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Receiver dead, time for new electronics


watchnerd

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Today my combination SACD/DVD/receiver gave up the ghost. It is kaput, no coming back.

 

I'm now confronted with electronically re-architecting the system. Things that need to be accounted for:

 

1. Speakers are Martin Logan Sequels, which require vicious amounts of current. So I'll need to have a separate power amp able to swing some juice.

 

2. TV is a 55" HDTV

 

3. Sources: TiVo, Nintendo Wii, laptop. Did have SACD/DVD, but that died with the unit.

 

So now I'm thinking from the ground up how to take into account a few things:

 

1. I could use the laptop for DVD playback and audio listening, which would eliminate the need for a separate DVD player.

 

2. But I have a fair number of SACDs (at least 50). If I went all computer sources, I'd lose that capability. Not sure how I feel about that. I've ripped all my SACDs to iTunes, so the content isn't gone, just the format.

 

3. Video switching (HDMI) would be nice to allow me to toggle between TV, laptop, TiVo, and Wii.

 

Anyone have a suggestion for pre/pro/dac/power amp combinations for such a re-architecture?

 

Or should I just get an Oppo 980H (DVD/SACD) and go the traditional route?

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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As you can probably guess I'm all for music servers and using the laptop for music playback. Personally I don't like computer playback of video because there are so many purpose built devices that do a great job and are so dang cheap. DVD playback from a laptop to a 55" HDTV would be a pain compared to a simple DVD player. Can you tell I don't spend much time watching video? It's not that interesting to me. I have built home theater PCs before and I still think they are ot ready for primetime considering the competition in the video area.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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To be honest, I'm okay with the video quality of the MacBook Pro DVD player out over HDMI to the TV.

 

But the bigger question has to do with what processor/preamp will:

 

1. Decode hi rez audio formats straight from the digital out of the MacBook Pro

2. Allow HDMI video switching between sources

3. Not sound like crap

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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I don't know your budget but since it seems that you are interested in both video and audio I would suggest that you go for a home theater HDMI receiver, the Oppo DVD player and a DAC to complement your MacBook Pro. I have a home theater system separate from my audio system. But in my audio system I run an Oppo 970HD universal player directly connected to my preamp to play SACDs and the Oppo is also connected to several DACs, such as the Benchmark USB DAC1 to play Redbook CDs and DVD-As. I also use my MacBook Pro for digital music player thru several other or the same DAC by using the native toslink, firewire or USB outlets on the laptop. Now if you're much more interested in audio rather than video I would suggest a powerful tube amp and either a passive preamp or a tube preamp but that will be a sizable investment over what you are likely to spend for an excellent home theater receiver. Trust me that none of this will sound like crap.

 

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Thanks, audiozorro.

 

A couple of comments:

 

1. I need to have a separate pre/pro and power amp, as my speakers dip down to 1.3 ohms, making them unsuitable for most receivers.

 

2. I don't want to have a separate DAC *and* a pre/pro. I want a pre/pro that has a good DAC built in, capable of handling hi rez audio and video, both. An example would be the Integra 9.8 pre/pro. Unfortunately, I don't really like the aesthetics of the Integra, so I'm seeing what else might be out there.

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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I happen to think that the Integra 9.8 is your basic black component that happens to do a lot of stuff very well especially for the price - a kind of jack of all trades and a master of none. I'm not sure what your specific objections are to the aesthetics but it doesn't take much to customize a cabinet, add exotic wood, brass footers, specialty knobs or whatever. Obviously it's just my opinion, but if the Integra 9.8 satisfies your functional and performance requirements there are many ways to turn an ugly duckling into a swan.

 

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Exotic wood and brass footers. ACK! That would hardly make it better looking! ;)

 

Perhaps I'll just wait to see what is launched at CEDIA. If nothing new and appealing shows up, I can always look at the Integra again.

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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I will leave most of this to those better qualified than me but I wanted to comment on your statement about the Martin Logans. They are a fairly demanding load but they don't require a super amp. Your comment about their low impedance neglects the fact that they dip that low only at very high frequencies. Very little energy and next to no current demand from 10K to 20K. I have sold many ML's and although they do they sound their best wtih better than entry level amps (as do virtually all speakers) and are a moderately demanding load, they are not as brutal as what the impedance you quoted implies.

 

Good luck with your hunt.

 

Rick

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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Would you prefer I cite the drop to 3 ohms at 440 Hz, smack in the heart of the critical musical range?

 

These are 20 year old speakers, which were nastier than the ML's sold today.

 

MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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You are right that the speakers are more difficult than most but they are not horrifically difficult to drive. I know them well. I owned a pair. Your point is valid although it is more about the phase curve than the impedance, especially at the lower frequency. Almost every B&W speaker we have drops to3 ohms in the upper bass and they can be driven with a garden variety receiver, but their phase angle is gentle and they don't require a lot of current. Any 4 ohm rated speaker can, and typically do drop to 3 and still be within spec as 4 ohms. It's when you have an extreme phase angle at the same frequency that it gets hairy.

 

At any rate, didn't mean to offend and wish you the best.

 

Audio Research DAC8, Mac mini w/8g ram, SSD, Amarra full version, Audio Research REF 5SE Preamp, Sutherland Phd, Ayre V-5, Vandersteen 5A\'s, Audioquest Wild and Redwood cabling, VPI Classic 3 w/Dynavector XX2MkII

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