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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Currently I am running a set of powered monitors along side a pair of powered subwoofers in my living room. I am currently lending my Emotiva Stealth DC-1 to take care of pre-amp duties, but I would like to have it back at my desktop. Having measured the setup, the bass needs a bit of work and the treble needs to be tamed as the room is an echo chamber (20 ft. ceilings). I have measured and EQ'd the setup using REW anmd EqualizerAPO, but I would like this EQ to apply to all my sources going to the TV.

Here are some options that I have come up with.

Emotiva PT-100 + MiniDSP 2X4
Random AVR (acting as a pre-amp) + MiniDSP 2x4
MiniDSP 2x4HD
OpenDRC-DA

My biggest worry is the pre-amp, it needs to have a DAC with optical input, have volume control with a remote and I would appreciate a volume level being displayed. Must be family friendly in usage, which my current Stealth DC-1 succeeds at.

Thanks for the help.
 

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If you like emotiva, thats always an option. But i personally wouldn't go with any of the options you have listed.

Like you, i was sort of in the same boat needing another pre amp, for a second 2 channel set up. After listening and auditioning to many, it was a simple choice to go with Parasound. [edited by wm] Parasound currently has 3 or 4 options and all are Fantastic, P5, the halo integrated, c2100 or even a few older models still available. you just need to decide which one fits your suitability. You wont be disappointed.

After all the systems i have owned in the past 30+ yrs, i run the halo integrated in my from room. Yet im by bedroom, still running the onkyo tx-sv 717 pre pro. The onkyo with my anthem mca amp, has just been hard to beat. No matter what speakers i throw at that combo, its just pure audio sweetness.

Anyways, good luck on what ever tyou choose.
 

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A receiver with pre outs may give you the most bang for buck. Pre pros cost substantially more and seldom offer the features that receivers do without breaking the bank and usually have outdated processing where in a receiver you would get Dolby Atmos for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm definitely open to an AVR with pre-outs. I attempted to use a Yamaha RX-V367, but the analog outs only work with the analog inputs, so no optical or HDMI, and it is only a fixed level out, so no volume control. I would like the entire budget to be under $400, including the pre-amp and the DSP, so Parasound is out of the question. This is only a 2 channel setup so I really only need a receiver that can accept optical and control the volume. Any suggestions? Willing to buy used.

So far no one has addressed the DSP side of things. Should I just get a MiniDSP 2x4 after getting my pre-amp? Can any of these receivers work with REW? I am not interested in using the receivers built in room correction as they seem to be pretty mediocre and I would like to do it my way.
 

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Go to amazon and check out the onkyo 9050 should fit your needs and then some. Its an integrated pre amp, with built in dac.

Or check out the parasound Zpre2 and c2100 both in your budget. the onkyo 9050 and the c2100 also have the sub option for a 2.1 system.

I really think you would like the onkyo 9050. Has all the inputs you discussed plus built in amp, but you can also connect your own amp, plus a sub. I have personally auditioned this unit at advanced audio here in wichita, and sounds really good. If my current 25 yr old onkyo in the bedroom keeps acting up with power button. I am going to replace it with the 9050.

Good luck enjoy and rock on with quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the suggestions. I have been looking at AVR's and am leaning more towards what Marantz have to offer, specifically getting one of their older models second hand. Remember the whole system is self powered so my main concern is having pre-outs and possibly an included DSP. The Onkyo does not have a display nor does the Parasound, and having a remote is a must.

So far I am considering the Marantz NR1605, SR5008, SR6008. Do you have any experience with Marantz?

I feel this might be a better route as it is very versatile for whatever I may use it for in the future if I decided to use it as more than just a pre-amp in the future. It has a remote, display and plenty of I/O.

Now the question is if I do get one of these AVR's, would I be able to forgo getting a MiniDSP. I am not interested in using Audyssey to calibrate my system, but how advanced is the manual EQ'ing? Would a AVR with a more advanced form of Audyssey have a better manual EQ?
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I have been looking at AVR's and am leaning more towards what Marantz have to offer, specifically getting one of their older models second hand. Remember the whole system is self powered so my main concern is having pre-outs and possibly an included DSP. The Onkyo does not have a display nor does the Parasound, and having a remote is a must.

So far I am considering the Marantz NR1605, SR5008, SR6008. Do you have any experience with Marantz?

I feel this might be a better route as it is very versatile for whatever I may use it for in the future if I decided to use it as more than just a pre-amp in the future. It has a remote, display and plenty of I/O.

