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View Full Version : Opinions/Suggestions on living room amplifiers/receivers



bklaas
2006-06-13, 14:28
The receiver that powers my living room/kitchen Squeezebox is dying, so I'm in the market for a replacement. I need a 2-channel amp with an A+B speaker switch at a minimum. I also listen to a fair bit of FM radio (gasp!), so I'll need to have a tuner, either separate or integrated.

FWIW, I'm not an audiophile and these will be powering two pairs of in-ceiling speakers that I bought from Home Theater Direct (http://www.htd.com/htdhideinand.html).

I've been searching around the slimforums for similar threads (there were several), and got interested in these two--

http://outlawaudio.com/products/rr2150.html
pros: looks fantastic, has a tuner
cons: a lot more expensive (>$500) than the amp100, backordered

http://www.audiosource.net/amp100.html
pros: mighty affordable at $100
cons: no tuner, and audiosource doesn't make a companion tuner either

Anyone have any thoughts on these two, or have suggestions for others? note: I already have a T-amp, and wouldn't work in this scenario.

If I end up going with the amp100, how about external AM/FM tuners? Opinions?

cheers,
#!/ben

dwc
2006-06-14, 17:39
Well if noone else is going to respond, I will suggest the Panasonic XR-57. I have the 55, and for $300 it sounds great with the SB digital input.

gbreit
2006-06-14, 18:03
I picked up the Harman Kardon 3480 a few months ago after my 12-year-old JVC died. Basic good sounding 2-channel receiver. Just don't use the "VMAx" fake surround feature, which is horrible.

I recall that the price at J&R can vary almost daily. Currently $265 shipped.

http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product=3960817

There's also the 3380 with less power for less $$$.

gb

radish
2006-06-14, 18:25
I've had good experiences with Onkyo equipment in the $200-300 range.

bklaas
2006-06-14, 20:04
Thanks for the replies...there had been deafening silence for a while and I was beginning to wonder where everyone went ;)

I'd been looking somewhat at the Panasonic line, but they are so bloody fixated on home theater. I'm kind of old school when it comes to listening to music...2 speakers por favor.

Anyone have any thoughts on buying a stand-alone tuner to go with an amp? The Audiosource Amp100 I mentioned in my first post looks appealing, but no tuner...

cheers,
#!/ben

vdorta
2006-06-15, 06:12
Old faithful NAD's C720BEE (http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Code=NAD_C720BEE&Category_Code=RX) stereo receiver, with 2 separate audio zones, is another candidate.

radish
2006-06-15, 06:21
Back when I listened to the radio Sony had a good rep for tuners. I still have one of their digital models floating around in a box somewhere, it was pretty good and decently priced.

agentsmith
2006-06-15, 06:37
You can't lose with the Linn Classik. Includes a tuner, CD player, switched mode power supply, all that in a nice little shoebox package, and that Linn sound will not play second fiddle to most receivers.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-06-15, 08:49
A low-end or used NAD receiver will work well. They have excellent tuners and plenty of power to drive 2 sets of speakers. Even the ones rated at 25-watts actually have a great deal of power for real-world applications. An NAD will generally sound better than a cheap mass-market receiver.

JJZolx
2006-06-15, 12:50
I'd been looking somewhat at the Panasonic line, but they are so bloody fixated on home theater. I'm kind of old school when it comes to listening to music...2 speakers por favor.
Lot's of folks love the Panny digital receivers for two-channel setups. The sound is supposed to pretty remarkable at the price, plus you should have plenty of power and the whole thing is very compact. With tuner, A/B speaker selection and digital input. The HT features may complicate setup a bit, but after that it shouldn't get in the way too badly.

