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5.1 "decoder" without the "amplifier"???

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am putting together a Dinner Theater at a winery and need some help with a preamp or decoder. I am technically savvy, but have never before encountered a situation in which each of my speakers had their own amplifier. I am trying to figure out how to decode a 5.1 or 7.2 surround system, but without a "decoder" that also is an amplifier. That is to say, I need a receiver that will put the 5.1 signal to each amplifier, while the receiver itself does not have to do any amplification. I am sure I am mixing my terms, but just need to get steered in the right direction.
post #2 of 7
It sounds like what you're after is a pre-amplifier-decoder and power amplifier combo. Such kits exist.

The preamplifier will decode the signal and send it off to a power amplifier.

I'm not sure why you insist on separate units, but they do exist. Most people just get an integrated amplifier, which has the pre-amp and power amp in one unit.

Edit: I now understand why you need only the pre-amp; it's because your speakers are powered.

This is the type of unit you are looking for:


If you search, you are looking for a surround sound pre-amplifier.
post #3 of 7
You can use either a DD 5.1 preamp or AVR with preouts either of which you can connect the powered speakers to play the decoded DD audio.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
I don't insist; I just want to be sure that I am not overpowering my speakers. For instance, if one of the LCR speakers is a 350w unit, and is being powered by a 350w Amp, I don't want to hook it up to a 5.1 receiver that also amplifies at 100w and have the overall signal transmit at 450w. I am not sure if such a thing is even a danger, but I don't know what I don't know when it comes to using speakers that are amplified independently of the receiver.
post #5 of 7
There is no cumulative addition of power when connecting to an AVR's preouts, rather the power comes from the speaker's amp only and the signal comes from the AVR.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
@jds...that is good to know. Forgive my ignorance, but how do I know if I am connecting to the preouts? Rather, do the "preouts" look different than the other "outs". *rolls eyes at self. I am tech savvy....no really.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
after examining the back of a AVR with pre-outs...I see that they are just RCA jacks that are labeled "preouts". duh. No wonder there are some really expensive AVRs that have very little amplification; the target audience is not looking for amplification.
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