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Whats in A Stereo Receiver

Wharfedale Linton Heritage Speakers

magma

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hello all

Many of you must have read and contributed to my thread "why are Int amps more expensive than 5.1 Recievers.
it was highly enlightening.I am thankful to you all

Now i have another doubt.

"Whats in a stereo reciever"

well most explain that the only diff between an amp and the stereo reciever is only the tuner and maybe a little DSP effect/ preset equiliser - rock jazz etc etc

however, just like my earlier thread - pricing of stereo reciever does not make sense to me too!
please do explain

now if the stereo reciever were an int amp+ a tuner then i beleive that for a certain rms value the reciever should obviously be more expensive than an int amp.
HOWEVER THIS IS NOT TRUE IN MANY CASES

while if a stereo reciever was just a regular reciever ( much like the 5.1/7.1 AVR's) MINUS a few channels so that its just 2.0 then i assume its price should be considerably less considering the fact that there are now fewer channels and no video processing. in addition there rms values are also less compared to these AVR's (60-85rms in stereo reciever compared to the 100-130 rms of the AVR)
HOWEVER THIS IS NOT TRUE IN MOST CASES AS WELL!!

now im confused:confused:

so that means a stereo reciever is neither a 5.1AVR minus a few channels
NOR is it an INT amp + a tuner

so
"Whats in a stereo reciever ? "

e.g for the above statements
prices of marantz
Int amp PM6001 (45W/ch)> Stereo reciever 4021(80w/ch)>marants AVR sr301 or sr 3001 (80-100w/ch)

i can give examples in the case of yamaha and denon too
 

venkatcr

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Magma:

If you are looking for price justification based on just functionality, you are looking at the wrong industry.

At the very minimum, the three range of product have the following components:

1. Stereo Integrated Amp - A pre amp, a power amp, DSP processing, and electronics for inputting from various sources.
2. Stereo Receiver - The Stereo Integrated Amp, and a radio tuner.
3. AVR - A per amp, 5 or more power amps, DSP processing, video processing, and electronics for input of audio and video from various sources.

If you take a stereo integrated amp, you have amps costing some 25,000 to ones costing a few lakhs or more. What do they do? The same task. Accept an audio input from a source, amplify it and send the signals to two speakers. What do they do differently? Handle the audio processing and amplification differently. This is called by various names - sound staging, transparency, purity, etc. Why pay more? That is purely a personal preference. If you feel one amp is sounding better than another, and you have the money, you will end up paying more. It is that simple.

If you take the same product from the same company, there will be models that do the same task but will be priced differently. And this price difference is not based on just power capability. They may use different and more expensive parts, may have different circuitry, and have internal processing which is different.

Why is a Stereo Receiver more expensive than a Integrated Amp or an AVR? This is based on what the manufacturer feels should be the market price for the product. And this decision is based on various factors such as market acceptance, brand loyalty, manufacturer's own concept of the product's value, etc.

More than anything else, audiophiles and manufacturers feel that a stereo system - amp or receiver - is a more focussed product that delivers much higher value for music reproduction. Thus it may not be correct at all to compare the range of products. Many of us feel that the less a product does, it will do it with more purity. I would rather use a stereo integrated amp than a stereo receiver as I feel the additional circuitry for tuner will put the purity of sound to risk. Similarly many feel that the addition of video processing will compromise on the capabilities of the amplifier as far as two channel sound goes.

One step forward to all this is independent units - pre amp, tuner, and monoblock amplifier for each channels. All working separately with their own power supplies. One could argue that some of the units may have duplicate electronics. They very well may have that. But that is what many users like and are ready to pay for.

You should listen to a set of these products to understand what they deliver. If you find it difficult to understand, it may even make sense for you to take a 'audiophile' with you who can point out the differences.

At the same price point, a CDP and integrated map, will deliver music with more authority and clarity than an AVR ever can. I have heard this many times over the past few weeks, and this is etched very firmly in my mind. You may also have seen me arguing for AVRs may times. Why do I do that? Because I think that many AVRs, in addition to being an excellent AV Receiver, also deliver music with acceptable quality. But is the quality as good as a integrated amp at that price point hooked to a CDP - certainly not.

At the same time, if I take 3 integrated amps, and use an external video processor will I get better movie sound. Most probably not.

