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  1. #1
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    HELP! Need advice from audio guru's. This means you!

    I am in the process of upgrading my 15 year old 2 channel audio system. I do not like or listen to home theater at all. I am an avid music listener. I have just purchased new (excellent) speakers and a new denon cd/dvd player. My question is about my old 2 channel yamaha receiver. It is 70 watts per channel and is 15 years old. It still works great, but my question is should I upgrade? Have there been advances in the last 15 years that make an upgrade worth it? I am thinking about upgrading to the yamaha rx-797 2 channel 100 watt amp. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    not really in my experience..

    Solid state amplifier technology and design has evolved but mostly in terms of efficiency. I own 4-5 amplifiers ranging from 300/watt monoblocs to an all digital design from Panasonic. My favorite is my 23 year old Yamaha R100 two channel receiver. It outputs a seemingly endless amount of clean power. The primary differences over the last 15-20 years are not in amplifiers but in receiver/preamp technology. For example, most newer receivers have things like usb inputs, auto calibration, subwoofer management and wireless and digital connectivity to networked environments. If you're happy with the amplification you have now (ie. enough clean power to adequately drive your speakers), I'd look else where for improvements. Try adding a Squeezbox for example. Since I did, I've discovered an endless variety of virtually commercial free and no-cost music. The quality of much of the streaming media has improved tremendously over the last several years. I listen to the indie station on SOMA FM a lot. Pandora is another excellent online source too.

  3. #3
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    Prhaps take a look at Outlaw Audios two channel retro receiver and read reports on this unit. The nice thing about anything two channel you might buy today is that it has a remote control.

  4. #4
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    You didn't say which make and model of speakers you are using, other than they are "new" and "excellent." That isn't much to work with.

    Speakers vary widely in their design. Some are very efficient and don't need a lot of power. Others are power hungry. Some present a very reactive load (lots of capacitance or very low dips in the impedance curve) and can be very difficult for some amps even if superficially they appear to have enough power.

    Also note there is not a lot of difference between 70 watts and 100 watts. Doubling the output power of an amp only increases volume by 3 dB. It is more important what the amp does with those watts than just adding 30 watts for the sake of it.

    My experience with Yamaha is they have a slightly lean sound and you don't want to pair them with a speaker that is "difficult" to drive. I'd bet if you post the make and model of your speakers, you'll get some good recommendations as to whether you need to upgrade or stay put.

  5. #5
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    My speakers are def tech bp10b which are 91db effecient. I didn't post this info, because I did not want to inadvertantly start a speaker discussion. For what I spent ($900) I don't think I could do better.

    By the way, my existing yamaha receiver does have a working remote (15 years ago is not the stone age LOL). Everything about it still works great. It really doesn't even look old.

    Thanks a ton for the replies I've got so far. I have to agree with the last post now that you bring it up, 100 watts is a tiny diff from 70 when you take into account the logorithmic nature of decibels. That helps me.

    The main factors for me considering a new receiver are:
    1. Possible improvements in amplifier technology.
    2. IPOD compatibility.
    3. XM compatibility.
    4. My existing receiver has cheap spring loaded speaker wire clips that I have always hated. I've always wanted quality binding posts back there.

    Regarding the sound, I've always been very happy. The speakers I replaced were KEF Reference 103.3. They just finally started to deteriorate.

  6. #6
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Offhand, there have been no tremendous breakthroughs in amplifier tech that will significantly improve your sound. So much for # 1

    as for #'s 2 - 4, these are "features" and unless you are looking to purchase a full-blown multi-channel AVR for these features alone, I don't know how successful you will be. Manufactures offer some pretty fine stereo units but I don't know if these features, aside from the beefier speaker connections, are available on them.

    Perhpas others can oofer a more specific recommendation.

    but, when you say "Ipod compatiability", you do know you can play virtually any device with an earphone jack through any amp with an AUX input, don't you? Now, control of the Ipod is another matter.

  7. #7
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    I've not heard the Def Techs so can't make a comment from experience. They are fairly efficient so power shouldn't be an issue unless you're a real head-banger. Some of the reviews indicate they have a fairly hot high end so you'll probably want to look for an amp with smooth highs. Some transistor amps can sound harsh in the top end and if you combine that with speakers that emphasize the highs you can set yourself up for listener fatigue.

    The manufacturer's specs were somewhat vague about impedance; they showed the nominal as "4 - 8 ohms." That suggests that the impedance varies quite a bit, so you'll want to make sure any amp you use is completely comfortable with low impedance speakers. A good (but hardly absolute) indicator of this is if the power output of the amp doubles at 4 ohms compared to 8. If the power at 4 ohms is the same as at 8 or just barely higher, the power supply of the amp may not be as comfortable with these speakers as another amp.

    Good luck with your search.

