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  1. #1
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    Simple questions about integrated amps

    Forgive the newbie questions, but Iím trying to learn the basics here. If I have a CD player, I cannot just hook that to a regular amplifier and then out to the speakers. But if I had an integrated amplifier, I could go CD -> integrated amp -> speakers. Do I have that correct?

    The reason I ask is that Iím trying to figure out a system for my uses: 95% music and 5% movies. I donít care quite as much about the sound quality during movies, but I certainly do care for 2 channel listening. So I was thinking of getting a cheap $400 A/V receiver to use for movies. And the receiver would have pre outs for adding an amp to the main speakers for 2 channel music. But I donít want the cheap receiver to degrade sound quality for music. So the receiver should have a bypass. And with the bypass, the setup would be CD -> receiver in bypass -> integrated amp -> speakers. And I could not do that with a regular amp, it has to be integrated. Do I have all this correct?

    If anyone has recommendations for such a receiver, Iím all ears.

    Related simple question: If Iím using an integrated amp and want to add more power, I cannot just add another regular (not integrated) amp between the integrated amp and speakers? Iíd have to change the integrated amp for something more powerful. Correct?

    Is my thinking OK on all this? Thanks.

  2. #2
    it's about the music
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    uhm interesting how when you talk about a regular amp, you are referring to a power amp. I think most people (at least where i come from) call integrated amps regular amps.
    I'm guessing you want 5.1 surround to listen to movies. I'm afraid that if the budget is limited, it'll be somewhat hard to find a 5.1 reciever that will give you great stereo sound.
    You can get a reciever that has a PRE-amp out, and hook that to a power amp between the reciever and the speakers, in which case you would only be using the pre and not the power section of the reciever, so you wouldn't be bypassing all of the reciever and the sound quality is likely to get affected. I dont think there's ANY reciever with a full "bypass" capability
    In any case, what you a saying requires you to either switch the speaker's cables from the HiFi amp to the reciever every time u want to watch a movie after listening to a CD or vice-versa, because for movies the speakers would be wired to the reciever and for music to the HiFi amp.
    I would suggest you spend a little more and get a good reciever that will do music as well as movies, and that way the movies will benefit too. This is WAY cheaper than getting a crappy reciever for movies and a good amp for music and using them both.
    I hope this helps
    cheers!
    I remember the days when I thought 128kbps sounded great and had never spent more than 10 bucks on cables...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    uhm interesting how when you talk about a regular amp, you are referring to a power amp. I think most people (at least where i come from) call integrated amps regular amps.
    Oh, OK. I thought there was a difference- the integrated had more input plugs than a regular amp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    I'm guessing you want 5.1 surround to listen to movies. I'm afraid that if the budget is limited, it'll be somewhat hard to find a 5.1 reciever that will give you great stereo sound.
    Right. That's why I wanted to bypass the receiver when listenting to music only, to avoid the sound degredation. The budget isn't that limited. I could spend much more. But I figured if I only watch movies once in a while, maybe not spend too much on the A/V processing part of things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    You can get a reciever that has a PRE-amp out, and hook that to a power amp between the reciever and the speakers, in which case you would only be using the pre and not the power section of the reciever, so you wouldn't be bypassing all of the reciever and the sound quality is likely to get affected. I dont think there's ANY reciever with a full "bypass" capability
    No true bypass? OK, I didn't know that.

    Right, I know I can add a regular amp to a receiver with pre outs. Easy enough. And I may go that route. But I thought there might still be some sound degredation there with the sound going through the receiver. So true bypass would be better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    In any case, what you a saying requires you to either switch the speaker's cables from the HiFi amp to the reciever every time u want to watch a movie after listening to a CD or vice-versa, because for movies the speakers would be wired to the reciever and for music to the HiFi amp.
    I would suggest you spend a little more and get a good reciever that will do music as well as movies, and that way the movies will benefit too. This is WAY cheaper than getting a crappy reciever for movies and a good amp for music and using them both.
    I hope this helps
    cheers!
    Yup, I could do that. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Some of the Yamaha receivers have a "pure direct" mode. This may not be a "true bypass" but comes very close. Adding good amp after the pre-outs should get you what you are looking for. I believe a few other brands are starting to do this as well. Denon, Onkyo,...
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Some of the Yamaha receivers have a "pure direct" mode. This may not be a "true bypass" but comes very close. Adding good amp after the pre-outs should get you what you are looking for. I believe a few other brands are starting to do this as well. Denon, Onkyo,...
    Oh, that may be a good substitute. I wonder how that compares, sound wise, to not having the receiver there at all. I just had a look at the Yamaha web site and the manual to one of their receivers (2500). "Pure Direct" sounds good except that is says no sound is output to the subwoofer in the mode. Hmmm...

  6. #6
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    Another question: With this Pure Direct, can you still send the signal out from the pre outs and into a regular amp then the speakers, to help the sound out some?

