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

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post #1 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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AVR vs. Separates??

I may be opening Pandora's box with this, but I'm a bit curious. How many people here think that separates offer better sq than an AVR for 2 channel music? PLEASE keep in mind that opinions will vary and nobody is right or wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion!

I'll also post this question in the HT forum to see if there's a difference with movies instead of music.

Link to HT forum: http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...tml#post516043

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post #2 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 05:20 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

I think that with todays receivers being so much better there is little to no difference in the sound quality. Almost all receivers offer a Pure direct mode bypassing all of the processing so there should be no reason to go that route unless you like spending 4 or 5 times as much on separates with little to no audible gain.

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post #3 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 05:25 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

I think if you run full range speakers without a sub then yes separates will have the edge because the amp section in most AVR's are not strong enough but if you cross over to a sub at 70 or 80Hz then all bets are off.
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post #4 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 05:26 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

I think overall, I find that separate ANYTHING can generally sound better. That is not limited to pre/pro and amplifiers exclusively either. I think just dedicated circuitry can yield better results for anything. It's not guaranteed to be better, but it is as a general guideline. I think there is more potential for more power essentially. With the limitations of an AVR housing, you are limited to the amount of heat that the component can generate.

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post #5 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 08:35 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

In a sense, with an AVR with Preamp Outputs and Pure Direct, you can have your cake and eat it too. Especially with power hungry speakers, the differences an Amplifier can make are profound. However, if strictly interested in 2 Channel, I do see the advantages of getting a powerful Integrated Amplifier or separate Preamplifier and Power Amplifier combo for simplicity. Personally, I like the flexibility of having HT capability and still having solid 2 Channel performance.

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post #6 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 10:29 PM
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Talking Re: AVR vs. Separates??

This is a good question,in a combined 2chan/ht system(as most have 1 system,room) even a modest separates will yield sound benefits.What holds all AVR,S back is pre amp section, amp section and digital etc noise generated.It is all the things an AVR must do that it is master of none.

If 2 chan sound quality is important,then an integrated amp can improve your combined 2ch/HT system ,at only a low $ cost.A 2 chan pre amp and power amps is better still but at the cost of space and $.

This is really a $ question as most have not listen to a good hi end 2 chan pre with great amps ,will it cost more yes.Is it worth it,to me ,yes.

I had a combined 2 ch and ht,but even then ,there are limits with speaker placement for HT and 2 chan performance ,they conflict.So I use another room for uncompromised 2 chan sound quality.

Try it,in your systems even a modest 2 chan pre will improve any combined 2 chan and HT system.

Cheers Victor.
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post #7 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 10:43 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

Power requirements are basically logarithmic so it really comes down to how loud the playback needs to be and how efficient the speakers are. Almost all amplifier designs have good frequency response and sufficiently low distortion when they are in their comfort zone. (Ironically, some of the audiophile favs suffer here)

There is no such thing as digital noise. It's 1's and 0's. A breakthrough decades old that many still don't understand.

Digital to analog conversion could be an area for improvement but I think modern AVRs have that down pretty well. I have done a loop back test (sine sweep) in REW with my cheap AVR and it handled it flawlessly.

Channel to channel crosstalk could be an issue in AVRs in the analog amp section. This can definitely be improved in a separate amp. I don't know how much of an issue it is though.

From my experience, the electronics are the least important piece of the puzzle and only account for a small fraction of the sound quality. Speakers and their setup must constitute at least 95% of the overall objective quality if not more, IMHO.

Last edited by vann_d; 04-14-12 at 10:48 PM.
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post #8 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 11:03 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

By virtue of their design, AVR all in one architecture is a compromise and built to a price point. Higher performance separates are available from most AVR manufacturers, conversely, many high end manufacturers would never consider making an AVR, for good reasons.

AVR's of today are much better than they were even a few short years ago. Enough so that I just purchased my first one, coming from a high end passive pre integrated amp. I am interested in hearing my Hi Rez recordings surround sound tracks, and especially interested in room EQ.

At lower volumes, sans AVR EQ, I would be hard pressed to tell the two apart. With movies in 2.1, also hard to tell them apart. With music at higher volumes (above -20 to -25 dB), the AVR sounds strained and a bit veiled in spite of having the advantages of high pass XO for the mains and more than double the 4 ohm rating of the integrated. The AVR LFE feed to my subwoofer amp has improved my bass response, probably because the integrated's pre out signal isn't nearly as hot as the AVR. This allowed me to back off the sub amp gain considerably.

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post #9 of 121 Old 04-14-12, 11:44 PM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

Digital noise I am taking about is from cheap switch mode power supplies used in an avr.

Try a 2 chan pre then get back to me.
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post #10 of 121 Old 04-15-12, 05:27 AM
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Re: AVR vs. Separates??

victor tubeman wrote: View Post
Digital noise I am taking about is from cheap switch mode power supplies used in an avr.

Try a 2 chan pre then get back to me.
Unless something has changed in the last couple of years, most AVRs do not use SMPS. The digital noise that you speak of is generated by the various processing circuits, but it is generally well filtered and does not enter most audio signal paths in the better AVRs (which is the level of product Tony was talking about, I am sure).

Most of the people in this thread HAVE experienced high end 2 channel systems, so please, leave your condescending tone elsewhere when you come to HTS to post.

Having been in the audio business since the late 1970s, and serviced, sold, and used some pretty high end two channel systems, I have seen the quality increase tremendously. The assumptions about cheap receivers, digital problems, and the relative differences in performance are less valid today than in the past to a large degree. There are, however, more really cheap complex products on the very low end that are problematic, but a good AVR today is actually going to produce sound that is much closer to separates than ever before.

Digital noise from power supplies can have a number of causes, but it is pretty easy to find and filter. When you find it in an analog signal path, please let us know what product you are talking about and who did the testing and we are happy to report it. If you just heard what you attribute to such, please identify your personal experience as such and let's not confuse a personal impression with facts.

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