exactly?

    If two of your three sources are analog then you may not want to consider the SRC. A receiver is going to have the analog in that you need but you are left with using the DAC's in the iPod and your Mac.

    I would simply look at adding something like the Airport Express and using that exclusively with it's optical out and integrate it with iTunes. Run all your audio loss less.

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    Hmmm I had not thought about the analog source part! I have a MacBook Pro 2.26GHz. You suggest that I can add the Airport express to the mix and be able to use iPod and the Mac with the DAC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    Hi Ern Dog.... can you suggest some entry level tube preamp and amps I can look for??

    Dared tube preamp are a great bang for the buck. For the amp an Adcom, B&K, Parasound, Rotel, there's so many to choose from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ern Dog View Post
    Dared tube preamp are a great bang for the buck. For the amp an Adcom, B&K, Parasound, Rotel, there's so many to choose from.
    And most likely none in his $350 budget for both a pre and amp. You would know if anyone would, have you seen a tube pre used for $200 or below? It's just a space I don't work in.
    Last edited by jinjuku; 11-26-2010 at 10:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    Hmmm I had not thought about the analog source part! I have a MacBook Pro 2.26GHz. You suggest that I can add the Airport express to the mix and be able to use iPod and the Mac with the DAC?
    The MacBook pro can do either TOSLink or S/PDIF. So you have two sources you can connect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    EndersShadow and Fongolio, thanks for your valuable inputs. The HK3490 I am considering does have a pre-amp outs.. so looks like I could go in for it. As you guys suggested I can then add a good amplifier at a later stage (....once I save up sufficient $$$ for one ).... I had one more question.... are 14 gauge speaker cables good and could you suggest a good place where I can order them from?
    Thanks a ton for your support....
    Welcome to Club Polk.
    The HK 3490 is probably your best bang for the buck option for two channel.
    You can get one of those from the Harman ebay store for around $200 - $250. I don't think you can go wrong with it when starting out. It has a pretty good FM receiver which is a plus. Its internal amp drives a pair of LSi7's pretty well. I also like it with a pair of Monitor 40's. It will power the Monitor 70's fine until you get yourself an external amp.

    For relatively short runs that are typical for two channel, 14AWG is more than sufficient. I like Parts Express for speaker wire at an affordable price. Stay away from the expensive exotics unless you win a lottery and have money to burn.

    When you are looking at two channel amps, I really like the Emotiva UPA-1 monoblock amps. Probably the best bang for the buck new amps out there.

    There are some good used amps available. I enjoy the Adcom 5802, other than it gets too hot. Ok for the winter, but not good in the summer.

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    Pioneer SC-07, BDP-05FD, Emotiva XPA-5 x 2, XPA-1 x 2,
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    MB HT/ 2 ch:
    LG 47LM5800, Pioneer SC-1523, BDP-23FD, Sony BDP-S790, Emotiva XPA-2, XPA-5,
    Polk Audio LSi25,15, CSi5, LSiFX, PSW505 x 4

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    McIntosh MC122, MC162, MC202, C15, C41, C42, MA6500, MA6900, MCD201, MCD301, MR85, MX130, MX134
    Emotiva RSP-2, RPA-1, ERC-2
    Adcom GCD 750, GFP 750, GFA 5802
    Polk Audio LSi7,9, 15

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    Thanks for the input xcapri79! I must say that you have a very nice setup there.

    After quiet some research, I felt that the HK 3490 was what I was looking for until I heard from Ern Dog and jinjuku. There are some suggestions to go for a DAC+power amp setup. I have researched on the Berhinger products mentioned in the post above and they seem to to be quiet impressive. The tube preamps are way above what I can afford at this point.

    I am now in a fix whether to go in for the HK3490 or the Berhinger DAC+power amp for my system. I intend to use this setup solely as a listening station! I am unable to decide which of the above should I go with!

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    Thank you. I have a lot more not listed. I enjoy my Polk Audio speakers immensely and found that the Emotiva amps work very well with them. I'm also partial to Pioneer and HK receivers and have some Adcom two channel equipment.

    Jinjuku knows his stuff, so I wouldn't debate him on tne performance of the Berhingers.
    Berhinger has good performance when working, but there are some quality issues.
    Read some of the comments on Amazon and else where.

