AVR vs Stereo cost - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-18-2017, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
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AVR vs Stereo cost

A member from another forum enlightened in one discussion: take a given cinema amp, strip out the cost of import and distribution, strip out the cost of all the visual circuitry, strip out all of the surround processing modules' cost, then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.

It may only be $50 or $70 per channel. Now if you go and buy a Marantz or Yamaha (for argument's sake) stereo amp and strip the cost layers you may arrive at $150 or $200 per stereo channel (or even higher). Is it any surprise then that the stereo experience is better?

One corollary to this argument is that if you throw enough money at an AV amp you will eventually reach cost parity with a stereo amp and the comparison should become fairer.
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-18-2017, 02:48 AM
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You just wanted to use your word of the day desk calendar and todays word "corollary"...
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-18-2017, 07:13 AM
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That would be great if it worked, but it don't.

Amp channels are cheap, very inexpensive to have some transistors and DACs come in at 8 DACs per chip. I was looking at an Asus cell phone that has DTS X 7.1 channel audio, 4K capable video and an almost 7" screen...from a phone! Sure, it also has blutooth and a myriad of other features and it costs hundreds of dollars. Ya know, just to give you a good idea of what processing costs these days...dimes and dollars.

As far as amp channels, throw on another transistor pack, a few more lines on the board, make sure the pre-amp has extra channels and strap it to the power supply. These days, the cost for processors and transistors is very small so the power supply is the leading cost in any design. Take that Asus cell phone, plug in a 4K TV and output the sound to 7 amp channels and done.
Heck, forget the amp channels and use active monitors and done.

Plenty of options in audio, don't get wrapped around the axle of just one piece of the puzzle. My hope is my next AVR will run chip amps to further increase the efficiency, cut heat production and alloow it to be far smaller than the big, black box it is now. I only need 40 watt peaks for the mains to hit reference levels, in a few years 100 WPC chip amps will be viable so the world will beat a path to the door to get a more efficient mouse trap.

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post #4 of 21 Old 04-18-2017, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
A member from another forum enlightened in one discussion: take a given cinema amp, strip out the cost of import and distribution, strip out the cost of all the visual circuitry, strip out all of the surround processing modules' cost, then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.

It may only be $50 or $70 per channel. Now if you go and buy a Marantz or Yamaha (for argument's sake) stereo amp and strip the cost layers you may arrive at $150 or $200 per stereo channel (or even higher). Is it any surprise then that the stereo experience is better?
Of coarse this is all predicated on buy-in to the self-serving consumer audio myth that to get better sound from electronics, you must spend more money. That is, the idea that there's a direct relationship between cost and sound quality.

It was the late, great Tom Nousaine's No. 1 Urban Audio Legend: "Fancy parts improve sound...".

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One corollary to this argument is that if you throw enough money at an AV amp you will eventually reach cost parity with a stereo amp and the comparison should become fairer.
The comparison would become valid if an effort was made to control perceptual biases inherent in the assessment of sonic superiority.

Pour the money into by far the least linear pieces of equipment; the speakers and room, and make moves towards sound quality that is actually better.

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post #5 of 21 Old 04-18-2017, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
A member from another forum enlightened in one discussion: take a given cinema amp, strip out the cost of import and distribution, strip out the cost of all the visual circuitry, strip out all of the surround processing modules' cost, then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.

It may only be $50 or $70 per channel. Now if you go and buy a Marantz or Yamaha (for argument's sake) stereo amp and strip the cost layers you may arrive at $150 or $200 per stereo channel (or even higher). Is it any surprise then that the stereo experience is better?

One corollary to this argument is that if you throw enough money at an AV amp you will eventually reach cost parity with a stereo amp and the comparison should become fairer.
How many AVRs do you think Yamaha sells?

How many stereo amps?

Economies of scale and a more competitive business sector will generally lead to lower pricing and far more features at lower prices, (ie. true bass management).
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-19-2017, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
A member from another forum enlightened in one discussion: take a given cinema amp, strip out the cost of import and distribution, strip out the cost of all the visual circuitry, strip out all of the surround processing modules' cost, then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.

It may only be $50 or $70 per channel. Now if you go and buy a Marantz or Yamaha (for argument's sake) stereo amp and strip the cost layers you may arrive at $150 or $200 per stereo channel (or even higher). Is it any surprise then that the stereo experience is better?

