Is it worth ditching a Harman Kardon 5-channel amp to upgrade a receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by SteveEdwards, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. SteveEdwards

    SteveEdwards Agent

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    I've owned a Denon AVR-1700 receiver for many years now. It does not feature S-video switching, DTS, DPL-II, or have a worthwhile remote. I'd like to jump on the high-def bandwagon and I will need a receiver that can handle component video switching. Other goals are to aquire a user-friendly remote control (now that I'm married) and gain DPL-II and DTS decoding. While 6.1 or 7.1 sound is likely in my future, it is not a priority now, so I'd "settle" for 5.1.

    That said, I added an HK PA5800 amplifier to my system soon after buying the receiver. HK had just discontinued it, the former $1000 amplifier became an absolute STEAL at only $300. For about four years, it has powered my three very innefficient front speakers and a home-built Shiva subwoofer with ease. In it's prime, the amplifier drew much praise as being an outstanding value even at its MSRP of $1000.

    Anyway, as I said, I'm ready to upgrade. And now that I have the amplifier, it seems that upgrading to a pre/pro would be the obvious choice- but their are no budget options for this! I'd really rather not spend more than $400 (I expect to buy used/refurbished).

    For that money, it seems I'm limited to using another receiver as a pre/pro. Doesn't that seem like a total waste? Searching on the boards here, it seems like others have run into the same dilemma of dedicated pre/pro's being unreasonably priced for an entry-level home theater.

    Do you think I am better off selling my amplifier for $300 (if that) and adding that to my receiver budget? That's getting into the ballpark of a similarly amplified HK7200 receiver (among others).

    Though, I believe in deminishing returns with receiver upgrades, and I doubt a mere $300 receiver upgrade could possibly oust this once "best amplifier under $2000".

    What would you do?

    I'm eyeballing the HK DPR-1001 as a pre/pro, though I have more of an affinity for Denon products.
     
  2. Kevin Deacon

    Kevin Deacon Second Unit

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    Keep the HK Amp and use the preouts from a new receiver to power your speakers. The HK amp will be much higher quality than the amps internal to most receivers.
     
  3. BenCosta

    BenCosta Agent

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    I agree with Kevin. Keep the HK. It's a good amp and if it drives your speakers well, there's no reason to reinvest. As far as which receiver to go with there are a lot of great ones out there with good preamp sections. But if its in your budget at all go for a dedicated preamp.

    Peace-

    Ben
     
  4. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Steve,

    It’s generally accepted that receivers are always on the cutting edge of new technology, and you can get said technology for much cheaper than you can with a pre-pro.

    Well, let’s say the only pre-pro you can find that would suit your needs cost $600 or even more. Would you feel better wasting all that money to do what a receiver could have done for $400? [​IMG]

    Personally I don’t get this thing where people think they’re “wasting” something if they don’t use all the amp channels, or if they have to buy a pair of speakers to get the one they need for the rear center channel (“I have two, so somehow, some way I gotta use them both!”). I mean, do you use every feature on your receiver? Every input? Did you ever know anyone who used all those features they packed into a VCR? Do you feel it’s a waste to buy a car that goes 120 mph if the speed limit is 70? I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the picture.

    Since receivers vastly outsell pre-pros, they have the advantage of economies of scale. So look at it as if you’re getting the amp channels for free, not that they’re being wasted. [​IMG]

    Bottom line: Keep the amp, get a new receiver.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    That's a tough call: HK 325 ($440) + value of PA5800 amp ($300) versus HK 7200 ($787, also at onecall). The 53 pound 7200's amp section should be very close to the PA5800's; and the preamp section should be superior to the 325's.

    http://ww2.onecall.com/PID_18440.htm
     
  7. SteveEdwards

    SteveEdwards Agent

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    Charles, I'm looking at the DPR-1001 instead of the AVR-325. Reason being that the digital amps will draw less power, therefore I am hoping the preamp stage will stay cleaner. Price, features seem like they're the same, unless I'm not noticing something.

    Any other recommendations for a receiver with a clean pre-amp? Denon's used to be recommended for this when I was last shopping, and Yamaha the brand to avoid.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Hmm, first time I’ve heard that. I can’t imagine why a company’s entire product line would be summarily dismissed, especially when they have receivers that cost up to and more than $4k.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Chris Sherman

    Chris Sherman Second Unit

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    I looked at the DPR 1001 at Circuit City It feels more like a pre-pro than a receiver it's so light. I was impressed with the look and feel of it the entire back panels connections are gold plated. The component switching is only 30mhz vs. 50mhz for the AVR325. It should definitely run much cooler than the 325. I'd say go for it for $477.00 I've seen no pre-pro of this build quality with this sophisticated processing at this price. If you don't like it ebay it.
     
  10. Michael__M

    Michael__M Stunt Coordinator

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    If you like H/K then you really should consider one of the amps on clearance right now. I just got the 7200 and love it. You could always use the amps on the new reciever to power the surrounds and use your external to continue running the sub and possibly biamp mains (in the future if you don't have the capabilities right now). I wouldn't give up the amp though. Maybe you will have another system in another room one day.

    Most of the receivers on the market today are very comparable at the same price points. People have their preferences but in all honesty they are very close.
     

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