receiver recommendations for ML Ascents & Cinema?

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garynuke

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Great site! Thanks to all who contribute!
I don't expect this thread to be redundant of the one asking for amp recommendations as in that thread I see a lot of discussion about separate components and forays into the virtues of the tube world. I am seeking recommendations on a receiver, which suits my current needs on a number of criteria. Maybe later in life, I'll consider a more adventuruous amplification system. I'm slowly piecing together my Martin Logan soundstage. So far I have a pair of Ascents for front speakers and just acquired a Cinema middle speaker.

I've already read and been told that current (not power) is the issue, when it comes to driving Martin Logans. I used to have an Adcom GFA-555 way back, but that has left my possessions. I now have a Denon AVR-2600 receiver, which is respectable, although modest, in its current output and soundstage.

I don't want to spend more than $2K USD, and if it could be more like 1.5K that would be even better. And I'm not at all adverse to buying used, in fact, I typically do. The previous owner of the Cinema I have is an avid ML fan, having a pair of Krells to run his multiple ML speaker configurations.

He recommended to me the B&K AVR-505. He said that it was "80% comparable in quality to Krell", i.e. he thought it was made well with good componentry and sound engineering. And he touted its current output. Researching the B&K AVR-505, the brochure says that it puts out 28 amps per channel (peak to peak) as well as 150 watts of power (rated at 8 ohms).

http://www.bkcomp.com/avr507.asp

Originally researching the web, my choice for an easy plug & play type of receiver that is relatively affordable and known for good power (and decent current) is Sunfire's Ultimate Receiver. Yes, I know that is a Carver thing and they are well known for power (not current). But I've had a few ML owners say that they drive their speakers well. (Bear in mind, I'm not (yet) at the stage of an esoteric audiophile - I just appreciate a decent musical reproductions. My current home does not have the room that is deserving of the ML soundstage that I am building. I'm planning for the future, too.) I could not find any such specification on the Sunfire receiver to directly compare the advertised current rating of the B&K and honestly, I'm not sure EXACTLY what they measuring with this parameter.

http://www.sunfire.com/ultimatereceiver_II.html

So, I thought I'd toss out this thread and see what help I can get in this thought process:
What do you think of the B&K AVR-505 as a receiver for the ML Ascents?
Any thoughts on the comparison between the B&K and Sunfire?
Are there other high current, similarly priced, easy functioning receivers that I should consider?
Thanks in advance!
Gary
Houston, TX
 

Spike

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Why not keep the Denon to power the Cinema center channel and get outboard amplifiers to power the mains (left & right) Ascents? This way, you can keep the amplifiers when you upgrade components in the future. Reputables amplifiers in the $2k range are:
Belles from Power Modules (http://www.powermodules.com)
Stratos from Odyssey Audio (http://www.odysseyaudio.com)
Monarchy Audio (http://www.monarchyaudio.com)

Of course, there are others on the used market: Threshold, Classe', Bryston, Krell, etc... to name a few.
 

socialxray

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Hey Nuke!

Why not try a Denon AVR-3805 (~$1300) and pick up a used Adcom 5503 off of Audiogon.com (~$700) for the front 3 channels? Shipping for the Adcom will sent you a bit north of 2K but it should be worth it. Heck you may be able to get a decent used 3805. When Blu-ray drops this is the route I will probably go since my fortune is currently tied up in real estate and human resources (a mortgage plus 4 kids and a wife that are strangely fond of food and clothing).
 

SugarMedia

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Greetings Nuke!

I too agree with Spike. 2K is a good chunk of change to put into a component that can later be upgraded. A receiver on the other hand, is the most compromised piece of audio equipment made. The single power supply limits its performance.
 

DTB300

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Gary...

Maybe things have changed over the years, but I would give a serious listen to B&K before purchasing one, especially compared to the Sunfire equipment. IMO I like the Sunfire line better than B&K...but that is my opinion and you need to compare yourself. Remember it will run in your home and you will be listening to it, not me :D So you need to make the choice on how it will sound, not us. And down there in Houston, you should be able to find some shops that can help you out with auditioning...if not a trip up to the Big "D" or Austin is also a possibility.

Does your current receiver have Pre Outs? If so then the suggestion of the Odyssey or the Monarch's as dedicated amps for your mains would be the best way to go, while letting the Denon only power the center channel. This will also give you the best flexibility down the road for upgrades, changes, etc to your system.