Now the question is if I do get one of these AVR's, would I be able to forgo getting a MiniDSP. I am not interested in using Audyssey to calibrate my system, but how advanced is the manual EQ'ing? Would a AVR with a more advanced form of Audyssey have a better manual EQ?

yes marantz is ok if you go to the top end. Audyssey really only useful for setting up a surround unit. Units i suggested are very versatile as well.

But i thought you were only concerned about having having 2 channel stereo and sound quality. If you want surround,plenty to choose from, and marantz is fine. But if you truly want the best sound get Parasound c2100 or the Onkyo A 9050.
if you can afford the m nr1605, then you can afford the parasound classic2100, the 2100 is a far superior product. If your wanting an integrated with built in amps and preouts for your own amp, then i say the onkyo 9050.

The parasound does have a basic display and i dont believe the onkyo has one, but why do you need or want a display anyway.
Parasound has great speaker set up options.

Also remember with a good quality integrated or preamp, you dont or shouldn't need to use any bass or tone enhancements. You should be really impressed with the noise floor on Parasound and onkyo, dead quiet.

In the end can give you all sorts of recommendations for and against a product, but it boils down to your needs and sound desires.
Let me know what you decide. good luck ( parasound and onkyo both have remotes)
 

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Audyssey really only useful for setting up a surround unit.
If I may offer another viewpoint...Audyssey is most often found on surround AVRs, but is applicable to any speaker plan. It will calibrate any (logical) combination of speakers connected.
Also remember with a good quality integrated or preamp, you dont or shouldn't need to use any bass or tone enhancements.
The application of tone enhancements (equalization) is a function of of the speaker performance and interface with the room, and has nothing whatever to do with the quality of the electronics. Going one step further, there practically no speakers, and definitely no rooms, that couldn't benefit from some form of equalization. Since speakers and rooms, and especially the combination of the two, comprise a rather complex set of sound modification mechanisms, you're already dealing with some serious negative EQ to begin with. It only makes sense to attempt to counter it. The logic that an unequalized two-channel system is somehow "pure" is quite in error. It's already fully equalized by its very nature. That's why I suggest that having Audyssey, or some other form of room cal, is fairly important to any system.
You should be really impressed with the noise floor on Parasound and onkyo, dead quiet.
As should anything be relative to source and room noise.
 

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If you are looking for sound quality for music... I would say go with Yamaha as they are known for their excellent Audio, and reliability. I have a Yamaha again, and I love it. The app i use to control it is also much better than the one Denon had (which is most likely the same as Marantz has).
 

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If you are looking for sound quality for music... I would say go with Yamaha as they are known for their excellent Audio, and reliability. I have a Yamaha again, and I love it. The app i use to control it is also much better than the one Denon had (which is most likely the same as Marantz has).
I would also take a good hard look at Yamaha as well as Marantz.
 

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My thoughts on audyssey are not to positive, but i have yet to see audyssey on any two channel system, it is not needed. But Cnet has an interesting article on it taken straight from Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO and founder, and here is a link to the article.

https://www.cnet.com/news/home-theater-automatic-speaker-calibration-dos-and-donts/

And to the OP, if you are using a good preamp or integrated preamp. You shouldn.t need to use any tonal enhancements. All i tried to do was give you some good options. Take your time do your research, and pick what best fits your needs.
 

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My thoughts on audyssey are not to positive, but i have yet to see audyssey on any two channel system, it is not needed. But Cnet has an interesting article on it taken straight from Chris Kyriakakis, Audyssey's CTO and founder, and here is a link to the article.

https://www.cnet.com/news/home-theater-automatic-speaker-calibration-dos-and-donts/

And to the OP, if you are using a good preamp or integrated preamp. You shouldn.t need to use any tonal enhancements. All i tried to do was give you some good options. Take your time do your research, and pick what best fits your needs.
Audyssey does a great job in my room. Does it need to be setup properly? Yes, and that's basically what the article said that you linked. I was a little skeptical with how old the article was after reading the last paragraph."I almost forgot to mention it, but Audyssey just announced a new setup system, MultEQ XT32, that uses higher-resolution digital-signal processing algorithms for even better sound quality."
 

