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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why does it seem that all pre-pros cost more than most AVRs? Isn't there a market out there for what amounts to an AVR without the amplifier section, and thus costs less than the comparable AVR?
One can select from several good AVRs in the $1200-$2000 price range, and yet the lowest price pre-pros I see are all $2500 and up.

This thought/question came about as I'd like to upgrade my AVR to be HDR and Atmos capable, but hate to just toss the perfectly good 9ch amplifier section (Yamaha RX-A2020). Thought I'd look for a "budget" 9ch pre-pro and use the Yamaha as an amp. No dice. I might as well buy a new AVR, which is frustrating.

Thoughts/suggestions?
 

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Why does it seem that all pre-pros cost more than most AVRs? Isn't there a market out there for what amounts to an AVR without the amplifier section, and thus costs less than the comparable AVR?
One can select from several good AVRs in the $1200-$2000 price range, and yet the lowest price pre-pros I see are all $2500 and up.

This thought/question came about as I'd like to upgrade my AVR to be HDR and Atmos capable, but hate to just toss the perfectly good 9ch amplifier section (Yamaha RX-A2020). Thought I'd look for a "budget" 9ch pre-pro and use the Yamaha as an amp. No dice. I might as well buy a new AVR, which is frustrating.

Thoughts/suggestions?
It's a question that has gone unanswered for decades. Maybe right up there with who invented liquid soap and why?

As far back as I can remember beginning in the 50's, a good Hi-Fi mono system based on separate components always cost more than an all in one solution.

That thinking carried over into stereo components in the 60's and on to where we are today.

I suspect it has something to do with economy of scale with regards to total manufacturing cost. The amplifier section in AVR is probably the least expensive portion of the bill of material.
 

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Why does it seem that all pre-pros cost more than most AVRs? Isn't there a market out there for what amounts to an AVR without the amplifier section, and thus costs less than the comparable AVR?
One can select from several good AVRs in the $1200-$2000 price range, and yet the lowest price pre-pros I see are all $2500 and up.

This thought/question came about as I'd like to upgrade my AVR to be HDR and Atmos capable, but hate to just toss the perfectly good 9ch amplifier section (Yamaha RX-A2020). Thought I'd look for a "budget" 9ch pre-pro and use the Yamaha as an amp. No dice. I might as well buy a new AVR, which is frustrating.

Thoughts/suggestions?
It’s primarily a matter of manufacturing costs. Retooling a manufacturing line is expensive. Far more receivers are made than pre/pros, so their fixed overhead expenses can be spread out over more units. This latter is especially true for the smaller manufacturers (like Classe and McIntosh) which are producing many fewer units to begin with. Their fixed overhead expenses have to be paid by far fewer units, and they can’t get as good a discount from their suppliers as can the larger manufacturers (like Marantz). They also tend to use higher quality components, although that contributes less to their costs than do the other factors.

That said, in the past, Marantz 7xxx series receivers have cost exactly the same as their 7xxx series pre/pros, in the US, at least. I think they are still very close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I suspect it has something to do with economy of scale with regards to total manufacturing cost. The amplifier section in AVR is probably the least expensive portion of the bill of material.
Well, I've been doing this since the '90's and have wondered the same thing the whole time. Just this is the first time I guess I actually wished there was a decent product like this.
I seem to recall that, oh, about 10 years ago maybe (??) A couple brands including Outlaw tried to bring a decent prepro at a decent price to market, but it never seemed to take off.

The amp section being the least expensive portion then begs the question, why are separate multi-ch amps so expensive? LOL.

Supply and demand. There's demand for AVRs so they are less expensive, I guess.
 

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There is always someone upgrading so you can buy their old (sometimes relatively new) equipment used on these forums in the classifieds, or on Audiogon, which is where I bought my less-than-a-year-old Marantz AV7705 Pre/Pro for $1,200.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That said, in the past, Marantz 7xxx series receivers have cost exactly the same as their 7xxx series pre/pros, in the US, at least. I think they are still very close.
Yeah, the 7706 prepro is $2599 and the 7015 AVR is $2499, so it's close, but still.... no prepro under $2k.
 

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It would seem to me that if you take a receiver and pull out the poweramps reduce the size of the power supply ect. that the price would go down. As a longtime tech I can tell you that this logic dose not hold in this case. If you open up a Marantz 8805 there is an intimidating amount of precision electronics in there. I got around the price problem by buying used. I found a 7702mk2 for $650 2.5 years ago online. It has Atmos 4k hdmi2.0 ect. No way was I going to spend around 3k for it. A little aside on this subject if you have a expensive electronic device then spend the $200 and get a SINEWAVE battery back up. I can't tell you how many repairs I have made because of bad power. All the way from firmware installs to non repairable total barbeque.
 

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@Kieran Outlaw 976. Straight 7 channel Pre/Pro RCA/ balanced connections. No room correction. About $1k.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
@Kieran Outlaw 976. Straight 7 channel Pre/Pro RCA/ balanced connections. No room correction. About $1k.

