Receiver VS Prepro+Amps True or False?

A

Am_P

Audioholic
If you don't have budget for better speakers, I'd just stand pat with that avr myself....and it has a full set of pre-outs if you want amp flexibility. Don't see how a dedicated pre-pro will be worth spending money on.....let alone the amps needed for all channels.
So, here are my thoughts. I can do a budget of about 4k to 5k for a pair of speakers. But, the speakers I have heard upto this price bracket don't sound like a step up from what I currently have ( Elac Unifi 2.0 series in my Atmos setup and GR Research XLS Encore diy kit in my 2 channel setup). My A/V installation pro buddy has a pair of high end KEFs in his house. It sounds like a step up, but I need to spend 10k to 20k for that step up. I have no interest in blowing my current budget of 4k to 5k for a sideways move.

The Andrew Jones Elac speakers have a reputation of scaling up with higher end equipment. My A/V pro installation buddy swears by it. I think Andrew himself had the entry 300 dollar Debut speakers hooked up to more than 5k worth of electronics at a show...Reasons why I thought about moving up with the electronics at the moment and worry about a worthy speaker upgrade in the future years.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I think you'd to be much better off looking at the speaker side of things. The general consensus here at Audioholics (gene has written several articles and and made a few videos about this subject) is that the electronics have very little or no effect on sound quality as long as they have low distortion, sufficient power and are competently made.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I have been doing some research on stepping up to a prepro+multich amp separates in the future. I recall the AudioScienceReview guy (Amir) stating that manufacturers just pull the amplifiers out of a flagship receiver and sell the "amp-less receiver" as a prepro at a higher cost.

But, watching Phil Shea's response from Yamaha, he appears to paint a different picture on how their prepros are designed over the course of this video, a.k.a as a very different design from the ground up. Was the ASR guy just spouting out the wazoo on this topic? Or do some brands/manufacturers actually just remove amp sections and rename it as "the prepro"? If so who does that? Integra? Denon? Marantz? Pioneer? Arcam? NAD? What brand of prepro was the ASR guy referring to?


No, obviously they don't just pull the amplifiers out, but there are lots of shared circuitry and parts in their signal chain between Yamaha's AVRs and the prepros such as the CX-A5200, and the same would apply to Marantz AVRs and AVPs.

It could get worse than that, if you take a read of hometheaterhifi.com's article on AVR build quality by Dr. Rich, Ph D in EE. Short after I bought my first Marantz flag ship prepro, IO was shocked to read the following, that I have posted several times on AH.

AVR - Audio Video Receiver - Build Quality: Part I - HomeTheaterHifi.com

"A key takeaway: circuit quality in the direct mode (stereo or 7.1) is almost always invariant to AVR prices in the range of $400 to $2,000. As examples, the $250 Yamaha RX-V367 and Marantz AV8801 ($3000) use the same Renesas LSI chip (R2A15220FP). With the LSI analog chip in these products, the sound of the direct mode is relatively constant, although a more robust power supplies, addition a quality output buffer and enhanced DC blocking capacitor quality can make small differences."

Dr. Rich may not always have his facts checked but in this case, I have read the service manuals so I know he is right in this case.

It seems ridiculous to me that a manufacturer (Marantz in this case) would claim to have design something from ground up yet would use the same critical parts such as the volume control and DAC ICs in the signal chain. Yamaha seems no better based on what I have seen in the service manuals of the RX-A3070 (An AVR) and the CX-A5200 (A prepro). I also noticed that even their integrated amp, the A-S801 shared the same volume control IC with their AVRs, that is without a doubt considered an AVR chip, used in many AVRs. The volume control IC is arguable more important than the DAC IC because it affects audio quality whether you use analog our digital inputs.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Yes, it is on one of the 1.5hr ish interview videos on YT. He said it about prepros as a general statement. I don't think I feel like doing the work of finding the exact instance of where he said it on one long video and submit that to you as "evidence". But, it's there in of the 3 or 4 videos in the middle of a bunch of topics he was talking about (when you search "ASR amir interview").
I am sure he simply exaggerated it by about 10X to make a point:D, and he must know that too because he is knowledgeable enough.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Yamaha RX-A3070 receiver running all channels for the most part. I am running front preouts to a vintage Technics SE-A5 MK2 at times. I have had the latter forever.
If in top shape, that amp has far superior specs (except D.F. seems a little low, probably not much better than the Yamaha AVR) compare to that of the RX-A3070 but if both are used well below their limit, both can sound transparent enough that you would likely need golden ears to hear the difference.:D
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
So, here are my thoughts. I can do a budget of about 4k to 5k for a pair of speakers. But, the speakers I have heard upto this price bracket don't sound like a step up from what I currently have ( Elac Unifi 2.0 series in my Atmos setup and GR Research XLS Encore diy kit in my 2 channel setup). My A/V installation pro buddy has a pair of high end KEFs in his house. It sounds like a step up, but I need to spend 10k to 20k for that step up. I have no interest in blowing my current budget of 4k to 5k for a sideways move.

