New Reciever / new amp? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-22-2009, 07:46 PM
Hey, so i was just curious whether I should purchase a whole new Reciever or should invest in an amplifier. Right now I have a Kenwood 5150 which puts out 50W/channel, I am powering a pair of Cerwin Vega! E-715's, I was looking at a Onkyo TX-8555 reciever, or a smaller 100W/channel amplifier... Any ideas?


09-22-2009, 08:46 PM
If you listen to radio, I'd lean toward a receiver if you're looking for bargains. Separates may ultimately be the better past for upgrading, but there are some very nice receivers in the world and Onkyo makes some of them.

Mr Peabody
09-23-2009, 03:54 AM
It also depends on what your goal is and how much you have for a budget. If not needing radio typically better performance can be had from integrated amps or separates.

09-23-2009, 06:36 PM
I use radio about half the time, the other half is from an MP3 player. I would like to spend less than $300.

09-23-2009, 07:27 PM
I don't see how you could do better than what you've chosen, within your budget. I'd like to offer some better insight than that, but I don't know what it would be. You could buy a nice Cambridge Audio or NAD integrated and start a nice system, but it would be more money, less power and perhaps an unnecessary upgrade for radio and MP3.

Mr Peabody
09-23-2009, 07:27 PM
I believe your receiver has preamp outputs, you could probably find a used Adcom 5400 or older 545 in your budget. These are power amps, you could use the Kenwood as a preamp until you saved enough money to upgrade. Onkyo did make a 100x2 stereo receiver for around $299.00. But on the used market you should be able to find a 100 watt receiver easily in your range.

09-23-2009, 07:31 PM
Maybe ill start saving up to start a more complete system...


09-23-2009, 07:52 PM
Maybe ill start saving up to start a more complete system...


If you want to go that route, Mr. P's suggestion of an Adcom GFA-545 is a quality, economical place to start. I have a GFA-545II. Adcom gear is almost like currency. If you buy it used, you can sell it for what you paid. It's really low risk.

A good place to start on the preamp would be the Adcom GFP-555. At that point, you wouldn't have radio, so you could also look at the Adcom tuner/preamps, like the GTP-400, but you get a better preamp in the standalone units.

If you want to go new, there are some nice integrateds at places like the Spearit Sound and Audio Advisor websites, among others. There are some good sale prices on the Cambridge gear at the moment.

By the way...What's the goal of your new purchase? More power? Better sound quality?

The reason I ask pays to look at the full context. Many audiophiles are not fans of Cerwin Vega speakers but they are very efficient. It doesn't take much power to make them play loud, so I don't know how much value there is in more power unless you're throwing parties.

I prefer to look at the weakest link in a system and upgrade that. If you're looking for sound quality, your speakers might be in line ahead of your receiver when it comes to the need to upgrade.

Mr Peabody
09-23-2009, 08:25 PM
Check this out, this model is about $550.00 or so new, searching the web you may find it cheaper and certainly you can pay more. This driving the CV's may not be the last word in resolution but it would rock. If you ever did want to upgrade the speakers the JoLida hybrids get pretty good reviews. You might even find one cheap used on Audiogon. This is just me, I'd be very careful buying tube gear used as people usually like to tinker with the gear. I did buy one tube amp used but the seller mentioned he had the recommended tubes and I knew I was sending it back to the factory to be modded any way.

09-23-2009, 08:43 PM
I was not entirely sure of what to upgrade first, I like my current speakers ok. I'm not entirely sure what to improve on. I guess just kind of improving the general sound quality ( right now my receiver puts out a bit of a hiss when i use the phono in, and one of the speaker outputs [a] doesn't work ) I have just started getting into the stereo stuff, and the improvement of my set up.

09-23-2009, 09:00 PM
You'll need to listen to some higher-quality equipment to figure out what sounds good to you. I used to have a pair of Cerwin-Vega speakers - 12-inch 3-way. I thought they sounded pretty good. In hindsight, they were the weakest link in my system. And that system included a receiver from the mid-70s, a CD player from the mid-80s and a turntable from the mid-70s. Cerwin-Vega speakers are efficient but they're muddy and boomy by comparison to audiophile speakers. A pair of bookshelf speakers would make better music. The reason I know is it's exactly what I changed to after the Cerwin-Vega speakers.

As for the hiss in your phono stage...that's not the kiss of death for the receiver. You could upgrade to an outboard phono stage like the Bellari VP130 and see an immediate improvement over most receivers' phono stages. I know...been there on that one, too. I've still got that old receiver of mine and my Bellari VP129 sounds great on it.

After having continued with the upgrade bug, that receiver is in my 2nd system, but it's sounding better than ever, thanks to the phono stage and the speaker upgrade. Amplification technology from the era of your receiver can do a good job. The source material and the source components might be a wiser place for you to start. That said...from personal experience with Cerwin-Vega and old receivers...I know which one I believe is the weakest link...and it isn't the receiver.

