Originally Posted by commsysman
The simple fact is that AVRs have a lot of their cost determined by capabilities that are not needed for 2 channel audio. Why pay for what you don't need and won't use?
The above statement is yet another audiophile myth. It ignores the economic benefits of large volume production and economies of scale.
You can easily pay the price of a good AVR or more for either
a DAC or an amplifier.
For example we have the following prices from previous posts in this thread:
NAD 316BEE ($379) and the Cambridge Audio 351A. ($550)
"Dynamic Power Reserves Continuous power is a conservative 40 watts and dynamic power, which is more important for music listening, is remarkably more than 100 watts! Far more usable power on tap than other amps at this price point."
A competitive AVR will have at least 80 watts continuous power and up to 180 watts dynamic power.
The AVR will have built in manual and automatic equalization or bypass all equalization for purists. It has effective bass management. And it has just about every kind of extant consumer digital input - no DAC needed!
The Azur 351 does have a limited USB digital input, but costs 50% more than the NAD .
Still has no bass management, equalization, etc. Power rating: "45W RMS into 8 Ohms".
Soneone mentioned Peachtree?
Lowest cost Peachtree alternative is pennies under $1k and has 65 wpc and a built in DAC with both coax and optical digital inputs. All very nice and good, but notice the price - at least 3X that of many good AVRs.
The fact of the matter is that I have a fair number of stand-alone 2-channel preamps, equalizers, crossovers, surround processors and amps sitting around the house, but an AVR is the one hooked to speakers and listened to because it is the simplest, most effective, best sounding solution to connecting the speakers and music sources at hand.
The only part of the AVR in my 2.1 system that is sitting idle is a $15 power amp chip, heat sink and a handful of passive parts for the 3 channels of power amplification that I don't use.