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Seperates or Integrated?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by NickG, May 25, 2001.

  1. NickG

    NickG
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    Long-time lurker, first post…

    I am currently using 2 Rotel RB 981 (120wpc) power amps to power my front three, with the centre bi-amped. Although discontinued these amps are starting to appear second hand, and I am considering adding a few more. I have some questions I would really appreciate some advice on.

    These amps can be bridged to give 360wpc to a single mono channel, would 360w be to much to power speakers rated at 120wpc if used sensibly?

    Secondly how would amps of this quality (£300 new) compare to the amplification in a top end integrated such as the AVC-A1SE or the DSP-AX1? I am unsure whether to add more power amps and then be able to upgrade to a decent processor, or dump the lot and go for one of the above integrated amps.

    If anybody has made this choice in the past I would love to receive some advice.

    Cheers

    NickG
     
  2. NickG

    NickG
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    Gary,

    Thanks for your detailed answer, I have tried the front stero pair in bridged mode, and to be honest I couldn't determine a great benefit either, perhaps this would be evident with more demanding speakers.

    I also worry about the minimum 8ohm warning in bridged mode as speakers can drop well below this at times during use.

    Anyway thanks again I shall continue to consider my options
     
  3. torimusic

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    I have an Onkyo TX-DS777 receiver which has fairly decent power amps inside but I am using a Rotel RB-993 to power my centre and surrounds and an RB-991 for my mains. The Rotels are certainly better than the Onkyo's internal amps. Separates as a rule generally always give better results than 'all in one box solutions'. If however you have poor quality separate power amps then a top of the line AV receiver probably will outperform the separate budget amps. I would always go for separates even if I have to put myself into a bit of debt.
     
  4. Guest

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    Separates rule. Look at high end setups and they are all separates based. Benefits include better signal separation/isolation and independent loading of the power amp transformers. You also get better flexibility and upgradeability later on. And besides, nothing looks cooler than a stack of power amps :D.

    Seriously though, buy the secondhand rotels and splash out on a high end processor - the results will be far superior to an integrated solution.
     
  5. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    Hi NickG,

    I have a 981 for my centre (biamped) and one for my my rears. I use a Musical Fidelity XAS100 for the L&R (IMHO better for music which is important for me).

    I tried the 981's bridged and biamped on my centre and to be honest there was not a huge difference. Biamped sounded better.

    The extra bridged power gives you better dynamics, a cleaner and more controlled bass. This will depend a lot on the speaker though. Some speakers may benefit more from being biamped than they do with the extra grunt you get from bridged mode (of course you could do both ! Biamp with 2 bridged 981s !!!!)

    I doubt very much that you would risk damaging your speakers when bridged. Underpowered amps are more likely to damage speakers than overpowered amps.

    Check your speaker impedance if you bridge though. The Rotel amps specify an absolute minimum of 8ohms when bridged (when not bridged you can go down to 4ohms).

    Compared to my previous Harmon Kardon integrated the pre/power route was a big improvement. Not sure how the 981's compare to the more recent Denon and Yamaha stuff. I found the Denon 10SE far too soft. This was probably the preamp/processing rather than the power amp though.

    Why not try your centre speaker in bridged mode and see which you prefer ? As long as you don't turn it up to 11 you won't kill the speaker (it would distort like mad and burst your ear drums before you cause any real damage). It's easy to do - 3 jumpers to change and a different configuration of the output sockets.

    The big benefit of the pre-power route is the limitless scope to upgrades. Buying second hand power amps makes it even more attractive and affordable.

    Cheers
    Gary

    [ 25-05-2001: Message edited by: Gary Palmer ]
     
  6. Guest

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    Separates, no question. Rotel offer superb value for the money.
     
