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Your thoughts on receiver as preamp/processor


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted March 26 2013 - 01:05 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I’m looking for advice and opinions from people who’ve used an a/v receiver as a preamp/processor. In the mid ‘90’s I purchased a setup (pre-pro and 5 channel amp) from a company named Chiro. After a decade of enjoyment the amp suddenly died (taking the left front speaker with it). I replaced the amp with a Rotel rmb-1095. Well here it is nine years later and I’d love to be hearing my blu-rays in DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD, but I’d rather not pay $2100 for a matching Rotel pre-pro. I’ve heard (from friends) good things about using a Marantz receiver as a preamp, and I’ve seen good prices on the internet for the SR5007, but I have no personal experience with Marantz equipment at all. I’d like your thoughts. I’m currently using Definitive Technology speakers in a 5.1 arrangement. The Chiro pre-pro has no digital decoding whatsoever, that’s accomplished by two late ‘90’s Rotel DTS and Dolby Digital decoders. The system is used about twice as often for movies as it is for two channel listening of cd’s. Your thoughts are very much appreciated.

 

Steve


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#2 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 26 2013 - 02:06 PM

Marantz is "Denon in a dress". Meant literally and figuratively.

 

I use an Onkyo SR707 with a Kenwood M2A firing the front channel. Truth be told...blind listening I doubt you could tell a difference between your old Pre-Pro, the 5007 or my 707...on the same connection/content.

 

IF you want a dedicated Pre-Pro, and all your sources are HDMI/Analog(you'll see what I mean)...look here...

 

http://shop.emotiva....products/umc200



#3 of 14 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted March 26 2013 - 02:11 PM

I've never heard of Chiro and a Google search didn't help much. If your pre-pro has multi-channel analog inputs and your BR player has mc analog outputs and decodes the HD formats then you could get TrueHD and DTS-MA that way. Otherwise, a receiver as a a pre-pro seems to be a popular way to go.

 

In addition to the Emotiva there is this little one from Outlaw

 

http://outlawaudio.c...oducts/975.html


"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave Upton

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Posted March 26 2013 - 02:15 PM

The problem for me - has always been Audyssey XT32 and heat. Seems like receivers just cost less for the same thing, so I have been doing that for the past several years. Next time - i'll probably go with a true processor.



#5 of 14 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted March 26 2013 - 05:31 PM

Marantz is "Denon in a dress". Meant literally and figuratively.....

 

Sam please pardon my ignorance, it's been a long time since I've looked at equipment like this. Is that a good thing or a very bad thing. :unsure: 

Edit: Any thoughts on the Onkyo TX-NR717 being used as a pre/pro? Had an Onkyo receiver over 20 years ago and loved it, but don't know much about their current product.

 

Thanks again for everyone's input. I've heard good things about both the Emotiva and Outlaw units. Perhaps I'm being overly cautious about them because I've never dealt with an online only dealer before.

 

Edited by SteveJKo, March 26 2013 - 07:17 PM.

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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted March 26 2013 - 07:24 PM

Not speaking for Sam, but for me, it's a bad thing. Nothing wrong with Denon but Marantz used to be just a cut above IMO. I used to have a Marantz 7002 and it sounded wonderfull. But it was a bear to setup and operate and the remote wasn't to my liking. I bought a 6005 last year and it just didn't sound the same. Looking at the speac, they changed the DSP (Digital Signal processor) the thing that decodes the Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams. Don't know if that was the reason, or if it was something else, but it just wasn't the same to me. The change occured between the X004 series and the X005. I very much like the way the newer Marantz receivers work (much better than Denon, again IMO), and the new remote is also very good so I might keep it anyway.


"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
 
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Mr645

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Posted March 28 2013 - 04:19 AM

Not that this helps with your specific brands, BUT.  I recently replaced a B&K  Ref 20 processor with a Pioneer VSX-32 receiver.  The Pioneer acts as the Processor and powers the rear 2 speakers.  I still use the same Parasound 5 channel amp to power three front speakers and sold a 2 channel amp that was powering the rears.  I find that the Pioneer is not quite equal to the B&K for stereo music.  The soundstage and realism is not the same.  Not bad sounding but not as good.  For movies, being able to play the latest digital multi channel formats the Pioneer sound awesome.  Before I was listening to DTS and DD 5.1 signals processed by the B&K via digital coax and sending HDMI video directly to the TV.  The multi channel signals going to the Pioneer over HDMI sound much crisper, more dynamic, much nicer.

 

I too was looking at the Marantz Processor, as well as Onkyo and Rotel, and the B&K Ref 70, but could not bring myself to spend that kind of money,  I wandered into the Pioneer on clearance for $399 and sold the B&K Ref 20 for $250 plus a 2 channel Parasound for another $200 and I am pretty happy overall.



