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  1. #1

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    Default Receivers/amps/preamps what seperates them?

    What makes for a good receiver/amp/pre amp and why?

    I've been listening to my Rotel 2 channel rig for some time and desided to conduct yeat another test between the Rotel preamp and my receiver subbing as a pre amp.

    All kidding aside,the Rotel preamp has a more narural sound.It brings life to dynamic range and opens up the soundstage.Imaging is really detailed with different volumes inbetween instruments...meaning air inbetween everything like each sound has it's own speaker to play it's sound....
    Now the receiver introduces a different sound....like a static without actually being there.....I'm having a hard time trying to come up with words to describe what I hear.....so Please bare with me....the soundstage isn't as wide with the receiver as a preamp,it is still behond the sides of the speakers but doesn't seem limited to the walls like the pre amp(Rotel )does.The other thing I noticed is that the receiver also seems to skip certain sounds...like for example..........in one track I ran I can hear the bass guitar totally clear in the background supporting the kick of the bass drum,then following the guitar note for note.I can focus on the bass guitar the entire length of the sound with the Rotel Pre amp.Now the same sound with the receiever(Denon) as the pre amp,I cannot follow the bass guitar.It gets lost in the mix like all the other sounds are drowning it out.

    I have only owned 1 other seperate amp and that was the B&K st140,I never owned the correct matching preamp for it,I always ran it off the receiver I owned at the given times.Now that amp sounded completely different each time I made a receiver change.The sonic signature of each recveiver was introduced each time.For better or worse it was there.I sold off that amp and that was that.

    I never put this much time into 2 channel listening/testing like I'm doing know.Home Theater is still my baby ,but 2 channel is so enjoyable now that I made some changes to my system.

    My question to all is what makes for a good rig?What makes for a good amp/pre combo and why does the sound change so much between a pre amp and a receiver acting as a pre amp?

    I understand the seperation between electronic as noise and such from other parties sharing a common chasis,but using an outboard amp is some sort of seperation.

    My Receiver has a Direct 2 channel bypass.I would have thought this would improve some of the sound quality when using the internal amps and external amps.It seems to make little difference.
    Using the external amp compared to the internal amp is night and day.The internal amp in the Denon holds no candle to the Rotel or the B&K, but the Rotel pre amp in the mix makes all the difference in greater then the internal amp vs the external.

    I completely understand why alot of you guys use a receiver as a preamp for 2 channel listening and home theater alike,I'm getting real tired of rewiring my gear when I want to watch a movie.
    I used to go as far as putting in the rt1000p's in the mix due to the lsi's do not match at all the cs400i and the rest of the theater speaker package.I don't have the room to run both pairs up front for 2 channel and theater separately.

    This entire ordeal with my system is a temp thing.....when the house is done,I can build the system correctly with the rsp1066,RMB1075 and the rb1070.I will power the mains with the rb1070,the 5 channel amp rmb1075 will do center,rears and surround back.I think this will make for an incredibile 2 channel and theater rig........later down the road I want to build the office 2 channel rig but funds are growning thin due to all the expense of the new house,furniture,and such.The theater comes first.Once it's done I can start building funds for the 2 channel rig.

    I got alot of thinking,I got some sort of lock on the 2 channel rig but who know by then.
    Last edited by mantis; 09-08-2002 at 01:11 PM.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  2. #2

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    mantis,

    I think you already know with the amount of different equipment
    you've listened to that each manufactor,as well as, each piece of
    equipment they produce are made up of different components. The design is different, and hopefully when you spend the same
    amount for a preamp as you did for a receiver the seperate preamp should use better components. These would hopefully yield better sound. I agree with you a receiver used as a preamp
    does not do as good a job as a seperate preamp. Especially if the
    power amp, and preamp match. I was surprised how much of a
    difference an external power amp made over the receivers amp. I
    personally think it has to do with the quality of the components &
    method of manufactoring.
    JmasterJ Polk to the Death

  3. #3

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    Iv'e proven this to myself 10x over,I was wondering other peoples thoughts on this topic.Alot of guys in here do it.

    The new forum I joined,there is alot of talk about it.One guy went out and bought a Kenwood receiver to do the test himself in his rig,he currently owns seperates.That sounded like something I would do..I had to chuckle,but I'm looking forward to his results.
    Another guy went out and bought both the pre amp and receiver of the same company and is finding closer performance at a cheaper price.Anal as alot of us are about sound quality,to give up sound quality on a couple of bills don't add up to me.Id be mad I didn't spend the extra money.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  4. #4

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    Dan, I'm certainly glad that you are seeing the difference between separates and receivers though I'm somewhat surprised in all of your years of installing 2ch rigs that it's just starting to settle in.

    As far as the differences between receivers and separates, my opinion only without any hard data to back it up is that a receiver is an exercise in compromise. A compromise of space and money. The big difference, IMO, is the quality of the amp. The amp of a receiver is the biggest difference. You would be hard pressed to find a receiver with the amount of headroom that a power amp has. Second, IMO is space. Trying to cram that much electrical stuff in such a small area sharing a common power source is bound to add a certain amount of unwanted noise (pretty technical explanation, eh?)

