• 05-26-2008, 02:45 PM
    ambrose1am
    Questions About Buying New Stereo Equipment
    Hi,

    I'm a longtime reader of this site, but I haven't bought a new stereo for nearly 25 years. My Kenwood system has finally died and I'm looking to buy at least a new receiver, CD player, and EQ over the next two weeks. Please help steer me in the right direction!

    Speakers are OK for the moment. Here are my requirements:

    Budget: under $1000 TOTAL

    Receiver:

    1. I don't have a huge room so do I really need more than say 75W per channel?
    2. Must haves: 5.1 (don't need more); DTS; an EQ hookup (essential despite new technology); prefer a phono jack, headphone jack, and a turntable hookup.
    3. I don't listen to the radio.

    CD player:

    1. Would like to try SACD and DVD audio if possible--not essential.
    2. Like three-disc changers but not essential.
    3. Must play CD-R.

    Can someone recommend some receiver and CD models for me? I don't have to buy brand new.

    Thanks!

    Mark
  • 05-26-2008, 04:53 PM
    markw
    Reality Check
    Times have changed since the good old simple analog stereo days. Some things to keep in mind:

    1) Equalizers require a tape monitor system which is no longer available on 99.9% of receivers. You might want to write this off your wish list.

    2) Phono inputs are as rare as hens teeth and getting rarer. You can always buy an external phono stage though.

    3) Question: Do you need speakers to complete that 5.1 scenario or are you going to go with just your (assumed) stereo pair? Your post is confusing on this.

    4) Do you have/want a subwoofer (the ".1" in a 5.1 system). Again, your post is confusing.

    5) 5 disc CD changers available but I can't recall the last time I saw a 3 disc one, besides in plastic shelf systems. SACD and DVD-Audio will add to the overall cost considerably unless one falls off a truck or you get it used.

    Your move. Clarifications?
  • 05-26-2008, 05:00 PM
    hifitommy
    scratch the eq idea for now
    take a look at the harman kardon receivers. an eq may be unnecessary for good reproduction, and its an additional expense.

    oppo sells some great units that have been well received at stereophile and tas for less than $200.

    you dont mention speakers but the magneplanar MMGs for $550 are a great deal and psb alphas for $279 are another. a sub can come later.
  • 05-26-2008, 05:05 PM
    blackraven
    For a receiver, look at the Onkyo TX-SR705, it has every thing you are looking for in a receiver.

    For a CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD player, consider the Oppo 983 for $399 www.oppodigital.comm This would be my choice. The reviews on it are very good.

    Or consider the Marantz 5001 CD player for under $300 and the oppo 980/981 DVD/SACD players for around $180.

    Other standard CDP's Music Hall 25.2 for about $500, Cambridge Audio 640c for about $600. Marantz makes a universal DVD player the DV7001 for $700, it plays CD, SACD.
  • 05-26-2008, 05:13 PM
    PDN
    With a budget of $1K for an A-V receiver with a phono input circuit, CD player, powered subwoofer, center channel, and a pair of surround sound satellite speakers (you claim to have your L&R mains), I'm afraid you will not get much quality. In fact, you may be hard pressed to purchase even mass market components at a Circuit City or Best Buy. Most CD player changers accomodate 5 discs, not 3. I've never heard of that as MarkW states. Remember upgrading from a 25 year old 2 channel stereo system with a turntable to a complete 5.1 surround sound system is a big jump. I know, I just went through it but over a 3 year period upgrading one component at a time until I feel I've reached my dream system (at least for now). With all of the tweaks (speaker wire, vibrapods, power conditioner, DVD player, etc), I believe I've spent a gross of $6K but then sold some components so the net is under that. You asked for advice. I would take that $1K and get yourself a decent 5.1 A-V receiver with a phono input for say $650.00 and CD player or CD Changer for approx $330.00 and with sales tax, that should come to about $1K. Play these through your two main speakers for now. Then as more funds become available, continue to build. That's my advice. All the best.
  • 05-26-2008, 05:28 PM
    blackraven
    The Onkyo 705 has the phono input, 90wpc of high current power and will give you good sound coupled with a good CDP. I dont know that it has a tape monitor. Will it be audiophile sound ( what ever that means ) no it wont. But it will be good sound.
  • 05-26-2008, 05:31 PM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markw
    Times have changed since the good old simple analog stereo days. Some things to keep in mind:

    1) Equalizers require a tape monitor system which is no longer available on 99.9% of receivers. You might want to write this off your wish list.

    2) Phono inputs are as rare as hens teeth and getting rarer. You can always buy an external phono stage though.

    3) Question: Do you need speakers to complete that 5.1 scenario or are you going to go with just your (assumed) stereo pair? Your post is confusing on this.

    4) Do you have/want a subwoofer (the ".1" in a 5.1 system). Again, your post is confusing.

