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Why are Integrated amps MORE expensive than recievers

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magma

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hello all

i have been in search for a stereo setup for long.
(music 60% movies 40%-i am satisfied with just stereo for movies)

many members have adviced me to go in for a stereo recievr or an integrated amplifier rather than an AV reciever.
i have been narrowing down my searches, however im a bit confused and have the following questions
(pardon my noobiness)

1. i find that for a given rms value/channel say (50-90rms range) integrated amplifiers turn out to be more expensive than AVR's
e.g a NAD 325 BEE,marantz PM 7002,cambridge 540 are much more expensive than say a onkyo 304,504 , marantz sr 301,4001 etc ,
i mean the avrs pump out almost 100 rms /channel whereas the amps in that price range barely pump out 40-50

this confuses a noob like me.even if the integrated amps are made with slightly better components doesnt that get offset due to the 5.1 AUDIO AND video capabilities of an AVR.

also a noob like me would think that buying an AVR (though my requirment is only steroe )pumping 100 rms would be better than buying an int amp that pumps 50 ( e.g the marantz case)
would it not.
i mean i could drive a floorstander well with 100 rms rather than the measly 50 from the amp?


im confused

why is this cost difference

also why would i be wrong in assuming the italics

please do help
 

square_wave

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But have you noticed that AV Receivers are like cellphones ?
They cost 50k today. After one year in the market, they cost 20k.
Try selling one used and you will get 12k or sometimes 10k:D
 

marsilians

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HI,

For a typical HT system, you need the a pre-amplifier to process the signals and a power amplifier to make the signals audible.

So Integrated amplifier = pre-amp + power amp (within a single unit)

Receiver = integrated amp + built-in radio tuner.

A Pre/Power combination will always be more expensive than the equivalent integrated due to the extra hardware required.

Also a standalone power amp has a lot of high quality components that cannot be fit into a integrated due to its form factor and space constraints.

Reason integrated prices drop so much in a few years is due to the fact that the processing options are always being modified. The amplifier sections does not see much change.

hello all

i have been in search for a stereo setup for long.
(music 60% movies 40%-i am satisfied with just stereo for movies)

many members have adviced me to go in for a stereo recievr or an integrated amplifier rather than an AV reciever.
i have been narrowing down my searches, however im a bit confused and have the following questions
(pardon my noobiness)

1. i find that for a given rms value/channel say (50-90rms range) integrated amplifiers turn out to be more expensive than AVR's
e.g a NAD 325 BEE,marantz PM 7002,cambridge 540 are much more expensive than say a onkyo 304,504 , marantz sr 301,4001 etc ,
i mean the avrs pump out almost 100 rms /channel whereas the amps in that price range barely pump out 40-50

this confuses a noob like me.even if the integrated amps are made with slightly better components doesnt that get offset due to the 5.1 AUDIO AND video capabilities of an AVR.

also a noob like me would think that buying an AVR (though my requirment is only steroe )pumping 100 rms would be better than buying an int amp that pumps 50 ( e.g the marantz case)
would it not.
i mean i could drive a floorstander well with 100 rms rather than the measly 50 from the amp?


im confused

why is this cost difference

also why would i be wrong in assuming the italics

please do help
 

venkatcr

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A Pre/Power combination will always be more expensive than the equivalent integrated due to the extra hardware required.

I am not sure that was Magma's question. If I read right, his question was 'why are integrated stereo amps more expensive than comparable AVRs.' And the AVRs seem to have more power to boot.

I am scratching my brains as to how to answer this question. Some possibilities are:

1. Better parts
2. Longer usage life
3. Better design for music
4. Smaller market. A comparable AVR will sell 5 to 10 times more in sheer volume. And that too within 12 to 24 months.
5. A stereo integrated amp should have a shelf life of 5 years or so as compared to a two year shelf life of an AVR. So a stereo amo has to be better designed and better engineered.
6. Brand value.

Cheers
 

marsilians

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My response was to his first point.

