Advantages/Disadvantages to Receiver and Amp/Pre-Amp setups

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Dobbs, Apr 1, 2002.

  1. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

    Jul 1, 2001
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    Brian Dobbs
    Can anyone explain to me the advantages and/or disadvantages to both receiver and amp/pre-amp setups?

    I don't understand why anyone would spend so much to go with an amp/pre-amp setup when you can get it all in one with a receiver.

  2. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

    Oct 14, 2001
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    This is a "can-of-worms" kind of topic but I'll throw in my very real experience.

    from the receivers I've heard - HK, onkyo, yamaha, and my new 3802 the amplifier section is pretty lacking. all these receivers were sub-1500 dollars but pack a wallop of features at a very good price point.

    So I added an old HK amp I had laying around and POW. music sounded like it was supposed to again.

    why would anybody want to run separates instead of a receiver? Probably because they've heard separates.
  3. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

    Mar 2, 1999
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    Pros for receivers....

    1. You get the latest gee whiz stuff sooner.

    2. Price

    3. Easier to set up

    4. Takes up less room

    Pros for seperates....

    1. Seperate power supplies for the amp and prepro.

    2. Better able to match outboard amp with your speakers.

    3. Able to change one part (prepro amp speakers) as needed.

    4. Sound (see #1)

    5. can actually spend less for some prepro/amp combo's that will slay more expensive receivers.
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

    Jul 2, 1999
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    Charles did a nice job of summing up. However, I can't agree with having price as an advantage for both receivers and separates. Receivers have a price advantage for several reasons.

    1) Only one face plate and chasis. These are some of the most expensive parts of electronics.

    2) Economies of scale. Receivers outsell separates by a wide margin. Think about the difference between a Toyota and a Porsche. When you make 100 times as many items, the economies of scale are rather large.

    3) Response time to market changes. The receiver makers usually change models once a year or so. Therefore they are much better able to keep pace with the ever changing multi-channel evolution, and don't have to rely on promised upgrade paths in separates that never happen.

    This quick response time also allows receivers to accommodate consumer desires such as flexible crossovers for bass.

    4) The availability of good receivers in virtually every price range. A $350 receiver today can be quite good with appropriate speakers. $350 might get you a used separate amp that is useless by itself. On the other end of the price scale, high end receivers like the Denon 5803 and Pioneer Elite 49TX are both very powerful and have features not even available on most separates. I don't know of any separates available for $2,400 that have the features and power of the Elite 49TX. For instance, what prepro has room-speaker correction built in? At what price?

    If you want to take money out of the equation, separates can do things and sound better than most receivers. But that is not automatic, by any means. Matching separates can be tricky and can open cans of worms like hum, buzz, ground loops and other problems not encountered with receivers.

    You essentially answered your own question, like many things, it comes down to money.
  5. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Lots of good advice here and, of course, a lot of this is personal preference. For myself, I got tired of continuing to spend money on equipment I already had (in this case, amplifiers.) With separates you can make changes in modular fashion and retain those items that you wish to stay with (amps again, in my case.) With a receiver, each time you upgrade you upgrade the whole box.

    Of course, some would choose this route since they enjoy selling the old equipment and applying the revenue towards the new equipment. That's just not something I'm fond of doing on a regular basis. And I'm also of the opinion that separating the components allows for better performance - especially the amplification section. You tend to avoid crosstalk issues and such and separates usually allow for more robust components in certain areas, like power supplies.

    There are some great preamp front ends of receivers but in many cases you might end up not using the amplification section after a while. I did this for a while with my Denon 5700 before I went to a separate pre/pro. For that reason, if you choose a receiver I would make sure that you can uncouple the pre/pro section from the amp section. Most of the good receivers have this option, which takes the form of pre-amp output jacks (usually accompanied by amp inputs.) Uncoupling involves removing the bridging connectors which usually look like giant staples.

    My 2 cents.
  6. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

    Oct 27, 1999
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