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  1. #1
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Receivers vs. separates?

    Receivers vs. separates? OK, so this one has been beat to death. But a few more questions please. If I were to go to separates, do they have auto setups like my Yamaha? If not, what is needed to do this manually? My Yammie measures several aspects.

    Distance: ok, I can use a tape measure. Next.
    Level: Radio Shack sell meters for this. Think I can handle it.
    EQ for each speaker: 9 speakers plus sub? Don't know what kind of meter I need for this but I could find. A little work but doable.
    The last one? Don't even remember what it's called: No clue. WTF, how do I go about this one?

    Is there that big of a difference between my Yammie's processor and a separate's processor?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

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    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Wow. Talking about reading my mind. I was going to post the same thread with similar questions. I have been following the recv dilemma thread closely. I will follow this just as close. If I could be so rude and just throw one more question in there, I was wondering would amping your mains off balance your HT setup? Since more power would be going to the mains than the rest of your speakers. Just curious. Sorry for butting in....

  3. #3
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Any adjustment to one's set up, including adding a 2-channel amp, repositioning, changing furniture arrangement necessitates a recalibration of the speaker level. Even fits of boredom call for recalibrating your system.

  4. #4
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.J.
    Wow. Talking about reading my mind. I was going to post the same thread with similar questions. I have been following the recv dilemma thread closely. I will follow this just as close. If I could be so rude and just throw one more question in there, I was wondering would amping your mains off balance your HT setup? Since more power would be going to the mains than the rest of your speakers. Just curious. Sorry for butting in....
    No problem. Add all the questions you can think of.

    My Yammie's auto set up would measure the total volume level coming out of each speaker including the mains with or without an additional amp's help. So I think that would not matter. But they may end up being turned down.
    I already have my system set up 2 ways. One for HT and another for 2 channel listening. I can switch back and forth with a touch of a button thanks to it's 6 memory settings. So I would set up the 2 channel as to not turn the mains down.

    Good question. Add that to my list of "will a separate do this for me?"
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

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    It's all about balance

    You have a nice system put together. The first question is are you unhappy with the
    way it sounds now? It doesn't sound like you are.

    Second, is what level of performance can you expect from what you have?

    Good quality receiver,
    Good quality speakers.

    Nice balance.

    Adding separate amps and pre/pro's would be to your advantage IF you are going
    to upgrade you Primus speakers. If not, you would NEVER hear the difference in
    the system you have.

    Take the time, set it up right, and enjoy.
    JVC RXDP-10 Reciever
    7 OutlawAudio M-200 monoblocks
    Infinity IL-60 Mains
    Infinity IL-36c Center
    Infinity IL-50 Surrounds
    Infinity IL-10 Back Surrounds
    SVS PB12-ULTRA/2
    Mitsubishi 65" hdtv
    Douglas theater seating

  6. #6
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    So the benefits to amping the mains would be for musical purposes since HT requires a calibration of the speaker levels?

    Would lets say 200 watts at the same level of 100 watts make a huge difference than overall sound?

    I was also wondering whats the difference in using a pre/pro+amp combo vs. using a avr with preouts+amps?


    Please understand the I come from a world of BB,CC and Gguys and all this is extremely new to me.

  7. #7
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    The Outlaw 950 7.1 preamp comes with a microphone. You plug it in to the front and sit the mic where your head would be and the levels, distance, and I think even crossover points (it has independant crossovers for EACH channel!) are all done for you. It don't get no easier than that.

    The 'memory settings' are pretty much a standard feature of any good AV receiver or preamp so that's not a problem. And if I'm not mistaken the Outlaw allows you to have custom settings for each source. So instead of having a blanket 'ht' setup and a blanket 'music' setup, you can set it up for each individual source.
    I knew I could count on you Nab. Thanks a bunch!

