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Cloth Ears

7.1 pre-amplifier/receivers - some advice, please

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Hi all,

I've just entered into the complex world of HDTV (Toshiba 42") and Bluray (Sony 550) and I think I'm going to need a pre-amplifier of some sort. Or possibly a receiver with pre-amp outputs.

My main L/R currently sound pretty good, driven by 2 amps w/crossover. Due to their size, I don't really need a subby in the room we're currently in, and I prefer to run without a centre channel (I think it sounds better integrated into the L/R). But I'll need to be able to run the 2 sets of surround speakers (got plenty of amps, but could use the speaker outs on a receiver).

I've got 3 sets of A/V inputs - the Bluray can do BD and CD (and probably DVD), and my previous Sony DVD player does a good job on DVD, SACD, MP3 (within reason!) and CD and Foxtel (which is falling out of favour). Also, one phono (can use the phono pre-amp already in the system and pipe that out to the new pre-amp), a tuner which sounds really good and I'd like to be able to pipe the TV sound out to the speakers as well, as the TV tuner is quite good.

I'd like to be able to switch between the 3 A/V formats and get the picture and sound switched as the same time. And also be able to play the other audio bits as well. And, I'd still like to be able to use the same amplifier/crossover set-up for my mains as they also sound good.

Are there any 7.1 receivers out there that might fit the bill - 6 sets of inputs including 3 A/V, at least one of which is HDMI, that also allow "pre-amp" outputs? Am I dreaming?

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Unless I'm missing something in your description, there are truck loads of A/V receivers that fit the bill. The higher end models from just about everyone have pre-out.

My Yamaha V1800 (a recently superceded model) would do all you're looking at, as would the current V1900, V3900.

Check out Sony, Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, Harmon Kardon, Onkyo etc.

I also wouldn't discount a centre speaker that quickly. I find it pretty much essential for anyone watching/listening to movies who is not sitting in the sweet spot.

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Hi CE

You are in luck as many receivers will do this. For example the Denon 4308 is a v good example of the current capability. I use the more expensive preamp version and it is fab, but I have used the 4308 and it is very capable - all you'd ever need for HT.

Currently these run around 3.5K locally if you bargain hard (5K rrp) - sadly the days of importing cheaply from Singapore are no longer with us

There are other options cheaper out there, but this is what I'd recommend for reliability/usefulness and SQ. (Note: SQ on cd on receivers is never as good as a good dedicated 2ch preamp tho)

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Thanks for the replies. I've only had the unit since Boxing Day (and have also had a cracking cold - so haven't been able to go out). The info available on the web is not that specific, so I didn't want to get my hopes up. But I guess I can now.

As I'm "Mr Cheap" I'll see what I can find and report back!

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It seem the Yamaha RX-V663B has all the things I could request. As there's one out there (and it's not top of the range) there must be others. Still looking...

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Not sure about your budget,but there enough nutters out there that keep upgrading their recievers.

This opens up the oppportunity to obtain premium models well below their new cost,usually under a year old.

I'll second the used 1800/3800 market as mega value.

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Hi Clothears

I was in the same dilemma about 2 months ago. I compared a few and came up with the Pioneer SC-LX81. It's a killer unit, great sound!!!, and does everything except wireless. I am going to run ethernet to a Beyonwiz HD DP-p1 to get all the options I need.

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Well, having listened to wireless headphones and one other wireless set-up, I'll probably stay wired (but let's not get off the beaten path)!

The AVR is really only to handle the video switching (and upgrading the signal from the DVD player) as well as providing a pre-amp function. I'll probably be using the 4 surround amplifiers to drive small surround speakers (slightly bigger when I build the new ones), but I'll be driving my active fronts with the same combination that I currently use. So amplifier power is not really an issue.

My wants (at present) are:

2/3 HDMI inputs

1 HDMI output

one component input plus l/r audio (and a processor) for the old videos

one component/digital input for the DVD/SACD/MP3 player

3 audio inputs for the CD/Phono/tuner

7 pre-amp outputs (just in case - I need at least the front L/R)

I like the look of the Yamaha RX-V663B, as it doe all this, and I can get one for about $830 - but having just finished paying for the TV/BDP, I can wait around and look at this for another month or so!

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My wants (at present) are:

2/3 HDMI inputs

1 HDMI output

one component input plus l/r audio (and a processor) for the old videos

one component/digital input for the DVD/SACD/MP3 player

3 audio inputs for the CD/Phono/tuner

7 pre-amp outputs (just in case - I need at least the front L/R)

Im not sure on current AVR's etc. but are you looking for something that also up converts? As in -> you plug in a device via component and then the AVR up converts that to HDMI ? Im not sure if thats done these days, but might be worth looking into.

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Im not sure on current AVR's etc. but are you looking for something that also up converts? As in -> you plug in a device via component and then the AVR up converts that to HDMI ? Im not sure if thats done these days, but might be worth looking into.

Yes this is common these days Drizt

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Yes this is common these days Drizt
Ah good. I haven't looked in a while, but back when I was it was only on few models.

AVRs are extremely well appointed these days it would seem.

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Good idea to run a secondary video cable as a plan B. Saves alot of pain.

Many AVR's up conversion/ upscaling requires software upgrades etc,add HDMI issues into the equation with handshaking issues and manufacturers still producing old HDMI formats etc.

Cheers Tony C

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Hello CE

a few possibilities are the Marantz sr5003 and sr6003 and above, The Yamaha 663 you mentioned and the higher models 863, 1900 etc as well as various Denon Receivers whose model numbers dont come to mind exactly, but something like 789 and above.

I agree with your reqt for 2-3 HDMIs (1 for BD/DVD, 1 for Foxtel/HDTV and an extra for say HDMI camcorder input) and all these have that as well as the new HD Master Audio, DTS etc.. codecs. Most of these also have various Audessy EQ etc..implementations so you can have even more of a play.

There are also some Rotel 15 series receivers on the way, but they have unfortunately gone away slightly from their more industrial look to ever so slightly bling (in the pics atleast- TBA in the flesh).

I'm 99% certain the AVRs I mentioned are all HDMI 1.3 compliant, but as per TonyC's advice I would always demo your BD player and your HDMI cable with the receiver in question. Even if the switching is HDMI 1.3 I have heard stories where some receivers take an annoying amount of time to switch inputs or switch the audio and delay the video switching slightly or vice versa..check you are happy with this in your receiver of choice.

That reminds me..check the AVR has the ability to adjust the Audio Video Lip-Sync. A few 100 milliseconds of adjustment is normally provided.

Again...DEMO it.

Best

JA

Best

JA

Edited by JA

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Again...DEMO it.

Best

JA

Sound advice. I'll probably be 'net purchasing the Yamaha (as Excel have it for about 25% less than retail). But I'll make sure I can return it if it does not meet with expectations... Or maybe go down to a store that has it and see if they'll match Excel's price when it demos OK.

Thanks for all the feedback!

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