Do I have to worry about impedance when connecting preamp to amp in a non-standard way

highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I like your advice, especially since it seems I am already prepared to do just as you suggest.. Except I don’t think I need to buy anything as I already have quite a nice “switcher” in my Musical Fidelity A3cr Preamp. It’s only apparent downside is it’s size. It is built like a tank and weighs almost 30 pounds and I will indeed have to struggle a little to accommodate it. And based on comments in this thread my concerns about impedance compatibility seem unfounded. I just need to give it a good listening test to be sure.
View attachment 43610
30 pounds, Pffft! I had an FM tuner that weighed 34 pounds and it didn't do anything else. And it was really big.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
I wish you could hear the difference in audio quality for yourself. I often find it difficult to tell the difference in a/b testing of cables, for example, but in this case it was simple and instantly obvious. The Arcam sounds dull and muddy in comparison to the Pioneer. Dialog is much easier to understand. I What’s more, I’m not alone in finding that a good stereo receiver sounds better than an AVR. Many reviewers will mention this.
I had an opportunity just this month to ask the opinion of a PhD engineer who works independently in audio and I asked him if I made the right decision to refurbish my SX-1050 and he responded in the affirmative. He also lamented the fact that he hadn’t kept his Marantz of a similar era! Others have told me that that the capacitors and other parts used at that time were more musical than is typical of those of today and if the parts in my Pioneer are still in spec to keep them rather than replace them. Still others comment that products of that era were made to last so that refurbished and with proper care my Pioneer can last another 50 years. Which means it will outlive me considerably but I will enjoy it as long as I’m on the planet.

Besides that what does an AVR offer me that I’m interested in? Very little. I very much appreciate its many HDMI ports, though I lament the loss of component and/or S-Video ports For my laser disc player and my VHS/DVD player. I love the ability to control source selection and volume with a remote. I can think of nothing else that I use. my Arcam is a two-channel AVR which I chose deliberately because I have no need of the extra amplifiers which surely add considerably to the cost. I don’t need room correction. The money devoted to engineering and manufacturing those features which are on almost all AVRs are wasted on me. Then there’s all the audio processing which I deliberately bypass so I can use analog circuitry as much as possible. I would be happy with a *quality* product that was basically an AV switch with remote control that was cheap enough that it could be easily upgraded or replaced as new TV technology comes along that would obsolete it.
"Musical capacitors" :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:o_Oo_Oo_O

I listen to my music, not my capacitors.

You have drank the audiophile Koolaid
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
My AVR is an Arcam SR-250, an unusual two-channel AVR. I’m a two channel ”audiophile” dinosaur with zero interest in a multi channel system so the Arcam suits me very well. The Arcam has an MSRP of ~$3500 so it’s no dog. In fact I chose it because it was heavily advertised for its superior audio. I did not think that was true AT ALL so I hauled my SX-1050 out of the closet where it had been for over 30 years and it was transformative. All of a sudden I could understand dialogues a lot better. Musically there was no comparison, the 1050 was far more musical. I had it refurbished at that point. It’s even better now. The 1050 is exceptionally musical. I’m an opera lover and listen to a lot of musical programming. The Arcam sounds “muddy” and dull in comparison.

THANK YOU much for the impedance info. That is very helpful.
You are welcome, I always learnt something when trying to help. I probably was a two channel audiophile dinosaur too, and unfortunately before I finally evolved (I think...), I had already accumulated at least 7 power amps (including one mono, one multi-channel and only managed to sell one and lost another one:(), 1 integrated amp and 3 real preamps.:D

Is your PhD engineer friend an EE? If he is, I would like to know why he could give you such an affirmative answer, like on what basis, objective data or subjective experience? No big deal, just curious so feel free to ignore my question... I know at least one PhD engineer, Dr. Toole, would not have given such advice without caveats, because I have read the two chapters of his book that cover the issues with subjective evaluations.

Based on specs and measurements, if you use analog inputs and direct mode without any dsp/REQ (you likely did exactly that as you are honest about being an audiophile dinosaur:)), I see no reasons for the SR250 to sound muddy and dull in comparison, so I have to suspect something else might be going on. If you are keeping it, you probably should do some troubleshooting. If there is nothing wrong, yet you still hear such obvious difference between the two, then I have to wonder if someone else could hear such obvious difference, obvious to the point your are sure a sighted test is good enough. If they could too, then I would be curious to know if they would also find the Arcam dull sounding, compared to the Pioneer.