    I have several HK 3490's and got the iPod docks for them. The dock was relatively expensive, but iPod is big with my family so I got it for them. The HK 3490 is of good built quality and has an understated look. The WAF is a consideration.
    Last edited by xcapri79; 11-26-2010 at 11:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfpack View Post
    I am now in a fix whether to go in for the HK3490 or the Berhinger DAC+power amp for my system. I intend to use this setup solely as a listening station! I am unable to decide which of the above should I go with!
    The Behringer line is fine for home / studio duty. I wouldn't take it on the road however.

    Glad I could put you in a bind over what to do I know for what I do I would go with the Behringer DAC + Amp (fully balanced setup). It's all about trade off's. I am sure you will be fine either way. I do think that if you go the HK route you will always be saying 'What if....'

    Don't get me wrong, the HK is nice and has a ton of convenience built in. The question is: How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

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    wolfpack, avoid anything from Behringer, period.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    wolfpack, avoid anything from Behringer, period.
    My DCX digital cross over, A500, and EP2500 amp have been serving daily duty for for 2.5 years now w/o issue. So far all my gear has been trouble free (Parasound, Adcom, Sanyo) knock on wood.

    The DCX is dead quiet, awesome as a sub-woofer management system and almost infinately tweakable. As a matter of fact if the OP had a bit more budget I would have suggested the DCX 2496 due to it's flexability (if we could get him down to a single source) and with the DCX it would allow for the eventual addition of a subwoofer unlike the SRC (it's only shortcoming).

    Since the OP is asking for the communities help with his ~$350 budget what could you put together to come closest to his needs? Personally I think I have come close w/o really sacrificing anything.
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    A used NAD integrated amp might be a good choice in the price range.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    From DIYAudio.com:

    I have the src in my chain for almost one year now. I run all digital and also the analog from the preampout to it. The preamp is now only used for tuner and turntable input.

    I cannot find any disadvantage soundwise by incorporating that unit.
    Contrary, to feed a digital signal direct to thye src instead of passing it through cdp's own dac and then from the preamp to the src/ or the deq sounds better to me - better presentation of the upper range, more clarity.


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    From a thourough review of the SRC 2496 from lampizator:

    I can tell you - after hitting the UPSAMPLE button on the Behringer - I was taken to heaven. The DAC strarted to behave like a magic box.
    The normal signal, the normal sound - was taken to another level.

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    Your posts mean nothing Jinjuku, have no idea what context these snippets are coming from. Anyone can find positive user reviews for anything on 'net. Let it go and for christsakes quit taking things so personally. You are acting like we ran over your dog. So you have Behringer gear and you like it, and some don;t like it, BFD.

    Move on already.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    jinjuku, I guess you did not look at the video that was provided on the AVS link you provided. You should look at the video and pay attention to what is going on and listen to what the gentlemen is saying. I don't want to think about what can happen to one's speakers if the distortion decides to kick in

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWj5C...layer_embedded

    I would be a lot more interested by such technical/practical review than simple text reviews which are actually prt of the market hype. Audio magazines often have much more interest in providing good reviews than you think. Personally, this simple video demo of the gear is more than enough to ensure this amp never drives ANY of my set-ups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TECHNOKID View Post
    jinjuku, I guess you did not look at the video that was provided on the AVS link you provided. You should look at the video and pay attention to what is going on and listen to what the gentlemen is saying. I don't want to think about what can happen to one's speakers if the distortion decides to kick in

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWj5C...layer_embedded

    I would be a lot more interested by such technical/practical review than simple text reviews which are actually prt of the market hype. Audio magazines often have much more interest in providing good reviews than you think. Personally, this simple video demo of the gear is more than enough to ensure this amp never drives ANY of my set-ups.
    I have known about that video for a while now. It's old news. I haven't heard of any of the recent A500's exhibiting this problem. Mine doesn't. The easy fix for the units affected: Turn the gain knob all the way up. There was some errata if the gain knob was set 75% of the way. Problem solved. Not that I am advocating such a solution but it worked. Or get it fixed under warranty.

    Guess what the DCX2496 up till the March 2008 releases had a bug that they couldn't run stable with a 96Hz sampling input rate (the bug was with the Cirrus Logic chip therein). I don't use the AES/EBU input so I didn't worry about it for my application.
    Last edited by jinjuku; 11-26-2010 at 04:46 PM.

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    Lastly:

    I wouldn't recommend something like the Behringer products if I didn't own. I do.

    If the OP had a $1000 budget you would have seen some other recommendations (besides the EP2500 and DCX, they simply represent unprecedented value when used for a sub woofer application).

    He wants to do the best SQ for $350. I would be willing to put the SRC/A500 up againts the HK or Yamaha receiver mentioned (pure direct mode) for pink slips.

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