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post #1 of 370 Old 07-15-2014, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Are Separates Worth It?

Thinking about going from my Denon 5308ci to separates. Do they really sound that much better? Looking at the Marantz AV7701 and MM8807.

Any suggestions, advice, ideas?

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post #2 of 370 Old 07-15-2014, 08:17 PM
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They have the possibility of having more power, as external amps often have more power than AVR amplifiers.

In this case, speaking of amplifier power only, there might be an improvement but the value isn't that good. $2400 is a lot to pay for an amplifier when you could goto Outlaw audio, order a Marantz pre processor combo with one of their own amps for under $3000.

The package with the 72000 gets you a very heavy amplifier, which is a downside. But it will do 200x7 watts into 8 ohms, and 300x7 watts into 4 ohms. That is some crazy overpowered amplifier, for much cheaper. Of course the Marantz amp is prettier And the Outlaw is 90 pounds which I would not personally want.

They don't seem to have a package deal for this, but you could also look at the preproc paired with the more reasonable 7125. Now, the 7125 is only 125 vs the Marantz's 150. But that is not a relevant difference in power. Into 4 ohms, the 7125 does 190 watts which is very impressive for a $1000 seven channel amplifier. I would bet some money it can outperform the Denon and have similar performance to the Marantz. In fact, I am not sure there's a better seven channel amplifier for that price anywhere. Were I in the market for separates and did not want to pay $5000 or so, I would look at something like that.

That all being said, your Denon is likely more than adequate for your needs. I don't automatically assume separates must be better and that Denon looks very powerful. If it can't adequately drive your speakers for some reason than perhaps there's some improvement with a better amplifier. It's possible the Marantz pre processor is better in some ways, but without a lot more research it seems a bit of a lateral move to trade the Denon for the Marantz pre proc plus amp.

One option is to keep the Denon, as long as it does everything you want and add an amplifier to the Denon. You likely need to add a power one. You could look at Emotiva amplifiers but they lack a powerful 7 channel amp. You could amp 5 channels externally, and use the Denon for 2 surround channels. You could also look at various Outlaw models.

You may know this, but on paper small differences in power don't make too much of a difference. So you end up looking into amps with double your current power. However an amp that's not twice the 8 ohm power, might have such good performance into 4 ohm loads that it could make a difference. AVRs are not known for their performance with 4 ohm speakers. You can also take a guess that a competent external amp that has excellent 4 ohm performance can better cope with difficult speakers. It's possible for the impedance of speakers to dip down towards 2 ohms which is why it's an interesting question. Would I take an external amp like the Outlaw 7125, which while it only puts out 125 watts of power into 8 ohms, puts out an impressive 190 into 4 ohms? I think I might IF I was in the market for an external amp in the $1000 range. I don't know that Yamaha's top of the line model can match it, and even it if could you could use both the Yamaha and the external amp in interesting ways. It's a bit of a dilemma as the top of the line Yamaha is very power regardless of what some people think.

One more thought. Those Outlaw amps are spec'd with all channels driven. That likely means they can put out some impressive dynamic power for transient peaks. As AVRs are typically spec'd with two channels driven, it's a bit like apples and oranges to directly compare the 7125 to a receiver.

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post #3 of 370 Old 07-15-2014, 08:25 PM
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I don't think going from Denon/Marantz receivers to separates is worth it unless music is important to you - and then you'd have to look into "boutique" brands like Odyssey, Modwright, AVA, etc for best sound/value. If home theater is your primary concern, stick with an AVR - plus an external amp if you want ear-splitting levels.
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post #4 of 370 Old 07-15-2014, 08:33 PM
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Another note. I quote from an article on the 7125-

"Under the hood the Model 7125 boasts a new custom designed 1.6 kVA torrodial transformer as well as six discrete output devices per channel. As I said earlier, the Model 7125 churns out a solid 125-Watts into eight Ohms and power increases to 190-Watts into four Ohms. These figures are real world with all channels driven full-range with total harmonic distortion coming in at less than .05 percent. " (hometheaterreview.com)

How many receivers have 1600 VA transformer and 6 output devices per channel? I bet it also has a lot of capacitance in the power supply, more than most AVRs I would bet.

