Newbie needs AV preamp (hifi quality) - help req'd please!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by powerbook, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Hi

    With a lounge refurb arranged for next year the time has come to stop listening to movies out of 2 speakers!

    My lounge is pretty small (3.4m wide x 2.9m deep) and I think I just need LR rather than LCR, however please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

    I already have four Genelec active loudspeakers (dual 1/4" jack and XLR) which I would like to make use of. I'll also get a sub.

    I only need a single stereo analogue input on the AV preamp as I have a 4-channel Beresford DAC to group the audio from the VM box, Blu-ray, iPod dock.

    Please let me know what makes models I should be looking at!

    Also will the AV preamp be able to adjust the volume on the rear speakers? (I told you I was a newbie!).

    Thanks
     
  2. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    Not quite right, the Beresford will not decode DD, DTS, DD Plus, TrueHD and DTS Master these are the most common multichannel film and game soundtracks. The latter three codecs are higher resolution and 'newer' than the first two. Blu Rays come with the last two often (sometimes the third). DVD's and computer games the first two.

    Each speaker has it's own dedicated channel of audio that these codecs contain including the sub woofer hence 5.1, 7.1 etc. The sub channel is not a full range channel only dealing in lower end bass frequencys or LFE which why it's .1

    So the AV processor would be the taking audio from the Virgin box and Bluray player. The Beresford can be looped in as an input to it or replaced entirely to let the processor do everything.

    I'd suggest trying to an Audiolab 8000AP second hand. They should be approx 400ish pounds. Bear in mind that 3D won't be an option with this. For that you will need a newer processor, which range from 1200 to the 8000 pound mark.

    You won't be able to individually adjust the volume on each speaker. The volume control will set the volume level across all of the speakers. Running a phantom centre is something that quite a few people do, I'd check that the 8000AP supports it though.

    Failing that you can purchase an AVR and 'just use it as a preamp' AVR's with preamp putputs cost from around 600ish and up.

    Older non HD preamps will not decode True HD or DTS Master and require an extra level of faff and complication, cables and a more expensive blu ray player to get them (600ish and up).
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  3. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Thanks for the prompt response.

    Audiolab is a name I am familiar with which is good.

    Will I be able to use my Beresford DAC (TC-7510) as I like the sound? Or is the Audiolab DAC good enough?

    And how would I connect the individual boxes to the Audiolab? With just HDMIs or also utilising light pipes for the audio?

    Thanks.
     
  4. bow79

    bow79
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    I am afraid I am a bit confused by this postI am not familiar with your Dac. So I have a couple of questions how are you currently controlling the volume of anything. If you have sound coming out of your virgin box and blue Ray I assume you only play two channel stereo. If you want proper surround sound normally this would include a centre channel. In the olden days you could set a pro Logic decoder to have a phantom centre channel so you did not actually need sound from a centre speaker. However I am not aware of being able to do this for 5.1 surround sound.

    If you want to make two channel into surroundsound for example prologic2 you will need some kind of processor which is also likely to have a volume control on it. However if you already have something which gives you four channels of sound in some form of surroundsound and want to use active speakers you could just add a passive pre amp, that is a volume control to the two rear speakers. I am assuming you already have some way of controlling the volume of the two front speakers. What I do not understand at all is what the actual four channels of sound are that your DAC is providing.
     
  5. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Also is AVR an equipment type or a manufacturer?

    Thanks
     
  6. dante01

    dante01
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    Audio Video Receiver :)
     
  7. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Hi bow79

    The DAC (similar to this Caiman DAC) is currently fed in to a Cyrus aca7.5 pre-amp which allows me to control the volume. At the moment it is connected to two speakers, however I want the final setup to control rear speakers also.

    Thanks
     
  8. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Re. Audio Video Receiver

    So that I don't get mixed up please could you provide a couple of links to kit of this type so I can check out the differences between these and regular AV pre-amp.

