View Full Version : Home-cinema amplifier ?

Fabrice Rossi
2005-04-25, 12:47
I'm reposting this as it only reached the ml yesterday and not the
forum. I apologize for the double post for those who are subscribed to
the ml.


I know that talking about home-cinema amplifier in an audiophile mailing
list is a bit provocative, but I guess that it's also a right place to
get advice.

I've just received my SB 2 and I'm quite happy with it. It was my first
upgrade for my quite old sound system. I've a 11 years old home cinema
amplifier from Sony (from the good old time of dolby surround...) and
some audio reference loudspeakers. This is _far_ from being an
audiophile setting, believe me. I also own a very old philips CD player
that sounds quite bad compared to the SB 2 (analogic output and flac
encoded discs).

So I plan to use the SB 2 for the transport and to change all the rest.
I'm looking to something not to expensive. For instance, I cannot afford
the Benchmark DAC-1 cited in previous mails (975 US $!), because I won't
then be able to buy matching pre-amp and amp. I'm looking for something
between 1500 and 2000 US $ for the DAC and the amp.

Within this price range, I've looked to some home-cinema amplifiers and
I was wondering if any of you had listen to a SB 2 + a home-cinema
amplifier, using the DAC integrated in the amplifier.

Some "high end" home cinema amplifier, such as the DENON 3805

and the Arcam avr 250
(http://www.arcam.co.uk/prod_diva_AVR250_intro.cfm) have received very
good reviews from What HiFi. The Denon is using very high end DAC from
Burr-brown (PCM-1791) which should be better than the one integrated
into the SB 2. If any of you some feedback on those amplifiers, it would
be even better ;-)

Thanks in advance.


Patrick Dixon
2005-04-25, 14:29
I may be able to try the Denon AVR-3805 with an SB2 in the next week or too - if it happens I'll let you know how it stacks up.

2005-04-25, 15:14
Patrick, I'd be interested in that too. Keep us informed. Cheers.

Fabrice Rossi
2005-04-26, 01:24
Nice! What loudspeakers do you plan to test?


Patrick Dixon
2005-04-26, 01:46
Well I wasn't really thinking of testing loudspeakers too ;-)

I am probably going to install a SB2 with a plasma screen & surround sound system for a client, and I picked the Denon out to act as the decoder/amplifier in the system. I'm proposing Monitor Andio Radius speakers (R90/R180/R360), as the client wants something small, wall mounted and discrete (especially the centre). The Denon also has the capability to independently drive a seperate 'room' (in this case the garden), using two of the 7 channels of amplification. The AVR-2805 looks good too - just a little less power and a couple less features.

If I get the chance I'll try it using analogue and digital connections from the SB2 and let you know what I hear.

Bruce Hartley
2005-04-26, 12:12
I've got a Denon-3802 & Monitor Audio Silvers (10i, 8i, fxi)
Hopefully my squeezebox 2 should be arriving any day, so I can let you know my thoughts (for what they are worth)

2005-04-26, 14:30
I also have a Denon 3802. While the internal DAC is okay, personally, I'd go with an external DAC. I used to have my CD player connected to the Denon and when I finally got an external DAC (with the Denon still serving as preamp and amp) the difference in sound was significant.

The Benchmark DAC 1 is very good. But it's not the only DAC around. There are cheaper alternatives like the MSB LinkDAC III (http://www.msbtech.com/Catalog/Products_Prices.htm) that I own. And then there's Scott Nixon's DACs (http://www.scott-nixon.com/dac.htm). I'm sure you can find some others if you look around. And I bet any one of them would produce better sound than any A/V receiver below $2,000.

Just my opinion,

2005-05-07, 16:34
I have flac + sb2 + primare spa20 + monitor audio pmc703 and it sounds truly fantastic.

I will hopefully borrow a musical fidelity dac from a mate and do (blind) comparisons in the next month or so.