The SEPARATES vs. AVR Thread

Do Separates (Preamps or Pre-pros + Amps) Sound Better Than AVRs in Direct/Bypass Modes?

  • Yes, Separates sound better than AVRs

    Votes: 28 51.9%
  • No, Separates and AVRs sound about the same

    Votes: 12 22.2%
  • No, Separates and AVRs sound about the same when they are similar in price range

    Votes: 14 25.9%

  • Total voters
    54
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,537 7 1
#81
Irv: AVRs = too much size, too much heat, annoying / cheap / cramped rear connections.
Robot: You're so right, Irv. You win.
I do agree that the rear panel of most AVR either now lack the connectivity of the past or there is so much going on that it's irritating to connect speaker wire. Even with banana plugs.

My Denon x4300h is the best one I've seen even though I don't use most of what's available. The speaker terminals are easy to get to. Can't say the same for my 1300.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,748 9 1
#82
Is that what you do, buy demanding speakers and then run them on an avr at high volume all day without benefit of external cooling? So easy just to add some cooling and not worry about it...and you're still way ahead financially.
It really shouldn't be much of a concern anyway if a mid level 7 channel is used in a two channel system.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
8,197 23 6
#84
Questions for those who believe mid range AVRs ($1499 to $2199, listed, $599 to $999 for Amazon discounted yesteryear models) can sound the same as separates in the same price range for two channel music enjoyment.

1. Have you ever owned integrated and/or separate DAC, pre amp, prepro, power amp, and/or still own them, for 2 channel stereo music enjoyment?
2. Are you still using any separate (meaning a different system that can even be an AVR) components for 2 channel stereo, or the same HT system for both HT and stereo music? If yes, what are they, AVR, 2 ch receiver, or separate components?

Just curious..
1. I have owned Integrated Amps, Separate DACs, Class-A Analog Preamps, Power Amps, Pre-pros, and AVRs.

2. Denon AVP-A1HDCI for both 2Ch and 5Ch, Denon AVR-5308CI for 2Ch only (have used Denon AVR-3312 and AVR-X3100 for 2Ch).
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,005 10 12
#85
Where is all this heat you are talking about?
The Denon X3400H, for example, idles in ECO mode at 45 watts, and 80 watts in normal mode. Even 45 watts means there's considerable heat being generated. It'll need a few inches of space above it in a rack, and it should also have some ventilation. It's also 6.6 inches tall and weighs 24lbs, mostly because of the amps in it, which when used as a prepro are useless.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,391 3 6
#86
Kurt, we agree on so many things, but this isn't one of them. We are in as golden an age of audio as there has ever been. Digital sources are equal to the best there have ever been, and prices have become a small fraction of what we paid for CDs in the 80s and 90s or vinyl in the 70s.
I don't disagree with what you are saying, exactly. But this age of audio is more like vinyl siding audio compared to the real wood siding audio of the 70's, or, early 70's at least. Everything has to be plug'n play or auto correct or people don't know what to do with it.

Also, it was easier to find, or even recruit others into the hobby then. I know one other person now who is into this as much as I am and he does very little outside of his manuals. Per the music of the time, before you knew it, you had an audio club of sorts that physically/socially interacted regularly and this lasted a decade or more.

I'd be more inclined to believe that, via the internet, we are more in the golden age of mass marketing than anything else. It is increasingly difficult to find uniqueness in this hobby anymore.

Outside of a few deep pockets here and there, everything now is seemingly patterned after shopping at Walmart or, 'gotta have it now' faction of our financial existence. It's like trying to find a "fair" priced garden hose that doesn't kink just laying there. Even when you are willing to pay more for better, you can't because it is not economically feasible for manufacturers to compete against the cheapskates. The only other option is some way overpriced designer crap. Otherwise, better now, just means more of the same cheap China crap crammed in a box.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
5,452 22 9
#87
Kurt, we agree on so many things, but this isn't one of them. We are in as golden an age of audio as there has ever been. Digital sources are equal to the best there have ever been, and prices have become a small fraction of what we paid for CDs in the 80s and 90s or vinyl in the 70s. I routinely buy box sets which average about $1 per CD. Even vinyl is back. (Ugh.) For less than $500 you can have a really decent high power stereo amp. DAC-preamps are everywhere. Speakers, well, IMO there's no comparison. A couple of thousand dollars buys speakers today that would be in the 98th percentile if they were sold in the 70s. And more than anything else, this is the golden age of subwoofers. What was available in the 70s that would do 103db at 20Hz? I think nothing.

