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Receiver and Stereo amp used together

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi guys,

My setup has changed to make things a bit easier for the wifey (switching audio channels and video channels with so many sources, so want to use my receiver to help)

My question is as follows:

Should I use my receiver or my stereo amp as the pre amp?

System details:
PC using apple lossless tracks (900/1000kbps roughly)
Into a Musical Fidelity DAC via usb and then good quality analogue cable to;
Either an Onkyo tx-sr875 or a Roksan Kandy LIII
Then into Spendor A6 with Tellurium Q blue speaker cable

Was really interested in your thoughts on this please? Which way round?

Thanks,
Rob.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
  1. Hi Rob.

Definitely the roksan for music.

Do you have both those amps or considering adding either? If both, Are they both part of the same set-up or separate?

EDIT: Just seen the 'My ' bit so you have both and that mutes my 1st question. :facepalm:.
 
Last edited:

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi Don Dadda, thanks for responding.

I have both products and will be using both products but both the roksan stereo amp and the cinema receiver have pre-outs so can use either as the preamp.

So you'd definitely do the Roksan first then use the pre-outs from that into the Onkyo receiver?

That means that the preamp is the most important device for the musicality?

Thanks.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
No. I would take the onkyo out of the music chain altogether and Have all music sources to kandy and video to onkyo.

I believe ( which you could confirm) the kandy has ht bypass.
So I would connect the onkyo pre outs and feed it to kandy. Front speakers connect to kandy and center, rear and sub on the onkyo .

When watching films, switch on ht bypass on kandy and then control as normal using the onkyo for volume, selection, etc as that will now become the pre amp.

How is it all setup currently?
 

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi Don, we are fortunate enough to have a room for cinema so the setup above is just a stereo setup. I am using the onkyo as the preamp at the moment and I'd better double check that tonight!

Not sure what the ht bypass is though? I'm going to "Google" that!

So currently have the kandy on about "2pm" on the volume and do use the Onkyo's volume control. There's more power to the speakers and they feel more in control at louder volumes with the onkyo AND the kandy together just wondered which way round would be best. It's a little awkward to just swap and test so thought I'd see if there was a definitive way to do this?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Sorry ... perhaps I don't understand ... you claim you want to make things simpler for your wife. Combining Stereo and AV Receiver does not seem to be the way to do that.

I say - PICK ONE! Meaning pick Stereo or Surround Sound, and dump your considerable money into that.

Do you actually use Surround Sound?

You only mention the Spendor A6 speakers; no Sub, no Center, no Surrounds. In my opinion, if you are not actually using surround sound, then don't spend your money on a surround sound amp. Get a stereo.

Nothing does music like a Stereo system.

If you have a lot of computer music, then get a Stereo with a Network Player. These use a Smart Device app to browse and select your music. Very simply to use. I realize that today virtually all AV Receivers come with Network Streaming capability, but ...again... if you are not using Surround Sound, then there is really no point in buying a Surround Sound amp.

If you are not using Surround Sound but are watching movies, then a Stereo system can do a good job for movies.

You mention the Roksan Kandy LIII amp, but give no price. This has to be a used amp, so how much you intend to pay would be worthwhile information.

Now if you simply want the Roksan Kandy Power amp ... fine. But, this is not how one would simplify a system for the wife.

So, it seems cross purposes. Which is the real purpose? It seems that simplification is not the real objective. Because what you describe does not sound like a simple system.

You can't get what you want until you know what you want.

What is it you really want?

Steve/bluewizard
 

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi Steve,

It's much easier for my wife this way as she doesn't keep having to switch inputs on the DACs and the HDMI switchers and TV AV inputs when I can plug them all into one AV receiver. All she does is press a button on the AV receiver depending upon which source she wants, NowTV, Cable, Blu-Ray etc etc. Simple!

I already own the Onkyo AV receiver and the Roksan Kandy stereo amp and I am using them both. I use a high quality DAC with it's own special power supply so will not be streaming my music. The only question I have is whether the receiver or the stereo amp (it's not a power amp, it's an integrated amplifier) should be used as the preamp as they both have this capability.

So as you can see Steve, I know what I want, it's a simple question and I'm hoping somebody knows the answer. My thread did start with "My setup has changed to make things a bit easier for the wifey...". This indicates that I have this gear already and is already setup. I upgraded my cinema room with a Pioneer receiver so have the Onkyo going spare and it's chuffing powerful so am utilising it.

There are no other speakers, simply stereo. My only question: Which is better to use as preamp, the AV receiver or the stereo amp? Simple, if you don't know then you don't know.

Thanks,
Rob.
 

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi Don,

I don't think the Kandy has HT bypass but will just use the preouts :-(
I'm at work at the moment so can't totally confirm but have looked on Google at pictures of the back of my stereo amp.

I guess I'll have to just try them both in the different positions and listen with my wife. I do want to keep both because of the extra power; it does make a difference. You did say early on you reckon the Kandy should be the preamp instead of the AV receiver so I'll definitely give it a test that way round at some point soon.

Thanks for the advice,
Rob.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I think the Kandy L.III is a power amp ... unless I looked up the wrong amp.

WAIT, I did another search, apparently there is a Kandy L.III Integrated amp.

