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How inexpensive could a pre-pro be?


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#1 of 251 OFFLINE   MatthewJ S

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Posted March 03 2002 - 01:12 PM

If you took the least expensive Yamaha, Sony, Denon, kenwood, etc. rcvr(that had all the current formats) and took out the amps(which would probably allow for a lighter power supply),how inexpensive could it be...inquiring minds would like to know...would there be a market for this piece?... with all the people out there using rcvrs as pre-pros you might think there would be...how much differance between that and the Rotel, Anthem, B&K ,Outlaw,Classe, etc....how much of a quality pre-out stage would you have to build?...would the same pre-out stage that wasin the receiver be enough?...food for thought
that receiver sounds great demo'd through my computer speakers!

I bought the best ones, my buddy would never steer me wrong .He's not trying to make a commission off me and Cambridge Sound's factory direct pricing means that I got a great deal!

It must be a good deal all the people on the net...

#2 of 251 OFFLINE   Tony Lai

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Posted March 03 2002 - 03:20 PM

Of course this makes sense TO US. Who is US???

A bunch of hardcore enthusiasts who have a bit more money to spend than they should.

However to marketeers and to 'Wal Mart' what is the point? They'll just get customers feeling they're ripped off because they don't have amps in their all singing, all dancing 5.1 receivers.

I'd happily buy a preamp from any of the Japanese majors... any one of them has excellent dsp technology.

They could make a US$500 preamp no problems. Who would buy it though?

T.

#3 of 251 OFFLINE   Craig_Kg

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Posted March 03 2002 - 03:52 PM

I think the issue here is that not many people starting out on a budget would consider separates so the manufacturers bundle their lo-mid prepros with commensurate amp stages to make receivers. The perceived target for separates is in the stratified region of the market so they only build prepros that contain high-end components with high end features and high end prices to match.

This is generally fine except that it leaves those people who bought "Digital Ready" DPL receivers in the lurch.
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#4 of 251 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted March 04 2002 - 12:37 PM

I remember Adcom with an ad campaign in the early 90's, whereby they touted a stereo amp with a pre-amp/tuner. All for about $500. They called it, "the cure for the common receiver." They sold a bunch. (One set to me!)

But Adcom is a smaller company than most of the Japanese. And here's a wierd way to think about it: some people feel it's necessary to pay $1000 or $1500 or more for quality, regardless of how a component measures and sounds. So maybe not that much of a market after all. But, take that "$500 pre/pro" and mark it up to $1000, and I'd bet there'd be a market for that! Posted Image
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#5 of 251 OFFLINE   Jedd

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Posted March 04 2002 - 02:03 PM

So, right now there is no decent pre/pro for $500? (maybe used?)
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#6 of 251 OFFLINE   Kevin Webb

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Posted March 04 2002 - 02:28 PM

Jedd,
Even with used equipment, you are going to be hard-pressed at that price point. I'm trying to put together a "budget" multi-channel pre/pro and this is what I have come up with:

All New:
Pre: Outlaw 950 (Yes, I have drank the kool-aid!) $899
Amp: Rotel RMB-1066 (6 channel) $649
Total: $1548 + tax.

Mixture:
Pre: Outlaw 950 $899
Amp: Adcom GFA-7300 $370-400
Total: $1269-1299

All Used:
Pre: Rotel 976 $around 400-600
Pro: Adcom GFA-7300 $370-400
Total: $700-1000

Drawback to the used setup is that it is only Dolby DD/DTS.

If you are more interested in 2-channel, I would think about an integrated amp from NAD, Rotel, or Sony.

#7 of 251 OFFLINE   Kevin. W

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Posted March 04 2002 - 02:39 PM

Quote:
So, right now there is no decent pre/pro for $500? (maybe used?)

All depends on the features you want. I was able to find a NEW Marantz AV560U for $400US. It offers only DD/DTS but it was worth it. The RC2000MkII remote that came with it was worth $189US by itself. I paired it up with a Rotel RMB-1066 for a nice little Sperate setup. The Amp cost me $535US.

