AV preamp 2.2 upgrade

Nic_Miller

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Hi all

Hopefully this hasn't specifically been discussed before. First post so 'Hello!', and please go easy!

Current setup:

Marantz TT15S turntable
Simaudio Moon 110LP v2 phono preamp
Oppo 203 Bluray
Marantz AV8802A preamp
ATI AT6005 power amp (front 5 channels)
Arcam FMJ P7 Power amp (rear channels and future height speakers)
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Sony 83 inch A90J Master series 4k OLED
Monitor Audio Gold 300 5g fronts
Monitor Audio Gold 300 5g surrounds
Monitor Audio Gold C350 centre
Monitor Audio Gold 100 5g rear
2 x JTR Captivator 2400 subwoofers

I set my system up principally for HT - it performs extremely well for that (please note the JTR subs are en route and not in action yet - currently slumming it with a SVS PB13 Ultra). However I am getting back into vinyl hence the TT15S turntable and Simaudio phono stage.

I really want to maximise my vinyl experience (virtually no digital audio listened to) and ideally I want to incorporate my two subs as I do like lovely deep solid bass. A lot of my listening would be rock type music - basically anything with drums and guitars, but also more female vocal dominated Indie/pop/'alternative'.

I only want a single setup, so looking at incorporating a stereo (2.2/2.1) preamp with HT bypass between my Marantz pre and my ATI/Arcam. But I am really struggling finding a suitable option. Being based in the UK there are few places to listen and no chance of home demos.

I currently use the Marantz in Pure Direct but with large main plus LFE+main - which I now understand gives me not a pure direct but double bass! Thanks Marantz for the helpful description! I need to experiment a bit with settings to discover how the various settings sound.

The options seem to be:

- Preamp with digital room correction and bass management - such as the Anthem STR preamp which has sub outputs and option of pure analogue;
- Preamp with HT bypass but no option to realistically incorporate my subs such as McIntosh, Primaluna, Bryston etc - If you look at my sub specs, it doesn't have all the high and loss pass filters to enable me to control the sub with a full range output from the preamp, which is frustrating;
-Preamp with HT bypass and analogue crossover for sub - Parasound P6 - although heard that is not a great preamp.

Is there an option that will provide an audible increase in analogue sound quality? and which option is best?

Being able to use my subs seems to restrict myself to the Anthem STR or the Parasound P6. I really like the look of the Anthem - gives me the option of a full analogue signal path but also to use it's ARC genesis to include room correction/bass management. But would this be a noticeable upgrade on the Marantz? It is £4k here. I've heard stereo amps are significantly better than AV amps for music, but is this true for analogue?

Should I even consider room correction/bass management with analogue? As that means ADC, processing then DAC - some people say the processing far outweighs the conversions - other people say 100% the opposite!

Should I continue to want to use my subs for great solid bass? My fronts go to 30Hz. My subs will be tuned to 10Hz. Or should I stick with the pure analogue sound - most high end music amps just don't include sub outputs. Is this a throw away from when I first started listening to music and speakers were huge boxes with 12 inch woofers? Now we have much slimmer 6.5"/8" woofers, which just do not produce the bass.

Or should I just stick with what I've got?

Budget is c£5k - Prices will be quite different in the UK to the US which makes recommendations difficult as different brands have completely different pricing structures over here!

I don't really want to change any other components, especially the speakers/turntable/power amp. Changing the preamp will be too expensive to get what I need.

Many thanks for any help you can be.

Nic
 

Sonnie

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Hi Nic... and welcome to AVNirvana!

I think if you ask 1,000 people, maybe half will tell you you'll never hear a difference between most good quality preamps these days, and the other half might suggest you can hear a difference. In my opinion, I don't think I would ever hear a difference, nor would anyone else in a blind AB test (although there are those that will say blind AB testing is flawed of course). The thing is, there shouldn't be a difference of any significance as the signal should not be colored... it should be neutral. I believe that is what you will get with preamps today. I would question anyone saying the Parasound P6 is not a great preamp... and I'd challenge them to a blind AB test just as well.

Personally, I get the one that gives you the features you like and run with it.

I'm a fan of room correction software, although a bit bias towards Dirac Live. I have owned an Anthem setup and was well pleased with it. The most important part of music listening to me is imaging, soundstage and depth acuity. I believe this is improved when both speakers are frequency matched at the primary listening position, which is what room correction can do for you.
 

