How Many People "Use" Preouts?

Mark.Louis

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Oct 10, 2002
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Greetings;

For the past several weeks I have been hemming and hawing back and forth among many budget AV receivers, including Yamaha HTR-5560, Panasonic SA-HE200, Pioneer D-811s, Onkyo TSR-600, and now the Kenwood VR-6060 and 6070. One of the differences that I am personally getting hung up on is that some have full/limited preouts, whereas others only have the subwoofer pre-out. I realize this limits future expandability, and at some level that does concern me.

However, given my newness to HT (for gosh sake's my current Pioneer receiver is 20 years old!), I am wondering how "real" my concern is. I plan to use this receiver as a main A/V receiver in a 15*20 family room, with possibly a "b" set of speakers in the living room. I've read that the power output of each should be enough to fill the room. I will be powering a set of JBL N24s and N26s with Audiosource SW15 subwoofer (N center). Don't have any real plans to integrate the house to one command receiver or anything fancy.

My question to the masses is how many of you do make use of the pre-outs (other than Subwoofer)? I realize I may need a pre-out for the 6 & 7 channels for EX and THX, but other than that, are pre-outs a feature that goes uncommonly used? Thanks for your help.
 

David Judah

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I use them. Unfortunately, the amp section is the weak point for most receivers, especially at the price point of the ones you mentioned. It doesn't mean you can't get good performance, but they are current limited in most cases, so if you want headroom for transient peaks, want to play loud without alot of distortion or compression of the soundstage, or are driving more difficult loads(you are not), a seperate amp is the way to go.

DJ
 

Ron S

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Mark,
Can only speak for myself. Others here likely have more educated responses. I'm relatively new to HT as well, only about a year or so. I bought an Onkyo 696, figuring it would have enough power for all my needs. But a funny thing happened on the way to the HT. I rediscovered music.
No way a receiver's amp section can compete with really good quality amps, even the very expensive receivers. Especially when driving speakers that are even a little inefficient. Soooo, having preouts is a GOOD thing, for me. It enabled me to get a quality pair of monos to drive my mains or music, without having to get a separate amp to drive ALL 5 channels and buying a pre/pro.
Although this is the ultimate plan, it can be rather expensive all at once. Having preouts allows you to focus in on music, and enables you to upgrade over time, as budget allows. A definite plus
 

John Garcia

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Eventhough I don't use my pre-outs, I would not have bought a receiver that didn't have them. You never know when an opportunity to upgrade to some nice, current hungry speakers might present itself (since upgraditis never really goes away), and I wanted to be sure I would be able to move to external amplification. For the speakers I have (Paradigm Monitor 5s & CC370), my Marantz SR6200 is handling the task exceptionally right now.

Now looking at it from the other side, having pre-outs sort of sets the stage for moving to separates also. Pick up a good amp, and eventually swap out the receiver for a pre/pro.
 

Dan Driscoll

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I use the pre-outs of my receiver (Yamaha RX-V596) to drive a seperate amp and it has been a big improvement to my system, particularly WRT music.
 

DanaA

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I'm going along strongly with those here that say preouts are one of the most necessary features a receiver can have. Like Ron, I had the Onkyo 696. As time passed, I became more and more disenchanted with its power section. What to do? Buy a new receiver? And, so quickly? Like you, I like to hold on to what I have for a long time, but I have to really like what I have first. So, when the opportunity arose, I had the flexibility in the Onkyo to add the outboard amp and took advantage, improving my system by leaps and bounds. I have since sold the Onkyo and bought a dedicated pre/pro and am extremely happy with this setup, but, to be honest, I probably wouldn't have made it this far without the preouts.
 

WillieM

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Do not, I repeat do NOT get a reciever without pre-outs for at least the front L/R, center and LFE channels. Times have changed since your original 20 yr old reciever. When you hook up that DVD player and stick in a concert like Fleetwood Mac or The Eagles and realize how fantastic it is BUT...if I ONLY had that beautiful clean power amp with enough juice to make these great speakers move like they were designed to, I'd be AT the concert! Believe me...believe US... the sound, the quality, the enveloping feeling of a 5.1 (or more) home theater system moves way beyond what you've had before. The bug WILL bite you, and without the pre-outs, you may be left without a cure for that itch.
 

Chris Purvis

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another vote for pre-outs here. I use them for 6 of the 7 channels my receiver is putting out for all the reasons cited above...
 

Frank Carter

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I never thought anything was wrong with the power from my Yamaha until I used the pre outs an added a 5 channel Parasound.
 

Mark.Louis

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Thanks for all the wonderful information and quick replies.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like if I have a A/V receiver with full preouts, then later on I can buy a multi-channel power amp and then use the receiver as a dedicated pre/pro. Hence the receiver would become a decoder/processor and not an amplifier. Is this correct?

Will all receivers that come with full pre-outs be able to act as a pre/pro when hooked up with an external amplifier?

Does the reduced power demands of the A/V receiver acting as a pre/pro result in better performance from the receiver acting as a processor?

