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  1. #1
    golden ear
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    bi-amp or pre-amp?

    currently, i am using a reciever as the pre-amp and a stereo power amplifier. my stereo sound is good but i want something better.i need advise which among my two plans would have a better result. 1)ill buy a dedicated stereo preamp instead of using the receiver or 2)ill buy another bridgeable stereo power amp and make my configuration a vertical bi-amped stereo set up.. which one would have a better improvement?

  2. #2
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    In my opinion without a doubt the pre amp will give you greater improvements. You can always at a later date, and when funds permit, get another power amp to bi amp.
    So often in receivers it's the pre amp that had little money spent on it. And if done on a shoestring cross talk can happen.
    You will be amazed what a decent pre amp can do.
    Alternativly sell the receiver and power amp and purchase a really good integrated with a pre out so that you can again at a later date add another power amp.
    Be interested to know how you go.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  3. #3
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I agree with Bernd. You already have a power amp. Stereo is your main thing. If your current power amp has sufficient power get a preamp. Get one with remote control. Your receiver probably has it and you've most likely gotten used to it.
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  4. #4
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    It depends on what receiver you're using, and what preamp you're buying, but basically I agree -- you're effectively upgrading your preamp if you replace your receiver with a better preamp.

    Why don't you use the power amp section of your receiver to try biamping to see what sort of improvement that will get you? Or are the gains different between that and the power amp?
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  5. #5
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    It depends on what receiver you're using, and what preamp you're buying, but basically I agree -- you're effectively upgrading your preamp if you replace your receiver with a better preamp.

    Why don't you use the power amp section of your receiver to try biamping to see what sort of improvement that will get you? Or are the gains different between that and the power amp?
    Good idea! Get the preamp keep the receiver and still biamp. To do it properly you will need an external electronic crossover. I recommend the Paradigm X-30.
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  6. #6
    golden ear
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    thanks for your quick replies guys..it may not be a good idea to bi-amp since the rxvr is harman kardon 55W while the power amp is a rotel 70W.

    i am very curious with 1 of your suggestion though...is the performance of an integrated amp better than the peformance of a separate preamp and power amp? would the integrated amp with preout functioning as a preamp as good as a dedicated preamp would?

    i need further enlightenment here...thanks!

  7. #7
    golden ear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    In my opinion without a doubt the pre amp will give you greater improvements. You can always at a later date, and when funds permit, get another power amp to bi amp.
    So often in receivers it's the pre amp that had little money spent on it. And if done on a shoestring cross talk can happen.
    You will be amazed what a decent pre amp can do.
    Alternativly sell the receiver and power amp and purchase a really good integrated with a pre out so that you can again at a later date add another power amp.
    Be interested to know how you go.

    Peace

    Bernd
    i may not sell the receiver since i am into some hometheater stuff as well though mediocre as it is keeps me satisfied already. the stereo thing is what i really want to perfect. with your suggestions, i may buy a good rotel preamp and make use of it for stereo while making use of both the preamp and the rxver for ht. and then later on, ill buy another identical stereo power amp to vertically bi-amp my 2 stand mounts.
    i also would like to have your opinion regarding preamp brands: rotel, creek, nad...which one would you go for?

  8. #8
    golden ear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    In my opinion without a doubt the pre amp will give you greater improvements. You can always at a later date, and when funds permit, get another power amp to bi amp.
    So often in receivers it's the pre amp that had little money spent on it. And if done on a shoestring cross talk can happen.
    You will be amazed what a decent pre amp can do.
    Alternativly sell the receiver and power amp and purchase a really good integrated with a pre out so that you can again at a later date add another power amp.
    Be interested to know how you go.

    Peace

    Bernd
    hi guys...heres another question in my mind and i hope you could help me out. which among the 2 set ups would sound better? 1)daisy chaining an integrated amp with a stereo power amp or 2)using a dedicated stereo preamp to run 2 mono power amps.

    in my mind, using a dedicated preamp to run 2 mono power amps would be better..am i right?