    By the way, sorry I left you off of the most helpful link. My poor a.s oversight.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    The Outlaw 950 7.1 preamp comes with a microphone. You plug it in to the front and sit the mic where your head would be and the levels, distance, and I think even crossover points (it has independant crossovers for EACH channel!) are all done for you. It don't get no easier than that.

    The 'memory settings' are pretty much a standard feature of any good AV receiver or preamp so that's not a problem. And if I'm not mistaken the Outlaw allows you to have custom settings for each source. So instead of having a blanket 'ht' setup and a blanket 'music' setup, you can set it up for each individual source.

  9. #9
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swgiust
    You have a nice system put together. The first question is are you unhappy with the
    way it sounds now? It doesn't sound like you are.

    Second, is what level of performance can you expect from what you have?

    Good quality receiver,
    Good quality speakers.

    Nice balance.

    Adding separate amps and pre/pro's would be to your advantage IF you are going
    to upgrade you Primus speakers. If not, you would NEVER hear the difference in
    the system you have.

    Take the time, set it up right, and enjoy.
    hahahaha, You are so riiiight. I do love my system. Thank you for saying it's nice.
    But I made a HUGE mistake a few months back. I walked into a high end stereo store. They had a pair of maggies on the wall. Couldn't believe my ears. They sounded like the band was in the room with me.
    Eventually my current system will end up in my new basement (after that's built) and a new system will be needed for upstairs. No budget at this point but it never hurts to think ahead. If I build a system from scratch it will end up with Maggies. I saw the new RX-V4600 came out and has the amps to drive maggies. Would still add an extra amp for the mains. But if a sepperate "sounds" better, then I want to at least consider it.
    Last edited by GMichael; 09-02-2005 at 09:34 AM. Reason: typo
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    The Outlaw 950 7.1 preamp comes with a microphone. You plug it in to the front and sit the mic where your head would be and the levels, distance, and I think even crossover points (it has independant crossovers for EACH channel!) are all done for you. It don't get no easier than that.

    The 'memory settings' are pretty much a standard feature of any good AV receiver or preamp so that's not a problem. And if I'm not mistaken the Outlaw allows you to have custom settings for each source. So instead of having a blanket 'ht' setup and a blanket 'music' setup, you can set it up for each individual source.
    NaB, do you mean the Outlaw 990?
    Wooch, Sir TT, etal are a part of a Northern California Conspiracy!
    Smokey, admit you are using your receiver as a prepro!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Receivers vs. separates? OK, so this one has been beat to death. But a few more questions please. If I were to go to separates, do they have auto setups like my Yamaha? If not, what is needed to do this manually? My Yammie measures several aspects.

    Distance: ok, I can use a tape measure. Next.
    Level: Radio Shack sell meters for this. Think I can handle it.
    EQ for each speaker: 9 speakers plus sub? Don't know what kind of meter I need for this but I could find. A little work but doable.
    The last one? Don't even remember what it's called: No clue. WTF, how do I go about this one?

    Is there that big of a difference between my Yammie's processor and a separate's processor?
    OK, the Yammy 2500 is a pretty good receiver but being a receiver means it will not compare with an amp when it comes to clean power. However before getting into seperates you should try adding an external amp to the Yammy and see the difference, if any.
    That would be my first step.
    Wooch, Sir TT, etal are a part of a Northern California Conspiracy!
    Smokey, admit you are using your receiver as a prepro!!

  12. #12
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick4433
    NaB, do you mean the Outlaw 990?
    Yes I do mean the 990..sorry about that

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    hahahaha, You are so riiiight. I do love my system. Thank you for saying it's nice.
    But I made a HUGE mistake a few months back. I walked into a high end stereo store. They had a pair of maggies on the wall. Couldn't believe my ears. They sounded like the band was in the room with me.
    Eventually my current system will end up in my new basement (after that's built) and a new system will be needed for upstairs. No budget at this point but it never hurts to think ahead. If I build a system from scratch it will end up with Maggies. I saw the new RX-V4600 came out and has the amps to drive maggies. Would still add an extra amp for the mains. But if a sepperate "sounds" better, then I want to at least consider it.
    Hey GMichael, if you are considering Maggies in the future forget about receivers and consider some serious and clean amplification like Rotel, Parasound, B&K etc but above all you have got to have a top notch line stage to realize the full potential of maggies.

