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Preamp section or Power amp section....Which one influences the sound more? (1 Viewer)

Kevin Alexander

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Apr 17, 1999
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I am looking to upgrade my receiver from a Yamaha HTR-5250 to a Harman Kardon AVR-310/320. I am using external amplification to power the pre/pro section of the receiver. Will I notice an improvement in sound because of the more up to date processing in the HK, or will the sound remain pretty much the same?
 

Selden Ball

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Mar 1, 2001
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Selden
Yes.

There are some subtle and not so subtle differences in the way preamps aound. I've never heard either Yamaha or Harman Kardon so I can't comment on them. I do know that Marantz and Pioneer equipment sound different. Most solid-state amplifiers, on the other hand, are much more similar than they are different. Tube amplifiers tend to vary a lot more.
 

Saurav

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Feb 15, 2001
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Agreed. If you have unusual speakers (in terms of their impedance characteristics), the power amp may have a big effect on the sound, because of the way the speaker's impedance affects the amplifier. Other than that (and I would guess that includes the vast majority of speakers people talk about here), I think the preamp would have a bigger effect on the sound.
 

Elbert Lee

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May 24, 2000
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I think the biggest variable in a receiver's sound will depend on the speakers. Therefore, the performance of the amp section will probably have a bigger impact on the sound. However, if the amp section is sufficient, or if an external amp with "amp"le power is used to drive the speakers, the preamp and processor section will indeed have more of a significant impact on movies and music.

elbrt
 

Aslam Imran

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Mar 1, 2002
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Preamp affects details more than the amp and the amp affects the dynamics more than the preamp, IMHO.
 
J

John Morris

I think it's more of a weakest link kinda thing. If your amp colors or rolls off the sound, then it can't get any better even if your preamp is perfectly neutral. If your amp is transparent, then any noise floor, or coloration from your preamp would be apparent. Finally, if your speakers aren't capable of revealing the flaws of your preamp and amp, then, how would you even know if your amp or preamp is adding anything deleterious?
 

Larry B

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Merc:

I think it's more of a weakest link kinda thing. If your amp colors or rolls off the sound, then it can't get any better even if your preamp is perfectly neutral.
With all due respect, I disagree. Since there is no such thing as a perfectly neutral amp or preamp, what we ultimately hear is the summation of all the errors in the system. Thus, even though our amps are flawed, the sound will certainly benefit from a better preamp, as this will lessen the errors.

However, since synergy is both important and difficult to predict, one "better preamp" may sound better than another "better preamp" in any given system.

Larry
 
J

John Morris

Larry B:

I said:
With all due respect, I disagree.
Larry B: So, since you disagree with my statement, then that means that you feel that somehow a certain preamp can correct(restore the upper frequencies)for the roll off of the amp. Is that really what you want to say? Otherwise, if not, then we agree right? Please clarify your disagreement with my statement so I can better understand with you disagree with me on. Thanks.
 

Larry B

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Merc:

I see your point and realize that I didn't explain mys point clearly. You are absolutely correct in stating that if an amp rolls off, a preamp isn't going to help. However, and what I guess I was responding to, was the "linkest link" part, my idea being that even if the amp is the weakest link, improving the preamp can still help.

Larry

P.S. Any idea how much I would have to spend to get a race-ready RX-7 (for SCCA road-racing)?
 

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