    Lastly, is cost. MOST folks don't have the desire or cash to spend big bucks on audio plus they want something relatively uncomplicated. A receiver fits the bill nicely. It will drive most HT speakers adequately and everyone is happy.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  5. #5

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    more clean power, that what seperates them
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.

  6. #6

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    when you install rigs for other people, you do learn alot about alot of different things.But when you go home and don't own half of what you install, you don't get the personal experience.
    I had the B&K amp for years.But this is my very first 2 channel seperates.Can't wait to get home theater seperates.

    Thanks for the replies.......I love having new toys to play with...
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  7. #7

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    O the internal amps were never the question ...it's the pre amp thats gets me.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Receivers/amps/preamps what seperates them?

    Originally posted by mantis
    Now the receiver introduces a different sound....like a static without actually being there.....I'm having a hard time trying to come up with words to describe what I hear.....so Please bare with me....the soundstage isn't as wide with the receiver as a preamp,it is still behond the sides of the speakers but doesn't seem limited to the walls like the pre amp(Rotel )does.The other thing I noticed is that the receiver also seems to skip certain sounds...like for example..........in one track I ran I can hear the bass guitar totally clear in the background supporting the kick of the bass drum,then following the guitar note for note.I can focus on the bass guitar the entire length of the sound with the Rotel Pre amp.Now the same sound with the receiever(Denon) as the pre amp,I cannot follow the bass guitar.It gets lost in the mix like all the other sounds are drowning it out.


    This is the same thing I'm finding with the tube amp equipment I've been playing with recently. Kind of like taking your example with preamps to the extreme. There are so many more sounds recorded than you ever hear. My first experience with this totally knocked my socks off! My first thoughts were that I never though a human could hear so many sounds at once and that human hearing is normally never used to it's fullest. Sure, the spec's for the receiver are the same, in some cases possibly bettter than a given separate preamp, but unfortunatly specs don't tell the story. There needs to be a "precision" spec (possibly many others) which would describe this unleashing of many little sounds. You can take this improvement much further than just a separate preamp if you pursue it.
    madmax

    PS: Thanks for your insite into angling the speakers. I have not tried it yet but it is at the top of my list. The 1.2's don't lend themselves well to this sort of thing but I plan on trying it anyway.

  9. #9

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    madmax001,
    very cool,your welcome on the tilt thing,for regular tower type speakers and such, even Martin Logans gain from this.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  10. #10

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    taken in the other direction, that is one of my fascinations with a passive preamp. As I said before, a passive preamp, theoretically, reduces the amount of 'noise' or 'distortion' introduced to the original signal, for better or worse.

    Dan,
    Have you tried your Rotel rig with your RT Polks? I am curious as if you still feel that the RT line still wouldn't benefit from separates?

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  11. #11
    Stronzo
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    I can intrude here and state that the RT line definetly benefits from seperates. :)

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    as can I, the reason I ask Dan is that previously his opinion was that RT's weren't of sufficient quality to benefit from separates. I was curious, now that he has separates if he still holds that opinion.

    I'm just curious, that's all.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  13. #13

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    In theory a receiver should sound better than separates. Many components within an amp are duplicated in a pre-amp and tuner. Not only would this be unnecessary and degrade the sound, but when you add in the extra plugs and cables that can just be hard wired within a receiver it seems like it would be a no brainer.

    The amp is the largest and most influential sound wise of these components. I understand and agree with the importance of matching an amp to a pre-amp. Knowing pre-amps are (should be)fairly basic in their wiring makes me want to cram it inside the amp. I would think that using an integrated amp would be a logical choice. It skips the whole matching and connections scenerio. Then I think WTF add a simple tuner and it becomes a receiver.

    Of course experience shows me that separates sound better and anything I just said should be thrown out the window. I attribute much of this to manufacturers holding back on using their better amps and pre-amps for their separate lines. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to justify the extra expense. This of course is magnified when going to multi-channel with it's extra amps and processing circuitry.
    Make it Funky! :)

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    Mantis,

    I used to go as far as putting in the rt1000p's in the mix due to the lsi's do not match at all the cs400i and the rest of the theater speaker package.I don't have the room to run both pairs up front for 2 channel and theater separately.

    I posted in the speaker section about mixing the RT and LSI for HT I should have read this first. If you added the new CS do you think you could use the back speaker, or is it that far off in sound?

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    tonyd, on the passive pre amp is ok becuase it dont have the built in power supply, that makes it a little cleaner, thats why i got a aragon pre amp (24k sp) with a (ips). with it haves a isolated power supply, witch the power is seperate from the pre amp with a 6 ft. cable, and all the contacks are silver to silver, and the volume control is pennys & gille from england the best on this planet. it is a great pre amp. im lucky to have it.
    Last edited by joe logston; 09-09-2002 at 09:55 PM.
    . rt-7 mains
    rt-20p surounds
    cs-400i front center
    cs-350 ls rear center
    2 energy take 5, efects
    2- psw-650 , subs
    1- 15" audiosource sub

    lets all go to the next ces.

