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Receiver VS. PreProcessor as a Prepro..Which and why?


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#1 of 81 OFFLINE   NickSP

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Posted November 08 2002 - 03:16 AM

My question is given a price range at or below $1000, does it really make a difference in using a good receiver or something like say an Outlaw 950? Do the better receivers such as the 3803, HK525, etc. do as good a job as dedicated prepro? I am in the upgrade mode again from 5.1 to 6.1 and am contemplating the Outlaw which I am currently trying out. I am also waiting for the HK325 and the 3803 to try out as well and then make a decision.
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#2 of 81 OFFLINE   Sihan Goi

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Posted November 11 2002 - 06:00 AM

As a temp solution its ok, but foolish as a permanent solution. Prepros are much better.
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#3 of 81 OFFLINE   Han

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Posted November 12 2002 - 01:55 AM

From what I keep hearing, the preouts of receivers are an afterthought, so their quality isn't as high as the preouts of a true pre/pro. With that being said, if those things are equal, I'd go with whichever item sounds better hooked into an amp, and then which has the most features. The 3803 is very tempting, but I keep telling myself, the main reason I'm going dedicated pre/pro is for upgradeability. That means some future version of the Ref 50 or whatever comparable.

#4 of 81 OFFLINE   John Tompkins

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Posted November 12 2002 - 03:00 AM

Nick, My opinion is that it depends on what your going to use it for. If music is very important to you then using a pre-pro makes a world of difference over a receiver. Having said that I feel for HT that the differences are MUCH less apparent. Reciever decoders, chips etc. have came a long way and most people probably couldnt tell the difference between a receiver and a pre-pro when using an external amp for both for ht. To me, a dedicated stereo pre such as adcom 750, rotel , tube pre, etc combined with a HT receiver gives you the best of both worlds at an affordable price. It is also my opinion that a ht pre-pro will never sound as good a dedicated stereo pre for music purposes, but a good HT reciever can match up to a ht pre for ht purposes.

#5 of 81 OFFLINE   NickSP

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Posted November 12 2002 - 03:25 AM

John, I think you make a pretty fair argument in favor of a prepro. However my question was (and this is more for the other replies to my question) if it makes a difference in the below 1K range. Don't get me wrong, the Outlaw is a fantastic prepro but I felt it was lacking a bit for music IMHO. I got my hands yesterday on a NAD T752(borrowed from a friend) and this receiver absolutely shines in music when compared to the Outlaw. HT is, if not better, at least comparable to the Outlaw but music was definitely better. The below $1K is very important as I have not seen either a prepro or a receiver which offers true upgradability and that's what makes the decision critical. In the end it is whatever sounds better I guess.
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#6 of 81 OFFLINE   Dan Driscoll

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Posted November 12 2002 - 03:30 AM

Yes, a good quality dedicated pre-pro should sound better than a receiver that cost the same. Of course, you will also need a dedicated amp. Using a receiver as a pre-pro is an upgrade path for many people, but is almost never a final solution. When I started building my current system I put most of my money in to the speakers. I then bought a good entry level receiver, with the intention of upgrading to seperates over time. I added a 5 channel amp last year and I hope to add a dedicated pre-pro fairly soon.
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#7 of 81 OFFLINE   Sihan Goi

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Posted November 12 2002 - 03:39 AM

From what I've read the Outlaw prepro is really good for its price, you're one of the first people I know that think receivers of its price range perform better... Anyway, I've auditioned a Denon 3801 with ATI power amps before, and compared them to a really cheap Parasound 1800 prepro with the same power amp and everything else, and the different was quite apparent, in favor of the Parasound. The soundstage, imaging, clarity, everything was better. Movies also sounded better, although not by the same degree. If the new 3803 is anything like the older 3801, then you could probably do much better.
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#8 of 81 OFFLINE   AntonS

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Posted November 12 2002 - 05:06 AM

Go with a receiver. A pre/pro would cost you at least twice as much as a receiver of the same quality because of the economies of scale. It's a mistake to think that pre-ous of a receiver are "afterthoughts". Preouts of a receiver are fed from the same preamps that are connected to the receiver's amps. The quality of those preamps depend on the quality of components and the design. There is no reason to think that on a good receiver any of those are compromised, as well as on a dedicated pre/pro they are not (hint: Outlaw's hiss.) Usually it's the amps in a receiver that are somewhat compromised as there is not enough space for them in the single box.