09-24-2009, 10:13 PM
Audioneeb is right about the cerwins.
Kenwood used to be all that and a kettle of fish, not anymore.
But as long as you have those car stereo speakers it doesnt really matter what you power them with.
A better idea would be to get better speakers, better speakers would make anything sound better, but a set of KRELLS wont inprove the vegas.
In other words speakers are the most important aspect of any system, get new speakers and live with the Kenwood.
Its notthat bad, but the vegas are.
Once you give a serious pair of noise makers a listen you will understand what I am talking about.:1:

09-25-2009, 06:27 AM
Once you give a serious pair of noise makers a listen you will understand what I am talking about...
Great example of how not to design a speaker. Guess they never heard of comb filtering. :)


09-27-2009, 11:54 AM
yup, speakers first. a pair of psb alphas and a sub would put you WAY ahead. later, nad electronics or maybe an outlaw receiver could make you happy for a long time.

09-27-2009, 03:38 PM
I was not entirely sure of what to upgrade first, I like my current speakers ok. I'm not entirely sure what to improve on. I guess just kind of improving the general sound quality ( right now my receiver puts out a bit of a hiss when i use the phono in, and one of the speaker outputs [a] doesn't work ) I have just started getting into the stereo stuff, and the improvement of my set up.

...and usually this means speakers first! Generally, there are more special prices on speakers than anything else and timing your purchase make allowances for more dollars available to spend on electronics down the road. ...

Since 2005, I have purchased the following speakers in the order listed: Energy Connoisseur C-1, Polk RTi-4, Usher S-520, Nola Mini, Wharfedale Diamond 9.1, Kef IQ3, and just this week my new arrival, Mordaunt-Short Avant 902i.

Just so that you know...of all the speakers listed above...I've only kept the Nola Mini's and M.S. 902i's are going to be keepers!. The M.S. are a steal at $225.00/pair and are available at highly recommended.

Other bookshelf speaker I have owned in the past from the mid 70's to the mid 90's : ECI Super 8's, Bose Bravura, JBL Studio Monitors (forgot the model#), Boston Acoustics A-60 series 2, Mirage 190i, and Mirage 290i. I must admit to missing the B.A and Mirage speakers and wish I had the sense enough back then to recognize it was not the speakers that were the weakest link in the audio chain at that was the electronics I was using.

So, my suggestion is to really consider the Mordaunt-Short as they are really incredibly musical and the price is right.

Hope this helps,


Rudy Gireyev
09-29-2009, 08:52 PM
Boy we need a bookshelf speaker shootout around here, quite badly. Some folks swear by the Emotiva ERM-1's which have just been further reduced to $129 a piece as they are being closed out.
Then there's the PSB Alphas that have gotten very high praise from Stereophile, that are in the same price range.


Mr Peabody
09-30-2009, 05:01 AM
I missed those, I didn't see the ERM-1 on the close out page either. At that price I may get a pair just to have around. The ERM-1 has two 6 1/2" drivers which should give it an advantage over many in that price, in addition to the switches to tailor sound. The switches could also be a turn off to purists.

Emo also has their monoblocks on sale at $899.00 each, I wish I could justify the money to play with a pair of those. It seems from people who list or mention owning Emotiva that the amps are the most popular items.

Rudy Gireyev
09-30-2009, 08:49 AM
Hey Mr. P.

Not sure what you mean by closeout page, as I don't believe that the emotiva site has one. But the link to ERMs is on the left hand side of the page as is the link to all other emotiva gear. Here's the direct link if you'd like to have a look:

Also ERMs are not 6.5" they are 5.25". The speakers replacing them are 6.5".

Totally agree with you on the XPA1s. Reading their reviews makes it clear that this is emotivas best product, and is very very competitive. I'm still hoping to find a comparison of them to the Musical Fidelity Superchargers. That would be quite a shoot out.

I too am very curious to hear your take on the emotiva gear.


Mr Peabody
09-30-2009, 09:14 PM
I found a link when I was on the website that showed what gear was on special, it was probably called something other than "close out". Thanks for catching the driver size error. Stills looks like a lot of speaker for the money.

I received the ERC-1 today and posted a thread on first impression.

harley .guy07
10-01-2009, 12:18 AM
Yeah in my opinion speakers would be your first plan of action to improve your sound. My system is pretty humble and my speakers are older but I have modified the crossovers and replaced the tweeters in them to bring the best out of them and they are performing good now. Your Vega's really don't have many options for modifying. Cerwin Vega seems to mainly focus their efforts on loud bass and seem to forget that the midrange and treble regions make up way more of music than the lowest of freguencies. I would follow the other guys plans and try to find what would make you happy in the relm of speakers and go from there.