Posted by: Mario on 04 April 2016
Hi all, any one tried one of these in a hi end naim system?
I really wanted to get an oppo 105D and use it as a pre-pro in an active DBL system (552 300 250 250) but my 79 inch LG TV is 4K ready and I really would like to be ready for UHD bluray movies. 4k looks amazing streamed off the net so don't want to miss out on this massively improved image.
Enter the Marantz. I was thinking of this as a dedicated processor into my 552's unity gain but am always weary of units that don't have an earth pin on their IEC sockets. Can this introduce noise into my stereo set up? (most important to me but also love surround) I have previously used a Sony CDP-XA7ES into my 552, which also has no earthing pin on its captive lead, with no real issues. Miles behind my cds3/ 555ps though.
The AV8802 seems to be very well reviewed and wonder what other naim owners who want to include home cinema are using. The options seem limited if you don't want to use the 7.1 out of an oppo 105D
Just one question. I assume you have power amplifiers for the channels other than your front L & R? I ask this, because you don't mention them at all, and AFAICS the Marantz is a preamp, and does not include its own poweramps.
Ah yes, have rotel rb993 for surround channels, axess centre and SL2 for rears. May go to naim power amps later but not sure.
I have been comparing 1 or 2 processors, including the 8802, in my Naim system. I wouldn't say it was high end though, based as it is around a NAC272 streamer/pre-amp and NAP 250 along with another 250 for the centre and NAPV175 for the 2 rears.
I moved to the 8802 after having an Audiolab 8200AP fed by an Oppo 105 via analogue outputs. The Marantz I would say is a significant step up from the Audiolab, refined but with quite a bombastic sound and very nice steering.
However, I think you should probably also audition a few other processors above the Marantz, price-wise at least in the UK. I have just returned a Classe Sigma SSP and it is the only AV processor I've heard that has got anywhere near the sound of a Naim system, The sound is totally different to the Marantz and perhaps similar to the change people have noticed moving to Chord's range of recent DACs (Hugo, DAVE etc). It really is an involving sound with great timing and detail.
I also have an Anthem, Arcam and NAD processors lined up to demo at home over the next month or so to see how they compare to the Marantz and Classe, as no buying decisions have been made yet.
Your question about 3-pin inputs is interesting as I've always wondered about their effect on sound quality. Hardly any of the Japanese receivers have 3-pin inputs, nor even the latest Arcam AVRs or Anthems. The Classe does have 3-pins along with Primare and NAD processors, but they do seem to be the exception rather than the rule. But who knows how they correlate with sound quality.
I will be reporting on the Arcam AVR850, probably later this week. However, as a preliminary ...
I am using the Arcam with my Naim NAC552/DR, NAP 250, into the the Naim n-System. This is in a small room (my study), having previously owned a Naim AV2.
I am using the Arcam's power amps for centre and rear channels. I have not noticed any significant drop in quality from the Naim AV2, and find the Arcam's poweramps to be a very acceptable replacement for the Naim NAC145 and NAC200 I was using previously for centre and rear. It also has the advantage of reducing the box count!
My younger son-in-law is very happy with the 2 Naim poweramps I gifted to him, BTW. He is using them in conjunction with my old Naim AV2 and a Naim 32.5 and Naim NAP 90.3 with Naim SBLs as front speakers and B&W centre and rears, with Mission Sub
I believe TonyM uses an Anthem 700 in much the same way for his AV needs and also finds this adequate.
Looking forward to your thoughts on the Arcam, as for me that potentially would free up 2 other rack spaces for me (separate power amp for rears and Dirac EQ box)
I went from an AV2/2X modified 150s/145 to an Anthem MRX-700 in my 7.1 system, using the Anthem's on-board amps for all except the front stereo which is via Unity Gain on my 552, and I can't say I noticed a reduction in sound quality - in fact, using the Anthem's ARC room correction, the sound quality really improved.