    5) 5 disc CD changers available but I can't recall the last time I saw a 3 disc one, besides in plastic shelf systems. SACD and DVD-Audio will add to the overall cost considerably unless one falls off a truck or you get it used.

    Your move. Clarifications?

    Hahaha. Thanks for honest and thorough response, markw.

    Analog vs. digital: Forgive my stupidity here, but what is the value of the digital optical cable? Is there an advantage to using the optical vs. standard RCA jacks?

    Speakers: Yes, I'm sorry I was unclear about this. I have two three-way Technics SB-K22 speakers from the '80s that still KOTJ. Because I don't have the $$ at the moment to buy speakers, I thought I'd start with the receiver and CD player and buy speakers later on. My plan is to eventually buy three more speakers and a subwoofer to round out the 5.1.

    EQ: Is it really this hard to incorporate an EQ in today's stereo systems? Everything I read suggests so, sadly. I realize that channeling the sound through another piece of equipment downgrades the quality, and that contemporary receivers have built-in EQs, but that's a trade-off I'm willing to make for control over the sound. I listen to a variety of music from classical to heavy stuff, and sometimes, especially with older, low-quality punk albums or something, it's helpful to be able to tweak the sound just right. Bass and treble knobs just aren't going to do it for me. Would you suggest running an EQ through a pre-amp?

    Phono pre-amp: Stupid question number 20: Can I run an EQ through a phono pre-amp?

    Thanks!
  • 05-26-2008, 05:32 PM
    blackraven
    Well I just checked the picture of the back side of the onkyo 705 and it has tape in and out jacks, so you should be able to hook up an equalizer as well as a Turn Table.
  • 05-26-2008, 05:38 PM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hifitommy
    take a look at the harman kardon receivers. an eq may be unnecessary for good reproduction, and its an additional expense.

    oppo sells some great units that have been well received at stereophile and tas for less than $200.

    you dont mention speakers but the magneplanar MMGs for $550 are a great deal and psb alphas for $279 are another. a sub can come later.

    Thanks for the comments, hifitommy. Much appreciated.

    In wanting an EQ, I know I'm being stubborn and stupid in terms of sound quality, but I like the control and I like fiddling.

    I'm really curious about your Oppo recommendation. I have a Malata codefree DVD player, and I've been thinking about upgrading to an Oppo. But I always assumed Oppos produced inferior sound compared to say, the cheapest Marantz CD player. I realize you aren't saying the Oppo is as good as a high-end Marantz, but does the Oppo really produce decent sound quality? That just might solve my problem if so.

    Thanks for the speaker recommendations! I'll look into them.
  • 05-26-2008, 05:41 PM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    For a receiver, look at the Onkyo TX-SR705, it has every thing you are looking for in a receiver.

    For a CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD player, consider the Oppo 983 for $399 www.oppodigital.comm This would be my choice. The reviews on it are very good.

    Or consider the Marantz 5001 CD player for under $300 and the oppo 980/981 DVD/SACD players for around $180.

    Other standard CDP's Music Hall 25.2 for about $500, Cambridge Audio 640c for about $600. Marantz makes a universal DVD player the DV7001 for $700, it plays CD, SACD.

    Thanks blackraven! All these comments have been extremely helpful. I suppose it's worth it for me to consider the Oppo. Do you think that Oppo's sound is on par with that low-end Marantz CDP?

    I'm definitely going to check out that Onkyo--huge thanks there!
  • 05-26-2008, 05:44 PM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PDN
    With a budget of $1K for an A-V receiver with a phono input circuit, CD player, powered subwoofer, center channel, and a pair of surround sound satellite speakers (you claim to have your L&R mains), I'm afraid you will not get much quality. In fact, you may be hard pressed to purchase even mass market components at a Circuit City or Best Buy. Most CD player changers accomodate 5 discs, not 3. I've never heard of that as MarkW states. Remember upgrading from a 25 year old 2 channel stereo system with a turntable to a complete 5.1 surround sound system is a big jump. I know, I just went through it but over a 3 year period upgrading one component at a time until I feel I've reached my dream system (at least for now). With all of the tweaks (speaker wire, vibrapods, power conditioner, DVD player, etc), I believe I've spent a gross of $6K but then sold some components so the net is under that. You asked for advice. I would take that $1K and get yourself a decent 5.1 A-V receiver with a phono input for say $650.00 and CD player or CD Changer for approx $330.00 and with sales tax, that should come to about $1K. Play these through your two main speakers for now. Then as more funds become available, continue to build. That's my advice. All the best.

