Cheap preamp/amp on high end speakers?

WineOfTheVeins

WineOfTheVeins

Audioholic
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112 1
#1
Hello there. I'm curious if anyone has tried pairing a low-mid range preamp & amp or integrated amp on high end speakers? I am curious because I am flirting with the idea of returning my Anthem STR integrated amp, and putting out the difference on those Focal 1038BE's.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but a midrange amp setup paired to high end speakers will sound better than a high end amp paired to meh/midrange speakers [Polk RTi A9s]? If I say put a Monolith amp and "X?" preamp, would I get the pure, Angelic sound of these speakers still?
I have someone who will buy my Polks right now, plus $4600 to bring back the amp, and I end up only paying about $3k for the Focals. That way I have my dream speakers and I can save up for a good amp/pre. How much would I be looking at to drive these Focals effectively and not compromise sound? I don't want to starve them, minimum 200wpc PS.
I'm still within the return range, been thinking of nothing else lately. Please help. Thanks.

*Anthem room correction is astonishing and makes high end speakers sound better in any given room, but I think keeping that and getting $9k speakers is too greedy.
 
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WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
599
#2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but a midrange amp setup paired to high end speakers will sound better than a high end amp paired to meh/midrange speakers [Polk RTi A9s]?
I would whole-heartedly agree with that assessment. Differences – especially improvements – in speakers are infinitely easier to hear and appreciate than improvements in electronics. Could a higher-end amp make the Focals sound even better? Perhaps. But there’s only so much – and probably only a little – that high end electronics can do to improve an average speaker.

I’d say go for it. You can always upgrade the electronics later, if you really feel the need.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
R

Rad_ken

Audiophyte
#3
I would agree, get your speakers if you’ve listened to them and know they can give you what you want. Then when you upgrade electronics you’ll hear if there’s a good match and real improvement. I’ve had electronics long ago that I might have kept if I had heard them through better speakers.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
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4,612 7 1
#4
Given what you have now, what will make most difference is the quality of the recording and mastering. After that, it is the speakers and the room. Anthem ARC can do something good about the room but you don't need to spend so much on the STR to get it, a MRX520 or 720 can get you there, or even a $600 (when on sale),Denon AVR-X3300W. The STR, in terms of $/W is not good at all. Aside from their P series, Anthem doesn't seem to care much about using a larger size PS transformer and capacitors. I don't know why but I suspect it is to do with weight reduction as well as cost (material and shipping) obviously and ultimately.

I don't know about the Monolith amps but if the specs are believable, and if they are in fact designed and/or even built by ATI, or under their supervision, then I am sure they will sound as good as the STR, less the ARC.

I have in fact tried my very old Denon AVR-3805 on my 1028 Be and R900, compared with my 300W Bryston and Halo A21, I couldn't say for sure one sounded better than the other. The 1038 Be should have more bass response but it doesn't mean it needs more power because it has sensitivity of 93 dB/2.83V/m and impedance dip to 3.3 ohm. That is like having a sensitivity of 90 dB/W/m 6.6 ohm, pretty good in fact. So how much power you need really depends mainly on your room acoustics and sitting distance.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
6,631 15 6
#5
I agree with PENG.

If you are convinced that ARC is better than Audyssey XT32, you could just get the less expensive Anthem AVR + amp.

As for midrange AVR + High-end speakers, I have paired the older Denon AVR-3312 + speakers like B&W 802D2, KEF Reference 201/2, Phil3, and paired the newer Denon X3000 series with my RBH Reference SVT Towers. Sounds awesome.

Recording, Room, Placement, Speakers, and Subwoofers are more important than the electronics.

Of course, you don’t want cheap low quality electronics either.

You want high quality electronics, and the $1,000 Denon X3300 (on sale in the US for $599 new) is pretty good.

I bet the mid priced priced Anthem AVR is also good.
 
WineOfTheVeins

WineOfTheVeins

Audioholic
Ratings
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#6
Thanks for the helpful feedback. One thing I'm confused on though is:
If I did use a Denon AVR or MRX etc, what amp are you suggesting? I don't suppose you figure the cheap PS inside the AVRs has enough to drive these as loud as I want without harm and 10-14 feet away.
Too hook up the Denon for example to an amp, I'd have to use the preouts to run to the amp?
TBH I'm not very comfortable just having an AVR, I'd like it amplified for sure. I mean I have an old Denon 1713 that works like a charm, I'm not sure if I can amplify it? I notice the newer AVRs say they support 24/192 etc, does that mean my old 1713 wouldn't know how to handle it if I streamed my hi-res music through it?
The x3300 looks like it has all the functions I'd need, just seems a horrible waste to have UHD 4K video function when I don't need any, 7 channels when I only need 2, etc. I guess as long as it doesn't affect the sound
 
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WineOfTheVeins

WineOfTheVeins

Audioholic
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#7
Will this amp be able to hookup to a 300w amp? I guess the x3300w is discontinued. I'm not using it for surround, just 2 channel hi-fi. Would this still sound good on 2 Electras with an amp? Seems like such a waste having all that stuff that I'm not going to use, but if a 2 channel preamp is just as expensive, I guess why not?
Denon AVRX3400H
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,612 7 1
#8
Will this amp be able to hookup to a 300w amp? I guess the x3300w is discontinued, this looks like the replacement?
Denon AVRX3400H
That's a good one. I think this current year model has the same DAC as the X4400H and SR7012.

The AVR-1713 does not have the multichannel preout to drive a multichannel power amp.

You can use the X4400H to drive a pair of 1038be while taking your time to get a good deal on a 200 to 300 WPC power amp. Do keep the avr well ventilated though, or add an external fan for peace of mind.
 
