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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a yamaha rx-v995 a/v receiver and am thinking about going to separates. unfortunately, i definitely won't have money to do both at once, so I decided I'd rather have concrete new features first (DPL II, etc) and use the amp in my receiver temporarily. The current receiver is 100w x 5 and has a 4 or 6 ohm mode as well as 8ohm (FWIW -- i don't plan on upgrading spkrs for a while).


my question, if i get a pre/pro and use it with my "ext. decoder" input on the recvr (analog passthru 5.1), will I have any ill effects and where should I leave the volume on the receiver?


thanks

jake
 

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My advice would be to first invest on a multi-channel amp, then go for the prepro later. The reason being that decent multi-channel amps can be cheaper than decent prepros, and their technology stays somewhat the same over time, comapred to prepros, which always have new features included as time goes by.

So, if you get an amp now, 2 years down the line when you decide you are ready to upgrade, the amp would still be a good amp, and wouldn't require upgrading. However, if you get a prepro now, 2 years down the line that prepro might already be outdated, especially if it doesn't support any software/hardware updating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
goi,


thanks for the response. I agree with your logic regarding obsolescence but there are a few features I just can't wait for (DPL II is a biggie, also component video switching). I was originally considering a new receiver, but I know that separates are in my future and figure I should just bite the bullet and get started. The new outlaw 950 is looking very good to me.


I'm fairly happy with the performance I'm getting now (of course I want better :D ), so I figure I should be ok sticking with the amps in my Yamaha, but I want confirmation. I'm also curious about the volume control. Given that the pre/pro will have volume control, should I leave the receiver's volume turned all the way up, or is there some optimum point?


jake
 

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Well, I'm not exactly sure of the volume control part. Usually people would use the receiver as the preamp and add a power amp, rather than use the receiver as the power amp and add a prepro. What you're doing, while feasible, is not usually done. I would suggest using the analog bypass(aka direct) mode on your Yamaha receiver, if there's any, to bypass any internal processing. Perhaps that might also bypass the volume control(I'm not sure of how the Yamaha works though).


As for your prepro choice, I would suggest getting one that is fairly upgradeable, the TagMcLaren AV32R(upgradeable to AV192 in the near future), Integra RDC-7 and Anthem AVM-20 come to mind. Of course with a bigger budget you could also get a Meridien or Lexicon :)
 

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I'm doing something like this. I use an old receiver as an amp for some speakers in another room. I feed the tape out of my processor (a Theta Casa Nova) into the tape in on my receiver (a Denon something-or-other). I My Theta has a 0-15 setting on the tape out. I played with the Theta's gain and the volume on the receiver until it sounded right.


- Dave
 

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What is the total budget for your upgrade ?


A receiver like the Denon AVR-3802 supports the curent formats and DPL2. These can be purchased online for $700. Price check at http://www.shopping.com


I suggest selling the 995 for whatever you can get for it, and get an outboard amp. Get at least a good 2 or 3 channel for the fronts and let the 3802 power your surrounds. Do not underestimate the benefit of a good amp !


- Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
it sounds like i'm in a real minority by considering this...


I have two main reasons for this upgrade; I want DPL II and component video switching. I live in an apartment and don't have space for a dedicated room. I'm very familiar with the denon 2802 (a good friend has one) and have heard the 3802 and am not convinced that it's amps are better than my current ones. I am convinced, however, that it does a better job of processing DD and have a suspicion that it has better DACs. My budget is right near $1k (less, if possible) and I want the most bang/buck.


Looking at the new outlaw 950, I figured that was the perfect solution until I could afford more. I get more features than the 3802 (minus the amps), and spend about the same $$.


It seems to me that the whole "component" mentality is that you get to upgrade only the parts you want without wasting it on others, which is exactly what I can do by getting a pre/pro without buying a receiver. one of the reasons i liked the yamaha was that it had 5.1 analog pass-through and 5.1 preamp out so that I could eventually upgrade either portion.


I don't mean to give the impression that I've already committed myself to the outlaw and am wasting your collective time. I don't even know how the outlaw sounds, I just think the stats are very intriguing.


anyway, thanks for the input and please keep it coming!


jake
 

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FWIW, I think your plan is great. You will get more obvious improvement from a new processor at this point than a better amp.


For volume, probably turn the Yamaha to reference and leave it, then use the Outlaw (assuming you stick with that) volume for actual changes. Uh, that's a guess from how I deal with loudspeaker systems. That way you can't overtax the amp no matter what you change the preamp to, theoretically.
 

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I also have a Yamaha 995, and am making the move to separates. Last week I got a Rotel RMB 1075 amp. I know you want the new features of a preamp, but let me tell you that the addition of the external amp resulted in a whole new system. The cliches are true, "it was like night and day, the veil was lifted".


You may think the amps in the Yamaha are good (so did I), but with the Rotel amp, I am hearing details that I have never heard before. The amp has such control over sonic events that it really is amazing. The improvement for music was quite breath taking, and I am rediscovering my CD collection all over again.


