Stereo Receiver Vs. Amplifier - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

A sound system newb here. Question for today is that what is the difference between a Stereo Receiver and an Amplifier?

With my TV + Cable box, should I go with an expensive Stereo Receiver ($$$) or a nice T-amp ($$)? Do I need one to make the other work? Do they do the same thing (...what do they do exactly)?

Any knowledgeable help would be appreciated.

Thank you
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 11:34 PM
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Stereo receiver = preamp + amp + radio tuner (sometimes) all in one

Amp = power source for speakers (still need a separate preamp to control volume and source switching)

Some believe that dedicated components for each task will give you the best fidelity / sound quality, but like many things in life, it depends on a) your needs b) your preferences c) the subjective quality of each component being considered.

In other words, you may like the sound quality of an integrated piece aka stereo receiver better than separate components, you may like it less, or you may be indifferent depending on a,b and c.

- Tim


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post #3 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 11:34 PM
 
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There are many forms of audio(as in powering speakers)...

Amplifier, integrated amplifier and receiver.

Amplifier is just that, it amps an incoming signal.
Integrated amplifier has an on-board volume control("amps" don't have volume control)
Receiver is amplifier, on-board volume control and a tuner(am/fm).

Some amps have volume attenuation, which "technically" makes them integrated amps...

What keeps a "volume attenuating amp" from being just called an integrated amp is the ONE input it has(not several like an integrated has)

Examples...

Amplifier...
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-M-282-2-...020332&sr=1-12 (does not have ANY form of volume attenuation)

Amplifier with on-board volume attenuation...
http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-2x75W-Ste...0020332&sr=1-1 (has volume, bass/treble...but only ONE input)

Integrated amp...
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-Integrat...0020450&sr=1-1 (the only thing separating this from a receiver is the "lack" of a tuner-am/fm)

When you buy an amplifier(regardless if it does or doesn't have volume attenuation)...you buy what is known as a pre-amplifer(pre-amp)...also known as a control amp.
http://www.amazon.com/Parasound-Clas...020804&sr=1-33

So, in your case...if your TV has an analog output, and it can be set variable...then the TV itself will act as the pre-amp. If the analog output of your TV is NOT capable of being set variable...then you need something to control the amp between the TV and AMP(or you just buy an amp with a volume attenuator, integrated amp or receiver)
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-06-2011, 11:35 PM
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When you say Stereo receiver do you really mean a two channel receiver? Or an Audio/Video receiver?

T-Amp? like one of those portable Dayton amps?
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-383

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Stereo receiver = preamp + amp + radio tuner (sometimes) all in one

Amp = power source for speakers (still need a separate preamp to control volume and source switching)

Some believe that dedicated components for each task will give you the best fidelity / sound quality, but like many things in life, it depends on a) your needs b) your preferences c) the subjective quality of each component being considered.

In other words, you may like the sound quality of an integrated piece aka stereo receiver better than separate components, you may like it less, or you may be indifferent depending on a,b and c.

Would an AMP (T-Amp...the only type of AMP I know of) work for more than 2 speakers?
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

There are many forms of audio(as in powering speakers)...

Amplifier, integrated amplifier and receiver.

Amplifier is just that, it amps an incoming signal.
Integrated amplifier has an on-board volume control("amps" don't have volume control)
Receiver is amplifier, on-board volume control and a tuner(am/fm).

Some amps have volume attenuation, which "technically" makes them integrated amps...

What keeps a "volume attenuating amp" from being just called an integrated amp is the ONE input it has(not several like an integrated has)

Examples...

Amplifier...
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-M-282-2-...020332&sr=1-12 (does not have ANY form of volume attenuation)

Amplifier with on-board volume attenuation...
http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-2x75W-Ste...0020332&sr=1-1 (has volume, bass/treble...but only ONE input)

Integrated amp...
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-Integrat...0020450&sr=1-1 (the only thing separating this from a receiver is the "lack" of a tuner-am/fm)

When you buy an amplifier(regardless if it does or doesn't have volume attenuation)...you buy what is known as a pre-amplifer(pre-amp)...also known as a control amp.
http://www.amazon.com/Parasound-Clas...020804&sr=1-33

So, in your case...if your TV has an analog output, and it can be set variable...then the TV itself will act as the pre-amp. If the analog output of your TV is NOT capable of being set variable...then you need something to control the amp between the TV and AMP(or you just buy an amp with a volume attenuator, integrated amp or receiver)

Are new LED TV's have an analog output? I would guess so but not sure.
I am guessing the cheapest + best option for me is to go with amplifier with on-board volume attenuation. Is that right? I do not care much about AM/FM tuner.