Vaporware, right? IFAIK, it was produced for a very limited time, and the company has been almost non-responsive for some time now. You can't even add it to your cart. Also Outlaw's products have a history of issues, as I alluded to above.
EDIT for me the 976 isn't a solution anyway because I want at least 9ch, Atmos, and HDR... but for the purposes of discussing this topic in general, it's a good example of what might have / could have been.... a quick browse of the owners thread here at avs shows at least a few issues / unhappy owners. ASR posted several bad experiences in dealing with Outlaw...
 

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Well, I've been doing this since the '90's and have wondered the same thing the whole time. Just this is the first time I guess I actually wished there was a decent product like this.
I seem to recall that, oh, about 10 years ago maybe (??) A couple brands including Outlaw tried to bring a decent prepro at a decent price to market, but it never seemed to take off.

The amp section being the least expensive portion then begs the question, why are separate multi-ch amps so expensive? LOL.

Supply and demand. There's demand for AVRs so they are less expensive, I guess.
That question is easier to answer maybe...

Discreet power amps usually have much bigger power supplies which does add cost, especially if they use a quality toroidal transformer.

A lot of the AVR's today are using chip based class D amplifiers with a switching mode power supply. Lot's cheaper to build.

A good quality separate power amplifier can/will last a lifetime. Bryston warranties their units for 20 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That question is easier to answer maybe...

Discreet power amps usually have much bigger power supplies which does add cost, especially if they use a quality toroidal transformer.

A lot of the AVR's today are using chip based class D amplifiers with a switching mode power supply. Lot's cheaper to build.
Yeah, I was being a bit facetious, TBH. ;)
 

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Why does it seem that all pre-pros cost more than most AVRs? Isn't there a market out there for what amounts to an AVR without the amplifier section, and thus costs less than the comparable AVR?
One can select from several good AVRs in the $1200-$2000 price range, and yet the lowest price pre-pros I see are all $2500 and up.

This thought/question came about as I'd like to upgrade my AVR to be HDR and Atmos capable, but hate to just toss the perfectly good 9ch amplifier section (Yamaha RX-A2020). Thought I'd look for a "budget" 9ch pre-pro and use the Yamaha as an amp. No dice. I might as well buy a new AVR, which is frustrating.

Thoughts/suggestions?
All good things for those who wait....

Tonewinner PrePro = $1199


7 channel amp with beastly wattage for $1259
266 Watts/channel - 2 channels driven
180 Watts/channel - 7 channels driven
 

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All good things for those who wait....

Tonewinner PrePro = $1199


7 channel amp with beastly wattage for $1259
266 Watts/channel - 2 channels driven
180 Watts/channel - 7 channels driven
I'll click eventually ... but today's April Fool day ... so ...
 
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Yeah, the 7706 prepro is $2599 and the 7015 AVR is $2499, so it's close, but still.... no prepro under $2k.
Look at Accessories 4 less for a past year Marantz 770X refurbished unit. They come with a warranty and you should be able to get one for sub $1500 easily

Warren
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
All good things for those who wait....

Tonewinner PrePro = $1199
Not much user info out there, but what there is, isn't very good. You get what you pay for, I guess?

Appreciate the heads up on that though! I'll keep an eye on them. Weird that it doesn't have an ethernet port for at least firmware updates over internet.... also would like to know more about the proprietary room EQ system.

I think mostly I was / am surprised that Denon/Marantz, Yamaha, Sony, etc... those who make mass-market AVRs, don't offer a pre-pro version at a mid/low price point.

Take a Denon AVR-X4700H, remove the amps and am/fm tuner, and deliver it for $1200. Done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Look at Accessories 4 less for a past year Marantz 770X refurbished unit. They come with a warranty and you should be able to get one for sub $1500 easily

Warren
Yes! I always forget about them. Thanks for the reminder.
 

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How would you feed the signal into the RX-A2020? This used to be possible with NAD receivers, up until the Txx4 models I think. There were jumpers on the rear for every channel of amplification. If you removed those, you could bypass the processor section entirely, and be left with a multi-channel amplifier (the T754 I had was 6.2). Not sure how it would have worked out, since I never tried it, but I don't see how you would manage that on most receivers today (or any current NAD, such as the T758 or T777).

On a similar note, NAD's modular construction does allow for upgrades of modules, costing about $300-600, plus installation at a dealer (probably about an hour of labor maybe, possibly two). I wonder how that's working out in reality, now that it's been around for a decade or so. 🤔

Modules on the T785 from 2010.

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This is an image of the rear of the old T754 (c. 2006-7) with the six removable jumpers highlighted. Theoretically, it could be used as an external amplifier with standard interconnect cables.

3118092
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
How would you feed the signal into the RX-A2020?
It has pre-amp inputs. I just realized though, that the pre-amp inputs are only 7.1, not 9.1, even though it's a 9ch receiver. The amps are HIGHLY configurable though across zones, or channels, or a combination of the two. So I wonder if you could do that with external inputs too. Probably not, but maybe.
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