Advice on Preamp Upgrade - AVS Forum
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,
I'm upgrading my home theater and would like some advice on a preamp to replace my aged Rotel RSP-1068 that doesn't even know what HDMI is. Below is a quick list of my needs with a more in-depth explanation below the list.

Here's what I'm looking for:
  • $1,000 budget
  • Must have minimum of 4 HDMI inputs
  • Must output BOTH component video and HDMI
  • Must have 7.2 pre-outs (I will not use onboard amp)
  • Phono input is a huge plus

Basically, I need a new preamp that can handle HDMI coming from an HTPC and also some gaming consoles (XB360, PS4, etc.). The new preamp needs to output both component video and HDMI because my current projector only accepts component (but when I replace it in the future I will want HDMI). Also, 7.2 is a must but I already have separate amplification, so the preamp MUST have 7.2 pre-outs. A phono input would be great, although not having it isn't a deal breaker. Lastly, I don't need multi-room control.

Right now I'm thinking the Yamaha RX-A1020 looks pretty damn good, as does the newer 1030 (even though it's just a smidge over my budget), but I would like to know if I'm overlooking any other contenders that fit my needs. One thing that makes me hesitate on the Yamaha's is that I've read that the Yamaha UI is only available via HDMI, but my current projector only accepts component video. I'm not sure if that would make the preamps unusable.

Thanks!

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Old 11-01-2013, 10:20 AM
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Sorry, I don't have any specific receiver advice, but here are a few more things to think about.

Don't forget that HDMI will not be transcoded to component video in a receiver or pre/pro. You might need to consider getting an external converter if you plan to get a modern Blu-ray player for use with your current projector. They are no longer allowed to include component video outputs.

A small, inexpensive HDTV can be quite useful for configuring a receiver or pre/pro since it reduces the time needed to have the projector running. Make sure it's full 1080p and not 720p. When multiple HDMI display devices are connected at the same time, HDMI signals are downgraded to be compatible with the least capable device.

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Old 11-01-2013, 10:36 AM
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i have been looking at the yamaha 1020 and 2020 units recently. both seem very nice overall, especially with the recent price reductions of $799 and $999 respectively.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Sorry, I don't have any specific receiver advice, but here are a few more things to think about.

Don't forget that HDMI will not be transcoded to component video in a receiver or pre/pro. You might need to consider getting an external converter if you plan to get a modern Blu-ray player for use with your current projector. They are no longer allowed to include component video outputs.

A small, inexpensive HDTV can be quite useful for configuring a receiver or pre/pro since it reduces the time needed to have the projector running. Make sure it's full 1080p and not 720p. When multiple HDMI display devices are connected at the same time, HDMI signals are downgraded to be compatible with the least capable device.

Wait... What? Am I reading correctly that I won't be able to connect my component-only projector to an HDMI-fed preamp without yet ANOTHER piece of equipment? Is that true? I never even stopped to consider this so I'm completely caught off-guard. Does it matter if the source is an HTPC? If I do REALLY need an HDMI to component converter, what would you suggest?
Quote:
Davidch wrote:
i have been looking at the yamaha 1020 and 2020 units recently. both seem very nice overall, especially with the recent price reductions of $799 and $999 recently.
Yeah, I really like that I can get the 1020 for $800, but I don't know whether the 1030 is "better" so I don't know if it's worth the extra $300. If I could find head-to-head reviews then I could make a decision, but as of right now I can't find anything that helps me make a decision either way. Thoughts?

***EDIT: Just rechecked my projector setup and discovered that I miraculously had that foresight 7 years ago to include an HDMI run when I wired my home theater. Better yet, my projector CAN accept HDMI, it's just the fact that my current preamp DOESN'T output HDMI that was keeping it out of the loop. So, now the bad news; the projector (Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 810) can only accept up to 1080i, although I'll most likely want to send it 720p since that's what it's "best" at accepting. Does anyone know if it's possible to dictate in the Yamaha's to output only 720p via HDMI?
***EDIT:

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Old 11-01-2013, 12:33 PM
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If your video signal will be coming by way of HDMI, then you do need to provide some kind of HDMI to component converter for your projector. Monoprice seems to have an inexpensive one: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product_print.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10114&cs_id=1011410&p_id=8125

As a temporary partial workaround, you might consider using analog video from the computer, but that defeats the purpose for getting the receiver.

Some video cards provide analog RGB video in addition to their digital DVI and HDMI outputs, either on a separate 15pin VGA connector or on the DVI connector (in which case the connection standard is called DVI-I instead of DVI-D). Some projectors can accept computer analog RGB in addition to consumer component analog video signals. You'll have to check the specs of both your video card and your projector to find out for sure if you can use analog RGB. (Of course, the receiver can't handle RGB, but RGB to YUV (component) video converters are readily available. and then you'd still need to convert the receiver's HDMI output to component anyhow.)

Despite the temptation to upgrade just the receiver right away, you might want to consider waiting until you can afford to upgrade the projector at the same time. If you have a local brick-and-mortar A/V store, they might be willing to provide a package deal at a significant discount. Some internet retailers will, too.