You can pick up either of the recommended amps fairly cheap on Audiogon if you just wait and watch. And they both get some great reviews and talk about them.

Dan
 

Robin

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Gary

In my reseach so far, I have found, that the current or peak to peak (p-p) amps., used to drive your system is very important, especially driving ML electrostatic speakers. I would have to agree with the others above, in recommending that you concider amplifying your Ascents. Concider making do with your AVR for now. Using it as a processor at this point. The use of mono blocks would be my recommendation. B&K makes a good mono block, which run at 150 p-p amps. I think the Sunfire Cinima Grand Signature 600 is good too (100 p-p amps), or the 300 (80 p-p amps). Later, you could add a Sunfire - Vaccum Tube Classic Pre-amp.. Also, concider looking at Audio Reseach or Musical Fidelity tube amplifiers.

I have Ascent's as my mains too, they are wonderful speakers. If you go with a solid state amplifier, I would recommend a minium of 80 p-p amps. to drive your Ascents. I would also agree, you should audition each amplifier concideration, (solid state or tube) as each has it's own unique sound.
 
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mia

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Hiya Robin,

I was looking at the MF Products you mentioned and saw that the A5 has only 75-amps, or is it 127.3? Do you think this is sufficient enough to drive the Aerius or the Aeons?

400 Watts per channel into 4 Ohms
Voltage, RMS : 45 Volts 20Hz to 20kHz
Voltage, Peak-to-peak : 127.3 Volts
Current peak-to-peak 75 Amps
Damping factor : 140
Output devices per channel : 4
Pre-out impedance : 50 Ohms

Thank you in advance,
 
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garynuke

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Thanks for the new ideas.
It may be reasonable to amplify my mains and use the Denon AVR-2600 for the center and rears. That will allow me to enjoy the ML Ascents now with a better soundstage. I do worry about what this will mean for the future amplification for my center and rear speakers (currently not even worth mentioning - they just do the job).
(Note - I think 5 speakers is quite enough for me. 6 is crazy and 7, well, now the audio industry is just getting greedy! So 5 & a sub is the most I expect to ever have.)

My subwoofer is a M&K MX200 and has a 200W amplifier already onboard, so that won't need to use an amplifier. I already run from my receiver's sub pre-out to it now.

My current Denon AVR-2600 has only 25W available to the rear (surround) speakers. It makes 100W available for both fronts and the center. Following some of the ideas submitted here, I learned that my receiver has Pre Outs for all 5 speakers.

So if I do buy a 2 channel stereo amp as suggested for amplifying my main ML Ascents, then when I upgrade to discrete components in the future, what will be my options for the amplification of my center and surround speakers? When I upgrade later, won't I be looking for a 5 channel amplifier to go with a processor? Hence won't the 2 channel stereo amp become an extra unneeded piece? (Which may be fine as long as its costs is relatively low. I just want to understand the final outcome of this configuration.)

I have seen one very high priced amplifier which allow for slide in amplification modules to increase the number of channels as desired. But that is out of my price range for now.

80 watts peak to peak current recommended! Wow, that is an eye opener. I'll have to rethink my amp choices. I can't find any such spec for my current receiver, so I don't know how it would compare, although I seriously doubt the Denon has that much current available to its 3 front channels. Does anyone know where to find specs/manual for this receiver?
 

DTB300

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garynuke said:
So if I do buy a 2 channel stereo amp as suggested for amplifying my main ML Ascents, then when I upgrade to discrete components in the future, what will be my options for the amplification of my center and surround speakers? When I upgrade later, won't I be looking for a 5 channel amplifier to go with a processor? Hence won't the 2 channel stereo amp become an extra unneeded piece? (Which may be fine as long as its costs is relatively low. I just want to understand the final outcome of this configuration.)
When getting into sepeates, you can always purchase a Pre Amp with HT pass-through and still use your Denon for the HT processing, and still use your new stereo amp to drive the ML's. (HT pre-out for mains, go back to Pre Amp HT pass-through input - this allows for a single point of volume control - I can explain further if needed).

If you plan on buying a Pre/Pro in the future to replace the Denon, you can still use the stand-alone amp for your mains, but you will then need additional amps for Center and Surround Speakers. Isn't owning audio stuff fun!!!