An integrated is a receiver without the radio tuner (not sure how many listen to radio on their AVRs these days).

Generally speaking, a stereo amp's component quality is slightly better than an AVR with better toroid, and processing circuitry. In the hope of making a universal system, manufs cut back on a lot of quality components for AVRs. This could be one of the reason for their lower price.

Also if you open up an AVR, most components are usually low end ones. Thats one reason they are able to add lots of newer processing like upscaling/converting & HDMI outputs while still selling for ridiculous low prices like 20K or thereabouts. Correspondingly their rate of failure is high.

I am not sure that was Magma's question. If I read right, his question was 'why are integrated stereo amps more expensive than comparable AVRs.' And the AVRs seem to have more power to boot.

I am scratching my brains as to how to answer this question. Some possibilities are:

1. Better parts
2. Longer usage life
3. Better design for music
4. Smaller market. A comparable AVR will sell 5 to 10 times more in sheer volume. And that too within 12 to 24 months.
5. A stereo integrated amp should have a shelf life of 5 years or so as compared to a two year shelf life of an AVR. So a stereo amo has to be better designed and better engineered.
6. Brand value.

Cheers
 

magma

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hmm
everyone here has given umm.. lets say kinda answers that seem generalised to an extent.
Some , well ..seem like answers that a person who buys a stereo integrated amp would give himself just to satisy himself or justify extra money well spent

i am a noob but also busineessman who is into manufacture of products myself.
rules that i generally regretfully follow
markets are gullible as a people are.make use of it.

i would require proof that the components used in a stereo amp really are worth SO much more than that in an AVR(has anyone actually compared? )
and mind you they need to be high enough to make up for the extra 5.1 channels (100rms *5 = 500rms!) AND the video capabilities! of an AVR

i mean cost of 50*2 rms = 100*5rms PLUS video capabilities

For entry level amps and AVR's i think this equation would never work
thats why i think the electronic manufactures are using the above business logic as well!


why then should a person looking to buy an entry level product opt for an int amp over a receiver?
just for a marginal increase in SQ?(at least i have not made out this difference in my auditions..but im deaf)
is it VFM for persons buying entry level?


II am scratching my brains as to how to answer this question. Some possibilities are:

1. Better parts
(i need proof and justification as mentioned above)
2. Longer usage life
no comment im a noob
3. Better design for music
i dont understnad im a noob. to my ears there was a very marginal difference in SQ and sometimes in the opposite direction too!
4. Smaller market. A comparable AVR will sell 5 to 10 times more in sheer volume. And that too within 12 to 24 months.
only point i agree with completely!
5. A stereo integrated amp should have a shelf life of 5 years or so as compared to a two year shelf life of an AVR. So a stereo amo has to be better designed and better engineered.
seems more like an assumption or a marketting statement rather than an absolute truth
6. Brand value.
(agreed)

Cheers

I've been accused of making generalisations in the past on this board, but here's one thing I can tell you: AVR's absolutely stink for music compared to stereo amps in the same price range, provided that

for entry level products i find the difference in SQ so marginal that it doesnt justify the extra cost.
instead in one case i have found the AVR pumping 100 rms sounding better than the stero amp pumping 50 rms
case: jamo 606. AVR onkyo 304 and amp marantz PM :4001and 5001
but ofcourse this opinion is completely subjective


Basically, stereo costs more because it is better built. An AVR usually has one power supply which is shared among all channels (there are exceptions but not at reasonable prices), the amplification is made to fit into the standard 17" width with only some concessions made for sound quality, and most of the parts are mass-manufactured.

A good stereo amp will be built with higher quality parts, and have a much longer service life. It will use a few exotic parts where costs permit, and at the very least specifically high quality (read: higher specification) parts.

are you stating this with some knowledge on the parts used?
as i said
i mean cost of 50*2 rms = 100*5rms PLUS video capabilities?


Most AVRs are hugely over-rated, most good stereo amps are under-rated.
agreed but this does not still justify cost differnce may be it justifies EQUAL cost

.