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post #5 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 12:09 AM
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This article (posted below the comments) addresses whether adding an external amp to your receiver can help. I realize I still have not answered any questions regarding the sound improvements when using a pre processor over a receiver. This is on purpose as I have no reason to believe a receiver can't be used as a processor of equal quality to a pre-processor. Nor do I know how this question could be answered due to the large number of variables.

http://www.audioholics.com/home-thea...-to-a-receiver

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post #6 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 02:47 AM
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The good thing about seperates is you only have to buy a good amplifier once, you change the av pre. Why spend $2000 on a flagship AVR, purchasing semi-ok amp stages, only having to sell the whole lot, then rebuy them again?

Even the top of the range AVR doesn't match a poweramp that is lower in budget (try finding a AVR that doesn't cost $5000 with same amp as the Emotiva XPA5 for example)

tbh considering your speakers, I'd upgrade them. Then look into dedicated power. Can't see the point of dedicated power with Kef Q, would do it if you go to R series.
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post #7 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 04:49 AM
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You can't tell much, if any, difference in sound quality between integrated and separates. The only reason to go with separates is for improved reliability and higher volume potential. The improved reliability is due to taking the amplification load off the AVR which will keep it cooler. Another possible reason is if your receiver/pre-amp has more pre-outs than amps and you want the extra 2 channels.
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post #8 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatore View Post
Thinking about going from my Denon 5308ci to separates. Do they really sound that much better?
No difference in sound. As long as your AVR operates with enough power not to clip, then going to separates would simply cost more and add complexity to the system. Most external amplifiers are purchased because they are wanted, not because they are needed.
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post #9 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
No difference in sound. As long as your AVR operates with enough power not to clip, then going to separates would simply cost more and add complexity to the system. Most external amplifiers are purchased because they are wanted, not because they are needed.
Do you have seperates? Or just that you have a AVR and kidding yourself that it's the same as a dedicated power amplifier and av pre?
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post #10 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 06:59 AM
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I have had many systems over the past 40 years because I love perfect (not just good) sound. There is no question that good separates blow the doors off anything else. But there's the rub, they have to be good, if you don't step up to the higher end stuff then it may not be worth it. And.... You need a prepro and speakers to match the quality of the amps. I kept stepping up until I got Krell mono blocks and HTS 7.1 processor, BW Nautilus speakers, etc. yeah crazy expensive but after 5 years of work music sounds like a live band, our friends are always blown away. And I never need to upgrade again.

My advice... If music is not important then you don't need separates, if you love perfect movie sound then go for a great prepro (a used Krell would be great) and a decent 5 channel amp you can afford. Speakers can always be upgraded. Btw, get speakers last.

Another thing, don't bother with separates unless you use balanced interconnects. I use them between the prepro, amps and CD, it makes a huge difference. Good wires too, I used to be one of those who thought wires made no difference until I got the good stuff, different wires were like night and day, and my wife could tell the difference instantly.
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post #11 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 07:24 AM
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I was asking myself the same question a couple weeks ago. I had a decent avr receiver but wanted to blow everybody away in my home theater including myself. After HOURS of research and reading avs forums, I decided to return the avr receiver and purchase the Marantz MM8077 amp. Using SVS Ultra speakers and dual subs, I wanted to make sure all speakers had crisp sound and precise power to drive the audience in their seats. Now I'm just waiting for Marantz to release more information on the AV7702 pre amp since I am considering the Dolby Atmos technology. If I decide to to this, I will also be purchasing the Marantz MM7025 2 channel to drive 2 ceiling speakers.

If your theater looks like a theater, might as well sound like one. Plus more equipment on your AV rack looks awesome
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post #12 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 07:28 AM
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Wtf?????

[QUOTE=FMW;25785289]No difference in sound. As long as your AVR operates with enough power not to clip, then going to separates would simply cost more and add complexity to the system. Most external amplifiers are purchased because they are wanted, not because they are needed.[/QUOTE]




You are simply clueless unless your post was some sort of perverted joke. Obviously you have very little experience within the Hi-Fi fraternity, and shouldn't mislead others based on your ludicrous comments.


