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Bamsefar
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Can one use a hometheater receiver as preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

Okay, let's start of with a simple question:

Let's say your in the market for a new amplifier, and you're thinking of either a normal stereo amplifier solution vs a hometheater receiver as preamplifier combined with poweramplifiers for the front channels. What would You choose, and why ?

warnerwh
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Re: Can one use a hometheater receiver as preamplifier for 2-cha

It sounds as though home theater is required in your setup. You can get receivers with pre outs to run a better power amp for your mains. This is the only situation where I'd run a receiver for a preamp. Another alternative if budget can do it is buy a good preamp with a home theater pass through for listening to music. This way you can use the stereo for music and run the receiver only for movies. How much power do you need for your mains is one issue. Many receivers power ratings are misleading. Also if you like to crank it much your speakers must be pretty sensitive with a receiver. More info would help.

Bamsefar
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Re: Can one use a hometheater receiver as preamplifier for 2-cha

It's not a question what I need to do, it's a general question. No more info is needed.

Reed
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Re: Can one use a hometheater receiver as preamplifier for 2-cha

Actually, this is a very common dilemma. There is another option that is more more of a "best of both worlds" situation. There are manufactures that have incorporated a bybass (straight wire) connection into their audiophile quality preamp that bypasses all circuitry, plus adding no gain.

The system would then consist of a home theater processor, a two channel preamp and a multichannel amplifier. The front left and right channel output of the home theater processor are connected to the bypass input of the two channel preamp. The two channel preamp left and right are connected to the front and left input of the multichannel preamp.

This is desiracble as the two channel preamp is directly connected to the amplifier for two channel listening. When you want to listen to your home theater system, you simply select the bypass input on the two channel preamp.

The problem is very few manufacturers of audiophile preamps are incorporating this bypass scheme into their designs. It really is a shame, because it much easier to find an amplifier that handles home theater and two channel applications really well than it is to find a home theater processor that performs audiophile quality two channel. It is an opportunity missed, and it is in many cases forcing people to choose between the two.

Homer Simpson
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Re: Can one use a hometheater receiver as preamplifier for 2-cha

Hi.

I think you can live with best of both worlds: int. amp. w/main in connection, and a separated HC receiver for the rest.

Uptown1
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a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

You have answered your own question and added the Red Herring of home theater receiver. Why would anyone need anything more than a stereo amplifier for a two channel system?
As for my opinion, it is true that few stereo preamps/integrated amplifiers have digital inputs although a few do, so other than that a HT type product would be typically noisier and less reliable due to the number of parts needed to implement it. There are a few very good multi-channel preamp/processors available but they are a lot more expensive than a stereo preamp of equal or better quality. It would not make very good sense for me to recommend a multi-channel product for someone interested in stereo reproduction.
-Bill

jschaffe
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

> few stereo preamps/integrated amplifiers have digital inputs

I just posted a question about this on a separate thread, but you've suggested that there IS an answer: can you name any?

J

dons
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

TacT preamplifiers/room correction units have digital inputs as well as analog (analog is optional). Not sure if they currently offer just a two channel only. They do offer a stereo unit (RCS 2.2X) that also has 0,1,or 2 (user's choice) subwoofer outputs as well. The 2.2X preamp also serves as the crossover between the mains and sub(s). Outputs are digital (standard) or analog (optional).

TacT amplifiers are actually integrated and will accept digital as well as analog inputs. Analog is an option that requires an extra internal ADC card.

TacT also offers an HT preamp.

Hope that helps.


Quote:
> few stereo preamps/integrated amplifiers have digital inputs

I just posted a question about this on a separate thread, but you've suggested that there IS an answer: can you name any?

J

Uptown1
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stereo preamps & integrated amps with digital inputs

I use a Bryston BP25DA which has two digital inputs. It is a line level preamplifier and the DA stands for D/A option. Bryston also has just come out with their B100 integrated amplifier which also has an option to add their DAC. The Music Hall Mambo integrated amplifier also has a couple of digital inputs.
-Bill

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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

The way I'd do it, and I think this would work, is to get a good preamp and power amp, then get a surround processor and put it on a tape loop on the preamp. The amp(s) for the surround channels would be connected to the surround processor.

With tape loop out you'd have normal stereo.
With tape loop in you'd have the front channels coming back thru the tape loop and out to the main power amp for front sound and the rest would come out of the surround processor.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???


Quote:
The way I'd do it, and I think this would work, is to get a good preamp and power amp, then get a surround processor and put it on a tape loop on the preamp. The amp(s) for the surround channels would be connected to the surround processor.

With tape loop out you'd have normal stereo.
With tape loop in you'd have the front channels coming back thru the tape loop and out to the main power amp for front sound and the rest would come out of the surround processor.

Many recent preamps have a purpose-designed input for this which maintains unity-gain for home theater bypass.

Kal

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Re: Can one use a hometheater receiver as preamplifier for 2-cha

Depending on your budget I'd go with an Outlaw 990 pre/pro and a two channel power amp for the front, then add amps for rear and center.

timfinle
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

Currently, I have a Denon avr4806. I was thinking of getting a butler audio tbd 5150 hybrid amp and using the pre-outs to get 5 channel hybrid sound from the butler audio. Is my understanding of what I am reading, that with pre-out I can only use it for 2 channel music?

Kal Rubinson
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???


Quote:
Currently, I have a Denon avr4806. I was thinking of getting a butler audio tbd 5150 hybrid amp and using the pre-outs to get 5 channel hybrid sound from the butler audio. Is my understanding of what I am reading, that with pre-out I can only use it for 2 channel music?


No. You can use all the channels as you see fit. I did that with the 4806 and the Bryston 9B amp.

