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FireGryphon
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Match these speakers to a receiver

Sun May 14, 2017 10:54 pm

I like these KEF Q100 speakers. The set gets good reviews and isn't too expensive in the world of audiophilia. The problem is, what amp do I get? Most mainstream amps fall into two categories: amps with tons of home theater features I'll never use that seem to pack in features instead of quality audio components, and 2-channel amps that leave me thinking the manufacturers are skimping on quality on these afterthought amps. There are small-name, audiophile-ish amps out there, but it's hard for a newbie like myself to get a feel for whether or not the KEF Q100 can use that level of quality.

Price wise, I'm looking to spend an appropriate amount for pairing with the KEF Q100. I chose them because based on reviews, they have extra clarity and presence over slightly cheaper speakers, so I'd like an amp that can take advantage of that benefit. I will do nothing with this combo except listen to music. Maybe I'll want to hook up a subwoofer at some point, but it's not likely. The most useful extra may be a headphone amp for my Grados).

What would you get?
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Mon May 15, 2017 12:50 am

Yamaha RX-V379BL would work and is good for the price I am told. I am not expert though. Not sure if there is a better option.
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Mon May 15, 2017 1:57 am

Do you want Bluetooth and network streaming capabilities like those of the Onkyo TX-8140? The Yamaha R-S202 is a less expensive option that lacks its own network connection and optical inputs, but it would still play over bluetooth from your phone.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Mon May 15, 2017 5:37 am

Drachasor wrote:
Yamaha RX-V379BL would work and is good for the price I am told. I am not expert though. Not sure if there is a better option.


I"ll check it out, thanks.

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Do you want Bluetooth and network streaming capabilities like those of the Onkyo TX-8140? The Yamaha R-S202 is a less expensive option that lacks its own network connection and optical inputs, but it would still play over bluetooth from your phone.


These look interesting. Does built-in WiFi really cost $200, though? Sheesh. I'll see if I can find some reviews of these to check out.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Mon May 15, 2017 8:48 am

I'm not really that much of an Audiophile, but the Yamaha home audio amps are pretty well reviewed all over the world and they're pretty reasonably priced. My go-to amps in the UK are Cambridge Audio, but I've always found good reviews of Yamaha amps and receivers when I'm researching my purchases, and they're a much more global brand.

Those KEFs are up to a maximum of 100W and 86dB sensitivity so something like the Yamaha R-S202 would seem to match that for $150-200. Adding bluetooth is actually pretty cheap if you use a bluetooth DAC, plenty of options under $50 that are a step above the car hands-free-kit or portables in terms of DAC quality. They're not doing anything particularly fancy, after all.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Mon May 15, 2017 12:49 pm

Any basic receiver or amplifier will drive these. Myself, I would buy another Yamaha if I was shopping today.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Tue May 16, 2017 12:52 am

I was told by someone on another forum to avoid Onkyo since they are having quality control issues lately. I've not verified this, but I thought I'd mention it.
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Tue May 16, 2017 5:32 am

Thanks for all the responses so far!

The Yamaha S202 looks like a good bare bones receiver. It's tough to determine whether other, slightly more expensive receivers have better sound quality or if they just improve connectivity and other features. Can anyone weigh in on that?
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Tue May 16, 2017 5:55 am

There are measurable differences between 0.2% total harmonic distortion (THD) versus 0.08% THD and 100 dB signal to noise ratio (S/N) versus 106 dB S/N. Whether or not those differences are audible depends on the listener and the environment. Once you get to a certain minimum level of receiver quality, the difference between a "good" amplifier versus a "very good" one is insignificant compared to the difference between "okay" versus "better" speakers or a "quiet" listening room versus one that is "very quiet".
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Tue May 16, 2017 8:12 am

What JAE said. Once your amp meets an acceptable level of quality, look elsewhere for improvements to your audio experience.

I'm pretty sure these Yamaha amps are good enough. It starts to come down to "character" and personal taste rather than SNR or quality beyond a certain point, unless you're chasing a perfectly flat response curve for monitoring purposes.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Tue May 16, 2017 12:16 pm

FireGryphon wrote:
Thanks for all the responses so far!

The Yamaha S202 looks like a good bare bones receiver. It's tough to determine whether other, slightly more expensive receivers have better sound quality or if they just improve connectivity and other features. Can anyone weigh in on that?

