5.1 system refresh

So my tinker time continues, dangerous as this has become. This had led me to sit and have a think about a refresh on a tv room 5.1 setup.
This is currently based around an Arcam AVR350. It was serviced by Arcam 2 or 3 years back from memory so is mostly ok in terms of sound output to be fair.
I had considered an Anthem MRX520 and additionally to further consolidate some of the clutter, add in a Uniti Nova to take over front channel duties and do streaming and Roon output.
No major urge to either replace or add additional speakers.
Curious what others were using, if any had a Nova in a setup like this and if any other suggestions especially on the AV amp side of things would be worth me taking a look at.
Video inputs wise, it’s pretty much limited to Freesat, Apple TV for Netflix and others and a Sony BD player used occasionally and as a CD player, also very occasionally.
Inputs today are all S/PDIF and a Mac Mini witha USB to RCA DAC, one desire being to route all the audio over HDMI, the Nova just seemed an obvious way of adding a decent 2 channel solution with one box.
I’ve got an option to take on an ex demo Atom at a decent price but felt I’d regret that and find it lacking down the line.

I have a Nova in my media room, albeit with stereo speakers - Totem Hawks, which are quite holographic and work great for a 18 sqm room.

I have a Mrx 520 For av duties. Very pleased with it and arc genesis programme works well. I have main system in the room so connect to 552 av input for the front speakers.

I have been doing a refresh here myself. For the last seven or so years I have been using my Oppo 105D for video streaming, NAS/Netflix/YouTube/Amazon, and decoding. I have just bought a Lexicon MC-10 and having bought and refettled a pair of SBLs I replaced my Audio Physic center with a Naim Axess.

The MC-10 is a step up in audio handling, especially I find with my DVD rips.

Been toying with getting a new TV, but will probably stick for the moment. Certainly I won’t do anything until I can go and look at some screens with proper material.

Like you I will probably be sticking with 5.3. I am not convinced by extra speakers, and most of many of my BluRays are 5.1, let alone 7.1 or with height information. I am not at all convinced that this will go mainstream.

I have decided to rip my BluRays. which is a loooooooong process. But as my collection is growing they are starting to take up too much space.

I also have an with Naim integrated setup, you could call it 4-0 setup. The bass and front and right and left come from my main speakers. And I have in the back two smaller sized Linn Speakers for effect channels. It works like a charm, and with high quality. I have in addition a NAD receiver which can be upgraded with module exchanges. I am not planning to enhance or upgrade as it covers more than 90 percent what I watch/listen to.

Excellent feedback so far from all and appreciated.
I’d probably add to this scoping exercise that 2 channel time would probably take 60-70% with the remainder split with streaming 80% and broadcast TV 20%.
It’s good to hear positive feedback from other Anthem owners, from what I’ve seen/heard of their kit I was pretty impressed.
Much as with the process I went through with my office system, I’m keen to tidy up connectivity and make it easier to swap back and forth between sources.
Today my Arcam AV receiver does everything but as it’s pretty old and has no HDMI audio capability or streaming support, it means a lot of separate audio routing and switching back and forth between inputs and the need for a Mac Mini and a DAC in close proximity!
Goal is to do most of it through an AV amp and compliment that with a Uniti as a more capable 2 channel all in one.
Another question to pose would be consideration of an Atom vs Nova. I can get a demo Atom for a good price but my instincts tell me I’d regret it and it’s worth focussing on the Nova.
I do recall having a demo of the entire Uniti range when they came out as I was pondering replacing my Supernait 2 with a Nova and thought the Nova was the only one I’d probably want to live with!
Any inputs or guidance, as always, greatly appreciated.

The only thing I wouldn’t mind doing is swapping out the NAP 200 driving the rear n-Sats for a 250.2. Then getting the NAP V 145 DR’d! (if only) :smiley:

I have a 5.1 HT system which I like sonically (CD, SACD, DVD) but have no streaming support like your Arcam AV receiver. But just like yours mine have coaxial digital inputs and 24 bit/192 kHz DAC. After some research and home demo I decided to order a Primare NP5 Prisma which is a basic streaming bridge and can work with any brand of system if there is a DAC and digital in. In my case I have a MacMini & Audirvana+ in my Naim stereo system in another room. I will connect the MacMini with the router via cable, so far only WiFi. Then I will connect the Prisma/AV receiver with the router. This way I can still play music through Audirvana+ in my bedroom or in the living room where the HT is. The Prisma will bring streaming and network connectivity to my HT system. So I will have a serious upgrade to the latest network features for a reasonable price. Could stream Tidal, Qobuz, internet radio etc via the phone App. But my main priority is to use Audirvana+ and my music library on the MM. Now waiting the delivery.

Appreciate your insight @IvoB, I’ll take a look at the products you outlined. I do already have a Mac Mini connected in to that Arcam AV amp however it’s now almost entirely dedicated to being a Roon server and CD rip archive/library. I have a Chord Hugo connected to it via USB then this connects to the Arcam AV amp over RCA Stereo pair. Works/sounds good, just a bit of a clutter and my thinking longer term was to have a Uniti Nova for 2 channel/front channel duties and to use it as a Roon endpoint also. Still not committed to any major changes, also pondering if it’s worth getting a nicer OLED or an above average projector.
Thanks for inputs and ideas here!

Nice to have goals/aspirations :slight_smile:

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I almost pulled da trigger on Pioneer’s $1K UBP, but no XLR.

Then I Thought about Panasonic’s $1K UBP, but no SACD.

So I decided to wait on Pioneer’s $2.4K UBP! Then I had an epiphany moment!

$250 Sony M2 800 with SACD
With bubble beads placed upon my 2017 re-serviced CDX2 Mark 1.

Into XLR Balance Primare Pre-30
Into XLR Balance P1 Mono Blocks
Into 2008 Speaker of da year Vienna Acoustic Baby Grands.

Accompanied with soon to come Emotiva Refurbished 7.2 XMC & their Brand new three channel Amp.

Both Balance XLR, with by-pass mode on Primare Pre-30!

Da best of both worlds!!!

Vienna’s Acoustic Grand Waltz to accompany my Baby Grands.

Using a cheap 55 inch Samsung 1080i

But once da sound is worked out, a cheap 65 inch OLED C9 LG mounted above fireplace with remote seats!

Project should be completed by da 4th of July!

Covid-19 Social Distance Party!

Unless we have a spiked up number of cases trying to open to soon!

Oh well, Enjoy Your Music!

The Why!



Yesterday I received my Primare NP5 Prisma. It’s a nice small box. So my AV processor now has Prisma network player functions. The main goal is achieved - I can play music from my MacMini & Audirvana+, located in the bedroom, on my HT system in the living room. Files up to 192 kHz. Can stream Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify etc. Have Airplay too. But for best results is better to be via cable instead WiFi. I’m considering a Blue Jeans Cable Cat6a order. Will connect the Mini to the router and the router to the Prisma. Definitely a 5.1 system refresh in my case without breaking the bank account. And better than Apple TV.


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