Pre-Pro's paired with "Digital" amps? Soon? Folks using Panny digital rcvrs as amps?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Chris PC, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    With the Panasonic, HK and Sony Digital Amp powered receivers out there, how much longer before "digital" amp separates are out there. It makes sense. A good Pre-Pro can be changed, upgraded etc, and the digital amps are slim enough that people who bought receivers previously because of the compact-ness won't have much to complain about.

    Are
     
  2. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    I rememeber how we were sold on the CD as being superior to LP's because of the digital characteristics. Funny how you can still buy LP's and turntables and most audiophiles are squarely in the analog corner.

    It took me a couple of years to realize DIGITAL was ruining my analog music experience.

    To each his own but someone will have to PRY my analog amps and preamps from my cold hands. [​IMG]
     
  3. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Chris:

    There are a number of digital amplifiers out there already:

    Bel Canto Design eVo series
    Audio Research 150M and 150.2
    PS Audio HCA-2 and soon a multi-channel amp
    Spectron Premiere and Musician
    Jeff Rowland 300 series and 201 mono.

    I have a Panasonic SA-XR25 which will shortly become my office surround receiver [​IMG] For the price I paid, a little over US$200, it's stupid good. Of course I mean that in a positive way.

    Would I use it to drive Maggies all day long? Nope. It isn't appropriate for that. For speakers that stay above about 6 ohms it's a great choice.

    Charles:

    We'll have to disagree. I understand your affection for analog reproduction, but I don't share it.

    I've heard some very big $$$ turntable setups in what amount to cost no object systems and I can't get past that underlying "carrier" of noise. It lacks a clarity that I prefer.

    Cheers,
     
  4. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    John, my LP and CD comparison was meant more for what happened in the late 70's and early 80's when they replaced those noisy analog turntables for harsh digital CD's. [​IMG]

    Most CD's now sound way better than those 20 some years ago. Also, I am really talking about just the amps and preamps staying analog and not rushing out to replace MY analog amps and preamps with the new and great digital ones. Maybe in a few generations (of digital equipment) they will be in the same league as analog amps and preamps. That was more to what I was trying to say. I didn't explain the analogy very well the first time.

    Funny thing is, my budget LP setup sounds fantastic with good vinyl. Out of my 6 to 700 LP's I'd say about 75% of them sound great. The ones that don't went through college and a Electrophonic rig. Thinking one has to spend thousands to get decent LP sound does them a disservice. Now if you connect the LP rig to a DIGITAL home theater receiver, you will NOT be a happy camper. That extra D/A stage will KILL any LP analog edge and even worse, even if you have a HT receiver with a phono stage, it will be so bad you will run back to CD's. However, if done right with an even decent setup it still can sound mighty fine.

    My problem was doing both good analog AND home theater in one rig. It took 4 or 5 years to find the right combo but I have. (Aragon Soundstage, Creek OBH-8 phono stage, Technics bd22 turntable, Shure V15-p cart) I can deal with a carrier of noise but I have trouble with compression.
     
  5. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    You can add this Yamaha MX-D1 digital power amp (500 watts/channel) to the list....

    [​IMG]

    BTW, JVC and Sherwood also have A/V receivers with digital amps inside them.
     
  6. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Ok. I understand the issues with analog vs digital. Its heard to tell sometimes. My receiver has a source direct mode, and when not using that, the "analog" output of my CD player is run through another AD to DA conversion. I've sat and listened and strained to hear a difference, but its always inconclusive. The kicker is when I get someone to change it for me so I don't know. I'm sure digital has its problems, but it sounds good for the money. I like the idea of light, high efficiency amps. I could have sworn I heard some people are using their Panny receivers as amps, by connecting a few of them to pre-amps. Are they doing something un-usual, because I don't recall the Panny's having an "amp-in" unless I'm mistaken. Otherwise, they'd have to break inside that thing and mess with it, right?

    It would be nice if companies like Panasonic, Sony, NAD and Marantz etc would start making digital amp separates too. I trust it would be very cost competitive. That Yamaha looks cool.

    My biggest complaints are the lousy crossover and the digital dropouts, otherwise my Marantz SR 6200 receiver does sound fairly good for both home theatre and music. I would like to move to a Pre-Pro and separate digital amps [​IMG]
     
  7. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Danny,

    My list wasn't meant to be exhaustive. I thought the Yammie digital wasn't out just yet, but it looks like it is now available.

    Cheers,
     
  8. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Wow. $4999. Interesting. Still I wonder about the less expensive stuff.

    So is it basically true that digital signals input into the Panny receivers are digital the whole time until the speaker wire circuit?
     
