AVR vs Integrated (mixed use, 2.1, 100wpc+)

lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
No problem....can't find a helpful article D&M had at one point explaining it.....maybe Sound United didn't maintain it.

Not familiar with the Triangle speakers particularly, but that name's been popping up a bit lately, and looking at that model's spec at 92dB sensitivity do have a bit of an advantage in that regard over the Sierras' 86. I do enjoy my Sierra-1 NrTs though, very nice speakers....
 
killdozzer

killdozzer

Audioholic Samurai
CHD, something caught my eye. Can I ask you how exactly is your system hooked up? What do you have plugged in what and what is your usual way of using the system? What is your source (CD, records, streaming) and through what the signal goes in your chain before it hits the speakers?
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I know this topic gets thrown around a lot, but I recently bought a pair of Ascend Acoustic Sierra 1s I love and a Hsu VTF2 MK5 subwoofer. Right now, I'm using a Denon AVR-X2600H to power them.

I hear a lot of chatter that I'm not getting the most out of my speakers using the AVR on a 2.1 system. The drawback is my room is not treated, and I like having the bass management.

It seems difficult to find an integrated with 100wpc+, ability to stream things like Tidal, that also has ability to at least EQ the low bass, and have the ability to connect to digital sources like a PS4/5. I do like the idea of a better built power source, and I will never go past 2.1 or 2.2, so the 9/11 channels are a bit of a waste on me. Most of what I do is music and TV.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
Yes it would be hard to find an integrated amp that can all that but the Yamaha WX-C50 plus a Monolith 200WX2 or two Outlaw M2220 may come close to meet your requirements except there is no video and bass management/REQ so that may be a show stopper.

Otherwise, see if you can still get a AVR-X3500H for really cheap and still add the amps mentioned above. Regardless you will have to sell the 2600, unfortunately. The AVR-X3600H, RX-A2080 would have been great but you only need 2.1.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Somebody needs to make AVR’s look like this:

Then AVR‘s would become “Separates“ and cool. :cool:

So I think it’s mainly about aesthetics. Some people “look down” on AVRs because they look like AVR’s. :D
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
Yes it would be hard to find an integrated amp that can all that but the Yamaha WX-C50 plus a Monolith 200WX2 or two Outlaw M2220 may come close to meet your requirements except there is no video and bass management/REQ so that may be a show stopper.

Otherwise, see if you can still get a AVR-X3500H for really cheap and still add the amps mentioned above. Regardless you will have to sell the 2600, unfortunately. The AVR-X3600H, RX-A2080 would have been great but you only need 2.1.
Thanks. Hindsight is 2020. What I have now is satisfactory, but I do think it was a misstep. I also came across Outlaw Audios 2160 Mkii. 110wpc, DAC (with generous inputs), and also includes pre outs/ main ins. I would imagine, theoretically, I could utilize a mini DSP unit at the pre out area and use Dirac. Other option might be all separates: Topping DAC, budget wireless streamer, find a decent used preamp, and the mentioned Outlaw or Monolith power amps. In this case, I would imagine miniDSP could be added between preamp and amp. I just don't know how well a bunch of separates play together.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
Somebody needs to make AVR’s look like this:

Then AVR‘s would become “Separates“ and cool. :cool:

So I think it’s mainly about aesthetics. Some people “look down” on AVRs because they look like AVR’s. :D
I'm just thinking I may have rushed the purchase and maybe should've been more focused on my needs (2.1 only). The price and things like built in streaming and room correction were really attractive.
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks. Hindsight is 2020. What I have now is satisfactory, but I do think it was a misstep. I also came across Outlaw Audios 2160 Mkii. 110wpc, DAC (with generous inputs), and also includes pre outs/ main ins. I would imagine, theoretically, I could utilize a mini DSP unit at the pre out area and use Dirac. Other option might be all separates: Topping DAC, budget wireless streamer, find a decent used preamp, and the mentioned Outlaw or Monolith power amps. In this case, I would imagine miniDSP could be added between preamp and amp. I just don't know how well a bunch of separates play together.
You are on the right track, that would be the real separate route. People like to talk about integrated and referred them as separates when that is so not true especially the newer ones that come with build in ADC/DAC, AVR style volume control ICs, full bass management etc. You can easily put those separate components together to work nicely if you pay attention to specs and measurements.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
You are on the right track, that would be the real separate route. People likes to talk about integrated and referred them as separate when that is so not true especially the newer ones that come with ADC/DAC, AVR style volume control ICs, full bass management etc. You can easily put those separate components together to work nicely if you pay attention to specs and measurements.
That compatibility is my biggest unknown. What kind of measurements do I need to be concerned with? The only one I'm aware of is pre out output and then input sensitivity (if amp needs 1.2V input for function, I need at least that output from component before).
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
That compatibility is my biggest unknown. What kind of measurements do I need to be concerned with? The only one I'm aware of is pre out output and then input sensitivity (if amp needs 1.2V input for function, I need at least that output from component before).
You would have to look at the following specs carefully, bench test measurements would help too.