You really should consider using the Yamaha as a preamp, and adding an external amp.


Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
george,


you've really piqued my curiousity with your comments as the 1075 is what I would probably get if I went that route. What speakers are you using? Do you have DVD-A or SACD? I'm really interested in the quality of the difference you've heard.


I know that I was very impressed with hearing newer DD and DPLII decoders; hearing the very precise separation and excellent ambience provided by my friend's denon 2802 really opened my eyes to how the processors have changed. I didn't really care for the overall tonal quality and other aspects of the sound, but I attribute that more to his speakers and possibly amp than the processor.


I'd really like to get an xbox in a few months so that I can try some HD games, but I'll need a component video switch to work it into my system. The only high-bandwidth switches I've seen are at least a few hundred dollars, and if I could get the same capabilities from a new $900 pre/pro plus better sound and more features, then it seems like a pretty good deal to me.


anyway, quality sound is still my first priority and I'm not very willing to compromise it.


thanks for all your help!
 

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I am using Kef Q series speakers all around (Q55 fronts, Q15 rears and Q95C for the center). These are fairly high sensitivity speakers (92 dB), and I do not listen at very loud levels. That said, here is a brief assessment of the improvements I have heard with the Rotel amp. I am not an audiophile (although I really enjoy music), so my terms may not be correct.


1. The soundstage is wider and deeper. My wife immediately commented on this, which is quite surprising, since audio (as compared to video) is not that important to her (when I upgraded speakers from some small Cambridge Soundworks cubes to the Kefs, my wife did not hear much of an improvement.

2. The sound is significantly cleaner which is probably due to the better grip the amp has. Every sonic event has a distinct boundry. In comparison, the Yamaha sounds a bit smeared and fuzzy.


Hometheater


I would say that there was about a 60% improvement over the Yamaha. There is better stearing of events between the speakers, and the bass is much tighter and more controlled. Dialog is clearer, and more intelligable. Overall there was a significant improvement.


Music


The improvement really can’t be quantified, because the Rotel amp makes it sound like a whole new system. I would never, ever go back because the improvement is so amazing and breath taking. The key improvement is the presence of details that I have never heard before. Here are some examples.


Diana Krall (Why should I care off When I look into Your Eyes). With the Yamaha, the snare drum sounded like a hiss. I originally thought there might be a connection problem because it really sounded like background noise and hissing. With the Rotel, I swear you can hear the individual bristles gliding over the snare drum.


Diana Krall (Lets fall in love off When I look into Your Eyes). With the Yamaha, the piano had a harsh, metallic sound. With the Rotel, the piano had a liquidy sound, and you could hear the extended decay of the notes.


Holly Cole (Everyday will be a holiday off don’t smoke in bed) – the bass was tight and “snappy.â€


Everything but the Girl (Acoustic) – you can “feel†the snap of the pick across the guitar strings with the Rotel.


DiMeola et al. (Friday night in San Francisco) – IMO one of the greatest live performances ever. With the Rotel, this is simply an CD. With the Yamaha, when they thump their guitars, it always sound dead. With the Rotel, you can hear the hollowness of the guitar and the snaps of the strings.


To sum it up, this really was an amazing upgrade to my system, that even my wife noticed (which again, is saying something). Your mileage may vary, but this a spectacular upgrade.


Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
wow! I had no idea...


one thing you (george) mentioned was the "better steering" you found with the new amp; one of the things that impressed me most with the denon recvr's was improved steering in DD. perhaps the deficiency isn't in my DACs but crosstalk in the amps. If that's the case, maybe I really would be better off going the amp route.


what kills me is that there are no good inexpensive component video switches, if I get an amp I still have that problem to deal with.


maybe I just need to get both :D


thanks again

jake
 

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Jakehall,


The improved steering may be related to the fact that sounds are cleaner (i.e., have distinct edges). So it seems as if the steering is better, but actually is due to the fact that sonic images are not fuzzy anymore.


I can understand the desire for new bells and whistles, but this really was an amazing upgrade in my system (your experience may differ). I would suggest talking to your Rotel dealer and see if you can audition the amp for a couple of days.


Hope this helps.
 

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jakehall,


I would not base an audio buying decision on the existence of component switching. I am not sure what video display you are feeding, but the switchers in receivers are usually not the best. There are a number of component switchers on the market from Inline, Extron, etc which would be better. I too am in the market for an amp/pro combo or a avr, not sure which, but the Rotel is suddenly sounding pretty good.


Gabe
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
gabe,


I've heard of the limitations many receivers have for component switching and am specifically looking at units that have the bandwidth for HD. I agree that Inline and Extron produce great products, but they are way out of my price league. The outlaw pre/pro does claim to have the necessary bandwidth, as do the denon recvrs.


fortunately, the bandwidth issue isn't too important for my application as I will only be using component for 480p DVD and videogames which will usually only be 480p. I use RGB for HD and that goes unmolested straight from my DTC-100 to the TV. Considering this, I think it would be foolhardy for me to spend $200+ on a switch.


jake
 
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