If you plan on buying a multi-channel amp in the future, then buying a stereo one now might not make sense. Buying a nice multi-channel amp will probably cost you more than a nice two channel amp, and then you are locked into the multi-channel amp for all speakers. I prefere to choose my amplification for the speakers I am driving.

It is never easy trying to decide what you want to do now for the future of your system. Sometimes it is just easier to make a moderate purchase now to upgrade your system. Then down the road you can make other purchases to make improvements. Personally, you will find more of a change/improvement in your setup with the dedicated amps and a new Pre Amp, than with the purchase of a Multi-Channell amp.

For my setup, I use dedicated amps for Main Speakers, Sub, and Surround Speakers and these are pre-out (not sub) from HT receiver. I use my HT Reciever to power only Center and Rears. If I ever bought a new Processor and needed amplification I would need an amp for the center channel and would probably get rid of the rear channels. Rear channels are only used for 7.1 PLIIx mode for movies...

80 watts peak to peak current recommended! Wow, that is an eye opener. I'll have to rethink my amp choices. I can't find any such spec for my current receiver, so I don't know how it would compare, although I seriously doubt the Denon has that much current available to its 3 front channels. Does anyone know where to find specs/manual for this receiver?
Don't get hung up on figures and specs....

Listen to how a component sounds and base your purchase decision on that. I think once you get a chance to audition an amp for the mains instead of using the Denon, you will know why everyone is suggesting that. Go out to a dealer and get a stereo amp to demo at home in your price range and see how it sounds.

Like I said before, I do not like B&K stuff (sorry B&K lovers...), but you may love B&K- and you liking it is all that matters. Too many times we all get to into the specs and base a purchase on that. It is all about the sound and what you can afford.
 
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Spike

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When considering dedicated amplifiers for your mains and possibly extend your system to multi-channels later, space and $$ should be your primary considerations (assuming that you've already decided on the sonic quality). In a cost-no-object scenario, monoblocs for each of the channels are ideal, although I'm not a big fan of spending extra $$ for the surrounds/rears. In my opinion (if I have to do it), I'd go with 3 monoblocs for the front channels, and a decent (but not real high-end) stereo for the rears. I'm going to catch a few more flames for that statement ;-) That was based on the assumption that the front 3 channels are your most important ones where you can realize the differences readily. I'm not too sensitive to recognizing differences for the rear channels. Back to your question, you have a couple options if your objective is to arrive at the full-blown system at the end of the exercise:
Get a stereo amplifiers now for the front main channels and get a 3-channel amplifiers for the center + rears later.​
Get a modularized multi-channel amplifier, but only populate it with 2 channels for now and add more modules as you go along. There are quite a few units out there with this upgradability features: Cary, Balanced Audio, Proceed, Bryston, Audio Research, etc...​
 

socialxray

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Duck Spike!!! Here come the flames!!!! :eek:

Just kidding.

I think we kind of hijacked Nukes thread a bit here. Does anyone have any good RECEIVER recommendations? Anyone???
 

DTB300

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Robin

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Mia,

Yes, I think the Musical Fidelity A5 is awsome! The current peak to peak per channel, of 75 ampheres is good. However, I recommend that you audition the Musical Fidelity A5, if the sound suits your tastes in music / Home Theater, let that be your guide. 'Sugermedia' (Senior Member) has a Musical Fidelity A5 and reports it to have fantastic sound and power, especially for music listening. If I had it to do all over again, I would have diffinantely considered the Musical Fidelity A5, instead of the, 'Pioneer VSX-59Txi (A/V Receiver)', which I currently own, and which, I plan to use as a processor, once I've saved up enough money to concider purchasing amplifier(s). Up-graditis is a disease, of which I think, I shall never recover from...

Good luck.


Gary,

I am recommending is just to keep the current / voltage (peak to peak per channel) spec's in mind, but trust your ears. Ultimately, your audition of amplifiers will determin the power, depth, dementionality and clarity of your unique Home Theater / Sound System. I believe, the search and development of a personalized Home Theater is alot of fun. I enjoy continually tweeking and improving my Home theater. I get so much enjoyment from the process.

Have a good time and enjoy the sound.
 

socialxray

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Hey Nuke,

Maybe you should try a used Denon AVR-5803. Got a great review at audioholics.com. The reviewer said it sounded better than many separates. Also the amplification section was a serious amp and could handle low impedence loads with ease.

I would also think Harmon Kardon receivers would be contenders since their amplication section is consistently and highly praised.
 
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