Kal

timfinle
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

Quote: No. You can use all the channels as you see fit. I did that with the 4806 and the Bryston 9B amp.

Kal, Did it dramatically improve the sound quality?

Bryston was my second choice.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???


Quote:

Quote: No. You can use all the channels as you see fit. I did that with the 4806 and the Bryston 9B amp.

Kal, Did it dramatically improve the sound quality?


Yup. Read all about it in MITR.

Kal

timfinle
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

I would love to, just one thing, where is the article?

timfinle
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

Okay, found your articles. Very well written and great subjects. Hats off to you, I have read 4 will read the rest as times allows.

Did I miss something or is the bryston information still coming?

Yiangos
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

Hi Timf

I have a Denon avr but i am using it through a pre-setup.
My pre has a pass-through mode.I am not going to stick to this since from what i understand that is not your actual question.As long as your Denon 4806 has pre-outs (it has) you can use an external power amp.If you have a stereo(2 channel) amp,you can use your Denon to drive your front main channels through that power amp and the center and surround channels through the built-in power amps (Denons).
If you have a 3 channel or 5 channel power amp you can drive the corresponding loudspeakers through that amp and use your Denon as a pre. Does this answer your question ? If not,give me more details regarding your power amp,as i am not familiar with that brand (ie how many channels) let me know what exaclty you did not understand and i will try to explain.Also,if you are using a pre-amplifier,let me know the brand/model.Who knows,perhaps there is another way to connect your system and if your pre has a particular function,the end result will be much better.
Cheers

Kal Rubinson
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???


Quote:
I would love to, just one thing, where is the article?

In a recent MITR column on this website. I do not recall the month.

Kal

timfinle
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

You and Kal exlplained how to use an external amp very well. My remaining question is, is the purchase of an external power amp going to yeld a significant increase in sonic performance over the avr4806s power supply? If so, at what price point would I need to get a significant sonic improvement?

to answer your question, the butler tbd 5150 is a 5 channel hybrid amp with a solid state front end and tube on the output stage. It has a rated 150 watts per channel but was tested at 219 into 8 ohms continuious and 347 watts continuious into 4 ohms. This should be enough for the aerial acoustics lr3's and cc3b center channel.

Bryston 9sst is a great amp but I am worried about the output of 120 watts rms. I am not sure I want to go down in wattage. My other option is to get the bryston 6sst at 300 watts rms into 8 ohms for three channels and use the denon for the surrounds. This is where my uncertainity lies.

Yiangos
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???

Timf,you are aware of course that this is my advise and only.I am no reviewer.Although i own a denon avr (avr-5805) i never bothered to check(test) it's internal amplifier for the simple reason i allready own a good 2-channel power amplifier.Besides,i started the other way round.from 2 channel went to multi-channel home theater.The way i have my system configured,is with a "unity gain" equiped pre-amplifier.In plain English.I have my pre connected to the power amp (the normal way) and in a special imput on the pre i have the Denon avr.Whenerver i want to watch a movie or listen to dvd-audio or sacd,simply,i press a button on the pre,and the signal from the Denon passes through the pre,through the power amp (for only the 2 front channels) and all the other speakers get their power from the Denon. The pre is in "pass through" mode,ie,it acts as a straight wire.You cannot adjust anything,not even the volume.
You can either go this way,or just add a 2 or 5 channel amp to your denon avr.Just do not expect any miracles.You can't just add a power amp and expect your denon avr to get evevated in performance.If you get a much better power amp,the Denon will still be your system's weakest link. You will probably change the sound but it will be a sideways step,not an actual improvement.In a few words,you will probably change the "color" of the sound but there is no way you'll make your denon sounding better.
I tell you what,why don't you try something else? Your Denon is a 7.1 and you are using only 5 speakers plus sub i suppose.Did you know you could use the 2 extra channels to bi-amp your main speakers? that will double the power !if your 4806 makes 140 watts per channel,it will put out 280 watts in the 2 front speakers.I am telling you this because as far as i understand,you are worried your speakers might be power hungry and your Denon might not be able to drive them.Do try this option and it will only cost you abother pair of speaker cables and we can go on from there.
Cheers

Kal Rubinson
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Re: a preamplifier for 2-channel music reproduction ???


Quote:
You and Kal exlplained how to use an external amp very well. My remaining question is, is the purchase of an external power amp going to yeld a significant increase in sonic performance over the avr4806s power supply? If so, at what price point would I need to get a significant sonic improvement?

to answer your question, the butler tbd 5150 is a 5 channel hybrid amp with a solid state front end and tube on the output stage. It has a rated 150 watts per channel but was tested at 219 into 8 ohms continuious and 347 watts continuious into 4 ohms. This should be enough for the aerial acoustics lr3's and cc3b center channel.

Bryston 9sst is a great amp but I am worried about the output of 120 watts rms. I am not sure I want to go down in wattage. My other option is to get the bryston 6sst at 300 watts rms into 8 ohms for three channels and use the denon for the surrounds. This is where my uncertainity lies.


I do not know anything about the Butler (several inquiries to them have failed to elicite a response) but the 9B is, in the real world, much more powerful than are the amps in the 4806. First, the wattage rating of the 9B is very conservative and most, including mine, have much higher outputs as indicated on the test sheet that accompanies the amp. Second, the multiple power supplies and multiple, large heatsinking of the 9B allow it to handle transients, continuous high output and complex loads much better. Numbers are not the only story although I do not doubt that, under the constrained conditions of the measurements, both Denon and Bryston are honest.

Besides, power is not a problem here unless you have conditions which go well beyond mine. The sound quality is the issue and, for this, you just have to listen for yourself. To me, it is self-evident.

Kal

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