  8. #8
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    Prhaps take a look at Outlaw Audios two channel retro receiver and read reports on this unit. The nice thing about anything two channel you might buy today is that it has a remote control.
    I concur, and while I'm playing matchmaker let me make it easy for you (for the record I am in no way afiliated with, related to, or otherwise involved with the seller)

    http://stereophile.com/integratedamps/306outlaw/

    and

    http://buy.audiogon.com/cgia/cls.pl?miscrcvr&1203024025

    Cheers
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  9. #9
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    It sounds like you may have a Yamaha R-7 or equivalent. I had the R-8 (85w/ch) and sold it to a friend about 4 years ago. I used it with an early HT system with a Yamaha DSR100 Pro DPL processor and their MX-35 multi-channel amp. It was still going strong after, I'm guessing, 10 years. Yamaha uses discrete components for outputs which are able to dissipate heat better than IC outputs. As a result they're able to handle more difficult loads. I had no trouble driving my 4ohm Klipsch Kg4s and Kg2s with either amp.

    I like the Yamahas for their sheer guts in HT applications. Their "natural sound" loudness feature provides good tonal balance over a wide range of levels. Compared to my Denon Yamahas sound a little more forward which I'd describe only as different, not necessarily better than one another. I currently own an RXV-2095. It also has the distinct Yamaha sound.

    The new Yamahas have an abundance of convergience features. I was looking at the new RX-V3800 with HDMI 1.3 to go with my HD format sources. The best price I saw for the 3800 was $1200. Sony had an employee sale and had their flagship ES receiver on sale. It provides 140w/ch x 7, has 6 HDMI 1.3 inputs, inputs for both Sirius and XM radio and input for iPod. Retailed for $1699, but i got it for $789. I can buy a lot of source material for $400. I'm not really into Sony receivers, but for the price I'll give it a try.

    I looked at the Def Tech BP8 and BP10s years ago and thought they sounded very nice. They're a bi-polar design with a rear tweeter which tends to have a little more presence and air to them. Great for two-channel, but not as desirable for HT.

    I think the Yamaha would be a good receiver for the BP-10s. Good features and plenty of umph. I don't remember the BP-10 sounding especially strident in the top end, so they should sound good with a solid-state receiver.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    designs areetter now

    i pestered a friend to try a newer amp than his great old yamaha b2 and he resisted for years. then in his own way went about trying some adcom amps and got turned around he found that the newer amps DID in fact sound better on his martin logans.

    the outlaw receiver mentioned above should do the job nicelywith plenty of power and for the right price. i could go wild and recommend channel islands preamp and class d 100-200 wpc amps (a VERY good way to go) or the vincent tubed electronics (again, VG) but the outlaw will take you most of the way there.

    i'll save my rec for magneplanar MMGs for another time.
    ...regards...tr

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    Tumas- Where you been? Or is it me? Played Charlie Byrd's Crystal DTD the other eve, The drum solo kicked my ass as usual. It's not handy right now so I can't name the tune. Bettin you know anyway.
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  12. #12
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    Hi Jaxwired, glad to see someone still happy with 2 channel.

    For what it's worth my suggestion is:-

    1. Don't upgrade .....ADD. Your amp will always come in handy.

    2. Get yourself a nondescript Tube amp. Your speakers seem to be efficient enough. The Chinese are making many many designs of all price ranges to suit all tastes.

    I don't know if you have used tubes before but in comparison with transistor amps they have come a long way in 15 years. They're quieter, shorter path lengths, longer lasting tubes, better power units and easier to pick up.

    It is even possible to get a tube amp with ipod dock ...Shanling MC30 comes to mind.

    Give yourself some choices with your stereo by being able to bounce between two different amps.



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  13. #13
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    Charlie Byrd's Crystal DTD

    although i recently have seen it in my quagmire, i couldnt find it just now and its not listed in amg for some reason. therefore i cannot think of the name of that cut.

    i intentionally dont play the warhorses for years so they dont wear thin and make me never want to hear them again. now i will have to search and destroy until i find it. i bought many of them when they came out such as the carlos montoya-flamenco direct discs (2), and the sheffields etc.
    ...regards...tr

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxwired
    I am in the process of upgrading my 15 year old 2 channel audio system. I do not like or listen to home theater at all. I am an avid music listener. I have just purchased new (excellent) speakers and a new denon cd/dvd player. My question is about my old 2 channel yamaha receiver. It is 70 watts per channel and is 15 years old. It still works great, but my question is should I upgrade? Have there been advances in the last 15 years that make an upgrade worth it? I am thinking about upgrading to the yamaha rx-797 2 channel 100 watt amp. Thoughts?
    I would suggest that you upgrade to a pre-amp , power amp , tuner. There you add flexability , that is if you are interested in 2 channel. You can also add the same set-up if your interest is additional channels.

    The upgrade will sound much better , although a little more expensive and will last for years. By adding another receiver , you will face the same problem later.
    You might wish to look for used equipment , Ebay may be able to help you.