I admit...I'm still laughing.
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post #13 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 08:16 AM
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hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgavsf View Post
I have had many systems over the past 40 years because I love perfect (not just good) sound. There is no question that good separates blow the doors off anything else. But there's the rub, they have to be good, if you don't step up to the higher end stuff then it may not be worth it. And.... You need a prepro and speakers to match the quality of the amps. I kept stepping up until I got Krell mono blocks and HTS 7.1 processor, BW Nautilus speakers, etc. yeah crazy expensive but after 5 years of work music sounds like a live band, our friends are always blown away. And I never need to upgrade again.

My advice... If music is not important then you don't need separates, if you love perfect movie sound then go for a great prepro (a used Krell would be great) and a 5 channel amp you can afford. Speakers can always be upgraded. Btw, get speakers last.

Another thing, don't bother with separates unless you use balanced interconnects. I use them between the prepro, amps and CD, it makes a huge difference. Good wires too, I used to be one of those who thought wires made no difference until I got the good stuff, different wires were like night and day, and my wife could tell the difference in seconds.



Hey there,


I'm just curious what your total budget was for all your high end gear? You sound as though it's a waste of time to get separates unless your using ultra-high end EXPENSIVE gear...like the Krell mono blocks you refer to....or Flagship B&W speakers. Not everyone can afford a $40,000 system, so why dissuade them from buying separates?
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post #14 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post
Hey there,


I'm just curious what your total budget was for all your high end gear? You sound as though it's a waste of time to get separates unless your using ultra-high end EXPENSIVE gear...like the Krell mono blocks you refer to....or Flagship B&W speakers. Not everyone can afford a $40,000 system, so why dissuade them from buying separates?
I didn't say you need the ultra good stuff, just good stuff, better than the mass market stuff. You have to balance what sounds wonderful to you with your budget. The tricky part is finding and auditioning equipment, lots of driving and shipping. I got tired of upgrading which is how I got here.
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post #15 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post
You can't tell much, if any, difference in sound quality between integrated and separates. The only reason to go with separates is for improved reliability and higher volume potential. The improved reliability is due to taking the amplification load off the AVR which will keep it cooler. Another possible reason is if your receiver/pre-amp has more pre-outs than amps and you want the extra 2 channels.


C'mon man, what experience do you have to warrant such a strong proclamation? What amps and speakers are incorporated into your system?
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post #16 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgavsf View Post
I didn't say you need the ultra good stuff, just good stuff, better than the mass market stuff. You have to balance what sounds wonderful to you with your budget. The tricky part is finding and auditioning equipment, lots of driving and shipping. I got tired of upgrading which is how I got here.

I am in agreement with you. I am also done upgrading....time to sit back and enjoy!
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post #17 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 08:57 AM
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I think it becomes a matter of whether your believe in measurements or not. Everytime a Yamaha receiver is bench tested, it's preamp section measures so well, it's unclear how a separate preprocessor would improve the sound. Well below any audible distortion. Noise floor more than acceptable. Flat FR over the audio range. I have never seen cause for concern. Sometimes the preamp stage may not put out enough power to drive all amps to full power, which is a legit concern. In that case, a separates pre proc that can swing 4V out might be a better solution if money permits. Some amps can be driven to full power with only 1V, so keep that in mind.

As people are not a fully reliable way to evaluate sound, I personally have to trust measurements. This is a perpetually debated topic, as this thread shows. You just have to decide if you trust subjective listening sessions, potentially biased by various factors, or test equipment and techniques.
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post #18 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:04 AM
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For me, I wouldn't have gone the separates route if I was starting over again.

I found a great deal on a used Outlaw 7500 a few years back, so I jumped on it. Because of cost, I had bounced around entry level dedicated Pre/Pros, waiting for a sub $2k processor that I could get excited about (xt32) - still no good value there in dedicated pre/pro's at this time in my opinion.

