7.1 Preamp + 7 Channel Amp for Approx. $1600

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Raul A, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. Raul A

    Raul A Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 6, 2003
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    First off let me make it clear that my home theater usage is 90% movies, 8% TV, and 2% music. But when I do listen to music, its mostly Jazz, Blues, Classical, and occasionally rock and hip-hop; and Id like it to sound good when I'm doing it.

    Ive gone back and forth on this issue several times. But I finally decided in a few months, money permitting, I would purchase the Pioneer Elite 47TX (or possibly the 55TX depending on how it stacks up). And that was fine for me.

    But Ive started wondering, if I'm going to spend $1500-1700, why not look at seperates. And thats what Ive been doing, but Im unclear on a few things and have some concerns.

    With the 47TX I get an all in one solution. 130watts per channels on the amps, 7.1 Processing, DTS 96/24, THX Ultra 2, 3 Component inputs, Onscreen Display, and the much acclaimed MCACC. All this in one box seems like a pretty sweet deal.

    But if I go seperates, can I get the same performance/feature set for the same price? Looking around at Rotel, Krell, Adcom, Outlaw; it doesnt look like it.

    However, I can make some concessions. I plan on getting an Infocus X1 projector, so I can live with 2 component inputs on the processer. I have never had the luxury of the MCACC so I can go on without it. I can settle for 100 watts per channel on the amp since the most I get out of my current Yamaha receiver is 45 or so, and I'm not sure what difference the extra 30 watts will make in the sound quality anyway. I would *really* like the THX Ultra 2 processing however because Ive heard such good things about it and it sounds like a cool feature.

    That being said, lets start with the preamp/processors. I've looked at the Rotel 1066 which looks like it can be had used for $1000, the Adcom GTP-830 ($900 new), the GTP-860 ($1150 new), and the Outlaw 950 ($800 new). I cannot afford any of the Krell preamps it would seem.

    All of them have 2 Component inputs, except for the 830 which, best as I can tell, doesnt have any. Though I could be wrong, I cant seem to find info about that anywhere and the rear panel photo I saw supported this. So that would count the 830 out altogether. None of them seem to have DTS 96/24 or THX anything. The Outlaw and the Adcom both have an OSD, but I'm not sure about the Rotel.

    But on the upside, they all do 7.1. [​IMG]

    Anyway, the Rotel 1066 seems to be very popular and most seem to agree the sound and build quality is excellent. But it is very expensive to pickup new. I have also heard many good things about the Outlaw 950, which has a great price. However with the Adcom 860, I've heard there is a lot of noise from the unit that is clearly audible through the speakers even during movie playback. That does not sound at all appealing.

    So far, the processor sections don't seem to stackup to the 47TX. That being said, what are the real benefits I will see from using one of these processors over the 47TX? Is there some selling point that will make all of the concessions worth it? And finally, are there any other quality processors that I should be looking at in similar price ranges?

    Ok, now on to the Amps. My main question is what is the difference between one companys amps and anothers? Am I going to hear any difference between say an Outlaw 7x100 amp and anAdcom or Rotel 7x100 amp? If there is a difference, should I be looking at some other company's 7x100 (or more 130, 160, 200...?) amp that sounds better than these guys?

    My secondary question is simpler I think. Would I be better off with a decent 7 channel amp (say 100wpc), or should I get a really good 2 channel amp (say 200wpc) and a decent 5 channel amp (say 100wpc)? If I go with the latter is that going to make the soundfield uneven?

    I should make it clear that $1600 is the budget I'm shooting for, and it is going to be really hard to gather that much money for something like this. So even a few extra hundred bucks will be difficult to save. Now realisticly, I know I'll probably end up shelling out closer to $1750 with tax and shipping for the 47TX. But those padded charges are expected.

    In any event, what combination do you think I should go for and why? And what other options do I have that I've missed? Any and all help is appreciated.

    Also, if youve made it this far, thanks for reading. [​IMG]
  2. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

    Nov 2, 2001
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    I think with only $1500-1700, receivers are youe best bet. You can't really get separates at that price, except perhaps the Outlaw 950 and a really cheap 5 channel amp.
  3. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

    Oct 27, 1999
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    For $1600 I would go with the Oulaw combo. Checkout their homepage. They also have the B-stock for cheaper. Worth a look.

  4. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

    Feb 22, 2002
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    Outlaw Audio all the way, best quality you can possibly get in that price range without stealing the components.

    They have a deal now where you can get a 950 B stock (7.1 pre/pro) and a 7100 amp (7 ch. 100 w each) for $1498. Throw a nice set of 7 PCA nterconnects in there for $100 and you have a complete 7.1 pre/amp combo for $1600. And if you don't like it, try it for 30 days and send it back!

    Gotta love outlaw, here's the sale page:

  5. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

    Sep 9, 2002
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    I don't think you would go wrong with either.
    You can get a NEW Outlaw setup for under 1600 according to their website.... www.outlawaudio.com

    If you go Outlaw you can always change either one out as you tastes and budgets change.
    With the 47tx you can always add an amp if you need more power.
  6. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

    Jan 16, 2003
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    Normally, I'd automatically suggest separates, if only for the flexibility when upgrading... and yes, Outlaw is THE choice @ $1600... solid HT performer.

    But your post clearly suggests that features and connectivity are important to you... you'll get more of that with a receiver for $1.6k... i seriously doubt you'd hear a significant upgrade in sound quality with an Outlaw, especially if you are 98% HT - 2% music.

    The Pioneer is loaded, and sounds good... but try and audition a couple others, maybe Marantz, Rotel... and make an effort to ensure good speaker-matching with your chosen receiver... Pioneers, for example, have been known to have trouble driving low-impedance speakers (though that may be resolved by now).

    For HT, go for features.

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