Cambridge Audio 650R - analogue direct or bi-amp?

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Hi all,

I've just bought the above receiver, chosen mostly because it's to be used 90% for stereo music, and occasional film and game usage, etc.

Anyway, my music set-up is any old CD player (I have a few to choose from with SPDIF outputs) or a USB PC, then a Dacmagic Plus, into the amp's analogue inputs.

I've not set the amp up yet, but was considering my options earlier with regard to stereo usage. Because I will be using only a 5.1 setup, I have the option to bi-amplify the front channels using the spare rear channels. Alternatively I can do what I currently do with my existing receiver & bi-wire my floorstanders into the front channels.

The 650R has an 'Analogue Stereo Direct' mode to bypass all the A/D converters and electrical gubbins. In this mode I believe it puts out 120W per side and is designed for 'audiophile' usage like an integrated amp in a bi-wired arrangements, while in any surround mode it's 7x100 watt.

My question is is this analogue setup actually better for music than bi-amping it using the unused channels, as the analogue signal it should be receiving from the DAC will be better than what it can create itself? Also, as the other amps are less powerful and presumably when bi-amped it will still be running the signals through the amp's A/D converters? I see that for other sources like in surround it might be better when the Dacmagic isn't in use, but surely for stereo music I'm better off using direct mode and sticking with analogue?

Or am I missing the point?

Thanks in advance.

Rob
Hi all,I've just bought the above receiver, chosen mostly because it's to be used 90% for stereo music, and occasional film and game usage, etc. Anyway, my music set-up is any old CD player (I have a few to choose from with SPDIF outputs) or a USB PC, then a Dacmagic Plus, into the amp's analogue inputs. I've not set the amp up yet, but was considering my options earlier with regard to stereo usage. Because I will be using only a 5.1 setup, I have the option to bi-amplify the front channels using the spare rear channels. Alternatively I can do what I currently do with my existing receiver & bi-wire my floorstanders into the front channels.The 650R has an 'Analogue Stereo Direct' mode to bypass all the A/D converters and electrical gubbins. In this mode I believe it puts out 120W per side and is designed for 'audiophile' usage like an integrated amp in a bi-wired arrangements, while in any surround mode it's 7x100 watt. My question is is this analogue setup actually better for music than bi-amping it using the unused channels, as the analogue signal it should be receiving from the DAC will be better than what it can create itself? Also, as the other amps are less powerful and presumably when bi-amped it will still be running the signals through the amp's A/D converters? I see that for other sources like in surround it might be better when the Dacmagic isn't in use, but surely for stereo music I'm better off using direct mode and sticking with analogue?Or am I missing the point? Thanks in advance. Rob
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks for answering what it took Cambridge Audio 6 emails to vaguely-not-quite-answer-fully!

I haven't set it up yet, but will set it up in bi-amp mode for sure now I'm sure.

Opinions on the amp seem to be mixed, but I think when it was new, at nearly £1000 it had some stiff competition. I trust CA more than most receiver companies, having had the 540R, to perform well for music as the priority but still offering a strong 5.1 effort. For £500 odd it seems well specified, and I'm looking forward to getting it rigged up. Also interested to see what the replacement offering is going to be in the new year, a V2 or a new model altogether.

Rob
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The 540 was 6.1, not 7, and has no stereo bypass mode or bi-amp mode (at least my v2 one doesn't). The 650's 7.1 predecessor was the 640R. What Hifi? were quite scathing of both, but there are a lot of other positive reviews, especially post-firmware-update, and I've never been disappointed with any CA gear I've bought, for the money they're always great bang for buck.
 

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