I didn't invest in any top end processors (Outlaw 970, Emotiva umc-200, and an Onkyo nr807 receiver as a pre). All have had some sort of issues regarding reliability/bugs. Some more than others. Weird enough, the Emotiva is the most bug free of the trio... Sound quality were all equal, after eq'ed.

This past week I took my 7500 out of the system temporarily to experiment, replacing it with a low/mid level receiver, Denon x2000. I don't listen at crazy volumes, and I have very capable subs (dual XS30's) and highly efficient speakers (JTR t8-lp), but I am extremely impressed with the sound in comparison (keep in mind, I'm not listening at reference level). To mgavsf's point, I'm not comparing it to a high end Krell processor. Considering, I don't see any crazy difference in quality, as I am not taxing the amps all hat much with my efficient speakers.

Right now I am contimplating on selling the current processor in my rack, the Emotiva, and replacing it with a Denon x4000. I may keep the Outlaw 7500 in the rack, since I already own it, but I honestly do no need the amp.

Now, if I had highly inefficient speakers and listened at reference at full range, then that is a different story. Your needs may be different than mine.
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post #19 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Do you have seperates? Or just that you have a AVR and kidding yourself that it's the same as a dedicated power amplifier and av pre?

I have owned equipment that you could only dream of. That would be you, by the way, not me. I don't dream about that stuff any more. I've had at least 15 sets of "separates" over the years. Only one set at the moment. I have two AVR's a stereo receiver and an integrated amp as well. All of these are in use at the current time. I have some other stuff in the storage closet including some "separates. Hope that answers your question.
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post #20 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post
As people are not a fully reliable way to evaluate sound, I personally have to trust measurements. This is a perpetually debated topic, as this thread shows. You just have to decide if you trust subjective listening sessions, potentially biased by various factors, or test equipment and techniques.
Yeah I used to think measurements and specs were important, a long time ago, now I ignore them completely except for power rating. People have different preferences which is why you need to listen yourself. I like the sound to be as close to live as possible, I don't like "warm" sound. There is no way specs can convey what you like.

Not meaning to offend anyone, but unless you have listened to a nice high end system you don't know what your missing. The only people that "debate" this topic are the ones who never heard good separates.

Here is my advice to my friends: go listen to the best system you can find (usually mine because it's better than any local store), learn what to listen for that you like, train your ears. Then you're ready to find lesser cost equipment that you will really enjoy because you know what characteristics to listen for. Btw, same advice for TVs.
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post #21 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatore View Post
Thinking about going from my Denon 5308ci to separates. Do they really sound that much better? Looking at the Marantz AV7701 and MM8807.

Any suggestions, advice, ideas?

No.

I went from an Onkyo TX-NR1007 to a Onkyo SC-PR5508 with a Sherbourn 7-350 amp. I can't tell the difference. I use high sensitivity speakers though. 98dB for the fronts and 96dB for the rears. Perhaps with lower sensitivity speakers the differences would be accountable.
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post #22 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post
I think it becomes a matter of whether your believe in measurements or not. Everytime a Yamaha receiver is bench tested, it's preamp section measures so well, it's unclear how a separate preprocessor would improve the sound. Well below any audible distortion. Noise floor more than acceptable. Flat FR over the audio range. I have never seen cause for concern. Sometimes the preamp stage may not put out enough power to drive all amps to full power, which is a legit concern. In that case, a separates pre proc that can swing 4V out might be a better solution if money permits. Some amps can be driven to full power with only 1V, so keep that in mind.

As people are not a fully reliable way to evaluate sound, I personally have to trust measurements. This is a perpetually debated topic, as this thread shows. You just have to decide if you trust subjective listening sessions, potentially biased by various factors, or test equipment and techniques.
Well said, how the equipment is designed is more important than whether it's separate or integrated.
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post #23 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:50 AM
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[quote=Deckard97;25786377]
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
No difference in sound. As long as your AVR operates with enough power not to clip, then going to separates would simply cost more and add complexity to the system. Most external amplifiers are purchased because they are wanted, not because they are needed.[/QUOTE]




You are simply clueless unless your post was some sort of perverted joke. Obviously you have very little experience within the Hi-Fi fraternity, and shouldn't mislead others based on your ludicrous comments.


