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Which Audyssey XT32 piece do you recommend, why?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I know these are two different pieces, but I'll be using both for a pre-pro only.

Between the:

Denon 4311ci
Onkyo PR-SC5508
Integra 80.2 (either receiver or processor version)

Which would you recommend? I really want XT32, to be honest I'd love to pick up that Marantz piece but no XT32 :-(, so...these seem to be the options I'd consider out of those listed on the Audyssey page because they all have XT32 and are (according to the page) all installer ready.

The Denon seems to be the cheapest option, and I may actually use the amps eventually, but not right now. However, I'm not opposed to buying external amps later, if the processors offer a performance improvement.

What do you think? Can I not go wrong with any, just pick up the cheapest? Is there a real advantage to any of them? The only one I'm shying away from is the Integra only because I have to find a dealer and the others I can get from Crutchfield or, in the case of the Denon, Best Buy.

Opinions? Thanks!
post #2 of 33
Thread Starter 
Wow...that first post was almost unintelligible, lol.... Sorry, I wrote it very quickly as the wife was calling me for dinner.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any opinions. From what I've read in the owner's threads, it seems most of these units are pretty good. But, it is really hard to figure out why to pick one over another.

Being a receiver over a pre-pro: do you think that the pre-pros listed really do have better pre-outs than the receivers?

Since Denon doesn't have an XT32 capable pre-pro, it wouldn't hurt to have the receiver's amps because I can use them in the interim for the center/surround channels and, maybe, even decide that I don't need an external amplifier there. However, as I already have a 2 channel amplifier for my mains, and those are the only speakers I have right now, I don't really need those amplifiers right now. So, I'd be paying for amplifiers in the receiver that I wouldn't use and possibly sacrificing pre-pro performance.

On the other hand, buying a pre-pro forces my hand later on to buy external amplifiers and, ultimately, costs more. Which is sort of funny, because the pre-pros are a little more expensive to begin with.

That all said, I suppose the real question I'm trying to drive at is: is there any reason to buy a pre-pro over the Denon? Is the Onkyo piece (or the Integra pre-pro) really that much better a pre-pro?

Sorry if I'm rambling...but I have trouble making these decisions :-(. I believe I over think it too much, lol.

Thanks again all, if I get no responses, I suppose I will understand and just go back to scouring the owner's threads to see which I think I'll like more.
post #3 of 33
You do know that Onkyo makes (and essentially therefore "is") Integra through the re-badging of products, right?

Preamplifier vs AVR is not an entirely uncommon question; my take is that unless one of them isn't doing what it should be doing there isn't going to be much difference. The Onkyo/Integra and Marantz boxes do give you balanced outputs, for whatever that matters to you (depending on your installation this may or may not actually matter - if we're talking a few inches or feet of cable I doubt it matters one bit though). I would probably go with the least expensive and most flexible option, which sounds like the Denon in this case, you'll have onboard amplifiers to run additional speakers, and pre-outs if you ever want them (realistically you should be fine with onboard amplifiers at this price level, unless your room is absurdly large, your speakers absurdly inefficient, or your listening habits absurdly absurd).

One point on the Denon, since we are talking about the 4311, have you considered the A100 as an alternate? It's the same basic machine, but comes with a longer warranty and (in my opinion) prettier cosmetics; yes it costs a bit more, but I'm guessing you'll probably come out ahead or even with the 4311 and an extended warranty.
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

You do know that Onkyo makes (and essentially therefore "is") Integra through the re-badging of products, right?

Preamplifier vs AVR is not an entirely uncommon question; my take is that unless one of them isn't doing what it should be doing there isn't going to be much difference. The Onkyo/Integra and Marantz boxes do give you balanced outputs, for whatever that matters to you (depending on your installation this may or may not actually matter - if we're talking a few inches or feet of cable I doubt it matters one bit though). I would probably go with the least expensive and most flexible option, which sounds like the Denon in this case, you'll have onboard amplifiers to run additional speakers, and pre-outs if you ever want them (realistically you should be fine with onboard amplifiers at this price level, unless your room is absurdly large, your speakers absurdly inefficient, or your listening habits absurdly absurd).