If all you ever want is two speakers, a barebones stereo receiver may actually perform better than a higher-dollar surround receiver even if the latter has better specs on the box. The surround receiver is packing five or seven channels' worth of amplifier circuits and a whole lot more I/O hardware into a box that's about the same size, and forcing a single power supply to run all of them. More heat in a denser layout for a bunch of stuff you'll never use.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Tue May 16, 2017 12:37 pm

Stereo, music only. Got it.

NAD D 3020. The original NAD 3020 put more people on the audiophile path than most any other box in history. The new one is compact, has a gutsy amplifier section, digital and analog inputs, a subwoofer line-level output, and the audiophile press has simply plotzed about it since it came out. Oh, and it's fairly priced, as well.

Don't worry about the rated power seeming low. The one unifying characteristic of NAD through its entire history is that the amps have the power reserves to punch far above their output ratings. I'm currently running a NAD 272 power amp which, while of lower rating, laughs off transients that sent the old Carver Cube into clipping.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 5:43 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Stereo, music only. Got it.

NAD D 3020. The original NAD 3020 put more people on the audiophile path than most any other box in history. The new one is compact, has a gutsy amplifier section, digital and analog inputs, a subwoofer line-level output, and the audiophile press has simply plotzed about it since it came out. Oh, and it's fairly priced, as well.

Don't worry about the rated power seeming low. The one unifying characteristic of NAD through its entire history is that the amps have the power reserves to punch far above their output ratings. I'm currently running a NAD 272 power amp which, while of lower rating, laughs off transients that sent the old Carver Cube into clipping.


So far, then, it's the Yamaha S202 vs. the NAD D 3020. I"ll read more about it later, but the page you linked makes it seem quite good, if a bit on the expensive side. I'm not sure how I feel about the recommendation to buy a p-0ower cord infused with dragon's teeth and unicorn hooves, but I take it as a sign that the D 3020 appeals to higher order tastes.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 6:00 am

FireGryphon wrote:
I'm not sure how I feel about the recommendation to buy a p-0ower cord infused with dragon's teeth and unicorn hooves, but I take it as a sign that the D 3020 appeals to higher order tastes.

Margins. It's all about margins. And no, you don't need the magic wire.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 6:19 am

NAD- Not Another Defect
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 2:00 pm

I don't know if I have ever heard Yamaha and audiophile in the same sentence. I was raised in a household where the vacuum tube was king, making me a bit of a snob. The only solid state device in the house was a mid to late 70's Crown amp and preamp that were passed down when I moved out of the house (bc the old man knew what type of volume it was capable of). It was rated at a real 250 watts per channel and I never found a pair of speakers that could handle it. The amp also weighed a solid 40lbs. It was retired for a few years before the preamp was rebuilt. Now I have a Hafler 500 and a NAD preamp feeding a pair of 1981 15" Realistic Mach Ones. They are alright, but the Hafler is such a beast that I dare not attach it to any speaker with paper surrounds. That and I put fuses inline with the speaker to prevent an inrush related cooking of the Rat Shacks finest. Honestly, I don't bother with multi-channel stuff. A good set of stereo speakers and amp provides all I need. When I go to my parents I make it a point to take a 1/2 hour to listen to the early 60's Macintosh attached to a pair of 15" Altecs also of 1960s vintage. The speakers used to have these orange plugs in them for the high end, but they were removed and an external tweeter added. If you close your eyes you can hear where the musicians are standing on a well mixed track. It blew my mind the first time I played Darkside of the Moon when I came home from college.
Anyway, being a Hafler Fan, if age doesn't scare you something like a DH-200 or DH-120 are great sounding, even by today's standards. They were also American made in NJ. The 200 goes for about $220 and the 120 for about $120 on ebay. Here is a link to a modern review of the DH-200.
http://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/hafler/dh-200.htm
Last edited by Delta9 on Wed May 17, 2017 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 2:09 pm

i have a pair of Monitor Audio Rx6, who some people might call "bright".
i paired them with a Creek Audio Evolution 50A and they just sound awesome. i listen mostly to music recorded between 1950 and 1980, with the occasional party starter from the 90s

not sure about your budget, but a Creek Evo is closer to the 1k range.

