Processor vs AV Receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by grimep, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. grimep

    grimep
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    195
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +9
    Hi

    This is my first post so excuse any naievety, and ramblingness.. I've read through hundreds of posts in these forums and feel like I've only scratched the surface. The questions I had have been asked and answered (to a certain extent) many times before, and I feel like I've had a major education that I couldn't have hoped to get from the consumer magazines... this forum is clearly a great resource, but still tons more reading to do.

    I actually registered on this forum to ask the cliched one about what A/V amp is best for 2 channel music, and if the compromise is too great, is there an add-on surround box you can use with a hifi amp...?

    The usual answer is that A/V amps aren't fab for music unless you are spending over £1000ish, and Yamaha used to make cheap 5.1 processors and you could get one 2ndhand but these days you might as well just buy a honking great big AV Receiver and link the L/R pre-outs to your HiFi amp.

    So to my question.... what's the difference between a "Processor" and an A/V reciever? Apart from AVReceivers start at around £250, whereas a Processor is generally a couple of grand, and tends to be pre-amp only and needs a power amp. So is a Processor just an A/V Receiver for the CityTrader in your life with an Xmas bonus to blow? Or what?

    After pondering where my budget needs to be spent, having originally thought it would be an LCD TV, AVReceiver and surround speakers to go with my new Pioneer DV696AV dvd player, I'm coming round to thinking what I really want is a full on amp or pre/power combo to get the best out of my PMC DB1s. I would like surround sound (bit confused about the formats, which seem to multiply by the minute making last year's 5star buy "obsolete") but the thought of having to buy a huge beast to sit in the rack under a hifi or maybe "pro-audio" (Sound on Sound project studio style kit, such as Alesis etc) amp isn't very attractive... the ideal solution would be a cute little decoder like the one that came with the original Aego P5 package... Is there anything like this out there...??? I don't think you can buy the Aego decoder seperately?? I'm starting to get the feeling the industry wants me to buy a load of stuff I don't actually need :rolleyes: And my feeling is that surround sound is a bit of a distracting effect, a bit like 3D films... ;)

    I'm now thinking of ploughing all my budget into a music server so I can get rid of all the CD's with something like a Squeezebox, and some quality amplification to get the most out of the DB1s.......

    Any comments gratefully received :D
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,967
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,671
    Moving to the Processors and Power amps section...should get more replies there.
     
  3. deaf cat

    deaf cat
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,224
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +58
    :hiya:
    Happy New Year!

    Have you had a little read on the Slimdevices audiophile forum?

    It seems that very impressive results can be achieved with a SB and DAC.

    Each change I have made over that last few years has really supprised me as to how good a stereo system can sound - even though I'm still using an av amp as a dac and pre. (I'm only running front left & right speakers).

    I'm looking forward to the next spend, which should improve everything even more:D At the moment there are particular tracks that the sounds seem to be comming from positions all around the room :D and the two front speakers don't seem to be there at all:confused: Have not tried 5.1 for a good while now.

    :smashin:

    Klegg used to do a tiny decoder....

    If your after surround and decent stereo, could get a chepo AV reciever with pre outs FL and FR to go into a decent intergrated amp which powers the fronts and has the Squeezebox/dac pluged into the intergrated so no degradeing of sound through the av amp.

    All good fun:)
     
  4. grimep

    grimep
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    195
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +9
    Cheers, happy new year back, and Ive got the Slimdevices audiophile forum open in another browser window along with about 100 others... :rolleyes: The gf is going to start losing patience soon...

    I want great sound quality for music, but also Ive got a load of empty sockets on the back of the DVD player that look like they want something useful to do... but I dont want to buy a receiver the size of a couple of breezeblocks with a pricetag to match... something like the old Aego with the latest formats and hdmi socketry would be perfect.
     
  5. deaf cat

    deaf cat
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,224
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +58
    Don't know much about Linn gear myself, not demoed any yet:rolleyes: , but I get the impression the boxes are quite small because I think they use a switch mode power supply rather than a whoping big tranny, may solve the big box problem:smashin: - but maybe not the big price tag one.....:rolleyes:

    I looked into demoing a Linn AV5103 (processor and pre) a while back (2nd hand, not made any more), average size of box, the power amp that goes with it I think is the same size....
     
