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Hi All,

 

Looking to upgrade my current AVR into a one stop shop for music and home theater (will be a 5.1 setup). I have been looking at processors/Prepro's and they appear to be very expensive compared to AVR's with the same features.

Is it worth making the upgrade to a Prepro over a decent AVR with pre-outs? I will be using a separate power amp even if i go with an AVR.

 

Thanks in advance!

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A budget will help guide discussions.

 

Please have a read of the following threads which discuss similar things

 

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Hi indeed av processors are more expensive but usually for folks looking next level performance ... definitely get what pay for. Better dacs processing analog stages and power supplies.

 

with avrs you can also get improvements in these as go up the range :)

 

music and home theatre in one is a big ask. Most avrs that combine that well you are looking at top end units of denon marantz ... arcam not much else. Nad make avr that Likely decent for both but expensive. Quality costs 

 

there is a simpler path to this. Get the avr that does what want ... couple that with a quality 2ch integrated with ht bypass that will give you the quality pre and power stage needed for 2ch music ... best both worlds. Av source through avr. 2ch sources through 2ch integrated. 
 

beauty with this approach is when the Swiss Army knife avr jack of all trades is superseded. You replace that and pure analog 2ch integrated can stay

 

other alternative if going av seperate something like marantz 8 series processor in av8802a or av8805 are actually pretty decent with 2ch. Couple with a multichannel power amp like the Elektra that is also decent with 2ch and will also have way into excellent av and pretty decent 2ch. Will have to pay for it though. 
 

if don’t need latest greatest older marantz av8801 was also pretty decent 2ch wise just won’t do latest Audio video formats for av ...

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40 minutes ago, Viso said:

I have been looking at processors/Prepro's and they appear to be very expensive compared to AVR's with the same features.

 

Yep, and there's good reasoning behind that.  As @betty boop says, you get what you pay for.

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8 minutes ago, Kaynin said:

 

Yep, and there's good reasoning behind that.  As @betty boop says, you get what you pay for.

Would Prepro's like the Emotiva MC-700 still be a good step up from an AVR? 

Also saw the Outlaw Audio model 976 which seems to be a reasonable price as well, but just hard to buy in OZ.

 

https://emotiva.com/products/mc-700

https://outlawaudio.com/shop/index.php?id_product=23&rewrite=model-976&controller=product

 

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12 minutes ago, Viso said:

Would Prepro's like the Emotiva MC-700 still be a good step up from an AVR? 

Also saw the Outlaw Audio model 976 which seems to be a reasonable price as well, but just hard to buy in OZ.

 

https://emotiva.com/products/mc-700

https://outlawaudio.com/shop/index.php?id_product=23&rewrite=model-976&controller=product

 

 

Hi Viso.  You've mentioned a brand that I wouldn't touch or go near, so not the best example IMHO.

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I wouldn’t touch either. Especially given how current support up in air out here. If looking for bargain basement budget a better example be rotel going in classifieds or nad pre

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Emotiva are known to use bad capacitors in the past, can’t say what they use now. 

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6 hours ago, Viso said:

Would Prepro's like the Emotiva MC-700 still be a good step up from an AVR? 

Also saw the Outlaw Audio model 976 which seems to be a reasonable price as well, but just hard to buy in OZ.

 

https://emotiva.com/products/mc-700

https://outlawaudio.com/shop/index.php?id_product=23&rewrite=model-976&controller=product

 

I owned the predecessor of the MC700 Viso ; the UMC200 [its a spare atm] and the MC700 was nowhere near as reliable , due to its combination of hdmi2.0a and hdmi1.4 inputs 😬

If wanting reliability and performance ; the XMC1 that people are trading in on XMC2;s at the moment is on another level ; no emoq req ' its got dirac B)

https://www.audioholics.com/av-preamp-processor-reviews/xmc-1-7.2-av-processor

but as Al said service is now up in the air with local distribution gone now so shipping to the US is required..

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Pretty much reflect what others have said, if money and space is less of a concern and performance is most important, just go with a an AV pre and power amp combo, other alternative would be to go with a higher end to flagship AVR and add a decent 2ch power amp for the main speakers and drive the rest of the speakers  off the AVR.