So what do I do? at the end of the day, it is a combination of your requirements, the intensity with which you take to music, what your ears like, and what your purse can afford.

If you ask me today I will never purchase a Merc or BMW even if I had the money. Why? Simply because for India, they have no value. Indian roads are bad, traffic is too congested to use these cars well, and a good flat at the same price point will appreciate much more. Every time someone comes near the car, I will have a heart attack wondering what the repair costs are going to be. A tail lamp at Rs.10,000, a door painting at 25,000?

Will I use a Maruti 800? Most certainly not. I have fixed 5 to 10 lakhs as the max I will pay for a car. Within this I will compare the products available, and choose what is the best. But is what I buy the best in the market? Certainly not. Do all car companies have the same price for the same horsepower? Certainly not.

But you also have people (like one of our cricketers) who have 17 cars at home. And, the owner of a software company I know has 15 Mercs !! My logic, of course, has no value for these people.

I also know of many ladies including my wife who never wear the same saree twice. I use a pant and a shirt for 5 to 7 years. Shame on me!!

Cheers
 
Last edited:

ajinkya

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Well put Venkat. Just wanted to add a few of my thoughts:

I firmly believe that at the heart of it, all 'audiophiles' suffer from an obsession. How healthy it is depends on how much they can control it. I have gone through the phase of trying to choose the best amp and CDP, trying to see which one gave the most transparency to the sound, the best detail et all, ad nauseum. Then one day...

I went to a friend's house, who is a trained musician. He was going to demo some costly esoteric system for me since he is also an audiophile. Unfortunately, that day, some repair work was going on in that room and so we had to settle for listening to some tabla recordings on a relatively cheap 2 channel system (I forget which one...it was not a known brand for me to remember it well). Since my friend knew I was disappointed in not being able to hear his 'audiophile-grade' system, he tried to make up for it by explaining to me the various taals in the tabla concert we were listening to. He explained the concept of a jugalbandhi, where and how the musicians were improvising, how the same raaga could be minutely tweaked depending on the musician's improvisation. And...the music came alive to me. Suddenly I stopped caring about whether the table had 'bite' to it, whether the system was hiding any of the fine 'details' or not, whether all the frequencies were being played equally or not. Because my mind was now concentrating on the essence of the music itself, the harmony and the rhythm. It was then that I realised that I had become obsessive in my search for the system, ignoring the music in the process. In the end, that day I ended up not listening to his audiphile system, not caring either way.

And I think many of us have gone through this phase. I now spend less money on the actual system and more on the source as well as on understanding the source music. This way, my obsession has gone away and my musical enjoyment has increased. I truly feel, in the words of Mark Levinson that ' Hi fidelity is bullshit... a term used to make most people pay more money than necessary'. I do agree that spending more upto a certain point does get you better sound. But after that point is reached, it is a law of diminishing returns. And each of us has to find that point for himself, otherwise we risk getting sucked into the obsession of tweaking electrical signals rather than enjoying musical notes.

Your Mercedes example is also very apt.

-Ajinkya.
 

thevortex

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I agree with Venkat and Ajinkya completely.

That said if you are a first time entrant to the world of Hifi - the quality of music from a decent AVR will not disappoint. But over time your tastes will change, the upgrade bug will start biting and unfortunately thats an itch with almost no cure!

Thats life though.:)
 

venkatcr

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And...the music came alive to me. Suddenly I stopped caring about whether the table had 'bite' to it, whether the system was hiding any of the fine 'details' or not, whether all the frequencies were being played equally or not. Because my mind was now concentrating on the essence of the music itself, the harmony and the rhythm. It was then that I realised that I had become obsessive in my search for the system, ignoring the music in the process. In the end, that day I ended up not listening to his audiphile system, not caring either way.

Ajinkya, I firmly believe you have matured to be a true audiophile. One who enjoys the music more than anythings else. And I think hearty congratulations are in order.

Cheers
 

marsilians

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...I do agree that spending more upto a certain point does get you better sound. But after that point is reached, it is a law of diminishing returns. And each of us has to find that point for himself, otherwise we risk getting sucked into the obsession of tweaking electrical signals rather than enjoying musical notes.

This is the bottom line for all of us (average folks) and the point of diminishing returns should not be based on reviews, suggestions or anything else. It should be based on 2 things:

1. contentment
2. budget

and (2) should determine (1)
 
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