AVR in Stereo Only - which is best

Timber_MG

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
7,161
Reaction score
283
Location
Pretoria
I'm not arguing that with the right tools and knowhow you can do a better job compensating for the room manually, but I disagree with your blanket statement that sans such tools and ability, a system should be left as is rather than using the likes of XT32.
If one optimizes room placement, applies DSP to the sub FShroeder area with sub optimization and has speakers that are up to the task I disagree for stereo (which this thread is about). If the source music is near field recorded + digital reverb faire I would say fine, but if it is acoustic recordings my experience is otherwise.
 

KenMasters

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
409
Location
København
If one optimizes room placement, applies DSP to the sub FShroeder area with sub optimization and has speakers that are up to the task I disagree for stereo (which this thread is about). If the source music is near field recorded + digital reverb faire I would say fine, but if it is acoustic recordings my experience is otherwise over a couple of dozen setups.
In your experience by way of personal preference, or empirical evidence?

EDIT: I'll also reiterate the point that L+R Bypass is an option post Audyssey setup.
 
Last edited:

santoshlv426

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
Sep 20, 2010
Messages
1,867
Reaction score
71
Location
Centurion
All good replies. That said, I was meaning to compare the AVR's performance similar to that of a stereo only unit ie. no room equalization, which a stereo amp does not offer.
Put another way, would any of you give up your stereo amp for an AVR for stereo listening ?
 

KenMasters

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
409
Location
København
All good replies. That said, I was meaning to compare the AVR's performance similar to that of a stereo only unit ie. no room equalization, which a stereo amp does not offer.
Put another way, would any of you give up your stereo amp for an AVR for stereo listening ?
I think there's no chance an AVR could compete with a dedicated stereo amp if you're talking remotely the same outlay.

Saying that, I do have two friends with stereo setups that they run off AVRs for convenience.
 

Timber_MG

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
7,161
Reaction score
283
Location
Pretoria
KenMasters... If you want the objective angle...Toole and Olive both have done preference data on EQ systems and they have all to date fallen short of the system bypassed above Fshroeder (even those of their paymasters in the Harman group). They don't touch the EQ in their reference listening environments based on this for the mains other than for known direct sound/listening window EQ on the order of 1-2 dB. There is utility to XT32 in many situations sure, even better if one knows what the power response of a speaker is, what reflections not to correct for and then adjust the correction manually. Also there is confirmation bias like crazy, seeing things flatten out is always a visual indicator but if one is honest there is a point where the correction starts to detract and I have just grown tired of systems that sound bland and unnatural on acoustic recordings...much rather grab for my cans or the defeat/direct button.

I model EQ filters and listen quite a lot. I also have a strong preference for high directivity speakers which have less interference from the room in the early sound field. I have often had to swallow some pride (sense of response matching target) and tame back the correction. Flatter measurement not equalling better sound. I just find the sense of space and timbre of instruments to suffer after some point. I don't care for jazz quartet with the vocalist swallowing a large dia condenser, far field natural recordings just highlight .

I even tweak my analogue setup with FIR room correction tools and iterate the setup (speaker positioning, sub filters, gains, etc) until the correction is minimal and then apply not more than half correction for those reflections that are min-phase. It's surprizing how little over-correction it takes to make the sound artificial, perfect flatness measured in room just tires me out and doesn't sound natural when I move about the room
 

Timber_MG

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
7,161
Reaction score
283
Location
Pretoria
All good replies. That said, I was meaning to compare the AVR's performance similar to that of a stereo only unit ie. no room equalization, which a stereo amp does not offer.
Put another way, would any of you give up your stereo amp for an AVR for stereo listening ?
If there are difficult room setups then I would use the stereo amp and use the EQ for subwoofer integration to balance out the room at the LF. I wouldn't use an AVR for this though often their performance is quite satisfactory and issues overshadowed elsewhere. Often even 30-40cm movement in the main speaker locations can significantly improve SBIR issues.
 
