Dear Roon friends,
I notice a few of you use AV Receivers as your main HiFi in the living room. For a while now I have been on a quest for simplicity (hopefully without sacrificing sound quality) and AVRs seem to have some good points. I like the auto switching, auto power on/off, integrated spotify / airplay, pre outs (for those receivers that offer them), integrated dac and even the room correction features.
My current living room HiFi comprises of a separate dac, allo digi one and analogue amp and dynaudio speakers (for which I cannot offer enough space from the back wall). It sounds great as long as I can tweak the roon eq to deal with the inevitable bass boom (due to close wall positioning). I also use spotify / airplay as offered by volumio but there is no eq for that so boomy bass is inevitable.
The setup is not super complex but it involves manual switching (TV input - Allo Digi One), two remotes for volume control (Apple remote + Amp remote), no auto power on /off etc. My non tech family mostly use airplay / spotify and that means no eq to treat bass boom. 20cm speaker space from back wall is not enough for m dynaudio m10s and no way I can move them further away. An extra box to integrate Dirac is an option but I would ideally like to simplify the setup, not add to it.
Hence why an AVR is always at the back of my mind.
Bluesound speakers are not an option for me at the moment due to the well reported sync issue (via Roon).
I previously tried a NAD with BlueOs but it was faulty and had to return it. Maybe I need to try again.
I am hoping to hear other people’s perspectives and experiences. Do you use an AVR for your main HiFi? If so how is the stereo music performance? Does it compare to a dedicated stereo amp? Does an external stereo amp (via AVR pre outs) help with SQ? Do you use room correction?
I did use my Arcam AVR360 for a number of years when I started to get back into hifi again. After having kids my music listening declined somewhat and movie watching had taken over so I sold my old hifi gear except my turntable for sentimental reasons and got a cheap surround system. This I found lacking so moved up to an Onkyo receiver and Qacoustic 2010’s and 2000 for the speakers. This satisfied for a while.
Then I started to get the music bug again, and started ripping and streaming using airport Extreme via itunes. After 6 months I moved up and bought some Squeeze boxes. It sounded ok but I knew it was not as good as my old hifi setup and I longed for the quality sound, the Onkyo and 2010’s weren’t not enough. So I decided to upgrade the amp to an Arcam AVR360 as it was discontinued and going for about 2/3rds its original cost. I’d read up on it and all reviews said it was very good for music. At this stage I also still wanted to have good movie sound so it was a logical progression. I also updated the speakers at this stage to qacoustics 2050i.
I was very happy with it for a number of years and then upgrade itis set in I bought a separate Arcam DAC which moved it up a notch and then a year after I discovered Roon and thought that I was still not getting the best out of my music. I was looking to get dedicated Roon endpoint as my Squeezebox touch had died and the Raspberry pi I moved to whilst good did not sit well as a main endpoint. At this point I did a lot of research and opinion was that having a dedicated amp for music was better. So I decided this would be my next move.
I still wanted surround as I can’t go back to stereo now for films. So I searched for an amp with preins so I could still use the the same speakers for music and films. It was here that I saw the Naim Unity Atom. A small amp with full streaming capabilities and even more amazing it was Roon Ready. It seemed to be the perfect solution. I auditioned it and was blown away. My Arcam was no slouch but this made it all so much more musical. So that’s what I have now. Whether it’s better is subjective but I am very happy now.
Great journey Simon So as I understand it you are using the arcam avr for movies / tv with the front l/r pre outs going into the atom (?). Essentially you have two boxes, each dedicated to separate task. This sounds great actually. How about switching from one to the other? is it simple? I take it that you have to grab a remote to switch back AVR use?
When listening to music the Atom auto switches to Roon so I only ever have to switch it to the analogue ins when watching the tv. There is an option on analogue input to apply AV fixed volume so it will effectively act as a pre in. I don’t have to do anything from the AVR other than turn it on and switch input to the source I am using. I use a harmony remote for all of this. The Atom though uses ZigBee for its remote but you can use the app to turn it on.
Front speakers are connected to the Atom, preout of Arcam for left/right feeds atom analogue with AV fixed volume always applied. Arcam connected to centre , sub and rears, that’s it. It helps to have an AV amp with some room eq DSP as you have to run the room eq to balance it all so it sounds as similar as possible as your running to amps with a different sound signature.
AVRs work well as multi channel preamps and function well as controller/amp units. They do not tend to have high end DAC designs but have great utlity and can be useful in a standalone system or a complex one. What do you listen to most? Two channel, movies? Planning yor system for how you intend to use it will help you select the correct equipment.
And if you want to do both, you could always make sure there is Theater Pass Through, so you can meld an AVR with a higher quality 2 channel system.
I’m happy with my NAD T777v3 and the full Dirac Live.
Playing music in 2.1 using Dali Rubicon LCR and SVS SB4000 in my living room.
For film I have a Dali Fazon LCR center and 2 Dali Fazon SAT rear speakers.
I’m using a Bluesound Node 2 to inject the audio channel from my TV into a Bluesound Pulse Soundbar in the open kitchen.
Out of interest, how come you went for the Fazon center rather than another Rubicon? I’m thinking of pretty much going for the same setup as you.
This was to squeeze it between the cupboard and the TV set. Another Rubicon LCR would mean that the TV set would come too high. A Rubicon vocal would just not fit.