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Are pre-amp outs of receivers worth it? Which one is good/ best?

Wharfedale Diamond 12 Series

anm

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Hi,
As per this article, the pre-amp outs of receivers are not great. The pre-amp section is not able to drive a power amp, or distorts too much.

Here is the link - Trading Amplifier Quality for Features A New Trend with A/V Receivers? — Reviews and News from Audioholics

Any views on this? And recommendation of AVRs that have decent pre-amp outs?
For those looking to drive front 2 speakers - would it make more sense to have a line out from their AVR and use integrated (or separates) rather than pre-amp out?

regards
 

venkatcr

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I have observed that Gene Sala and Audioholics have been great admirers of Yamaha amplifiers. So there must be some truth to what Gene is saying.

At the same time, he also says that at those price levels, one is not expected to use the units as a audio and video processor, but rather use it as an integrated unit where they will deliver the goods. So it boils down to using the system for what it is meant for. You cannot take a Maruti 800 and use it as a F1 racing car, can you? If you want all the features and power, look for units nearer to the reference class such as the Yamaha 19xx and 29xx, Denon 39xx, or the Onkyo 8xx or 9xx series. I think it is unfair of Gene to compare the Yamaha 66x with the likes of Emotiva. Though the pricing may be near each other, these are completely different classes of products.

If you are really expecting an particular unit to do a number of things beyond it's basic specification, the unit must be chosen carefully. For example, a NAD or a CA receiver may give you excellent pre-outs for good audio amplification. At the same time they may not deliver movie sound with the 'authority and finesse' (as Gene puts it) as the Yamahas and Denons do.

Compromise? Certainly. I think we can group ourselves into multiple categories

1. A True Music Lover. For this category, it is a pure stereo system all the way.
2. Music Lover with curiosity about movies: A good stereo that also has a DVD Player attached for seeing movies in 2.0.
3. Lover of muti-channel music and movie sound: A mid to high end AVR with all the bells and whistles.
4. A Videophile and a Audiophile combined: Two independent systems - one for movies and one for music.

So depending upon which category you fall into, you have dig that much deeper into your purse to get to audio or video Nirvana.

Cheers
 

grubyhalo

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Depends...
If I HAVE to settle for an AVR and also worry about SQ more than the feature set, I'd seriously look at a mid-range Marantz or a HK...
 

anm

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just to clarify, it is not the amplification of these units which is put to question, but the "pre-amp". So AVRs are NOT being compared to Emotiva, but a design feature of Emotiva to work with lower gain pre-amps of these receivers with pre-amp outs.

When I spoke to the company President, Dan Laufman, he said they deliberately sacrificed a bit of SNR in order for their amp to be more compatible with receivers being used as preamps to drive them. This approach makes a lot of sense! Axiom Audio also has a similar gain structure in their A1400-8 Class D amplifier and for the very same reasoning though they claim to have achieved this without sacrificing any SNR.

For those who want to enhance their movie experience by using extra external amp, these AVRs may not be able to drive those external amps to their full capacity.

System/ systems for movies vs music is a different discussion IMHO.

regards
 
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grubyhalo

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Depends...
just to clarify, it is not the amplification of these units which is put to question, but the "pre-amp".
For those who want to enhance their movie experience by using extra external amp, these AVRs may not be able to drive those external amps to their full capacity.

System/ systems for movies vs music is a different discussion IMHO.

regards

Marantz and HK are generally known for their good sound quality among the AVR crowd. Regardless of what power amp you use (internal or external), the pre-amp would play a big part in the sound quality, be it music or movies. I am not completely sure what you mean by "may not be able to drive those external amps to their full capacity."
 

anm

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pls read the article.

quote from article

Not always. From my testing of A/V receivers from various manufacturers, most of them simply slap preamp outputs on the back of their receivers for a marketing feature. It is a very inexpensive way to impress the unsophisticated user into being awed. They usually dont put decent op-amps that have enough output to drive external power amplification to its full potential without the internal preamp of the receiver first clipping and going into gross distortion. Remember these receivers are designed as a closed loop system to work optimally with their own internal components. If the manufacturer is cutting costs in the power supply of their product to offer you more features, its a safe bet they arent giving you a higher quality preamplification section to power an external amplifier.


regards

"may not be able to drive those external amps to their full capacity."
 
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grubyhalo

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Depends...
pls read the article.

quote from article




regards

Maybe that's why Marantz and HK sound better than a lot of others. My view is that you're chances of getting a decent pre-out is better with Marantz or HK. Ofcourse I'm sure you would take your power amp and audition it with an AVR before you make the final decision. However, if you're completely convinced that an AVR would not have decent pre-outs, then buying a dedicated processor/pre-amp would be your best option. I'm sure you can't go wrong with that...
 

spirovious

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Using AVR preout meens compromising SQ.As DAC on AVR is nt dedicated ,preoutput SQ may not come close to that of CDp.
 

unleash_me

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Why dont anyone try it out first?!

