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A/V Receiver as preamp


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 04:54 AM

What A/V Receiver are you using as a preamp?

I have an Outlaw 950 coming in today but I am afraid Im going to hate it for music and am starting to re-think what I am going to end up with.

I previously used a Marantz SR-19 as a preamp to my Marantz MM-9000 (5 channel) and loved it. I have upgraditis and bought a marantz ma-500 mono block amp to prepare for 6.1 (I have a small room so I figure I'd try 6.1 before 7.1).

I'm excited to try the Outlaw but I only have 30 days to return it so I'm thinking about alternatives if its not to my liking. I have heard the Marantz 7300 in my room and did not like it compared to the SR-19. I can get a refurbed Marantz AV-9000 (which I love the sound) for $999 shipped but its locked in at 5.1 and outdated. So the search continues.

Back to my question on A/V Receivers preamp....My budget is capped at $1000 so here are my choices and any input on these / others is appreciated:

1. Outlaw 950 - Coming in today so this may be the winner but have read that its not a great piece for music. We'll see by tonight.

2. Marantz AV-9000 - I love this unit and I can get it in my price range. But its outdated and not 6.1 / 7.1

3. Pioneer Elite vsx-45tx - I love the features and found it for $750 shipped new.

Let me know if I should peak at others.


#2 of 23 ChadLB

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Posted June 30 2003 - 05:25 AM

I have read many articles that it can take a while for the 950 to break in.I dont' recall but is your current Marantz 6.1/7.1?

#3 of 23 gregD

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:00 AM

My 2¢...

I love the Outlaw as a movie pre-pro, can't beat it at that price point... but I think it's a little harsh / bright for music, especially compared to the Marantz's smooth, detailed sound.

I suggest keeping your SR-19, and connecting your 2-ch music sources to it, and take advantage of the very good music preamp therein... run your FL / FR pre-out from the Outlaw to the Marantz as well, as a sort of HT-bypass setup.

It would require a little effort... and you would have an extra-large preamp in the rack... but this might get you the best of both worlds (movies, music) for a right price.

#4 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:00 AM

Nope, 5.1.

I plan on watching a movie tonight on the 950. After I will put on Stars (Directv DD 5.1) and let it play all night.

I hope the 950 works out. I am definatley interested in the 45tx though so if anyone preamps it let me know...


#5 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:05 AM

Greg, THats a thought. If the Outlaw is that good on movies, I may look into another option for music. I already sold my SR-19 but I bet I could find something decent for not a lot of money.

#6 of 23 chung_sotheby

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:48 AM

Or you could consider either a Rotel RSC-1055 or the RSP-1066. The preamp sections of these two models are virtually identical, with the 1055 having a little bit more noise due to the onboard tuner and amps. But the 1055 is cheaper than the 1066, and you can never have enough amp channels, IMHO.
I, myself, have owned both the 950(past) and 1055(current). Just comparing the two preamp sections of these two machines with my system, I found them to be about equal in movies (Outlaw had some benefits, as did the Rotel), but in 2 channel and music listening I preferred Rotel over the Outlaw. As Greg stated above, I too found the Outlaw to be a little bright and cold, while the Rotel seemed to smooth out the bite in the upper midrange and treble. Granted, this is with my system, which consists of Mcintosh and Rotel amps, AAD and Paradigm speakers, and Sony, VPI and Denon source equipment, so your experiences might be different depending on your room and equipment.
I would have to say that you should at least try the Outlaw out for music. I never though that it was "horrible" at music, its just that I like the Rotel sound better. If you can live with the music reproduction of the Outlaw, $799 is a steal for such a great processor.
But if you are looking for a different muscial sound than the Outlaw, as well as the newest in processing technology, then you should also try out the Rotel 1055/1066, as well as offerings by Marantz, Denon, Pioneer and Harmon Kardon. Good Luck!

#7 of 23 Daryl Furkalo

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Posted June 30 2003 - 07:18 AM

Or you could look at adding a dedicated 2-channel preamp for music and keep the Outlaw for surround applications. Rogue Magnum, Adcom come to mind. I used to use a Pioneer Elite 36TX as a preamp only until recently switching to a used Lex MC-1. I like Music Logic so much, I don't know if I will bother adding a 2-channel preamp, my opinion only.

#8 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 09:15 AM

I got the 950 in. I need to do more tweaking but my early impressions are that I am going to send it back.

Again, I need to do more tweaking but the audio is blan compared to Marantz. Its not horrible but not what I expected. The center channel speach emphasized this the most. Very blan to me. Maybe burn in will help....Oh, and on some material there is definatley a VERY high noise floor.

S-Video switching is also degraded more than my Marantz Receiver did. In fact, this bothers me more than the audio since my setup forces me to use switching.

Oh well, I had to at least try one and I will continue to play around with it for a week.

So my choices are now:

1. Marantz SR8200 $1049.99 B-Stock 1 year warranty
2. Marantz AV-9000 $999.99 B-Stock 1 year warranty. This unit will sound the best to me but no 6.1/7.1. I may go with it anyways since I love the sound.
3. Pioneer Elite VSX-45TX $750 delivered new with full warranty. I wish I could demo this locally. I have heard the original TX line with DD 5.1 and THX select certification. I liked it but felt the Marantz I bought later sounded better. It was a very close call though. So anyone out there that can say the newer 45tx made improvements over the older? - I remember I like the power the older one had (better than marantz) but it was a little less rich.

If I had $1400 I'd buy the Rotel 1066 but $1100 is my cap with shipping. Errr, I don't know what to do so maybe I'll wait. If I could find a deal on a Marantz SR-14/19EX I'd probably get that.


#9 of 23 BobBehr

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Posted June 30 2003 - 11:15 AM

Robert, Try the 950 with some good vocal tracks in PLII Music[consult manual if needed] and experiment with the manual adjustments; center fill,panorama,and the front to back adjust.Remember there is no right or wrong,try to make it sound like you think it should.I'm curious as to your opinion of PLII versus straight 2 channel.

#10 of 23 gregD

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Posted June 30 2003 - 12:05 PM

By all means give the Outlaw a chance to settle in... not uncommon for new gear to be unimpressive at first listen.

$1100 is my cap

But... if the 950 really does not pan out, consider the Rotel RSP-1055... this receiver is not far removed sonically from the 1066 pre-pro (may be indiscernible to most ears), and somehow costs less, despite the inclusion of tuner and amps... the sound should be closer to (maybe even better than) the Marantz... toss in the 5-yr warranty, and this should beat any of the other choices you listed.

But let that Outlaw get warmed up first, huh?

#11 of 23 Craig_Kg

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Posted June 30 2003 - 01:18 PM

Quote:
Or you could look at adding a dedicated 2-channel preamp for music and keep the Outlaw for surround applications

I second the motion.
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#12 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 03:08 PM

I've been burning in the 950 and tweaking it. Its definatley sounding better then the initial test-tone setup..But the video switching, horrible! My DirecTV pratically looks like a composite connection rather than an S-Video. If I decide to keep this I could get another video switcher but thats a pain...

Anyone by Allentown, PA - Central NJ with a Pioneer 45/47tx? I'd love to demo one. I cant even find a local dealer. 4 dealers locally and the all sell Denon, Marantz, with a splash of Rotel, Integra, and Onkyo.


#13 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 04:01 PM

On a side note I busted out the MA-500 mono block I just got and hooked in a temporary speaker for the rear center. I popped in Episode 1 and the I like it. I use Dipole for my left and right so the rear is a little easy to localize but I didn't mind it too much. I think I just need to raise it to the same hieght as the other rears and get the proper matching speaker.

Back to the 950. I am hearing more material on it and its not a bad sound at all. I like it but its still missing something in the mids or something. Very apparant on even Star Wars music tracks, LOL.