#9 of 81 OFFLINE   NickSP

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Posted November 12 2002 - 05:24 AM

Anton, that is what I thought all this time and agree with you 100%. On the other hand I was not sure as to why most audiophiles say that the preouts are compromised when most receivers fall short of their power specs and noise specs due to it's amplifier section.
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#10 of 81 OFFLINE   John Tompkins

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Posted November 12 2002 - 06:06 AM

[quote] John, I think you make a pretty fair argument in favor of a prepro. However my question was (and this is more for the other replies to my question) if it makes a difference in the below 1K range. [quote]

Actually I would go with a receiver (3803, hk525, 325,sony da4es, onkyo 797 etc.)mated with a external amp for HT over something like the outlaw 950. You can always pick up a cheap stereo pre for music that would kick the snot out of the 950 or any of those receivers for music (bottlehead tube pre 149.00, used rotel 995 -200.00, adcom 100-200). Your combined total is still around 1000.00 and you get much better music performance to boot.

#11 of 81 OFFLINE   Levesque

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Posted November 12 2002 - 09:27 AM

I bought my Rotel RSP-1066 for around 1000$ US, and before, I was using a Yamaha RX-V3200 for pre-pro, with an external amp.

The Yammie was an almost top of the line, cost me 500$ more then the Rotel, but was not even close to it in performance.

I'm sorry, but the Rotel, a real pre-pro, will always beat any receiver used as a pre-pro, for the same price. The RX-V3200 was really good when used has a pre-pro, I was really satisfied and impress...until I put the Rotel in my system. I was swithching back and forth between both, and there was no comparison.

I know people are trying to convince themselves that the receiver they bought can compete with a pre-pro, for the same price, but they are lying to themselve. I did a direct comparison, in-house, with friends, and we all agreed. The pre-pro was alot better.

I think people that are telling that, are people that didn't do any direct comparison, and only go with specs, and repeating what they read.

I was in that category, but after a real comparison in-house, I will always buy a dedicated pre-pro before any receiver.

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#12 of 81 OFFLINE   DanaA

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Posted November 12 2002 - 10:23 AM

I just don't believe that any receiver can match the sound of a good pre/pro, outboard amp combo, especially with two channel sound. I do like the idea of a separate preamp to handle two channel, as that would probably be the way to go for the most satisfying sound for things such as records and CD's. Otherwise, I feel it's best to go from receiver/outboard amp to dedicated pre/pro and amp combo. I've just listened to too many receivers to not think vastly improved two channel sound results from the pre/pro route.

#13 of 81 OFFLINE   Matt Jesty

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Posted November 12 2002 - 11:16 AM

but a good HT reciever can match up to a ht pre for ht purposes *********************************************** So, suddenly ,when I switch to HT MY HEARING GOES BAD? huh........... pre-outs on MOST rcvrs are NOT as good as the pre-outs on MOST pre-pros...I'm sure that (insert your model here)is the exception.............. Let's try to keep the "for the money" part out of the discussion, 'cause I choose not to shop with your pocketbook......
Reading about audio equipment is like reading about wine, food, sex, art, far-off places...nice to do but hardly a substitute for experiancing these things first hand....
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#14 of 81 OFFLINE   NickSP

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Posted November 12 2002 - 12:00 PM

Matt, correct me if I am wrong but your post was slightly confusing but even then I gather that you are strictly against using a receiver as a prepro? Are you suggesting that a receiver such as a Denon 4802 has an inferior preamp section than the Outlaw 950? Most shoppers do watch their pocketbook and want to make a very informed decision and there is nothing wrong with that. Everything in life (at least for me) has a certain priority, even for my audio hobby!
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#15 of 81 OFFLINE   Matt Jesty

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Posted November 12 2002 - 12:14 PM

Actually you bring up Outlaw and I must confess I don't know the quality of components they use for their pre-out drivers....but even the technical engineers from Denon (among other brands) have told me that they don't engineer this section very well in regards to keeping it away from noise sources, quality of components, etc. and that when they (denon) make cost cutting solutions this section, because it is so rarely used, takes a beating ...the engineers said they spent a whole lot MORE money and time in the AVP8000(?) PRE-OUT SECTION 'CAUSE IT had to compete with stand alone pre-pros.....
Reading about audio equipment is like reading about wine, food, sex, art, far-off places...nice to do but hardly a substitute for experiancing these things first hand....
Trust is easier to establish face-to-face, than via correspondance...
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#16 of 81 OFFLINE   Jonathan M

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Posted November 12 2002 - 01:03 PM

[quote] So, suddenly ,when I switch to HT MY HEARING GOES BAD? [quote]
Agreed, Matt. Why do so many have a fascination with 2 channel stuff?? Is it SO much more demanding that it requires better quality kit? We hear it all the time: "Great in HT, sounds a bit (Insert appropriate adjective) in 2 channel..."

IMO, if a system performs well, it should perform well with ALL types of input.