  14. #14
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    Yamahas are WEAK receivers; if you want to go receiver get a Denon. Separates will sound better given a good amount to spend, but for a "moderate amount" of money, you'll noitice nothing different.

    Want a difference in sound, Krell will do it. Sunfire Sigs, Bryston, etc along with a good processor like a Lexicon, Krell, Meridian (over-p;riced in my opinion) also are good.

    Yamaha is a weak piece for the money. A poor man's Denon is what we call it and you'll be pissed you bought it withion a month.

    It's only my humble opinion.

    But remember, this is ALL opinion!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyThingIs23InchesFlacid!
    Yamahas are WEAK receivers; if you want to go receiver get a Denon. Separates will sound better given a good amount to spend, but for a "moderate amount" of money, you'll noitice nothing different.

    Want a difference in sound, Krell will do it. Sunfire Sigs, Bryston, etc along with a good processor like a Lexicon, Krell, Meridian (over-p;riced in my opinion) also are good.

    Yamaha is a weak piece for the money. A poor man's Denon is what we call it and you'll be pissed you bought it withion a month.

    It's only my humble opinion.

    But remember, this is ALL opinion!!!!!!!!
    Yeah... right....

    Month+ is up. Still love it. Try again..
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  16. #16
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The choice of receiver vs. separates isn't as easy as we often make it out to be. Application is the key.
    While it is true that modern a/v receivers don't include the same large internal amplifiers that you'd find in separates, this doesn't instantly give an advantage to separates.
    If you only ever listen to music or home theater at 70 to 80 dB in a medium size room or smaller on relatively efficient speakers or say 90 dB, a lot of receiver will have absolutely no problem effortlessly driving 5 and even 7 channels. 20 watts per channel would be adequate, 30 or 40 would provide more headroom than you could use. Having extra power available would be wasted. Again, IF moderate volumes in small rooms with efficient speaker is the situation.

    Problem is, once you start altering things, including how far you are sitting from each speaker, the speaker's sensitivity, you listening preferences, number of speakers, etc, you can eat up a receivers power reserves fairly quickly. At louder volumes musical peaks can push an amp into clipping. With most modern avr's, as you add speakers to the initial 2 stereo speakers, the power available drops to all speakers drops. These are just some power capacity concerns.

    Buying a bigger, more powerful avr will help, but power itself is only one consideration. Amplifiers have their own tonality characteristics (which can vary from speaker to speaker too). When I bought my RX-V1400, I demoed a few models of receivers in my home over a period of 3 weeks or so. Immediately, I noticed that the Denon (2803 or 2703? if memory serves - was $100 more than my 1400 at the time)and the RX-V1400, sounded incredibly similar. In fact, I couldn't hear any noteworthy differences for music at all. The H/K 630 receiver was a bit different, but it wasn't my cup of tea....great unit though. All of these were plenty powerful...it was the other features in the end that led me to buy the Yammie. I also had NAD receiver during this time. It was by far the most powerful and also very obviously the best sounding of the bunch. It had it's own sound again, different from the Denon, Yamaha, and H/K...

    I attributed the differences to the higher quality pre-amp stage of the NAD. This contributes a lot to sound as well. H/K, Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, etc make good receivers, but compromises are made. NAD builds their receivers off the same platforms as their separates and integrateds. A good step up on quality, especially the pre-amps side of things. It was too much money for me to justify at the time because I was also buying a new 2-channel stereo system. This is an example where receivers aren't necessarily inferior to separates, because they use the same quality of components, just in one box...add some external power to meet your needs, and you shouldn't notice a difference.

