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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've set up with Active (powered) monitors and I want to be able to adjust the volume with a remote control (which my monitors don't have). Here's the gear list:


Mackie HR824 (2, L/R)

Mackie HR626 (1, Center)

Either Genelec 1029A (2) or Paradigm Mini Monitors (which are passive) (2) or both (satellites)

Krok Rokit 10 (1, Sub)


Samsung LN-S4095D (1080p HDMI LCD)

Samsung BD-P1000 (Blu-Ray)

Motorola (Comcast) DCT 3412 I HD DVR (HDMI Cable box)

Original Xbox

CD Jukebox


Right now what I'm doing is just using the surround outputs on the Blu-Ray player direct to their speakers and using a simple switcher to listen to 2-channel HDTV and CDs. This sucks not only because of the lack of volume control and mute, but because I can only get HDTV in 2 channels...no 5.1 decoding. Worse, the BD-P1000 only does 5.1 output on Blu-Ray discs (yes I updated firmware to 1.0), not on DVDs! I hope that it will pass 5.1 audio via HDMI from DVDs (does it?).


So I'm looking at receivers like Denon's AVR987 (aka 2807) which have preamp outputs that I could hook up my active monitors on. However, I can't determine anywhere if those preamp outputs are post-fader wrt volume control and muting (manufacturers of consumer gear often make them pre-fader so users won't need to learn proper gain staging). The LN-S4095D TV has its audio outputs pre-fader, so I can't even use the volume/mute control on the TV outputs! Nor does the TV allow any DSP to be applied to its audio outs! Ripoff, but again, the consumers (even the reviewers) would just get lost if they provided proper control and the equipment would get wrong-headed complaints on forums like this.


I don't need an amplifier of any distinction (if at all) of course, just HDMI switching passing 1080p, surround sound decoding and direct outputs, remote volume control and muting for those direct outs, high-quality converters (at least 2496), perhaps some DSP like volume leveling if it's done really well (that's hard btw). I would prefer balanced outputs (1/4" TRS or XLR) but those aren't totally necessary. Ideally, I spend less than $1000 on a box that does all of this too!


(Note also that I would like HDMI support for the Cable box...I heard some of the receivers were having trouble with HDCP or something from the Comcast cable boxes...is that problem solved yet?)


If the Denon works then I'm all set with that (unless you have another option). If they purposefully prevented the preamp outs from being post-fader/post DSP, then I'm hosed with that option and need something else. Does anyone know what the Denon does, what other consumer-level AVRs do, and whether there's something that's an ideal fit for this setup?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I decided to find out the old-fashioned way (thanks fellas) and bought the AVR-987 (aka 2807). The answer is yes, the 987's pre outs are post-fader, i.e. they are affected by the volume/muting controls, and are also post-DSP. So the 987 works just as well with active monitors ("powered speakers" for the less informed) as it does with passives, and I in fact left the Gennies as computer monitors and am using the Paradigm minis as surrounds. The HR-824s can be switched to make the sub fairly irrelevant as well.


So I'm quite happy with the 987, although I would have liked balanced analog outputs as I've seen on e.g. the Outlaw boxes. But the Outlaws don't have HDMI yet from what I saw. I clearly needed HDMI and the 987 is "future proof" enough it appears that I won't need to replace it for years to come...I don't need HDMI 1.3 as the HDMI 1.1 is enough to stream 8 channels of 24/96 LPCM. So if I get a newer Blu-ray or DVD-Audio player that has TrueHD/DTS-HD-MA I will just have that player do the decoding into PCM. I guess Super Audio CDs will have to be done via their player's onboard analog but that's not necessarily a problem! You just want to go digital until you get to the best converters available, and then have as clean and short a path as possible from there to the amps.


And I understand what I was asking for is called a "preamp/processor" as opposed to a "receiver", but really it's just a receiver minus the built-in amplifiers. The 987's amps don't bother me much though, I'm using 2 of them and I was tickled by the ability to bi-amp the fronts (I guess higher end passive mains are accepting biamp inputs, and the xover point is settable on the receiver). I also imagine that all this format support and functionality has to be done at scale to reach the $1100 price point, so I wouldn't really save any dough getting something without the amps, and the flexibility and resale value of something with the amps is likely to be better even after all these formats are old hat.


A rant: why is all this consumer stuff unbalanced? I think everyone would pay 2x for cables with 2x as many elements and connectors, and 10% more for upgraded components, to be able to run everything balanced. Think about it: for just that, you could have better quality from kilometer-long cables then you often get from 3 meter unbalanced cables! Forget all this oxygen-free marketing BS...a balanced format actually _does_ make an instantly confirmable difference (just drape the different cables over your collection of wall-warts and listen).


Surprise! All pro gear uses balanced cables (SDI instead of HDMI, XLR instead of RCA, etc.) With balanced SDI instead of unbalanced HDMI, you could wire a whole house digitally rather than coming up on 5 meter cable length limits. Why are they doing this to us? Why not get it right once and for all, industry? So the SDI cable will cost $2 to make rather than $1. I guess this is designed-in obsolescence in action.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder /forum/post/0


Mackie HR824 (2, L/R)

Mackie HR626 (1, Center)

That must sound so great. I have a pair of the HR824s for my music studio monitors and could only imagine how they'd sound upstairs in my living room. Not to mention, to add Mackie's sub....


I agree about the unbal/bal statement....I mean, why even BOTHER with unbalanced? If you're already paying $1000 for a receiver, how much more would balanced outs be?


I can see unbal on like cheapo $100 receivers...but high end?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, the 824's rock the house down. The HR626 is somewhat of a disappointment though...for the same dough, it's not even 1/4 the speaker system the 824 is (only 100/40 biamp vs. 150/100). But I needed that format for a center due to how my screen is placed. (Placing centers is the biggest challenge in all of this, but the way I have it my tweeters are all at ear level and all with 4" of each other's heights, with no assymmetry...the screen is above the front center, so everything works fine. Not easy.)


Seeing how important the center front is, I would consider going up to the ADAM P-33A for my front center, and if I take that plunge I will move the 626 to back center or just ebay it. Right now, the 626 is certainly acceptable, the dialogue is mostly intelligible, if not particularly pleasant. The 626 probably has a wider sweet spot than the ADAM anyway, and this way, everything matches.


The sound of the music and reverbs is rippin though through the other 4.
 
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