Also if you open up an AVR, most components are usually low end ones. Thats one reason they are able to add lots of newer processing like upscaling/converting & HDMI outputs while still selling for ridiculous low prices like 20K or thereabouts. Correspondingly their rate of failure is high.

i know of examples of AVR's funcioning for 8 yrs plus and still going strong without a hitch.

please do note
im thinking out aloud as a businessman (well a stingy vfm hunting one and not as an pure audio enthusiast as i should be) im not trying to argue or prove anything here.(i wouldnt be able to do that anyway i dont know anything about audio!)
im just trying to find out as to what justifies or warrants buying an int amp rather than a recievr even if the requirement is stereo

(mind you this discussion is for enrty level products and price ranges and i do agree that the equation does change when you go up ladder)

do provide more inputs to help me understand the true facts
 

magma

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But have you noticed that AV Receivers are like cellphones ?
They cost 50k today. After one year in the market, they cost 20k.
Try selling one used and you will get 12k or sometimes 10k:D


hmm to my ears this sounds more like an opportuninty rather than a caution!
but thats just me!
 

marsilians

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Think of it like this, if a receiver manufacturer continues to provide ever enhancing surround sound modes as well as support for newer connections and upscaling abilities while still keeping the prices comparable (if not lower) than few years ago, where do you think they are sacrificing?

In places you typically don't look - components and circuitry.

This is the reason many manufacturers offer a major discount on AVR upgrades and never on amplifier or integrated upgrades for previous owners. Some fo them don't even want you to return the older AVR they simply offer the upgrade.
 

magma

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@magma: You've very graciously not quoted the parts of the post which actually had the examples.

You want pictures? The Pio has the STK 4131. Look at the specs (Google for the datasheet). It's 25 watts per channel, and the amp quotes 130 watts x 5.

On the other hand, my old HK PM665 quotes 100 watts per channel, will do 170 watts into 4 ohms, and has two transformers for two channels, each capable of 400 watts peak power draw. The spec claims 600 watts power draw from the mains, and each channel uses two pairs of Toshiba transistors that allow the amp to supply peak currents of 30 amperes.

Both, shockingly enough, cost me the same money, the HK was bought used. If new the amp would be 4x the cost, but those 100 watts are real watts, not a product of someone's imagination.

I will continue to disagree with you on the fact that AVRs and amps sound similar, assuming that the rest of the chain is good enough to illuminate the differences (including your ears, which I'm sure are pretty good too).


oops
cranky
i didnt know i had omitted parts where you provided some proof.
as i said i dont understand too much of "current draw" , "true power" and terms as such.i still dont know what STK 4131 is!
i had to read this post 3 times to undestand its meaing!

can you direct me to such data sheets of marantz receivers and amps
say the PM 6001/PM7001 and the receivers sr 301,3001,4003
or even the entry level yam receivers that claim 100rms and are avaible for much less than their stereo counterparts

if what you say is true ( the int amps provide true power and AVR's just claim ) is this not a case of double standards/cheating by a company?

its so unfair to a person lke me who would generally belive in spec given by large prestigious companies like marantz denon etc

also all along my post i have stated "entry level"-please keep that in mind
im sure your HK receiver does have a ll the components you speak of that justify its cost (but its not entry level -at least not for me)
 

marsilians

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if what you say is true ( the int amps provide true power and AVR's just claim ) is this not a case of double standards/cheating by a company?

its so unfair to a person lke me who would generally belive in spec given by large prestigious companies like marantz denon etc

Magma,

There is not a case of "double standards/cheating" (strong words against companies that have been around for decades), its that there is no standard way of measuring these specs. The same analogy applies to your car or motorcycle. Have you ever been able to drive at the top speed on the odometer despite it being printed in front of you? The vehicle must have probably touched that speed once during tests in a simulated environment.

