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#188327 - 12/15/07 11:21 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: chesseroo]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5421
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
>>power specific artefacts like clipping excluded

I suspect the audible difference between receiver and separates would be almost entirely power related, ie when the system was running at or near the design limits, ie when the power supply voltage is starting to droop on the power peaks and when instantaneous peaks are either starting to clip the output stages of the power amp or are being limited by upstream circuitry. That's when the fun starts and the differences between two "ruler flat" designs start to appear... and where a design which simply has enough power reserves that you aren't *at* the limits yet can have a real advantage.

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#188329 - 12/15/07 11:37 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: bridgman]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17782
Loc: NoVA
I like the way this discussion is shaping up. Not too much sniping from either party (if there are parties).

I'm really not sure what to think on this issue--sure, I use a receiver with my M80s (mainly because of economics and WAF), but I also don't really crank them at all. 75-80dB is quite loud for me (music-wise), and probably wouldn't happen when my wife was at home. What I've never really been able to determine is whether an external amp (much less one that I could afford) would improve the sound that I experience. Not that I'm likely to do anything about it at this point--I'd much rather be able to buy a house.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#188340 - 12/15/07 12:27 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: chesseroo]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3292
 Originally Posted By: chesseroo
 Originally Posted By: Mojo

I think a lot of it has to do with the room and distance from the speakers. If the room is highly damped and you are sitting far back from your speakers (say, more than eight feet), you will need more than a half watt.

There is something to be said about the power requirements of transient requirements though.
Yes a few watts or less on average are used, but for those short burst of much larger energy requirements, the capabilities of a standalone amp can go much further than most receivers.
Power capacity, big reserves.


Sure, I agree in principle with what you're saying. But take my half Watt nominal case for example. I have 23dB of clean headroom from my 90W Denon at half Watt nominal. Even at 1 Watt, I have 21dB and at 2W I still have 18dB. Why would I need more? Now during the times when no one is home and I end up "cranking" it, I know I could use more than 90W especially on recordings that preserve dynamic range. So for those that have it turned up to 4W or so (Randy would be one because of his large, damped room), you NEED an A1400...or 2 \:\) .

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#188353 - 12/15/07 01:07 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: RickF]
jakeman Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
 Originally Posted By: BrotherBob
... "What I find interesting is that once people experience separates the rarely go back and the ones in denial have never used separate components." ...

And are often the most outspoken against using them.

John, seems to me one of the problems going with separates all the way is finding a good processor. I'm using an HK AVR635 as a processor via the Rotel 1080 amp for the 80s but am looking to upgrade somewhere in the not too distant future ... what would you suggest as a good (great!) processor?



Rick, as usual it depends what you are looking for. The latest Integra and Onkyo processor come loaded with the latest bells and whistles including the ability to decode TrueDD and HDMI1.3a. I'm thinking of upgrading to one of those mainly to get the audio bitstream directly from my Toshiba XA2. I also like the fact they use Burr-Brown DACs and the Reon chip for video. The internal circuitry and power supply are supposed to be very quiet with minimal RF indicating the designers have really paid attention to insulating interference and heat.
The latest NAD also comes with all the latest goodies but is more expensive. I believe the Integra 9.8 is the best choice for the money but its hard to find. The upcoming Sherwood processor is also looking good and it should be released in the next few months. We might be able to buy them through Axiom since they are the only online supplier.

At the moment, I'm using a 2 year old Arcam AVP700. Its a remarkably quiet preamp with analog inputs so I can process the latest formats in the HDDVD player. It has a simple HDMI video switcher with little upscaling capability which I don't use anyway.

There are long wait times for the Integra 9.8 processor and its Onkyo cousin so a great alternative would be a processor with analog inputs. There are many choices. Krell, Anthem, Rotel, are just a few which can be bought at great prices now since the don't have the latest decoders.

For stereo only duty I'm a big fan of tube McIntosh preamps like the C220 or the solid state C46. The Cary Audio preamps are also very nice. I'm currently using a C220 in my stereo. The list of excellent 2 channel pre-amps is a long one.
_________________________
John

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#188354 - 12/15/07 01:11 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: Mojo]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5421
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Yep, that's the problem in a nutshell. When you start cranking the 'ol volume control up your power requirements go up VERY fast.

Here's my dream product -- an "on demand" 1400-8, same idea as HP and others were promoting a year or two ago in the IT world. Start with a midrange receiver and an inexpensive 1400-8 with only two channels enabled. As your power requirements and/or budget permits, call Axiom with a credit card and have additional channels switched on.

Failing that, an 800-3 would still be mighty nice.

