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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My thinking about this may not be correct, but if it is...


I’m trying to figure out a system for my uses: 95% music and 5% movies. I don’t care quite as much about the sound quality during movies, but I certainly do care for 2 channel listening. So I was thinking of getting a cheap $400 A/V receiver to use for movies. And the receiver would have pre outs for adding an amp to the main speakers for 2 channel music. But I don’t want the cheap receiver to degrade sound quality for music. So the receiver should have a bypass. And with the bypass, the setup would be CD -> receiver in bypass -> integrated amp -> speakers.


So what receivers out there have a bypass to do this with?


Just as an example, I think the Outlaw 990 is suppossed to have bypass, but when I look at the photo of the back, I don't see anything that would indicate it does. So I'm not sure which receviers (or pre pros, etc.) have this. Thanks.
 

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Many receivers have a "pure direct" mode that allows you to bypass all processing and go straight to the amp section (or in your case, the front pre-outs). A regular power amp will work better than an integrated, though.


How will your player(s) be connected; analog or digital or both? How will your speakers be connected to both a receiver and an integrated amp? In your scenario, with an integrated amp, it seems like you would want to just bypass the receiver altogether and go straight to the integrated with the CD player's 2-channel analog output, no?
 

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Right, a receiver and an integrated amp kind of perform the same functions. I'd pick one or the other. Or, if you keep receiver, then "amp" goes into the diagram. In my experience, integrated amps outclass and outperform most receivers most days of the week.


Basically, IMHO (and there is always debate about this) ... "cheap receiver" and "really good sound quality" are mutually exclusive. The speakers have the most influence on sound quality ... right next to that in importance is the processor, which can be a prepro, receiver, integrated amp. Below that in importance are the amps and then the sources. If you want to save bux somewhere, the amps are the place to do it: even (shudder) go with some pro amps (fanless) in lieu of consumer ones, and put better money into the processor.
 

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Your want to do basically what I'm doing. I have a Pio 1015 for the receiver and it works pretty well for that duty and to serve for a preout for my 2 channel amp. The Pio will allow you to bypass any processing to run in direct mode. I don't do that because then I'd lose bass management capabilities. If you have a subwoofer, then it will not be engaged while in direct mode. I feel that the Pio is fairly neutral and does not add anything for 2 channel listening. So, this solution works fine for me.
 

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Digital amplification is as pure you can get for music. No need for D/A conversion, thus no dedegration of sound. Some of them are also cheap in price (e.g. $199) and can produce amazing sound quality. Look up the rave reviews on the Panasonics, JVCs, Sonys and HK. If you want something more upmarket (and more expensive) in digital amplification, have a look at Bel Canto, the upcoming Rotel range and Nuforce amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim
Many receivers have a "pure direct" mode that allows you to bypass all processing and go straight to the amp section (or in your case, the front pre-outs). A regular power amp will work better than an integrated, though.


How will your player(s) be connected; analog or digital or both? How will your speakers be connected to both a receiver and an integrated amp? In your scenario, with an integrated amp, it seems like you would want to just bypass the receiver altogether and go straight to the integrated with the CD player's 2-channel analog output, no?
Not sure how I'll connect everything yet. Whatever sounds the best, I guess.


Yes, CD -> amp -> speakers would be best for sound. (Does it have to be an integrated amp for that?) But I don't want to switch wires between that and the receiver. I thought there was some way to just have no influence from the receiver- a bypass.


A pure direct could work well. Maybe that's what I was thinking of. But I think the Yamaha version of that, at least, doesn't allow output to the subwoofer. Not perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuraCL
Basically, IMHO (and there is always debate about this) ... "cheap receiver" and "really good sound quality" are mutually exclusive.
Right. That's why I was wondering if I could bypass the receiver (without having to change wires) for when I just want to listen to music.