One point on the Denon, since we are talking about the 4311, have you considered the A100 as an alternate? It's the same basic machine, but comes with a longer warranty and (in my opinion) prettier cosmetics; yes it costs a bit more, but I'm guessing you'll probably come out ahead or even with the 4311 and an extended warranty.

I did know that about the Integra stuff, but wasn't sure if there were other differences besides price and dealers. I just know I can get the Onkyo stuff easier.

As for the balanced option, I doubt it'd be too useful to me. I do have balanced connectors on my equipment (sub and current amp) but I don't use them now (can't).

I have seen the A100, I'll take a closer look, thanks for the additional suggestion.

One more thing I wonder, is the receiver going to consume more power just because it has the amplifiers in it idling away? I wonder if it is smart enough to turn them off? I really would hate to be sucking down power for amplifiers that aren't being used (and possibly will never be used). I thought I heard the Denon had a feature to turn off unused amplifiers, but when I played with it briefly at Best Buy today I couldn't find it.

edit: just read the Denon manual, looks like it's an all or nothing deal. I can turn off all the amplifiers or have them all on even if I'm only going to use a few. Maybe I missed something? I also can't seem to find the RCA output specs on the Denon unit...the nominal and maximum voltage may be...interesting to see and compare against the pre-only products. Wonder why they aren't listed....or am I blind.
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

I did know that about the Integra stuff, but wasn't sure if there were other differences besides price and dealers. I just know I can get the Onkyo stuff easier.

From what I've read Integra is more of an installer/premium-channel product; not something you can buy through online or other retail channels. You'll probably have to find something local if you'd like to purchase an Integra product. That said, as far as I know all of their products have an Onkyo counterpart.

Quote:


As for the balanced option, I doubt it'd be too useful to me. I do have balanced connectors on my equipment (sub and current amp) but I don't use them now (can't).

Yeah, I don't suspect that balanced output is a big ticket for many users - but you never know, some people want their equipment in a house down the street.

Quote:


I have seen the A100, I'll take a closer look, thanks for the additional suggestion.

I did a bit of reading, it doesn't look like Best Buy sells the 4311 online yet (it's shown as "coming soon"), so I can't figure out what the protection plan costs. The A100 is $500 more, and I believe adds three years to the warranty (5 over 2), so if 3 years of protection plan is $500 or more then the A100 makes sense (at least to me), if not then the 4311 makes sense (and no I wouldn't pay for the protection plan; the manufacturer's warranty will probably provide better coverage - again along this logic the 4311 might be a better choice overall, as it should almost certainly cost less).

Quote:


One more thing I wonder, is the receiver going to consume more power just because it has the amplifiers in it idling away? I wonder if it is smart enough to turn them off? I really would hate to be sucking down power for amplifiers that aren't being used (and possibly will never be used). I thought I heard the Denon had a feature to turn off unused amplifiers, but when I played with it briefly at Best Buy today I couldn't find it.

I can't help you with specifics on the receiver, in terms of menu-configuration, however I can tell you that Denon receivers at the higher end can be very complicated to set-up (I remember reading something a few years ago about their very top end parts requiring a two or three day workshop to fully master - the 4311 doesn't look anywhere near that intimidating, but it's certainly not your average clock radio).

In terms of power consumption though, if the amplifier isn't "doing anything" it will use minimal power compared to if it were driving a load - so while it may consume some power with nothing connected, it isn't going to be substantial. When you connect your speakers and turn it up, then the power consumption goes up (so just because the thing says 900 or 1000W doesn't mean it always consumes that, it only draws what it needs at the moment).

Quote:


edit: just read the Denon manual, looks like it's an all or nothing deal. I can turn off all the amplifiers or have them all on even if I'm only going to use a few. Maybe I missed something? I also can't seem to find the RCA output specs on the Denon unit...the nominal and maximum voltage may be...interesting to see and compare against the pre-only products. Wonder why they aren't listed....or am I blind.

I believe you're right here - but someone who's spent time with a 4311/A100 may have more insight about what's the "best" way to set this up (between normal, 11ch, etc). From what I'm understanding out of the manual, you can re-assign the internal amplifiers but you cannot have some of them enabled and some of them disabled - this isn't going to be a substantial hit to your power bill, but is something to think about.