Last edited:

KenMasters

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
409
Location
København
If there a difficult room setups then I would use the stereo amp and use the EQ for subwoofer integration to balance out the room at the LF. I wouldn't use an AVR for this.
The utility of Audyssey also extends to sub phase alignment, which is not something your average user is likely to get right on their own. Remember that to most people subwoofer integration means doing the sub crawl and intuiting gain and crossover.
 

Music_Lover

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
1,666
Reaction score
86
Location
Midrand
Put another way, would any of you give up your stereo amp for an AVR for stereo listening ?
No, but then again HT does not interest me at all and I've never owned an AVR.
If it did interest me, I would look into some kind of HT bypass solution if possible.
 

CD Fourie

AVForums Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
72
Reaction score
21
Location
Somerset West
All good replies. That said, I was meaning to compare the AVR's performance similar to that of a stereo only unit ie. no room equalization, which a stereo amp does not offer.
Put another way, would any of you give up your stereo amp for an AVR for stereo listening ?

With my limited experience, I've only ever owned one such product: Vincent SV382.
Was not all that great a surround processor, but I though it would easily take on most stereo integrated amplifiers. Recently sold mine, as I had no use for it. I miss it every day. It was probably 96% as enjoyable as my current Ayre Acoustics pre/power - roughly 50 times the price at which the Vincent was sold for.
 

Jukkelstukkel

AVForums Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2018
Messages
99
Reaction score
23
Location
Somerset West
All good replies. That said, I was meaning to compare the AVR's performance similar to that of a stereo only unit ie. no room equalization, which a stereo amp does not offer.
Put another way, would any of you give up your stereo amp for an AVR for stereo listening ?
Hi, the statement re stereo amps not offering room correction/EQ is not correct i.t.o. new generation products.
NAD has quite few stereo units that offers Dirac Room EQ, either pre-installed or adding it on with the C399 integrated plus die latest MDCBluOs2 streaming + Dirac board.
 

Nikkel

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2014
Messages
1,049
Reaction score
193
Location
Cape Town
Stereo amp... This is the way!


this is the way.png
 

blizzard

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
1,614
Reaction score
147
Location
Cape Town
+1 on that!!
AVR in Stereo. Very simple answer. AVR will NEVER touch a proper setup stereo system for stereo music listening. Santosh , you have been trying to justify this for years. Get someone to setup a serious stereo system in your own environment and then we talk again 😉
 

KenMasters

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
409
Location
København
AVR in Stereo. Very simple answer. AVR will NEVER touch a proper setup stereo system for stereo music listening. Santosh , you have been trying to justify this for years. Get someone to setup a serious stereo system in your own environment and then we talk again 😉

This I disagree with. A good AV amplifier/processor with a well implemented pre-amp section can be matched with any level of power amp. There's nothing inherently special or magical about stereo only products (as much as some manufacturers would want you to think so). In fact, many of the more lofty, esoteric variety perform quite poorly on bench tests.
 

Jukkelstukkel

AVForums Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2018
Messages
99
Reaction score
23
Location
Somerset West
From my experience a dedicated stereo set up, be it Pre/Power Amp or integrated will ALWAYS beat the AVR/AV Pre-pro and Power amp similar quality
I my set up I have compared the R 120K+ NAD Masters series M17V2, set up in dedicated Stereo 2.1 using NAD Preset feature, with the Classic series C658 stereo Pre-amp/DAC, selling for less than R 40K
It is also important to note that both units are highly regarded in USA audio press that counts - Stereophile and TAS
Myself and a few other hi-fi nutters concluded that it is a case of no comparison with the C658 being miles ahead.
I guess it come down to the old adage of LESS is MORE. The simpler the signal path, the better the sound
 

KenMasters

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
6,003
Reaction score
409
Location
København
From my experience a dedicated stereo set up, be it Pre/Power Amp or integrated will ALWAYS beat the AVR/AV Pre-pro and Power amp similar quality
I my set up I have compared the R 120K+ NAD Masters series M17V2, set up in dedicated Stereo 2.1 using NAD Preset feature, with the Classic series C658 stereo Pre-amp/DAC, selling for less than R 40K
It is also important to note that both units are highly regarded in USA audio press that counts - Stereophile and TAS
Myself and a few other hi-fi nutters concluded that it is a case of no comparison with the C658 being miles ahead.
I guess it come down to the old adage of LESS is MORE. The simpler the signal path, the better the sound
If you do your homework, you'd see NAD historically doesn't do very well in the AV space, with poorly performing products at all price levels, M17V2 included. The most inexpensive current Denon with pre-outs would outperform it as a pre-pro.
 