One corollary to this argument is that if you throw enough money at an AV amp you will eventually reach cost parity with a stereo amp and the comparison should become fairer.
"Stereo experience is better". All the above tells me is that the profit margins on stereo amps are much higher than on AVRs. Not the math I would do but that is just me I suppose.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-19-2017, 04:03 PM
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Just buy an AVR.

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post #8 of 21 Old 04-19-2017, 04:25 PM
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It's actually the avs that has the more capably power supply in stereo mode in comparison to an equivalent stereo amplifier.
Throw in the ability to matrix out a true center channel to reduce the phantom center imaging timing smear caused by shortcomings of a 2 channel setup.
The typical stereo amp without room correction and/or eq doesn't do anything to advance the sound quality to the next level.
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Stereo is simply Multichannel light.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-19-2017, 07:40 PM
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Why do people continue to believe that products in a niche market have prices that are directly related to cost?

The "analysis" in the OP is irrelevant.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-19-2017, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Economies of scale and a more competitive business sector will generally lead to lower pricing and far more features at lower prices, (ie. true bass management).
Right, that is why dollar for dollar you are getting so much more with a main stream AVR - it can run in stereo mode and supply more than 100wpc which is more than you say you need - done.

This has been beaten to death - separates are a "nice to have" not a "need to have" with each percent of performance gain (if even any can be heard) costing big dollars

What you will hear is the improvement in sound of better speakers and (assuming you have modest speakers) using bass management and a couple of subs and room EQ to smooth you in-room response.

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post #11 of 21 Old 04-19-2017, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Why do people continue to believe that products in a niche market have prices that are directly related to cost?

The "analysis" in the OP is irrelevant.
Please explain what do you mean?
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post #12 of 21 Old 04-20-2017, 06:40 AM
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Your post confuses cost and price. You talk about stripping out cost of this, cost of that. But then when you divide by 2 or 7 or 9 you are talking about dividing price by that much. You have no idea what the parts or production cost is.

Price varies wildly depending on a great many factors within a niche market, and also between niche and commodity markets.

In a commodity market, production cost, overhead and a slim profit margin essentially sets price. As you move along the spectrum from commodity to niche markets this is less and less true. Within a single manufacturers lineup, the HTiB may follow commodity pricing fairly closely as there is fierce competition, volumes are high, and consumers see all options as essentially interchangeable. Their flagship AVR on the other hand can differentiate itself on features, style, and to some degree performance and pricing is a little more fluid.

Move all the way to the other end. Take boutique audio cables for instance. Ignoring the silly silver cables where raw material cost actually does jump up a bit, do you really think you can look at the retail price difference between a company's $20,000 powercord and $2,000 powercord and get a good idea on relative cost? Or worse yet, between company A and company B cords that may differ by tens of thousands of dollars? Absolutely not. Those prices are set by what the company believes enough people are willing to pay to make it worthwhile. In fact, knowing that some ultrarich will only buy the most expensive, and that for others the lower the price the more units will be sold at that price, most companies will offer a variety of products distributed over a price range. This isn't necessarily (probably rarely in fact) because the production costs vary, or even (!) that the technology or performance varies, but simply by offering a product at several price points they are able to capture sales from a variety of consumers who are focused on a particular price point.

Hopefully you get the point. Selling price may have nothing to do with production cost. Especially as you move up the niche or botique scale. And the relationship can even be inverted. That "cheap" AVR may actually have significantly higher engineering/development coats as it integrates more technology, may have more rigorous thermal design and testing, EMC testing, etc. Its just that the costs may be spread over many more units and the profit margins much slimmer in that market segment.
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post #13 of 21 Old 04-20-2017, 07:12 AM
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In a commodity market, production cost, overhead and a slim profit margin essentially sets price. As you move along the spectrum from commodity to niche markets this is less and less true.
+1. WTMWB, what the market will bear. AVRs have a very small profit margin, partly because so many of them are produced, partly because competition is so fierce. Stereo amps have a higher profit margin, partly because far fewer are produced, partly because unfounded assumptions that they somehow sound better than AVRs make buyers willing to pay more.

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post #14 of 21 Old 04-21-2017, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Your post confuses cost and price. You talk about stripping out cost of this, cost of that. But then when you divide by 2 or 7 or 9 you are talking about dividing price by that much. You have no idea what the parts or production cost is.
Dividing price? When did I say that? I was talking about cost.
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post #15 of 21 Old 04-21-2017, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
A member from another forum enlightened in one discussion: take a given cinema amp, strip out the cost of import and distribution, strip out the cost of all the visual circuitry, strip out all of the surround processing modules' cost, then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.