    Thanks
     
  9. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    You can still use the Beresford but only for stereo eg the IPOD dock etc. Everything else if you want modern multichannel audio has to go through the preamp. The 8000AP has a very good stereo rep so I'd try it and see. There is a newer version the 8200AP due soonish which will cost £1200 so more 8000AP's might start appearing second hand.

    AV preamps normally have good stereo performance (a dedicated stereo preamp will still be a bit better though, unless you go for one of the uber expensive preamps).

    My suggestion of using an AVR as a preamp will work but the stereo performance will not be as good.

    I want good MCH performance AND stereo performance so I use an AV preamp and power amp.

    The Virgin box and Bluray player would use HDMI. Optical cabling would be used for anything else ie PS3, XBOX, PC and so on. The 8000AP only has two HDMI inputs so if you want more a HDMI switch will be needed (Joytech do one for about £30).
     
  10. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    AVR contains all the bits in one box. Decoding, source switching, preamp and power amps.

    AV Preamp contains decoding, source switching, preamp. MUST be used with seperate power amps/Active speakers.
     
  11. dante01

    dante01
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    A receiver denotes the presence of an onboard radio tuner, but the term has become associated with AV integrated amps in general.

    An AV REceiver is an integrated processor, amplifier and receiver in one box. The unit also acts as a video switch as well as an audio switch. Many now also incorporate various video processing abilities such as conversion and upscaling.

    Prices range from under £200 to several thousands.

    Here is what one retailer sells:
    RECEIVERS - AV & HIFI

    Other brands of receiver may be available elsewhere and prices vary from retailer to retailer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  12. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    Bear in mind if you do go the AVR as preamp route then it must have preouts to allow you to connect to your genelecs. Preouts are seen a 'luxury' item so manufacturers tend to put them on their more expensive models hence roughly 700 and up. As stereo performance is a concern then a higher end model would be preferable IMHO.

    Don't forget the second hand market.
     
  13. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Thanks for the advice. I can't find any used 8000AP's at the moment.

    What is your opinion of the Cambridge Audio Azur 540R and 640R as these have pre-outs?

    Also is there an Onkyo (used is fine) AV pre-amp or AVR with pre-outs which is well regarded?

    I will keep my outboard DAC to run the ipod dock.

    Thanks.
     
  14. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    There are well regarded Onkyo AV pre but cost wise second hand I don't know what they go for Onkyo PRC 5507, Onkyo PRC 5508, Onkyo PRC 5509 (is the latest).

    These were £2200 when new.

    The 540R and 640R were very good AVRs but they are not HD audio capable so I would steer clear given your source equipment.

    I'd look out for the Onkyo's, There is also the Rotel RSP 1570 which has just been replaced second hand I'd expect them to be in the 800ish ball park.

    Another possibility is the Emotiva UMC-1 and they have another one due out soon bear in mind this would have to be imported from the US and there have been issues with them due to firmware problems and software faults in the past have a look on the owners thread to see if these have been resolved yet.
     
  15. powerbook

    powerbook
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    Thanks again for your help. I will indeed get an HD AVR / HD pre-amp. I am looking at your Marantz!

    Now a question about the centre channel if I may. I have quite a few Active speakers dotted around the house which I plan to make use of in the Cinema set-up. These speakers are in pairs and I use them for listening to various stereo sources.

    Would it be acceptable to connect a single speaker to the centre channel? All speakers are the same make and model.

    And final question!

    Should I mount this centre speaker above or below the TV (which is 42" LCD)? The TV will be installed fairly low off the floor, specifically 0.6m from floor to bottom of TV and the floor is solid wood, so perhaps mount above the screen?

    And final final question! should I install the centre horizontally or vertically? I have space to do both.

    Thanks guys. I will of course take obligatory photos :)
     
  16. eaglemmoomin

    eaglemmoomin
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    Using a single identical speaker as your centre will work fine and be the most cohesive solution across the front three. I'd mount it vertically as that how it is designed to work. Several members here do/have done that. Mind you ideally they would all be at the same height. I think you'd have to look at how some of the others have dealt with this. I suspect if the under the screen option is very low then most will say above the screen I'd ask the question in the in the speakers thread and see what the response is.
     

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