Pre-Pro help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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In a few of my recent posts in the Paradigm owners official thread, the topic of amplifiers came up and that they don't make that much of a difference as far as the sound you hear as long as they are presumed to be properly made. Many suggested saving some money on an amp by getting a cheaper amp and put more towards the pre-processor. I have a few questions. What do I look for when looking for a pre-pro besides all the features and formats I want? How can I tell that processor will sound good? I've been looking at the Integra DHC-80.3 and can see it's a highly liked unit. Then in a review of the monster Outlaw 7900 amp I read recently, the reviewer was using a Cary Cinema 12 processor which is nearly double the cost of the Integra, but he talked about how wonderful it sounded. I don't have the ability to audition all of these things since there really aren't any places around here that carries all of this stuff, and if they do, its not on a showroom floor.

Since I've been told amps are not as important to the sound quality you hear, I made a list in my head of the components that make a difference from most significant to least significant. Please, re-arrange my list if something is out of place.

Most significant to least significant:

-Placement of speakers/subwoofer(s), room acoustics

-Speakers/Subwoofer(s)

-Source Material

-Pre-amp/processor

-DVD/CD/Blu-ray player etc.

-Amplifier

-Speaker wires
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Basically, how important are pre-processors to the sound you hear, and would there be a noticeable difference in sound quality between the Integra DHC-80.3 and the Cary Cinema 12? I know they're both very different, one having a lot more processing abilities and one being double the price. I'm talking specifically about the sound.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-11-2012, 08:49 AM
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Because hearing is subjective, the more we spend, the better it sounds. It's natures way of allowing us to justify the exorbitant costs.

The sky is the limit in audio. It's really up to each of us to find a sound we enjoy at a cost we can live with.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-12-2012, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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And its because hearing is subjective that I wish I could audition these components so badly. I see what your saying. So my budget would be more happy with an Integra DHC-80.3 with an Outlaw 7900. Hopefully it makes my ears just as happy lol. I'm sure it will since I'm currently using an AVR.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-12-2012, 06:33 AM
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IMO the important thing to look for in a pre/pro is the feature set. # of HDMI inputs/outputs, room correction system, internet features (streaming, etc), 7.1 vs 9.1 vs 11.1.
Many of us that were using separates are now using an AVR just as a pre/pro or using some of the amps in the receiver for extra channels, second zone.
Many have ended up not even getting a separate amp when they found the amp section in the receiver to be adequate.
I myself just got an Anthem MRX300 to use as a pre/pro, it doesn't have many extra bells and whistles, but I use an Oppo Blu-ray player for streaming and other networking capabilities. Another popular one is the Denon 4311 which does have more features.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-12-2012, 12:50 PM
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Since nobody has written it explicitly, I'll write that your "effect on quality" list looks about right, provided that each of the items meets certain minimum requirements. Of course, there have been many flamewars debating what those minimum requirements are!

My one quibble would be that room treatments can't fix a defective speaker design, so starting with the best speakers you can afford is important.

At the very least, you should audition the speakers -- in the showroom, if nowhere else. While room treatments and modern audio processors can compensate for some problems, they are not a panacea. Some speaker designs have problems that are immediately audible despite having a high price, for example.

Selden
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-12-2012, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Some speaker designs have problems that are immediately audible despite having a high price, for example.

Hi SB, what exactly are those speaker design problems you are mentioning that we need to listen to? Care to expand a bit?

Thanks.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-13-2012, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

Hi SB, what exactly are those speaker design problems you are mentioning that we need to listen to? Care to expand a bit?

Thanks.


Well, maybe a brief description of one of my auditioning experiences would help: I was listening to speakers from several manufacturers in my initial price range ($1K-$1.5K per pair) and made the "mistake" of comparing them to a model with more than twice that list price. In comparison, the less expensive speakers sounded as if they had towels wrapped around them -- they had much poorer clarity. I'm sure I wouldn't have noticed it without being able to switch between them.

Also, in some of the speaker reviews that I've read in Stereophile, in those cases where they have both a "subjective" review and a "bench test", I've often seen cases where a reviewer's comments about "brightness" and other subjective effects had corresponding features in the audio response patterns shown in the bench tests. When the bench-test's audio profile shows features that look like a saw-blade, I find it hard to believe that audio processors will be able to produce a reasonably flat response.

Starting with a speaker with a flat response is going to make it much easier to produce a flat response in the listening room/home theater.

Of course, many people really don't like flat response curves. I'd like to blame that on many people having damaged their hearing (live concerts, cranked up mp3 players, etc), and having to correct for that problem, but whether that's true or not, I don't really know.

Selden
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