It may only be $50 or $70 per channel. Now if you go and buy a Marantz or Yamaha (for argument's sake) stereo amp and strip the cost layers you may arrive at $150 or $200 per stereo channel (or even higher). Is it any surprise then that the stereo experience is better?

One corollary to this argument is that if you throw enough money at an AV amp you will eventually reach cost parity with a stereo amp and the comparison should become fairer.


Parts cost per channel is virtually the same for stereo versus avs amplifiers. Parts pricing doesn't ramp up 3..4 times just because an amplifier has less channels.

Stereo is simply Multichannel light.
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post #16 of 21 Old 04-21-2017, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
Dividing price? When did I say that? I was talking about cost.
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…then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.
Divide what then, exactly?

"Cost you've invested" is the price, unless you are the manufacturer. Cost is the manufacturers side. Price is the consumers side. What you invest is the price. Price, as I explained, may have a loose at best relationship with cost for some products.

You are talking about two different things, stripping out cost, then dividing price by channels. The two ends in your analysis don't meet.
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post #17 of 21 Old Yesterday, 11:41 AM
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Start with a plain Jane stereo amplifier. Maybe add Bass and Tone controls (as long as you can switch them out). Don't include any digital decoding (as your disc player has it or you want to roll your own externally). But then....

...somebody wants to watch movies with the stereo rig. So, to get the explosions better, you add a subwoofer. Now, to run the sub properly, you need a dedicated .1 channel from your stereo to feed the subwoofer, and an electronic crossover network to separate out the non-subwoofer program material for your mains. To get the whole cinema feel, you need to add extra amplifier channels for the surround speakers, along with reverberation effects and/or surround decoding (since your disc player or dish/cable box doesn't perform those functions). To fine-tune everything, add an equalizer, and maybe even an automated microphone-controlled equalizer. (Keep the Bass and Treble controls, because you can.) Then just for giggles throw in an mpeg decoder for your iPod/wannabe, an internet radio tuner and streaming access for Spotify, etc., etc. (Let's not bother with any video goodies, as this paragraph is too long already.)

The first line up there is what the purist stereophiles want. The second paragraph is what everyone else wants. Since "everyone else" is a lot of people, you end up manufacturing and supplying a thousand times more units for "everyone else" than for the stereophile group -- a billion-dollar effort that can crank out these AVR thingies that everybody wants as cheap (or even cheaper than) the simple stereophile units.

AVRs offer a staggering amount of integrated value. And they were doing it when smart phones were still in grade school.
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AVR`s are a incredible value and super cheap.


I picked up the pioneer vsx-lx301 for 435 bucks open box from best buy.


The only thing it does not do or have is a android based OS on it like a tablet so I can post on the AVS forums.......

I was shocked how much value I got for soo little money.

Link to budget Home Theater build

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...i-version.html
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post #19 of 21 Old Today, 08:20 AM
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The first line up there is what the purist stereophiles want. The second paragraph is what everyone else wants. Since "everyone else" is a lot of people, you end up manufacturing and supplying a thousand times more units for "everyone else" than for the stereophile group -- a billion-dollar effort that can crank out these AVR thingies that everybody wants as cheap (or even cheaper than) the simple stereophile units.

AVRs offer a staggering amount of integrated value. And they were doing it when smart phones were still in grade school.
I was reading at another site, Rotel came out with an "amplified processor" costing thousands and thousands of dollars. Seems that "integrated amp" is a bad term so amplified processor for the verbal win! Used to be that integrated amps were audiophile grade because they did not include that nasty AM/FM chipset for radio.

Receivers suck because they have AM/FM radio Never mind an integrated amp has massive amounts of processors inside (if it is a good one) must keep out the tuner to make it "better". Somebody must of figured out the difference between a integrated amp and a receiver was just a tuner so ... change the name to "amplified processor".

I was a kid when the first Yamaha surround processor came out 30 years ago. It cost $1,999 and was a pre-amp processor. Pondered the cost to attach amplifiers and subwoofers...ran around $4,500 without speakers. Three lower power amps would run about $1,500 and the least expensive real subwoofer was over a grand.