Don't forget that you'll need an appropriate long HDMI cable to connect the new receiver to the new projector. Don't get sucked into buying a "boutique" cable unless it's part of a package for essentially no cost. RedMere cables from Monoprice include an amplifier and anti-dispersion circuitry (which usually are needed for 1080p to work over long cable runs) and are available at very reasonable prices.

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Old 11-01-2013, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Selden Ball:

Great advice. Not sure if you saw my edit to the post above, but my projector does accept HDMI and there is already a cable run from AV closet to the projector. The HDMI just wasn't used because my current preamp didn't have the connection. Good thing I had some foresight 7 years ago!

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Old 11-01-2013, 01:28 PM
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I'm going to jump in here because I am in the same boat. I had been using a Yamaha RXV3000 receiver for the past 13 years, with the main preouts going to an separate amplifier. But I recently renovated my basement and buried an HDMI cable in the ceiling. And want to utilize HDMI connections. (Well to be quite honest I'd like to stay away from HDMI, but the industry doesn't give us a choice about that.)

My projector is a similar vintage as your Epson. I have the Panasonic AX100. Last year I picked up a Denon AVR3312. The projector and the receiver have an HDMI mismatch so I cannot view HDMI content if it's connected through the receiver.
With your older projector, there is a chance that you might run into the same issue if you replace your preamp with a new model, with the latest HDMI version.
Then again, maybe it'll work fine.

In my situation I ended up buying a $30 HDMI switcher from Monoprice. The receiver handles the audio and also analog switching. (I also have a component cable running to the projector.) And the external HDMI switcher handles HDMI.

If you like your Rotel preamp, you might want to consider doing something similar, at least for the time being. It's cheap enough. If I had known that the receiver wouldn't work with my projector I would not have spent the money on it. I would have just used the Monoprice switcher and continued using my Yamaha receiver.

I would like to upgrade the projector and also get a more user friendly front-end device than the overly complicated Denon. I want something that my wife can operate. (She is very smart, but has no patience for electronics. And to be quite honest I'd like to simplify the system too so I can spend less time tweaking and more time watching.)

I'm looking at the Outlaw Audio 975 preamp. It does everything you are looking for. And it also suits my needs too, albeit without any room for growth.
Alternatively I may spring for a Marantz 7701 preamp, though that might be just as complicated as the Denon so I'm not sure it will accomplish the goal of simplifying the system. Really, I think in order to simplify the system, I need to upgrade the projector to something that will play nicely with the receiver so I can get rid of the external switcher. And it would be 1080p as well.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:17 PM
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GeekMan,

It's good to know that your projector can accept HDMI. That simplifies some things just a little bit smile.gif

Given its age, I'd be worried that the HDMI cable might be only "standard speed" and won't be able to support 1080p/3D/4K when you upgrade the projector. Hopefully you'll be able to pull a replacement "high speed" cable if that turns out to be necessary.

The RX-A1020 receiver includes a video processor which can scale inputs to any of a variety of output resolutions, including 1080i and 720p. See page 105 of the owner's manual, which can be downloaded for free from Yamaha.

Peter,

Marantz is made by the same company as Denon (D&M Holdings), so their on-screen and Web interfaces are essentially identical, although they have improved in the past few years. If you haven't already, you might want to consider a universal programmable remote like Logitech's Harmony. They can be programmed so a single button can switch between system configurations.

Both,

A major feature of many modern AVRs and pre/pros is automated room equalization. It provides fine-grained frequency adjustments to compensate for infelicities in the interactions between the room and speakers. Audyssey (which is used by Denon and Marantz) is somewhat better than Yamaha's YPAO since it handles lower frequencies. Sadly, room EQ is not yet provided by many of the cost-effective smaller companies like Rotel and Outlaw.

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Old 11-01-2013, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Great note about the cable. Whenever I do upgrade the projector (XMas 2014 maybe) I'll make sure to replace the HDMI cable. The worst part of that for me (other than the cost of a new projector) is that I've never run cable through a wall, but I'm hoping that all I'd need to do is attach the new HDMI cable to the old one and then gently pull the old one out. Unless I'm missing something, that SHOULD also pull the new one through the ceiling and wall. Boom, new in-wall HDMI cable for my new projector.

Anywaste, to get back on topic, Any thoughts on whether I should get the RX-A1020 or RX-A1030? Right now I'm leaning towards the RX-A1030, just because it's newer and thus slightly less prone to need replacement in the next 7-10 years.

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Old 11-02-2013, 07:27 AM
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I'd suggest not expecting to keep it that long. Digital audio and video standards change much too rapidly, not at all as slowly as analog standards used to. E.g. 2014 models are expected to implement HDMI v2.0 which supports 4K video at 60Hz and up to 32 audio channels. Dolby Atmos surround sound is hoped for in the next few years, too, along with the equivalent from DTS.

A quick scan of a table of differences between the two receivers revealed that the 1030 has bluetooth, WiFi and 4K (24 fps) but the 1020 doesn't. You've probably already done that comparison, though.

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Yamaha Rx A1020 7 2 Channel Network Aventage Av Receiver , Yamaha Aventage Rxa 1030 Receiver , Yamaha Rx A2020 9 2 Channel Network Aventage Av Receiver , Denon Avr3312ci Receiver , Marantz Av7701 Audio Video Preamp Processor
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