AVR vs. Separates?? - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #11 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

Thanks everyone for their responses. I'll restate (and this is not aimed at anyone) that everyone is entitled to their opinion, so let's continue to show each other respect.

One thing that I find interesting (and it has been touched on a bit) is the idea that if you can't measure it, it isn't there. Wasn't Red Book CD supposed to be "perfect sound forever?" Flat 20-20k response with almost zero THD and wow-and-flutter was "perfect." Since then we've discovered that other formats (SA-CD etc.) with improved response DO sound better.

Extrapolating from that, if an AVR's measurements are the same as separates', it must sound the same? Without going into my Biology background too much, I know enough about the human brain to know that we (humans) do NOT understand it very well. Years ago x-rays were used to look into the body; we could finally SEE broken bones without removing tissue. Years after they had been in use we (humans) discovered that we did not fully understand everything that was happening. Many people (especially Doctors) died from over-exposure to the very "breakthrough" meant to help them.

We've also found that "bits aren't always bits." Copy a CD in a "lossless" format enough times and-after enough generations-you will hear that the sq degrades. That should not happen based on current (accepted) knowledge, but it does. I've heard it, and I'm not alone.

My point is that even if you (anyone) subscribe to the "specs mean everything" idea, doesn't that still leave room for something that we don't yet know HOW to measure? Perhaps there are things happening that affect our brain that we have yet to discover?

I pose this as a question and not as a "flame;" I'm very curious to read other opinions.
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post #12 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 12:38 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

These are age old questions that bring out strong opinions. My view is that there may well be differences that are not captured by the traditional measures and assumptions about what is audible. I also feel, based on 30 years of experience, that the sound quality of relatively inexpensive products has improved greatly in recent years and that for most people any differences between products other than the really low end are not meaningful. What is audible and meaningful, however, has much more to do with perception and personal preference and priority than technical differences.

Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
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post #13 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 02:46 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

Place me firmly in the separates category if for no other reason than flexibility. I have the budget and room for only one system. This is the same system I've slowly been improving since the late 70's. It's a two channel system with little or no compromising. To that I've added surround capability with as little compromise as possible.

When I play two channel music I use a dedicated two channel preamp driving an electronic crossover, SS driven dual subs and tube driven electrostatics. All two channel sources are connected directly to my two channel preamp.

All surround/MC sources are connected directly to my processor. For surround/MC music and movies my front speakers and amplifiers are driven by my processor through my two channel preamp running in bypass mode. The rear electronic crossover, rear amplifiers, rear dual subs and rear electrostatics are driven directly by the processor. This gear is all in a dedicated acoustically treated room.

I run my processor's center channel in phantom mode. I don't have room for another large electrostatic speaker. This is my only real compromise and IMO is a very small and insignificant one.

IMO this setup gives me the best of both worlds. Plus, I have more power and flexibility at my disposal than any receiver made by anyone at anytime.

ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300, Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon cartridges: Marantz CD63SE, Yamaha DVD-S1800,, MSB Link D2A, Emotiva XDA-2, Accuphase T101 tuner, TEAC V7010, Emotiva UMC-200: Front speakers: Acoustat Spectra 22 ESL's, DBX223sx, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2 12" Transmission Line Subs, Behringer DSP1124P, 2 Crown XLS-402 Rear speakers: Acoustat Model 1 ESL, Paradigm X-30, 2 Adcom GFA-545, Acoustat SPW-1 Woofer.
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post #14 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

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lcaillo wrote: View Post
These are age old questions that bring out strong opinions. My view is that there may well be differences that are not captured by the traditional measures and assumptions about what is audible. I also feel, based on 30 years of experience, that the sound quality of relatively inexpensive products has improved greatly in recent years...
Well put.
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post #15 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 07:52 PM
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Talking Re: AVR vs. Separates??

Vol control on all Avr,s and SSP,s is also a major detriment to sound quality, this is where 2 chan pre,s are better and in SOTA 2 chan pre s far better.
I have tried SSP,s in my large ht and are not even close on multi chan sound and that's with the older bat vk-5. People want easier not better sound quality , an AVR is easy .