Yeah, some components were better looking back then, but I wouldn't want to go back to the 70s.
Actually, I agree with everything you said here
The point I was trying to make was I do not believe any modern gear will be as coveted as the best gear from the 70s was.
I definitely agree that audio has continued to improve and is better now than the 70s! That was certainly not my intent.
My point was that in the 70s, audio was a much larger part of popular culture then it is today.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
3,005 10 12
#88
I don't disagree with what you are saying, exactly. But this age of audio is more like vinyl siding audio compared to the real wood siding audio of the 70's, or, early 70's at least. Everything has to be plug'n play or auto correct or people don't know what to do with it.

Also, it was easier to find, or even recruit others into the hobby then. I know one other person now who is into this as much as I am and he does very little outside of his manuals. Per the music of the time, before you knew it, you had an audio club of sorts that physically/socially interacted regularly and this lasted a decade or more.

I'd be more inclined to believe that, via the internet, we are more in the golden age of mass marketing than anything else. It is increasingly difficult to find uniqueness in this hobby anymore.

Outside of a few deep pockets here and there, everything now is seemingly patterned after shopping at Walmart or, 'gotta have it now' faction of our financial existence. It's like trying to find a "fair" priced garden hose that doesn't kink just laying there. Even when you are willing to pay more for better, you can't because it is not economically feasible for manufacturers to compete against the cheapskates. The only other option is some way overpriced designer crap. Otherwise, better now, just means more of the same cheap China crap crammed in a box.
Thank you. I was worried that I was getting too cynical in my old age. Now I know I'm not so far gone as I thought I might be.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,748 9 1
#89
The Denon X3400H, for example, idles in ECO mode at 45 watts, and 80 watts in normal mode. Even 45 watts means there's considerable heat being generated. It'll need a few inches of space above it in a rack, and it should also have some ventilation. It's also 6.6 inches tall and weighs 24lbs, mostly because of the amps in it, which when used as a prepro are useless.
All my D&M units do run quite warm even idling, even the 3805 that does not have a whole lot of video chips in it. I suppose it is a relative thing, what 3 dB considers just warm, you may consider as hot, and/or his unit is exceptionally well ventilated with lots of space around it.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,742 16 25
#90
My feeling is that there were more audible differences between solid state amps back then, and I suspect that might have been because: 1) the first couple gain stages of the amps were certainly discrete circuits back then, whereas today they're usually ICs (which are better),and 2) output transistor matching in manufacture even in the 80s was lousy, and transistors really had to be hand-matched for highly parallel output stages. Lots of manufacturers did great on their prototypes, less so in production. (Power transistors have come a long way since then.) The Quads do not use highly parallel output stages, so I suspect that could be a significant factor too. I'm pretty sure the Perreux did.
You probably have a point. With the Quad dumpers there is no need to match the output transistors, and they were not!

But that is a huge reason why I like them so much. As the amps age, any component can drift 30% from spec, without affecting the performance of the amp.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
8,197 23 6
#91
The Denon X3400H...used as a prepro are useless.
What? :eek:

Useless?

Just put 1 or 2 $10 USB 120mm silent fans atop the chassis of the X3400 and it runs extremely cool after 6 hours of loud karaoke!

I actually prefer to use my own external fans. They are very efficient, silent, and economical - I can easily replace the fans if I need to for $10 each.

Now, I do agree that I would not recommend using the X3400 without these $10 silent 120mm fans!

That's one of the best advices for anyone coming to this forum! Use 120mm silent fans on all your electronics that heat up.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,973 21 47
#92
Actually, I agree with everything you said here
The point I was trying to make was I do not believe any modern gear will be as coveted as the best gear from the 70s was.
I definitely agree that audio has continued to improve and is better now than the 70s! That was certainly not my intent.
My point was that in the 70s, audio was a much larger part of popular culture then it is today.
Back then we were more about the music in my group, few cared anything about the particular gear that I knew, maybe one or two friends (and a parent or two :) ).
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
8,197 23 6
#93
Back then we were more about the music...
It should be more about the music.

I think audio technology has advanced and matured so much that most gears sound great - DACs, Amps, Preamps, Pre-pros, AVRs.

Just look at the measurements of these new AVRs.

Okay, so they might not last as long as more expensive gears, but even the cheap $300 AVRs measure well with SNR of 110dBA (2.83V/8 ohms) and THD of 0.02%.

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/yamaha-rx-v377-av-receiver-test-bench
 
<eargiant

<eargiant

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
192 37 2
#94
That was me. I understand that you think TO-3 packages are cool-looking, but what is your evidence that these 1980-vintage units out-perform currently available power transistors?
I never said that TO-3P packages can't outperform TO-3. When I said "There are only a few modern transistors that I believe can equal their performance but you will probably not see them in any typical or even above average consumer gear (and definitely not an AVR)." I was specifically referring to the Sanken 2SA1068 & 2SC2493 transistors. The evidence? -Their spec sheet. There are very few suitable TO-3P replacements available today that can match the performance specs (not packaging) of the Sanken transistors I posted.