Luckily, the computer/telecom industry took off and made billions of pieces of electronic hardware/processors and prices plummeted into the ground. DACs used to be on boards and cost hundreds of dollars, now they stuff 8 of them on a single chip for less than it costs for lunch.

Granted, this concept has touched everything, computers, laptops, phones, TVs, clock radios, washing machines, cars and everything else in our lives. It would be reasonable to assume this applies to audio also.

I did PA in the 90's, back in 1993 I went for a bi-amped pair of mains--cha-ching! 500 WPC Class AB amp $800, Class D amp for bass $1,060, electronic crossover $300, electronic limiter $300, two 1/3rd octave EQs $800--adjust for inflation, that would be around $6,000. These days I can pick up a pair of Crown XTi PA amps and have far more processing/limiting/EQ and power (XTi1002 for mids/highs, XTi2002 for bass bins) and it would run around $1,100. Never mind the costs/weight of a large rack, a dozen XLR cables and so on.

Car audio is the same way, back in 1986 built the first "system" and paid $600 for a (basically) 100W X 2 amp, $250 for the XO, $350 for a pair of 8 inch subs, cables and wood ran $1,300. Now I can get an Alpine Class D 500 watt amp with XO and highpass built in and a pair of long stroke 8's for $359. Same electrical load, much, much higher performance and when adjusted for inflation, it costs about 8 times less.

THIS is a great time to be in audio, be it multi-channel, PA systems or car audio. AVRs are great and they have basically become "Amplified Computers" with audio/video and computer processing rolling through your network. Throw a mic on the things, run the testing and play around with the PEQ to calm the room issues on the big screen.

Back to the garage to finish my surround speaker modifications, then time to recalibrate the Yammie to get all the signal levels/PEQ and sub channels right. Sure glad I don't have to use a SPL meter, test discs and all that jazz like back in the Jurassic era (1990's) Everyone have a great weekend!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Mire View Post
A member from another forum enlightened in one discussion: take a given cinema amp, strip out the cost of import and distribution, strip out the cost of all the visual circuitry, strip out all of the surround processing modules' cost, then divide by 7 or 9 to work out the cost you've just invested per channel.

It may only be $50 or $70 per channel. Now if you go and buy a Marantz or Yamaha (for argument's sake) stereo amp and strip the cost layers you may arrive at $150 or $200 per stereo channel (or even higher). Is it any surprise then that the stereo experience is better?

One corollary to this argument is that if you throw enough money at an AV amp you will eventually reach cost parity with a stereo amp and the comparison should become fairer.
As demonstrated by the others in this thread, it appears that you were not actually enlightened by this line of thought.

The "stereo experience" is not objectively "better". It may be more appealing to some ppl's preferences. My preference is for high quality multichannel + multiple subs, with good room correction and bass management.

My Pioneer Elite AVR kicks the everloving crap out of some high dollar stereo separates I have owned in the past, including Conrad-Johnson, VAC, the original Sunfire amp, Golden Tube Audio, etc.

All that stuff was cool, and a bit nostalgic. But none of it holds a candle to a modern AVR, imho.

My humble system:

Vizio E601I-A3; Darbee Darblet; Pioneer Elite BDP-62FD universal blu-ray player; Pioneer Elite SC-67 AVR, Antimode 8033, Dual PSA S1801's; Monitor Audio Silver RX-6 mains, RX center, and RX surrounds; Home-built HTPC (Xeon E1230, 16gb RAM, Crucial M500 480gb SSD, GeForce 980Ti, Corsair CX600, CoolerMaster mini-ITX case)
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post #21 of 21 Old Today, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
I did PA in the 90's, back in 1993 I went for a bi-amped pair of mains--cha-ching! 500 WPC Class AB amp $800, Class D amp for bass $1,060, electronic crossover $300, electronic limiter $300, two 1/3rd octave EQs $800--adjust for inflation, that would be around $6,000. These days I can pick up a pair of Crown XTi PA amps and have far more processing/limiting/EQ and power (XTi1002 for mids/highs, XTi2002 for bass bins) and it would run around $1,100.
You were fortunate to get into PA (or "sound reinforcement," for the more ambitious) at the right time. Flying systems had arrived, and vertical arrays a la v-DOSC were on the horizon. My own PA experiences began in an earlier, more primitive era when we had to make almost everything ourselves (amps, consoles, x/o's, snakes, etc.). The transducers available were decent, fortunately.
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