i'd personnaly prefer a Denon (older model) or a Rotel to a Yamaha. but then again, its a matter of preference.
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 2:21 pm

Delta9 wrote:
I don't know if I have ever heard Yamaha and audiophile in the same sentence. I was raised in a household where the vacuum tube was king, making me a bit of a snob. The only solid state device in the house was a mid to late 70's Crown amp and preamp that were passed down when I moved out of the house (bc the old man knew what type of volume it was capable of). It was rated at a real 250 watts per channel and I never found a pair of speakers that could handle it. The amp also weighed a solid 40lbs. It was retired for a few years before the preamp was rebuilt. Now I have a Hafler 500 and a NAD preamp feeding a pair of 1981 15" Realistic Mach Ones. They are alright, but the Hafler is such a beast that I dare not attach it to any speaker with paper surrounds. That and I put fuses inline with the speaker to prevent an inrush related cooking of the Rat Shacks finest. Honestly, I don't bother with multi-channel stuff. A good set of stereo speakers and amp provides all I need. When I go to my parents I make it a point to take a 1/2 hour to listen to the early 60's Macintosh attached to a pair of 15" Altecs also of 1960s vintage. The speakers used to have these orange plugs in them for the high end, but they were removed and an external tweeter added. If you close your eyes you can hear where the musicians are standing on a well mixed track. It blew my mind the first time I played Darkside of the Moon when I came home from college.

I find it humorous that you call yourself a snob while simultaneously extolling the virtues of a Hafler DH500. They're great power amps, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim they're anything but incredibly powerful (I still have a DH220, slightly modded, and a DH110 to drive it).

Any sufficiently powerful well-designed amplifier will suffice for anyone that doesn't have golden ears and incredibly good speakers, IMO. I would extend my neck to the point that *most* amplifiers these days are fairly well designed once you get into the $200+ arena. :)
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 3:06 pm

I never said the Hafler sounded exceptional, or the Crown for that matter. I doubt he wants to hear about 50-60 year old tube amplifiers and the virtues of 20w a channel to a pair of 50 year old paper cone speakers, or the virtues of running a mono setup for 40+ year old music that was mastered that way. Here I'll give the guy who started the thread a useless answer, get a pair of Dynaco MK2 mono blocks, a Macintosh preamp and a pair of Altec Valencia 846B speakers. Is that up to par for you?
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 3:26 pm

Delta9 wrote:
I never said the Hafler sounded exceptional, or the Crown for that matter. I doubt he wants to hear about 50-60 year old tube amplifiers and the virtues of 20w a channel to a pair of 50 year old paper cone speakers, or the virtues of running a mono setup for 40+ year old music that was mastered that way. Here I'll give the guy who started the thread a useless answer, get a pair of Dynaco MK2 mono blocks, a Macintosh preamp and a pair of Altec Valencia 846B speakers. Is that up to par for you?

Not sure I get the snark, but okay. I just found your comment interesting. Sorry if I offended you.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 5:15 pm

I had a pair of KEF Q10's a long time ago, paired with a Rotel RX-845 integrated amp. Ah, the British sound, laid back, but gets your feet stomping anyway. The Q10's were the best imaging speakers I ever owned, before I went straight to headphone-only listening. I assume the Q100's are even better.

Something like a PS Audio Sprout would be a good match for the Q100's. But there's just so much choice out there, depending on your budget, that it's overwhelming. The Q100's are easy to drive with any amp, so pick a price and read some reviews in the price range. Choose the amp that speaks to you.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 5:43 pm

I highly doubt they're the very best amps in the world, but I've owned and used multiple Yamaha instruments, recorded in a studio equipped with Yamaha mixing decks and nearfield monitors, and played stuff back through my own Yamaha amp before; I trust them to do audio properly and I trust the Japanese to do electronics properly.

Even if there are better specialist amps out there, Yamaha's history, experience and economies of scale mean that I'd not hesitate for one second to recommend a cheap Yamaha over other cheap amps.

I've moved on from amps though: Studio monitors and Room-calibrated DACs for me now, all the way.... ;)
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Waco wrote:
Delta9 wrote:
I never said the Hafler sounded exceptional, or the Crown for that matter. I doubt he wants to hear about 50-60 year old tube amplifiers and the virtues of 20w a channel to a pair of 50 year old paper cone speakers, or the virtues of running a mono setup for 40+ year old music that was mastered that way. Here I'll give the guy who started the thread a useless answer, get a pair of Dynaco MK2 mono blocks, a Macintosh preamp and a pair of Altec Valencia 846B speakers. Is that up to par for you?