Nic_Miller

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Marantz AV8802A
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ATI AT6005
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Oppo 203
Front Speakers
Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G
Center Channel Speaker
Monitor Audio Gold 350
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Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G
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Monitor Audio Gold 100 5G
Subwoofers
2 x JTR Captivator 2400
Video Display Device
Lumagen Pro processor
Screen
Sony 83 inch A90J Master series 4K OLED
Remote Control
NEVO SL
Other Equipment
2nd HT with Monitor Audio Gold GS 5.1 and Sony VA777ES receiver
Haha I thought posting on an AV site, everyone would be rushing to spend my money!

Why don't we all just buy the cheapest products we can find?! Why would someone spend £50k on an amp!

haha...

Nic
 

Sonnie

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JTR Neosis 110HT
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JTR Neosis 210RT
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JTR Neosis 210RT
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JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
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JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
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JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
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That's a great question Nic... why would anyone spend that kind of money on an amp? My guess would be because they have it to spend, otherwise, they wouldn't. My McIntosh MC1.25KW amps that run about $27-28K don't sound any better than the Sanders Magtech amps they replaced that run around $14K or the Benchmark AHB2 amps they replaced that run around $6K or the Emotiva monoblocks they replaced for far less. I purchased the MK1.25KW amps because I could afford them and I love the way they look... been drooling over that style for several years. A higher price does not dictate something is necessarily better; it only guarantees that it will cost more.
 

Todd Anderson

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Hi Nic, great to have you here!

I'd echo much of what Sonnie says. The component itself, especially in the range you're talking about, matters less than the correction applied by Audyssey, Dirac, etc.

That AV8002A is a nice piece of gear. And Marantz is hand built in a Japanese factory that's legendary for craftsmanship. Unless you're hearing some sort of obvious flaw that would indicate a failing component, I'd roll with it and – maybe – invest in the Audyssey MultiEQ-X platform to gain a little more control over the sound output via correction.

If you're dead set on changing what correction platform you use, then it's time for a new piece of gear to enter the equation.

As for your processing question (as applied to analog that would be converted), my best advice is to listen for yourself on your own system. I'd bet good money that you won't hear a notable difference with some sort of analog passthrough, and I'd also wager that room-corrected sound will probably sound better once you've taken your time to tweak output.

As for subs in 2channel listening... that's also personal preference. Ideally, you run left and right channels in full range and go 2.0. But, if you feel like your mains are lacking just a bit in the low end, I'd highly recommend bringing those awesome JTRs into the equation. Your processor should allow to create a 2.0 preset for stereo listening... so, you'd have a lot of control over the sub's behavior.... and, for music, I'd set the crossovers a little lower than 80Hz. In fact, I'd move the crossover down as low as possible, using your ears to judge when they're needed to give you the kind of sound you're looking for.
 

Nic_Miller

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ATI AT6005
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Arcam FMJ P7
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Oppo 203
Front Speakers
Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G
Center Channel Speaker
Monitor Audio Gold 350
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Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G
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Monitor Audio Gold 100 5G
Subwoofers
2 x JTR Captivator 2400
Video Display Device
Lumagen Pro processor
Screen
Sony 83 inch A90J Master series 4K OLED
Remote Control
NEVO SL
Other Equipment
2nd HT with Monitor Audio Gold GS 5.1 and Sony VA777ES receiver
That's a great question Nic... why would anyone spend that kind of money on an amp? My guess would be because they have it to spend, otherwise, they wouldn't. My McIntosh MC1.25KW amps that run about $27-28K don't sound any better than the Sanders Magtech amps they replaced that run around $14K or the Benchmark AHB2 amps they replaced that run around $6K or the Emotiva monoblocks they replaced for far less. I purchased the MK1.25KW amps because I could afford them and I love the way they look... been drooling over that style for several years. A higher price does not dictate something is necessarily better; it only guarantees that it will cost more.
Oh I totally agree with that - having something beautiful and expensive sat in front of you is a great feeling and that also adds to the music you are listening too. Now I don't have $28k to spend on amps! But I do have spare cash and enjoy my 'toys'....but guess I don't want to end up in a worse position. The Anthem STR has ARC genesis and sub outs, so if room correction is important then this is a good option? Although I am paying for a lot of functions I won't need. Someone else has suggested either the Primaluna EVO 400 or the Parasound JB2 BP - good quality analogue machines with no room correction - no idea what tubes sound like in the PL though.

I do know I need to invest in my room acoustics - but I hope to create a new room so holding off on this.

