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What is Pre/Power going to give me???

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
Over an avr...............??

I am/will be in the market to replace my trusty Yamaha RX V 2700 over the coming months, and I am looking at/toying with the idea of a pre/power combination, but what am I getting in absolute terms if I go this route

Let's say there is a budget of £1.5 to £2k for a new amplication source
Looking around the Emotive UMC1 and XA power amp seems popular, closer to home I have heard good things re the Audiolab pre and Rotel power combinations.

Again what is this going to give me if we stack this combination up against the top end avrs from say Yamaha and Pioneer?
To start with, I don't need a networked receiver per se (nice to have though) I have ATV for Airplay although a dedicated iPod dock does sound better IMHO
I don't support the idea of 3D therefore I don't need it
It would be good to bi-amp my front F&R if I could, and I am looking for a clean and detailed sound (not harsh or bright) to support the KEF Rs that I have recently bought.

Where do I start and why??
 

hifix

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I'm sure you already know what I think. But I'm going to tell you anyway :)

For me, the main thing about a pre/power is choice. You can choose a power amplifier that is the perfect match for your speakers, or choose a particular type of amplification that suits you - Class A,Class A/B, Class D - as well as choosing the amount of channels you need (5, 7, 9, 11 etc). The more channels you get in an integrated receiver, the lesser quality they're going to be. Also, amplification doesn't really change very much, so it isn't something you need to change every year to keep up with everyone else.

Pre/processors are a different matter though. These generally do change every year, and aren't too great at holding their value. You can choose to spend as little or as much as you like on as simple or complicated a processor as you want. An AV pre-amplifier, like a hi-fi pre-amplifier, only needs a fairly small transformer to do what it needs to do, so it can have a bespoke one designed specifically for its own requirements - no dirty great transformer interfering with delicate pre-amp signal or processing. The power amplifier can then have as large a transformer as it likes, which won't then be shared with the pre-amplifier section.

Within your budget, I think you'll find the Rotel and Audiolab the better sounding ones. This is because they're kept simple, and their designers have concentrated on getting the basics right. The Audiolab might be a little inflexible for some, but the Rotel adds what some might need, although it is a little bit more. If the 8200AP does what you need it to, then the remainder of your budget can be ploughed into getting the best amplifier you can for your R Series. If you wanted to see what difference the Audiolab would make, try one at home and use your Yamaha as a power amplifier (I believe the 2700 has pre-inputs for adding processors). This will show how much cleaner and open the Audiolab is in comparison to an integrated receiver.
 

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
Dav1dF said:
I'm sure you already know what I think. But I'm going to tell you anyway :)

For me, the main thing about a pre/power is choice. You can choose a power amplifier that is the perfect match for your speakers, or choose a particular type of amplification that suits you - Class A,Class A/B, Class D - as well as choosing the amount of channels you need (5, 7, 9, 11 etc). The more channels you get in an integrated receiver, the lesser quality they're going to be. Also, amplification doesn't really change very much, so it isn't something you need to change every year to keep up with everyone else.

Pre/processors are a different matter though. These generally do change every year, and aren't too great at holding their value. You can choose to spend as little or as much as you like on as simple or complicated a processor as you want. An AV pre-amplifier, like a hi-fi pre-amplifier, only needs a fairly small transformer to do what it needs to do, so it can have a bespoke one designed specifically for its own requirements - no dirty great transformer interfering with delicate pre-amp signal or processing. The power amplifier can then have as large a transformer as it likes, which won't then be shared with the pre-amplifier section.

Within your budget, I think you'll find the Rotel and Audiolab the better sounding ones. This is because they're kept simple, and their designers have concentrated on getting the basics right. The Audiolab might be a little inflexible for some, but the Rotel adds what some might need, although it is a little bit more. If the 8200AP does what you need it to, then the remainder of your budget can be ploughed into getting the best amplifier you can for your R Series. If you wanted to see what difference the Audiolab would make, try one at home and use your Yamaha as a power amplifier (I believe the 2700 has pre-inputs for adding processors). This will show how much cleaner and open the Audiolab is in comparison to an integrated receiver.
Thanks David

There seems to be strong support for the Emotiva solution, and I'm keen to hear of a comparison between your suggestion and say the UMC1 and XPA5/7, they do seem to offer extraordinary bang for the buck

Is £1400 reasonable money for a pre amp, even an Audiolab, does seem a hell of a lot?
 

jimfrench

Novice Member
Since you call it your trusty 2700, I guess you like Yamaha, as do I. I use the RX-A2000 (2067) as a pre which allows me extra speakers and extra zones using the Yamaha amplifiers. I added a Rotel RMB1575 as a power amp and it works very well as its a class D and I have limited space for a larger amp class for ventilation purposes. Just thinking!
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Dav1dF said:
I'm sure you already know what I think. But I'm going to tell you anyway :)

For me, the main thing about a pre/power is choice. You can choose a power amplifier that is the perfect match for your speakers, or choose a particular type of amplification that suits you - Class A,Class A/B, Class D - as well as choosing the amount of channels you need (5, 7, 9, 11 etc). The more channels you get in an integrated receiver, the lesser quality they're going to be. Also, amplification doesn't really change very much, so it isn't something you need to change every year to keep up with everyone else.

Pre/processors are a different matter though. These generally do change every year, and aren't too great at holding their value. You can choose to spend as little or as much as you like on as simple or complicated a processor as you want. An AV pre-amplifier, like a hi-fi pre-amplifier, only needs a fairly small transformer to do what it needs to do, so it can have a bespoke one designed specifically for its own requirements - no dirty great transformer interfering with delicate pre-amp signal or processing. The power amplifier can then have as large a transformer as it likes, which won't then be shared with the pre-amplifier section.