If you need all the features that the Onkyo amp provides, then I would use it as a Pre-Amp to the Power Amp in the Kandy LIII.

The Onkyo on its own is a pretty fair AV Receiver, well above average. But, a separate Stereo Power Amp could be an advantage.

If you don't need all those digital inputs, the just use the Kandy Integrated. Though you will need at least one Optical Input for the amp.

Generally to use a Stereo with a TV for movies (as an example), all the HDMI cables are connected to the TV, and the Stereo Digital Audio Out (usually Optical) is connect to the Stereo amp or to a DAC.

The Onkyo allows the direct connect of multiple HDMI sources with a bi-pass to send the Video on to the TV via a single common HDMI cable.

So, not being clear on your circumstances, it is hard to make a recommendation. Also, I'm having a problem finding a large clear picture of the back of the Kandy LIII amp.

While it would be preferred to use a Power Amp, I have no problem using a Integrated Amp as essentially a Power Amp. Play some source, and determine the comfortable listening level relative to the setting on the AVR. Say -10db as an example.

Then connect the Integrated amp to the AVR Pre-Amp outs, and bring the volume up on the Integrated Amp until what you hear is consistent with what you heard with the Onkyo on its own. On my second amp, I've put sliver of white mailing label to mark the spot where the Integrated Amp is coordinated with the Main Amp. That way it is always easy to return to that spot if the volume gets changed.

Once that volume is set, it doesn't need to be changed. Just set it and forget it. Turn it on and it is already at the correct setting.

In my case, I am using two amps to drive two separate sets of Speakers. But the concept is the same. Set the Integrated amp to the required level and leave it there. From that point forward everything is controlled with the Onkyo Pre-Amp.

The power ratings are very similar between the Onkyo and the Roksan, but I'm betting the Roksan sounds better than the Onkyo.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi Steve, thanks for the long response.

I don't mean to be ungrateful but I am Cedia certified and also an IT professional so know how to cable everything and set everything up. I'm fairly new to the forums so maybe you're used to people not knowing a lot but my question really is very simple and really just needs a simple answer.

I haven't used a receiver and a stereo amp together before in a pre and power amp situation and just wanted to know which would be the better way round for the sound quality as for me to change things over it's a right pain in the arse.
Thanks,
Rob.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Hi Rob

Apologies if I didn't make myself clear

I did say the roksan and I stand by that. Maybe I should of included 'on its own and not involve the onkyo'. However, in my second post I did say to remove the onkyo from the music chain altogether as the Roksan will sound better and went on to describe how you could have both amps in the setup so you have the better music reproduction and have a more wife friendly setup for tv.

In saying that the pic of Liii I found, as with Steve is not the best when enlarged but it seems to have 2 pre outs. Is that correct? If so then it may not have the HT bypass.

If you look at the K2 in the link below it shows the connection for a pre to connect to for HT bypass.
https://www.henleydesigns.co.uk/assets/_managed/product/files/k2ampback.jpg

This separates the pre and power stages of the integrated amplifier and in this mode, it's pre will work with a external amplifier but nots its own. same for the power stage. Will work with a external pre, but its own pre will not. This is set by the switch.

Your amp looks to have 2 pre outs. So if it has HT bypass, it is not obvious on how to set it.

If it does not then since there are no center, rears or sub to worry about, the above combo setup is still valid for best results music wise.
 

Robhex

Novice Member
Hi Don, thanks for coming back to me again.

I should have said at the start that I have to use both for ease and the power is so much better with both. I spotted that you mentioned to use the Kandy first:

I
You did say early on you reckon the Kandy should be the preamp instead of the AV receiver so I'll definitely give it a test that way round at some point soon

So you think the pre stage is more important so probably does more to process the information coming through in a more refined way. I'd probably agree as that does make sense.

Thanks again,
Rob.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Well, that's how i see it.

I'm not saying that the power stage does not affect the overall SQ in anyway, it may well do , but I don't believe anywhere near as much as a pre with the circuitry that has and more so in AVR. Hence why i said leave it out of the music chain. The power amp just amplifies what it receives from the pre. It also depends on the components inside and the quality of them. Pre and Pro.

Just for the record and a well noted fact, Onkyo AVR's at the time of the 875 release, (2007 or 8 i think) are not known for being musical and was much bemoaned about. Great for films and connectivity though. There are those that was and still are good with music, like Marantz, Cambridge audio and a few others. This can still be applied to quite a few AVR's today but i know Onkyo have got better at it. For an AVR to equal the music performance of a stereo amp, it will cost 3x more. This is not rule of thumb but a general trend. Its also down to expectations.

There has been a few cases of folks with Flag ship AVRs which cost as much as a small car and they are still not happy with how well it deals with music and end up buying a stereo amp.

Since you have both, you can try the dac on each amp and compare, but if you are happy with the onkyo as a pre for everything then that's all that matters :smashin:.
 

Robhex

Novice Member
The power stage as you say Don does affect it, just wasn't sure which does more. As you say, probably the pre stage and that's where I'd put the Kandy. The first review of the onkyo 875 by what hifi actually said it was very good for music. Obviously not as good as stereo amps and I'd agree, it's about 3 or 4 times the price for an AV amp over a stereo amp to be comparable.
I'm certainly going to have a little play with the kit soon!
Thanks again,
Rob.
 

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