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  1. #1
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    Default So much for using Pioneer as a pre-amp ...

    Well, a while back I picked up a Bryston amp, and had it hooked up to my old H/K avi200-mkii as the pre-amp.

    Thought I would hook up the Pioneer VSX-816 as a pre as it has a crossover, and could cut off the LSi9's at 80Hz. I figured surely it isn't that hard to be a pre-amp, right?

    So got it hooked up to start (no crossover or anything set yet) and popped in a Pentangle CD. About fifteen seconds into the first track it turned into "WTF is this??" all the high end was gone, acoustic strings went flat and lifeless, just plain sucked. Checked settings on Pioneer, even reset it to factory defaults.

    Listened a little more ... c'mon Pioneer, this thing sucks.

    It's coming out and the H/K going back in.

    To double check I connected the CD player (which has variable output levels) straight into amp and wham, there was the way it sounded when hooked up to the HK. So I know it wasn't that the HK was "adding something" there.

    So much for having a crossover, but it ain't worth it if the music sounds like crap.

  2. #2

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    That's not a very high end Pioneer.... what did you expect compared to your other proven gear?
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  3. #3

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    Step your game up and go for a SC -05 or SC-07. Your thoughts would definitely change and that's before you even turn it on. :)
    Shoot the jumper.....................BALLIN.............!!!! !

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    Quote Originally Posted by nguyendot View Post
    That's not a very high end Pioneer.... what did you expect compared to your other proven gear?
    Guess I didn't think it was that hard to screw up a pre-amp.

    Taught me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzy View Post
    ... Thought I would hook up the Pioneer VSX-816 as a pre as it has a crossover, and could cut off the LSi9's at 80Hz. ...
    That seems very high to me. Others might not agree, but I would be trying 60 or lower for the LSi9. One of the things I noticed when I started using my new NAD receiver was that I preferred the crossover lowered all the way down to 40Hz with my RT55, even though this seems to exceed the lower 3dB performance specification somewhat. The bass output was just that much more punchy and precise, even though I'm using a sealed servo type subwoofer. At the end of the day, it's what you prefer when you actually listen that makes sense, not some number written on a spec. sheet IMO.

    I have no experience with Pioneer, but your results still seem surprising to me. The "entry level model" excuse is not valid IMO either, since my entry level harman/kardon was able to sucessfully fight off an onslaught from entry level Emotiva separates in a blind listening test comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    That seems very high to me. Others might not agree, but I would be trying 60 or lower for the LSi9.
    Well, if I had got past step #1 I would have probably played with that number :)

    I was thinking 80 as a start point as I've only got 200w/channel and the lower the frequencies, the more power needed.

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    I think I would still check everything over again. Maybe start your testing in two channel direct mode only. Something may be wrong that is making the Pioneer sound that bad. My question is: how could it sound worse as a simple pre, with a good amplifier, than as a simple receiver without any help from an external amplifier? It just doesn't seem to make sense, no matter how mediocre it might be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    My question is: how could it sound worse as a simple pre, with a good amplifier, than as a simple receiver without any help from an external amplifier?
    It never sounded good as a simple receiver actually. Well before getting the Bryston I did a side by side comparison with my HK-3480, using both as a stereo amp, and it couldn't hold a candle. Been through the setup menus numerous times, and also made sure I was in direct mode on it.

    My older HK AVI200 mkII sounds better than the HK 3480 even though it puts out less power.

    I think I should go get my Marantz receiver out of storage and see how it's 35w/channel do.

    W

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    I used the VSX 816 as a preamp without any problems...not sure why you pre is not working.

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    I guess I'm a little confused by your use of an AVR as a preamp. Do you use the AVR for both multichannel HT and 2ch. duty? I guess what I'm really asking is, why not use a regular preamp to send signal to your Bryston? Is there an advantage to using an AVR so that you can go from stereo/music to 5.1/7.1 HT? I'm just starting to look into HT and am trying to learn as much as I can, sorry if the questions seem stupid!:o:)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdb View Post
    I guess I'm a little confused by your use of an AVR as a preamp. Do you use the AVR for both multichannel HT and 2ch. duty? I guess what I'm really asking is, why not use a regular preamp to send signal to your Bryston? Is there an advantage to using an AVR so that you can go from stereo/music to 5.1/7.1 HT? I'm just starting to look into HT and am trying to learn as much as I can, sorry if the questions seem stupid!:o:)
    It all depends on if you consider yourself a "Golden Ears" or not. A lot of guys will balk at the thought of using an AVR for both HT & as the preamp for there two channel listening. I've traveled both roads...separate pre for two channel & AVR for strictly HT, & just an AVR for both venues.

    My two separate pre's were a Conrad Johnson (tube) pre & a Krell SS pre. Both units sounded superb & really fit the bill nicely. My AVR is an NAD which is stellar in it's performance both for HT & used as the pre for my two channel listening.

    I spent a lot of time doing A/B listening comparisons & in the end the NAD AVR used as the two channel pre was just as compelling & satisfing as the CJ & Krell pre's. Now mind you, I haven't tried other stand alone pre's but for my situation & listening criteria, the NAD was the winner.

    Less rack space & $$$$ saved were an added bonus. Now, who knows, I just might get the itch to try another pre down the road, but for now both HT & two channel listening are just fine & dandy.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzy View Post
    Guess I didn't think it was that hard to screw up a pre-amp.