I admit...I'm still laughing.
Actually, FMW is entirely correct, in my opinion. I have also had many separates over they years, from ADCOM, Outlaw, Cambridge Audio, Marantz, Parasound, etc. And many speakers to boot.
I now have a Pioneer VSX-1018K Receiver. Sounds great. Really GREAT. I had a quality amp hooked up to it for awhile, and I removed it. No difference in the sound quality. The only "separate" that I had that was truly different, was a Cayin TA-30 Tube Integrated. I really loved that little amp, it made very sweet music.
I think in the past, when things were simple, with DPL and Dolby Digital and DTS, with separate video and audio switching, separates often provided great value. Now, a $500 AV Receiver is more advanced than any but the most expensive Pre/Pros. The Outlaw 975 has no room correction, and very basic processing. The Emotiva has it's own room correction, which even if you read their own forum (heavily censored though it is), has lots of issues.
If you spent $3000 on a pre/pro 2 years ago, you are now kicking yourself in the butt, because now it will not due ATMOS or 4k. If you buy one now that will, then in 2 years from it wont do 8k and FLATMOS. etc, etc.
Buy what you want, and enjoy, but I will tell you, I enjoy my Pioneer every bit as much as I did any of those separates! (except for the little Cayin, that made really sweet 2-channel music!)
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post #24 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgavsf View Post
Not meaning to offend anyone, but unless you have listened to a nice high end system you don't know what your missing. The only people that "debate" this topic are the ones who never heard good separates.
I have listened to many good systems. As I said, I distrust listening somewhat. People are not reliable. For example, people will say stuff like how one amp was night and day different than another. Yet in numerous blind listening tests, people can't distinguish amps. Why is this? IMO, because people have biases and their ability to remember what something sounds like and compare it to something else seems limited.

I spend a lot of time reading up on amplifier design from people like Douglas Self. When you look at it from that side, it's all about reducing distortion and noise, ensuring flat FR and such things. Perhaps also ensuring you amplifier doesn't run out of power as that will degrade sound. It's never about liquid midrange and such - those are subjective evaluations.

Also, I strongly believe good speakers and room treatments are going to be your best bet to good sound. Even cheap AVRs measure so well, any difference should be small compared to speakers and room treatments.

Of course room correction systems in this gear varies a lot and has to make some difference. Whether it's an improvement is debated elsewhere

By all means, if you are convinced you know/hear better, you should buy what makes you happy. I would not ever expect to change anyone's mind.

If your mind is open though, if budget is a concern, if you want to put your faith in science not people there's a lot of info out there. If you want to know more about the objectivist thinking read Douglas Self.

Now it's been said that perhaps engineers are measuring the wrong stuff. Read Rod Eliott's article on amplifier sound on his site (something like sound.westhost.com.) I will keep an open mind on this, but being an objectivist, I have to wait for better measurements to show up, if they ever do.
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post #25 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 10:16 AM
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[quote=jdcrox;25790817]
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Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post
Actually, FMW is entirely correct, in my opinion. I have also had many separates over they years, from ADCOM, Outlaw, Cambridge Audio, Marantz, Parasound, etc. And many speakers to boot.
I now have a Pioneer VSX-1018K Receiver. Sounds great. Really GREAT. I had a quality amp hooked up to it for awhile, and I removed it. No difference in the sound quality. The only "separate" that I had that was truly different, was a Cayin TA-30 Tube Integrated. I really loved that little amp, it made very sweet music.
I think in the past, when things were simple, with DPL and Dolby Digital and DTS, with separate video and audio switching, separates often provided great value. Now, a $500 AV Receiver is more advanced than any but the most expensive Pre/Pros. The Outlaw 975 has no room correction, and very basic processing. The Emotiva has it's own room correction, which even if you read their own forum (heavily censored though it is), has lots of issues.
If you spent $3000 on a pre/pro 2 years ago, you are now kicking yourself in the butt, because now it will not due ATMOS or 4k. If you buy one now that will, then in 2 years from it wont do 8k and FLATMOS. etc, etc.
Buy what you want, and enjoy, but I will tell you, I enjoy my Pioneer every bit as much as I did any of those separates! (except for the little Cayin, that made really sweet 2-channel music!)



