Seperates vs. receiver

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Chris Tabor, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. Chris Tabor

    Chris Tabor Stunt Coordinator

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    What are the main benefits of having seperate amps over a high quality receiver? Is the sound really THAT much better to justify the cost? Or is there more options for upgrading along the line for one or the other? What about when it comes to just playing music LOUD for long periods of time, would one be more suited than the other? Also, how much would you have to spend on seperates or what kind would you need to outperform say like a top of the line denon?
     
  2. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's my thoughts, someone correct me if I'm wrong.

    A straight power amp is going to do a better job (ie sound better) at powering up your speakers than a reciever in the same price range. There are several reasons for this but because power amps are much simpler electronically than recievers there is less chance of residual noise inside the box and because they're simpler circuitry they will probably have a shorter signal path to the output transistors then to the speaker outs on the back. Shorter, wider paths mean higher current cleaner sound.

    Plus, nothing says "you will be assimilated" like seeing a nice big black or grey borg cube of a power amp sitting in your stack of audio gear. Simple styleing, no digital display, not cluttered with buttons and switches. Just pure unmitigated high current badness.

    BTW: Recievers and power amps are not mutually exclusive. In fact it well known that if you go out and get yourself a reciever one important thing to look for is "pre-outs". Pre-outs on your high end Denon receiver gives you the ability to load it up with any power amps you have laying around the house. It means you can take a slightly cheaper reciever (perhaps lower wats per channel) now. And then upgrade later by buying a beefy power amp for the front, then another for center, then another for rear... or just a big 5channel amp. This will relegate your reciever to status of pro/pre, processor (for Dolby Digital DTS) and preamp to do your switching.

    I use an arcam avr200 as a reciever that powers up my rear and center channels. My fronts are powered up by an NAD two channel power amp. Not a lot of difference but the added flexibility of adding power amps lets me experiment with bi-amping my front speakers and trying different configurations etc.
    http://www.waydesworld.com/media/tower_of_power.htm
     
  3. Chris Tabor

    Chris Tabor Stunt Coordinator

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    So the difference in sound between your receiver and amp are only slight? What if you were to use the other outputs on the receiver to power your fronts instead of the amp, would that make much of a difference? Also, it seems to me that the top of the line denons, onkyo's, HK's and yamaha's are built extremely well with great quality. Is that same quality there with an amp or say monoblock? Sorry if these questions sound stupid but I have no experience with seperates.
     
  4. Chris Tabor

    Chris Tabor Stunt Coordinator

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    Also, what controls the volume with all seperates, the preamp or is there an adjustment for each amp?
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    If and only if your receiver can't provide adequate power to your speakers at the volumes you're likely to listen to, then you will likely benefit from additonal amplification. It's really not an easy question to answer if using all the available channels on your receiver will result in your receiver going into protection and/or clipping. That depends on the speaker efficiencies, the volumes you're playing at, the room size, the nature of the room, etc. And of course, it depends on your particular receiver as to how much 'honest' power it has when all channels are driven. Generalizations are difficult things to do with great certainty. However, with multichannel receivers, especially those in the middle/lower tier of a manufacturer's product line, generally, using additional channels will reduce power to all channels and not always in predictible ways.

    Now this might sound like I'm arguing against separates. I'm not. There are definite advantages with going separate. Depending upon the person, there are also advantages of having one unit do it all. Most certainly, going separate allows you to make more complex systems, replacing only those items that you deem necessary. Of course, then comes the question...just how separate do you want to go? Multichannel amps...monoblocks. What're your financial resources and goals? It becomes a very personal decision and in some ways becomes a philosophy that's peculiar and correct for only one person. You.
     
  6. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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  7. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    It's my belief that seperates last longer than recievers. I believe the amp sections of recievers "bake" the other components. I know I would buy an Outlaw 950 pre and their or other amp/s before I'd buy a reciever, myself. In fact I did...
     
  8. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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  9. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I have to disagree, from what I have heard the HK recievers can compete with seperates. Of course the much more expensive amps they can't compete with but a decent prices one I definantly feel as if it is just as good I think.

    I think HK does a much better job on the amplifier section that most other companies do with there recievers in all honesty... Also HK also seems to have much more accurate readings than other recievers on there power.
     
  10. Ariel

    Ariel Stunt Coordinator

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    i have the HK5500 receiver (75w/ch). A friend offered me his 18 year old 60w/ch. class A technics amp (2 ch. only) and tested it using the pre outs of the receiver. There is a big difference in sound in favor of the separate amp. BTW, the HK is a very good receiver compared to all within its price range.
     
  11. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Yeah - I would agree that HK has true power ratings for their amp section w/ all channels driven but I think seperates would be the way to go if you're really into HT and have the extra cash to use towards that.

    In response to the first question, I think the seperate amp will make your setup sound better if your speakers need more power to "open" them up. The real improvement is when you pair those beefed up amps w/ a better processor.
     
  12. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to say that my Arcam 5X 70W receiver sound as good as a my NAD power amp when I use it in stereo mode. The reciever is very musical and detailed.
     
  13. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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  14. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I think you are right about that Ernest, and if you have a big room perhaps seperates would be the way to go. I own Klipsch speakers with a HK AVR-225 and even though they are easier to power than most other speakers... but I think the HK should be able to power almost anything in a mid-sized room without a problem and still deliver nice sound and alot of power...
     
  15. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    You can buy external amplification so cheaply now a days(especially used)..its the one part of your system where buying used isnt much of a risk becuase theres not much to break down or wear out..For me its a no brainer, I take external amps over recievers internal amps any day of the week.....why not ?...its just as cheap in the long run anyhow

    quote:
    (how much would you have to spend on seperates or what kind would you need to outperform say like a top of the line denon? )


    If your talking about how much it would take to outperform the AMP section of a high end reciever..Ive have/had a couple 300.00 amps, sherwood am9080 also h/k pa5800 (and other 300.00 amps) that outpeformed the internal amps of my denon 4802, h/k avr8000 and sony 777es.

    Whether your using a reciever as just a processor or using a dedicated pre-pro, either way an external amp is a good cheap investment imo.
     
  16. Chris Tabor

    Chris Tabor Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok so now that you've stated about cheaper amps being able to compete with the amp section of a 4802 then would there be a big difference in the quality of preamps compared to a 4802?
     
  17. ChrisLazarko

    ChrisLazarko Supporting Actor

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    I definantly think that a cheap amp would not work as well as a top-line recicver, especially Harman/Kardon. I think you will be better offer with a high-end recicver instead of seperates if you want to spend little.
     
  18. NickSP

    NickSP Supporting Actor

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  19. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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  20. NickSP

    NickSP Supporting Actor

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