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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Question integrated amp vs AVR - quality vs features?

    Help me - am I thinking about this right? Do I really have a quality versus features tradeoff, at this price range does it make a difference, and what units should I go listen to?

    I have a low-end audiophile system for music (separate from my home theater). My old Proton amp died beyond repair, and I am looking to spend between $300-500 to replace. I am trying to decide whether to go with an integrated amp (like Rotel RA-02) or with an AVR (like Denon DRA-395).

    If I go with the AVR, my perfectly good Proton tuner becomes extraneous, plus I am limited in my selection to those with Phono capability. However, I would get the ability to record to more than one source (tape and CD-R) and more tuner presets. If I go with a decent integrated amp, I won't be any worse off than I was before, features-wise, but may get significantly better sound than with an AVR.

    I don't need a lot of power since my Heybrook bookshelf speakers fill my relatively small living/dining room quite nicely.

    At this price range, will I notice a significant improvement in performance of a good amp over a good AVR? What brands/models should I be researching?

    Thanks in advance,


  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?

    Apples to oranges. First decide what you want.

    An AVR implies 5 or more channels of amplification, a tuner and a multi-channel processor. As far as I know* all an inegrated amps are simply two channel devices.

    Cannot logically compare the two. IMNSHO, if all I wanted was two channel stereeo, the integrated would be my bet. If I wanted HT, the AVR would win hands down.

    So, do you want HT/multi channel music or two channel audio?

    *perhaps there are exceptions?

  3. #3
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    If you only got 2 speakers anyways, then go for integrated.
    AVR dont sound very good for music and seriously...all those little bells and whistles like action movie mode or sports mode are utterly useless. As said in the above, there are more inputs, which is nessessary when it comes to 5.1
    Remember also that AVRs generally have more power than integrated amps. So if you like cranking it up to make movies more like in the theatres then AVRs are the way to go. This is where speaker efficiency and room size come to play.

    integrated amp - less power, better quality sound
    AVR - more power, but the extra noise from the processor, tuner, and so on make the sound inferior to that of separates.

  4. #4
    Suspended markw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?


    .. the way they rate power in AVR's is, well, let's be charitable and say optimistic. With a two channel unit you can be pretty sure it's rated in real watts (full range, both channels driven, low distortion, etc...).

    AVR's, OTOH, assume that not all channels are called upon for full output simultneously and state power ratings accordingly. The FTC just changesd their rating methods to allow this kingd of soecsmanship games for HT units while two channel units must still follow the old, stringent guidelines sset forth in the early 70's.

    For instance, I strongly dount that many mderately priced AVR's actually put out that 100 watts per channel when all channels are driven to their max at the same time. It might be half that or so. Some of the biggies might comeclose but most mid line stuff won't.

    So, on this front I'd say that a well made two channel unit would probably be the winner.

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