  6. grimep

    grimep
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    195
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +9
    Linn stuff is nice, I bought my old dear a Classik + Dynaudio Audience 52s a coupla years ago, lovely sound ... while I've struggled on with a crappy Denon "style" system more suited to a teenager's bedroom :confused: Time to change that situation.

    While spending the best part of 2 grand on a present for someone wasn't painful, I can't really justify that sort of expense for me, especially as I only watch 2 or 3 DVDs a month, the surround part of the system wouldnt be used that often. And really, I can see why you'd want to spend tons to get a very pure HiFi sound for music, but does surround sound in films really warrant >£1000 expense?
     
  7. deaf cat

    deaf cat
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,224
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +58
    If you get so involved in the story - I totally forget about the sound:rolleyes:

    Ah ha, sounds as if you watch about the same amount of dvd's as we do :eek:

    I'd say its rather nice to have the same quality sound from what ever your listening to, but the more channels the more cash:(

    And seeing as 2 channel can sound so supprisingly amazingly good (just dipping my toes in the water I feel) I'm off down that route, as I get to keep my floor standers:D The tiny surrounds I've heard don't cut it. 'We';) decided 4 floorstanders was a bit much in our not so large living room - stereo here we come:D works out more bang for buck too :)

    All down to what your after really, maybe pop in a shop book a demo and say maybe £1k av reciever even the Arcam, vs £same stereo amp - hear the difference with 2ch - on music of course and 5.1 see what You like best:smashin:
     
  8. grimep

    grimep
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    195
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +9
    one reason a big-money av amp aint for me is Id be driving small rears ... I quite like the monitor radius r45, except theyre rated v low in the Watt department, or id be willing to have a go with the orbaudios (gallos look a bit pricey for what they are)

    also im in a 5 x 4 metre living room in a semi (therefore neighbours are an issue)

    So.... just what IS the difference between a Processor and an AV Receiver?!
     
  9. crobo

    crobo
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    3,187
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings:
    +130
    An AV processor does only 'process' the signal and you need a separate 5- or 7-channel poweramp to complete the job. They do a better job than most integrated receivers (maybe the top of the range £3-4k models are an exception).

    The problem for audiophiles is that few AV receivers are any good at all for stereo music. I had several and eventually went for an AV processor purely to get decent stereo performance and greater simplicity (though I understand that AV processors vary a lot in terms of stereo abilities).

    The first step for most people is to buy a decent-ish AV receiver and link a 2-channel integrated amp to the L/R pre-outs. This can work very well.
     
  10. phils_wicked

    phils_wicked
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    561
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Luton (UK)
    Ratings:
    +16
    Im currently running a Rotel 1075 power amp with a Yamaha 757se as a pre-amp/processor.

    The difference using the 1075 for amplification is clearly noticable and lately I have been considering selling the 757 and replacing it with a dedicated processor. However, as yet I have not had the chance to audition any processors and am also wondering how much of an improvement there would be in changing.

    To my eyes (not ears as yet) it seems to be a fair sum of money for somthing that inegrated amps do quite well.
     
  11. ralphmalph

    ralphmalph
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,193
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +133
    Hi Phils,

    Replace your 757se with a high end processor from a few years ago ie Tag, Lexicon, Meridian even at the 500 pound level second hand you will not believe the difference. Watching (listening to them acutally) movies is like night and day.

    I know I did it. When people come round they all invariably say "Sounds just like being at the Cinema".
     
  12. dpstjp

    dpstjp
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Messages:
    516
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +48
    I always thought a "receiver" had a tuner/wireless/radiogram (delete according to age) built into it.

    dpstjp
     
  13. deaf cat

    deaf cat
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,224
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +58
    yep av recievers have a radio:) built in
     
  14. grey torq

    grey torq
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2002
    Messages:
    394
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +26
    I agree with ralphmalph, I have seen some Lexicon MC-1's on ebay recently you might be lucky and pick one up for £500 or less.

    You really only appreciate what's being discussed here when you take into account the kind of kit most people have owned, got used to, lived with etc.
    Plenty of people don't realise how good surround sound can be until they experience a quality setup and the killer of this hobby is that when you do hear a significant improvement then there is no going back!

    People are understandably wary of the second hand market because brand new kit with a good warranty must sound better than 2nd had kit with the risks of repair costs - unfortunately what the equipment sounds like does not seem to count for that much if it's got all the latest bells and whistles.

    He who dares wins - in it's day Lexicon,
    Meridian, Tag etc were top dog and as far as I can hear they still are.
     
