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benjaminahudson's picture
Last seen: 9 years 10 months ago
Joined: Feb 13 2012 - 11:01am
entry level hifi question about amps

Posted this in the entry-level forum but since it is more or less geared towards amps and a/v recievers I figured I would repost here:


Greetings!  Long time reader/lurker, first time poster.  I am finally ready to commit some time and money to the hifi audio world and I am trying to get the best value for my dollar.  I primarily find myself listening to music throughout the week with the occasional movie watched during that time.  On the weekends its probably a 50/50 split as to what I do with my audio-listening and video-watching leisure time.  With that being said, I am trying to decide on the best approach for addressing both my desire for higher-end audio experiences as well as my desire to have a servicable surround sound setup for tv/movie viewing. 

Now, my heart tells me to address the 2-channel desire first and worry about the surround sound rig second based on sound quality and the fact I do more music listening than movie watching.  However, I would like as few components as possible and wouldn't be opposed to listening to my music through a a/v reciever in "stereo" mode if I could find an a/v reciever that would perform this task on par with some of the entry-level integrated amps.  Ultimately what I am getting at is can I run one reciever/amp to cover both of those needs?  Short of going integrated amp + cd player + turntable + 2 speakers for the stereo and a/v receiver + 5.1 speakers + TV for the other, is there a better way of skinning this proverbial cat??  If someone out there has a no-brainer solution I am happy to hear it, but I suspect the answer I will get is "you CAN do all of this through an a/v reciever, but you are going to lose sound quality to a degree that you may not like". 

As far as budgets go I was willing to commit to around $1500 for the 2-channel rig and probably around $500 for HTIB for the surround sound needs if I had to get seperates.  If I can lump a lot of this together, that may change those numbers for each.

jackfish's picture
Last seen: 10 years 2 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
The "best" solution to maximize two channel

sound quality might be an AV receiver with HT bypass capacity in conjunction with a two channel component which also accommodates HT bypass. It would likely not involve minimizing the number of components or minimal cost. HT bypass into a two channel system would remove the compromised amplifier sections and superfluous audio/video processing of AV receivers that can affect sound quality.

Demondog's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
AV receivers

I don't consider decent quality AV receivers to be a bad choice for listening to 2-channel music. I have an older Kenwood AV receiver that sounds pretty good, and I'm thinking of giving it to my sister to build a system around. She only has an iPod dock/speaker at the moment, so it could be the start of a pretty big step up.

The main thing with AV receivers is that you'll have to spend more to get comparable 2-channel sound quality at a given level. Low, mid-level, or even higher level AV receivers with up to 7.1 channels don't generally use as robust a power supply, or amplification components. It's a matter of room in the chassis, and room in the budget. I know there are receivers with very high quality output equivalent to good 2-channel, but they're usually going to be more expensive than the same sounding 2-channel. Once you get beyond two channels, you're paying for stuff that's not used in stereo playback. So you usually have to spend top dollar to get multiple channels of high quality robust amplification (plus all the AV circuitry), or you keep the cost of the receiver down by settling for more economical amplification circuitry.

But it's all relative. I think a lower to mid-level AV receiver can satisfy many peoples ears, especially when compared to entry level integrated amps. 

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