I have no idea about the specifications, I don't see it as a bad sign though; my experience with Denon has always been that they're a bit lacking in published specifications. I would expect those pre-out terminals to give you an appropriate 1-2V into ~1kohms, just like they should from any relatively modern pre-amplifier. If your amplifier has adjustable input sensitivity, gain, or tirm controls you're even better off.

Just to throw a wrench into the works, have you looked at the Emotiva UMC-1? It uses very little power compared to something like the 4311, costs substantially less, and gives you basically the same feature-set (you won't be doing 11.2 or XT32 (I know, that was the original point ), but everything else is on-par).

I don't think with any of the boxes you've listed (5508/80.2 or 4311/A100) you'd go wrong, but I don't think you'd go wrong with something else either (like the Marantz or Emotiva). I'd be asking how important XT32 really is - the 4311 is around $1300 more than the UMC-1 ($500 over the Marantz), and the 5508 is another $300 over that; is a fancy auto-cal worth $1600 to you?

Realize I'm not trying to argue you either way here - just trying to point out some options you may not have seen in your original search.
post #6 of 33
I'm looking for the same thing as thread starter. Hard choice since their prices are all in the same region. Pity that marantz has not release a similar offering
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

Just to throw a wrench into the works, have you looked at the Emotiva UMC-1? It uses very little power compared to something like the 4311, costs substantially less, and gives you basically the same feature-set (you won't be doing 11.2 or XT32 (I know, that was the original point ), but everything else is on-par).

I don't think with any of the boxes you've listed (5508/80.2 or 4311/A100) you'd go wrong, but I don't think you'd go wrong with something else either (like the Marantz or Emotiva). I'd be asking how important XT32 really is - the 4311 is around $1300 more than the UMC-1 ($500 over the Marantz), and the 5508 is another $300 over that; is a fancy auto-cal worth $1600 to you?

Realize I'm not trying to argue you either way here - just trying to point out some options you may not have seen in your original search.

I have not used the Emotiva but (1) its EQ is primitive (especially compared with XT32) and (2) it has been fraught with firmware issues. See the threads about it on http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...or-review.html for details and insights.
post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

is a fancy auto-cal worth $1600 to you?

Thanks for all the insight! I did want to touch on this point, though. I suppose the quick and easy answer is yes...and no, lol. It's not so much the "fancy auto-cal" as it is the ability to tweak these products with the pro-kit and get a very fine EQ system out of it. The auto-cal is just a bonus until I can find someone to really dig in and tweak it. Or at least, that's my understanding, as the pro-kit allows you to adjust the target curve and, I believe, adjust the filters.

I myself think EQ is great and since XT32 has substantial filter resolution and works in the digital domain without requiring a separate A->D/D->A stage (like an external digital EQ would) I figure it's worth the money. It also seems to do more than, for example, an external analog 30 band and I've seen even those do a world of good on systems. So...really, it's more about "is a $1600 EQ worth it to me" and I suppose the answer there is yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfale View Post

I'm looking for the same thing as thread starter. Hard choice since their prices are all in the same region. Pity that marantz has not release a similar offering

Hopefully this thread can help us both .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

I have not used the Emotiva but (1) its EQ is primitive (especially compared with XT32) and (2) it has been fraught with firmware issues. See the threads about it on http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...or-review.html for details and insights.

I once really wanted to consider the Emotiva unit, thinking for the money I'd be able to pair it with an external EQ solution and still save...but with all the issues, I can't bring myself to do it. It's a pity, honestly, because a basic HDMI switcher with a good pre-amp section and format decoding is really all I'd need if I went the route of pre+external EQ. It seems amazing how hard it seems to be for a small company to pull that off.
post #9 of 33
DreamWarrior,

Fair enough - again, I'm not trying to push you one way or another, and it sounds like you've got your head on straight.

