My drummer needs help.. [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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08-03-2006, 05:28 AM
He wants to upgrade his H.T. and is in a bit of a quandry. John, my drummer is more than a bit anal rententive. You can eat off his truck and get less germs than any 5 star resturant. But that aside he's a steady drummer and a nice guy. He helps me with my puter problems I keep him abreast of H.T. He wants a receiver that would give him HDMI and all the latest bells and whistles and NOT be obsolete in the morning. He also was all the best up conversions etc.. He's looking at a $4,000 Denon, but I made a counter suggestion.

I told him "for that kinda money you still get no guarentee that it won't be obsolete in a few years. If you want ultimate flexibility go with separates. Get a good 7 channel power amp and the best pre/pro that you can afford. When time comes to upgrade you have only the pre/pro to deal with." In that John's budget is around 4 to 5 large, what's the best most versatile group of separates he should look at?

Thanks in advance...

Da Worfster :7:

08-03-2006, 06:45 AM
If it were me, I'd consider, Lexicon, Outlaw Audio, Rotel, Arcam for starters.
Arcam in particular impressed me. He could probably build a system for less than $4 G's though, especially if he went with Outlaw Audio, and I couldn't say an alternative would clearly sound better or have more features, not enough to notice.

Rotel would be my #2 choice.

I'm not listing much for model numbers because these guys generally only have 2 pre/pros and 2 multichannel amps at that level.

For the best flexibility, he should consider getting a 2-channel amp for the stereo/front mains, and a 5 channel amp for the rest - he might find himself turning into a 2-channel audiophile and upgrading a 7-channel amp is not easy!

Heck, he could even get some into Bryston and their 20 years warranties for that kind of quid.

08-03-2006, 09:06 AM
Hey, I'm a drummer, too; I wouldn't knowingly steer your pal wrong. I completely concur with Kexo about Arcam and Rotel. For shorter money than $4000, these two companies deliver serious sound, and, in a few cases, good video capability; they also have good customer relations (as well as strong dedicated web communities). Going more upscale, Meridian and Lexicon are two ultra-meticulous high-end companies that offer cost-no-object products with considerate upgrading possibilities, though you pay for the privilege upfront. The limiting factor in any case, however, is HDMI, which hasn't reached its projected audio or video level yet on any product now sold. Most anyone should be able to live without HDMI 1.3's video maturity (and control functions) for quite some time, but not having access to its ability to deliver hi def DD and DTS formats to a processor capable of decoding them may make some people angry, even though decoding done in hi def DVD players and sent to processors via 5.1 or more analog connections should be able to stem the tide. Whether this is a good argument for buying separates now in anticipation of better-appointed processors to come is a personal matter, but upgrading pre/pros later to be state of the art won't be cheap either. Everthing's destined to be outdated to some extent, but as it stands now, current products that perform well will not be obsolete even as digital standards evolve. Companies cannot afford to leave too many potential customers behind as they march onward.

N. Abstentia
08-03-2006, 09:25 AM
I'd definitey go the Outlaw Audio route, get the 990 processor with the 7125 amp and have $2000 left over. If he has HDMI he'll need adapters since the 990 has DVI which is not really such a bad thing considering the current state of HDMI (even if you get HDMI it will be obsolete anyway until they get it ironed out).

08-03-2006, 09:36 AM
DVI isn't a bad bet at all. But people should know that it isn't always the same as HDMI without audio. It can be as many 4 video-processing bits shy of HDMI (not terribly important for now), and it can induce HDMI sources to send the wrong digital grayscale information (thus crushing blacks and/or whites). If you don't go DVI to DVI at this point, which is increasingly difficult to do, you run the risk of a few anomalies. The companies that have abstained from DVI because of HDMI's handshake problems have not necessarily avoided all possible difficulties in a consumer world gone HDMI-crazy.

08-03-2006, 10:01 AM
I would tell him to wait until the newer receivers come out with the ability to do DTS-HD.

08-03-2006, 11:11 AM
I'd definitely would look at separates ( Parasound Halo ) first but there is a receiver that's " future proof "; the Onkyo TX-NR1000 is modular so upgrade can be made by switching out plug-in boards. Its' more advanced cousin, Integra Research model RDC7.1 can be made-to-order with just the boards you need.