  7. #7
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    Another question: With this Pure Direct, can you still send the signal out from the pre outs and into a regular amp then the speakers, to help the sound out some?
    Yes, you can.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    Oh, that may be a good substitute. I wonder how that compares, sound wise, to not having the receiver there at all. I just had a look at the Yamaha web site and the manual to one of their receivers (2500). "Pure Direct" sounds good except that is says no sound is output to the subwoofer in the mode. Hmmm...
    That's correct. Most 2 channel lovers don't like subwoofers so much. There is also another setting called "straight" This gives a minimal amount of receiver processing but does include the subwoofer.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    That's correct. Most 2 channel lovers don't like subwoofers so much. There is also another setting called "straight" This gives a minimal amount of receiver processing but does include the subwoofer.
    Just looked at the 2500 manual. It says "straight" just goes to the 2 main speakers for 2 channel playback.

    I appreciate the help.

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    Just looked at the 2500 manual. It says "straight" just goes to the 2 main speakers for 2 channel playback.

    I appreciate the help.
    Anytime. I have noticed that I like the sound from pure direct more than straight when listening to 2 channel. Just wish my speakers had full range.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  11. #11
    it's about the music
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    keep in mind that using the straight mode, subwoofer or not, you are still facing the speaker connection problems. Although i guess that could be solved with a switcher.
    cheers!
    I remember the days when I thought 128kbps sounded great and had never spent more than 10 bucks on cables...

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    keep in mind that using the straight mode, subwoofer or not, you are still facing the speaker connection problems. Although i guess that could be solved with a switcher.
    cheers!
    speaker connection problems? I'm not sure what you mean.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Additional option(s)

    What Kaboom says is true. Fortunately, given you are using an integrated amp, there might be one or two additional options.

    First, typical intergrated amps don't have DACs, (digital-to-analog converters), built-in but A/V receivers do. So connect the stereo analog "outs" on the CD/DVD player to the integrated and the digital, (coaxial or optical), "out" to the receiver. This will work just fine. Note that you will be using the CD/DVD player's DAC for stereo but the receiver's DAC for HT.

    Second, if you're receive has stereo "Tape Out" jacks, you can connect these to the integrated amp (via any line input jacks). The Tape Out circuitry is usually minimal within the receiver, that is, the signal from the source, (CD player or whatever), is passed to the Tape Outs with little or no processing. The amp must provide the volume control hence a power amp won't do with this sort of connection.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    What Kaboom says is true. Fortunately, given you are using an integrated amp, there might be one or two additional options.
    I'm also not sure what Kaboom is saying there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    First, typical intergrated amps don't have DACs, (digital-to-analog converters), built-in but A/V receivers do. So connect the stereo analog "outs" on the CD/DVD player to the integrated and the digital, (coaxial or optical), "out" to the receiver. This will work just fine. Note that you will be using the CD/DVD player's DAC for stereo but the receiver's DAC for HT.
    Now that sounds like a very good idea. And a regular amp would not work for this,you would need anintegrated amp, correct?

    My CD player is old and only has the analog outs, but I could get another CD player tomake this work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Second, if you're receive has stereo "Tape Out" jacks, you can connect these to the integrated amp (via any line input jacks). The Tape Out circuitry is usually minimal within the receiver, that is, the signal from the source, (CD player or whatever), is passed to the Tape Outs with little or no processing. The amp must provide the volume control hence a power amp won't do with this sort of connection.
    I didn't know that. Another good idea. You could still use the receiver volume control this way?

  15. #15
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I see what you mean now. But couldn't he just connect the receiver's pre-outs directly into a simple 2 channel amp? The only down side would be that you would also be using this amp durring HT as well. The Yammie's auto set up should balance all channels for HT. The RX-V2500 & 4600 both have 6 memory settings so you can save the settings for HT in the A slot, and then run it again for 2 channel and save that in the B memory. You can access A or B settings with a push of a button on the remote.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    I see what you mean now. But couldn't he just connect the receiver's pre-outs directly into a simple 2 channel amp? The only down side would be that you would also be using this amp durring HT as well. The Yammie's auto set up should balance all channels for HT. The RX-V2500 & 4600 both have 6 memory settings so you can save the settings for HT in the A slot, and then run it again for 2 channel and save that in the B memory. You can access A or B settings with a push of a button on the remote.
    Right. Yes, I could just go CD -> receiver -> pre out -> amp -> speakers. But I thought having the receiver in there might degrade the sound a little?

    If I add an amp like this, I wouldn't need the RX-V2500. Icould go for something cheaper like the 657. I'll see if that has 2 memory settings- one for music, one for movies.

  17. #17
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    Right. Yes, I could just go CD -> receiver -> pre out -> amp -> speakers. But I thought having the receiver in there might degrade the sound a little?

    If I add an amp like this, I wouldn't need the RX-V2500. Icould go for something cheaper like the 657. I'll see if that has 2 memory settings- one for music, one for movies.
    Cool, I didn't know that about the 657. Does it have striaght & pure direct?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Yes, work only with an integrated

    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    ...
    My CD player is old and only has the analog outs, but I could get another CD player tomake this work.
    ...I didn't know that. Another good idea. You could still use the receiver volume control this way?
    Yep, you'll need an integrate in both cases in order to control the volume to your stereo speakers.