Dreamerm6

AVForums Veteran
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
478
Reaction score
171
Location
Centurion
My experience with AVR in stereo mode.
1. NAD 778
2. MARANTZ 7015
3. ONKYO RZ840 / RZ1100
4. DENON/PIONEER X4700 / Elite 505
5. YAMAHA RXA3080
 

Jukkelstukkel

AVForums Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2018
Messages
99
Reaction score
23
Location
Somerset West
KenMasters with all due respect perhaps you should back your statement about 'poorly performing products in the AV space" up with some hard facts.
Historically NAD AVRs have not done well in more mass market orientated hi-fi mags such as What Hi-fi? Question is why, given positive reviews in the USA press etc? Perhaps it lies in that What Circus? giving more weight to bells and whistles, latest tech for A/V Surround Sound purposes, versus stereo performance. Although to their credit I have seen tests on Jap AVRs where they said that stereo performance is below average, compared to other AVRs

And the point you are missing - the gist of this article is about using an AVR in the stereo, hence the stereo performance.

For the buyer it becomes horses for courses. If multi-channel effects and bells and whistles is more important to the end-user, than stereo 2 hi-fi performance, the Jap way should be satisfactory. But then live with the lack of stereo musicality.

Just a few examples of the opposite of "poorly performing products"... with regards to NAD AVRs

14 Aug 2019 — T758V3 - EISA Editors voted to recognise its versatility, value, performance, and future-proof design.

Best Premium Home Theatre Receiver by World’s Most Prestigious Hi-Fi Press​

EISA, the Expert Imaging and Sound Association, is an independent body of over 50 speciality electronics magazines from around the world.

Wow, seems to me that in the contributor's esteemed opinion they got it wrong...

Let's have a look at the statement re the Masters M17... and what some of the reviews say.

USA - Hometheatrereview.com
Conclusion

The NAD M17 is a compelling surround sound processor. In terms of audio quality, this is one of the best processors I have experienced. Build quality is impressive, with an appearance to match. The Modular Design Construction is an amazing promise by NAD to future-proof the product for any unforeseen evolution.

USA - Hometheaterhifi.com
05 Sept 2018 — At $5999, the NAD M17 V2 SURROUND SOUND PREAMP PROCESSOR is expensive, but I defy any preamp to best it for less than twice the price.
Pros and cons: Beautifully layered sound ⋅ Tremendously-wide front sound stage ⋅ Broad dynamic range

USA- Stereophile.com - The one that counts most...
NAD's Masters Series M17 V2 is a superb-sounding pre-pro and DAC right out of the box, but Dirac Live elevates it to something special. Instrumental timbres seemed more realistic, soundstages were nearly holographic, and my listening sessions grew longer from sheer musical enjoyment.

And there is more

Finally a blast from the past - Something in the statement of 'historically NAD' and then further unsubstantiated remarks..

In the early 2000s there were 4 NAD AVRs on the market - the T741, T751, T761 and the T770 - 3/4 was listed by "Hi-fi Choice" then the UK's premium hi-fi publication as "Best Buys".

Much to the absolute annoyance of the Jap brands Hi-fi Choice did a comparison test of 5 5.1AVRs. All were rated at 100W per channel. The purpose of the test was to determine the real world output whilst driving all channels simultaneously. The contenders were models from NAD, Harmon Kardon, Marantz, Sony and one other brand. Only the NAD and the HK met the manufacturer's claimed spec of the 100W output per channel. The others failed dismally. The Marantz delivered only 25W pr channel into all 5 and was specced at 100W per channel

A finally 2 comment - How did the T758 that originated in 2012 win the the EISA award in 2019 as the T758V3? Through NAD's unique MDC upgrade technology, whilst most other AVRs, if not all dating back to 2012 can be found on the proverbial technology-of-yester-years scrap heap.
 
Top