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Thread: AV Component Front-ends

  1. #1
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    AV Component Front-ends

    Had a weird problem with the HK AVR 7300 and it got me thinking about taking the system further towards component level gear.

    I'm guessing it would basically be a preamp/switched control center, HDMI/ Optical/Component/etc. ins and outs, perhaps with all the usual DVD decoding functionality (DTS/DD etc).

    Seems like the real gain would be going to standalone Amps, but I'd imagine there are other gains implicit in this.
    I'm guessing its another step away from mass market gear -

    Thoughts comments, brand loyalties?
    2ch - Oppo DV981, JoLida 502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- Oppo BDP-93, B&K amps, Vandy 2Ce, 2Ci, VCC1, DCM TF600 & 4641

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Thoughts comments, brand loyalties?
    I assume you want a good value and are not looking to buy the best analog section available which requires the willingness and ability to spend a small fortune on a processor.

    The Integra DTC 9.8 was a very high performance/price unit... it has since been superseded twice by the manufacturer... the Integra DHC 9.9 had some video upgrades and the new Integra DHC 80.1 (where do you go with your naming scheme after 9.9?) has additional bells and whistles over both it's predecessors. Both of the newer models have come out with higher prices... I guess since the 9.8 was hard to keep in stock, they determined that the price was too low. If you could find a lightly used 9.8 I would highly recommend it.

    If not, the upper middle product range of Denon and Onkyo/Integra receivers with pre-outs are among the better values in the budget HT arena.


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    I have preferred the sound of the DN-A7100 from Denon Pro to the Onkyo Integras. It is also pretty affordable, but only offers balanced outputs.

    http://www.d-mpro.com/users/folder.asp?FolderID=4214

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Watt Street View Post
    I have preferred the sound of the DN-A7100 from Denon Pro to the Onkyo Integras.
    I haven't heard it, so I can't say, but I do agree that better Denons do sound pretty good. That said, this model has HDMI 1.1 so it won't pass 1080p video or process the newer high def audio formats present on many blu ray discs.


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    Senior Member timc's Avatar
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    I have had some experience with the Integra DRC 7.1. (Working at retailer)

    It is a great unit WHEN it is working. And the support from Onkyo/integra have been rubish.


    The Anthem D2v on the other hand, is smooth sailing all the way. And it has a very nice room correction system.

    I have never really liked any Denon gear. I thin they sound harsh with a bit boomy bottom end.

    What about the Rotel RSP-15xx ?

    -Tim
    2213 + 2435HPL w/aquaplas + H9800 (Matsj edition)

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    The Anthem is excellent, but it costs $7500. I doubt Heather was planning on that sort of expenditure. The older Denon and Integra units that were mentioned are both closer to $1000.


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    Senior Member rdgrimes's Avatar
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    In terms of the core audio processing and function, audio quality as it were, there's very little difference between the mid-level and high-end units from the various brands. Where most of the high-end money goes is into features, video processing, bells and whistles, etc.

    With that in mind, you can achieve very comparable audio quality with a mid-level AVR that has pre-outs, and a separate amp. That's the approach I take, using a Yamaha RX-V665 as a pre-pro and separate amp. I got the 665 for a fraction of the cost of one of the dedicated pre-pro units and enjoy equal quality audio. (Yamaha uses the same DAC in all units from the mid-level up) Got the 665 for $350 shipped. That leaves plenty of headroom for buying amps.

    Were I you, I'd be looking first at AVR units with pre-outs, then at features and processing like YPAO or Audessay.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
    In terms of the core audio processing and function, audio quality as it were, there's very little difference between the mid-level and high-end units from the various brands. Where most of the high-end money goes is into features, video processing, bells and whistles, etc.
    Yes and no... the really high end stuff like the Anthem, Classe, Mark Levinson etc. have better analog sections and better A to D sections than the "high end" Denon, Yamaha, etc. pieces whose rear panels are so crowded with superfluous zones and redundant connectivity... looking at their "high end" stuff makes me laugh at the number of features that almost no one will ever use.

    I agree that a ~$1K AVR is the best bang for the buck especially if you use the internal amps for the surrounds. That said, the Integra DTC 9.8 with Audyssey is an outstanding value if you can find one... it isn't really crowded with unnecessary features, does support balanced outputs if you want and is generally a bit higher quality than the less expensive AVRs with similar specs.


