Stereo receiver(Onkyo TX-L20D) vs Stereo amplifier(Denon PMA-60)


New member
Sep 15, 2017
So I'm building a sort of mancave in the attic and I'm looking for an appriopriate amplifier or receiver that will be used with a pair of wharfedale diamond 225(not definite but it will propably be these) and a klipsch r-112 SW to listen to purely music and as well as stereo home cinema for my tv to watch movies, gaming etc.

I looked at the options and I found 2 attractive options:

1. Onkyo tx-L20D(399€) stereo receiver; has 2.2 hdmi inputs to connect 4k blu ray as well as ps4 or other sources and with a hdmi arc out; 85W; multiple streaming options(Spotify, TIDAL..); DAB + FM; Subwoofer out;

2. Denon PMA-60(599€) stereo amplifier; brand new;50W; supports 32-bit/384kHz and DSD 11.2 high-res audio: USB-input(useful to connect my laptop); Bluetooth aptX and NFC; Subwoofer out.

My questions are now which of the 2 will give me the best overal performance at listening to purely music and watching movies/gaming along with my pair of wharfedales and Klipsch Subw? And in case of the Onkyo can I connect it to my macbook pro(2017) without a USB-input? Is a stereo receiver inferior to a stereo amplifier with pure music and is a stereo amplifier inferior to a stereo receiver in case of home cinema?

If someone has experience with a similar situation or knowledge about it, please share.


Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
Your question is akin to the avr vs stereo amp debate. There are no clear winners here. The general opinion is that, for the same money, a stereo amp gives two channels of output, where as a avr gives more channels of outputs. Since the budget allocation per channel is higher in a stereo amp. They are considered to be generally superior in audio performance. However since we are comparing a channel stereo receiver to a stereo amp, the performance should be very very similar. So if I were in your shoes , I would go for a stereo receiver. Apart from sound quality, functionality is a very important thing that is oft ignored in the pursuit of sound quality.

And I would also suggest to see if you can find any Yamaha stereo receivers with music cast. The music cast functionality makes a lot of difference. And makes future expansion a breeze. For instance, you can add a music cast enabled cd player in another room, and stream music from your cd from that player to your stereo receiver in the man cave. The expansion options with a Yamaha music cast are very large. And they are supposed to sound superb too. All the best


Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
Some very good points raised by Newlash09. Definitely too much

The biggest contributing factor in music reproduction are the speakers. This is where I'd invest most an forget about the sub and go with floorstanders if you can (both in terms of budget and room size). Sub integration by ear is difficult and I'm not sure you'd get results you think you would.

Secondly, having an AV like setup without a central channel might sound disappointing depending on processing and speakers.

I'd encourage you to think it through and decide where the priorities lie. Invest in the equipment that will be used most of the time and focus on the features that will deliver most to achieve it.

And most importantly go and listen to as many setups as you can whether at dealers' or friends'.


New member
Apr 24, 2013
There is little doubt in my mind that dedicated stereo amplifier will be superior to the network/av/receiver when playing music, but the functionality of the Onkyo is hard to resist.

If movies are imprtant to you, I would check if the receiver offers a 'Phantom Centre' function, this allows adjustment of the centre/dialog track, which I think is important. These are very different products, choosing should be really esy.


I'd agree on the comments about receivers and stereo amps and since you seem to just want playback in 2 channel stereo while watching films and tv etc, all you really need is a decent stereo amp which has pre out(s) for your SW, it can take a digital input from you tv (either coaxial or toslink) to which you will plug your sources and gaming machine into tv. The devices like the onkyo do give you the option of arc and return channels etc, but it's all just convenience features that if you hear a better sound in a different amp, you'll wish you did that.

I'm taking it you may have cd so you need analogue inputs too? How about streaming do you do that via a service on your laptop, so you need to connect it up over USB. Also you can get radio via a tunein service etc from the laptop through the USB, so no need for a receiver with a radio which is a compromise on a good amplifier that just does amplification pretty much solely for the whole budget!

how about a nad 3020 or a quad vena at these prices. They will do sound a lot better than the two you've selected I reckon. I really would avoid onkyo for 2 channel audio. I had a home cinema onkyo amp that was around a grand and its 2 channel pedigree was rubbish and they have amongst the worst distortion of amps too.

if you want to spend more, I'd look at options from the arcam a19 or the Cyrus one depends which suit your sound tastes. The arcam smoother but the cyrus one would be fantastic and better for me. But you could add some form of streaming box which has digital inputs and a dac because this arcam and Cyrus don't have a dac, they are just an analogue amp. Another option is rega amps like the brio. Having said that not sure if it has pre outs for your sub.

The thing newlash describes is common to streaming systems where you add a streaming box to a hi fi then by the same brand speaker where you can then send CD player music over wi fi to the speaker via the CD players connection to the streaming box.


Well-known member
May 16, 2008
The Onkyo looks like a nice sleek design with many features. It's even got a phono stage and the HDMI inputs are a nice touch. FM, DAB+ and internet radio will cater for all radio needs. Hook up a modern TV with an optical cable and Bluray player through an HDMI input. What's not to like? The only thing I would miss would be Recording outputs for digitising LPs, but that's a very niche thing.

A lot of people tend to compare stereo network receivers with AV receivers. I think that's a flawed assumption. Stereo network receivers are essentially very decent stereo amps with some extra electronics in the box. They don't do any processing like AV-receivers, they have a straightforward DAC onboard.

We own a Yamaha R-N602 and the performance as an analogue stereo amplifier is excellent. All the other features are great extras and avoid a lot of clutter. I'm sure the Onkyo will sound pretty good too and it has a lot more features than the Denon PMA60.

We use the Yamaha for stereo home cinema as well as listening to stereo sources like records, FM and internet radio, Spotify Connect, SACDs, Airplay etc.


New member
Sep 15, 2017
Thanks all for the help!

Leaning more to the onkyo now because of the functionality, will look into the Nad d3020 as well


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