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Comments from those who have upgraded from reciever to a seperate pre/pro. (1 Viewer)

David Barteaux

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 6, 2001
Messages
179
I am looking for initial impressions on the improvements, if any, that were noticed in sound quality specifically when you upgraded to a new pre/pro from a reciever. I am using a Denon 3801 as pre/pro which has most, if not all of the processing features of the Rotel 1066 or Outlaw 950. I would be interseted in upgrading now, but I may wait until newer pre/pros surpass the features of my 3801.
Thanks
 

Andrew Pratt

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 8, 1998
Messages
3,806
David are you presently using a seperate amp with the denon or using its internal amps? If you're using a seperate amp already the improvements will still be significant but not nearly as monumental as adding a seperate power amp as well as the pre amp. I've heard the denon 3801 as a pre amp in my old system and it was good but not as warm sounding as the 3300 I had been using and definatly not as good as my new rotel.
 

Mike_T_

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 30, 2001
Messages
198
I just went from a Yamaha RX-V795 to the Rotel-1066 and notice a definate improvement. Music is twice as good, much bigger soundstage. The bass is tighter, it's all much smoother and more musical. Home Theater was the real suprise to me. Movies have a huge soundstage now, it's wide open across the room. The special effects are more distinct and beliveable. I'm using a 200W x5 Sherbourn amp as well. The jump to the amp using the receiver as a pre pro was a huge change for the better. The step up to a seperate pre amp brings out the detail and finesse of the sound, using the power of the amp. I'm sure your Denon sounds pretty good. You might not notice AS much of a change, however, you should demo a pre amp and see for yourself.
Damn addiction.
 

Andrew_Ballew

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
Messages
294
I just went from a Yamaha RX-V795 to the Rotel-1066 and notice a definate improvement. Music is twice as good, much bigger soundstage. The bass is tighter, it's all much smoother and more musical. Home Theater was the real suprise to me. Movies have a huge soundstage now, it's wide open across the room. The special effects are more distinct and beliveable. I'm using a 200W x5 Sherbourn amp as well. The jump to the amp using the receiver as a pre pro was a huge change for the better. The step up to a seperate pre amp brings out the detail and finesse of the sound, using the power of the amp. I'm sure your Denon sounds pretty good. You might not notice AS much of a change, however, you should demo a pre amp and see for yourself.
Agreed- my impressions exactly after my recent move into the seperates world- FYI, at the moment (I stess at the moment, since I have been through 5 pre/pros now in 4 months) I am running the RSP-1066 through a Carver AV-806x 6 channel amp. The most impressive thing so far about the RSP-1066 is its outstanding two channel performance in addition to HT.

Andrew B.
 

Scott Oliver

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 30, 2000
Messages
1,159
If you are looking to improve music performance primarily, you may want to consider a stereo preamp w/ HT bypass and a 2-ch amp.
 

Michael Merrell

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
80
I'm making a similar decision. I've picked up a Parasound 855A from ubid, and I'm trying to decide on my processor upgrade.

Do I get a receiver with pre-outs or a pre/pro? On the receiver side, I've whittled the list down to the Sony DA5ES. On the pre/pro side, the Rotel RSP-1066 is the contender. The pisser is that while I can get a demo of the Rotel (though not with a Parasound amp), I can't get a demo of the Sony with an external amp.

I want to determine whether the sound quality of the Rotel is $500 better than the slightly better features of the Sony. Different people will have different opinions, no doubt, since both $500 and sound preferences will vary in importance from person to person.



Perhaps I should go with the receiver, without demoing the Rotel. That way, I won't know what I'm missing.

--Mike
 

Ricky T

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 28, 1999
Messages
921
I don't think you can generically compare prepros to receivers; you need to compare exact models to each other.

I have OWNED (ie, bought, setup, used) the following items IN MY SYSTEM on basically the same speakers and amps in the past 3 years (usually had 2, even 3, at the same time for a/b comparisons):
Prepros = Sherwood 9080, HK Signature 2.0, Citation 7.0 and 5.0, Lexicon DC1 and MC1, Angstrom 200/205
Decoders = Sony ep9es, denon avd2000, technics 500
Receivers = HK AVR55, Nakamichi AV10, Onkyo 989

I probably forgot a couple. For straight 5.1 AC3/DTS playback and 2 channel dac performance, guess which one wins? A receiver: the Onkyo 989. But I prefer Lexicon and Logic7 and gave up some dynamics and resolution in going with the old DC1 for my HT playback. I have my separate preamp for my 2 channel music.
 