  9. #9
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by accastil
    thanks for your quick replies guys..it may not be a good idea to bi-amp since the rxvr is harman kardon 55W while the power amp is a rotel 70W.

    i am very curious with 1 of your suggestion though...is the performance of an integrated amp better than the peformance of a separate preamp and power amp? would the integrated amp with preout functioning as a preamp as good as a dedicated preamp would?

    i need further enlightenment here...thanks!
    Hi,
    I will try my best to answer.
    I think you need to get away from the "what is better" school of thinking. In this hobby it is all very relative. But here is my take on the integrated v pre/power.
    Both have pros and cons. However a well designed dual mono integrated will give nothing away to a similar priced pre/power set up. In fact it might be even more to your liking. Never mind less cost,extra cables and more money spent in the manufacture of one or two more boxes.
    However a less then optimal designed integrated can suffer from cross talk and/or distortion as the sensitive pre is in the same chassis as the power amp. But done well there will be no problem. I went from pre/monoblocks to integrated amps and never noticed any loss off quality and will most likely not go back.
    As for daisy chaining or pre/monoblocks. Again I think you will only hear worthwhile differences if you move fairly high on up the ladder.
    As you already have a Rotel Power amp, the obvious choice would be a Rotel pre or integrated. Also you might want to investigate the Exposure Range of amps. Exposure works pretty well with Rotel. Or go for a tube pre. Something like the Prima Luna, Manley Shrimp or a Unison Research. Thats what I would do and add another power amp later on.
    You can then keep your receiver for your HT and the Tube pre/ Rotel poweramp for 2 channel. Horizontal bi-amping can reap really nice rewards, but is another thing to get right.
    Hope this helps and please let us know how you get on.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  10. #10
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by accastil
    thanks for your quick replies guys..it may not be a good idea to bi-amp since the rxvr is harman kardon 55W while the power amp is a rotel 70W.

    i am very curious with 1 of your suggestion though...is the performance of an integrated amp better than the peformance of a separate preamp and power amp? would the integrated amp with preout functioning as a preamp as good as a dedicated preamp would?

    i need further enlightenment here...thanks!
    The brand name is not an issue when bi-amping. As far as actual power, there is so little real difference in power between 55 and 70 watts they might as well be the same. Look at my equipment list and you will see you can mix different brands in just about any way.

    To answer your question.
    The performance of an integrated amp could be better than seperates. Also the seperates could be better. The answer depends on lots of variables. A Krell integrated would certainly be better than almost any cheap preamp. In general a dedicated preamp will out perform the preamp section of most integrateds and virtually all receivers. This is not set in stone as there are exceptions.
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  11. #11
    golden ear
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    The brand name is not an issue when bi-amping. As far as actual power, there is so little real difference in power between 55 and 70 watts they might as well be the same. Look at my equipment list and you will see you can mix different brands in just about any way.

    To answer your question.
    The performance of an integrated amp could be better than seperates. Also the seperates could be better. The answer depends on lots of variables. A Krell integrated would certainly be better than almost any cheap preamp. In general a dedicated preamp will out perform the preamp section of most integrateds and virtually all receivers. This is not set in stone as there are exceptions.
    under a no-cost-object context, you are therefore saying that a preamp with 2 monoblocks is a better set up than an integrated amp daisy chained with a stereo power amp...i guess we are on the same line of thinking here but...this is in contrary to what bernd here is saying.

  12. #12
    golden ear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    Hi,
    I will try my best to answer.
    I think you need to get away from the "what is better" school of thinking. In this hobby it is all very relative. But here is my take on the integrated v pre/power.
    Both have pros and cons. However a well designed dual mono integrated will give nothing away to a similar priced pre/power set up. In fact it might be even more to your liking. Never mind less cost,extra cables and more money spent in the manufacture of one or two more boxes.
    However a less then optimal designed integrated can suffer from cross talk and/or distortion as the sensitive pre is in the same chassis as the power amp. But done well there will be no problem. I went from pre/monoblocks to integrated amps and never noticed any loss off quality and will most likely not go back.
    As for daisy chaining or pre/monoblocks. Again I think you will only hear worthwhile differences if you move fairly high on up the ladder.
    As you already have a Rotel Power amp, the obvious choice would be a Rotel pre or integrated. Also you might want to investigate the Exposure Range of amps. Exposure works pretty well with Rotel. Or go for a tube pre. Something like the Prima Luna, Manley Shrimp or a Unison Research. Thats what I would do and add another power amp later on.
    You can then keep your receiver for your HT and the Tube pre/ Rotel poweramp for 2 channel. Horizontal bi-amping can reap really nice rewards, but is another thing to get right.
    Hope this helps and please let us know how you get on.

