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maxxjr
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Joined: Sep 20 2012 - 7:50am
Emotiva UPA-200? -- Looking for small amp/pre-amp for stereo or 2.1 system

I am looking to replace an older receiver that I use only for stereo playback.  It is rated at 100W into 8-Ohm speakers, and I would like to stay with a similar spec.  The speakers have 15" woofers, and can handle most of the low-freq stuff.  I may replace these later with a 2.1 setup, but for now, I am just focusing on the power section.

I would like to get better audio and smaller, if possible.  I would like support for 2 to 3 playback sources, preferably with at least one digital/optical input, and at least one rca/analog.

The optical source would be a TV/Blu-ray input...no big home theater setup in this room, but would like nicer sound vs the TV speakers.  I would like the ability to mix the sub channel into the L-R channels, if I do not have a sub attached.

The analog connection would be a Bluetooth link to whatever other audio device...laptop, mp3 player, etc.  The ability to low-pass the stereo input into the sub channel if I should one day go to a 2.1 setup would be another nice-to-have.

Particularly, given the size goal, are discrete pre-amp + stereo or 2x mono amps an option?  If so, recommendations?  If it is better to focus on integrated solutions, are there recommendations there?

Budget is ideally less than $500, but I can go above that for the "right solution".

Thanks! 

Dobbler
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Joined: Dec 9 2012 - 6:32pm
Couple things...

With that budget you can't be too picky, but there are options.  At that budget level, forget monos and focus on high quality integrated or pre-amp/ power amp.

 

You would likely be best served using the analog output of the blu-ray player.  It is really just a matter of who does the D/A conversion- the player or the receiver.  In this particular case I would go with the player.  You would just get full range stereo sound output from that which is exactly what you need the amplifier to do.

 

You really don't need a subwoofer output either (although having it does open up options).  Most good audiophile-esque subwoofers are going to have speaker level inputs and a crossover.  This is a good thing in a 2.1 set-up.  I think a lot of people would like the sub-out though.

So, best options as I see it:

NAD C 326BEE is a great option and will do everything you ask but without a digiital in (see above- no need).  Need more power, work up the line.  I think you will find NAD to have plenty of power, even when you go below 100w.

Emotiva USP-1 pre-amp and then whatever amp you want to pair with it. Has the sub out, but still no digital in.

Gonna be above budget with either of those.  There are other integrateds around your price point (the Music Hall comes to mind).

jackfish
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I would think the digital input requirement definitely blows

your meager budget. Perhaps think about a good integrated amplifier and a decent DAC.

The Emotiva USP-1 preamp and UPA-200 power amp for $670 would provide a lot of flexibility. You would still need a DAC for your digital input though. Perhaps a Technolink TC-7510 for $110?

Dobbler
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Joined: Dec 9 2012 - 6:32pm
It struck me....

I was reading the specs on a DAC I am considering.  It mentioned that it cannot handle AC3 (Dolby Digital) and it struck me that any high end DAC or a stereo amp with a DAC will not be able to handle it.  Therefore, you almost HAVE to use the analog output of your Blu-Ray player if you are going to be watching movies; which is consistent with what I was saying before. 

 

So, I qualified it with "almost".  There might be a setting on the blu-ray player that limits digital output to stereo only, but I don't know.

 

My thoughts are: if you want something with a digital input that can handle movies get a good surround receiver (Marantz will have good sound for your price).  Or, get a good integrated and use the analog output of the Blu-Ray.

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