By the way, I have no doubt, based on specs and info from the service manual, your Pioneer is an excellent two channel receiver, that is worth restoring if necessary when it gets even older. The thing about evaluating on objective basis is that I don't have to "listen" to that Pioneer, I know it will "sound" transparent to me in any of my two channel systems. And about your friend's mentioning of vintage Marantz, I do have a pair of those (vintage 1979) and I intend to keep them forever. The photo was taken a couple years ago when sitting in an authorized shop waiting to be recap and restored. Nothing was wrong with them except the volume control did need a good clean up. I wanted it done out of abundance of caution and could have done it myself if I had time.

1610630986524.png



The problem with subjective, is that it is just literally a subjective thing, for example, the Sterophile reviewer (Kal Rubinson)said:

Arcam FMJ SR250 stereo A/V receiver A Fly in the Ointment? | Stereophile.com

Before invoking Dirac Live room correction, I used the system for about two weeks, partly to dilute my internal reference—the system's multichannel, room-equalized sound—and partly just to enjoy it. The FMJ SR250 worked well in this system. The Monitor Silver 8s sounded as good as ever, with wide, deep soundstages; and, without bass management or subs, the bass was good, solid, and balanced. The central imaging was convincing and stable enough to make me suspect I'd forgotten to disconnect my center-channel speaker. (I hadn't.) Voices, low or high, sounded natural, with good presence.

In fact, your findings/experience in your subjective evaluations/comparisons of the 40 year old Pioneer and a modern Arcam receiver could serve as another good example of why subjective reviews are not very reliable, but again I am only saying this assuming both units are in perfect or near perfect conditions. If one or both have developed some issues or degraded somehow that all bets are off.

Sorry about getting side track from your original questions, I just couldn't resist trying to figure out why a seemingly excellent two channel Arcam reciever could do so bad compared to that Pioneer.
 
Last edited:
Echolane

Echolane

Audioholic Intern
You are welcome, I always learnt something when trying to help. I probably was a two channel audiophile dinosaur too, and unfortunately before I finally evolved (I think...), I had already accumulated at least 7 power amps (including one mono, one multi-channel and only managed to sell one and lost another one:(), 1 integrated amp and 3 real preamps.:D

Is your PhD engineer friend an EE? If he is, I would like to know why he could give you such an affirmative answer, like on what basis, objective data or subjective experience? No big deal, just curious so feel free to ignore my question... I know at least one PhD engineer, Dr. Toole, would not have given such advice without caveats, because I have read the two chapters of his book that cover the issues with subjective evaluations.

Based on specs and measurements, if you use analog inputs and direct mode without any dsp/REQ (you likely did exactly that as you are honest about being an audiophile dinosaur:)), I see no reasons for the SR250 to sound muddy and dull in comparison, so I have to suspect something else might be going on. If you are keeping it, you probably should do some troubleshooting. If there is nothing wrong, yet you still hear such obvious difference between the two, then I have to wonder if someone else could hear such obvious difference, obvious to the point your are sure a sighted test is good enough. If they could too, then I would be curious to know if they would also find the Arcam dull sounding, compared to the Pioneer.

By the way, I have no doubt, based on specs and info from the service manual, your Pioneer is an excellent two channel receiver, that is worth restoring if necessary when it gets even older. The thing about evaluating on objective basis is that I don't have to "listen" to that Pioneer, I know it will "sound" transparent to me in any of my two channel systems. And about your friend's mentioning of vintage Marantz, I do have a pair of those (vintage 1979) and I intend to keep them forever. The photo was taken a couple years ago when sitting in an authorized shop waiting to be recap and restored. Nothing was wrong with them except the volume control did need a good clean up. I wanted it done out of abundance of caution and could have done it myself if I had time.