Kal,

I didn't know that about the Emotiva - good read, thanks.
post #10 of 33
I upgraded from the Denon 3808ci and purchased the Denon AVR A100. Remember it has sub eq too, for two
post #11 of 33
I believe an Onkyo 3008 and soon to be 3009 also have XT32 and be cheaper than the 4311?
post #12 of 33
Also read in sc5508 thread that the unit is reaching end of life and the replacement 5509 will be out probably around September.

Anyone heard anything on marantz av7005 replacement carrying xt32?
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post
In terms of power consumption though, if the amplifier isn't "doing anything" it will use minimal power compared to if it were driving a load - so while it may consume some power with nothing connected, it isn't going to be substantial. When you connect your speakers and turn it up, then the power consumption goes up (so just because the thing says 900 or 1000W doesn't mean it always consumes that, it only draws what it needs at the moment).
This is incorrect.

Unless you're really blasting it, most of the power consumed is idle consumption.

A couple of us with 4311's have measured it with KilloWatt meters and it's a bit under 100W, which is actually pretty good for 9 power amps and all the audio/video processing circuitry.

And idle consumption is *not* reduced by using Preamp Mode, which apparently just removes the input signal from the power amps.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
This is incorrect.

Unless you're really blasting it, most of the power consumed is idle consumption.

A couple of us with 4311's have measured it with KilloWatt meters and it's a bit under 100W, which is actually pretty good for 9 power amps and all the audio/video processing circuitry.

And idle consumption is *not* reduced by using Preamp Mode, which apparently just removes the input signal from the power amps.
Good to know! Thanks. I know it sounds really stupid to be finicky over something as trivial as power consumption, but the way I look at it is why waste power for things I don't need. I'd guess, however, the Onkyo at idle is probably close to 100 watts too, maybe a few watts less. I was concerned because my Parasound external draws a lot of idle current and it's only 2 channels...so having the Denon and externals draw a ton of idle current would be such a waste.

I'll have to look around and see if I can find the idle draw on the Onkyo unit, unless someone beats me to it .

Thanks again...I'm sort of leaning towards the pre...but the Denon I can get a Best Buy and return it if I don't like it.
post #15 of 33
I have the onkyo 3008 that I use as a prepro to an Emotiva XPA-5. I got that precisely for the XT32 (which I must say works very well).

With a switched power strip (like those green power monster strips), I have almost no idle power consumption issues because everything shutsdown when I turn off my TV. So that is one way to not worry about idle power
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

Good to know! Thanks. I know it sounds really stupid to be finicky over something as trivial as power consumption, but the way I look at it is why waste power for things I don't need.

You're welcome; actually I feel the same way.
post #17 of 33
The Denon would be a no brainer, I had a 4306 a while back and it was an outstanding performer, with the early Audyssey being its' weak link back then.

Having said that, I like the pre-pro/amp combo idea a bit more, just because of flexibility, in case you feel the need to change either down the road...

The Integra and an Emotiva could be a pretty decent setup.
Other amps, (based on my own experience and music first tastes) I'd consider would be the Anthem PVA7, NAD M25 & D-Sonic of your choosing.

(I had the Integra 9.8 also a while back and with digital sources and using Audyssey Pro I'd have to say it bested the 4306, but XT32 likely closes that gap.)
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

This is incorrect.

Unless you're really blasting it, most of the power consumed is idle consumption.

A couple of us with 4311's have measured it with KilloWatt meters and it's a bit under 100W, which is actually pretty good for 9 power amps and all the audio/video processing circuitry.

And idle consumption is *not* reduced by using Preamp Mode, which apparently just removes the input signal from the power amps.

Thanks for re-enforcing my point with numbers. The <100W range was what I was figuring, which isn't too terrible. And as you say, it shouldn't be going crazy at lower levels. When you say not reduced using preamp mode, you're referring to the actual setting on the 4311? If so, good to know.

And before you start in on me - we are truly saying the same thing, you just have a more personal insight; if you'll re-read what I said instead of biting my head off for the sake of argument, I'm sure we can get along.

DreamWarrior - Not trying to pick a fight, and I do appreciate that you are concerned about power usage, but there is a point where it becomes self-defeating (e.g: worrying about 1-2W differences). Yes, a stand-alone preamp (especially a passive device) will use less juice, but I'm not overly worried about the consumption of an AVR as a pre-amp.