The gap is now so huge that I would say there is no equivalent as such. If we can stretch the facts a little then the last year model X7200WA may be considered equivalent, but it is no longer current. The current Marantz SR7012 would be closer, but not quite to the 4308CI's level on the basics.
Dang- that thing retailed for $2,999 when new. They better HAVE NOT skimped on the audio portion!
 
Last edited:
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,635 11 12
#95
The Denon X3400H, for example, idles in ECO mode at 45 watts, and 80 watts in normal mode. Even 45 watts means there's considerable heat being generated. It'll need a few inches of space above it in a rack, and it should also have some ventilation. It's also 6.6 inches tall and weighs 24lbs, mostly because of the amps in it, which when used as a prepro are useless.
And power amps idling don't use consume power either? Power amps don't need adequate ventillation to free flow the heat from their heat sinks?

Emotiva XPA-11
17” wide x 8” high x 19” deep (unboxed; including feet).

Outlaw 7700
Dimensions (W x H x D): 17.2 x 7.75 with feet x 18 (inches)

ATI 1800
17"W X 7"H X 161/2"D (plus 1" for I/O jacks)
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,635 11 12
#96
All my D&M units do run quite warm even idling, even the 3805 that does not have a whole lot of video chips in it. I suppose it is a relative thing, what 3 dB considers just warm, you may consider as hot, and/or his unit is exceptionally well ventilated with lots of space around it.
My Technics ran hot as it was very uncomfortable to place your hand over the chassis vent. If you look at pics of my secondary system, you don't see a lot of clearance for ventilation, yet it never gets hot.
 
Last edited:
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,748 9 1
#97
I never said that TO-3P packages can't outreform TO-3. When I said "There are only a few modern transistors that I believe can equal their performance but you will probably not see them in any typical or even above average consumer gear (and definitely not an AVR)." I was specifically referring to the Sanken 2SA1068 & 2SC2493 transistors. The evidence? -Their spec sheet. There are very few suitable TO-3P replacements available today that can match the performance specs (not packaging) of the Sanken transistors I posted.




Dang- that thing retailed for $2,999 when new. They better HAVE NOT skimped on the audio portion!
Exactly, and this Thing (Denon) for a full $1,000 more, or the Other (Marantz) thing for the same $2,999 as the X7200WA are not helping.

That's why I have been supportive of ADTG's suggestion of using mid range MCH AVRs as viable alternatives to entry to mid level integrated amps, but would emphasize we need to compare using integrated amp's typical street prices with comparable yesteryear AVR's deep street discount prices. Otherwise the integrated could/would win most of the time. That's not the case 10 years ago when one could buy near flag ship MCH Yamaha or D&M previous year models that cost significantly less than that for integrated amps with similar rated power output. On the other hand, recent D&M models often come with Audyssey XT32 Sub EQHT, that may, in practical term help tip the balance back a little in favor of even those 24-26 lbs X3300W/X3400/SR5012/6011/6012 AVRs. I know many hard core anti REQ (or at least Audyssey) disbelievers will totally disagree, but..
 
Last edited:
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,537 7 1
#99
What? :eek:

Useless?

Just put 1 or 2 $10 USB 120mm silent fans atop the chassis of the X3400 and it runs extremely cool after 6 hours of loud karaoke!

I actually prefer to use my own external fans. They are very efficient, silent, and economical - I can easily replace the fans if I need to for $10 each.

Now, I do agree that I would not recommend using the X3400 without these $10 silent 120mm fans!

That's one of the best advices for anyone coming to this forum! Use 120mm silent fans on all your electronics that heat up.
He meant that the amp section in the x3400h is useless if it is being used as a pre-pro
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,311 9 15
Exactly, and this Thing (Denon) for a full $1,000 more, or the Other (Marantz) thing for the same $2,999 as the X7200WA are not helping.

That's why I have been supportive of ADTG's suggestion of using mid range MCH AVRs as viable alternatives to entry to mid level integrated amps, but would emphasize we need to compare using integrated amp's typical street prices with comparable yesteryear AVR's deep street discount prices. Otherwise the integrated could/would win most of the time. That's not the case 10 years ago when one could buy near flag ship MCH Yamaha or D&M previous year models that cost significantly less than that for integrated amps with similar rated power output. On the other hand, recent D&M models often come with Audyssey XT32 Sub EQHT, that may, in practical term help tip the balance back a little in favor of even those 24-26 lbs X3300W/X3400/SR5012/6011/6012 AVRs. I know many hard core anti REQ (or at least Audyssey) disbelievers will totally disagree, but..
What integrated amps are you seeing with the same range of inputs seen on even low-end AVRs? The whole reason I bought a separate preamp is that none of the integrated amps had what I needed or wanted and I don't need as many inputs as some people. From that standpoint, an AVR can be the only choice, because of the possible need for several digital audio ins, as well as HDMI for the devices that no longer include an optical or coax digital output.
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis