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Help With Separates


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10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Slade

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Posted January 08 2006 - 03:42 AM

I'm trying to figure out if I should go with separates. I'm also not completely sure if I know what some of the functions are, so would like some advice.

I was planning to get a Marantz 8500 receiver and Paradigm surround system, with Studio 100s up front. I've read the Studio 100s really come alive with 200 watts/channel. The Marantz has 125/channel. I was thinking I would go with the Marantz first and then add an amp in about 6 months. Most likely a 2-channel, stereo amp, with at least 200 watts/channel.

I chose the Marantz 8500 because of reports that it is a good musical receiver. Same for the Paradigm Sutdio 100s.

My questions are this - Would the 8500 be a compromise as a preamp for an external amp, or should I go with a strictly preamp/tuner, instead of a receiver? If I did that, I would have to have a different amp - 7.1 channels.

At this point, I was planning to have the 8500 power the center and surrounds and let the stereo amp power the Studio 100s. At the price of the 8500, is there something else I should consider, as a preamp, for better sound and power, when used with an external amp?

Also, I see references to a "pre/pro", "pro", etc. I guess the "pre" is when someone is referring to a preamp (which I was assuming did what a receiver does, minus a built-in amp). But, what is a "pro"?

Is there a site on the Internet that explains all these components and the pros/cons of each setup?

Thanks for any help!
Slade

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted January 08 2006 - 03:49 AM

A pre/pro is a preamp/processor, indicating a preamp which also does surround processing, etc...

Regarding your question, many people feel a receiver to actually be a better bargain than a separate preamp, as it provides all the features you'll need at a cheaper price than most dedicated preamps. I'm also presuming that the 8500 DOES have the necessary outputs to feed an external amp. I think your approach of waiting a few months for an external amp is a good one. That way, you'll have an extended evaluation time to decide if the 8500 is good enough to amplify your mains, before deciding to purchase an external amp. If, after that time, you feel it sounds good, there's no reason to upgrade to a separate amp.
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#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Slade

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Posted January 08 2006 - 04:55 AM

Tim,

Thanks for the advice. The 8500 does have the outputs for a separate amp. Is sound quality any lower using a receiver going to an external amp, vs. a preamp/processor to an external amp?

I suppose the correct comparison would be if I used and external amp with 7.1 channels, instead of 2 channels, using a preamp. It think that would be cost prohibitive.

In looking at some preamps on the Internet (just to get an idea of cost), it looks like they are more expensive than the 8500 (which I can get for $1350).

Thanks again,
Slade

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Jesse Sharrow

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Posted January 08 2006 - 09:03 AM

I am basically in the same situation myself. I own a yamaha RXV-1400. An $800 Receiver, 7.1 Dts, Preouts, blah blah blah. But I have pretty power hungry speakers. I have talked to alot of people about this and have decided using it as a Pre/Pro is fine. Now the dilemma im trying to decide is to get a 3 channel amp and power the rears with the reciever or just go for a full 5 channel. The problem is all my speakers are very high end and deserve the best they can get. But the rears arnt as important. So Im thinking that doing a 3 channel is the way to go. Since the amp im looking at, earthquake cinenova grande, is about half the price from the 5 channel to the 3 channel. Well I hope that helps.

One thing to think about. Obviously if you can afford it and want to do it "right" a true preamp is best. Outlaw would be a good start. But I see no problem in using your reciever as your prepro. Btw Im only doing 5.1.

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Randy C Sr

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Posted January 08 2006 - 03:53 PM

Your approach to buying now and upgrading in the future is a good one. There's one piece of info you need to consider as far as power. If the Marantz is 125 wpc and you will be purchasing a stronger Amp in 6 months, if you are looking for louder and clean you will have to double the power just to hear a difference in loudness. So 250 wpc would be the minimum you should look for. An example is this:
You are listening to the music and want it louder. Your receiver is cranking at 25 wpc. For your ear to hear a difference you the receiver will be at 50 wpc. The next step up would be 100 wpc. For the sound to be twice as loud the power has to increase by a factor of 10. Bottom line is any upgrade in power does not give you anything (maybe a little headroom) unless it is atleast doubled.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Slade

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Posted January 08 2006 - 04:08 PM

Randy,

Thanks. I didn't know that about the power. I'll need to look for at 250 watts, then.

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted January 09 2006 - 07:17 AM

Quote:
Is sound quality any lower using a receiver going to an external amp, vs. a preamp/processor to an external amp?
No, there shouldn't be much of a difference at all. That's the main reason many are foregoing dedicated pre/pros in favor of receivers: you get comparable sound quality using the preamp section of a receiver at a much cheaper cost compared to a pre/pro.

Something else to consider power-wise for an external amp: going from the Marantz's 125wpc to an external amp pushing 250wpc will net you exactly 3db more output. That's it - 3 db. Try the Marantz by itself, and if you still think you need more power, audition several amps with it and see if it makes any noticeable difference.
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#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Slade

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Posted January 09 2006 - 08:00 AM

Actually, the reason I was thinking about an external amp, is not for higher volume, but for better sound from the Studio 100s. I've read a number of posts claiming that the 100s need at least 200 watts to really come alive. I've read and been told that they sound great with the 8500, but when you send at least 200 watts to them, they are at another level.

I'm looking for the clearest, crispest sound at even very low volumes. I definitely want it at the higher volumes, but I don't listen to super loud music.

Thanks again.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Westly T

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Posted January 09 2006 - 08:03 AM

I think the reason you can get better pricing on the receivers is simply the quantity sold. Mfg's will have to charge more to develop a pre-amp because they sell very few of them compared to receivers.
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#10 of 11 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted January 09 2006 - 08:17 AM

I have an 8300 and I use Marantz monoblocks for my mains. My mains are similar in spec to Studio 40s except that they are 4 Ohm nominal, 2.6 Ohms min. and they are fairly demanding because these receivers are rated for 6 Ohm min. Adding the monoblocks made a very noticable difference in these speakers, but that is mostly evident when really cranked up fairly loud. At low levels, it sounds pretty much the same. For the 100s, I'd probably opt for an amp too.
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#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Randy C Sr

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Posted January 09 2006 - 03:27 PM

If you are going to buy a stronger amp for low volumes and clarity save your money. At a moderate volume level what you'll notice as a benefit is a stronger more detailed bass while the mid's and high's won't suffer. At that point you wil hear more detail and the sound stays clear and clean.

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