Panasonic SA-XR55KS (http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vModelDetail?storeId=15001&catalogId=13401&itemId=93546&modelNo=SA-XR55S&cacheProgram=11002&cachePartner=7000000000000005702&surfModel=SA-XR55S&catGroupId=25013&surfCategory=Receivers&displayTab=S)

Very available, so you should be able to buy it online at a decent discount, and if you buy from someone with a good return policy you can always return it if it doesn't work out for you. Or you can probably find it at a local retailer.

http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.process?Product_Id=4032234&JRSource=googlebase.datafeed.PAN+SAXR55-S

notanatheist
2007-06-03, 16:20
This was the only post that showed up with "amp100" in my search. Didn't try seperately. Got to know, did you get one? Mine should be here this week. I'm looking to compare it with the small Sonic T amp. Of course the biggest addition is the ability to drive two pairs of speakers. The Amp100 will end up in my garage driving Elan ceiling speakers and then later a pair of outdoor speakers.

Of course "Amp 100" brings in 61 results.

klkitts
2007-06-04, 09:38
I have a Yamaha Receiver that I've been pretty happy with (RX-V657). I'm thinking about putting something inexpensive in a bedroom I'm thinking about picking up another squeezebox and pairing it with an HTR-5930. It only costs around $165.00 and one thing I like is that it has two optical and 1 coax digital inputs. Since I have an old CD player with a coax digital - I could use if for that as well. I'm not really interested in the 5.1 surround features - but it does not seem possible to find a high quality receiver that has digital inputs for much less anyway...

Does anyone have any thoughts on the lower cost yamaha receivers? Do you get what you pay for? ;-)

Thanks,

Kevin

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-04, 12:35
I have a Yamaha Receiver that I've been pretty happy with (RX-V657). I'm thinking about putting something inexpensive in a bedroom I'm thinking about picking up another squeezebox and pairing it with an HTR-5930. It only costs around $165.00 and one thing I like is that it has two optical and 1 coax digital inputs. Since I have an old CD player with a coax digital - I could use if for that as well. I'm not really interested in the 5.1 surround features - but it does not seem possible to find a high quality receiver that has digital inputs for much less anyway...

Does anyone have any thoughts on the lower cost yamaha receivers? Do you get what you pay for? ;-)

Thanks,

Kevin

You may want to check out the Panasonic SA-XR "all-digital" receivers. They're not that much more, but they use similar technology to the T-amp. They have a cult-like following.

Just make sure to send the signal to them digitally - I believe they have both coax and optical inputs. Their analog section isn't what they're known for. You can even use the unused channels for biamping I believe.

gdpeck
2007-06-04, 21:40
Old faithful NAD's C720BEE (http://www.yawaonline.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=YO&Product_Code=NAD_C720BEE&Category_Code=RX) stereo receiver, with 2 separate audio zones, is another candidate.

x2. I have this receiver in my bedroom system with a Squeezebox 3 and I love it.

It doesn't have digital inputs, if that is important to you.

vdonovan
2007-06-05, 10:27
I was searching for an amp/tuner combination as well (I was about to pop for the Outlaw) when I realized that all of the radio stations I listen to were available over the internet, either through Shoutcast or their own web page. That meant that I could get them through my Slimserver and I didn't need a tuner.

I ended up with the highly regarded, bare-bones Super T amp
http://www.si5.com/products.php?pID=4004

Like you I have two speaker zones so I added an external A/B switch from Radio Shack.

Gildahl
2007-06-05, 10:47
I picked up the Harman Kardon 3480 a few months ago after my 12-year-old JVC died. Basic good sounding 2-channel receiver. Just don't use the "VMAx" fake surround feature, which is horrible.


I bought this unit along with a pair of Axiom M60s for my SB3. I've been very happy with them and can easily recommend the HK. It has few frills and no digital inputs, but that's what I wanted. I agree that the VMax is not very useful most of the time, but if you're sitting right in the sweet spot and have the right kind of music on (usually, soft, atmospheric kind of stuff), the effect can be quite interesting. It can also be effective on movies.

Dave

corbey
2007-06-05, 12:06
Parasound makes some inexpensive amps and tuners that are also small in size. If you buy factory reconditioned, you should be able to get the Zamp and the Ztuner for around $500. Check Audio Advisor.

CatBus
2007-06-05, 12:18
You may want to check out the Panasonic SA-XR "all-digital" receivers. They're not that much more, but they use similar technology to the T-amp. They have a cult-like following.