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BigTerminator, I would suggest that you give Emo bassX PT-100 a try If it doesn't work out for you holla back at them within 30 days and return it. it is my experience that the PT-100 is really a lot of preamp at that price point of $299.00-15% = $254.00 if you live here in the states, the sale is on now so now is a good time to take one for a spin

in my setup, I split the duties of one of my first Gen XPA-2 RCA input with the source from the Onkyo AV receiver TX-SR809, (and the PT-100 for CD/FM/AM/Computer/USB Audio) plus I have it Triggered with the XPA-2, I'm happy with it so far

anyways I wish you great sounds from whatever you choose :smile:
 

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My thoughts on audyssey are not to positive, but i have yet to see audyssey on any two channel system, it is not needed.
If its purpose is to equalize the speakers (any and all) to correct for room influences, then it does not matter how many channels there are in use if the room stays the same. Do you have any logic behind your assertion?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, I ended up going with the MiniDSP 2x4HD. For $205 this thing is a steal. It has a DAC, Pre-Amp (volume control via IR remote), 4 outputs for a true 2.2 setup, parametric EQ, crossovers and FIR filtering. It is loaded. Replaced my Emotiva Stealth DC-1 with it and the DAC performs identically and even the Emotiva's remote works with the MiniDSP! My Panasonic remote doesn't work but somehow my Emotiva one does. I was most worried the MiniDSP's pre-amp capability with the IR remote, but the range is great and the volume increments are implemented well.

Gazoink is right about the need for room correction. This $200 MiniDSP will outperform any $1000 DAC/Pre-Amp on the market merely to the fact that you can implement an equalization. DAC's sound extremely similar so any benefit will be negligible. The difference in having a properly setup crossover, and EQ will make a world of a difference however. And I am sure the Dirac software will bring this device to another level.

My living room is extremely bright so the treble needs to be toned down. My speakers are Emotiva Airmotiv 5S's. Their AMT makes heavenly treble, but the room makes the treble harsh. In my bedroom the treble was perfect at 0dB. In the living room at -2dB it is very bright. With the MiniDSP I can implement my house curve that can tame the treble while raising the bass to satisfying levels. Having EQ'd my JBL LSR305's on my PC, they have also improved massively. Treble is less shrill, mids cleaned up and bass is flattened and elevated to the point that I get low end all the way down to 40Hz with no need of having a subwoofer.

Overall I am a big believer in Equalization and very happy with my decision to get the 2x4HD. I still need to keep on learning on how to fully utilize its capabilities. The room is utter , but the setup sounds amazing.
 

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If its purpose is to equalize the speakers (any and all) to correct for room influences, then it does not matter how many channels there are in use if the room stays the same. Do you have any logic behind your assertion?
As the article stated it's only useful when using small main speakers ( that coming from the head honcho himself)not me, But that's besides the point. Personally i just never saw the need for it, In a proper quality 2 channel pre amp, it should already be properly equalized. And no enhancement, nor tonal adjustments needed. Remember we were speaking of a 2 channel system originally, not a multi speaker layout. Speaker placement will play the biggest roll in a 2 channel system. :T
 

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Bigterminato, glad you picked something out that fits your needs, as long as you are happy with you choice, thats all that matters.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the suggestions Truthsayer.

As the article stated it's only useful when using small main speakers ( that coming from the head honcho himself), But that's besides the point. In a proper quality 2 channel pre amp, it should already be properly equalized. And no enhancement, nor tonal adjustments needed. Remember we were speaking of a 2 channel system originally, not a multi speaker layout. Speaker placement will play the biggest roll in a 2 channel system. :T
Still confused though what you mean by this. What do you mean already properly equalized? And what does a "proper" pre-amp have to do with that?

Any speaker in any room will have issues. More so when the speaker system can go lower, as bass is always problematic with a room's acoustics. EQ should be the last step in the entire process. Placement is crucially important, especially when subwoofers are involved.

My bedroom as an example has the WORST bass response I have ever seen. In my previous house in a smaller but more rectangular room, bass went down to 27Hz, but in my new room I was going no lower than my JBL LSR305's. For reference, in my 4000 cubic ft. living room, the subs go to 30Hz with a smooth overall response. And this was with single and dual subs, tested everywhere in the bedroom. It was the first time I encountered having to be "required" to use an EQ. Doing so I was able to get fairly flat bass down to 30Hz. But I have since gave up on having subs in my bedroom and will be rocking the monitors all by themselves.

Room treatment is crucial as well in removing room modes as well as taming high frequencies. It is always best to get the system sounding its absolute best before any EQ'ing is done. Now I can't really have any treatment so I have to make due with optimizing the EQ as best I can. I have made my system sound as good as it can through placement of the mains and subs. But no pre-amp can fix the echoing in my living room without itself being very colored. I would rather tame the highs through an EQ then spend a lot of money on a pre-amp with built in roll off of the treble. This setup is very flexible and would be able to handle any room I throw at it with the right adjustments.
 
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