    Adding power to the Yamaha (which I've done in my system) will result in significant improvments in sound quality, but only to a certain point. The pre-amp stage is still only so-so in these things. A good separate pre-pro will have a leg up here. The differences aren't night and day, in fact at first they can be hard to hear. Without being snobby, I think there's a certain plateau for speaker performance you should be at before bothering. When I was shopping, I had a complete 7.1 Paradigm Studio speaker system. I borrowed a few pre/pros and amps after my Yamaha purchase (Bryston and Arcam). I could tell an immediate difference in the finer resolution over my receiver's sound. When I hooked up my Wharfedale Emeralds or Axiom M3ti's though, there wasn't much difference to be heard. I don't think the speakers could do the electronics justice.

    My point here is that I think separates can add significant performance improvements, but don't get carried away. Great speakers on a decent avr should sound better than decent speakers powered by great separates.

    I think the choice to go to separates should be made with long-term planning in mind. If you own your gear for 7-10 years, and are happy, there might not be much point in upgrading a receiver in favor of separates. If you're trading up more frequently though, I think you can achieve better performance and save money while adding flexibility long-term. Quality amplification is cheap these days...especially if you buy used (which I've been doing). They last for decades. So upgrading is a matter of buying a new pre/pro every few years (and maybe some common minor adjustments you'd do for receivers and separates). If you were to spend $1500-$2000 or so on a good receiver, spending that same amount on just a pre/pro should capture a bit more quality and performance for the money...I wouldn't lie and say it's 20% better, it's not...maybe 5% or so if you want to quantify it. But it's there and you can really appreciate it over time.

    Naturally, as you increase your budet, you can buy better electronics (to a point IMO, diminishing returns and all). I think there's a certain stage though, were if the budget is there, that separates will provide better value and performance for the same price as high-end receivers. Especially during the first upgrade.

    Back to application - if you plan to use your system more for movies than for music, buying a mid-level receiver AND external amplification might be a better way of spending your money. You won't find too much difference (if any) in the way a $400 Denon processes DTS and a $3000 Bryston Pre/pro processes DTS. If you're on a tighter budget for your audio needs, using a receiver as a pre-pro is a pretty good way of incorporating a control box into your system that captures most of the performance at a reduced cost...

    There's a lot of value in receivers, I think we as audio enthusiasts tend to look down on them too much, and too harshly. They're probably not in anyone's "dream system", but that doesn't mean they can't serve a very useful purpose and deliver fantastic results.

  17. #17
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.J.
    So the benefits to amping the mains would be for musical purposes since HT requires a calibration of the speaker levels?
    Not exactly...more amplification adds more headroom and better sound and control over the speakers for any purpose, music or home theater. At lower volumes the differences will be very small, maybe not noticeable. But as you start to go louder you can hear notice improvements rather quickly.

    Would lets say 200 watts at the same level of 100 watts make a huge difference than overall sound?
    No. IMO, double the power isn't really enough of an improvement. IF a 100 watt amp is at its limits where sound quality starts to deteriorate, a 200 watt amp isn't really that far away. It's more of a small difference. For some speakers though, 200 watts will be enough where 100 watts might not be. Usually people are advised to at least double power when upgrading amps (all other things equal), but a factor of 2 X isn't that much when it comes to power.

    I was also wondering whats the difference in using a pre/pro+amp combo vs. using a avr with preouts+amps?
    Pre-pros generally should have a better pre-amp stage, especially for analog sources. Just a bit finer musical quality. Amps amplify signals they receive from the pre-amps, so if the pre-amp signal is better, the output from the amp should be better. For digital sources, the differences are much smaller usually. For analog they can be significant, especially if you're connecting a turntable with phono inputs in my experience. Huge difference.

  18. #18
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyThingIs23InchesFlacid!
    Yamahas are WEAK receivers; if you want to go receiver get a Denon. Separates will sound better given a good amount to spend, but for a "moderate amount" of money, you'll noitice nothing different.

