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  1. #1

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    Default Better receiver or use receiver as pre-amp with external amp?

    I'm contemplating upgrading my HT setup. I've never used an external amp before so I have absolutely no experience in this area, but since my primary goal is sound quality the upgrade path is leading me in that direction. Will I get significantly improved sound quality by simply getting a more expensive receiver with more features like higher power output per channel, Burr Brown DACs, and toroidal transformer (say in the $1000-1500 range) or get a cheaper receiver without those features ($700-900) and pair it up with a decent amp?

    Either solution would probably end up costing me the same but I wanna know where I should set my priorities here...

  2. #2

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    An even cheaper solution...go to ebay...HK Direct...win an auction for a 4xx or 6xx series AVR. The have Burr-Brown DACs IIRC or Cirrus equivalents...for ~ $300-400. Find a used 2 channel amp here, ebay or audiogon...for $300-400. You'll get your feet wet and get an appreciation for what better gear offers without breaking the bank.

    I use a HK245 as my pre/pro which cost less than $250 shipped. I'm looking to upgrade to a dedicated pre/pro, but it's more than adequate SQ wise.

    Some advocate buying big first to avoid upgrades. I've found that if you know you're going to upgrade and are not sure which direction, take smaller steps, flip the gear that doesn't pass, then when you know what you want, go for it.

    Combo rig:

    Onkyo NR1007 pre-pro, Carver TFM 45(fronts), Carver TFM 35 (surrounds)
    SDA 1C, CS400i, SDA 2B
    PB13Ultra RO
    BW Silvers
    Oppo BDP-83SE

  3. #3

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    Welcome to Club Polk.

    I am one of the go big & do it right the first time around & be happy from the get go, that Ron is talking about!:D

    If you are into the gear & checking out as much as possible just for the fun of it & don't mind the additional work & considerable dollars it's going to cost to do it this way, then go for it.

    I started out with just a receiver, added a 2 channel 205wpc amp, then added a 200wpc monoblock for my center channel.

    I finally just ended up with what is in my signature below. If I knew then what I know now I would have gotten a 5 channel amp from the beginning.

    So I always recommend get at least a 200wpc 5-7 channel amplifier. This will drive any speakers you have now & in the future with ease.

    Getting a prepro also made a big improvement in the sound, but using a receiver that has all the bells & whistles you want it to have is also very good & will be alot better than any HTIB or lower end system going.

    Good brands of separate amplification are: Rotel, Parasound, Outlaw Audio, B & K, Emotiva, Sunfire, Adcom. You can get more for your money if you get one used on Audiogon.

    Let us know what you decide.:)
    Last edited by cfrizz; 12-09-2007 at 02:03 PM.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

  4. #4

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    Talking

    well I'm part of that "go big, do it right the first time, or go home" crowd so I wouldn't mind spending the time to do the research so that I can make an informed decision when the time comes to pull the trigger and get the most bang for my $$

    Actually after doing more research I'm finding myself leaning towards a dedicated pre-amp/amp combo to replace my current set up. The consensus seems to be that for the price of a high-end receiver + amp I can get substantially better sound with a dedicated pre-amp/amp combo. My only concern is the lack of support for high-definition lossless audio formats (uncompressed PCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA) that my Onkyo has.

    Can you recommend good pre-amps that support lossless audio codec? I'd like to keep it under $1K and I don't mind buying used at all, although I don't know if it's already asking too much at that price point :D

  5. #5

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    Integra 9.8 is a very nice one and will give you everything youre asking for.

    http://www.integrahometheater.com/mo...&m=DTC-9.8&p=i
    Shoot the jumper.....................BALLIN.............!!!! !

    Home Theater Pics in the Showcase

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...p?userid=73580

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Temple View Post
    An even cheaper solution...go to ebay...HK Direct...win an auction for a 4xx or 6xx series AVR. The have Burr-Brown DACs IIRC or Cirrus equivalents...for ~ $300-400. Find a used 2 channel amp here, ebay or audiogon...for $300-400. You'll get your feet wet and get an appreciation for what better gear offers without breaking the bank.

    I use a HK245 as my pre/pro which cost less than $250 shipped. I'm looking to upgrade to a dedicated pre/pro, but it's more than adequate SQ wise.

    Some advocate buying big first to avoid upgrades. I've found that if you know you're going to upgrade and are not sure which direction, take smaller steps, flip the gear that doesn't pass, then when you know what you want, go for it.
    Depending on budget I highly recommend this setup. The HK is quite musical, and you can run a 2 or 3 channel amp for the fronts. I ran a set of speakers with more than 1000 watts each clean (Adcom), and the HK for center, and rears. While movie watching set the center, and rears to small, and that little HK 50 watts will be plenty. All you have to do is decrease the DB's in the setup for movies, and crank them back up to 0 for 2 channel. I am a huge fan of giant power, but the average person will be very content will an AVR for center, and rears. Unless of coarse you are using 4ohms speakers center, and rears. I have an Outlaw 990 PrePro, and I would be a liar if I said the outlaw wasn't better than the HK, but the bang for buck HK, and a 2 channel for the fronts will be more than sufficient for most people. ONE thing to consider is if you use SACD's in multi channel you would be better with good amplification all the way around. These views are from someone who has spent considerable time with both systems.

    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  7. #7

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    The set up will be used almost exclusively for HT (like 95% HT, 5% music). So every component I pick will be geared towards that purpose. I will be using a pair of RTi8's for the front, CSi5 for center, and RTi6's for the rear. But I may switch the 8's with the 10's if I can get a good deal for them.

    They're all 8 ohms, but would using a HK AVR to power the CSi5 and RTi6 be enough with a 2-channel amp doing the heavy lifting for the RTi8? From what I gather the CSi5 is a little on the power hungry side too.

    I'd be happy if somebody gave me that Integra 9.8 for X-mas, but it's way over budget for me :D

  8. #8

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    Sure, if you're like most of us and watch movies @ -15 to -10 above reference. If you have a big/treated room that needs reference or close to sound right, then you might need a multichannel amp. In my setup, I can go reference, but it's really too loud. I normally watch anywhere from -8 to -3, depending on the movie. A couple of my amps have meters...peaks might hit 60-70 watts. At reference, on a big HT extravaganza, it might be asking the amps double or triple that on some peaks...so it depends on how loud you listen.

    Combo rig:

    Onkyo NR1007 pre-pro, Carver TFM 45(fronts), Carver TFM 35 (surrounds)
    SDA 1C, CS400i, SDA 2B
    PB13Ultra RO
    BW Silvers
    Oppo BDP-83SE

  9. #9

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    I know that the analog Radioshack SPL meter is set to C-weighting and slow for calibration purposes, but is there a different setting that needs to be used to measure listening levels during a regular movie watching session?

    I like to listen loud but I'm not sure how close to reference the level is.

    At this point I'm leaning towards a HK AVR 347 as a pre- to go with a 150 to 200 wpc 5-channel amp. I will upgrade to a dedicated pre-amp with HDMI audio next year when they become available. I'm also planning to upgrade to a beefier 1000+ Watts RMS Velodyne sub. With this kind of set up, keeping in mind the loud SPL I like to listen at, am I going to have problems with the circuit? If so, what should I do to be able to handle that kind of load? I also have the LCD, PS3, and cable box hooked up to the same outlet.

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