    Thanks, PDN. You nailed it. My plan is start with a decent receiver and CDP and work my way up to speakers. Thanks for the post and advice.
  • 05-26-2008, 06:07 PM
    blackraven
    The oppo puts out hi quality audio, especially SACD. Don't be fooled by its price. And , yes it is on par with the marantz 5001. The 980 has better audio than the 981 but the 981 is better for video. The 983 is supposed to be excellent for both.
  • 05-27-2008, 02:21 AM
    markw
    Be careful here.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    Well I just checked the picture of the back side of the onkyo 705 and it has tape in and out jacks, so you should be able to hook up an equalizer as well as a Turn Table.

    If one is talking about AVR's, having tape out and tape in jacks does not guarantee that it will create the needed "monitor loop" configuration of the old days where the signal was sent out and to a device and then returned immediately to the same point in the circuit where it lef via the push of a button.

    The key is to scour the front panel for a "tape loop" or "tape monitor" button. Without that, these two sets of jacks simply allow a signal to be sent out to an tape deck but tha tape deck's input must be selected as another input, not the out/in loop, as many have discovered.

    You can use an eq between the preamp stage and power amp, assuming the receiver offers these I/O options. Choose carefully.
  • 05-27-2008, 10:21 AM
    blackraven
    Thats true about the tape loop or tape monitor button. Call or email Onkyo and see if you can use an equlizer with the tape in/outs. There is a tape setting on the 705 but I'm not sure if it will work for an equalizer.
  • 05-27-2008, 11:16 AM
    basite
    most modern AVR's have a eq built in btw...

    start with the receiver and the dvd player.

    then later on buy speakers. otherwise, you'll be buying crap...
  • 05-28-2008, 01:55 PM
    kuei
    Let's go with a Yamaha Reciever. Yamaha has a great selection at almost every price range. You can't go wrong with yamaha.
    For an Equalizer I would recommend getting a used BSR-4000XR. These things are fantastic. You can usually find a good used one on ebay for around $200. I have four of them, you know, just in case. Not sure why that fella mentioned tape monitoring. Not required. As for cd, I would hold off. Too many changes going on in cd/dvd devices right now. Perhaps a better idea might be to run cd's (or files) from your pc to your stereo, thus eliminating the need for a seperate player and burning headaches. That is what i do. Works great.
    Anyway don't be afraid to buy used. You get a much better bang for the buck.
  • 05-28-2008, 05:37 PM
    markw
    Wanna bet?
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kuei
    Not sure why that fella mentioned tape monitoring. Not required.

    It's either that or between the preamp and the main amp. Where do you insert your equalizer into the circuit?
  • 05-28-2008, 09:20 PM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kuei
    Let's go with a Yamaha Reciever. Yamaha has a great selection at almost every price range. You can't go wrong with yamaha.
    For an Equalizer I would recommend getting a used BSR-4000XR. These things are fantastic. You can usually find a good used one on ebay for around $200. I have four of them, you know, just in case. Not sure why that fella mentioned tape monitoring. Not required. As for cd, I would hold off. Too many changes going on in cd/dvd devices right now. Perhaps a better idea might be to run cd's (or files) from your pc to your stereo, thus eliminating the need for a seperate player and burning headaches. That is what i do. Works great.
    Anyway don't be afraid to buy used. You get a much better bang for the buck.

    Thanks for the advice, Kuei. I am certainly open to buying something used.

    Curious: Why do you need four EQs?

    CD player: I've been thinking about this and I'm starting to convince myself that I can use one of my older DVD players as a CD player for the time being. That will allow me to spend more money on a receiver and EQ.

    EQ: How are you connecting your EQs to the Yamaha?

    FYI for people following this post, I'm waiting on a response from Onkyo about whether or not I can connect an EQ to the SR-705. I'm also talking to someone from Marantz about EQ-compatible receivers.

    Thanks,

    Marl
  • 06-08-2008, 04:19 PM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ambrose1am
    Thanks for the advice, Kuei. I am certainly open to buying something used.

    Curious: Why do you need four EQs?

    CD player: I've been thinking about this and I'm starting to convince myself that I can use one of my older DVD players as a CD player for the time being. That will allow me to spend more money on a receiver and EQ.

    EQ: How are you connecting your EQs to the Yamaha?

    FYI for people following this post, I'm waiting on a response from Onkyo about whether or not I can connect an EQ to the SR-705. I'm also talking to someone from Marantz about EQ-compatible receivers.

    Thanks,

    Marl

    Onkyo's response to my question:

    Q: Comments: Hello, I'm going to purchase a new receiver in the next week or so and I'm seriously considering your SR705 or 805. I have a question though. I love that these have phono inputs. I'm also dead set on using an external EQ despite the fact that these receivers have built-in EQs. Can I use an equalizer with the tape in/outs on these receivers? Thanks, Mark

    A: Not really in order for that to work you would have to connect the EQ to the pre outs of all the speaker Example front L front R and then the speakers would have to be connected to the EQ.