Just make sure to send the signal to them digitally - I believe they have both coax and optical inputs. Their analog section isn't what they're known for. You can even use the unused channels for biamping I believe.

For the record, I'm a believer. The SA-XRxx come out-of-the-box configured for a multichannel setup, but that's easily changed to a simple stereo setup--and yes, the unused channels can be used for either bi-amping/bi-wiring (snake oil), or dual amping (not snake oil). It's better than the T-amp IMO--my belief is that the only reason the T-amp gets any attention at all is that they eschew multichannel. It's also better than the considerably more expensive Denon stereo amp it replaced in my house. It is also barely warm to the touch, which constantly amazes me.

A word of warning though: if you enjoy your music warmed up a bit, or colored with a tube amp, or your speakers are overbright, this amp is probably not for you. It sounds very flat and cold and accurate to my ears, which could be interpreted as bright when compared to your typical amp, which is somewhat warm.

hunta
2007-06-06, 05:44
I have a far from finely tuned ear, and have only recently upgraded to separates so possibly not the best-placed to comment, but for what it's worth I've been delighted with the clarity and bang-for-buck combo I settled on:

Marantz PM4001 amp
Monitor Audio Silver RS1 speakers (in walnut, naturally!)

Definitely worth investigating for the cash.

thesil
2007-06-06, 06:50
An Onkyo is a good bet. They have plenty of power at resonable prices. I have had several over the years and they never dissapoint. On the higher end go with the lower end NAD series. Still better is the Rotel integrated amp; I use that in one of my applications with my SB3 and it is wondefull. It is pricey however at around $800.

adamslim
2007-06-06, 07:20
You could try NAD tuners, if you find a suitable amplifier. I just sold a NAD 402 tuner on ebay for about 15 ($30). It's a great-sounding tuner, retailed at 200 in its day but no-one nowadays wants AM/FM tuners - they all want DAB, which sounds much worse!

So I'd recommend getting te tuner at least off ebay. Sorry I'm not particularly up on amps in that price range, and anyway I'd probably be recommending some old (classic, of course!) Brit stuff like Creek.

Adam

jmourik
2008-02-08, 09:54
AudioSource Amp 100:

http://www.rodinaudio.com/audioSource/pdf/electronics_and_accessories.pdf
pros: mighty affordable at $100
cons: no tuner, and audiosource doesn't make a companion tuner either
Thanks for the suggestion Ben! :-)
I was thinking about the Parasound Zamp when Ben pointed me to this amp. Ordered it from Amazon for $86, not bad at all. Working fine so far! Better than my T-Amp, driving a couple of B&W cwm 800 in-wall loudspeakers.
Next month I'll probably pair this up with the Duet...

jan

aubuti
2008-02-08, 10:18
AudioSource Amp 100:

Thanks for the suggestion Ben! :-)
I was thinking about the Parasound Zamp when Ben pointed me to this amp. Ordered it from Amazon for $86, not bad at all. Working fine so far! Better than my T-Amp, driving a couple of B&W cwm 800 in-wall loudspeakers.
Next month I'll probably pair this up with the Duet...

jan
We just finished major kitchen remodeling, and have this amp driving 2 pairs of Polk RC60i in-ceiling speakers, with volume on each pair separately controlled with 2 Russound in-wall volume controls. The amp and SB2 are tucked away out of sight on the top shelf of the pantry. Not audiophile by any means, but it sounds excellent and scores very high on the "WAF". I'll post photos in the "Installations" forum shortly.

Fortuitously, my beta SB Receiver arrived about the same time that construction on the kitchen finished, and this is a perfect place for the SBR. But... my other half still hasn't grokked the SBC, and objected to the SBR, so the SB2 is there for now. At present she is still by-passing the SBC on the counter and opening the pantry door and to point the standard remote almost straight up at the SB2 on the top shelf. But I bet she'll be converted to the Duet within a month or so. She's not a Luddite, but not a natural beta tester either. (It didn't help that the SBC got stuck in an endless "update software" loop the day after I left town for a week.)