View attachment 43615


The problem with subjective, is that it is just literally a subjective thing, for example, the Sterophile reviewer (Kal Rubinson)said:

Arcam FMJ SR250 stereo A/V receiver A Fly in the Ointment? | Stereophile.com

Before invoking Dirac Live room correction, I used the system for about two weeks, partly to dilute my internal reference—the system's multichannel, room-equalized sound—and partly just to enjoy it. The FMJ SR250 worked well in this system. The Monitor Silver 8s sounded as good as ever, with wide, deep soundstages; and, without bass management or subs, the bass was good, solid, and balanced. The central imaging was convincing and stable enough to make me suspect I'd forgotten to disconnect my center-channel speaker. (I hadn't.) Voices, low or high, sounded natural, with good presence.

In fact, your findings/experience in your subjective evaluations/comparisons of the 40 year old Pioneer and a modern Arcam receiver could serve as another good example of why subjective reviews are not very reliable, but again I am only saying this assuming both units are in perfect or near perfect conditions. If one or both have developed some issues or degraded somehow that all bets are off.

Sorry about getting side track from your original questions, I just couldn't resist trying to figure out why a seemingly excellent two channel Arcam reciever could do so bad compared to that Pioneer.
Congratulations on keeping your handsome Marantz gear. It is supposed to be excellent vintage gear too. But I don’t want to make out like I am an expert in any way. All I can say is that I do believe my Pioneer is a better piece of gear to listen to in my particular environment than the Arcam. I also don’t think there is anything that is wrong with the Arcam. i had the same opinion four years ago when the Arcam was new. It is now over four years old and just last month returned from a warranty repair with a brand new power supply and a good going over to make sure everything is working correctly. I listened to it for several weeks after its repair before connecting thr Pioneer back in and after reconnecting the Pioneer I still feel the same and that is the Pioneer sounds better to me.
I have no idea what others would think in a listening comparison, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I think so and I believe in my opinion enough to make an effort to make the Pioneer more useful to me. Hence my interest in the subject topic.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I have no idea what others would think in a listening comparison, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I think so and I believe in my opinion enough to make an effort to make the Pioneer more useful to me. Hence my interest in the subject topic.
Excellent point, can't argue with that!
 
Echolane

Echolane

Audioholic Intern
Excellent point, can't argue with that!
I’ve been thinking about your comments on the subjectivity of reviews. I have read them avidly for years, yet I don’t really trust them very much. My opinion is that reviewers have a tough job. They might get fired if the magazine loses ad revenue from a disgruntled manufacturer for example, so sometimes it must be very difficult to be completely honest. And then they have to come up with all sorts of adjectives which describe and yet differentiate. Reading between the lines of the review on my Arcam that you referenced, though it was only one paragraph, I thought it was a “meh” sort of review. So I went on to read the entire review and came to the same conclusion, it was a “meh” sort of review throughout, without a single superlative. Instead “good” was used several times and notably absent was “very good” or “excellent”. It makes me feel even more comfortable about my own very amateur review that the Pioneer has better audio than the Arcam.
I finally moved the Musical Fidelity out of its closet storage and couldn’t find a good spot to stow it in my crowded console but it looks decent sitting on top. Now if I can just find what I did with its remote control (!) I’ll soon have an opportunity to listen.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I’ve been thinking about your comments on the subjectivity of reviews. I have read them avidly for years, yet I don’t really trust them very much. My opinion is that reviewers have a tough job. They might get fired if the magazine loses ad revenue from a disgruntled manufacturer for example, so sometimes it must be very difficult to be completely honest. And then they have to come up with all sorts of adjectives which describe and yet differentiate. Reading between the lines of the review on my Arcam that you referenced, though it was only one paragraph, I thought it was a “meh” sort of review. So I went on to read the entire review and came to the same conclusion, it was a “meh” sort of review throughout, without a single superlative. Instead “good” was used several times and notably absent was “very good” or “excellent”. It makes me feel even more comfortable about my own very amateur review that the Pioneer has better audio than the Arcam.
I finally moved the Musical Fidelity out of its closet storage and couldn’t find a good spot to stow it in my crowded console but it looks decent sitting on top. Now if I can just find what I did with its remote control (!) I’ll soon have an opportunity to listen.
You made another excellent point about the professional reviewers being in a tough spot. That is especially true for the Stereophile reviewers, for the obvious reason (knowing JA's rather comprehensive measurements may totally debunk, negate, or contradict their subjective evaluations).
 

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