 

JDH

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What about those for pure HT setup?

with integrated 2ch you sort out the L+R but for HT Center is really important as well.

 

These pre/pro and amp can be really expensive so are the quality AVR. Don’t mind paying big for quality AMP that lasts you 10 years or so and swap out the pre/pro as new ones comes in, but the problem is the pre/pro Costs even more than AVR. So no easy swap.

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8 minutes ago, :) Go Away (: said:

These pre/pro and amp can be really expensive so are the quality AVR. Don’t mind paying big for quality AMP that lasts you 10 years or so and swap out the pre/pro as new ones comes in, but the problem is the pre/pro Costs even more than AVR. So no easy swap.

a quality item supported by the maker can mean it takes through the years. with av pre pros the last one i had was supported by its maker over 8 years i had it .... so was upto date and do everything i wanted. ofcourse there comes a point no longer viable to support or tech moves on significantly and there is a significant jump that warrants replacement. 

 

my current av pre pro does all i want and have had it since it was released some 5 years ago ? it has received hardware and software updates and still does all i throw at it from various sources. can i keep using it another 3+ years ? cant see why not ? might even take me to 10 years ?  and yes over that 8-10 years my power amp will stay as is and no reason cant keep going way beyond that. good amps can o easily some 20+ years if a quality item :) 

 

15 minutes ago, :) Go Away (: said:

What about those for pure HT setup?

with integrated 2ch you sort out the L+R but for HT Center is really important as well.

sure however often for many folk interested particulary with music the mains L&R speaker's can be a significant load that can take off the need of the AVR to power...AVRs even with the very top end ones tend to be a significant compromise... just look inside see the power supply can squeeze in limited heat sinking and how everything is so crammed in ...this is more the case these days where the AVRs are cramming more and more channels in only exacerbating the situation... and all that you need to toss out when time comes to update...

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Look at meridian processors

568.2 or a g68 are fantastic at 2 channel as well as dolby & dtx (no atmos though but unless you have a dedicated room who cares).

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41 minutes ago, betty boop said:

my current av pre pro does all i want and have had it since it was released some 5 years ago ? it has received hardware and software updates and still does all i throw at it from various sources. can i keep using it another 3+ years ? cant see why not ? might even take me to 10 years ?  and yes over that 8-10 years my power amp will stay as is and no reason cant keep going way beyond that. good amps can o easily some 20+ years if a quality item :) 

 

May I ask which pre/pro and power amp are you using?

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1 minute ago, :) Go Away (: said:

 

May I ask which pre/pro and power amp are you using?

hi I run a marantz av8802a pre pro and for power amps elektra theatre HD1 & HD2 for a 7.1.5 setup

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did have a Yamaha RXV 1081 using as a Pre only into a Emotiva XPA-5 

movies it was not bad, for 2ch music it was woeful 

6 months ago I upgraded to a Emotiva XMC-2 pre

movies, its an upgrade, but not leaps and bounds, but def better

 

for 2 ch

 

OMFG, outstanding

I have finally found a compromise between HT and 2 ch in one system

the down sides,

for the first 4 months it was a piece of poo, then they rewrote the FW and it became usable

buying Emotiva, you become their R&D dept

if it goes bung, I have to send it back to the States

Dirac is STILL not ready for the XMC-2

but seeing I got it on a 40% discount I don't think I could getting anything close for HT and 2ch for the cost

 

 

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3 hours ago, cwt said:

 

If wanting reliability and performance ; the XMC1 that people are trading in on XMC2;s at the moment is on another level ; no emoq req ' its got dirac B)

https://www.audioholics.com/av-preamp-processor-reviews/xmc-1-7.2-av-processor

but as Al said service is now up in the air with local distribution gone now so shipping to the US is required..