At some point due to space constraints, I did this setup and find the results beautiful. IMO, this is the best way to integrate a 2 channel amp to your avr and have it dedicated for driving the front channels for music and working in sync with the avr while watching movies. Its as simple as that.
 

anm

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Hi unleashed,
Lot of people are willing to go this route, including me, but this article creates doubt about quality of pre-outs and hence their worthiness.
What amp/ avr are you using?

regards

Why dont anyone try it out first?!

At some point due to space constraints, I did this setup and find the results beautiful. IMO, this is the best way to integrate a 2 channel amp to your avr and have it dedicated for driving the front channels for music and working in sync with the avr while watching movies. Its as simple as that.
 

anm

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Understand your concern here. But discussion is not about comparing music playback quality with that of dedicated amp.

regards

Using AVR preout meens compromising SQ.As DAC on AVR is nt dedicated ,preoutput SQ may not come close to that of CDp.
 

Sumit

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Hello People~~

I might be able to clear a few doubts here as I am using the pre-outs of the AVR. The details of the system can be seen in my signature below.

Connections:
I am using only the L+R pre-out of my avr. These are connected to the NAD C160 pre-amp which is finally connected to the NADC214 power amp.
I don't own a CD player as yet. I have connected the Onkyo DVD player directly to the NAD C160. Also, onkyo Tape Deck is connected to the NAd C160. The Marantz DVD player is connected to the Marantz AVR SR5001. Also, speakers B are connected to the AVR.

Use: When I listen to audio CD's, the AVR is turned off. While watching movies, I keep the NAD C160 volume at 12'O clock position { Learned this from Sharad (Smedhavi)} and adjust volume with the AVR remote.

Difference With/without pre/power:

Long time back, when I joined this forum, I posted a thread where I was unsatisfied with the performance of my AVR.
A) It use to clip at high volumes (protect mode)
B) I was not happy with the mutichannel sound of the Marantz (Too much on the shrill side and the effects are just not there). I think Onkyo and Yamaha do better movie audio. ( I use to own an entry level onkyo AVR early on, so I can tell).

Now, I can sort the above myself. After using the pre/power there had been a tremendous difference in the overall power of the system. Clipping is absolutely absent and the AVR runs much cooler.

The pre/power amp has not changed the signature Marantz sound. I have connected the AVR vide the AUX input of the C160.

I did not read the article mentioned by anm. I thought i could be more honest this way. I don't know what was written in that article but I can only say that I am very satisifed with the pre-out performance of my AVR. Period.

Questions/Queries/ Criticism welcome.

Sumit
 
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unleash_me

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Hi unleashed,
Lot of people are willing to go this route, including me, but this article creates doubt about quality of pre-outs and hence their worthiness.
What amp/ avr are you using?

regards

May be the article is right, but i have only my armature experience to boot. I'm not using this connection in my current setup though - blame it on audiophilic skeptism! But few years back I did the same for my cousin's 1906 and PM7001; I believe he is still running the same setup! His needs were mainly convenience and space optimization.

I'm having an old 4306 avr.
 

arun malur

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Why dont anyone try it out first?!

At some point due to space constraints, I did this setup and find the results beautiful. IMO, this is the best way to integrate a 2 channel amp to your avr and have it dedicated for driving the front channels for music and working in sync with the avr while watching movies. Its as simple as that.


Indeed very true Unleash, last week a I was at Designer Audio for some DAC cables and during our discussion for a suitable Integrated Amp., Kshitij did mention to me that quite a few of his clients owning Quad speakers and Marantz AVRs have hooked it up to a Quad 99 Power Amp. for music, using the AVR as pre-amp.

Though I have not yet listened to this set-up, but do plan to do so one of these days.
 

smedhavi

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>>>As per this article, the pre-amp outs of receivers are not great. The pre-amp section is not able to drive a power amp, or distorts too much.

I have tried these combinations using Denon AVR 2809 and NAD C372 amp (which has the pre and power amps connected externally).

The pre-out from Denon into the power amp does not cause any distortion. It works pretty well, but it does not allow me to use the NAD pre-amp for music (I prefer that). So I went for the mechanism mentioned above by Sumit (I am glad it worked for him too). The pre-out from the Denon AVR goes into the NAD pre-amp. The CD, turntable and tape are connected directly to the NAD preamp. Only the Panasonic Blu-Ray player and the Philips DVD player are connected to the AVR. This way I get the best of both worlds.

Thanks,
Sharad
 
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