    As for as advances in electronics it all depends on what you are looking for. What speakers are you using ? Are you an audiophile or someone who just wants a nice sounding audio system ? There is a difference.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Where to start?
    Hate HT? Then why did you get HT speakers? I like def-techs, but they are primarily HT speakers.
    For an audio only system you need something a bit more refined, like some Vienna
    acoustics, or Totems, or B&w even.
    Trust me, the listening fatigue of the titanium tweeters kicks in in about two hours.
    And stay away from stuff like Denon, Yamaha, harmon, most of these brands gear their stuff to the mass market now, and that is Ht.
    The outlaw looks nice, cambridge also makes some nice integrated Amps.
    An integrated Amp is probably your best bet, NOBODY listens to FM anymore and the tuners are a joke, usually on one chip. Dont pay for what you dont need.
    A preamp and a power amp might be nice also, you get a better damping factor and more robust power supplies that way.
    And I understand you not liking HT, I increasingly look my HT slanted system and question getting out of audio only systems, a HTIB for movies and a two channel set
    look increasingly preferrable
    If you do want a receiver get an Integra (made by Onkyo)
    THEY ARE ht BUT GEAR THEMSELVES TO THE AUDIO ENTHUSIAST .
    With things like a real phono stage (which you might be surprized to find is harder and harder to find) and complete tone bypass, they are great for audio only
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    I find myself mostly agreeing with pixelthis ( ).

    Many dedicated audiophiles like separates, i.e player, processor, pre amp, main amp. This allows flexibility and lends itself most readily to that particular audiophile disease called upgrading.

    There has been a lot of improvement in the digital parts of the chain, once designers recognized that they weren't getting anywhere near true 16 bit resolution a number of designs got more complicated and much better.

    With better digital parts, weakness in amplifiers that weren't readily apparent were exposed so changes were made.

    The problem with separates is space and cost, cost especially can spiral to insane numbers. If you are new to the hobby you should know that many people on limited budgets buy used; this is one of the best sites for used gear
    http://www.audiogon.com/

    I have never heard a receiver come close in sound quality to separates, even integrated amps do better (naturally I haven't heard every brand and model of receiver, but I have heard the Outlaw, I think it's pretty much OK, if not truly great) . Receivers in particular seem to have poor digital front ends, in your case the digital converter in your player is probably better.

    I used to own one of the more expensive NAD receivers, try as I might, I could not relax and just listen to music with this system (player/receiver/speakers $6,000.00). I always ended up going back to my two channel system which at that time was mostly the lower cost C-J equipment, it played back music where the HT system played back sounds.

    Welcome to a great hobby.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
    Olive Musica/transport and server
    Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
    Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
    Cardas Golden Presence IC
    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  17. #17
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    I'm in the same boat as you right now. I have a nice, very nice, pair of speakers that will only be used in a two channel application.

    Thanks to some reccomendations from this forum - thanks again gents - I have narrowed by choice down to three power sources.

    The Outlaw rr1250 receiver -- 100 wpc
    The Music Hall Maven Receiver
    &
    The Jolida int / amp -- jd1501


    All seem to be solid choices at very reasonable pricepoints.


    Check out the 3 listed above.

    ....... and I'm very much open to opinions about which of the 3 amps listed above our resident experts would choose.

    Best of Luck,

    mf

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxwired

    4. My existing receiver has cheap spring loaded speaker wire clips that I have always hated. I've always wanted quality binding posts back there.

    With the exception of my oldest vintage classic hardware, I've changed the rear speaker connections on just about everything I've owned. Most often I've installed gold plated binding posts and removed the old spring loaded terminators.

    Space permitting--it is not very difficult and inexpensive.

  19. #19
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    I can replace the spring clips on my receiver? How? Please describe. Thanks a ton...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxwired
    I can replace the spring clips on my receiver? How? Please describe. Thanks a ton...
    Remove the casing Jaxwired, heat up your soldering iron and desolder the existing 'spring clip' connections and replace them with good solid speaker connections. There is no major drama involved and replacement speaker connectors are widely available from your local electronic store.

    If you haven't soldered before then Google a few tips and do one at a time. A digi camera is a great help so that you get it right. Just be careful to pick connectors sizes which won't make you have to start cutting holes in the back of your amp.


    Pixelthis:
    What were you thinking when you wrote this??

    "NOBODY listens to FM anymore and the tuners are a joke, usually on one chip"

    I'll have you know that I enjoy my FM radio very much. I am not an 'old fogie' yet, (at 47), and get great reception out of my Luxman radio, so much so that my unit, (1984), puts today's radios to shame. A big Earth stake in the garden and a shallow aerial gets me great uninterupted signal strength. Better than any squashed/compressed digital receiver!

    Slippers warming
    In the music world Impetuosity is not just a youthful trait; I'll explain if you type slowly.

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