Stereo amplifier or AV receiver?


New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Can anyone help? I've been looking to change my fairly basic Cambridge Amp to an AV receiver and have seen a few which claim to be one stop shops for music and film. I was considering this so I could play films through my bi wired Kef floorstander speakers. My Cambridge amp also lacks a remote which is annoying when a film gets loud! Crucially I wouldn't be adding any additional speakers and am now concerned than buying an entry level AV receiver (prob Onkyo or Sony) would probably see my losing quality for things like CDs and MP3s albeit having better film capability. Is is the case that budget AV receivers are not a patch on dedicated amps for music?? Thanks!!


Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
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If you're never going to buy additional speakers then I can't see a reason for buying an AV receiver, unless it was to consolidate all your video and audio inputs into it and allow one connection to the TV. If this is not necessary, then a stereo amp with built in DAC (if needed), or stereo amp with external DAC (if needed) for the same budget is, in my opinion, a better way to go.

(NB - DAC is there as "if needed" as clearly it's dependent on your source components as to whether it's necessary or not).


New member
Jan 7, 2008
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My thoughts.

I used to watch TV with a stereo amp, with a squeezebox for music. The amp was an Arcam A80, which at the time retailed around £600.

I now use a Yamaha RX V667 AV amp in that system.

I now use it with Dali Ikon 6 mains, and Vokal 2 centre.

I didn't notice any major drop in audio quality when I swapped.

One big advantage you will get with the right AV amp...a dynamic range compression option...Now this is normally a bad thing, and it's certainly not good for music, but I am in a situation where watching films happens when the kids are in bed.

Dynamic range compression will reduce the difference between the loud bits and the quiet bits, so no need to grab the remote to turn the volume down (or certainly less need).

Also, you then have the option for a centre channel, which in my experience means you can play the movie slightly quieter, as voices are more focused.

I personally think that there is a lot more value in the AV market than in dedicated stereo, and I am more than happy with my receiver for stereo duties.

Other people may have other ideas of course.


Well-known member
For once fr0g and I agree :) . There's another side to this which my cousin will in time grapple with: He has four speakers connected to his old Technics stereo amp, which will probably give up the ghost within a year. The sound is perfect at the moment, but what will he do when he needs to hit the shops?

Since he wants to play all 4 speakers my advice is adamantly to go with an A/V amp - the current Onkyo's and Marantz's are cracking with stereo, maybe Yamahas and others as well.

It also gives him the possibility of streaming which he definitely wants to explore. For him it's a no-brainer I reckon. Plus I don't think he's an audiophile as, while he happily plays CDs, he also happily plays MP3s through his crappy Apple iPod dock :p

However, to answer Richard - do you watch Blu-rays? Are you adamant you'll never go 5.1? Do note there are compact style speaker packages around, which can also be purchased individually so you can still get away with using your current speakers as fronts/mains. The reason I ask this is that I too have a stereo system but am amassing a soon sizable Blu-ray collection - and I can testify that Blu-rays in stereo are a pain - cos you gotta crank up the volume to hear dialogue, but at the same time go deaf/annoy your neighbours cos everything else is much louder. Something to think about.


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