Not sure I get the snark, but okay. I just found your comment interesting. Sorry if I offended you.


For the record, my reaction was both: at first I thought, 'wtf?', but then I smiled as I realized what I was reading :)

Humor is sometimes hard to relate in text, so no harm done. Carry on...
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 8:20 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Stereo, music only. Got it.

NAD D 3020. The original NAD 3020 put more people on the audiophile path than most any other box in history. The new one is compact, has a gutsy amplifier section, digital and analog inputs, a subwoofer line-level output, and the audiophile press has simply plotzed about it since it came out. Oh, and it's fairly priced, as well.


OOOOH That NAD seems a perfect match.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 8:24 pm

HERETIC wrote:
Thro stuffs up(reverses) the old golden rule-"Spend double on your speakers what you do on your AMP"

A rule which should have died 30 years ago. Good speakers will only reveal the shortcomings of a crappy amp. The only way your version makes sense is if all you care about is sheer SPL and don't mind THD.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 8:44 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
I highly doubt they're the very best amps in the world, but I've owned and used multiple Yamaha instruments, recorded in a studio equipped with Yamaha mixing decks and nearfield monitors, and played stuff back through my own Yamaha amp before; I trust them to do audio properly and I trust the Japanese to do electronics properly.

Even if there are better specialist amps out there, Yamaha's history, experience and economies of scale mean that I'd not hesitate for one second to recommend a cheap Yamaha over other cheap amps.

I've moved on from amps though: Studio monitors and Room-calibrated DACs for me now, all the way.... ;)


There was a time when Yamaha translated to "very good quality"
But like others,to compete in the budget market they eventually lowered their quality.
Might be worth amending that recommendation to everything except the bottom tier................
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 9:06 pm

HERETIC wrote:
There was a time when Yamaha translated to "very good quality"

Like my Yamaha FG-400 acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, a bout of Saturday Night Palsy (fell asleep with my left hand folded awkwardly under me and stayed in that position for several hours) about 4 years ago appears to have permanently damaged some nerves, causing weakness and reduced sensations in neck hand fingers 3 & 4, so she sits in her case these days.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 9:14 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
HERETIC wrote:
Thro stuffs up(reverses) the old golden rule-"Spend double on your speakers what you do on your AMP"

A rule which should have died 30 years ago. Good speakers will only reveal the shortcomings of a crappy amp. The only way your version makes sense is if all you care about is sheer SPL and don't mind THD.

Interesting-I'd almost be thinking the other way.
Ever since we started using Mosfet outputs in our amps the quality of sound from our amps has continued to improve.
The improvements in speaker technology has not improved as fast.
And as much as my original post that that Nad would be sweet with those speakers-can't not think how nice a $800 to $1K pair of Kef's would sound with that amp.
 
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 9:29 pm

Quality lost in the source and amplification stages cannot be brought back by speakers, even the $685,000/pair Wilson Audio WAMM Master Chronosonic. OTOH, poor speakers just won't allow the quality source & amp stages to properly sing, but neither will they damage the souce/amp so that better speakers are a quick fix.

In my last all-male roommate situation (1986-1987), the most idiotic of my 3 roommates bought a used pair of the Rat Shack 15" woofered beasts discussed above. He was psyched because they were: "150 Watt Speakers, Man!!!!", as if the power handling spec had anything to do with volume. Hooked to his crappy JC Penney turntable and a cheap receiver I don't even remember, they sounded like crap, because the entire chain WAS crap.

Meanwhile, I was running a Yamaha turntable with Signet cartridge into a Carver C-2 pre-amp (other sources were a Carver DTL-50 CD deck and a Denon DR-M44HX tape deck), a Carver Cube amp, and Acoustic Research AR78LS speakers. Blew him out of the water on sound quality & volume. Got to the point where if I was headed out and they were staying home, I'd take the headshell off the tonearm and keep it with me to limit the idiocy.
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Re: Match these speakers to a receiver

Wed May 17, 2017 10:07 pm

Most modern amps are pretty darn good, though.
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