#8 of 14 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted March 28 2013 - 07:41 AM

I've been happy enough w/ using a several-year-old low-end-ish Yamaha RX-V663 receiver to drive my ancient B&K 5-channel amp (w/ ancient Vandersteen 2Ci's for the front/mains) ever since making the jump to Blu-ray (right around the end of the format war).I would probably jump to either Emotiva or Outlaw for prepro if the hobby still warrants it -- and it just might a few more years down the line -- but right now, I just don't spend enough time on it, especially the serious music listening side of it to justify it. I'm much more inclined to listen to real, live instruments (whether in practices or performances, whether amateurish or not) these days anyway given my specific context ;) not that that would be all that meaningful to others here of course... but you just can't beat the real thing, especially close-up... Anyway, I haven't been following the scene in recent years, but IIRC, my Yamaha receiver's prepro section should be comparable to an Onkyo 8xx's prepro section unless things have changed in recent years. Its amp section is/was the lacking part by comparison -- that and it only offered 2 HDMI inputs -- which obviously didn't matter (to me anyway) for this purpose. I should note though that I don't actually use it for multichannel HiRez recordings unless you count the handful opera/concert BDs I own, and I only have a very small collection of SACDs that I only listen to (very occasionally) in stereo mode... _Man_

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#9 of 14 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted March 29 2013 - 05:51 AM

Gentlemen, one last question. My set up is 5.1. Most of the options you've shown me are 7.1 (or even 7.2). In that case will I simply ignore the the extra 2 connections from the pre/pro (or receiver with pre/pro analogue outs)? Will the unit somehow have to be "told" it has nothing connected to those outputs?


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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted March 29 2013 - 06:49 AM

Actually, out of the box...the AVR has to be told it isn't 2.0.

 

Those are the only two speakers that will work till you set the others as "yes" or "on" depending on brand.

 

And, if the first thing you do is do the "auto set-up" for the room correction...it will figure it out by itself.

 

And(ii), if you buy one with "smart amps" (ie a 7 channel with 9 speakers connects or a 9 channel with 11 or 13) you can connect all the speakers (7/9/11/13) in various configurations of 5.1/7.1/5.1 + height/5.1 + width/ 5.1 + Zone2...on and on and on...

 

Which will allow you to "pick and choose" on the fly between DPL IIz/DSX/Zone 2/Zone 3....and the AVR will "allow it or not" depending on current use of the available amps(and that also works with the pre-outs)


Edited by schan1269, March 29 2013 - 06:59 AM.


#11 of 14 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted March 29 2013 - 07:27 AM

Thanks for the info Sam! :cheers:


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#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Mr645

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Posted March 30 2013 - 03:33 AM

Most receivers give you control over how the channels are used.  My Pioneer is a 7 channel receiver, but I use a 5.1 system.  BUT  my two main front speakers are bi amped (Vandersteen 2CE) so the Pioneer is set up so that channels 1/2 and 6/7 are both front L & R speakers.  They each feed the pre outs to the external amp and then to the speakers.



#13 of 14 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted March 30 2013 - 02:55 PM

Thanks to everyone for all your help. I've ordered an Onkyo TX-NR709 for an excellent price through Amazon. I'll post some initial thoughts in about ten days or so.


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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   SteveJKo

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Posted April 16 2013 - 05:57 AM

My apologies for taking far longer than the "ten days or so" to post my initial thoughts on the Onkyo TX-NR709.

 

I'm really enjoying it. Connection to my Rotel amp was simple. Calibration was also very easy. The unit bumped up the surrounds a bit higher than I would prefer, went into the manual adjustments and toned them down to my taste. The Onkyo added a slight 40hz filter to my three front speakers, I called Definitive Technology just to double check that running them as "full" was fine. The service rep at Def Tech confirmed the "full" mode (and reminded me that if I play music in any kind of 5 channel stereo mode I may want to put the 40hz filter back on my center channel). Running the three fronts as full really brought them to life.

 

My only complaint is the over abundance of surround modes. My old Chiro pre-amp played multichannel movies directly or with THX mode to tone down the high end. Stereo music was simple two channel or "enhanced", which sent a slight signal to the surrounds. The Onkyo has a perplexing amount of surround modes such as Theater-Dimensional, Neo:6, Neo:6 Cinema, Neo:6 Music, Orchestra, Unplugged, TV Logic, Game-RPG, Game-Action, Game-Rock. Same with the never ending amount of volume modes such as Dolby Volume (on/off - "automatically adjusts the difference in volume levels which can occur between different contents or source components"), Dolby Volume Leveler (off/low/mid/high - "maintains the perceived loudness of all contents, coming from different channels or input sources."), Dolby Volume Half Mode (off/on - "Dolby Volume applies a bass and treble attenuation to the audio when the system gain exceeds reference level."), Audyssey Dynamic EQ (off/on - "enjoy great sound even when listening at low volume levels"), Audyssey Dynamic Volume (light/medium/heavy - "This setting affects volume the most. It quiets the loud parts, such as explosions, and boosts the quiet parts so they can be heard"), THX Loudness Plus volume control technology ("enjoy even subtle nuances of audio expression at low volume", and last but not least IntelliVolume (set in 1 dB steps - "set the input level for each input selector individually"). Frankly, I'm simply turning all this stuff "off" and setting the unit in "Direct Mode". I wanted a pre-pro that would finally let me hear my blu-ray's in DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD. In Direct Mode the 709 does just that and I'm extremely pleased.

 

Thanks again to all of you for your input. :cheers:


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