For compatibility:

Preamp - Maximum input and rated output voltage (higher is better in general, say >3-4 V for input, 2.5 to 4 V output), output impedance (the lower the better)
Power amp - input impedance (higher better, at least 10 k-Ohm)

You want to be sure that the preamp has high enough output voltage to drive even high output (say minimum 300/500 W 8/4 Ohm) power amps to their rated output at minimum THD+N.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
You would have to look at the following specs carefully, bench test measurements would help too.

For compatibility:

Preamp - Maximum input and rated output voltage (higher is better in general, say >3-4 V for input, 2.5 to 4 V output), output impedance (the lower the better)
Power amp - input impedance (higher better, at least 10 k-Ohm)

You want to be sure that the preamp has high enough output voltage to drive even high output (say minimum 300/500 W 8/4 Ohm) power amps to their rated output at minimum THD+N.
If I throw mini DSP between the pre and power, does sensitivity factor in, or does that unit only act as a pass through? I'll need to dig out some specs of these things.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
You would have to look at the following specs carefully, bench test measurements would help too.

For compatibility:

Preamp - Maximum input and rated output voltage (higher is better in general, say >3-4 V for input, 2.5 to 4 V output), output impedance (the lower the better)
Power amp - input impedance (higher better, at least 10 k-Ohm)

You want to be sure that the preamp has high enough output voltage to drive even high output (say minimum 300/500 W 8/4 Ohm) power amps to their rated output at minimum THD+N.
For Outlaw RCA input, specs say less than 10kOhm impedance. I found a used Parasound zPre3 online, I'm showing 3.5V max output and input sensitivity of 250mV = 1V output.

Thanks for all this info. I know I'm asking a lot of questions here, but I feel like I'm getting a crash course in components.
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
For Outlaw RCA input, specs say less than 10kOhm impedance. I found a used Parasound zPre3 online, I'm showing 3.5V max output and input sensitivity of 250mV = 1V output.

Thanks for all this info. I know I'm asking a lot of questions here, but I feel like I'm getting a crash course in components.
I don't think Outlaw is very serious about their published specs as some of them seemed confusing and contradictory. I had to email for for clarifications before and got different answers from two different email correspondence. If you end up going with their products, I would suggest you insist on getting a response directly from their engineering/design team.

For preamp, if I need one now I would go cheap and get one of Topping's such as the $150 L30, or the higher end Pre90

Topping L30 Headphone Amplifier Review | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Topping Pre90 Review (preamplifier) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

One thing good about going with integrated is that you don't (or at least shouldn't) have to worry about compatibility, but to me that should not be a deterrence to wanting to go full separate.

You will have tough time finding a preamp that spec'ed and measured as good, for even 10 to 20X the price.
Parasound's $4,000 JC2 didn't measure that well, let alone the Z series would be much worse.

1609614536920.png
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
I don't think Outlaw is very serious about their published specs as some of them seemed confusing and contradictory. I had to email for for clarifications before and got different answers from two different email correspondence. If you end up going with their products, I would suggest you insist on getting a response directly from their engineering/design team.

For preamp, if I need one now I would go cheap and get one of Topping's such as the $150 L30, or the higher end Pre90

Topping L30 Headphone Amplifier Review | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Topping Pre90 Review (preamplifier) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

One thing good about going with integrated is that you don't (or at least shouldn't) have to worry about compatibility, but to me that should not be a deterrence to wanting to go full separate.

You will have tough time finding a preamp that spec'ed and measured as good, for even 10 to 20X the price.
Parasound's $4,000 JC2 didn't measure that well, let alone the Z series would be much worse.

View attachment 43273
My issue with the Topping is lack of inputs. I would want to connect a DAC as well as a dedicated phono preamp. There is no sub out, but I suppose I could high level from the amp to the sub, though not as ideal. Strange about Outlaw since in general they seem well regarded, but concerning not getting specs pinned down accurately.
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
My issue with the Topping is lack of inputs. I would want to connect a DAC as well as a dedicated phono preamp. There is no sub out, but I suppose I could high level from the amp to the sub, though not as ideal. Strange about Outlaw since in general they seem well regarded, but concerning not getting specs pinned down accurately.
True, they are wise to sell the extender with the pre90:
Pre90 preamplifier & Ext90 input extender-TOPPING (topping-audio.com)

That will get you a total of 2 RCA and 4 XLR inputs., enough for DACs and phono preamp. There will be a lot of pieces but that's more separate than mainstay preamp/power amp combos. The ext is stackable so that's isn't bad, and the DAC really doesn't count because most integrated amps don't have DACs built in until recent years.

I don't believe SINAD of higher than 100 dB is necessary for me, but it is nice to know with the separate components like Topping's, one can get to the accuracy limits of the highly regarded Audio Precision test instrument that Audioholics, Stereophile and Audiosciencereview are using, for under $1K. Manufacturerers such as Benchmark and others (even Denon/Marantz) also used the AP for their own bench tests.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
True, they are wise to sell the extender with the pre90:
Pre90 preamplifier & Ext90 input extender-TOPPING (topping-audio.com)

That will get you a total of 2 RCA and 4 XLR inputs., enough for DACs and phono preamp. There will be a lot of pieces but that's more separate than mainstay preamp/power amp combos. The ext is stackable so that's isn't bad, and the DAC really doesn't count because most integrated amps don't have DACs built in until recent years.