    Eric Martinez
  • 06-09-2008, 07:35 AM
    filecat13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ambrose1am
    Onkyo's response to my question:

    Q: Comments: Hello, I'm going to purchase a new receiver in the next week or so and I'm seriously considering your SR705 or 805. I have a question though. I love that these have phono inputs. I'm also dead set on using an external EQ despite the fact that these receivers have built-in EQs. Can I use an equalizer with the tape in/outs on these receivers? Thanks, Mark

    A: Not really in order for that to work you would have to connect the EQ to the pre outs of all the speaker Example front L front R and then the speakers would have to be connected to the EQ.

    Eric Martinez

    WHAT?!?! :mad2:
  • 06-09-2008, 07:46 AM
    filecat13
    I guess he's referring to the multichannel pre-outs, but that's absurd. You'd need at least three equalizers, possibly four, and you'd have to find a way to either get the signal back into the receiver or you'd have to buy three stereo amps or a five-channel amp to drive the speakers, wasting your receiver's amp in the first place.

    The tape loop is still the better way way to go as blackraven suggests if you want to insert external EQ. The best way to go is to drop your obsession with external EQ and use the receiver's built in processor. :) And I write that as one who can be obsessive himself. :smilewinkgrin:
  • 06-09-2008, 08:50 AM
    markw
    This would be true...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by filecat13
    The tape loop is still the better way way to go as blackraven suggests if you want to insert external EQ.

    ... if only that receiver offered that option. It doesn't. :smilewinkgrin:

    (psst.... re-read post 13)
  • 06-12-2008, 04:57 AM
    Gab
    Marantz SR-4021 Receiver

    --- look it
  • 06-13-2008, 08:50 AM
    Auricauricle
    Ambrose: If you are looking for a nice receiver and eq may I get on the square and announce that I happen to be selling both. I have a Sherwood R-525 5.1 A/V receiver. It is rated at 100 watts total at 8 Ohms, has four or five dsp modes and a phono jack. It also has a tape 2 monitor for an external processor. For EQ, I used an Audio Source Architect EQ. It is a graphic EQ that uses rotary dials and has rocked my world very pleasantly. The Sherwood is very clean sounding and plenty of headroom.

    Some say that having an external EQ is anathema, but like you I like to tweak. Sonic disparities in rooms and personal preferences make diddliing the sound important. Additionally, having the flexibility to open up the bass here and tighten up the treble there overcome some of the limitations of source equipment that simply don't have the flexibility to attend to all of these parameters.

    I am letting both go for $250.00
  • 06-13-2008, 11:50 AM
    ambrose1am
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Auricauricle
    Ambrose: If you are looking for a nice receiver and eq may I get on the square and announce that I happen to be selling both. I have a Sherwood R-525 5.1 A/V receiver. It is rated at 100 watts total at 8 Ohms, has four or five dsp modes and a phono jack. It also has a tape 2 monitor for an external processor. For EQ, I used an Audio Source Architect EQ. It is a graphic EQ that uses rotary dials and has rocked my world very pleasantly. The Sherwood is very clean sounding and plenty of headroom.

    Some say that having an external EQ is anathema, but like you I like to tweak. Sonic disparities in rooms and personal preferences make diddliing the sound important. Additionally, having the flexibility to open up the bass here and tighten up the treble there overcome some of the limitations of source equipment that simply don't have the flexibility to attend to all of these parameters.

    I am letting both go for $250.00

    Sent you a PM Auricauricle. I'm still researching and trying to find the right receiver with all of my qualifications. I am now looking at 1998-2004 models--Yamaha, Onkyo, HK, Marantz to name a few. The goal is to find a receiver with a tape monitor and phono jacks that can also accommodate surround options--esp. DTS--and one that has adequate AUX connections for an iPod. It's not that I like MP3-quality sound but that I like the flexibility and ease of use. In short, I want my receiver to be expandable and be able to accommodate a wide variety of technologies and formats. I've also hit up against yet another issue in that I've realized how effing large some of these contemporary receivers are. I have about 15"-17" of shelf depth for this receiver and some of these are just huge.

    Also, underlying this entire search is an increasing feeling of disappointment in the options available. An analog EQ may seem the equivalent of a Ford LTD to many, but if you listen to the range of sound quality that I do--early punk recordings are not available in DVD-Audio LOL--you need an EQ to really fine-tune the sound, boost the bass when necessary, cut down the high end. I guess I just can't understand how or why audiophiles and the companies that make these products--people who are so concerned about sound quality and micromanaging it--so willingly threw away the simplicity and fine-tuning control of the analog EQ. And the loss of phono jacks! I seriously doubt most audiophiles have given up on listening to vinyl, or am I uninformed and naive? It seems like the best receivers should be backward compatible, but that's hardly the case. Despite such a wide range of companies and options, I'm getting frustrated trying to accommodate all of my needs.