Always owned ARV's, need advice on separates - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-20-2013, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm building a new house with a dedicated theater room and have picked most of the components - projector, a-lens, 1.35:1 screen, loudspeakers. The room is about 18' long (projector in a closet behind the back wall) by 14' wide. I'll have a 7.1 sound system with 2 cylindrical subs (or is that 7.2?).

I've always been a AVR guy, owned a series of Yamaha's over the years. But a dedicated theater should have separates, no? That way, I figure, you can always upgrade the pre-pro to whatever the state-of-the-art is and keep the amplifier since it's probably future-proof. No sense in re-buying the amp section of a receiver every few years. A guy from the local A/V store suggested these:

Pre-amp: Integra DHC-40.2
Amp: Integra DTA-70.1

What I'm looking for are alternatives to these, in this rough price bracket, so I can begin to scale the separates learning curve, figure out what would give me the most bang for the buck with this theater. Any recommendations - including the reasons why - would be welcomed.

I'll have an Oppo BDP103 disk player as well. Probably will only use the room to watch TV and movies, no games. Might give the occasional work presentation in there as well.
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-20-2013, 08:16 PM
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Well, the main reason most people go with separates is so they can keep up with rapidly changing technology.

I started using separates way back in the mid 90's when I got my first pre/pro, a B&K Reference 30 which I mated with an Outlaw 750 amp. Since then, I've had several different preamps, but the Outlaw amp is still there and still doing a great job.

When putting a separates budget together, try to get the best possible amplifier you can at your budget level because you will be living with that amp (if you're lucky) for a long time. That amp you've got there seems to be the modern equivalent of what my Outlaw was was back then...a lot of bang for the buck!

Seems like a nice combination... I love the specs on the amp, but I can't really speak to the prepro having never heard Integra products...

If you can get an in-home audition from your retailer, go for it!

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post #3 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 02:38 AM
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Both Integra preamps have inferior versions of Audyssey, doesn't make sense when the Onkyo 818 receiver (which I use as preamp) has XT 32 for much less $. Integra is basically Onkyo and doubtful it sounds better due to better cosmetics, build and warranty.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #4 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 04:30 AM
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Doesn't Integra use class A/B amps, versus class D in the Onkyos?

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post #5 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Doesn't Integra use class A/B amps, versus class D in the Onkyos?

im not aware of onkyo using class D amps???

pioneer on the other hand does.

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post #6 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

im not aware of onkyo using class D amps???

pioneer on the other hand does.

Maybe I was misinformed at the hifi shop I was at last night. They were trying to sell me on Integra versus Denon/Onkyo

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post #7 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post


Maybe I was misinformed at the hifi shop I was at last night. They were trying to sell me on Integra versus Denon/Onkyo

This 150 wpc amp that you are looking at has maybe 3 dB more power than a good AVR.

If your system is out of power and you listen carefully you may actually hear a difference, but probably not so much.

It usually takes about 50 wpc to reach reference levels with 20 dB (100x) peak reserves uising typical speakers at at typical listening distances. Less if you have a good subwoofer.

This all begs the question: Why do you think you need a bigger amp?

It takes about 10 times more power to obtain a sound that is twice as loud, and that is only true if you are running out of power with the smaller amp.

If you like the looks of the thing, or want the bragging rights, go for it. If you want to invest money and get a big pay off in terms of improved sound quality, big iron with only a little more power ain't gonna cut it.
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post #8 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

im not aware of onkyo using class D amps???

pioneer on the other hand does.

Maybe I was misinformed at the hifi shop I was at last night. They were trying to sell me on Integra versus Denon/Onkyo

Integra is made by Onkyo, and generally a given Integra component is the same as the comparable Onkyo component. So, Integra is usually the same equipment under a different name for the custom installation market.
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

This 150 wpc amp that you are looking at has maybe 3 dB more power than a good AVR.

If your system is out of power and you listen carefully you may actually hear a difference, but probably not so much.

It usually takes about 50 wpc to reach reference levels with 20 dB (100x) peak reserves uising typical speakers at at typical listening distances. Less if you have a good subwoofer.