Would you recommend this over Lepai Tripath TA2020 Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Amplifier? Both have on-board volume attenuation, right? Not my cup of tea so needs some guidance.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

When you say Stereo receiver do you really mean a two channel receiver? Or an Audio/Video receiver?

T-Amp? like one of those portable Dayton amps?
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-383

Well, lets say I just want to use it for my TV. That would be audio only right? but if I want to use it with my TV + DVD player would I need audio/video receiver?

Can I use T-amp with TV + DVD player + Cable box? or would I need a full blown receiver?

So many things to learn which should be a common sense...
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burninh2o View Post

Would an AMP (T-Amp...the only type of AMP I know of) work for more than 2 speakers?

No, the T-Amp is a stereo amp, so it only has connections for two speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burninh2o View Post

Well, lets say I just want to use it for my TV. That would be audio only right? but if I want to use it with my TV + DVD player would I need audio/video receiver?

Can I use T-amp with TV + DVD player + Cable box? or would I need a full blown receiver?

So many things to learn which should be a common sense...

FYI - the T-Amp is actually considered an integrated preamp (volume control + amp). A straight amp has no volume control. But the T-amp only has one stereo input, so you will need a switch box if you want to add other sources, or go with a stereo integrated with multiple inputs.

When you move to an "AV" receiver, it allows you to route video through the receiver as well. So you could connect your DVD player to one set of inputs and your cable box to another and you would switch inputs on the AV receiver to watch/listen to one or the other. Without the video switching capability, you would have to route the video of the two devices to separate inputs on the TV and use the TV to switch inputs for video and the stereo receiver to switch the audio. So in the end, the AV receiver makes things less complicated to use when you have multiple sources.

If I were you, at this point, I would just go the AV receiver route to minimize the complication of setting up and using your system.

- Tim


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post #9 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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To go with AV reciever, I would have to spend a few more Benjamins...what do you recommend for about $200-$400? Then I would have to buy better speakers too or would one of those bookshelf speakers work just as well?
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burninh2o View Post

To go with AV reciever, I would have to spend a few more Benjamins...what do you recommend for about $200-$400? Then I would have to buy better speakers too or would one of those bookshelf speakers work just as well?

I would look for a close-out deal on something from one of the big brands, like Onkyo, Denon, Harman Kardon, or Pioneer. You could also look into a refurbished Denon unit from Dakmart, which comes with a 1 year warranty.

http://www.dakmart.com/index.php?cPa...t=&filter_id=5

You don't have to buy better speakers with an AVR, but you should always buy the best quality speakers you can afford, as the speakers have a greater impact on sound quality than most electronics.

What is your overall budget, and do you have any speakers already in mind?

- Tim


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post #11 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Well for speakers, I was thinking the following...

Quote:
Amps:
Lepai Tripath TA2020
Dayton Audio DTA-1 Class T Digital AC/DC Amplifier 15 WPC

Speakers:
Dayton Audio B652 6-1/2" 2-Way Bookshelf Speaker Pair
Sony SS-B3000 Bookshelf Speakers with 8-Inch Woofer

OR

Quote:
Swan D1080MkII
or
Swan M10

After reading some helpful comments from other members, I am leaning towards swan speakers. People are recommending D1080MKII. I was wondering would M10 be a better choice or not.

As for my budget, I really don't want to go above ~150 USD.

p.s. I have put a hold on buying a AV receiver for now due to tight budget.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 10:34 PM
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Sorry, I worked with low budgets, but I don't have any experience with gear in that price range. If it were me, I would wait until you could afford a set of speaker in the $400 pair range and a receiver in the $200 range. Otherwise you are just going to end up re-buying in the future to get something decent. I just can't image a set of $35 speakers sounding even remotely good. But again, I've never heard them so I could be wrong. As I mentioned before, and as you will see stated many times in this forum, whatever your budget is, put most of it into the speakers. The speakers, the room and placement will have greater affect on the final sound quality than the electronics.

- Tim


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post #13 of 13 Old 07-07-2011, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burninh2o View Post

To go with AV reciever, I would have to spend a few more Benjamins...what do you recommend for about $200-$400? Then I would have to buy better speakers too or would one of those bookshelf speakers work just as well?

I would go with an AV receiver (AVR) like a Denon AVR-1911. That gives you plenty of power for most speakers, bass management should you ever add a subwoofer, and Audyssey MultiEQ room correction. Bottom line it gives you a good solid starting point to build a system on over time - years if necessary.
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