    The receiver's volume control will work to control the HT volume but not the stereo volume.

  19. #19
    it's about the music
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    with speaker connection problems i mean that if you're going to use the reciever for HT and the integrated for music, be it bypassed, or whatever, you are going to have to unplug the speakers from the reciever and plug them into the integrated to listen to music and unplug them from the integrated back into the reciever to watch movies. Now this can be done pretty fast if you use banana plugs, or a switch, but i think its a messy solution.
    I would suggest u spend the bucks on a reciever than handles music well enuff. Or do what i do, leave movies for the cinema and spend your food, cigarrettes, alcohol and medicines money on stereo equipment
    cheers!
    I remember the days when I thought 128kbps sounded great and had never spent more than 10 bucks on cables...

  20. #20
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    GM, doesn't this by-pass the DSP?

    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Some of the Yamaha receivers have a "pure direct" mode. This may not be a "true bypass" but comes very close. Adding good amp after the pre-outs should get you what you are looking for. I believe a few other brands are starting to do this as well. Denon, Onkyo,...
    Just to be clear, doesn't the "pure direct" bypass the DSP, (digital signal processing)? Of course, this definitely what you what if you're just trying to reroute the CD signal to a separate amplifier.

    I suspect cheaper A/V receivers tend to have neither the "direct" function nor pre-amp outs.

  21. #21
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Just to be clear, doesn't the "pure direct" bypass the DSP, (digital signal processing)? Of course, this definitely what you what if you're just trying to reroute the CD signal to a separate amplifier.

    I suspect cheaper A/V receivers tend to have neither the "direct" function nor pre-amp outs.
    Yes, the pure direct bypasses all proccessing. It gives out a very realistic sound. My speakers only go down to 38htz though so I need the sub. Using straight lets me use the sub but it's not quite as clean as the pure direct mode. Close, but when I switch back & forth I can hear the difference in the stereo imaging. It may be because I have my sub between the two main speakers. I haven't tried moving it to the outside yet. Moving soon so I've left things alone.
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  22. #22
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Yes, the pure direct bypasses all proccessing. It gives out a very realistic sound. My speakers only go down to 38htz though so I need the sub. Using straight lets me use the sub but it's not quite as clean as the pure direct mode. Close, but when I switch back & forth I can hear the difference in the stereo imaging. It may be because I have my sub between the two main speakers. I haven't tried moving it to the outside yet. Moving soon so I've left things alone.
    Oh, also, straight will output 5.1 if the source is 5.1. Pure direct will not. In fact, DTS & DD 5.1 will produce no sound at all when the receiver is in pure direct mode.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    with speaker connection problems i mean that if you're going to use the reciever for HT and the integrated for music, be it bypassed, or whatever, you are going to have to unplug the speakers from the reciever and plug them into the integrated to listen to music and unplug them from the integrated back into the reciever to watch movies. Now this can be done pretty fast if you use banana plugs, or a switch, but i think its a messy solution.
    OK, now I get it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom
    I would suggest u spend the bucks on a reciever than handles music well enuff. Or do what i do, leave movies for the cinema and spend your food, cigarrettes, alcohol and medicines money on stereo equipment
    cheers!
    Yeah, well that's the debate. Get a $400 Yamaha. Or a $2,000 Arcam DVR300 that has the good sound. Quite the difference in price. If there's a bypass/pure direct/etc. on the Yamaha, that might be a good way to go. But I have not ruled out the Arcam yet.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Cool, I didn't know that about the 657. Does it have striaght & pure direct?
    Yup. Looks to have both straight and pure direct, from my looking at the manual. Only $400-ish. Has preouts. And I'd add an amp to the main speakers for power. So it might be everything I need (for now). But I didn't see anything in the 657 or 2500 manuals about the memory settings you mentioned. I wonder if the 657 has that- it's a lot cheaper than the 2500 and looks to have everything else I may want...

    (except a true bypass/pure direct mode with sub usage...)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    First, typical intergrated amps don't have DACs, (digital-to-analog converters), built-in but A/V receivers do. So connect the stereo analog "outs" on the CD/DVD player to the integrated and the digital, (coaxial or optical), "out" to the receiver. This will work just fine. Note that you will be using the CD/DVD player's DAC for stereo but the receiver's DAC for HT.

    Second, if you're receive has stereo "Tape Out" jacks, you can connect these to the integrated amp (via any line input jacks). The Tape Out circuitry is usually minimal within the receiver, that is, the signal from the source, (CD player or whatever), is passed to the Tape Outs with little or no processing. The amp must provide the volume control hence a power amp won't do with this sort of connection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Yep, you'll need an integrate in both cases in order to control the volume to your stereo speakers.

    The receiver's volume control will work to control the HT volume but not the stereo volume.
    OK, so if I have the CD plugged into both the receiver and amp, that amp has to be an integrated amp- so it has the plugs for this. I think I've got it now. And it would be nice to have a remote volume control on the integrated amp for stereo listening (I know they do exist for some).

    Another question about this setup: When using the receiver for movies, I could also have the pre outs of the receiver go to the integrated amp. So I am using the integrated amp for both movies and music, correct?

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