Which receiver/preamp to buy if I'm running all separate amps?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by KyleT, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. KyleT

    KyleT Stunt Coordinator

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    Right now I have a Rotel RB-1090 running a pair of Polk LSi-15s, I plan on buying another rotel amp to power the center and rear speakers.

    So what I've come down to is the fact that I need a receiver or preamp and while sound quality and reliability are priorities, power output doesn't matter at all since the receiver won't be powering the speakers except through preamp outputs.

    I don't mind spending a decent amount of money, but I want to make sure that my money goes to good use. In other words if there's a 600 dollar receiver that sounds 96% as good as a 1500 dollar receiver, I'll take the 600 dollar receiver.

    I'll be using this for both music and movies, and honestly having the latest greatest 6.1, 7.1, etc sound format doesn't really matter to me as much as just having clean clear sound with good imaging.
     
  2. Frances_H

    Frances_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Kyle,
    if it is within your budget, take a look at B&K Reference 50 and Rotel RSP-1098. I have LSi15 paired with B&K Reference50 and B&K AV125.7 for HT and music. They mate very well...
     
  3. Nick V

    Nick V Second Unit

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    The best values for the money have to be the Outlaw 950 and the Rotel RSP-1066. I haven't heard the Outlaw, but I have heard the supposedly upgraded Outlaw, the Sherbourn PT-7000 and I prefer the sound of the Rotel.

    In my opinion, these are all sonically superior to all but the most expensive receivers (flagships) on the market.

    Go give them a listen, and see if you agree.
     
  4. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Agree with what Nick had to say.

    From your initial post, I'd recommend the Outlaw, although I'm a Rotel owner, because it is probably as good bang for the buck in a pre-pro as you're going to get given your criteria. Personally, I already love the sound and looks of my 1066, so it was worth the extra bucks for me. Outlaw owners, for the most part, are extremely pleased with their 950's as well.

    Both companies appear to provide exemplary customer care.
     
  5. Ted Pugh

    Ted Pugh Stunt Coordinator

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    I disagree with Nick and Dana. I feel what they are saying is very subjective and opionated. I don't feel you will get better sound from the Outlaw then you would get with a $1000 receiver plus the 1k receiver will be a lot more flexible when it comes to hook ups, etc. Just like it would not seem possible but I have a Denon 4802 that I am using as a pre/pro with a B&K 200.5 amp and there is no doubt in my mind it sounds better than the Outlaw or the Rotel. (Everything is opionated) Now if you want a difference in the sound check out Lexicon, Meridian, ML etc. Then you will hear a difference. Just my .02 worth. Basically you will not be able to hear a difference or not much of a difference with 1k receivers or mid to low level seperates. Hope this helps.

    Ted
     
  6. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I thought Kyle was asking for opinions.[​IMG]
     
  7. Nick V

    Nick V Second Unit

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    LOL!!
     
  8. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Easy Nick, we don't want to sound "opionated". [​IMG]
     
  9. Tom-K

    Tom-K Stunt Coordinator

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    Might want to weight another month and take a look at the New product comming from Sherwood Newcastle. They're previous pre/pro was highly recommended. It has an MSRP of $1,500 but would guess it will be able to be purchased for less. Just my thoughts.
     
  10. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    Even more opinions...

    I think keeping your gear all in the Rotel family will yield very pleasing bang-for-the-buck results in movies and especially music (pending your careful auditioning, of course).

    RSP-1066... pre-pro, US$1500... add darn near any 3- or 5-channel amp (get used) for center / rears.

    RSX-1055... receiver, US$1300, 75W x 5... configurable for a 6.1/7.1 setup.

    RSX-1065... receiver, US$1800(?), 100W x 5... not configurable.

    The above models might be found with attractive reduced pricing, as Rotel's new $3k RSP-1098 pre-pro is drawing some trade-in activity... even at new pricing, they're worth a look / listen.
     
  11. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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    My two suggestions are receivers and based on the price these two excellent performers can be had for:
    w/free shipping

    Denon AVR-3803 - $649
    Excellent surround processing and clean sounding pure direct mode for 2 channel. A really feature packed unit with one attribute not found on any of the above units or units costing much more.... "Component Video Upconversion"
    once you've had this feature hard to go back

    Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX - $499
    It's claim to fame besides excellent sonic performance, build quality and features galore,
    "MCACC/Acoustic Equalization"

    Granted these units are available for these prices factory refurbished, but at these prices and level of performance, no brainers as far as I'm concerned.