WineOfTheVeins

WineOfTheVeins

Audioholic
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#9
Does the x3300w have DAC too? There's one on clearance in my town I could get for $625cdn. It looks pretty close to the 3400h
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

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#10
Does the x3300w have DAC too? There's one on clearance in my town I could get for $625cdn. It looks pretty close to the 3400h
Yes, unlike much dedicated 2ch stuff, avrs come with dacs.

ps little difference outside of Heos as to differences between 3300/3400
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
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#11
Does the x3300w have DAC too? There's one on clearance in my town I could get for $625cdn. It looks pretty close to the 3400h
They all do, the X3400H simply has a higher end one, that is the same 32 bit AKM4458VN that is used in the ex Marantz flagship SR7012 and the X4200W, X4300W, and X4400H.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

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#12
They all do, the X3400H simply has a higher end one, that is the same 32 bit AKM4458VN that is used in the ex Marantz flagship SR7012 and the X4200W, X4300W, and X4400H.
Not likely you would tell a difference in the DAC between the 3300 and 3400 OTOH. :)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
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#13
Not likely you would tell a difference in the DAC between the 3300 and 3400 OTOH. :)
We agreed on this long ago, but sometimes for the same price it is still good to know which one has better specs on paper. If the 3300 is still on sale for $599, then the DAC thing should be totally ignored.
 
WineOfTheVeins

WineOfTheVeins

Audioholic
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#15
Definitely grab the X3300 on clearance.
I did :) they were selling I for $799 CDN and I'm like "you guys can do better than that." $625 out the door. That solves that! Thanks guys, this is a sweet "preamp" in my case. More options than the STR and 1/8th the price, granted I still need an amp, but she plays for now. We had a birthday party at my place last night, I had the Polk's bumping pretty good for 105w lol. Beer pong and all that good stuff.

How do I play music from my laptop to the 3300? I'm able to Spotify and all that, but I have hi res music on my PC that I want to either stream via Bluetooth, or with a cable. What's the best way to do the without losing the quality?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
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#16
How do I play music from my laptop to the 3300? I'm able to Spotify and all that, but I have hi res music on my PC that I want to either stream via Bluetooth, or with a cable. What's the best way to do the without losing the quality?
Congrats! That's an incredible price for Canadians!! It does not have an Asynchronous USB input, (no AVR has as far as I know),so the best way to play files from you PC without losing resolution is to stream via Ethernet. Wifi will work but for high resolution files such as 24/192, I prefer hardwired, but try wifi first.

By the way, it may be a good idea to get a quiet usb fan to blow air from the back or from the top.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
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#17
By the way, it may be a good idea to get a quiet usb fan to blow air from the back or from the top.
In case you are floundering over what to get, this is a pretty nice kit for $20 US:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JLV4BWC/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1


I just put mine atop the warmest areas and leave on the low fan setting. The fans cannot be heard more than a couple feet away (in a quiet room) while the AVR temp stays down close to room temperature!
One of the best features is the silicone pads you can see in the picture. These prevent vibrating the AVR's cover.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
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#18
We agreed on this long ago, but sometimes for the same price it is still good to know which one has better specs on paper. If the 3300 is still on sale for $599, then the DAC thing should be totally ignored.
Hmm thought the agreement was to point that out when mentioning one chip's "superior" specs over another. More for the OP's benefit in any case.

@WineOfTheVeins what program do you use to organize/play music on your computer? If you need a recommendation you might try Foobar2000, I use this for playing my music files over wifi (or hardwired, but usually just wifi).
 
WineOfTheVeins

WineOfTheVeins

Audioholic
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#19
Hmm thought the agreement was to point that out when mentioning one chip's "superior" specs over another. More for the OP's benefit in any case.

@WineOfTheVeins what program do you use to organize/play music on your computer? If you need a recommendation you might try Foobar2000, I use this for playing my music files over wifi (or hardwired, but usually just wifi).
Thanks all, it was a great deal indeed, I always hunt them out :)

I'm not sure actually, I'm messing around with that right now. A program called Plex came up, is that what I need? I'll try the Foobar one.
I'm having some issues getting the laptop to sync up with the Denon. On Flex and Foobar when I hit play it just goes through the laptop speakers. What am I missing? The only way I can make it work is right click and "cast to device Denon" but it's using some crap integrated windows app.

As for hardwired, does the receiver need to be hardwired, or the laptop, or both? I have a very good internet service bit I guess we will see. Does Foobar play the 24/192 files that I have without getting chopped up? Thx.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,184 16 37
#20
Thanks all, it was a great deal indeed, I always hunt them out :)

I'm not sure actually, I'm messing around with that right now. A program called Plex came up, is that what I need? I'll try the Foobar one.
I'm having some issues getting the laptop to sync up with the Denon. On Flex and Foobar when I hit play it just goes through the laptop speakers. What am I missing? The only way I can make it work is right click and "cast to device Denon" but it's using some crap integrated windows app.

As for hardwired, does the receiver need to be hardwired, or the laptop, or both? I have a very good internet service bit I guess we will see. Does Foobar play the 24/192 files that I have without getting chopped up? Thx.
Haven't used Plex or Jriver or others, just iTunes before this (and never again). I've got FLACs made from my cds for the most part, don't do the hi-res stuff except when using a bluray but I don't use Foobar2000 for that.

As to casting via Foobar2000, from the top toolbar use Library > Configure > Playback > Output and find your Denon in the Device drop down menu (think you'll need to have it in the Network mode but its been a while since I setup....don't remember if there's a particular component to install for this functionality either). Some good help here http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Foobar2000:Foobar2000
 

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