Well as long as we all enjoy our systems, I'm happy!

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post #26 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 10:25 AM
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Here is my take -- I would not buy seperates, but I have an outboard power amp. I picked up an Sherbourn PA 7-350 when they were getting liquidated by Emotiva ($999 shipped -- great deal).

I just hook it up to the preamp outs on my existing AVR (an Onkyo TX-SR805 - which I sold) and to my soon to have Denon X4000. The seperate preamp/processors from Onkyo, Integra, Marantz, etc, don't seem to offer any functionality (other than XLR outputs) that would be useful to me versus a good AVR, and seem to cost much more than feature equivalent AVRs. I assume this is because the AVR world is much more competitive and the consumers price-sensitive.

I love having an outboard amp as I have a big room, and can fill it with nice dynamic sound without worrying about the capabilities of the AVR. Instead -- I can just look at the key features of the AVR that I want to use as my pre/pro (for me Audyssey XT32, good streaming, adequate HDMI ins, etc.). In this case -- the rather low cost X4000 covered everything I needed - and had the preamp outs. As a bonus -- I can figure the onboard amp of the X4000 to drive front heights or surround backs if I ever want to expand to a 9.2 setup.

So for me -- the question is:

1. Is an outboard amp worth it? Yes - if you want/need the power or dynamic headroom.
2. Is an expensive Pre/Pro worth it? Likely not if a feature rich AVR with pre-outs will do the trick.

My $.02.
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post #27 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckard97 View Post
C'mon man, what experience do you have to warrant such a strong proclamation? What amps and speakers are incorporated into your system?

I have many systems, but my main system is a denon 4311 receiver and a NAD T975 amplifier. I use the NAD to drive LCR and surrounds. The only reason I sue an external amp is I run a 11.4 channel system and you need an external amp for the last 2. I got a good deal on slightly used NAD.


I've run some personal tests running a receiver and running the same receiver with an amp and I could never tell much difference. There were very small segments where I could tell a slight advantage to separates, but it was maybe .1% of the time. I doubt I could tell the difference consistently in a test.


My findings seem to be consistent with almost all blind tests.
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post #28 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 11:11 AM
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Maybe just skip the pre/pro altogether. Not sure what Oppo the original poster has but my Oppo 105 running directly to my Emotiva UPA-7 (7x125) is a significant improvement over my previous Denon AVR.

I reject your reality and substitute my own.

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post #29 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by vatore View Post
Thinking about going from my Denon 5308ci to separates. Do they really sound that much better? Looking at the Marantz AV7701 and MM8807.

Any suggestions, advice, ideas?
My admittedly novice opinion:

Assuming the AVR and the seperate processor are close in quality, the only reason to get seperates is if your speakers need the power/headroom. If your speaker is rated to >100W continuous, I really doubt any AVR could do it justice, and the speaker could use a good power amp to provide clean signal at high SPLs. I've found that even high efficiency speakers benefit from the headroom.

4.0 Music / Game / HT

Yamaha RX-A820 AVR
Crown XLS-1500 amp
Klipsch KG 5.5 fronts
Klipsch KSB 3.1 surrounds

Last edited by imaginos777; 07-16-2014 at 11:33 AM.
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post #30 of 370 Old 07-16-2014, 11:19 AM
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In my case I am in the process of going into separates having just purchased a Parasound A-21 2 Ch Amp. I will hook it up to a Yamaha RX-V1030 as my pre-amp. I will use the amp to drive the front speakers. I spend most of my time listening to music and watching TV. If I ever do go solely 2 channel, then I have the Amp to do so and I can easily find a pre-amp to use with it. I guess for me, having a separate amp provides some measure of flexibility with my audio system. Especially in the home theater realm as the technology keeps changing and changing. I can always buy the next generation of receiver. But amps (all things being equal) are more or less constant. Emotiva aside, Amps are expensive and they take up a fair amount of room and rack. I think I need to get a second job to pay for all of this.
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