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Joris Ceoen
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Stereo Hi-Fi speakers with Stereo Amp or AV Receiver?

I have a set of Hi-Fi speakers (KEF 105.4) and am unsatisfied with the current sound quality as the current A/V amplifier I temporarily lent doesn't seem to fill the room up enough. When these speakers were at my parents' house at the time, they sounded so nice as he used a recent Denon stereo amp on them. All he needs is a CD players and one connection from the TV output to Tape 1.

However, I have:

  • a 4K UHD TV
  • TV box with Chromecast
  • Powerful desktop/laptops with both iTunes and Spotify
  • Gaming Consoles
  • DVD & Bluray player
  • Seperate CD player
  • Vinyl player
  • Ethernet cable for internet connectivity
  • Watch primarily Netflix/Disney+ but occasionally also the DVD's/Blurays

I've read-up on tons of articles about the difference between stereo amp/AV and the debates, but none can answer my situation and desire. I don't want surround yet but wish for its support in the future, just in case. This alone answers the fact that I need to go for an AV-receiver.

However, I also do not want poor quality for a CD or DSD-streaming listening experience, which most say a stereo amp is best for...

To sum it all up (tl;dr), I'm looking for an amp or receiver that allows the above mentioned speakers' full stereo potential, with a deep and rich sound that is powerful enough to fill a moderatly large living room. This amp or receiver needs the ability to directly stream Spotify (primarily) iTunes (secondary), internet radio, allow connectivity with the TV, gaming consoles and the input from the TV box that has Chromecast. It needs surround support for the future but NOW -for at least the next 5 years- also support a 'high-end' Hi-Fi stereo setup without the power or quality of the sound to be sub-par to a stereo amp. The addition of a quality subwoofer along those two Hi-Fi speakers is most likely going to be an option.

Financially I can go up to a max of €1200 (so I'm not looking for an €6000 A110 Denon or something like that). Eventually, I could boost it up to around €1500 but I'd prefer not.

The only receiver right now that peeks my interest is the Denon AVC X3700H latest model that supports 8K signals and pretty much all the above. Would this be a good fit for my situation and speakers, or is really only a stereo amp for stereo speakers ever the one and only full potential-filler for a stereo Hi-Fi set?

Joris Ceoen
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Another clarification: The

Another clarification: The current model I have (it's not mine, a friend of my father lent it to us in the meantime of finding a new amp/receiver) is an Onkyo HT-R960. This does the job fine, but it's nowhere near the audio quality, bass richness and listening experience I had at home. We listen to classical music as well as modern music (pop/rock/jazz/soul basically everything) all the time through CD's and Spotify.

The audio quality has to be one of the biggest priorities. Since the one lent to me is an AV-receiver, I'm worried that the lower audio quality/richness is due to it being just that and not a stereo amp like my father has at home. Problem is I need all those connectivity support as well, and potentially surround for when we might eventually buy a house.

manunkind
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I'm by no means an expert,

I'm by no means an expert, but generally it is though that one's speakers is an items that requires the most investment, the amplifier being the second. Your KEF 105.4 are somewhat outdated; and even when new, they were somewhere near $1000. It makes little sense to drive them with a $1500 amplifier. Just thinking maybe you can get a simpler stereo receiver for now, and then, when you're ready, replace the whole thing with the surround setup you have in mind.

Kal Rubinson
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manunkind wrote:
manunkind wrote:

I'm by no means an expert, but generally it is though that one's speakers is an items that requires the most investment, the amplifier being the second. Your KEF 105.4 are somewhat outdated; and even when new, they were somewhere near $1000. It makes little sense to drive them with a $1500 amplifier. Just thinking maybe you can get a simpler stereo receiver for now, and then, when you're ready, replace the whole thing with the surround setup you have in mind.

I disagree. At the time (early 1980s), these were top-of-the-line speakers and excellent. I have heard them. They will benefit from much higher quality amplification than what is in "a simpler stereo receiver."

BluesDog
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I suggest listening to the Denon 3700H or the Pioneer Elite SC 7

A Pioneer Elite SC-504 would probably work well if you can find one. If you have your eye on the future and multichannel sound these are worth a listen. I recently replaced an aging, failing receiver with the Denon 2700H. I only needed it for a 3.1 setup in my living room. I also had a chance to hear the Pioneer Elite SC 304 and liked it a bit better then the Denon 2700 but none were available. I also heard the Denon 3700H and thought it sounded very good. It made a pair of Martin Logan XTi’s sound better then I expected a receiver to make them sound. It also sounded pretty good on some B & W 702’s. It was more then I was able to spend but if I needed to replace my downstairs Pioneer Elite SC-61 I’d very much try to get the Pioneer SC 704. The New Pioneer Elite 505 and 305 now feature Dirac room correction which is very nice. There are plenty of people that would prefer the Denon sound to the Pioneer Elite so boils down to what sounds best to YOUR ears. And yess going to the $1,500 level is well worth it.

BluesDog
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That was Pioneer Elite SC 704

The Martin Logans were the 60XTi's. I didn't expect the Denon 3700H to make the ML 60 sound pretty decent as it ia 4 ohm speaker (helped quite a bit by 94 db sensitivity. The fierece competition among receiver makers is gradually improving their products every year. But if you decide to srick to an integrated or separates route, there are plenty of very good choices out there.

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