As for pre-Out sections - is it just me, or is there very little to them. IMO, all they need is PERHAPS a buffer, and output cap/resistor (For long interconnects), and the output sockets, but that's it - correct me if I'm wrong here, but a simple op-amp buffer + output doesn't require much money to "get right". Also, there is not much to be improved upon in my mind. Sure, there's the "Audiophile" caps, but I'd find it hard to believe that the pre-out sections of pre/pros use more than plain-jane MKT caps there (Some may even use bipolar electros).
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#17 of 81 OFFLINE   AntonS

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Posted November 12 2002 - 01:55 PM

[quote] but even the technical engineers from Denon (among other brands) have told me that they don't engineer this section very well in regards to keeping it away from noise sources, quality of components, etc. and that when they (denon) make cost cutting solutions this section, because it is so rarely used [quote]

Matt, what exactly is rarely used? Providing that the same preamps are feeding either internal or external amps, what is left? The terminals? That's one tough piece of engineering... Or are you suggesting that Denon (among what other brands? H/K for example is not one of them) for some incomprehensible reason uses different preamp circuitry for internal and external amps?

There are reviews that favor the Outlaw 950 over Rotel 1066, but also some reviews that favor H/K 520 over the 950. Go figure. To me, the electronics in all those mid-grade receivers and entry level pre/pros are so similar that the difference in sound quality is negligible. No wonder the reviews are so confusing.

#18 of 81 OFFLINE   Dalton

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Posted November 12 2002 - 01:58 PM

[quote] A pre/pro would cost you at least twice as much as a receiver of the same quality because of the economies of scale. [quote]
I have to disagree completelty with this statement. I have owned or auditioned in my home most of the $800 - $1200 receiver's as pre/pro's with separate multi channel amps by Carver, Parasound,Acurus,and Rotel. I have used the following receiver's as Pre/pros:
Onkyo TXDS 797
Denon AVR 3802
Marantz Sr7200
Pioneer Elite VSX 45tx
Sony STR DA4ES

All of these receiver's had there pluses and minuses but were all pretty good units. If i had to pick my favorite it would be a tossup between the Pioneer and the Onkyo. The Marantz was musical but not that great for HT. The 3802 did well in HT but seemed lacking in music. The 797 and the 45tx were pretty well balanced between HT and music. Recently I picked up a Rotel 1066(got it for$1250) and put it through it's paces. I can say without reservation that the 1066 STOMPS all over those receiver's as a pre/pro. It should stomp all over them because it is made to be a dedicated pre/pro. Right away i noticed a widening of the soundstage and better imaging. Music was WAY better with the anolog pass through of the 1066. DVD-Audio has never sounded better. Imaging in movies is more accurate and well blended as to not be as directional as a receiver. For anyone looking for a receiver only I would not hesitate to recommend one of the above receivers. But if you are looking for a pre/pro i would not recommend a receiver unless you needed the ton of extra features some of today's newer receiver's are offering. If sound quality is your number one concern, then nothing short of a dedicated pre/pro will do(IMO). BTW, i had my friend's Outlaw 950($899) hooked up in my system for few hours yesterday and as far as HT sound goes, it was a definite improvement over all of the above receivers. In fact it was every bit as good in HT as the Rotel 1066. Also, no hiss problem at all. I can't comment on music because we didn't have the time to try it out for that. Sorry for the long rant but i wanted to share my experiences with receiver's as a pre/pro to give another POV.
Nick,
In the end it's your ears that will be the final judge. Good luck in your search for a pre/pro.

#19 of 81 OFFLINE   DanaA

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Posted November 12 2002 - 02:03 PM

[quote] Why do so many have a fascination with 2 channel stuff?? [quote]

The facination with two-channel sound existed before that of 5/6/7.1 channel sound. Many of us enjoy 2-channel sound just as much as home theater. For whatever reason, most receivers, even those with decent five channel sound, have relatively poor two channel sound. And perhaps many of us listen more critically to two channel sound.

#20 of 81 OFFLINE   John Tompkins

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Posted November 13 2002 - 12:16 AM

[quote] So, suddenly ,when I switch to HT MY HEARING GOES BAD? [quote]

Agreed, Matt. Why do so many have a fascination with 2 channel stuff?? Is it SO much more demanding that it requires better quality kit? We hear it all the time: "Great in HT, sounds a bit (Insert appropriate adjective) in 2 channel..."

IMO, if a system performs well, it should perform well with ALL types of input.

END QUOTE"


Good Two channel music is MUCH more demanding then good ht sound....sometimes a system will sound incredible with ht (ala processing, decoding, channel seperation etc..) but could possible sound bright, shrill or the like for two channel music..same thing with 5 channel amps versues two channel amps, some are made with ht in mind and some with music in mind




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