  15. spinaltap

    spinaltap
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2004
    Messages:
    2,779
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +1,323
  16. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Messages:
    656
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    LONDON
    Ratings:
    +37
    I would also urge you to listen to what a good processor/amp can achieve. I was frankly amazed at the variance between the best respected receivers (Yamaha/Denon/Marantz) and pre/pros like the Naim Meridian Bryston etc. The latter can actually play music, and also give a far more natural sound from film ,and even much TV. On first listening the receivers can sound more impressive, with high impact from explosion sound effects. Later however, one notices just how much the musical soundtrack can enhance the viewing experience. And here the better pre/pros seem to me to be in another league
     
  17. phils_wicked

    phils_wicked
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Messages:
    561
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Luton (UK)
    Ratings:
    +16
    Sorry to hijack slightly, but what older processors would you recommend looking at? models etc?

    Thanks
     
  18. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Messages:
    656
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    LONDON
    Ratings:
    +37
    Well obviously the Proceed AVP, as that is what I ended up with after quite a lot of searching. The AVP2 is better still, but rarer than hen's teeth!
    On a similar note the EAD is supposedly superb, but I've never had the pleasure.
    I also really liked the Krell Showcase, the Bryston, and the NaimAV2. The Meridian didn,t quite do it for me, but many others disagree.

    I did not like the Arcam or the TAG, as both were too brash for my palate.

    Unheard but probably worth investigating are the Primare, Parasound, Myriad, Theta, and Cary. The latter two sound like they should be superb.

    Good hunting!!
     
  19. lovegroova

    lovegroova
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    2,741
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Herts
    Ratings:
    +390
    As Peter says, it's very much a matter of personal taste, although I'm not sure what his palate has to do with his hearing ;)

    None of the makes he suggests produced 'bad' processors, they are just 'different'.

    As a TAG owner (previously an SP version, and now a DP version) I have to disagree on his assessment of it. The top end is marvellous, clear and beautifully defined, to my ears at least, it has the best cymbal and hi-hat reprouction of anything I've heard. The Room EQ on the DP version is a truly marvellous addition. Sadly, the DPs are also rare as owners do not want to sell them on, which tells you much about their quality.
     
  20. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,967
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,671
    A lot depends on the partnering equipment,and also in the case of the TAG,the 192khZ DACs were much better,as is the DP version.

    The latter certainly isnt brash,and obviously has room EQ as well,but even now,isnt cheap.

    I would also agree with Peter that the Proceed was and is a very good processor,but any of the above mentioned machines are worth a look if you can track them down.
     
  21. Nickiniquity

    Nickiniquity
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    30
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Location:
    Southampton
    Ratings:
    +4
    I'm very impressed with my second hand Lexicon DC1 partnered with rotel amps. It's a bit long in the tooth by modern processor standards (it doesn't do things like DD-EX for example), but the sound quality is good enough for it to be your main HiFi, which is very convenient. They used some really good Crystal 24bit DAC's for the main left right channels, and some cheaper ones for the rear channels. I use mine for music by feeding it spdif from a lossless media server. The analogue inputs on the DC1 are okish...it does an ADC operation on them which can't be bypassed (as all the volume controls act in the digital domain) which I'm not keen on as you then have a needless ADC->DAC process going on.

    I paid £400quid for it s/h some years ago, but if you can get MC1's at that price now...:smashin:

    The problem with most integrated processor amps in purist HiFi terms is that there is always a compromise.... to make a 6ch amp in one box of reasonable size & cost things have to give. Usually the main dc power supply is shared between all 6 amps giving potential for interaction (eg big load on the LFE channel might affect the others). Also, the modulation of the power supply voltage by the power amps could easily affect the pre-amp stages if the design is not done carefully. It is also usually undersized to deliver the rated output power on all six channels at once as this saves on the size/cost of the psu again.

    btw, I also run a 4:0 setup (soon to be 4:1 once I've finished the Mk3 homebrew monster sub....) with LFE and centre channel downmixed to the Front L & R. I find that unless you have a hugely wide room, with people sat at the edges the centre channel isn't really needed to keep a good image.

    5.1 formats are full range audio on the rear channels, so I use similar big speakers to my fronts. Apart from the size issues, I can never really understand why people have limited bandwidth rear speakers as this seems to waste this potential!

    Laters

    Nick
     

Share This Page

Loading...