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  9. #9
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
    Were I you, I'd be looking first at AVR units with pre-outs, then at features and processing like YPAO or Audessay.
    Okay - when I first upgraded from my old JVC 110w/5.1 receiver, I first got an HK AVR 335 as a front end from Harman Direct. Think it was around $340 or so - ran Preamp OUT for front L and R into an active crossover and then all the biamp gear for the 4341s. used the internal amps for center, surrounds and rears. After a couple years of that I found a deal on an HK AVR7300 - the then top of the line unit with (I think) 7x110w chan, faroudja circuits for the video and all kinds of great processing (Dolby Digital EX, Pro Logic II, all DTS modes (including 6.1 DTS-ES Discrete, DTS-ES Matrix, and DTS Neo:6) . Again, same deal - I can just run Front Preamp out (L - R) feed my active crossover and the biamp stuff, and use the (more powerful) internal amps for center, surrounds and rears.

    I actually have a nice center speaker (JBL LC2) on the internal Front-Center amp, and run the side and rear internal amps to L20T3s and L20T speakers, respectively. They work great as surrounds. Sub out feeds a bridged Citation amp and a JBL B-380. Seems like plenty!

    I guess part of my desire was - if I go to external amps, the rack with my pre-processor would run much cooler and I could locate the amps elsewhere. Going to another AVR doesn't really change that part of the equation.
    2ch - Oppo DV981, JoLida 502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- Oppo BDP-93, B&K amps, Vandy 2Ce, 2Ci, VCC1, DCM TF600 & 4641

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Of course I don't get H/T but I do understand running lots of amp off a decent front-end. I even bemoaned the lack of affordable A/V pre-amps here maybe two years ago and I believe at that time someone pointed me to the Outlaw line. If this baby (just reduced to $699 MSRP) doesn't give you what you need, maybe their other models will:
    http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/990.html



    A review back when it cost $1200 comparing it to a $3,300 Anthem controller is here: http://www.hometheatersound.com/equi...outlaw_990.htm and they pay specific attention to its 2-channel performance.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

  11. #11
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    That really looks interesting, but I couldn't in good faith buy any new unit that doesn't include at least 2 HDMI inputs -> throughputs.
    The OPPO 981HD and the Apple TV both have HDMI outs - my TV only has a single HDMI so I'm using the composite out of the APPLE TV, not its preferred HDMI connection.
    Neither of the HK receivers I've had had HDMI either, but they were older models.

    But thanks for the heads up - their gear does look interesting!

    Update - after reading on of the reviews on the Outlaw site, it seems that there are very cheap HDMI->DVI adapters when using HDMI for just video (as I do)

    Like this on for just over a buck-fifty at Amazon!
    http://www.amazon.com/Eforcity-HDMI-...dp/B000E8X5Z0/

    a pair of those would solve any issues I can see with the Outlaw unit!

    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Of course I don't get H/T but I do understand running lots of amp off a decent front-end. I even bemoaned the lack of affordable A/V pre-amps here maybe two years ago and I believe at that time someone pointed me to the Outlaw line. If this baby (just reduced to $699 MSRP) doesn't give you what you need, maybe their other models will:
    http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/990.html



    A review back when it cost $1200 comparing it to a $3,300 Anthem controller is here: http://www.hometheatersound.com/equi...outlaw_990.htm and they pay specific attention to its 2-channel performance.
    2ch - Oppo DV981, JoLida 502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- Oppo BDP-93, B&K amps, Vandy 2Ce, 2Ci, VCC1, DCM TF600 & 4641

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    Senior Member rdgrimes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    I guess part of my desire was - if I go to external amps, the rack with my pre-processor would run much cooler and I could locate the amps elsewhere. Going to another AVR doesn't really change that part of the equation.
    An AVR with no amp output will run as cool as anything else for the most part. Onkyo/Integra may be an exception. Point being that you shouldn't assume that a pre-pro will run "cool" just because it has no amps.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Update - after reading on of the reviews on the Outlaw site, it seems that there are very cheap HDMI->DVI adapters when using HDMI for just video (as I do) ...
    a pair of those would solve any issues I can see with the Outlaw unit!
    Or you could wait for their new unit co-developed with Sherwood that has four HDMI inputs...and costs nearly twice as much!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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    Most of the Yamaha mid range stuff has 4 HD in and 1 out. The RX-V665 is around $550US I believe. It will decode to 7.2 and they go pretty well. If it is just the front end that you want this amp will do just fine. I have tried most setups over the last few years and I am more than happy with the Yamaha brand. There are others out there with more features but as Widget said, features are pointless unless you use them.

    Allan.

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    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allanvh5150 View Post
    Most of the Yamaha mid range stuff has 4 HD in and 1 out. The RX-V665 is around $550US I believe. It will decode to 7.2 and they go pretty well. If it is just the front end that you want this amp will do just fine.
    It's only $319 here: http://www.advancedlamps.com/Yamaha-...ts-7.1-Channel

    It does have 7.1 + 2xSub pre-outs.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

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