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Stereo amp required to improve music in a home cinema system

Coinslot

Member
Apr 30, 2020
2
0
20
I've had various home cinema systems over the last 25 years and always listened to music through an AVR. I've always known that an AVR will never sound as good as a dedicated stereo amp, but have put up with inferior stereo sound when listening to music.

I've now decided to add a stereo amp to my system and am not sure how much I need to spend to hear a significant improvement when listening to music. Normally I would visit my local hi-fi store to audition a few amps at different price points, but that's obviously not an option.

My current AVR is a Pioneer LX59 which retailed at £1400 when new in 2015. It is paired with a pair of Rega RS5 floorstanders (£1100). Of all my AVR's, my favourite for music was an Onkyo. Would the Onkyo A-9130 at £300 provide the improvement I'm looking for, or should I be looking at something like the Audiolab 6000A at £600?

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
177
50
18,670
The Audiolab has a DAC, do you need that?
What will be the source of your music? direct from the LX59 pre-outs? or from elsewhere?

I have a pair of RS5's which I used until recently, first with an older Rega Brio amp and then with my current Exposure amps. I did home demo the Rega Elex-r and Elicit-r.
The obvious choice to pair with the RS5's at around £600 (new) would be the latest Rega Brio-R amp. IMO that would be a nice combination, and a nice relaxing/musical listen. The latest Brio would drive the RS5's quite well, but if you could stretch to the Elex-r - that would be my choice. That would be a pairing worth keeping.
Get a home demo though, it's the only way to truly tell.
 

Coinslot

Member
Apr 30, 2020
2
0
20
Thanks for the advice. The DAC in the Audiolab would be useful, as it would mean I wouldn't need to upgrade my 11 year old Cambridge Audio cd player in a hurry.

The Rega Elex-r is definitely out of my price range. I'm sure the Brio would be a good match, but it doesn't have the input that will let me bypass it's volume control and just use the volume control on my AVR.

Apart from cd, I'll be using an Ipod touch via Bluetooth. I'm therefore leaning towards the Audiolab. I think I might wait a few weeks and see if the lock down is relaxed enough to allow use of a shop's demo room.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
177
50
18,670
Thanks for the advice. The DAC in the Audiolab would be useful, as it would mean I wouldn't need to upgrade my 11 year old Cambridge Audio cd player in a hurry.

The Rega Elex-r is definitely out of my price range. I'm sure the Brio would be a good match, but it doesn't have the input that will let me bypass it's volume control and just use the volume control on my AVR.

Apart from cd, I'll be using an Ipod touch via Bluetooth. I'm therefore leaning towards the Audiolab. I think I might wait a few weeks and see if the lock down is relaxed enough to allow use of a shop's demo room.
Ahh! sorry I forgot about the unity gain feature.
I run separate hifi and cinema systems in the same room but I appreciate that's not practical for many.
If you can I would strongly recommend that you arrange a home demo over a long weekend.
 

DELBOY14

Well-known member
May 6, 2017
37
14
4,545
If your Rega RS5's cost you £1100 notes then you must be spending at least £600 on a Rega Brio or better still a Rega Elex-R, The Musical Fidelity M3si has pass through for AV amps and its not much more than a Elex-R. Loan the other £600 notes and demo the Elex-R and the M3si, better still see if you can get them into your system at home and Demo them, it will be worth it.
 

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