I'm not saying I can't spring for the fancy receiver. I gather than an Arcam AVR300 would do all the (minimal) processing I want and still sound good. But given that movies will not be too often, I was hoping I could save some on the processor. And put money into good speakers and amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfs
Your want to do basically what I'm doing. I have a Pio 1015 for the receiver and it works pretty well for that duty and to serve for a preout for my 2 channel amp. The Pio will allow you to bypass any processing to run in direct mode. I don't do that because then I'd lose bass management capabilities. If you have a subwoofer, then it will not be engaged while in direct mode. I feel that the Pio is fairly neutral and does not add anything for 2 channel listening. So, this solution works fine for me.
So you don't think the receiver diminished the sound quality. Doyou think the rest of your system is good enough to really be able to tell?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalHT
Digital amplification is as pure you can get for music. No need for D/A conversion, thus no dedegration of sound. Some of them are also cheap in price (e.g. $199) and can produce amazing sound quality. Look up the rave reviews on the Panasonics, JVCs, Sonys and HK. If you want something more upmarket (and more expensive) in digital amplification, have a look at Bel Canto, the upcoming Rotel range and Nuforce amps.
You're just talking about amps, right? I was planning on using the pre outs of the receiver to go into a decent amp of some sort or another.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJon
Not sure how I'll connect everything yet. Whatever sounds the best, I guess.


Yes, CD -> amp -> speakers would be best for sound. (Does it have to be an integrated amp for that?) But I don't want to switch wires between that and the receiver. I thought there was some way to just have no influence from the receiver- a bypass.


A pure direct could work well. Maybe that's what I was thinking of. But I think the Yamaha version of that, at least, doesn't allow output to the subwoofer. Not perfect.
Unless the CD/DVD player has volume control (and none of my 3 do) you're going to have a little problem there. Amps don't generally have it either ... this is a function performed by a prepro/receiver/integrated amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuraCL
Unless the CD/DVD player has volume control (and none of my 3 do) you're going to have a little problem there. Amps don't generally have it either ... this is a function performed by a prepro/receiver/integrated amp.
Believe it or not, mine does. It's about a 10 year old Denon CD player. I think it was around $300 at the time. It probably sounds lousy by today's standards- I'll find out when I get this stereo system together.


But your point is why I asked my original question. Using a receiver in bypass to an integrated amp to the speakers would work. No?
 

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Yeah, you're trying to make it harder than is necessary. A separate power amp can be connected to a receiver's front pre-outs (provided it has them) and used to power the front speakers for BOTH music and movies. A player (or 2 players) can be connected to the receiver both digitally (for movies) and analog (for music). If pure 2-channel playback from the front speakers is desired, you can buy a receiver that has a "direct", "pure", or "pure direct" mode. And depending upon how they're set up, these receivers CAN produce a subwoofer channel in these modes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuraCL
Ok, I'm trying to understand your system design here ....


Why *both* a receiver and integrated amp?
I'm trying to understand this as well. See if this is correct:


For movies it would be:

DVD -> receiver -> speakers

or even for the front 2 speakers using the pre outs:

DVD -> receiver -> amp -> speakers


But for more critical music listening, the following is a problem because the receiver will "taint" the sound:

CD -> receiver -> amp -> speakers

So take the receiver out of the chain. Ideal would be:

CD -> integrated amp -> speakers

(My understanding is that setup requires an integrated amp, not a regular amp, correct?)


But having

CD -> integrated amp -> speakers

and

DVD -> receiver -> amp -> speakers

requires switching around the cables and such. So to have a system with no cable switching and no receiver taining the sound, for music we get to:


CD -> receiver in bypass mode -> integrated amp -> speakers.


Here, too, I think it requires an integrated amp over a regular amp. I think.

I'm not sure if any of this is correct. Even so, I'm not sure it will make any sense to you. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim
Yeah, you're trying to make it harder than is necessary. A separate power amp can be connected to a receiver's front pre-outs (provided it has them) and used to power the front speakers for BOTH music and movies. A player (or 2 players) can be connected to the receiver both digitally (for movies) and analog (for music).
OK, I didn't know that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim
If pure 2-channel playback from the front speakers is desired, you can buy a receiver that has a "direct", "pure", or "pure direct" mode. And depending upon how they're set up, these receivers CAN produce a subwoofer channel in these modes.
So maybe these "direct/pure" modes are the same as the "bypass" I was thinking of before?


