Marantz separates vs av receiver

Don Pattee

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I'm still researching between Pioneer Elite (which is what I've had for the past 18 years), Marantz, and Anthem... But while looking at Marantz I realized I had a question.

I'm at the cusp of being able to get in to separates, but being able to do it in a couple steps would be easier.

What would be the real difference between
  1. getting an AV8805/AV7705 "AV Separate Pre-amplifier" and pairing it with the MM8077/MM7055 amplifier, and
  2. getting an SR8012 "AV Receiver" that I'd use by itself for a little while and then pairing that with the same MMx0xx power amplifier from option 1?

From an MSRP perspective option 1 (using the 7705 to make a better comparison) it would be $2,200 + $1,200 = $3.4k as step one to get my 5.1 upgraded, and then another $2,400 later when I upgraded my full 11.1, so $5.8k total.

For option 2, it would be $3k as step 1, then the power amps at $1.2 and $2.4 later, so $6.6k total but spread across 3 purchases instead of two.
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Not clear on what “difference” you’re talking about. I assume you aren’t asking us to make a decision for you based on the financial difference, so I’ll rule that one out.

Likewise, I’m not inclined to wade through the substantial manuals comparing differences in features between the pre-pro vs. the AVR. You can do that better than I can, because I don’t know what features are important to you.

I can’t see how there would be any difference from a performance / audible perspective. Lots of people go with AVRs and outboard amps because AVRs can be had cheaper, compared to pre-pros. That route allows people to change out AVRs frequently to keep up with the latest technology while maintaining a robust amplifier section.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

Robert Crawford

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Dan,

I have a 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos setup. Currently, I run my Yamaha 3060 receiver with an Outlaw 7 channel amp. The amp powers my center, two main and four surround speakers. The 3060 receiver powers my four Dolby Atmos speakers.

I've debated on upgrading my Yamaha receiver for several months now. I've looked at the Marantz 8012 which now sells at $2527 which is quite less than the Marantz 8805 pre-amp at $4499. So if I do upgrade my receiver, I'll probably stick with another receiver over a pre-amp due to cost.

Some will argue that the pre-amp is better than having a receiver connected to amp(s), but frankly, I'm not sure I'll hear enough of a difference to justify the extra cost of a pre-amp.
 

Don Pattee

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Not clear on what “difference” you’re talking about.
...
I can’t see how there would be any difference from a performance / audible perspective.


Right, that's what I'm interested in. If two devices have the correct number of HDMI/component/fiber/etc I/O, they both support 4k/11.2/any other random tech, I'm trying to figure out what the fundamental difference between a full receiver and something that is just a preamp.

Because to me it would make more sense if the receiver was slightly more expensive. The actual amp portion won't be as good as dedicated amps, but the fact that it has an amp built in at all should make it more expensive. Unless there is some critical thing that makes the standalone component "better" in some other way that I don't know...
 

John Dirk

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If two devices have the correct number of HDMI/component/fiber/etc I/O, they both support 4k/11.2/any other random tech, I'm trying to figure out what the fundamental difference between a full receiver and something that is just a preamp.

Respectfully, you have this backwards. The receiver is always the inferior component in this scenario, so "just a receiver" would probably have been more accurate, although I did understand what you meant. Trying to pack decent amplifiers and all of the circuitry needed for full-featured connectivity, processing etc into a single chassis always requires some compromise. Integrated receivers usually accomplish this by employing less capable amplification stages and quoting their specs with 1 or 2 channels driven [to mask it] which is not consistent with real-world use. Since the pre/pro isn't trying to be everything to everyone it usually does a much better job at it's stated mission [switching and processing] and also doesn't suffer the sometimes extreme temperatures generated by higher powered receivers due to the built-in amps.

Meanwhile decent standalone power amps don't need to worry about connectivity and processing signals so they have more room for solid power stages and heat dissipation. For this reason you'll usually see their specs quoted with all channels driven and with a little headroom to boot.

You didn't say anything about your room dimensions or characteristics. Not everyone needs separates as there are plenty of receivers out there that can handle small to mid-sized rooms just fine with suitable speakers.
 
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John Dirk

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Dan,

I have a 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos setup. Currently, I run my Yamaha 3060 receiver with an Outlaw 7 channel amp. The amp powers my center, two main and four surround speakers. The 3060 receiver powers my four Dolby Atmos speakers.

I've debated on upgrading my Yamaha receiver for several months now. I've looked at the Marantz 8012 which now sells at $2527 which is quite less than the Marantz 8805 pre-amp at $4499. So if I do upgrade my receiver, I'll probably stick with another receiver over a pre-amp due to cost.

Some will argue that the pre-amp is better than having a receiver connected to amp(s), but frankly, I'm not sure I'll hear enough of a difference to justify the extra cost of a pre-amp.
Well, the SR8012 is an 11.2 receiver whereas the AV8805 is a [landmark] 13.2 pre/pro. That should explain some of the price disparity. I was also shocked to not find objective specs for the 8012, even on the Marantz site. 205 Watts per channel from an 11.2 channel integrated receiver, and using only a single toroidal transformer? Clearly only one or two channels driven but specs should have been prominently featured. Even as a satisfied Marantz customer I'm bothered by that.
 
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JohnRice

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The number of connections, features and processing modes aren't all there is to audio equipment. There's also sound quality. That's kind of where the two diverge. The AV8805 is a radically, vastly better piece of audio equipment than the SR8012. They're not even in the same league.

I've gotten almost completely burned out on this topic on this forum, and I promised myself I wouldn't jump into it again, but here I am.