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#8 of 251 OFFLINE   chung

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Posted March 04 2002 - 05:48 PM

How about something like the HK-AVR 320 as a pre-pro? It has the latest formats and is much cheaper than other pre-pros out there. How big is the performance hit?

For amplifiers, the Aragon 4004MkII plus the HK-PA5800 will be a very economical and satisfactory choice, assuming one is OK with buying used equipment. Or just get a good 3 channel amp and use the 320's surround amps.

#9 of 251 OFFLINE   Jody C Robins

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Posted March 05 2002 - 01:20 AM

I believe one of the Hamme (Phillip I think) brothers has a Sherwood Newcastle Pre/pro that he bought for less than $500 that he seems to be very happy with. He mentioned it a few times in the Outlaw 950 thread.
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#10 of 251 OFFLINE   Jedd

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Posted March 05 2002 - 01:50 AM

Quote:
All depends on the features you want. I was able to find a NEW Marantz AV560U for $400US. It offers only DD/DTS but it was worth it. The RC2000MkII remote that came with it was worth $189US by itself. I paired it up with a Rotel RMB-1066 for a nice little Sperate setup. The Amp cost me $535US.

So, the cheapest (no offense) setup will cost around $1000, when the mid level reciever costs around $500.
Probably the wisest thing is to buy reciever which can work as pre/pro and add amplifiers on the run (if necessary Posted Image )
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#11 of 251 OFFLINE   MatthewJ S

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Posted March 05 2002 - 02:14 AM

WHat I'm wondering is if (as one example) Yamaha would make the rxv630 as apre-pro only and take the amount of money they put into the amp stage (whaddaya think @ 25-30% of the price?) and spend half that much upgrading the pre-out stage,so we could see a 6.1 dd/dts pre-pro w/DPLII for @ $450 retail...which we all know would be even cheaper on-line or used...now, there is no doubt that this piece wouldn't be of the same quality as $3,000 pre-pro's just as the $1,000-1,500 units aren't quite up to that quality level either,but for the guy who finds himself replacing pre-pro's fairly regularly on a budjet just to get the surround format-du-jour/the DSP-of-the-week/the bell-and-whistle-of-the-moment , it may be a cost effective alternative.......
that receiver sounds great demo'd through my computer speakers!

I bought the best ones, my buddy would never steer me wrong .He's not trying to make a commission off me and Cambridge Sound's factory direct pricing means that I got a great deal!

It must be a good deal all the people on the net...

#12 of 251 OFFLINE   brentl

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Posted March 05 2002 - 02:34 AM

Hey I still use an SH-AC 500d from Technics as a preamp ... sounds great.

Got it for $190CAn 3 years ago ...beat thatPosted Image

#13 of 251 OFFLINE   BruceD

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Posted March 05 2002 - 02:36 AM

Mathew,

It's obvious you have little experience with the product design/development lifecycle. Products are designed to meet a market need. Presently the market niche you're proposing just isn't big enough for most of the mass marketeers.

That's why the more specialized firms have higher priced units in that market space.

#14 of 251 OFFLINE   MatthewJ S

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Posted March 05 2002 - 02:52 AM

Bruce, I understand the manufacturing sector in this field quite well, thank you, but the niche has grown considerably over the last few years and besides,I'm not talking about a completetly new product.The majority of the platform engineering is already done and we all have seen forward thinking manufacturers try to develop a new product for plus buisness and market share...
that receiver sounds great demo'd through my computer speakers!

I bought the best ones, my buddy would never steer me wrong .He's not trying to make a commission off me and Cambridge Sound's factory direct pricing means that I got a great deal!

It must be a good deal all the people on the net...

#15 of 251 OFFLINE   BruceD

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Posted March 05 2002 - 03:19 AM

Mathew,

I meant experience with the actual product design to meet specfic market needs, and experience in the actual process of designing and manufacturing.

There just isn't a market big enough to serve. End of story.