 

My colleague at work bought a traded in XMC-1 the same time I bought the XMC-2

its like new

he has run a few Rotel Pre's, a heap of Denon gear over the years and says the XMC-1 is the best sounding kit he has had in his house

Dirac has a fair bit to do with it

 

the only thing you have to be careful with the XMC-1 is its superseded and might not gel with future upgrade path

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31 minutes ago, Hytram said:

he has run a few Rotel Pre's, a heap of Denon gear over the years and says the XMC-1 is the best sounding kit he has had in his house
Dirac has a fair bit to do with it

the only thing you have to be careful with the XMC-1 is its superseded and might not gel with future upgrade path

Yes ; although its had 2 hdmi upgrade boards over the years from the original hdmi1.4 to the current hdmi2.0b ; I wouldnt expect a hdmi 2.1 board being developed for its texas instruments dsp ;  not when the XMC2 is going to get a hdmi 2.1 board upgrade one day :)

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22 hours ago, Viso said:

Looking to upgrade my current AVR into a one stop shop for music and home theater

One of the most common question and one of the most complicated to answer. Many variables.

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Thanks for the input to all that commented, really appreciate it.

 

At this stage I will seek out a used Marantz unit and go from there!

Seems to be the best compromise between $ and sound quality without having to go down the route of buying an AVR and using the pre-outs.  

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15 minutes ago, :) Go Away (: said:

In 2ch integrated amp, is the tone defeat same as HT bypass? 

No.. 

 

Tone Defeat takes the treble and bass control out, makes a cleaner path from input to output 

 

HT bypass basically turns the integrated amp into a power amp, it either bypasses the volume control/pre-amp stage or fixes the volume control to a consistent level. 

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25 minutes ago, Hytram said:

No.. 

 

Tone Defeat takes the treble and bass control out, makes a cleaner path from input to output 

 

HT bypass basically turns the integrated amp into a power amp, it either bypasses the volume control/pre-amp stage or fixes the volume control to a consistent level. 

oh! ok Thank you for the clarification.

 

Bugger! I was fixed on using one of the integrated amp in my HT setup. I guess, I am going to have to look for something else.

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21 minutes ago, :) Go Away (: said:

oh! ok Thank you for the clarification.

 

Bugger! I was fixed on using one of the integrated amp in my HT setup. I guess, I am going to have to look for something else.

Most 2ch integrated and 2ch pre from last 15 years tend to have the feature... can be called ht bypass. Ht direct, processor pas through and such ... some provide an input for the  feature,  others allow any input be setup for it.  But yeah have to have the feature to use it :)

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2 minutes ago, betty boop said:

Most 2ch integrated and 2ch pre from last 15 years tend to have the feature... can be called ht bypass. Ht direct, processor pas through and such ... some provide an input for the  feature,  others allow any input be setup for it.  But yeah have to have the feature to use it :)

I was thinking of using Anthem integrated 225 with my Anthem MRX710. Thought that would match well with each other, it does have tone defeat but not HT bypass. Sadly, I can’t afford the Anthem STR integrated.

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You can use an integrated amp without a HT bypass.. 

 

Run the L&R pre out of AVR into any input of the integrated amp, turn the volume up to about 2 o'clock and do the channel levels on the AVR as normal. 

 

So when you want to use the AVR, the Integrated has to be on that input and the volume at 2 o'clock. 

 

When listening to 2ch you change the input to your 2 ch source and adjust the volume to suit. 

 

Back to AVR, switch input and volume back to 2 o'clock.. 

 

Works, but can be cumbersome and not really wife or kid friendly. 

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3 minutes ago, Hytram said:

You can use an integrated amp without a HT bypass.. 

 

Run the L&R pre out of AVR into any input of the integrated amp, turn the volume up to about 2 o'clock and do the channel levels on the AVR as normal. 

 

So when you want to use the AVR, the Integrated has to be on that input and the volume at 2 o'clock. 

 

When listening to 2ch you change the input to your 2 ch source and adjust the volume to suit. 

 

Back to AVR, switch input and volume back to 2 o'clock.. 

 

Works, but can be cumbersome and not really wife or kid friendly. 

usually 12 o'clock is sufficient with most....

 

indeed i did for some years myself.... included the odd fright when forgot to turn the vol back down for 2ch :D and yeah none of the family would dare go near either system :D not its touch of a button or via universal remotes and without any of the frights :D 

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23 minutes ago, :) Go Away (: said:

I was thinking of using Anthem integrated 225 with my Anthem MRX710. Thought that would match well with each other, it does have tone defeat but not HT bypass. Sadly, I can’t afford the Anthem STR integrated.