I guess there's a fundamental difference in the thought process between someone who buy separates vs. one who buys receivers. Receivers are the better value "right now". They are the right choice for what you have "right now". Separates seem to only make sense for people who think longer term. It's more of an investment mentality, and investing can lead to a significant savings in the long term, plus you get better gear. You invest in, and go to the effort for amps that are more expensive "right now", but that you might use for 20, 30, 40 years. You invest in them because if/when you decide to upgrade your speakers, you already have amps that will drive anything, so you can select from everything. Sometimes you unknowingly buy awesome speakers that no receiver can drive sufficiently, then you start learning how it all works, the light goes on, and you go into separates to make them sing.

If the priority is how long the list of features is and how much it costs "right now", go with a receiver.

Having said that, I probably wouldn't get Marantz amps. They seem over priced to me. Look at Outlaw, Adcom, Emotiva, or even some of the more cutting edge brands like D-Sonic. Supposedly they have a high power 11 channel Class D amp coming out that's quite reasonably priced.
 
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JohnRice

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There are other, more important differences as well. Power has dynamics that you aren't likely to get from any receiver, depending on the demands of your speakers. There's a difference between loud and powerful. Amps don't just throw electricity at the speakers. They control them. Better amps control them better.
 

Robert Crawford

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The number of connections, features and processing modes aren't all there is to audio equipment. There's also sound quality. That's kind of where the two diverge. The AV8805 is a radically, vastly better piece of audio equipment than the SR8012. They're not even in the same league.
I agree with you to a certain extent. However, I have serious doubts that I can tell the difference between having a SR8805 connected to two different amps and a SR8012 connected to those same amps. At least, enough of a difference to justify that added cost of almost $2000. If I was still working and not retired on a fixed income then I might process that cost disparity quite differently.

Which Marantz pre-op do you own? Since, I'm never going to be 13.2, I do wonder if I can get basically the same performance benefit out of the SR7705 as the SR8805 with my 7.2.4 setup?
 
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JohnRice

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I agree with you to a certain extent. However, I have serious doubts that I can tell the difference between having a SR8805 connected to two different amps and a SR8012 connected to those same amps. At least, enough of a difference to justify that added cost of almost $2000. If I was still working and not retired on a fixed income then I might process that cost disparity quite differently.

Which Marantz pre-op do you own? Since, I'm never going to be 13.2, I do wonder if I can get basically the same performance benefit out of the SR7705 as the SR8805 with my 7.2.4 setup?
I have an AV7703, mainly for the reason you mentioned. The AV8805 is better, but is it worth it? Probably not for me. However, music reproduction is extremely important for me, so I have an Emotiva XSP-1 for music, and it definitely does make a very audible difference, in my system. Just like power amps, I keep that through surround upgrades.

One gain you can get with a preamp is balanced interconnects. It opens the door to some flexibility. For instance, I have the L/R amp in the front/center of the room, between the L/R speakers, so the speaker wire runs are very short.
 

Robert Crawford

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I have an AV7703, mainly for the reason you mentioned. The AV8805 is better, but is it worth it? Probably not for me. However, music reproduction is extremely important for me, so I have an Emotiva XSP-1 for music, and it definitely does make a very audible difference, in my system. Just like power amps, I keep that through surround upgrades.

One gain you can get with a preamp is balanced interconnects. It opens the door to some flexibility. For instance, I have the L/R amp in the front/center of the room, between the L/R speakers, so the speaker wire runs are very short.
TBH, I don't play much music in my main HT, it's mostly movies and some TV shows.
 

JohnRice

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TBH, I don't play much music in my main HT, it's mostly movies and some TV shows.
A component like the XSP-1 isn’t something most people would be interested in. It’s definitely a niche product, but music reproduction is always my first priority in that system.
 

John Dirk

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I've gotten almost completely burned out on this topic on this forum, and I promised myself I wouldn't jump into it again, but here I am.
John - I was waiting for your input as I knew it would be more insightful than what I could offer. I can understand your burnout factor but hang in there. As the saying goes, "when the student is ready the teacher will appear."
 
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DaveF

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I’ll throw in my two cents:

  • If you want to drive a typical living room system, buy an integrated AVR. Cheaper, easier, and great quality. With a powered sub, satellite speakers are easily driven for quality audio.
  • If you want to drive a dedicated theater room and/or want to drive a full surround system at reference levels with the best quality audio (no clipping during the explosive action scenes), buy separates.
  • If you’re a serial upgrader, as John describes, you might see a path for higher quality at lower overall cost over the long run with separates.

As for me, I’d used integrated AVRs my life, as most enthusiasts do. And now I’ve got an Onkyo AVR for the living room.

But the best rooms I’ve heard used separates. So for my projector-based Atmos room, I’ve got a Marantz 7702mkII and the Marantz 7- and 5-channel dedicated amps (whose model numbers escape me). (I’m not here to sell Marantz, just what worked for me in terms of quality and pricing and feature set.) I suspect I could have succeeded with a high end 11-channel AVR like whatever the 2016 version of the current Denon 6400. But I had one chance to buy the gear and I risked over buying versus under buying on audio electronics.
 

Dave Moritz

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Unlike many receivers out with preamp outs the Marantz SR-8012 is actually capible of driving just about any amplifier to full output! If I remember correctly the 8012 outputs 4.3v to 4.5v which should be more than enough to drive any power amp. I seriously doubt the preamp is outputting more than that out of it's preamp outs! If someone knows the voltage rating on the Marantz preamp and or the voltage on other preamps please let us know. But the 8012 has alot of features and performance making it a great preamp and it also has Auro 3D! Look at what it would cost to get Auro 3D in another prepro I think you will find the cost difference to be substantial! As far as power amps go check out Emotiva along with the Marantz power amps.
 

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