New AV Processor or AVR - only 5.1

I know you might understand my “thoughts” :O)
When I post such question in a HomeCinema forum people will tell me…
“Buy a AV Processor and sell your NAC52” … let me think… nope :slight_smile:

I use an older AVR (Onkyo 905) for my surround setup with pre-out to NAC52/135 and NAP175.
My Onkyo has suffered some issues lately … so I need to think about a new one. For the time being I found a preloved 905 in black which I hope will bring joy again.

Nevertheless there might be time for a change in AV PreAmp.

What are my needs:

  • 5.1 only (do not want more speakers)
  • matching with naim amps
  • very good sound quality
  • best room equalization is not necessary
  • option of manual setup with wide range (minus 12db to plus 12db) as I need to amplify the front channels and reduce the rest. I do not want to go too far with volume on the 52 - to avoid any switching accidents

What can I do… What might be my AVC?

  • Anthem 70? Nice sound as I imagine - but this whole setup …
  • Marantz 7706? Easier to setup and cheaper but sounding good Wirth naim?
  • Arcam 860? Older Model - no problem … But also … can I do a manual setup as well without all the Dirac stuff?

Any ideas and suggestions from your side :slight_smile:

I use an Arcam AVR20 - excellent in all respects and works extremely well through my 282/250. Also, as it’s been superseded by the AVR21 there are savings available. The smaller brother AVR10 might also be suitable and has also been superseded so same applies…

I’ve had an Arcam 550 fulfilling just this role for three years using both the dealer set up Dirac originally and manual tweaking since then.

Like all Arcams it can operate as just an AV pre amp but I currently use the centre and rear amplification in a 5.1 arrangement - the internal amps are very good for these channels and obviously my Naim amplification handles the front. Not sure about channel switching accidents - the Naim has unity gain so the volume control is not in the circuit when using the AV function.

I’ve heard Anthem products, and enjoyed them, but never owned one so cannot really advise.

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Arcam AV40. I have one in an otherwise all Naim System in a 5.1 Config. Easy to set up. Easy to upgrade firmware.
Sounds great.

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The input switching accident is to be aware of with the 52 - 52 has no unity gain. I will have a look on the Arcam - maybe a 860 Preamp as I do n to need the power amps inside - 175 is really good!

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Fair point, not having a 52 I wasn’t aware of this.

I use an Anthem MRX740, alongside a Dan D’Agostino amp, which drives the front channels. I would recommend it, but would also recommend Arcam (I previously owned an AVR850).

However, I don’t understand your reluctance to have it set up properly for your listening space. For listening using any surround modes, this is absolutely essential, whether you go with Anthem (ARC), or Arcam (DIRAC). Good luck in your search.

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Yes - I am bit careful (too careful) as I read that there has been some guys blowing their tweeters by doing something wrong during Dirac setup.
I know, that it will be way better with Dirac - but movies are mainly consumed lying on the couch and it has never bothered my hearing my AVR without proper setup.

Hi @drago ,

I use a Lexicon MC-10, which is a rebadged Arcam in effect. The Dirac is excellent. I paid a friend, who works in the business, to come round and set it up. At the time I had a non-matching center which he was able to dial in to better match my main speakers. Well worth the price.


Recently acquired the Marantz 7706 for my home theater. I am very pleased with the sound quality, a big jump from the Emotiva I was using before. I’m using the balanced out’s (5.1) into an Audiocontrol 5 channel amp feeding ATC HTS11/7 speakers.

If I had a bigger budget I would have considered the Anthem AVM 90 or possibly the McIntosh MX100. I think the Marantz offers great bang for the buck. Adding a deep-cryo treated power cable from AV Options also improved sound quality.

I must say finding quality reviews of home theater processors was near impossible. Every review only talks about features and gizmo’s and not the sound quality. It’s a very tiny market for processors… most folks these days are using receivers or sound bars.

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I use a naim 32.5/Supercap together with a naim AV2 and use a separate DSP for the subs alignment and EQ of the subs fed with separate line outs from the AV2 ( you could use y cables or another set up)

I ended up heavily modifying my Panasonic 4K player to move it into higher end performance and run analogue out from this. This is superb and way better than using an acurus ACT 4 I had for 6m in 2021.

Go for DENON. Dont mind 5.1 or higher, you hook want you want. I have my XS3 on AV output for stereo use and it is the best of both world.

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