    Taught me!
    One of the most important pieces of equipment and VERY easy to mess up. ;)
    madmax
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearsall001 View Post
    It all depends on if you consider yourself a "Golden Ears" or not. A lot of guys will balk at the thought of using an AVR for both HT & as the preamp for there two channel listening. I've traveled both roads...separate pre for two channel & AVR for strictly HT, & just an AVR for both venues.

    My two separate pre's were a Conrad Johnson (tube) pre & a Krell SS pre. Both units sounded superb & really fit the bill nicely. My AVR is an NAD which is stellar in it's performance both for HT & used as the pre for my two channel listening.

    I spent a lot of time doing A/B listening comparisons & in the end the NAD AVR used as the two channel pre was just as compelling & satisfing as the CJ & Krell pre's. Now mind you, I haven't tried other stand alone pre's but for my situation & listening criteria, the NAD was the winner.

    Less rack space & $$$$ saved were an added bonus. Now, who knows, I just might get the itch to try another pre down the road, but for now both HT & two channel listening are just fine & dandy.
    pearsall,
    That sounds like a good match-up and a well above average AVR! I've read that a lot/most AVRs don't produce a true stereo signal and that it's called "simulated stereo" but maybe that's old info! I doubt I'll ever have the funds for your level of equipment ! For simplicities sake I'm going to keep my HT gear and 2ch rig completely separate, at least it'll be simpler for me because I am easily confused by complicated electronic pieces like the AVRs and all their options! I'll just set my fronts right on top of my SRS2s, problem solved.:)

  14. #14

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    Simulated stereo? Wouldn't that take more effort than simply passing two signals directly to the amplifier?

    I'm pretty sure AVR's do have 'real stereo'.
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  15. #15

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    Probably, I've been reading the less than current stuff at my library. With ever changing technology, you really need the latest publications! I also think the materials I found there were mainly covering the low end of the spectrum regarding AVRs. I have used an older Pioneer that only had "simulated stereo", I don't remember the age or model, I just remember that it didn't sound too hot.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaeljhsda2 View Post
    I used the VSX 816 as a preamp without any problems...not sure why you pre is not working.
    It works fine. It just sounds like crap when compared to either the HK AVR as a preamp, or compared to the CD player ran straight into the amp with no preamp.

    W

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzy View Post
    It works fine. It just sounds like crap when compared to either the HK AVR as a preamp, or compared to the CD player ran straight into the amp with no preamp.

    W
    I won't jump in the middle of an AVR versus dedicated preamp discussion but I did use a Pioneer 1018 for a couple of weeks as a preamp (with a Carver amp) and was definitely not impressed. Although I configured it pretty much every which way I could, it always sounded "hollow, thin, non-dynamic" when compared to my HK receiver (as a preamp) and my dedicated Outlaw 950. I returned the Pioneer.

    I think that's one of the reasons I haven't pulled the trigger on an SC yet; fear that the supposed "laid back sound" and "dynamics" will turn out to be like the 1018. Probably is not a valid concern as I'm sure they are completely different (maybe ?). Everybody's ears are different and I have not tried a Pioneer 816 but if it's like the 1018, I know exactly what you mean.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by wizzy View Post
    Well, a while back I picked up a Bryston amp, and had it hooked up to my old H/K avi200-mkii as the pre-amp.

    Thought I would hook up the Pioneer VSX-816 as a pre as it has a crossover, and could cut off the LSi9's at 80Hz. I figured surely it isn't that hard to be a pre-amp, right?

    So got it hooked up to start (no crossover or anything set yet) and popped in a Pentangle CD. About fifteen seconds into the first track it turned into "WTF is this??" all the high end was gone, acoustic strings went flat and lifeless, just plain sucked. Checked settings on Pioneer, even reset it to factory defaults.

    Listened a little more ... c'mon Pioneer, this thing sucks.

    It's coming out and the H/K going back in.

    To double check I connected the CD player (which has variable output levels) straight into amp and wham, there was the way it sounded when hooked up to the HK. So I know it wasn't that the HK was "adding something" there.

    So much for having a crossover, but it ain't worth it if the music sounds like crap.
    Wizzy,
    give me a run down of your system. I'm still trying to figure out why your buying a Pioneer vsx816 and not at least an Elite model.
    You own Lsi speakers and a Bryston amp, why not use something alittle in the class bro??? Your system design is at fault.

    I own Dynaudio speakers and used my Pioneer Elite sc-07 as a preamp. it actually sounded as good and in some ways better then my Rotel rsp1068 preamp. Then I removed my Rotel RMB1095 and ran the Sc-07 with the Dynaudio speaker package. This on paper is a complete miss match. The Sc-07 is rated to drive 6 to 16 ohms. But it runs the 4 ohm package better then I have expected. This is not a desired system for me as I'm completely revamping my system but as far as sound quality, Pioneer makes excellent preamps with receivers. I have been doing it in the field for years.

    I also don't think your system is properly setup. Connecting and going and making judgements on your system is not logical. You have to properly calibrate before and listening can be done. If you don't know how to calibrate, then I suggest you hire a professional. Where do you live??? I just so happen to be one.

    So post your system, room , cables etc and maybe we can get that system to sound it's best.

    Good luck man,

    Dan
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Wizzy,
    give me a run down of your system. I'm still trying to figure out why your buying a Pioneer vsx816 and not at least an Elite model.
    I'm not buying it, I had it laying around.

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    Synergy is a bitch.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    Synergy is a bitch.
    Totally agree with you there Bro

    Dan
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