Again, thanks for the help. You guys are making me think about doing separates, but not sure if the wife would buy it!

Mark
 

Jonathan M

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Does the reduced power demands of the A/V receiver acting as a pre/pro result in better performance from the receiver acting as a processor?
Probably not. Preamp power requirements are negligible (with respect to power amp needs) and the power supply will likely be well regulated, so pre/pro performance will not likely be improved.
 

Laurence_C

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Pre-Outs you ask??? Simply put, They are a necessity if you even have the slightest inkling of possibly needing more power. Plus they're are a great way to expand if you don't have the money for both a pre-amp & power amp.
 

Jeff_Fitz

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Pioneer's 811s is IMHO the best value in a low-priced receivers right now. It has plenty of options including a full set of pre-out's.

Most complaints about the 811s revolve around its amps. Apparently, they are not very clean (0.2% THD) and often have difficulty driving anything but 8 ohm speakers. In theory, a separate multi-channel amp would take care of these limitations and give you a pre-pro with all the latest surround decoding.

Though the concept sounds great, and I agree that a full-set of pre-outs is a great feature to have on a receiver, there is one problem with the "value separates" idea. How many people that are in the market for a sub-$500 USD (MSRP) receiver are going to be likely to pony up the money for a multi-channel amp a couple of years later? There aren't too many multi-channel amps available for less than $1000 USD.

Most examples I have heard about are people who bought a $750 USD to $1500 USD receiver and then added external amplification. Is anyone out there actually using a sub-$500 receiver as a pre pro?

Jeff
 

Thomas_Berg

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have you considered Harman/Kardon? i think i'd take the ability to have Logic7 over any of the receivers mentioned here, AND their amp sections are more reliable. many people use these receivers as preamps when they feel the need to upgrade.
 

Mark.Louis

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Thomas - yes I have considered H/K, looking at the 320 which can be had refurbed for 398 at harmanaudio. I haven't looked into them very heavily, however, since on numerous message boards, HTT, HTF, AVS, audioreview, I keep seeing recurring messages about reliability problems and people sending them back to shops. I don't see the same messages with Yamaho, Onkyo, Panny, Denon, etc. I'm not saying it's real or not, just what I have seen. Perhaps you can comment on it? The only thing the CC useless salesperson could tell me abou H/Ks was that they have "more discrete circuitry." He couldn't tell me what that meant in terms of listening enjoyment, however.
Jeff - I think using an A/V receiver for a pre/pro, in my case, would be only a temporary solution. My plan is to get a full AV receiver, see how I like things, and if I really get the HT/Audio "bug," as WillieM put it, and if I really sweet talk the wife, then I would make a step up to get a multi-channel amp for a while, and add the dedicated pre/pro later (using AV receiver temporarily). Just my thoughts. however, with my listening skill and demands, my hunch is that an AV receiver will likely do just fine.
Again, thanks for the comments.
Mark
 

David Berry

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Mark,

How often and in what ratio do you watch movies and listen to music? This will have a great bearing as to the initial quality of receiver that you wish to purchase.

Almost all receivers above base entry level have a "full set" of preouts (FL/FR/CC/SR/SL/SW) that one can later hook up a separate amp. I started with a Denon 3802 then as I started to enjoy music more, hooked up a two channel amp to the front main speakers via the preouts.
 

Jason Caudill

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Mark-
I have sold H/K on and off for the last 4+ years. There were more than a few problems with their receivers in the past but last years (20 series) and this years (25 series) seem to have addressed those problems. I would buy one without any reservations at this point. I have also sold Yamaha and Onkyo and I think that these are very good receivers. I am not as fond of the Onkyos for music though. Their amp section seems to have taken a step back in my opinion. So at this point I would rank 1. HK, 2. Yamaha, 3. Onkyo. Hope this helps! Jason
 

Geoff L

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Another vote for "Full Pre-outs" and the not mentioned to this point, Pre-ins for looping and or "Seperate discrete ins" for Future formates.

For all the reason mentioned above, Preouts just allows for many so more options later! If you make use of one or more of them great, if not, no harm done. The thing is, if you ever make that decision to go to seperate amping on the main channels or more, not having them will really make you angry at your choice in your Receiver purchase.

Haveing full pre-outs and ins allows for other processing if one chooses the need for it and not using Seprate Amping. EQ's, Parametrics, etc.

Also the use of preouts for exta matrixed channels or dicrete if one looks to "experiment", ( this dependent on what model you buy of course).

Many are happy with their receivers amping performance on it's own, but having preouts at least, and maybe loop ins, and possibly even future discrete preins also gives you exta choices later that the others do not have if buying with no Preouts or ins period.

It's good to know that you have choices available to you if you make changes in the future with maybe speakers, woud like to put an eq in line, or some "KILLER" 2-3-4 or 5 channel AMP deal rolls your way. You just never know...

Having those choices later is very good!

Regards
Geoff

Edit:
At the min I would want main preouts if 2-Channel Music was important to me......
 

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