How do you set themup such that the sub is playing?


And is the sound quality in such a setup pretty close to not having the receiver there at all?


Thanks!
 

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In your scenario, unless you have 2 pair of separate front speakers, you're going to have a problem connecting one pair of speakers to BOTH a receiver and an integrated amp. Perhaps there is some sort of switchbox available for that.


If you want sub output with 2 channel music from the integrated (and it seems you do based upon a previous post) how will you connect the sub in your scenario? And how will the sub be connected to the receiver for movie playback in this scenario?


See my previous post. Your best bet is going to be a receiver that allows some sort of "direct" setting. But an integrated amp, although it might work, is NOT what you'd want to use in that sort of setup.
 

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Jon, yes I think Sivadselim is making good suggestions here.


Does your CD player have a digital output? If you connect it both via digital out and analog out, you will be able to see if the receiver's DA stage is perhaps better than the CD player's (if the receiver has a true bypass mode). If there are only analog outs, then you must rely on and hope the CD player has good DACs. You can also compare this by playing the CDs in the DVD player, both via digital and audio out, and find, among 4 possible connection scenarios, how the music sounds best.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJon
So maybe these "direct/pure" modes are the same as the "bypass" I was thinking of before?


How do you set them up such that the sub is playing?


And is the sound quality in such a setup pretty close to not having the receiver there at all?
The "direct" mode bypasses the receiver's usual bass management and time alignment processing but it doesn't bypass the receiver's preamp stage.


How the sub output is derived in direct mode is different for different manufacturers' receivers, but it CAN be done whether the player is connected digitally or analog.


Yes, disregarding everything else, the cleanest setup for you for 2-channel music playback would be a direct analog connection from your player to the integrated amp, LITERALLY bypassing the receiver. But this will present several problems for you convenience-wise. Also, as AcuraCL alluded to, you may find that a new receiver has better DACs than your old CD player, in which case you might want to use your (new?) DVD player's digital connection and the receiver's DACs for processing CDs for playback anyway.


Explain what your exact intentions are again regarding DVD vs. CD playback.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuraCL
Does your CD player have a digital output? If you connect it both via digital out and analog out, you will be able to see if the receiver's DA stage is perhaps better than the CD player's (if the receiver has a true bypass mode). If there are only analog outs, then you must rely on and hope the CD player has good DACs. You can also compare this by playing the CDs in the DVD player, both via digital and audio out, and find, among 4 possible connection scenarios, how the music sounds best.
Yeah, it's not so clear what the capabilities of your current player(s) is(are). Will you have a separate, digitally-capable DVD player? If you have (or will purchase) a separate DVD player, would you then want to use it for CD playback too, or will you still use the separate CD player? Will your movie setup be multichannel or 2-channel?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim
The "direct" mode bypasses the receiver's usual bass management and time alignment processing but it doesn't bypass the receiver's preamp stage.


How the sub output is derived in direct mode is different for different manufacturers' receivers, but it CAN be done whether the player is connected digitally or analog.


Interesting! You have to know what the specific unit in question does, and not what someone elses unit does.


My receiver treats ANALOG direct as you described, plus it also ignores all speaker size settings (DSP is OFF). There is NO subwoofer output allowed because DSP/BM is OFF. I think that only the analog inputs work in this mode (no digital coax/optical). I am not talking about SACD inputs.


In Stereo mode, the speaker size selection is ignored, no subwoofer is used, but the EQ is in the circuit. Coax and optical inputs work in this mode (DSP is ON).


In the AUTO mode, the speaker size selections, BM, and the subwoofer is used as usual. All inputs work (analog and digital), and DSP is ON.


So, everything depends on your receiver's design!!!
 
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