This said, and as I pointed out before - a basic pre-amp device should use less power than an AVR or similar, if you're concerned about consumption here. The closest thing to passive that I know if is the Parasound P7, but that's probably well out of your budget (and will require the sources to bring their own processing and so on - no XT32 or anything like that).

My bottom line is basically this: we're talking about a fancy pants electronic device - it's going to use some power; don't buy something that uses 5 times what another component does, but accept the consumption and compensate elsewhere in your home (LED/CCFL lights, other appliances, etc). It's all give and take - for example the P7 uses less power but gives up features and costs more, the 4311/A100 uses more power but costs less and adds features.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

I did a bit of reading, it doesn't look like Best Buy sells the 4311 online yet (it's shown as "coming soon"), so I can't figure out what the protection plan costs. The A100 is $500 more, and I believe adds three years to the warranty (5 over 2), so if 3 years of protection plan is $500 or more then the A100 makes sense (at least to me), if not then the 4311 makes sense (and no I wouldn't pay for the protection plan; the manufacturer's warranty will probably provide better coverage - again along this logic the 4311 might be a better choice overall, as it should almost certainly cost less).

FYI .. all current Denon "CI" models starting with the 3311CI and 4311CI now have 3 year warranties to include this year's releases 4312CI, 3312CI, 2312CI, and 2212CI.

And to add to Noah's point about more wattage being used at "idle" than average volume ... the 3311 tested 85W at idle and 96W at reference (0db).
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

FYI .. all current Denon "CI" models starting with the 3311CI and 4311CI now have 3 year warranties to include this year's releases 4312CI, 3312CI, 2312CI, and 2212CI.

Alright, less incentive to the A100 then - thanks for clarification.

Quote:


And to add to Noah's point about more wattage being used at "idle" than average volume ... the 3311 tested 85W at idle and 96W at reference (0db).

Yes, an amplifier uses power when it isn't driving anything, I never said it didn't; it will only create substantial power demand when needed. I don't see what the argument here is about, especially since we seem to be repeating the same point over and over, and adding more numbers to support it. Now, if you mean to argue that 80-100W is a substantial amount of power, that's another matter altogether.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert View Post

When you say not reduced using preamp mode, you're referring to the actual setting on the 4311? If so, good to know.

yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

And to add to Noah's point about more wattage being used at "idle" than average volume ... the 3311 tested 85W at idle and 96W at reference (0db).

I didn't say that it used more at idle, but that idle consumption dominates at all but very high levels.
post #22 of 33
Thread Starter 
Ok guys, thanks for all the power consumption opinions. I think I've got a handle on that; it seems I'm being a little too...conservative...and shouldn't be weighing that factor too highly.

So...can we weigh in on another one? What reasons are there to lean toward a pre-amp over a receiver? I mean, it seems the pre-amp versions are all more expensive? Why? They remove the amplifiers...what do they add? I could buy the Onkyo TX-NR3008 recommended by anismo for under $1500, it seems to have everything the PR-SC5508 with the exception it's not installer ready. It has nine 140 watt amps and still comes in at least $500 cheaper. So...really, what gives?

I guess what I'm getting at is, while I want to, and have said above that, I lean towards the Onkyo pre-amp, why should I pay more for it? What would it give me? For around the same price I can get the Denon and have amplifiers and everything else. For less I can get either of the other Onkyo receivers and get amplifiers, but sacrifice their being installer ready.

I just don't get it. It seems ridiculous. Does it just come down to the pre-amp versions being niche products so they charge more because they expect to sell fewer? If that's the case, then all I need to know is that the pre-outs on the Denon are equivalent (in quality and voltage capability) to those on a dedicated pre and I'm in.

Gosh, lol...I make too much a big deal over these things...but I guess I am just trying to rationalize why the pre-amp versions exist and cost more if there's no good reason to buy them as a pre over the receiver. They don't seem to offer anything more, with the exception that in Onkyo's line only the pre is installer ready (unless you move to Integra, then their receivers are). It's like a bloody game....

edit: and by "game" I mean this:

Onkyo: Want an installer ready XT32 piece from us, well buy the pre-amp (PR-SC5508) and (if you'd be so kind) our power amps too. Otherwise, too bad, have a look at our sister company, Integra, they may have a few more options. Oh yeah, and if you want to give up being installer ready, we didn't want to pay those royalties, why don't you take a look at our two receiver options, maybe they'll be cheaper than those Denon boys' offerings!