Thanks

Nic
 

Sonnie

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Intel NUC w/ Roon ROCK
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Panasonic UB9000 4K UHD Player (for media discs)
Front Speakers
RTJ 410
Center Channel Speaker
MartinLogan Focus C-18
Front Wide Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT
Surround Speakers
JTR Neosis 210RT
Surround Back Speakers
JTR Neosis 210RT
Front Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Middle Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Rear Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Subwoofers
JTR Captivators - 4000ULF-TL x2 + 2400 x6
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VTI Amp Stands for the Monoblocks
Video Display Device
Sony 98X90L
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AVA Cinema
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Have you measured your response with a mic and REW to see what you've been hearing? You may learn that it's all over the place, and while it may sound pretty good to you because you've listened to it for a while, it could sound more like it was intended to sound with the room correction. If your response at your main listening position looks good and you are satisfied with that sound, you may not want to worry about room correction. However, we very rarely see this, especially in the sub-bass response. I would measure first and let that help you decide what new gear to get.
 
Last edited:

Nic_Miller

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Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Marantz AV8802A
Main Amp
ATI AT6005
Additional Amp
Arcam FMJ P7
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 203
Front Speakers
Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G
Center Channel Speaker
Monitor Audio Gold 350
Surround Speakers
Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G
Surround Back Speakers
Monitor Audio Gold 100 5G
Subwoofers
2 x JTR Captivator 2400
Video Display Device
Lumagen Pro processor
Screen
Sony 83 inch A90J Master series 4K OLED
Remote Control
NEVO SL
Other Equipment
2nd HT with Monitor Audio Gold GS 5.1 and Sony VA777ES receiver
Have you measured your response with a mic and REW to see what you've been hearing? You may learn that it's all over the place, and while it may sound pretty good to you because you've listened to it for a while, it could sound more like it was intended to sound with the room correction. If your response at your main listening position looks good and you are satisfied with that sound, you may not want to worry about room acoustics. However, we very rarely see this, especially in the sub-bass response. I would measure first and let that help you decide what new gear to get.
Thanks. Certainly something to have a look at.
 

Todd Anderson

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Oh I totally agree with that - having something beautiful and expensive sat in front of you is a great feeling and that also adds to the music you are listening too. Now I don't have $28k to spend on amps! But I do have spare cash and enjoy my 'toys'....but guess I don't want to end up in a worse position. The Anthem STR has ARC genesis and sub outs, so if room correction is important then this is a good option? Although I am paying for a lot of functions I won't need. Someone else has suggested either the Primaluna EVO 400 or the Parasound JB2 BP - good quality analogue machines with no room correction - no idea what tubes sound like in the PL though.

I do know I need to invest in my room acoustics - but I hope to create a new room so holding off on this.

Thanks

Nic

To answer your question about analog versus corrected... what Sonnie is suggesting is exactly how you'll get a real concrete answer. You can do that with the gear you have on hand. Measure a frequency sweep with correction on, then one with correction off... then compare. That will give you a general idea of what Audyssey is doing

I've never played around with ARC, but my understanding is that it's an effective solution. @Sonnie, what was your experience with it?
 

Sonnie

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McIntosh MC1.25KW Monoblock Amps
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StormAudio PA 16 MK3
Computer Audio
Intel NUC w/ Roon ROCK
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Panasonic UB9000 4K UHD Player (for media discs)
Front Speakers
RTJ 410
Center Channel Speaker
MartinLogan Focus C-18
Front Wide Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT
Surround Speakers
JTR Neosis 210RT
Surround Back Speakers
JTR Neosis 210RT
Front Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Middle Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Rear Height Speakers
JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
Subwoofers
JTR Captivators - 4000ULF-TL x2 + 2400 x6
Other Speakers or Equipment
VTI Amp Stands for the Monoblocks
Video Display Device
Sony 98X90L
Remote Control
AVA Cinema
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Kaleidescape | Lenova X1 - Intel NUC for Roon
Streaming Subscriptions
Lifetime Roon Subscription
Tidal
qobuz
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Amazon Prime
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Dish Joey 4K
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Zero Surge 8R15W-1 | Salamander Synergy Equipment Stand
The ARC that was in my Anthem products was from back in 2009-2010... not the same as the newer Genesis version now, which is supposedly much improved. From what I've read about it and heard from other users, it performs respectably.
 

Tim Hector

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I agree strongly that the biggest improvement will be getting the equipment and speakers measured and properly set up in the room first. Even though I do firmly believe that everything matters in the system and several small differences add up to be very audible, I can confidently say that once you have good gear, which you do, get your room right before you turn elsewhere. Measure with and without correction and go from there.
 
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