    Want a difference in sound, Krell will do it. Sunfire Sigs, Bryston, etc along with a good processor like a Lexicon, Krell, Meridian (over-p;riced in my opinion) also are good.

    Yamaha is a weak piece for the money. A poor man's Denon is what we call it and you'll be pissed you bought it withion a month.

    It's only my humble opinion.

    But remember, this is ALL opinion!!!!!!!!
    Who is we?
    Look & Listen

  19. #19
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_pci
    Any adjustment to one's set up, including adding a 2-channel amp, repositioning, changing furniture arrangement necessitates a recalibration of the speaker level. Even fits of boredom call for recalibrating your system.

    Its just not that hard to do. I think there's to much todo about auto setup. I wouldnt let that be a selling point,at least not for me.
    Look & Listen

  20. #20
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Its just not that hard to do. I think there's to much todo about auto setup. I wouldnt let that be a selling point,at least not for me.
    For the most part I agree...Except in the case of onboard Parametric Eq's included in Auto-Setup....they sometimes can make a reasonable improvement in system performance. Especially systems that don't have all identical speakers.
    In my situation, there's some moderate EQ'ing to compensate for each speaker's environment, though I can't tell by listening to it. I can hear the adjustments made to perfectly blend my matching center channel to my mains though. Not a night day difference for me, but I can see where it could be useful for some.
    They are fairly accurate and do save quite a bit of time...nice feature that simply shoudl be standard on all receivers at this point.

  21. #21
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Thanks Kex,

    A very thorough explanation. I think I have most of it now.

    Pre-pro = better for music (especially analog) (5 to 10%, maybe a little more)?
    Pre-pro = a little better for HT & digital. (less than 5%)?
    AVR = better for your wallet, most of the time.
    Variables = brand & model of pre-pro, speakers, amp(s) & receiver.
    Budget & personal preferances = biggest difference.
    Your experience & assistance = invaluable!

    By the way, I do like the system I have now very much. I'm still amazed at how good it sounds each time I turn it on. But if better is available? Sure would like to have it. (if it doesn't bust my budget)
    Time will tell on the budget. System number 3 will be based on that when the time comes.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  22. #22
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    GMichael: Don't put too much stock into the exact % figures I use...Just trying to make a point it's not a 2 X or 1.5 X difference....Still well worth it in many cases to many people...

  23. #23
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    No problem. Somewhat better for somewhat more depending on a lot of variables.

    Thank Kex
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Who is we?
    My HT Club members and me. 3 people with a passion for the HT life and we speak regularly. Nothing formal and nothing other than guys trying to watch each others' back, provide support/help with new gear as needed, and helping to do research when it comes time to buy new gear.

    As for the guy with the Yamaha, nothing personal and don't mean to be so opinionated about Yamaha vs Denon.

    Like I mentioned in one of my posts, "it is all opinion". I just apologize for coming across as a jerk. In reading it now, I see your point!

  25. #25
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Not exactly...more amplification adds more headroom and better sound and control over the speakers for any purpose, music or home theater. At lower volumes the differences will be very small, maybe not noticeable. But as you start to go louder you can hear notice improvements rather quickly.


    No. IMO, double the power isn't really enough of an improvement. IF a 100 watt amp is at its limits where sound quality starts to deteriorate, a 200 watt amp isn't really that far away. It's more of a small difference. For some speakers though, 200 watts will be enough where 100 watts might not be. Usually people are advised to at least double power when upgrading amps (all other things equal), but a factor of 2 X isn't that much when it comes to power.


    Pre-pros generally should have a better pre-amp stage, especially for analog sources. Just a bit finer musical quality. Amps amplify signals they receive from the pre-amps, so if the pre-amp signal is better, the output from the amp should be better. For digital sources, the differences are much smaller usually. For analog they can be significant, especially if you're connecting a turntable with phono inputs in my experience. Huge difference.

    Thanks for the reply Kex. It all makes perfect sense.

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