I've recently gone for 4K, using a Samsung 65" display, and alas the Anthem doesn't handle 4K sooo..New 4K Fire TV and a change to a Denon AVR-X4200W processor. This uses "Audyssey MultEQ XT32" room equalisation software, it's got lots of other bits, like Dolby Atmos, that I'm not interested in, and sounds even better than the Anthem, which I wasn't expecting. I guess the likes of Denon, Yamaha etc. have been steadily improving their offerings over the years and for what you get these devices are astonishing value for money.
On the subject of 4K, you'll find that even lowly SD material looks remarkably better, and the difference between a good BluRay (Oppos upsample to 4K) and the 4K material currently available is pretty minimal.
Thanks for all the info guys, but I'm afraid I'm really no closer to deciding. Denon looks like a very good option and boy does an active DBL owner welcome a lower box count. Thing is that the Denon won't fit on the a fraim unless its on top, may be too deep for the glass shelf too. I hate mucking up my fraim stack to stick in AV equipment! I could start another wing of hifi but the room has just been taken over by black boxes so I really want to keep it all with the stereo gear. Thinking about just getting an oppo 105 again and making use of my rotel 3 channel amp. Just worry that the volume control via the oppo won't be as easy as a rotating dial, and I've heard of accidents happening with the output of the player being set too high. Cant get DBL drive units easily any more! Then there's the 4k issue, which they would hurry up and release the new UHD oppo.
Certainly won't get the Arcam, I bet its the business but too expensive and will be worth nothing in 6 months when the next whizz bang thing is out.
Very confused and undecided, much easier buying naim! no wonder they got out of surround sound.
I wouldn't get hung up in needing a processor ... there are many good AVR (receivers) with built in power amps - many of the processors are based on some of the top end receivers with the power amps removed and an INCREASE in cost as a result.
One option to consider if the Marantz NR1506 / 1606 which are slim line AVRs - they have pre-out for the front two channels into your Naim system then use the internal amplification for surround and centre. You would need to check they have all the 4k facilities you need though. You can do the same with any of the vast range of AVRs with pre-amp outputs - the Marantz is use smaller than most.
It all depends the level of your expectation - the Classe Sigma SSP (for example) is wonderful, but a lot of the cost of that is going into the analogue circuitry / music performance and thats not going to be used much with combining it with the Marantz. It may sound better ... but its about how much you are willing to spend.
Just passing, because no one talks about Yamaha that provides very very good decoding.
They have a nice CX-A5100 preamp in their range and Naim makes a Fraim High level that is exactly 2 standard levels.
I was AV amp reviewing on the weekend as I had a few hours downtown. My current main AV is a Denon AVR-4310CI, and I just wanted to see what was out there. Based on previous comments on here I was looking to see/hear the Arcam 550 (I'm not prepared to pay for an 850). Based on what I heard, that's what I'll be aiming for, or the next version of it.
In the conversations with the 3 dealers I went to in Calgary ( note they have different stock than the UK) two of them are no longer stocking NAD due to quality issues, they mentioned Denon has lost it's way a bit recently, Pioneer have up'd their game (SC99 talked about), other contenders Rotel RSX1562 and Anthem 1120, but not in the league of the Arcam 550.
On a side note got to enjoy listening to some Focal Sopra's and see some PMC's.
Food for thought.
An Oppo 105 isn't a bad idea for a stop gap while you wait for the 4k players to arrive, especially if you can pick one up second-hand. They fixed the volume control in a recent firmware update so you can set it to a specific startup value avoiding blowing your amps and speakers.
The only issue is lack of flexibility compared to a proper receiver or processor, especially if you have multiple sources. I tried it in my Naim system although lip sync issues were quite annoying (differing between sources for example) despite having the option to alter this in the Oppo's settings. I eventually added an Audiolab 8200AP processor fed via the Oppo's analogue outputs. You might find one of these in the classifieds for around £500 as they have just been discontinued.
I can echo Eloise's comments about the Classe sigma if you think it's worth the investment. A huge step up from the Marantz 8802 in my opinion despite some operational quirks.