Power amps for a home cinema receiver

Bossk128

Well-known Member
Good morning,
I'm currently using a Denon 2105 through an AE Evo package. I'm trying to improve the sound of my music (like so many are here with AV amps!), and was genuinely considering looking at an Arcam AVR350. It's regarded as being quite musical, and has the benefit of (in theory) improving my home cinema too. I'd flog my old receiver, or give it to my old man. Whether I can stump up £1500 is another matter!

Anyway, I wondered about going the cheaper route of power amping. I see there are AV power amps, and some of them are comparable in price to the Arcam. I also wondered if itwas worth power amping my front speakers first to stagger the cost (or even go 2nd hand), and power amp the rest as I go. This also opens up the opportunity for biamping up my front 3 speakers (or FL and FR anyway). Is this a crazy thought? Will I spend ages looking for decent (matching!) stereo power amps on Ebay and classifieds? Will I go mad with about 6 boxes to power on to watch a movie? Anyway, only I can answer those questions.

1. Are the preamp stages in hifi preamps that much better than the preamp in my AV reciever? Will I still be disappointed after buying a power amp and keeping my AV processor?

2. At the end of the day, will I get a better level of musicality than if going for a higher class of integrated AV amp (such as the AVR350)?

Thanks for reading my rambling post,
 

dtb300

Novice Member
1. Are the preamp stages in hifi preamps that much better than the preamp in my AV reciever? Will I still be disappointed after buying a power amp and keeping my AV processor?
1. Yes they are - the differences between my ARC Pre and the Yamaha as a Pre is night and day - basically no contest. I just finished up comparing the AVP700 vs my Yamaha RX-V1400 for 5.1 SACD music - basically passthrough. The Yamaha is bright and edgy sounding in the high end - higher octave violin music as an example, and the bass while there was not well defined. In comparison the AVP produced a high end that "appeared" to be laid back compared to the Yamaha, but in reality was producing the high end more realistically (determined by testing noted in next paragraph). And the detail between instruments was better between the two enabling me to hear some things in the music that I had not heard before.

I also did a comparison of my 2 channel playback with my ARC/Plinius/ML setup, compared to letting the 2 channels go to the Arcam passthrough, back to the ARC HT passthrough and then to the main system. And found that the sound from the Arcam was much better than when doing the same test through the Yamaha. The Yamaha time and time again in all testing did not sound as good as the AVP700

2. External Amps will sound better than the Receiver powering your speakers, but in the end the receiver will still be affecting the sound quality. I was doubtful of this myself, as no one else had ever posted doing a test like this. So when I did my eval this weekend, I was plesently surprised at the improvement in sound quality.

2. At the end of the day, will I get a better level of musicality than if going for a higher class of integrated AV amp (such as the AVR350)?
Spend your money on the 350 and do not look back.

Remember in all of this, it is your final decision on the acutal sound quality of your current reciever and say the 350 - which you like better is the ultimate decision and one only you can make.

One last thing, the improvment in HT movie playback was also better than the Yamaha. Video was better, DTS and Dolby processing and surround sound was also improved. All in all the Arcam was a wonderful piece of equipment compared to the mainstream reciever.

Dan
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Marantz SR7015 & NAD T 778 AVR + Mission LX2 MKII Speaker Reviews, AV & Film News and More
Top Bottom