Usually when specs are provided for many HT components (AVRs included), its one channel driven to the max and not caring for the levels of distortion (this is the reason you have to review few settings at a time without taking one into isolation). From that perspective it may hit the stated wattage albeit in a few notes.
 

Asit

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Hi,
I am a bit confused by the discussions on this thread. The originator of the thread wanted to find out why stereo amps cost more than comparable (by Watts?) AVRs, in order for him to make a purchase decision regarding, I guess, whether to buy an amp or an AVR for both music and movies.

The originator, by his own admission, says that AVRs are cheaper, he cannot hear any difference in music between a stereo amp and an avr and also he knows of avrs which are running reliably for a number of years.

Then where is the problem?

I believe a forum like this can provide a lot of information for everybody from novices to experts. It has certainly helped me a lot to understand (in addition to making purchase related decisions) a lot of things about audio and video equipments. But most certainly this is not a place to provide proofs in favor or against any company, brand etc. Apart from legal, ethical and other such problems, it is also not quite possible because the definitions used for a parameter and the measuring criteria may be cleverly changed to suit a certain product, as already mentioned by marsilians in his post above.

Based on the information (take some, leave some), one has to make one's own decision.

magma, please do not take my post in a negative way. Who am I to tell you that you should hear a difference between a stereo amp and a avr when it comes to pure music? Yes, I do find a difference, a huge difference in fact, and yes, even for entry level amps costing about 25K and some AVRs costing a bit more. But I will not be able to provide a proof for you.

I like Darjeeling tea. Now if you try to tell me that Assam tea is better and it costs less and I should switch from Darjeeling to Assam. I will note the information that Assam tea is cheaper than Darjeeling tea and some people like it, but continue with Darjeeling tea as long as I can afford it. I see the situation here as a similar one.

I can give you a technical answer in terms of harmonics and what is the difference between a noise and musical sound, and that would have probably clarified (theoretically) the difference between the sound produced by an entry level AVR and that produced by a stereo amp. But again it will not carry any proof with it.

Your ears, eyes and the information processing unit with appropriate filters should be the ultimate judge.
 

gopi

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I will try to answer this question in a different way from my own experience.
When I first heard a Philips DVD player(4k) playing through my Rotel/Monitor Audio combo (costs about 45k for speaker + amp) I was quite happy about the sound. Obviously the whole of net suggested that its close to a crime or atleast something that I am not supposed to do, by pairing an el cheapo DVD player instead of a CD player. So, I took my system (carried everything) and went to a showroom and paired the system with a Cambridge 640C v2 (this was considered simply the best under 30k at that time). I listened to both along with few other people there some 10 songs. What did I notice - everybody liked the CD player better than the DVD player. But, it was close and if we did a blind test I doubt we would have successfully identified everytime. The only reason it was slightly easy to identify was that the CD player had more bass and somehow had a more softer and gentler approach to the music. But, it was my hard earned cash and the difference was that of 4k vs 25k. Does it in this case do a better job of 6 times - not for me. Another thing to note was that a Sony DVD player in the same system was sounding quite bad compared to my Philips DVD player for music. But, I was thinking why do people seem to suggest that the CD player is a must. I am getting 80 to 90% of that in my DVD player at such a less cost. Slowly, time passed by and I started listening to various other systems sometimes costing many lakhs. My interpretation of the song and music started changing. What I like and what I didn't like changed. I started understanding certain concepts mentioned often in these reviews(though I still have a long way to go). So, now today morning I was listening to a Marantz DVD player (is better than my old Philips DVD player) through my headphone system after listening to the Cambridge CD player for few days and it was an instant feeling that I wanted the CD player back and somehow I was not liking the sound I was getting here anymore , though it was still not bad. Getting used to better stuff has its impact. In many cases you need to live with the equipment to know how good or bad it is. A 5 minute demo will reveal only 50% of things. i was a guy who couldn't identify the difference and I am now becoming somebody who could make out few differences.
So, in short, enjoying the music through an audio equipment has some science to it. Many people can easily enjoy a Bollywood song , but if its a piece by Zakir Hussain only a few might like it. Why? because you need to first learn few things about music and then you can appreciate him. Who has more talent - Himesh Reshamaiyaa or Zakir Hussain? Whose song should I like most. I am not here to advocate one way or other.
All I am saying is to appreciate a good hi fi, you need to learn few things and it takes time , patience and money. Once crossed the line its tough to appreciate Himesh anymore. So, it has its own risks. For a laymen, Zakir piece might suck. Its because he is not looking into the music in things that he should be looking into.
Whether its really needed or worth it or even all non Bollywood music artists are talented people is all left for the person to go by his own choice.
summing up, back to the original question:
Is AVR vs Integerated amplifiers - the first common difference is that Integerated amplifiers are created with music in mind while AVR's are created with movies in mind. If you heard both and found little difference, then you are at the crossroads where you can make the choice of starting your journey into the Audiophile world or not.
I recommend you weigh the options and chose.
Did I make sense? :)
 