The Andrew Jones Elac speakers have a reputation of scaling up with higher end equipment. My A/V pro installation buddy swears by it. I think Andrew himself had the entry 300 dollar Debut speakers hooked up to more than 5k worth of electronics at a show...Reasons why I thought about moving up with the electronics at the moment and worry about a worthy speaker upgrade in the future years.
These right here are a step up: https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/philharmonic-audio-new-philharmonitor.123797/ and they aren't $4-5k. I've heard the Elacs, used to own the XLS Encore. I still own a pair of A/V-1s and recently sold my A/V-2s. My Carnegie CSB-1s and CSC-1 are all GR designs, essentially his N series.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
These right here are a step up: https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/philharmonic-audio-new-philharmonitor.123797/ and they aren't $4-5k. I've heard the Elacs, used to own the XLS Encore. I still own a pair of A/V-1s and recently sold my A/V-2s. My Carnegie CSB-1s and CSC-1 are all GR designs, essentially his N series.
I second Philharmonic or Salk Sound if you really want accuracy and transparency. I'll toss Ascend Acoustics in there too. Both companies use RAAL ribbon tweeters in their designs and they live up to the hype. Similar design goals too as far as accuracy and transparency go. I love my my Sierra towers.
 
A

Am_P

Audioholic
If in top shape, that amp has far superior specs (except D.F. seems a little low, probably not much better than the Yamaha AVR) compare to that of the RX-A3070 but if both are used well below their limit, both can sound transparent enough that you would likely need golden ears to hear the difference.:D
I think the Technics may have been quite expensive in "1980s cash" and still sounds great. I don't how much my dad paid for it new back then. It was handed down to me.
 
A

Am_P

Audioholic
These right here are a step up: https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/philharmonic-audio-new-philharmonitor.123797/ and they aren't $4-5k. I've heard the Elacs, used to own the XLS Encore. I still own a pair of A/V-1s and recently sold my A/V-2s. My Carnegie CSB-1s and CSC-1 are all GR designs, essentially his N series.
I'd rather buy something with a return policy man, in case i didn't like it (We all have different ears). I highly doubt that a guy who posted an ad on "classifieds - sell your gear" for getting rid of his stuff will accept a return :)
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I'd rather buy something with a return policy man, in case i didn't like it (We all have different ears). I highly doubt that a guy who posted an ad on "classifieds - sell your gear" for getting rid of his stuff will accept a return :)



I've been dying to hear the Philharmonic BMR towers.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I think the Technics may have been quite expensive in "1980s cash" and still sounds great. I don't how much my dad paid for it new back then. It was handed down to me.
It is the kind of amp that if I have one I would keep it forever.:D The service manual is available so it won't be hard to repair/refurbished if you ever have to. You should download it while you still can, just in case.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
I'd rather buy something with a return policy man, in case i didn't like it (We all have different ears). I highly doubt that a guy who posted an ad on "classifieds - sell your gear" for getting rid of his stuff will accept a return :)
Understood and agree. As he mentions, these very rarely come up for sale used because they're solid speakers. You can order a new pair directly from Philharmonic as mentioned by Pogre, but not sure about a return policy. If your budget is that high for a pair, I'd actually say you're likely a candidate for the BMR if not the BMR tower. I may actually sell my pair when I upgrade to BMRs myself, but I want a custom finish from Salk and that will need to wait until early next year.

Based on the speakers you own and seem to like though, I think our listening preference might be similar.
 
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A

Am_P

Audioholic
It is the kind of amp that if I have one I would keep it forever.:D The service manual is available so it won't be hard to repair/refurbished if you ever have to. You should download it while you still can, just in case.
Good idea on getting a copy of the service manual before it disappears....thanks!!
 
A

Am_P

Audioholic
Understood and agree. As he mentions, these very rarely come up for sale used because they're solid speakers. You can order a new pair directly from Philharmonic as mentioned by Pogre, but not sure about a return policy. If your budget is that high for a pair, I'd actually say you're likely a candidate for the BMR if not the BMR tower. I may actually sell my pair when I upgrade to BMRs myself, but I want a custom finish from Salk and that will need to wait until early next year.

Based on the speakers you own and seem to like though, I think our listening preference might be similar.
What's your take on this open baffle kit from GR? How would it compare to the Philharmonic?
https://www.gr-research.com/store/p12/NX-Otica.html
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
What's your take on this open baffle kit from GR? How would it compare to the Philharmonic?
https://www.gr-research.com/store/p12/NX-Otica.html
I have not heard it, but I am sure it will be a good speaker. That seems to use the same BG sourced ribbon tweeter in my Carnegies and the N series. It is certainly good, but the RAAL ribbon is more transparent and smoother sounding to me.

GR isn't popular around here because of some of the things Danny says, but I found them through this forum many years ago and have owned/own a number of speakers from him with no complaints. I've talked to him, he's a really nice guy and his speakers do sound good to me. The sound of the speakers can stand on their own regardless of how people feel about the company. The whole AV123 fiasco did not help either, though that had nothing to do with Danny.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I have not heard it, but I am sure it will be a good speaker. That seems to use the same BG sourced ribbon tweeter in my Carnegies and the N series. It is certainly good, but the RAAL ribbon is more transparent and smoother sounding to me.

GR isn't popular around here because of some of the things Danny says, but I found them through this forum many years ago and have owned/own a number of speakers from him with no complaints. I've talked to him, he's a really nice guy and his speakers do sound good to me. The sound of the speakers can stand on their own regardless of how people feel about the company. The whole AV123 fiasco did not help either, though that had nothing to do with Danny.
There is no passive crossover solution for an open backed speaker. To design one requires an active crossover with equalization.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
There is no passive crossover solution for an open backed speaker. To design one requires an active crossover with equalization.
I never really understood why he and AV123 were into this open baffle concept. It sort of makes sense for the sub, which is shown in that pic, which is servo controlled, but even then I would expect a traditional design to work better. I've never heard either though, so I can't say whether or not it works in practice.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
FWIW the seller of the used Philharmonics is a reputable guy in a variety of audio fora. Doubt he'd want to handle a return, tho :)
 
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