Integra: Hey, all our units are XT32 installer ready. Find yourself a dealer and come on in.

Denon: Yeah, we don't have an XT32 piece until you pay out the "ying-yang" for our 4311ci. And, if you want a pre-pro, you can spend a WHOLE LOT more on our antiquated AVP-A1HDCI. Otherwise, maybe you can take a look at our sister company, Marantz.

Marantz: Sorry, no XT32 here; but we'll sell you the AV7005 it's a great piece if you can a) find it in stock and b) give up some features from our parent company's high end receiver.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Does it just come down to the pre-amp versions being niche products so they charge more because they expect to sell fewer?
Yup. Far fewer units sold, at a significantly higher per-unit price.

Just the same, I still would feel more comfortable if there were no amplifier section so there would be no chance of extra noise from unused amps. Irrational perhaps, but I'd prefer to pay the same price or less for the pre-amp section without unwanted amps.
post #24 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboG View Post
Yup. Far fewer units sold, at a significantly higher per-unit price.

Just the same, I still would feel more comfortable if there were no amplifier section so there would be no chance of extra noise from unused amps. Irrational perhaps, but I'd prefer to pay the same price or less for the pre-amp section without unwanted amps.
According to noah katz the Denon will shunt the route to the internal amplifiers from its pre-amp if you enable the pre-amp only mode.
post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior
Ok guys, thanks for all the power consumption opinions. I think I've got a handle on that; it seems I'm being a little too...conservative...and shouldn't be weighing that factor too highly.

So...can we weigh in on another one? What reasons are there to lean toward a pre-amp over a receiver? I mean, it seems the pre-amp versions are all more expensive? Why? They remove the amplifiers...what do they add? I could buy the Onkyo TX-NR3008 recommended by anismo for under $1500, it seems to have everything the PR-SC5508 with the exception it's not installer ready. It has nine 140 watt amps and still comes in at least $500 cheaper. So...really, what gives?

I guess what I'm getting at is, while I want to, and have said above that, I lean towards the Onkyo pre-amp, why should I pay more for it? What would it give me? For around the same price I can get the Denon and have amplifiers and everything else. For less I can get either of the other Onkyo receivers and get amplifiers, but sacrifice their being installer ready.

I just don't get it. It seems ridiculous. Does it just come down to the pre-amp versions being niche products so they charge more because they expect to sell fewer? If that's the case, then all I need to know is that the pre-outs on the Denon are equivalent (in quality and voltage capability) to those on a dedicated pre and I'm in.

Gosh, lol...I make too much a big deal over these things...but I guess I am just trying to rationalize why the pre-amp versions exist and cost more if there's no good reason to buy them as a pre over the receiver. They don't seem to offer anything more, with the exception that in Onkyo's line only the pre is installer ready (unless you move to Integra, then their receivers are). It's like a bloody game....

edit: and by "game" I mean this:

Onkyo: Want an installer ready XT32 piece from us, well buy the pre-amp (PR-SC5508) and (if you'd be so kind) our power amps too. Otherwise, too bad, have a look at our sister company, Integra, they may have a few more options. Oh yeah, and if you want to give up being installer ready, we didn't want to pay those royalties, why don't you take a look at our two receiver options, maybe they'll be cheaper than those Denon boys' offerings!

Integra: Hey, all our units are XT32 installer ready. Find yourself a dealer and come on in.

Denon: Yeah, we don't have an XT32 piece until you pay out the "ying-yang" for our 4311ci. And, if you want a pre-pro, you can spend a WHOLE LOT more on our antiquated AVP-A1HDCI. Otherwise, maybe you can take a look at our sister company, Marantz.