  16. #16

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    Troyd,
    yes I did try the rt1000p's on seperates and my feeling or opnion has not changed.granted they did sound better then on the receiver,but I wouldn't build a 2 channel rig with them.

    I really think they have a place in the world,home theater with a decent receiver,it made me happy for years.And I bet alot of guys in here feel the same.
    They are a budget speaker that so happens to out perform most others in there price classes.But to build a nice seperates system with them ..not for me,Id rather have better speakers to go along with the better amps/pre and such,you can only go so far wiht the sound quality of them, then your hindering the ability of the seperates..........just my opnion.

    I wonder why many seperate companies don't make passive pre amps???The remote is important but the sound needs to be there.Rotel also made a passive pre but not anymore.....

    As far as mixing the rt's with the Lsi's..no ,they don't mix well.The sound changes to much.Even from front to back......I can't stand it.If your going to take the plunge into Lsi......go all the way...it's so worth it.I can't wait to finish off my system!!!
    Last edited by mantis; 09-09-2002 at 10:59 PM.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  17. #17

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    That's cool, I was just curious.

    Actually, passives are a bit more popular than you might think. Creek actually makes a passive that has a remote control, the OBH-12.

    We have had this discussion, there are pros and cons to the passive, it just depends on your personal preference really.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  18. #18

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    One IMMENSE reason for separates vs receivers is to keep the tuner stage away from the power amp/amps. Too much rf **** can find its way into the power amp stage. Hash and grain are the result. This is one of the big reasons that preamp/tuners are popular (think Adcom), and why integrated amps are popular. Both designs keep the tuner section away from the power amp section.

    Space constraints also come into play with receivers. Not enough room inside to keep the stuff separated. While I use a receiver in my VERY MODEST 2 channel home theater rig, I wouldn't dream of doing that in my stereo only rig.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grand's)

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    Talking

    I dunno George, according to mantis, if it's only 2ch, it can't be HT.;)

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  20. #20

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    I can go alittle further on that thinking.If your running DVD, your just missing some of the excitement without the rest of the channels.If 2 channels do it for yeah.....let....er rip.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  21. #21

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    Well, we've already had the '2ch isn't HT argument'. I've seen G's 'modest' 2ch rig and would take it over just about any 5.1 rig I could think of.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  22. #22

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    Is it bi polar or something?
    What does he have?I like 2 channel as much as the next guy, but I think for DVD playback your missing some of the experience........debate troy not and argument.Even debate is alittle thin.....I like an opnion....;)
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  23. #23

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    AR-9's.

    That's all I got to say about that.

    Well, that and you'd be hard pressed to meet a nicer bunch of folks to watch a movie with than the Jersey Grand's.


    BDT
    Last edited by TroyD; 10-11-2002 at 04:34 PM.
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  24. #24

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    Or a nicer bunch of folks to leave a msg on your answering machine....

    'Russ, this is the sound of Rum being drank in your absense. Listen......GULP, ahhh, there it is. See ya around. BEEEP'

    Cheers,
    Russ
    Check your lips at the door woman. Shake your hips like battleships. Yeah, all the white girls trip when I sing at Sunday service.

  25. #25

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    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH

    that was pretty classic....

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  26. #26

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    Anytime you can get a bunch of friends to sit around, drink,eat,and watch a good flick is a good time.Sounds like you guys have the same....very cool....1 channel, 2 3 4 5 7 or whatever it's all good .
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  27. #27

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    In my own twisted way, I enjoy things MUCH more when I'm alone (sex excluded). Crowds mean distractions, and I don't like being distracted.

    I consider anything with a TV, and vcr or dvd player to be home theater. Naturally, there are different levels. But this is a road travelled previously, and it is fraught with ruts, roadblocks, and all other kinds of hazards, so I'm not going to drive down it. Plus, I just don't care.

    I have a MODEST home theater system. The only thing I am lacking, or "missing", is the opportunity to interface with some real Cro-Mag types, and the opportunity to pay $18 for 12 cents worth of popcorn and a dimes worth of Pepsi.

    My speakers are not bi-polar. I am.

    A. Roma amoR .A

  28. #28

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    You know, that's very true. When it comes to listening to music or watching a movie or whatever, the fewer the better. There is nothing more annoying then when you are trying to watch or listen to something than a bunch of people beating thier gums together. Sit down and shut up already!

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  29. #29
    Stronzo
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    I believe the electronical entertainment value often times can be determined by the company you are with.

    Moments to where you sit down with your family to watch a flick which brings you all together for the night.

    Moments shared with friends on road trips with the radio blaring.

    Or perhaps solemn melodies which transcend your mood and ease your thoughts within the peace of being alone.

    Even that one special song that reminds you of the love of your life, or a certain period.

    Be it whatever it may, audio is there adding yet another flavor to the environment and is often times etched in your mind along with the memory of that time. It does not give you the experiences, it simply makes them all that more enjoyable and memorable.

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    Ya! Exactly! How about those people that take that popcorn and attack it as if they have been deprived of it. Sheeeat, it never fails that directly behing me sounds like a barnyard rather than a theater. The chomping must hit reference before these people are happy.

    Sometimes I just don't understand!

    HBomb

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