    Peace

    Bernd
    hi Bernd, since i already have here a rotel stereo power amp, do you think it is wise to go for a rotel integrated amp instead of a dedicated rotel stereo pre-amp? what benefit would it make if id go for an integrated amp instead of a pre-amp, given that i already have a stereo power amp?

  13. #13
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by accastil
    hi Bernd, since i already have here a rotel stereo power amp, do you think it is wise to go for a rotel integrated amp instead of a dedicated rotel stereo pre-amp? what benefit would it make if id go for an integrated amp instead of a pre-amp, given that i already have a stereo power amp?
    If you get an integrated you can bi-amp straight away. But listen before you buy.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  14. #14
    golden ear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernd
    If you get an integrated you can bi-amp straight away. But listen before you buy.

    Peace

    Bernd
    the bi-amping i really intend to do is vertical. that is, one mono for the left and another mono for the right. but this will have to wait since i am initially trying to figure out if i have to buy an integrated or just a pre amp to replace my receiver. besides, i dont think horizontal bi-amping using 2 SS amps of the same brand(rotel) would make any difference....or would it?

  15. #15
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    I agree with Bernd in that you need to get away from sweeping which-is-better type questions. The short answer is, it depends. If you use the Musical Fidelity kW integrated as a pre -- sure, it will be better than just about anything else you can come up with, even individual pre's (just as an example). But in general -- a pre into two monoblocks (or two stereos biamping) is going to be better in a well chosen, carefully thought-out, vertically bi-amped system.
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    Just seen this thread and I have a similar question which may well be a stupid one but here goes!
    I currently am using a Cambridge Audio 540r receiver with the preouts into a Behringer A500 power amp for the fronts.
    My question is can I biamp like this ie leave the preouts connected but connect the bass to the Behringer and the Treble to the Cambridge?

  17. #17
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richrpd
    Just seen this thread and I have a similar question which may well be a stupid one but here goes!
    I currently am using a Cambridge Audio 540r receiver with the preouts into a Behringer A500 power amp for the fronts.
    My question is can I biamp like this ie leave the preouts connected but connect the bass to the Behringer and the Treble to the Cambridge?
    You can but you need an external electronic crossover to actually split the bass and treble so you can drive the bass with only the Behringer. The treble output from the crossover could be plugged into the power amp in jacks and then the tweeter sections would be connected to the speaker outputs on the receiver. You could also use another stereo power amp or two mono' s to drive the tweeter sections directly from the tweeter output of the crossover.
    If you connect the speakers directly you would be feeding bass to the treble speakers and vice versa. The crossover is required to separate the frequency ranges.
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  18. #18
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    Thanks Joe
    have been away for a few days so only just seen your reply. Is it actually worth getting a crossover or would I be better off with another Behringer bearing in mind they are only about 120?

  19. #19
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    You still need an electronic crossover whether you buy another Behringer or not. If you don't use one you still have the lows going to the tweeters and vice versa. One reason for bi-amping is to get signals intended for tweeters only to the tweeters and only bass to woofers. If you eliminate bass frequencies from the tweeter feed you can cut that amplifier power in half. Bass uses 60% of amplifier power for only 20% of the music. Here in the US you can get a Paradigm X-30 xover for around $100. I have two. I would like to replace them with Bryston 10B's. I can't do that right now. I'm trying to buy some Apogee Studio's. I want to put together some Studio Grands.
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  20. #20
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by accastil
    i also would like to have your opinion regarding preamp brands: rotel, creek, nad...which one would you go for?
    how about Anthem and B&K...
    I just picked up a B&K 2ch pre off ebay for cheap and it is worlds better than my denon when used in 2ch.
    I have checked out B&K and Anthem HT Preamps and they are very sweet...
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