Bluray movies and music in main HT I use analog out from player .
Bat vk-5 and Audio research amps do front left, right.Copland cva-306 centre and rears krell mono for centre and bat vk-500 for rears.proceed AVP only .1 chan to peavey 4 subs with Eq .
I could use the Copland 6 chan pre for all chans but the bat is better sounding.
Unlike most I'm only interested in results not cost.

Charles Hansen from Ayre can explain the theory of why 2 chan pre,s are way ahead.(Avs forum Dx-5 p4,p9 can't link on an iPhone )
I have found that bluray movie soundtracks do sound very good an better than most cd,s even with what audio for movies go thru.

Regards Victor.
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post #16 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 10:06 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

I wonder how many people could actually pick out a dedicated 2-ch setup versus an good AVR with the same source same speakers I tried it once and failed. Sometimes we hear what we want to hear especially if we spent our hard earned money on a supposed upgrade.
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post #17 of 121 Old 04-16-12, 01:32 AM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

^Not many and when I worked in a the hi-end retail bus we sponsored quite a few "internal" head to head DBT's with everyone in the shop and a few select customers. There was one test in particular where I was able to get everyone to agree to let me take my $600 200W/ch H/K Citation 22 solid state stereo amplifer and test against several of the esoteric and hand build mono-blocks we sold all the time for $6k to $25k apiece. The result was that nobody either internally or externally could reliably pick out the pricier amps including the resident and self-proclaimed "Golden Ears" who could not believe that I would spend my hard earned cash on the H/K.

Granted this thread is talking mostly about pre-amp sections and I do believe there are areas where differences can be heard but again they are minimal at best and the laws of diminishing returns quickly come into play. For the majority of enthusiasts a well designed AVR will do an excellent job of reproducing 2ch faithfully. I use my Denon AVR as a pre-pro to do just that. My Citation 22 continues to serve regular duty with my surround L/R channels!

JD
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post #18 of 121 Old 04-16-12, 03:52 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

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J&D wrote: View Post
^Not many and when I worked in a the hi-end retail bus we sponsored quite a few "internal" head to head DBT's with everyone in the shop and a few select customers. There was one test in particular where I was able to get everyone to agree to let me take my $600 200W/ch H/K Citation 22 solid state stereo amplifer and test against several of the esoteric and hand build mono-blocks we sold all the time for $6k to $25k apiece. The result was that nobody either internally or externally could reliably pick out the pricier amps including the resident and self-proclaimed "Golden Ears" who could not believe that I would spend my hard earned cash on the H/K.

Granted this thread is talking mostly about pre-amp sections and I do believe there are areas where differences can be heard but again they are minimal at best and the laws of diminishing returns quickly come into play. For the majority of enthusiasts a well designed AVR will do an excellent job of reproducing 2ch faithfully. I use my Denon AVR as a pre-pro to do just that. My Citation 22 continues to serve regular duty with my surround L/R channels!

JD
I can certainly believe it about the Citation 22. I've got a Citation 19 connected to a HK 3390 receiver.
The 19 just provides more muscle. I did have the 19 connected to a Parasound P7, until it needed a repair on the front end. But I can say that older HK AVR635 put out very good sound.
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post #19 of 121 Old 04-16-12, 04:01 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

From the AVRs and separate power amps that I have owned and inspected I would say the separates usually have heavier gauge wiring, better heat sinking, and balanced in's and out's that can reduce hum and noise.
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post #20 of 121 Old 04-16-12, 04:38 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

Modern AVR's have excellent shielding where some fall short is one power supply to do all some flagships come with 3 independent power supplies and when test benched they don't supply 50% of their rated power all channels driven 20Hz to 20KHz at .01 % distortion with the exception of the Flagships in 5.1 only.
Usually if it supplies an honest 100wpc and you cross the bass over to the sub at 80Hz your 99% there.
Most of the time you are using 5watts leaving 95 for dynamic headroom.
Remember if you have a 100wpc AVR and you add a 200wpc amp you only increased it 3db it takes a lot of watts to increase sound substantially.
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