reignofchaos

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moserw

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Depends...
hello all

i have been in search for a stereo setup for long.
(music 60% movies 40%-i am satisfied with just stereo for movies)

many members have adviced me to go in for a stereo recievr or an integrated amplifier rather than an AV reciever.
i have been narrowing down my searches, however im a bit confused and have the following questions
(pardon my noobiness)

1. i find that for a given rms value/channel say (50-90rms range) integrated amplifiers turn out to be more expensive than AVR's
e.g a NAD 325 BEE,marantz PM 7002,cambridge 540 are much more expensive than say a onkyo 304,504 , marantz sr 301,4001 etc ,
i mean the avrs pump out almost 100 rms /channel whereas the amps in that price range barely pump out 40-50

this confuses a noob like me.even if the integrated amps are made with slightly better components doesnt that get offset due to the 5.1 AUDIO AND video capabilities of an AVR.

also a noob like me would think that buying an AVR (though my requirment is only steroe )pumping 100 rms would be better than buying an int amp that pumps 50 ( e.g the marantz case)
would it not.
i mean i could drive a floorstander well with 100 rms rather than the measly 50 from the amp?


im confused

why is this cost difference

also why would i be wrong in assuming the italics

please do help

Economics/the law of supply vs. demand dictate prices more than anything I suppose. Nobody buys a CDP anymore (I mean from the general public), music is played via a budget DVDP or via the PC/iPod, etc. This has led to the CDP becoming more elitist and more expensive too. Guess the same principle applies here too. Not many want a stereo amp these days, all my music buddies (even the ones having their own rock band) have moved to a PC for their music listening. Prices are always more for a niche market since they are limited, but yet serving a demanding customer I suppose.
 

magma

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Magma,

There is not a case of "double standards/cheating" (strong words against companies that have been around for decades), its that there is no standard way of measuring these specs. The same analogy applies to your car or motorcycle. Have you ever been able to drive at the top speed on the odometer despite it being printed in front of you? The vehicle must have probably touched that speed once during tests in a simulated environment.

i agree that a certain standard across different companies cannot be compared
but what about a standard(rms power) across products of the same company!
)


s.

This amplifier by 47 labs cost 2250$ but produce 20 + 20 watts
Untitled

The Audio note Ongaku produce 27 watts per channel and costs 79,350 $
Kondo - Audio Note

DAGOGO Review: Audio Note Ongaku integrated amplifier: REVIEW

So ???? :rolleyes:

umm
key word for my discussion
ENTRY level products in the same brand!(avr comapred to int amp-entry level)

I will try to answer this question in a different way from my own experience.
Did I make sense? :)

yes you made complete sense gopi ji
thats what ive been assuming all along
For a noob in audio-someone whos just starting of, who cant recognise minute differences in music its a big trade off to spend 5 to 10k more to get slightly better SQ.that too sometimes not percievable

so i believe that i need to know music well for me to count that extra money as good VFM


However what about the fact(well not a fact for everyone at least I belive so ) that i find a 100 rms recievr driving a floorstander better than a 50 rms amp.
case"jamo 606 driven with marantz PM 4001,5001 and sr 3001 and onkyp sr 304
do you guys think i could be mistaken ther as well
please do help
 
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venkatcr

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Gopi, I want to keep quite, but you have made me say something that is on my mind. :p:p

Cranky and Marslians, I have a lot of respect for you guys, and what I am going to say is not against either of you.

