Mixing AV & Hifi? Not convinced!

Ambrose

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Feb 19, 2008
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Thought i'd share some findings on my search for practical hifi setup.
I have been looking at moving from AV setup back to hifi again but trying to use as much of existing kit as possible.
Having got Arcam AV amp as musical (supposedly) and marantz DV6001 DVD player for same multichannel reason I have tried demoing RDAC (& existing Dac magic 1), Using IPOD Touch or MAC as a source both Wireless and hard wired and Adding CD player to mix.

I have tried several speakers (compact and flexibile positioning) as well.

Conclusions:-
Using RDAC and MAC/IPOD Touch as a source was fairly reasonable and not much different to DVD player + DAC.
AV AMP AVR 280 Arcam is a big weakness in building a hifi system although I found the Monitor Audio and RDAC an enjoyable combo, rhythm and dynamic and warm (not harsh) but missing detail, depth and seperation and imaging etc.
Therefore finding speakers to enjoy music doesn't have to contain some of above but I think I would feel disappointment eventually.
Using DAC Can certainly add weight and warmth, especially for DVD player.

After trying Rega RS1speakers with AVR amp and then switching to Rega Mira 3 AMP the difference was night and day. Music came alive and made sense much better with good sound seperation and terrific drums. Overall sound with RDAC and DVD player still not quite there. Vocals a bit surpressed and needing a bit more oomph!

After another demo with Rega Apollo, still better but a little fatiging in highs. Switching to Neat Motive 3 speakers was less harsh and brilliantly entertaining / foot tapping. Lovely speakers but not sure will work close to rear wall on sideboard as well as rega RS1.

Finally tried Naim Nait 5i-2 and these worked very nicely. LOVE the way these grip music. I will likely get Naim Amp and Rega RS1 speakers and use with DVD player and Cambridge Audio Dac to start.
I will most likely save for used Naim CD5i-2. I used to have mark 1 and I image the combo of nait and RS1 speakers will be very pleasing.

Of course If anyone has tried this would be great to hear?
The Rega Apollo, Nait 5i and RS1 was good but not blown away.Thinking CD5i will be much better.

Conclusion is that AV based system is limiting in true hifi qualities and can be difficult to find components that work well together. Having a good dealer who can listen and help guide you is sooo important, to me at least. Also, once you have heard a good setup/sound, budget gear just doesn't cut the mustard anymore.
This is where hobby becomes more expensive!!!!

Almost there!!!!
More to come.............
Cheers for all help and hope to update more soon.
Ambrose
 

DandyCobalt

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Oct 8, 2010
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I thought that the LX53 a/v amp was all I'd need....then....better speakers, Cyrus pre and bi-amped X powers, better turntable..better cartridge...this house is looking small now...with a bigger dedicated room I could.........what was that, honey? I should take up a hobby like making ships-in-bottles? Can't hear you :)
 

aliEnRIK

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Aug 27, 2008
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As WHF gave such a good review for the pioneer AX10 (if I recall) costing 2.5k at the time. We found it to be very poor with music and not even as nice as my arcam A85 which I had at the time.

If you want av and hifi, you really need either VERY good pre and power amps, or go with a decent stereo amp and use preouts to feed left and right

My setup wasnt cheap, but the marantz pre, arcam P1000 and oppo 95 are very nice. Ive since upgraded the stereo (I couldnt say no when it was offered to me :p). But my point is, unless your willing to spend a lot of money on av (Or find some serious ebay bargains, my P1000 I got brand new off ebay for 600 quid for example. The marantz I managed to get nearly 50% knocked off), you really need both.

I believe av should be split into pre and power as theres far too much going on for one power supply to feed hifi properly. And dont underestimate pre amps, they can make a HUGE difference!
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
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Having experimented in this area from both side.. I agree this is a fine balance and needs a good investment once our ears are tuned to good sound!

The ideal solution that I would be looking at is

For AV:

Optical Out of Source - AV Processor (To decode) - Hifi Stereo Amp - Speakers (Front L & R) For Center & Surround add speakers adn 3 channel amp accordingly

For HiFi -

Optical out of AVP - DAC - Hifi Stereo Amp - Speakers (Front L & R)

Ideally I would love to avoid the DAC completely as I am slowly reaching the conclusion that a stand alone DAC is excellent when compared to the entry level AV Processors but when compared to high end AVP (I am guessing Classe or Mark Levinson) the DAC might becomes redundant

I am doing some auditions to validate this and I will keep us posted here.
 

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