Surround Reciever Vs. Stereo Reciever Sound Quality

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by AndrewLevine, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. AndrewLevine

    AndrewLevine Stunt Coordinator

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    I am getting a pair of Athena F2.2 floor speakers and now need a reciever. It will be used 90% for music, however the idea of a sub pre-out is attractive to me, as is the idea of possible addition of a center channel (tho not important).

    My question:

    From a 2.0 stereo mode in a medium sized room, would an analog stereo reciever with slightly more power sound any different than a less powerful digital surround sound reciever?

    Also:

    I was looking at the HK3380 which has a sub output giving me the ability to do a 2.1 system- is this bass management system anygood, or would i want to use a HT reciever with a digital input when using a sub.

    Thanks for all help.
     
  2. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Andrew: all the stereo receivers I've seen also use digital circuitry - they just use less of it because they don't include Dolby decoders or digital inputs.

    That being said a stereo receiver and a surround receiver from the same company will very likely sound basically identical. But for the same money the stereo version will almost certainly generate more power, since there are only two amplifers and no surround circuits to pay for (the power amps and power supply sections are the most expensive parts of a receiver).

    In that list of 2.0 receivers in my stereo HT thread, only the Outlaw receiver definitely included bass management with its subwoofer output (keep in mind I didn't read EVERY page of those manuals i.e. for example I skipped the "how to tune in a station" sections, but why would they hide such information?).

    Despite all the handwringing here over creating Perfect Bass (this is not possible anyway), as long as your left/rights are large enough, you *can* still use a sub without FULL b.m. - it's just that the bass might not sound quite as good as with full b.m. I.e. I'm just not into the black/white, on/off, extremely-bad/extremely-good way of thinking as far as audio is concerned. That is just too stressful for me and can also get very expensive.

    If you want, you could use a surround receiver and simply program it for "no center" and "no surrounds", making it a virtual stereo receiver and can then use its b.m. system to better integrate your subwoofer (though most of the Athenas' bass capability will be wasted [if those are the ones with the dual 8" woofers]) .
     
  3. AndrewLevine

    AndrewLevine Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks! That was really helpful.
     
  4. NickSI

    NickSI Stunt Coordinator

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    andrew i have an HK3380 and recently i stole the subwoofer from my dads surround system to put with my Boston VR1s and my HK 3380. i was shocked when i hooked it up and it didn't really sound very good it sounded like the cutoff frequency was set way too high. i could really place the sub. granted the sub was a cheapie JBL out of a SCS HTIB. i connected it through line out.

    my 2c
     
  5. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Nick: I am 99.999% sure that the H/K's subout is simply a summed version of the left & right signals, which means it is a full range signal i.e. there is no cutoff frequency. Hence the reason your sub didn't sound right. So in this case just use the subwoofer's built-in crossover. FYI: this means don't use the input that bypasses the sub's internal xover - on many subs this is usually labeled as the "LFE" input (but not all subs have such a specialized input).
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Lance is correct, there is NO crossover on the H/K stereo receivers - the sub preout is full range.
     
  7. NickSI

    NickSI Stunt Coordinator

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    i plugged out of the HK sub pre out then into LFE in the sub. was that correct? im guessing not. so how should i plug it in to make it sound right because there is no knob to select the cutoff freq.
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Outlaw has a stereo receiver with a sub-out on it.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The 2150 is $600 and is also currently out of stock again.
     

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