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  #1  
Old 06-12-2011, 06:22 PM
merlinmurph merlinmurph is offline
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OT: Stereo amp - what to look for?

After 30+ years, my stereo receiver finally bit the dust. So, I'm trying to figure out the features I want in the next receiver. Things have changed a bit in 30 years(ya think!) particularly with the integration of video and I want to make sure I don't miss anything.

I'm not looking to spend much and am not interested at all in a really nice system. I just want something that's going to make some noise and work with what I've got.

We bought a good 52" plasma TV within the last year, and I got a NAS and WD media player to go along with it. No surround sound yet, but would do it with the new amp.

I've got an older Squeezebox that we use all the time to play music on the NAS or from internet stations.

Also, we've got a DVD player for the TV.

Again, I'm not looking for a specific model suggestions, just looking for features I don't want to overlook. I hate to get something, then find out I can't do something with it.

TIA,
Murph

The rain finally stopped around here (Boston area) and got a nice unexpected ride this afternoon.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2011, 06:32 PM
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rice rocket rice rocket is offline
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So do you want a surround amp, not a stereo one? Because that's a whole different monster altogether.
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2011, 11:17 AM
merlinmurph merlinmurph is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rice rocket
So do you want a surround amp, not a stereo one? Because that's a whole different monster altogether.
I guess that shows how clueless I am with this stuff.

Let's stick to stereo.
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:53 AM
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Dekonick Dekonick is offline
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www.crutchfield.com

call them and they can help you make your choice. If you plan on using it with your TV, you want surround. LOTS of options...

make sure the receiver you buy has plenty of HDMI inputs... I thought 4 would be enough but I find myself wishing I had more on mine. The newest HDMI spec integrates internet networking... so if you have a TV that uses a network, you can have ONE cable going from the receiver to the tv and have all of your needs met - and have it access your NAS, etc...

A lot of this depends on your TV, your budget, and future plans. My receiver has 3 zones - I have surround in one zone, stereo in the other 2. Obviously, the 7.1 system is in the room with the TV and game systems etc... I also have music to the outside deck, and the garage. It will play different sources for each zone. Kinda nice... Mine (all do anymore) also has an ipod dock. Many also offer support for internet radio, etc...

Mine is a Yamaha - but there are many choices. You do get what you pay for... no doubt.



For a 'nice' receiver, plan on spending a grand or more. Do not buy a system that comes with speakers... the 'all in one' systems aren't worth it... the sound quality is sub par.

Waaaaay too much information to go into details... kinda like buying a bike
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:19 PM
Ken Robb Ken Robb is offline
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I don't know about all the competing brands but my favorite high-end a/v shop likes NAD components and I have been pleased with my T 755 receiver. I have lots of vinyl and NAD is designed to use their optional pre-amplifier for my magnetic phono cartridge. NAD emphasizes audio quality more than some other brands and I think their specs are more conservatively rated as well.
My NAD replaced separate components with a 200 WPC 75 pound basic amplifier and the sound is pleasing with my Vandersteen 2CE Signature front speakers in surround and/or stereo mode.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:28 PM
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AngryScientist AngryScientist is offline
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i think defining a budget is the first step, for sure.

as for must-have features, i would say that definitely depends on what you want to do with it. many hdmi inputs are a must though, i second that suggestion.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:31 PM
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Kevan Kevan is offline
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Know this...

after 30 years...the woild's changed.

I found a nice Marantz stereo receiver, have a cd player connected I barely use and the mac mini that does it all. That's about as high-zoot I care to go.

I ain't kidding myself.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:33 PM
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I like the BOSE 3.2.1 its a little bit of everything and simple
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:53 PM
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SEABREEZE SEABREEZE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Robb
I don't know about all the competing brands but my favorite high-end a/v shop likes NAD components and I have been pleased with my T 755 receiver. I have lots of vinyl and NAD is designed to use their optional pre-amplifier for my magnetic phono cartridge. NAD emphasizes audio quality more than some other brands and I think their specs are more conservatively rated as well.
My NAD replaced separate components with a 200 WPC 75 pound basic amplifier and the sound is pleasing with my Vandersteen 2CE Signature front speakers in surround and/or stereo mode.
Ken if you get to Jersey, see my man John Rattan the owner, probably largest Vanderstein seller in USA. The tweaker of tweakers when it comes to Vandersteins. He matches componenents to make them sing, like you never heard.. Thats a promise...

http://www.audioconnect.com/
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  #10  
Old 06-13-2011, 06:32 PM
Cantdog Cantdog is offline
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We should have an audiophile thread!

Take a good look at Cambridge Audio equipment. Im extremely pleased with my phono preamp and for a price point they compete with equipment that is a lot more expensive. And remember you will want to think about speakers, as that will really make the biggest difference. Try and find a local store that is willing to work with you and try out different combinations. My last trip for a new turntable was an 8 hr session with the dealer, figuring out cables, maximizing the equipment. Ask for suggestions as to a dealer that will let you listen and make your own decisions instead of tell you what you need.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:25 PM
merlinmurph merlinmurph is offline
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Thanks for all the input, guys. I'm still searching around trying to figure out what I want.

I'm hoping I can get by for ~$500. I know I can spend a lot more, but like I said, I'm trying to keep it fairly simple.

@Dekonick: Which Yamaha do you have?

Thanks again,
Murph
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  #12  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:49 PM
Peter P. Peter P. is offline
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If you still want just a stereo integrated amp, then I'll add to the recommendations for NAD . It's affordable, simple, and has a good reputation. It's not the audiophile stuff but good quality consumer product. The have models at all price levels.

If you like to plan for future expansion, or just want the flexibility of being able to expand into surround sound and iPod/internet stuff and you don't want to get wild technically, then get a receiver; a separate amp and preamp will be very expensive.

I subscribe to Sound and Vision Magazine, which reviews lots of affordable products. It just so happens that in this month's issue (June-July-August) they review the Onkyo TX-NR509 receiver. It was awarded S+V's "Certified and Recommended" badge for highly rated products. For a MEASLY $400, it can do just about all of it; 4-HDMI jacks, iPhone/iPod playback, internet radio capable, and 5.1 channel sound. This thing would likely meet your needs and not break the bank. Get your hands on the issue at your local library. In fact, I always recommend scoping out back issues for anyone in the market for stereo/video equipment because S+V is geared toward the average to above average Joe/Josephine vs. the audiophile crowd.
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  #13  
Old 06-13-2011, 10:01 PM
mister mister is offline
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what was the receiver that went out on you?

what speakers will be driven by your amp?
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  #14  
Old 06-13-2011, 10:35 PM
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Dekonick Dekonick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinmurph
Thanks for all the input, guys. I'm still searching around trying to figure out what I want.

I'm hoping I can get by for ~$500. I know I can spend a lot more, but like I said, I'm trying to keep it fairly simple.

@Dekonick: Which Yamaha do you have?

Thanks again,
Murph
My Yamaha will set you back well more than a grand... even though it is 2 years old. I will go look up the details and PM you... but it is well out of the $500 range...
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:01 PM
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SEABREEZE SEABREEZE is offline
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Murph, the Nad, Cambridge, are good recommendations. Go to there web site and find a dealer in your area, give them a listen, and decide.

If your looking for yamaha, onkyo, etc head for best buy, they will have 2 channel & multi channels for surround sound . Check them out see what interests you. Ask alot of questions, and try to remember what others have told you here with regarding hooking every thing you have, that you may want to connect to the receiver....tv , computer, dvd, etc etc

Hint: look for the most easiest user friendly..for multi channels.
2 channel stereo you are familiar with

Happy Shopping
Good Luck
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