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#188359 - 12/15/07 01:21 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: RickF]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3904
Loc: Up yonder
 Originally Posted By: BrotherBob
... "What I find interesting is that once people experience separates the rarely go back and the ones in denial have never used separate components." ...

And are often the most outspoken against using them.

John, seems to me one of the problems going with separates all the way is finding a good processor. I'm using an HK AVR635 as a processor via the Rotel 1080 amp for the 80s but am looking to upgrade somewhere in the not too distant future ... what would you suggest as a good (great!) processor?



Richard,

Currently, there are no good alternatives for a true Pre amp that will handle HDMI audio and all the new codecs. What I mean by ‘true’, is one that does not incorporate a video processor of some sort into the data stream. If one were to go with a ‘true’ separate system, they would also use an external video processor.

Having said that, there are two Pre amps worth a serious look. The Integra 9.8 and its Onkyo Pro Sibling, the 885. Unfortunately, these two use a Reon video processing chip, and it’s been confirmed that the reon does alter the video stream, unless you completely bypass it, and when you do that, you loose the menu system.

Anthem’s AMV40 is another good choice, but it’s limited to HMDI 1.1 and it does not handle all the new codec’s…perfectly.

Cary Audio had a relatively new PrePro, the 11a, but….it must be used with their, soon to be released, stand alone video processor, the 11v. The 11v will have HDMI 1.3 and it will be the machine that decodes the new audio codec’s. After the 11v decodes them, it will send the unpacked PCM data to the 11a for further processing via its own proprietary, Cary audio Link cable. A weird and not so elegant solution….

So….In my opinion, the Denon 3808 is the best, most cost conscience choice for use with an external amp. That is why I went with it. It’s not too expensive, handles the new audio formats perfectly, have a GUI that works perfectly with any video stream, and the Video processor can be turned off….but yet you can still use the GUI.

That sums it up for right now, but I’m pretty sure that within 12 months, there will be numerous choices.

Oh, I almost forgot. McIntosh is in the HDMI / HD game now. They recently started shipping some very, very serious contenders. But in typical McIntosh fashion, don’t look if you don’t have about thirty grand.
_________________________


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#188431 - 12/15/07 10:54 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: chesseroo]
jakeman Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
 Originally Posted By: chesseroo

As long as the audio signal is not engineered in the electronics by going through filters for a design reason, a receiver will play sound equal to an amp, preamp combo.
Any test of a frequency sweep with these equipment pieces should show a flat frequency response across the spectrum (power specific artefacts like clipping excluded). If they don't, you may as well be using tube amps since the electronics are then truly colouring the sound.


Unfortunately its never quite that simple. There is much more to excellent amplification than power bandwidth. Risetime, slew rate, damping factor, intermodulation distortion, signal to noise and so forth all come into play. I have yet to see a receiver amp that compares favourable on all those points compared to a capable separate amp let alone address concerns regarding RF and the deleterious effects of heat on the circuit topology, noise and linearity.

Tube amps can be an exellent addition to any system. In the midrange in particular their additional harmonics are much closer to replicating the sound of musical instruments and voices than solid state amps. Most are as linear in term of frequency response as solid state amps.

When you have had time to properly assess separates and amps through long listening sessions please post your impressions.


_________________________
John

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#188554 - 12/16/07 09:17 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: jakeman]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8290
Loc: Tacoma
Well, in their typical fashion, Bridgman and mdrew got closest to my intent. I guess it boils down to the marketing and product placement. If the Denon 3808 is the current shiznit for a processor, why doesn't Denon or somebody else come out with that package without the amplifier in it for less money? I find it hard to believe there is no market.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#188567 - 12/16/07 10:33 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: tomtuttle]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5421
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
You couldn't sell it for LESS money. That would destroy the fabric of the universe. Separates have to cost more.

More, MORE, MORE !!!!

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#188570 - 12/16/07 11:00 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: michael_d]
haylo75 Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Kansas City, MO USA
 Originally Posted By: mdrew

Having said that, there are two Pre amps worth a serious look. The Integra 9.8 and its Onkyo Pro Sibling, the 885. Unfortunately, these two use a Reon video processing chip, and it’s been confirmed that the reon does alter the video stream, unless you completely bypass it, and when you do that, you loose the menu system.


If by menu system you mean the OSD when changing volume, yes you lose that, but the setup menus are still accessible via HDMI output to your display regardless of whether the Reon is being bypassed or not. I use the 9.8 in this fashion and it works for me as I can see the current volume level on the unit's display directly in front of me. Mounting the 9.8 in a hidden location and bypassing the Reon would certainly leave one guessing at the current volume level.
_________________________
A: Epic 80 * 600 / Integra DTC-9.8 / A1400-8
V: Samsung HL-S6187W / Tosh HD-XA2 / PS3 / Oppo 970HD

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