How do I improve the phono performance on my AVR

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by tifoso48, Oct 18, 2020 at 10:45 AM.

  1. tifoso48

    tifoso48 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Next week we are traveling down to Florida for the winter and because it is a condominium, my set up is high quality but it is a compromise.
    Unlike in our home in DC where we have an all Audionote stereo only set-up, in Florida I am trying to get the best stereo/phono performance out of my 5.1 Home Theater arrangement consisting of:

    Marantz SR 6013
    Clearaudio Concept, Satisfy tonearm, Virtuoso Cartridge,
    Clearaudio Nano V2 phono stage
    Beolab 18 front - wireless
    Beolab 19 sub wireless
    Beolab 15 rear - wireless
    Definitive Technology Center -- wired
    Bang and Olufsen Transmitter 1

    All speakers except the Center are active speakers and are connected wireless using a B&O Transmitter 1 with lossless WiSa compliment technology.This setup works very well, does a cracking job with home theater, and even the phono aspect is quite respectable, but not quite what these speakers are capable of.

    I believe but am not sure if it is the phono stage that should be my target for improvement or the AVR.
    I bought the Clearaudio Nano as an upgrade over the built in phono stage in the Marantz, and the difference really was quite impressive already.

    And so, here are my questions:

    I am using the various pre-amp out on the Marantz to drive the various speakers.
    I have the option to set the Marantz to " Stereo" which then only drives the front and the subs.
    If I select " direct" as the mode, does that mean the AVR acts only as "pass through" without adding or subtracting anything.
    If I use that setting the sound is really a bit thin and lean and really not nearly as enjoyable as when I use one of the available settings that engages equalizers etc.
    So, is this a function of the phono stage and if I invest in a significant upgrade of the phono stage would that in your opinion be the right way to go.

    The only other way - significantly more complex and expensive, would be to buy a separate analog phono-pre amp with mandatory volume control, and feed that into the B&O transmitter directly.
    The way the Transmitter works is if the Marantz is turned off, it will accept a signal from a secondary input.
    One additional draw back, in this case it would not drive the subwoofer.

    So, my preference would be to go improving the phono stage, but I am just not certain the role the AVR serves as the "intermediary" and I would hate to waste big money with no results.
  2. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    A receiver is like a duck.

    The duck can fly, can swim and also can walk. A fish only swims ... but much better. An eagle only fly ... but much better. A cheetah only run ... but much better.

    You have high expectations and a trained ear with very good stereo systems ... It's not a good idea pretending a high performance stereo from a receiver.

    You can have a good integrated amplifier with ht bypass and listen to stereo and multichannel.

    That's my opinion.
  3. Henry Johannensen

    Henry Johannensen Active Member

    Asbury Park, NJ
    I am in the same situation as the OP, but don't have the trained ear I suppose.
    I like the annology of the duck.
    And while the duck can't swim, fly or walk like the rest, the duck needs to be able to all 3.
    And for me, I too need my equipment to multi function with the best results possible.
    I have a similar receiver as yours, SR7012, acting as a preamp and only powering my rears.
    I also have a separate phono pre.

    My question @Mike70 is how would an integrated amp be MUCH better when an integrated is just another form of a duck.
    And why would a 2 channel amp have a ht-bypass if its not doing HT.

    Pardon my ignorance in advance.
  4. Paratus

    Paratus New Member

    Sounds like you already have a phono preamp you like in the Clearaudio Nano, so not sure it's worth upgrading that. Your cartridge also seems good, so probably not worth upgrading that. You could try a dedicated 2-ch integrated preamplifier to see if that helps, like the Parasound New Classic 200 (roughly $1,195) and see if that works. The idea being a dedicated stereo preamplifier is much better for stereo needs than an AVR is. It also has a built in phono preamp you could connect to instead of your Nano to see if it improves things. Not sure it has Bluetooth capability though to connect your speakers with. If it did, you would hook front speakers to that. You would not need your AVR on to listen to music, and when you wanted to use your system for movies you would set the HT Bypass feature on the Parasound to "on" so the AVR would then control things for your theater needs. Just a thought for consideration. I hope you find a solution that works for you.
  5. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    I talk from my personal experience ... and the difference between a good integrated amplifier and a receiver for 2 channel it's outstanding ... much more when you have good source and speakers.

    That's my experience, you need to test or believe ... or find it as a total failure ... everyone's free.

    Many, many years ago i sell all my ht equipment ... for me it's only 2 channel and cinema since that.
  6. tifoso48

    tifoso48 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Just for clarification:

    B&O in this kind of set-up does not utilize Bluetooth.

    Instead there is a specific Transmitter 1 which has provides WiSa compliant lossless signature for unto 4 sets of speakers (incl. subwoofer). This signal is dedicated and does not use WiFi signal. Each of these active speakers has a Receiver built in for the signal.

    So, I use the front pre-amp out to input one, rear pre-amp out to input two, etc, etc.

    This transmitter also has an input for one analog device using RCA plugs. Actually in theory I could plug the phono stage right into it ( remember the speakers are active with pretty outstanding amplifiers built in), but it requires a device with which you can control volume.

    So, the way I see it I should experiment with:

    a) using the current AVR and significantly improve the phono stage

    b) buy a phono pre-amp that has a volume control

    I think I will ask my dealer if I can use examples of both to audition.
  7. rl1856

    rl1856 Forum Resident

    The limiting factor is the preamp stage of your AVR. I use a 7009, an earlier version of your 6013. Think of the Marantz as the neck of a funnel for a visual idea of how the Marantz affects what you are hearing.

    Easiest path would be direct connection to the BO transmitter. I would suggest a passive preamp of high quality. This is basically a volume control, shunted to ground, and can sound very transparent. I would keep all cables as short as possible, and be prepared to experiment with cables of different capacitance ratings.
  8. ShawnMcCann

    ShawnMcCann don't be long, don't belong

    Pepperell, MA
    I have a Marantz SR6010. For music listening, I set it to Pure Direct. That's the only way to bypass all of the eq built in to the unit. Your ears will thank you.

    FWIW, I use a Schiit Mani phono pre-amp rather than the one in the Marantz.

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