This all begs the question: Why do you think you need a bigger amp?

It takes about 10 times more power to obtain a sound that is twice as loud, and that is only true if you are running out of power with the smaller amp.

If you like the looks of the thing, or want the bragging rights, go for it. If you want to invest money and get a big pay off in terms of improved sound quality, big iron with only a little more power ain't gonna cut it.

Good advice but I am not the OP... biggrin.gif

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post #10 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

Good advice but I am not the OP... biggrin.gif

I am the OP & I need some good advice. biggrin.gif

What are some equivalent models to these Integra's that will give me more bang for the buck? They'll be in a rack in an enclosed closet (to keep their LED displays from reflecting on the screen), so I really don't care about cosmetics. I want maximum performance for a reasonable price.

Probable loudspeakers:

Triad Silvers for L/C/R with the center being a 4" in-wall behind an AT screen.
Dual SVS PC12-NSD down-firing cylindrical subs in the front corners.
Klipsch S-10 surrounds and RS-41 II rear surrounds.
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post #11 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 09:01 AM
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Emotiva offers a lot of value. You could look at the XPA-5 for your front sound stage and rear surrounds, and then a XPA-200 for the surrounds. They sell pre-amps as well, but you would probably be better off with something that offers some form of room EQ, like the Marantz AV7701 preamp/processor for example.

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post #12 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 01:34 PM
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The UMC-200 does offer EQ and it performs better than I expected (with the new firmware). For $599, it is worth a look.
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post #13 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 01:59 PM
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post #14 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 03:00 PM
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I think an Emotiva amp (pick your power) and either an Emotiva pre-pro or Marantz is a better combination than the Integra units. The big Marantz pre-pro is in the same price range as the Integra and has better room EQ.

I think though it interesting that you are considering a massively complex pre-pro when you don't need video processing or a gazillion inputs. That's what makes the Emotiva UMC-200 a good candidate. It isn't overkill like so many $2000 pre-pros.
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I also need a tuner. I've heard good things about Marantz. Maybe I just need a good receiver...? After all, if it's got pre-outs, then I may not even need an amplifier, right? To tell you the truth, I really don't know. redface.gif I sure don't want to spend a couple of thousand bucks on an amp if I don't really need one. The subs are powered so why wouldn't a good receiver work for me if the processor section has everything I need?
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post #16 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 04:40 PM
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I am going to get the same speakers as you (Triad Silvers) and for a while also wanted to go the external-amp route (shamelessly in part because I thought it would look cool). But really, with a higher-end receiver, the separate amp is not needed in the slightest. I decided getting Audyssey XT32 will do infinitely more for sound quality. While I think I'm going to get a Marantz 7008 (it's on special with my speaker purchase), the Denon X4000 (made by the same company) is highly recommended in the Audyssey thread.

Don't fall into the trap of buying something because you think that's what all high end systems need. Honestly, if I were to rank the order of various factors' importance to sound quality, it would probably be something like

room treatment > speakers/sub > calibration > amp > pre-amp
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post #17 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathlete View Post

I am going to get the same speakers as you (Triad Silvers) and for a while also wanted to go the external-amp route (shamelessly in part because I thought it would look cool). But really, with a higher-end receiver, the separate amp is not needed in the slightest. I decided getting Audyssey XT32 will do infinitely more for sound quality. While I think I'm going to get a Marantz 7008 (it's on special with my speaker purchase), the Denon X4000 (made by the same company) is highly recommended in the Audyssey thread.

Don't fall into the trap of buying something because you think that's what all high end systems need. Honestly, if I were to rank the order of various factors' importance to sound quality, it would probably be something like

room treatment > speakers/sub > calibration > amp > pre-amp

I looked at that Denon X4000 and it's pretty sweet in terms of having all the stuff I think I'd need. I have a relatively small room and I don't think I'd need the extra power a big, bad amplifier would provide. My aging ears can only take so much. biggrin.gif
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post #18 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 06:45 PM
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So is the Onkyo 818 I mentioned above, for much less (in the $500 territory recently) if you can still find one.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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