08-03-2006, 02:53 PM
I'll second the Halo. That's a heckuva nice fully balanced pre/pro that's upgradeable as well. The Anthem AV30(?) looks like a nice unit, albeit one that's festooned with a bajillion buttons. Oddly enough, while HDMI switching is ubiquitous with Jap AVR's, the "hi-end" pre/pro set hasn't caught on yet.:confused:

Whatever he does, at $4-5 large, he should definitely be looking into separates.

BTW, Tama, Zildjian, DW, and Vater rule! ;)

08-03-2006, 03:13 PM
As I alluded to in the Yamaha thread, I think right now anyone who already owns a home theater system should probably hold off on any upgrades to the processor until the situation with HDMI 1.3 and the new DD Plus and DTS-HD formats works itself out. A $4k budget is about right to go with separates, so probably the best short-term upgrade would be to simply get a five-channel amplifier (a nice amp will have a lot more longievity than a multichannel processor). If your drummer wants HDMI switching, he can just go with a midlevel receiver that has HDMI 1.1 switching and attach the five-channel amp. Whatever budget he has leftover, he should save until the timing for a processor upgrade is better.

Right now is probably not a good time to invest a big chunk of coin on a high end processor, because I get the sense that this is the quiet before the storm. The newer receivers this year seem to be adding things like iPod docks and XM satellite radio tuners, rather than upgrades to the HDMI connectivity and support for the higher resolution audio formats. The changes on next year's models will probably be a lot more substantial.

N. Abstentia
08-03-2006, 04:23 PM
I could never give anyone the advice to 'wait until so-and-so comes out until you uprgade'.

By waiting, all you really do is deprive yourself of enjoying your system now.

If you do wait a year or two for DTS-HD then guess what? The next big thing will be coming around the corner. Are you going to hold off and wait for that too? Folowing that plan has only one's saves you money becuase if you always wait for the next great thing you'll never buy anything!

08-03-2006, 08:16 PM
I could never give anyone the advice to 'wait until so-and-so comes out until you uprgade'.

By waiting, all you really do is deprive yourself of enjoying your system now.

If you do wait a year or two for DTS-HD then guess what? The next big thing will be coming around the corner. Are you going to hold off and wait for that too? Folowing that plan has only one's saves you money becuase if you always wait for the next great thing you'll never buy anything!

The issue here is that someone already has a home theater system, and this would be an upgrade. If he already owns a system, and it has a DD and DTS decoder on board, he's already getting the intended enjoyment out of the vast majority of the DVD soundtracks out there. Upgrading the amplification would be a great addition, but too many things are in flux right now and will probably clear up substantially by this time next year.

IMO, HDMI 1.3 and the accompanying DD Plus/DTS-HD capability is worth waiting for if someone intends to keep their system for a while, and get into HD-DVD and/or Blu-ray within the next year or two. Even though home theater processors and receivers get updated all the time, the value of these new features and updates will vary widely. For example, if you already have a 5.1 DD receiver, is it worth buying a whole new receiver just to get DTS? Or if you have a 5.1 DD/DTS receiver, is it worth chucking the old one out just to get 6.1? Or if you have 6.1, would you throw you receiver out to get 7.1? Or toss the 7.1 receiver to get something with DPLIIx? Or get rid of a 7.1 DPLIIx unit just to get HDMI 1.1 switching?

Certain steps are simply more substantial than others, and as I said, I think the step up to HDMI 1.3 is a bigger step than what you typically see. For someone who already owns a home theater system, they can afford to be selective about the timing of their upgrade and wait for a substantial upgrade rather than an incremental one.

08-04-2006, 01:58 PM
While there will always be something better around the only makes sense to wait for something that is HD compatable since the newer HD formats are on the way. In the meantime...if he can wait...then wait. If he is itching to get rid of his 4K then have him buy the separates because down the line he can use them w/ the receivers that come out at a later date in time.

08-04-2006, 02:19 PM
The B&K pre/pros used to be well-regarded a couple of years ago. I haven't kept up with them since then. I had a B&K pre/pro and Rotel power amp/amps combo on my wish list for a while. (I think B&K has a varied assortment of power amps too - e.g., 3ch amps for across the front or back.)

Other brands of pre/pros to consider are the aforementioned Anthem and Parasound Halo.