Use the Quick Measure tool in ARC Genesis on the MRX 710 to help you calibrate the correct volume to use on the 225.  Check that the volume of the mains is about the same as the rest of the HT speakers and note the position (can be 12 or 2 o'clock or any position) on the 225 volume knob.  You can use tape to mark the location and reuse it when playing movies.

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Went through this recently. Had tons of amps of the years. But the bigger AV side..

 

ARCAM AVR400 > Denon AVR-X3000 with NAD m25 > Marantz av7002 mk2 with NAD m25 - so proper splits.

 

ARCAM was good but started to think its a lot of money invested into 1 all in one unit. So split it out to the Denon/NAD. Massive improvement. Then recently x3000 was missing some features (plus wanted to give to family members) so went for the Marantz even though it was a bit older age it was new and had want I needed, except the newer hdmi 2.1 (hopefully don't regret it in the near future). It was that or another all in one AVR acting as a preamp for about the same price. Marantz was better than the Denon AVR. The room correction was significantly better that now I actually use it. The Marantz also doesn't get hot like the Denon.. even powering no speakers it still got hot. 

 

I looked at the Emotiva models etc cause they are appealing for their price. Ended up staying away from them after looking online about hdmi issues... No thanks. Had a feeling it was missing something like HDR or something odd. Could be wrong there.

 

Although its the best its ever been now with the Marantz, I still recall the day I had the Denon and NAD setup. It was a significant step up and best bang for buck long term.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

For music ultimately there is only one option. And that is seperate 2 channel system with either HT bypass or like others have said just calibrate with volume control at a reference position to take an AVR etc output. 

 

Preouts on AVRs (or AVR anything) are not something I've been impressed with and even if okay you are still stuck without being able to add a better DAC into the system. And feeding a better DAC into an AVRs analogue in is pointless on AVRs etc I've seen as even in pure direct the signal still goes through the ADC/DAC, so you have just degraded the better DAC to the AVR etcs DAC anyway. There isn't an equivalent of a analogue only preamp. 

 

You could by a prepro and a stack of $200 1980s stereo amps for each channel pair and have better sound than an AVR. And use something higher end but equally old for the L and R. 

 

A number of Bluray players analogue outs connected to a stack of stereo amps smash many AVRs. 

 

A few years ago, what was then a 10 year old flagship Panasonic Bluray player's analogue outs, smashed my current model $2500-$3000 AVR Preouts. This set me on a path away from AVRs etc, so much marketing hype. 

 

An Oppo 205 when new and available for $1800 was the best value prepro money could buy. And it is a Bluray player with ARC, HDMI inputs, can run as a USB DAC, network streamer, and plug USB HDs into it. I later added an external DAC for L/R channels of the coax output, mainly for music. 

 

This 20 year old 5.1 computer sound card connected to stereo amps is still better than some AVRs. 

 

 

I own two Oppos which do what I want HT wise and I'm free of HT equipment. 

 

Trying to audition the 205 in shops was frustrating. After arranging an audition always found they were connected via HDMI to Anthem/Yamaha etc AV setups with inferior sound to the 205. 

 

Basically, there are better options than an AVR and for music at least go for a separate 2 channel system that may be part of a HT setup. 

 

AVRs are Swiss Army knives.  Useful for having a range of tools all in one small package. But none of the tools are very good. 

 

EDIT: Apologies, probably really just having a whinge from regretful spending on stuff that promised the world from a manufacturer that can make decent gear that sounded fine in the shop until it was plugged into decent speakers which revealed all the flaws. And shops that steer people to HT AVRs when buying first gear, when a better starting point IMHO, would be starting with decent stereo. And the fact that new gear may be no better or often worse than stuff sold 10 or 20 years ago, just continually ever more features packed into a box that may do nothing for sound quality. 

Edited by DrSK
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  • 1 month later...

I'll chime in on this subject. I've heard many systems and am an AV installer as well. Premium surround preamplifer/processor is definitely superior to high end AVR for sound quality. I remember my first experience of comparing the top end Denon & Yamaha AVRs to a much cheaper stereo integrated and being dumbfounded at how much worse the sound quality was with the monster AVRs at the asking price of $6000-$7000 at the time.

I went separates after that....

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