  7. buns

    buns
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    I agree whole heartedly on this point. It is an awful lot easier to agree with than to actually achieve though! If you are looking for top notch music, as I am, it is near on impossible to get quality stereo performance out of a surround pre amp, that is, unless you look at the tags and lexicons of this world, and thats just a bit beyond me! So for the sake of music (i dont mean good music, i mean great music!), I am stuck with my hifi preamp. So how exactly do I go about adding good multichannel sound? I guess for the harmony of the sound, it would be nice to use power amps with similar characteristics as you hifi power amp ie the same manufacturer....and it makes for quite a sound! The problem then comes with the processing. I am willing to sacrifice the fact that I have an extra link on the fron channel, ie from processor to hifi preamp then to power amp. What I am not so happy about is that I cannot get processing with bells on (EX/ES etc) without winning the lottery. UNless, I use the processing from a cinema amp.....but then I am wasting 6 channels of built in amplification!!!! ARGH! Could someone not come up with a surround processor that has all the dts es matrixed and neo6 etc, but not charge us £5k? it couldnt be that hard! If someone had a processor that did all the stuff that the AV1se does, and sold it for £1500, I would jump up and down for weeks! it wouldnt take much to part me from my money! So why wont anyone do it.....I wont buy the rotel processors because they are lacking in these extras, why cant they make something that has them and bump the price up £500?

    sorry....this has me disgruntled!

    Adam
     
  8. RAC

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    TAG McLaren doesn't cost £5K and is supposed to offer the high end musicality that interests you. Sure, you'll be pushed to buy this on a student loan, but in my mind at least, it's top of the 'must try' list when sufficient funds are realised. I'm also interested in the Rotel RMB-1095, with the option of an additional 2 channel power amp if I want to go the 7 speaker route. Does anyone want to buy a house in South London so I can get on with this? ;)
     
  9. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    Hi Buns

    "unless you look at the tags and lexicons of this world"

    Sorry mate. I have a Lexicon and for pure music 2-channel it's really only mid-Fi (though excellent for multi-channel music and of course for movies).

    I suspect that the only HC processors out there that cut it as stereo preamps are the top-end Meridians and Linns - watch the Tag owners smack me down ;-).

    As always, (and repeating an old cliche) life is full compromises.....
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    I was speaking not out of experience but out of other peoples words and presumption. I have not heard a lexicon, but all who i know who have are praising all its attributes. If home cinema and hifi are to co exist, this apparently wrong assumption, must be made right!

    I have looked at the tag, as u suggest it is a bit beyond me. Well, thats a lie. It isnt too mush, but that would then involve my main picture source being a 21 inch tv.....whereas if I spend less on the sound....which is already good, I will have a sanyo pvl30 or the likes to show for it! A far better plan i would think!

    Adam
     
  11. RAC

    RAC
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    You could always enlist for that post grad course and get another student loan next year :cool:
     
  12. buns

    buns
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    Why go for a post grad course....after all I will be getting a loan next year anyways, it is only my second year!

    And before someone attacks me again for being spoilt or whatever.....one of the joys (there arent many) of living at home while at uni, is that things like rent, food, laundry, transport, well they are all free! Add to that spending the time i should be at lectures, at work, and you have a great combination to make money! But as you may notice, it looks like I will be working weekends as well in the near future!!

    Adam
     
  13. Guest

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    Fair play to you
     
  14. buns

    buns
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    Becoming something of a bargain hunter.....but this time im out of my depth!

    "Brand new and boxed Lexicon DC1.2 surround sound processor. Version 4 software, dolby digital and dts logic 7, THX ultra and surround EX processing."

    What is a dc1.2??? I know of the dc1, and the dc2, but not this one! I am interested because I have spotted this for £1.5k, which to me seems good.....but not knowing what it actually is never helps! I need to know if it is anything worth considering at this price.....and yes i know I'm suddenly forgetting hifi roots, but am considering all possibilities!

    Any help is appreciated!

    Adam
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    sorry to be pessimistic....

    that lexicon i mentioned for £1500, I saw it in qxl auctions.....apparently being sold by a guy from laservision. But All sorts of alarms in me are ringing! Why would a authorised dealer be selling a brand new machine in an online auction.....I have also noticed that this same machine is in the classifieds of this site....

    so tell me if I am far to untrusting, or just a regular student who wont take his eyes of his money!!!

    Adam
     

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