I don't believe SINAD of higher than 100 dB is necessary for me, but it is nice to know with the separate components like Topping's, one can get to the accuracy limits of the highly regarded Audio Precision test instrument that Audioholics, Stereophile and Audiosciencereview are using, for under $1K. Manufacturerers such as Benchmark and others (even Denon/Marantz) also used the AP for their own bench tests.
I saw the extender, but an extra 600 is steep for 1 extra rca input. I could use an rca switcher, but I don't know what kind of extra noise that introduces into the chain. I will also be losing ability to keep the full signal away from my mains without some sort of bass management. Tricky to find the right combination, but feel like I'm getting closer to what I want to shoot for.

Edit: I am realizing I could use RCA to XLR cables from one of those sources.

Edit 2: I had wrong option selected on Apos website. 600 for the pre, but to add extender
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I saw the extender, but an extra 600 is steep for 1 extra rca input. I could use an rca switcher, but I don't know what kind of extra noise that introduces into the chain. I will also be losing ability to keep the full signal away from my mains without some sort of bass management. Tricky to find the right combination, but feel like I'm getting closer to what I want to shoot for.

Edit: I am realizing I could use RCA to XLR cables from one of those sources.

Edit 2: I had wrong option selected on Apos website. 600 for the pre, but to add extender
Time to switch to balanced!!:) It won't give you better sound quality, but neither would the 120 dB SINAD, but you will feel good about the ease of making good connections, and the flexibility to use longer runs.

Amazon prices:
Amazon.com: Topping Pre90 Preamplifier & Ext90 Input Extender Hi-Res Audio NFCA Modules 2RCA 4XLR Combination (Silver, Pre90): Home Audio & Theater
$249.99 for the extender
$599.99 for the Preamp

With the balanced outputs, you can pair it with the Bench mark AHB2 and you would have a pair of separate amps that offer the best possible specs in THD+N, IMD, SNR, etc.. that money can buy, all for under $4,000.;)

It has one of the best looking IMD (the more offensive form of distortions) graphs on ASR, tie for SOTA, with the AHB2:

Topping Pre90 Review (preamplifier) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

1609679710083.png
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
An avr is an integrated amp....and most avrs have better bass management than most simple 2ch integrated amps. Back in the day we considered an integrated amp a compromise over separates....just a receiver minus tuner. Tidal is its own bullshit, tho.
But it was a gateway toward separates- they tended to be quite a bit better than a typical receiver, although exceptions definitely existed. I have had integrated amps that sounded far better than the receivers of the time and I don't remember seeing any receivers that matched the specs. However, this was 30-40 years ago and integrated amps basically died on the vine because they couldn't do what was needed for a surround system.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
Time to switch to balanced!!:) It won't give you better sound quality, but neither would the 120 dB SINAD, but you will feel good about the ease of making good connections, and the flexibility to use longer runs.

Amazon prices:
Amazon.com: Topping Pre90 Preamplifier & Ext90 Input Extender Hi-Res Audio NFCA Modules 2RCA 4XLR Combination (Silver, Pre90): Home Audio & Theater
$249.99 for the extender
$599.99 for the Preamp

With the balanced outputs, you can pair it with the Bench mark AHB2 and you would have a pair of separate amps that offer the best possible specs in THD+N, IMD, SNR, etc.. that money can buy, all for under $4,000.;)

It has one of the best looking IMD (the more offensive form of distortions) graphs on ASR, tie for SOTA, with the AHB2:

Topping Pre90 Review (preamplifier) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum

View attachment 43305
Always trying to get me to raise my budget, PENG! Lol.

I'm considering the Outlaw 2160Mkii for its power, good phono stage, pre outs, and basic bass management. Separates I could afford would look like:

Topping E30 DAC, zPre3 preamp, Dayton streamer, Outlaw or Monolith power amp. That would not allow for bass management until I upgraded preamp or utilized a miniDSP.
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Always trying to get me to raise my budget, PENG! Lol.

I'm considering the Outlaw 2160Mkii for its power, good phono stage, pre outs, and basic bass management. Separates I could afford would look like:

Topping E30 DAC, zPre3 preamp, Dayton streamer, Outlaw or Monolith power amp. That would not allow for bass management until I upgraded preamp or utilized a miniDSP.
Sorry, I learnt to bite the bullet and do it right the first time even if it means a waiting period for the budget to rise. If your concern is just bass management you can just get a sub that offers that. For Dirac Live you obviously would need something like the minidsp's solution.
 
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CoolHandDuke

Junior Audioholic
Sorry, I learnt to bit the bullet and do it right the first time even if it means a waiting period for the budget to rise. If your concern is just bass management you can just get a sub that offers that. For Dirac Live you obvious would need something like the minidsp's solution.
Certainly a good point. I learn more as I go and realize limitations the more I learn.
 

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