Within your budget, I think you'll find the Rotel and Audiolab the better sounding ones. This is because they're kept simple, and their designers have concentrated on getting the basics right. The Audiolab might be a little inflexible for some, but the Rotel adds what some might need, although it is a little bit more. If the 8200AP does what you need it to, then the remainder of your budget can be ploughed into getting the best amplifier you can for your R Series.

'If you wanted to see what difference the Audiolab would make, try one at home and use your Yamaha as a power amplifier (I believe the 2700 has pre-inputs for adding processors). This will show how much cleaner and open the Audiolab is in comparison to an integrated receiver.'



All great stuff but the end, that wouldn't work ;)
 
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hifix

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Is £1400 reasonable money for a pre amp, even an Audiolab, does seem a hell of a lot?
For its performance, it isn't actually that much. It can compete with other pre/processors more expensive than itself on sound quality terms, just not on features.

Since you call it your trusty 2700, I guess you like Yamaha, as do I. I use the RX-A2000 (2067) as a pre which allows me extra speakers and extra zones using the Yamaha amplifiers. I added a Rotel RMB1575 as a power amp and it works very well as its a class D and I have limited space for a larger amp class for ventilation purposes. Just thinking!
If David is happy with his Yammy as a processor, then I'd agree - after all, I was using a 1575 with my old R300's :)

All great stuff but the end, that wouldn't work ;)
And why not?
 
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fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
It's a minefield to me, I've gotten to grips with mainstream avr's and where/what to look for, sonic signatures etc of the main brands but pre/power I don't know.

Not always easy to home dem either, hence my questions. also looking for vfm as well as performance hence my query over Emotiva as they appear (on paper at least) to offer staggering good value for money, but I'm not geting that feeling from the responses so far
I saw that there was a UMC1 and an XPA7 in the Classifieds for an all in £900, sounds good value, is it??
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Dav1dF said:
For its performance, it isn't actually that much. It can compete with other pre/processors more expensive than itself on sound quality terms, just not on features.

If David is happy with his Yammy as a processor, then I'd agree - after all, I was using a 1575 with my old R300's :)

And why not?
Think about it David, the signal will go through two pre-amp stages. Unless of course you could specify exactly what inputs on the 2700avr will bypass its own preamp and send the signal direct to its power amp stage?
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
fayeanddavid said:
It's a minefield to me, I've gotten to grips with mainstream avr's and where/what to look for, sonic signatures etc of the main brands but pre/power I don't know.

Not always easy to home dem either, hence my questions. also looking for vfm as well as performance hence my query over Emotiva as they appear (on paper at least) to offer staggering good value for money, but I'm not geting that feeling from the responses so far
I saw that there was a UMC1 and an XPA7 in the Classifieds for an all in £900, sounds good value, is it??
Whilst that combo will be an improvement over the 2700, the UMC1 will let the side down somewhat so I wouldn't let the price 'appeal' be the deciding factor. Bi-amping doesn't always 'improve' the sound so perhaps not as important as you may think currently.

May i suggest the Audiolab 8200ap/emotiva xpa5 as an alternative to get a significant worthwhile leap in SQ. I can recommend a place where you could get the 8200ap at the best price currently available if you do go down that route.
 

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
Whilst that combo will be an improvement over the 2700, the UMC1 will let the side down somewhat so I wouldn't let the price 'appeal' be the deciding factor. Bi-amping doesn't always 'improve' the sound so perhaps not as important as you may think currently.

May i suggest the Audiolab 8200ap/emotiva xpa5 as an alternative to get a significant worthwhile leap in SQ. I can recommend a place where you could get the 8200ap at the best price currently available if you do go down that route.
David

I shall pm you.
 

hifix

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Think about it David, the signal will go through two pre-amp stages. Unless of course you could specify exactly what inputs on the 2700avr will bypass its own preamp and send the signal direct to its power amp stage?
It may not show the full difference between them, but the processing will take place in the Audiolab - that alone will show a difference, even if the Yamaha pre-amp section doesn't let it through untouched. Of course, the actual difference between the two will be greater when the 8200AP is used with a dedicated power amp.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
It may not show the full difference between them, but the processing will take place in the Audiolab - that alone will show a difference, even if the Yamaha pre-amp section doesn't let it through untouched. Of course, the actual difference between the two will be greater when the 8200AP is used with a dedicated power amp.
You said:


If you wanted to see what difference the Audiolab would make, try one at home and use your Yamaha as a power amplifier (I believe the 2700 has pre-inputs for adding processors). This will show how much cleaner and open the Audiolab is in comparison to an integrated receiver.
The 'pre-inputs' that you mention are there to add stereo and/or multi-channel source, not external processors.

It will not be fair comparison to route the 8200ap's signal via the AVR since MOST of the improvements will be masked/degraded by the AVR. You should know better than to play down the significance of this. :rolleyes:
 

hifix

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
No, I should know better than to word things extremely carefully :)

You'll still hear a different though, so I stand by what I said.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
No, I should know better than to word things extremely carefully :)

You'll still hear a different though, so I stand by what I said.
Sorry, I dont think you know what you are talking about there. There will be a difference thats for sure but the 8200ap routed via the AVR may indeed make it sound worse than the AVR.
 

hifix

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Sorry, I dont think you know what you are talking about there. There will be a difference thats for sure but the 8200ap routed via the AVR may indeed make it sound worse than the AVR.
It won't make it sound worse than the AVR. I'll guarantee if he tried it, he'd hear a difference. For the better. It was just something for the OP to try if he had the chance. He doesn't have to. I'm sure if he can loan a pre/processor, he can also loan a power amp, and try both together.
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
I understand what you are saying. When I've tried similar in the past but using two different processors the sound degradation was severe no matter which way round I tried them hence why I say the comparison will not be valid.
 

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