I must kind of point out that the parts in a reputable AVR are not cheap anymore. If you read the brochures of any of these companies, they take great pain to mention the effort they have taken to redesign their product ground up and to use better parts. Just go through Yamaha brochure, for example. Last year, Onkyo engineers were on the ramp being questioned on what they had done to their systems particularly when they introduced the push-pull technology for their amplifiers in the AVRs.

Another thing we have to keep in mind is that these product are analysed by numerous magazines and technology groups, needless to say by their own competitors. All these analyses include opening the box and seeing what is inside. None of these companies can afford to get a bad reputation, given the market is so competitive. If you look at the boards inside, they are a marvel in engineering and design.

We may not be able to convince Magma with our answers why stereo integrateds are more expensive than comparable AVRs. But AVRs are not bad for the job they do, have been well designed, and well constructed.

Though AVRs also double up as music amplifiers, we have to understand their main job is video processing and the amplification of 6 or 8 channels for movies. And they do that quite well. Comparing them to a Stereo integrated whose primary job is it to deliver two channel of high quality may be unfair to both parties. Everything is different. the player is different. the circuits are different, and the basic task they are manufactured for are different. I am not even sure if the manufacturers are even attempting to dethrone the stereo integrateds. They have a much larger and growing market - HT.

Whether they can deliver music well will, to a large extent, depend upon individual taste and the kind of music you like. If you are used to Stereo music of high quality, you may not find music through AVRs good. At the same time for many people who are not particular, an good AVR may deliver what they consider music of good quality.

Let us keep our minds and ears open.

Cheers
 

Asit

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Venkat,
With due respect I would tend to disagree with you a bit about the line you have taken in your recent post above.

See, the question is not about whether stereo amps are good and AVRs are bad. Although I am not very knowledgeable about about AVRs, there is no denying that generally for entry level price point (or for any price point) stereo amps are the recommended product for music. This is also the expected result because music is the sole purpose why stereo amps are built.

Having said that it is very well possible that a certain AVR in the stereo mode is equally good or better than a certain entry level stereo amp.

There have been several logics put forward by several members (including you) explaining why there may be a price difference.

My point in my previous mail was that that's all one can do! One cannot provide a proof for or against anything, especially in a forum like this, but I guess that was what magma, the thread-initiator was asking for in his initial posts.

Now I like music and I like it thru a stereo amplifier. That opinion has been formed over about 35-40 years of listening, and 25 years of that with stereo separates. But that does not mean that I can go ahead and advise people to listen to music the way I do, even if I want to. It does not work that way in real life. People come from different backgrounds (most importantly musical backgrounds). It is a question of taste, and willingness to embrace something different from your previous knowhow. I have a few very close friends who have very different tastes about music from mine. And there are some others who never change their basic likings and dislikings, my father was one like that. So you cannot call one thing good and the other thing bad.

Gopi's reply, I found, puts up a similar view. He has said that people develop tastes and learn with time. I do not even find fault with the people who cannot do that. May be they can develop some other faculty which I would never be able to do myself.

That's why I said in my earlier post that the forum members can put up their views on the topic of discussion in this thread, and magma and everybody else can also argue and question each others' views, and that is enriching for everybody. However, no proofs can be given and nobody or no product wins. Magma as well as anybody else will have to make a decision on his own.

Note added later: I think you and I share very similar views, no disagreements really. Just that I wanted to clarify that this thread is not about thrashing AVRs and hailing stereo amps, at least that's not how I looked at it.
 
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