#14 of 23 Chris Sherman

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Posted June 30 2003 - 04:53 PM

Robert,
I also got the upgrade bite and bought a used Outlaw 750 amp to add to my Onkyo 676 receiver. I was intending to add a 950 to my amp as my budget allowed. In the meantime I stumbled across a new Marantz AV560 preamp with the RC2000 MKII remote with a 3 year warranty and a ten day return policy. I bought this unit to tide me over untill I could get the Outlaw 950. I am so pleased with the Marantz unit that I will probably end up keeping it. The tuner is very good, the surround decoding excellent, and the s-video switching is noticeably better than my receiver. I really don't know what I would gain by purchasing the Outlaw. I've heard the tuner is mediocre, music playback is just ok and now you say the s-video switching is lackluster. Also I love the Marantz remote, I think it sold for $200.00 originally and I am familiar with the Outlaw remote( a re-badged SL9000) and I can't stand it, due to the fact that there are no cursor buttons , a must for dvd and dss navigation. I have seen several Marantz 9000's on audiogon for $700.00 or less if you can live with used equipment.
I have not heard the 9000 but I know it originally sold at $1900 compared to $1000 for the AV560. It also has a built in demodulator for laserdisc which my AV560 does not. The more lukewarm reviews I'm hearing on the Outlaw 950 the more I'm leaning toward keeping my Marantz. I have no plans for 6.1 or 7.1 as I am satisfied with 5.1 surround.

#15 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 05:03 PM

Chris,

I have an AV550 (without remote) that is my tide me over preamp. I just bought a SR7300 remote off Ebay to use with it. Funny! Its the same as the 560 without DTS. I can say that the S-Video switching is better in the AV550 than the Outlaw 950 but the AV550 is not as good a svideo switcher as the SR-18/19/9000. I will also add the Outlaw 950 is a big step up in sound quality over the av550 IMO.

I agree with you and may scrap my 6.1/7.1 thoughts and just go after a AV9000. The SR8200 is in my price range with the newer surround formats but this newer line from Marantz appears to have less build quality than the earlier reference 18/19 line. Then again looks aren't everything and I haven't gotten one in my house to test yet. They just look like upgraded SR8000 lines rather than the reference 18/19 which is now discontinued.

I am so close to pulling the trigger on a 45tx though! Only if one of the dealers I visited had it today...


#16 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:22 PM

Well call me crazy for buying outdated equipment but I bought the AV-9000 refurbished.

http://accessories4l....V9000&cc=&tpc=

At least now I don't have to buy that matching rear speaker Posted Image. Now to sell the mono block MA 500.


#17 of 23 David Judah

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:25 PM

I use a 45TX as a pre/pro running out to a Sunfire Cinema Grand amp and have been very pleased with it. The MCACC with the built in EQ works as advertised and gives you manual adjustment capabilty if you want to tweak it a bit. It's an amazing performer for a unit in its price range.

I originally bought it as a stepping stone to a dedicated pre/pro, but I think I'll hang onto it for awhile, since it has exceeded my expectations. When the upgrade bug hits again though(and I know it will), I'll probably just add a 2 channel pre-amp--maybe something of the tube variety.

For convenience, you might want to try that route first(2 channel pre-amp)if you are happy with the Outlaw for movies, but I do highly recommend the 45TX if you feel the need to try something else.

Good Luck,

DJ

Edit--I saw after I posted that you already made your choice. Let us know how you like it.
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#18 of 23 Robert Ma

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:27 PM

Thanks DJ. You must have posted right after me. I wish I could have demo'd the 45tx locally but went with what I knew I liked all around.

I may still get a 45tx to try on my system down the road and put into another room. There may be a bunch of them coming used when some new stuff hits.


#19 of 23 Chris Sherman

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:28 PM

Robert ,
You've got me thinking again, maybe I will give the Outlaw a try. I would think the surround sound should be better with the Cirrus DSP. I could always pick up an MX 500 remote to use in place of the stock unit. At any rate the Marantz is good enough to hold me over for now.

#20 of 23 Chris Sherman

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Posted June 30 2003 - 06:33 PM

Robert,
Let me know how the 9000 compares to the outlaw. I'd be very interested to know.