  9. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    John,

    I didn't even realize that was that many manufacturers active at making digital amps. I first saw the Yamaha in a Japanese audiophile magazine but didn't think Yamaha would market it here in the States. So I guess most of the mainstream manufacturers are going digital..... Thanks for sharing your list with us. [​IMG]

    Chris,

    From all indications, yes.

    For those interested, here's the ongoing 30 page thread on the Panasonic XR25/45.

    BTW, J&R is now taking orders for the upcoming SA-XR50 at $300.00.

    http://images.jandr.com/productimage...FFFFF&CVT=jpeg

    Here's some information on the upcoming top-of-the-line Panasonic SA-XR70.
     
  10. JimPeitersen

    JimPeitersen Second Unit

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    Chris,
    Yes you can use the Panny's as a seperate amplifier, just plug something into either the digital or analog inputs and put the receiver in "party" mode (gotta luv that!) All the channels produce the same signal. Wire it up as a bi-amp (SA-XR10/35/45), or tri-amping (SA-XR25/45). If you input a digital source, it remains in the digital realm. Analog sources are moved through a processor (A-D conversion, amplified, then back through a D-A conversion to the speakers.) So you can see, sending a digital signal makes the most sense and you have a poor man's bi-amp setup.
    JP
     
  11. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    I can understand that point of view, and in the same vein I'm not sure digital separates make sense today, because of the added D/A and A/D and D/A conversions needed to accomodate the connections -- waiting on a true standardized industry-wide digital connection implementation.

    In the case of the TI Equibit digital amplifier chips in the Panasonic receivers, they actually eliminate a step (they eliminate the need for a DAC and filter chipset) and let the amp chips actually perform the D/A conversion in the process of driving the speakers, i.e. digital input from CD or DVD doesn't go through a traditional DAC and filter chips. Notice the Panasonic doesn't have a traditional DAC chip, and thus can't provide analog AUX outputs of digital input sources.
     
  12. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Where would I find technical (engineering) info on digital amps? I am curious as hell about this concept and am still scratching my head.

    --
    H
     
  13. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Holadem,

    You can find out some information at http://www.classd.org .

    For specific technical primers I would suggest searching TIs website for information on Toccatta and Equibit. This will cover the technology they got when they purchased Toccatta a few years back.

    Tripath, http://www.tripath.com (used by Bel Canto, Audio Research and Carver Pro et al) has information on their technology.

    Spectron, http://www.spectronav.com has a technology white paper on their web site.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
     
  14. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    JimPeitersen,

    Ok, that makes sense. Normally you can't use a receiver as an "amp" because you need a pre-amp and an amp, meaning, my receiver won't like a pre-amp signal connected to its inputs. Anyways, sounds neat. Should try the Outlaw 950 with a few Panny recvr amps [​IMG]
     
  15. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Thanks so much John, that is exactly what I was looking for, especially the third link.

    Just the implications of an amplifier as a control system are fascinating, because design-wise, it brings a whole new level of abstraction. The realm of closed loop systems is a whole mathematical and engineering field by itself, regardless of the actual application, be it a DC drive, a robot arm, or (!!!) an audio amplifier. I would have never imagined that, although it seems the ideas have been around since the 70s. On paper, this sounds absolutely fantastic.

    --
    H
     
  16. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Chris,


    Because you will be using the 6 analog outputs from the Outlaw prepro to the 6 analog inputs on the Panny, the sound quality won't be that good.

    The sound quality of the Panny is only raved about with digital inputs only. Many owners are not very happy with the sound quality of the analog inputs (i.e. the A/D converter chip).
     
  17. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Right. Gotcha. Hmmmm, I wonder how hard it would be to modify a very old CD player with digital out. Its a shame, because my old CDP-C50 Sony 5 disc carousel was available with digital out in another model, but I couldn't find one and basically didn't bother. Oh well, plenty of simple CD players with digital out.

    And of course, this leads one to see what would make sense in the future. Receivers and Pre-pro's with digital outs for each channel (and digital main or multi-channel in's?), in order to connect to digital amps [​IMG]

    The big question is, being that the digital inputs are the best way to use the Panny, does it suffer from digital dropouts at the beginning of tracks like the Marantz, NAD and other receivers do?

    I'm planning to send my Marantz SR 6200 in to have Lenbrook at least acknowledge the problem, which they did not do last time, and perhaps I'll go for another receiver. For now maybe I'll try a digital one, but hope their aren't dropouts!
     
  18. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Mods now available on the Panasonic SA-XR45 from The Boulder Cable Company.

    Yes....$700 worth of mods on a $300 receiver.
     
  19. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Yikes. Thats funky. Gotta admit the "Party" mode sounds interesting. Does anybody know exactly what it involves? Is it simpley the way you set the receiver to bridge channels? I don't understand how you can use a receiver like an amp. Do you need a Pre-Pro with digital outputs?
     
  20. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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