    just my 2 cents
    geo
     
  12. DaveLenhert

    DaveLenhert Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll have to agree with the opinionated [​IMG] Nick & Dana. I utilized a Denon 3801 as a receiver for quite some time, but was never really happy with the CD performance. I then utilized an outboard amp(Parasound HCA-1205A) with the Denon, but it only had very minor changes/improvements in the sonic quality. I was starting to think i had waisted my $$$ on the amp. THEN, a nice little Acurus ACT-3 pre/pro fell into my lap for less then $600 (brand new with full warranty). Once installed, the sonic performance of the DACs were vastly superior to that of the Denon's. One trip back to Mondial Designs (Acurus/Aragon) for an upgrade to the Stage One DACs and repair, the unit performance has been flawless. The change in performance and sonic quality convinced me instantly that you go with separates, granted i was going from a $1000 reciver to a (if bought new)$2000 pre/pro. IMHO, if you only have $1000 for a pre/pro receiver or a separate pre/pro, get the separate pre/pro! (Also, who uses all of those WACKO [​IMG] surround modes...total waste of $$, if you are not into that kind of thing)

    The recommendations of the Outlaw 950 and Rotel 1066 are good choices of entry level Pre/pros. A step or two above that I like the Aragon Stage One, Anthem AVM-20, and B&K Ref 50.

    Best of luck....
     
  13. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    I would quantify it as this(remember, this is JMHO):

    I think that if you are going to spend above $800-1500(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

    1.Rotel 1055
    2.Nad T762
    3.Outlaw 950
    4.Rotel 1066
    5.Pioneer 55TXi
    6.Marantz 8300
    7.Denon 3803

    I think that if you are going to spend below $800(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

    1.HK 525
    2.Nad 752
    3.Pioneer 45 TX
    4.Marantz 7300
    5.Denon 2803

    Mind you, I think that any time you go up in price in HT and AV gear, the price/performance ratio goes down, so the best thing to do is to try to set a spending limit and get the component which you feel is the best at the price point, and the way that you can decide which is the best is to demo as many as possible. Good luck!
     
  14. Scottie Mow

    Scottie Mow Extra

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    Kyle,
    you can even save a few bucks and look at a cheaper receiver still (I believe all of these receivers have preouts). Here's a couple of the cheaper ones:

    Yamaha RXV-630 (or 640 or HTR-5660)
    Pioneer VSX-D712K
    Marantz SR-4300

    If you are able to do some direct comparisons with more expensive models, let me know how you make out. I was looking at doing some similar tests in the near future.

    good luck
    Scott
     
  15. Mark Russ

    Mark Russ Second Unit

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    chung_sotheby
    I would quantify it as this(remember, this is JMHO):

    I think that if you are going to spend above $800-1500(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

    1.Rotel 1055
    2.Nad T762
    3.Outlaw 950
    4.Rotel 1066
    5.Pioneer 55TXi
    6.Marantz 8300
    7.Denon 3803

    I think that if you are going to spend below $800(street), then the best pres/receivers in price to performance are(from high to low):

    1.HK 525
    2.Nad 752
    3.Pioneer 45 TX
    4.Marantz 7300
    5.Denon 2803





    Chang, you really think the 3803 would be only 7th best in that price range solely as a pre/pro? Admittedly, as a receiver, the amp section probably isn't as good as say the Rotel, HK, NAD and maybe even the Pioneer Elite and Marantz too (although the Denon isn't exactly a half bad sloutch in that department either), but comparing only the pre/pro sections of them? To me, on paper anyway (as I still haven't heard it yet, although I have heard the 3802), it looks like it night be the one to beat in that price range. Very, very close to the pre/pro section of the 5803. Matter of fact, I dare say that a 3803 with an external amp/amps would probably best the 5803.
     
  16. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    Is multichannel music a priority?
    If not, I'd use a $600 receiver like the Sony STR-DA4ES, Pioneer 43TX, Denon 3803 etc (or even cheaper with preouts), for HT and a good stereo preamp (say $400) in between the receiver and 1090 for two channel sources (the receiver front preouts just become another source). The 2 channel performance of this setup will be comfortably above most (even premium) AV prepros/receivers while movie performance will still be good IMO. YMMV.
     
  17. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Craig_Kg, I agree! Thats where you find max bang for your buck
     
  18. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    If it helps I was sorely disappointed in the analog and digital pre-amp section of the 3802 and 3803. Simply atrocious really. It managed to zap the life out of anything run through it.

    IMHO there are significant differences between receivers as pre-amps and dedicated pre-amps. So I'd suggest staying away from using a receiver as a pre-amp. You aren't really usins separates if you do and have to put up with the compromises of a receiver.
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    That's why Tom Grooms & I like to mate a cheaper receiver with a proper stereo preamp.
    IF you REALLY like multichannel music, then you need to dig up a Sony TAP-9000ES.
     

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