#16 of 251 OFFLINE   chung

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Posted March 05 2002 - 05:07 AM

brentl says: >>Hey I still use an SH-AC 500d from Technics as a preamp ... sounds great. <<

I had the Technics SH-AC500D. It's a great decoder, but its weakness as a HT pre-pro is that it does not have 6-channel inputs that you can adjust volume on. Makes it really hard to use with SACD or DVD-Audio equipped players.

#17 of 251 OFFLINE   chung

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Posted March 05 2002 - 05:17 AM

Most people here seem to think that receivers don't sound as "musical" or otherwise as nice as separate pre-pros. How much of that is due to the amplifiers in the receivers? If you use those receivers, like the HK-AVR320, or Sony DA3ES/DA5ES, or Denon 2802/3802 as prepos, and use the built-in amps for the surround channels and add a stereo or 3-channel power amp, you should get great results.

I have a HK-510 connected to an Aragon 4004MKII driving Apogee Duetta Signatures, and I cannot tell any difference between using the HK as a preamp, and using a separate Sony ES preamp for CD listening. The HK powers my center channels and surrounds, and they all sound effortless in reproducing HT material, as well as DVD-Audio programs. I would think that one can pay a lot more for high-end pre-pros and perhaps get some improvement in sound, but it is definitely diminishing returns.

#18 of 251 OFFLINE   MatthewJ S

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Posted March 05 2002 - 06:46 AM

Is there anyone else who thinks that there would be as big a market for a $450 (retail) pre-pro as there would be for a $900 pre-pro? I will also reiterate that I think that for the money saved by removing the amps that there could be NOTICABLE improvement to the pre-out stage(which in most
rcvrs that have it is of low quality)
too small a market for a $450 pre-amp , but enough of one for a $1,500 one...Huh...
that receiver sounds great demo'd through my computer speakers!

I bought the best ones, my buddy would never steer me wrong .He's not trying to make a commission off me and Cambridge Sound's factory direct pricing means that I got a great deal!

It must be a good deal all the people on the net...

#19 of 251 OFFLINE   BruceD

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Posted March 05 2002 - 08:18 AM

Clearly, no manufacturer is going to produce a $450 prepro that will be more difficult to sell and support to the masses than a receiver or an HTB (and produce lower marginal profit). Additionally it just wouldn't fit into the pricing matrix with effective differentiated marketing potential against the receiver and HTB.

Unfortunately you're chasing a dream that just won't happen although I sure wish it could!!!

#20 of 251 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted March 05 2002 - 09:56 AM

Matthew- Here's an example...

I was at Sears a while back buying a garbage disposal. Lady in front of me wanted to buy a garage door opener. The sales guy, mid-50's guy, obviously (to me) very knowledgeable and helpful. He explained that there were 3 levels. Only difference between the cheapest and middle one, was that the middle one had this garage door open alarm. She agreed that she didn't need that.

So he helps me for a bit, and she brings the middle up to buy. He asked her why she was going to buy it. She said that it had this other feature that the cheap one didn't. He said no, and took her over to the box and showed her. She ended up getting the cheap one. But do you see the point? ** She didn't want to buy the cheapest one. **

The moral of the story is, and maybe others would agree, the market for a $500 pre/pro is vanishingly small. Even at out-$%^$%#-standing performance, I think *a lot* of people would have a hard time understanding that good performance at that price point would be possible.

And again, most people looking at that price-point, wouldn't want to pony up the money for separate amps anyway.

And, you could *always* go out and spend that $500 on a receiver, and buy separate amps for it anyway. If the delay for the 950 had been any longer, I might have gone and done that with a Denon. Posted Image

If you keep an eye out over the next few months, I imagine that there will be a lot of Sony, Rotel, Marantz, etc used pre/pros on the market due to people "upgrading".

Heck, if you look around now, you can get the Acurus ACT-3 (ABM) for around $700 used. That's not so much more than $500...

There are some ~$300 used "pre/pros" out their. The Technics mentioned, Sony has the SDP-E800 (which is garbage but only $100), but the SDP-EP9ES is highly rated, and the Pioneer Elite SP-99d is out there too.
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

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