Andrew_Ballew

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
Messages
294
Perhaps I should go with the receiver, without demoing the Rotel. That way, I won't know what I'm missing
But then you would always be asking, "what-if?" :D
I can tell you this- you will not be disappointed with the sound of the Rotel. Pair it with a good amp, and I would stack it up against almost any receiver, including a lot of the flagships.
Cheers
Andrew B.
 

chung_sotheby

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
857
Andrew, which pre/pros did you have during that upgrade binge, and which unit did you prefer above all the rest?
 

Andrew_Ballew

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
Messages
294
Andrew, which pre/pros did you have during that upgrade binge, and which unit did you prefer above all the rest?
Haha- you are exactly right- it was indeed a 'binge'. Quite an expensive vice- here is my list-

Sherwood Newcastle AVP-9080
Adcom GTP-760
NAD T751 receiver as pre/pro
Rotel RSP-976
Rotel RSP-1066


The best sounding of the bunch overall is definitely the 1066, with the 976 right on its heels. The 976 was a bit brighter than the 1066, and had some apparent problems with 754kbps DTS. The best way I can describe it is imagine an extreme emphasis on the treble, to the point where it begins to sound very, very digitalized and shrill. No such problems on the 1066. DTS in all forms sounds great. The 1066 is noticably quieter than the 976- a much lower noise floor. I really cannot say enough about how great the 1066 sounds- very transparent with a lean to the warm side, huge soundstage, outstanding 2 channel fidelity, just about every surround mode in the book, good flexibility and features. All in all, this might be the best value overall in a pre/pro- Outlaw not withstanding. Although I wish the Rotel had the triple crossover like the Outlaw. Did I also mention it looks a LOT better than the Outlaw? It has a much better apparent build quality, too.

Now- about my other pre/pros-

Sherwood-

I liked the analog passthrough the most. To this day still the cleanest, purest 5 channel passthrough around. Its poor ergonomics and feature set are its downside. I did like the fact that there was a bass/treble control for the center channel in addition to the mains. It would not auto detect DTS sources, and other than the Adcom that I will discuss below, was the worst unit at dropping audio during things like chapter changes. Sometimes it would never lock back onto audio after a chapter change. And as good as the passthrough sounded, the internal processing was not quite up to the same level. No doubt, it sounded good- but really lacked the front soundstage I was looking for, especially in two channel and to a lesser extent in home theater usage.


Adcom GTP-760

Picked this up off of Ebay for what I thought was a great deal- $750. I was hoping for a major upgrade over the Sherwood, as I have always heard in home theater you get what you pay for. Considering the Adcom had an MSRP of close to $2000, I thought I was going to be in audio heaven. In hindsight, this unit wasn't worth $200 to me. It sounded good enough- had a HUGE soundstage that to this day I think might even surpass the Rotel- but it was the NOSIEST unit I have ever heard. The hum and other various hisses and noises could be positively measured with an SPL meter from my listening position, 10 feet away from my speakers. It was AWFUL! It took forever for the auto-detect to work, as well. Perhaps I just got a bum unit, as they are manufactured overseas like a lot of other companies with cheap labor. I would be very, very suspect of Adcom's quality control, as I cannot imagine their engineers putting together a piece of equipment this flawed and selling it at any price.

NAD T751

Good receiver, I am sure- but sounded very uninspiring as a pre-amp. Not very detailed, not a very holo-sonic surround image, small soundstage. NO bass output whatsoever in DTS mode, Boomy, muddy bass in all other modes.


I hope that is a helpful rundown. No telling what kind of pre/pro I could have in my possession right now if I combined all the money spent and lost on the above into one purchase. Bottom line- audition what you buy first, and be 100% sure before you buy.

Cheers

Andrew B.
 

David Barteaux

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 6, 2001
Messages
179
I used to own a Harmon Kardon AVR-80 THX Reciever (only prologic) which sounded much better than the Denon 3801 I traded it in for. The Denon sounds alot like comparison Andrew made with the 976.

"The best sounding of the bunch overall is definitely the 1066, with the 976 right on its heels. The 976 was a bit brighter than the 1066, and had some apparent problems with 754kbps DTS. The best way I can describe it is imagine an extreme emphasis on the treble, to the point where it begins to sound very, very digitalized and shrill."
 

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