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I have an Integra 9.1 receiver with 130 watts into all channels. I am contemplating an upgrade in either amp or speakers. Anybody have any experience with a higher end AV receiver and upgrading to a separate multi channel amp like Rotel, ATI, Outlaw,etc.. (not high end amp) an using the receiver as the pre-amp. Anybody notice an improvement ? I am mainly looking for in improvement in two channel audio but also a pick up all around for HT. I have Paradigm Studio 100 V1 speakers by the way. Not sure which of the two is the weaker link (speakers versus amp section of AV)?
 

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How 'bout using the receiver as an amp and upgrading to a nice pre/pro (like the Outlaw 950)?


IMO, unless the amp just plain sucks, you'd get better results dealing directly with the source (better DACs) or speakers.
 

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I would do the exact opposite of what DMF said. The top of the line Onkyos/Integras are perhaps best known for what their outstanding DACs. I'm very familiar with that receiver you have (got the same one), and I'll tell you, if it's strong anywhere, it's strength is it's internal DAC and surround processing ability. The internal amps are very good for a receiver, but nowhere near what you could be looking at with a seperate poweramp(s). Anyways, I'd keep the receiver and use it as a pre/pro, as it undoubtedly has enough inputs and does pretty much everything you'd want it to do, and add good power amps. Using the Integra 9.1 as an amp for the Outlaw pre/pro isn't an upgrade at all, and that's not a knock in the least on Outlaw, it's a very good piece of equipment, it's just that the DACs and preamp outs on the 9.1 are at least just as good.


Considering that you're looking to upgrade either amps or speakers, I'm assuming there's a limited budget? Bryston is awfully tough to beat for the buck, often called the "poor man's Krell." I've sold both Krell and Bryston when I was in college, so I've listened to both quite a bit, and that's a very, very good description of Bryston. Try getting a Bryston 4B-ST or 4B-SST amp for your main fronts and let the receiver run the rest, and then maybe pick up Bryston's 5 channel amp (9B series) to run the other channels later. Or if budget allows now, go for 7B series monoblocks, or the big 14BSST, which is essentially two 7Bs in one chassis. That's what I would do if I had your system. Of course, make sure your cables are up to standard too, especially the speaker cables if you're upgrading to some big amps. Another possibility, which is slanted more towards 2 channel than multi-channel applications would be to consider a Jolida tube amp, fairly inexpensive for what you get, if you like the tube sound. If you're anywhere near a 50/50 music/movies guy, I'd go solidstate and look into the Brystons though.
 

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I agree with jehrico76. I've never really worried about the processing end of Onkyo/Integra. It's their sometimes meek power supplies that concern me. You might wish to consider a nice two channel amp like the Parasound A21, which I think is 250 watts into 8 ohms. Just make sure you have a dealer who will let you return it for a full refund should it not bring the improvement you think it will.


Personally, I think you'd love the Parasound or any quality two channel amp. It would also work to relieve the strain on your Integra in home theater or multi-channel music applications.
 

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I didn't say his DACs weren't any good! I don't know his receiver from Adam. What I said was, it's possible to use the amps if the pre/pro stage is questionable, and to pay attention to the DACS and the speakers as the things that most affect the sound.


If the DACs are good, then the next thing to look at is the speakers - then the amps.


I notice neither of you are addressing his speakers, btw.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DMF
I didn't say his DACs weren't any good! I don't know his receiver from Adam. What I said was, it's possible to use the amps if the pre/pro stage is questionable, and to pay attention to the DACS and the speakers as the things that most affect the sound.


If the DACs are good, then the next thing to look at is the speakers - then the amps.


I notice neither of you are addressing his speakers, btw.
I didn't mean to insinuate you were wrong, but rather based on me being familiar with the receiver, that I would have recommended the opposite course of action. As for the speakers, he's got pretty good speakers. If can only afford to upgrade one or the other, considering what he likely spent for the receiver and speakers each, and that he's only upgrading one end of the two, I'm guessing he's got a budget around $2K. Is that far off of the mark, Frohlich? Those speakers are fairly competitive in that price range, I don't think he'll be able to improve his sound that much by "upgrading" from a solid pair of speakers in the sub $2K category to another pair around 2K like he would getting a solid amp. Now, if his budget is signifcantly more than that (say $3500-$4000 or more), and if he sells his Paradigms and adds that money to the pot, he could probably go with a $1000 amp and a better pair of speakers at the same time and improve that way.
 

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Regarding the original post here, I would have to say an amp upgrade would be the most beneficial....Paradigm themselves recommend 200WPC into their 100's for best results. Bryston would be the wtg, but if funds dont allow, Parasound, Rotel or Anthem are other good choices. A 2, 3, or 5 channel amp would be up to the discretion of the buyer.
 

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3 channel amp to power those monsters. You will hear a vast improvement over the internals of the receiver.


Kevin
 

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Do the amp first. I agree with Kevin get a three channel for the front and keep the rest on your receiver.
 

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I would recommend buying a more powerful amp from someplace with a return policy. Try it on your speakers and if you don't hear any improvement, take it back.
 

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Based on the testimony in re: the quality of the speakers, it really does sound as if the amps are the likely suspect.


Outlaw Audio has configurations in 1, 5, & 7 channels, at 200W/ch. Try three of the Model 200 monoblocs for $849. 30-day in-home trial. If they don't do the trick, send them back.

www.outlawaudio.com
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jehrico76
I didn't mean to insinuate you were wrong...
No offense taken. My post did sound like I was criticising the receiver. I didn't mean it to. I should try to be a little less ambiguous.
 
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