Marantz: Sorry, no XT32 here; but we'll sell you the AV7005 it's a great piece if you can a) find it in stock and b) give up some features from our parent company's high end receiver.
Word! I've been wondering about all your above points as well. I'm in a search for a new receiver or pre-pro since selling my onkyo 1007. I'm having the same frustration and questioning towards all of this. Concerning the xt32, I can only speculate that it will be available with more models when new ones start coming out later this year.
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

So...can we weigh in on another one? What reasons are there to lean toward a pre-amp over a receiver? I mean, it seems the pre-amp versions are all more expensive? Why? They remove the amplifiers...what do they add? I could buy the Onkyo TX-NR3008 recommended by anismo for under $1500, it seems to have everything the PR-SC5508 with the exception it's not installer ready. It has nine 140 watt amps and still comes in at least $500 cheaper. So...really, what gives?

Basically they are a niche, and you've hit it on the head. People will pay for the part, for various reasons - be it fidelity, perceived value, features, etc.

One common trend that I've seen emerge over the last few years (as in, say maybe 5) is that "people" have a proclivity to pay up to double what they "should" in order to actually give up features that they "don't need" (e.g: buying a pre over an AVR, buying an IA over a receiver, etc) because they insist they're getting a better value for their money by not paying for those features.

The best values you'll find come from economies of scale - look at something like the Yamaha RX-V667; it costs around $500 and has pre-out functionality and good input/output abilities, switching to Rotel, Integra, etc will double, triple, quadruple, etc the price - you don't gain much in the way of features (and in some cases lose, by giving up newer features) but the name and marketing and so on sell the product. The newest DSP features generally come with those mass-market products as well, stuff like XT32 and the latest Dolby and DTS modes.

I think, and this is an opinion, you've probably found about the best middle-ground balance between "top of the line pre-amp" and "not spending a fortune needlessly" with the boxes you've looked at; we're still talking ~$2000. That Onkyo would probably be fine (I've never followed Onkyo very closely, nor do I own one; I'd look for a review or two before pulling the trigger, also (just for grins), have you priced a 5008?).

Since you have an external power amplifier, you can more or less get anything you want with pre-outs and not worry about "will the amplifiers in this drive my speakers well enough?" - that's an advantage. Just make sure whatever you buy, you can return, and if you're unhappy just send it back and try something else.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

So...can we weigh in on another one? What reasons are there to lean toward a pre-amp over a receiver? I mean, it seems the pre-amp versions are all more expensive? Why? They remove the amplifiers...what do they add? I could buy the Onkyo TX-NR3008 recommended by anismo for under $1500, it seems to have everything the PR-SC5508 with the exception it's not installer ready. It has nine 140 watt amps and still comes in at least $500 cheaper. So...really, what gives?

Well as I alluded to earlier, there is the flexibility of being able to change out the amps or the pre-pro without having to change out the other if the need or want arises.
As to why pre-pros cost more, well there is the volume factor as mentioned above, but also (and this is a general statement) there's a bit more attention paid to the analog output section, and often an increase in isolated power supplies for the different sections. Whether or not those have an appreciable effect is debatable.

I'm of the mind that the room correction software has a greater impact on the sound than the differences between components, be they amps receivers, or pre-pros. (Again in general and assuming competent units.)

So the long and short of it is it boils down to personal preference, i.e. what best suits your needs & budget.
post #28 of 33
...and would it be a waste to invest in XT32 if one were to invest in some acoustic panels later on? I don't mean like carpetted walls, but starting off with some basic acoustic treatments (2 bass traps, a few panels on the side walls and if possible (IF possible) ceiling).
post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e2g_ View Post

...and would it be a waste to invest in XT32 if one were to invest in some acoustic panels later on? I don't mean like carpetted walls, but starting off with some basic acoustic treatments (2 bass traps, a few panels on the side walls and if possible (IF possible) ceiling).

I would say no...there will still likely be modes that could use some cleaning up and processing that could be done in the time domain. But, that's just my opinion.
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by e2g_ View Post

...and would it be a waste to invest in XT32 if one were to invest in some acoustic panels later on? I don't mean like carpetted walls, but starting off with some basic acoustic treatments (2 bass traps, a few panels on the side walls and if possible (IF possible) ceiling).

Do both. OF course, the more perfect your room is, the less you need correction for the room.
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