Where are all the "affordable" processors?

Thumpermawer

Active Member
Most of my AV time is spent listening to music, more so now that I'm WFH and am able to listen to music throughout the day. I am itching for the lockdown to be lifted for a million reasons, and one of those is being able to get back to gigs. Even so, ever since I spent most of my wages from a first job on a Sherwood receiver from Richer Sounds so that I could listen to the glorious Dolby Pro-Logic tracks on VHS tapes I've favoured having an AV Receiver at home to handle the music and movie duties.

However, I'm getting bored with having to regularly shell out to replace the perfectly functional amplification in my receivers to unlock the higher quality available from newer formats in newer boxes. So the processor/power amp combo format is appealing. Particularly as I don't want a particularly complex system and typically with AV receivers the quality of amplification increases in line with the receivers feature set. In the past I've had success improving av receivers with power amps (Cyrus and Linn were both huge improvements, Rotel was a wash with the Denon receiver I had at the time).

What's not appealing, is that processors are typically in much higher price brackets than the equipment I'm used to buying. What's the most affordable processor you know of? I searched most of the dealers with online presence and found precious little under £2.5k.

OK then, buy a budget receiver and use the pre-outs to feed power amps? Nope. By the time you've got to a level where the feature set includes a full set of pre-outs you're already spending around a grand, so it's not much more to get one with reasonable amplification included.

Is there really no market for a ~£500 processor? There's plenty of Receivers at or under this price point offering new formats and connectivity that have integrated amplification, why the reluctance to offer the same models sans amps?

I think the closest I can find is the slimline Marantz NR 1711, but even then it includes some unnecessary amplification and only pre-outs the fronts (which isn't too bad for me, as these would be the priority for music).

Are there any other options - does anyone make a device that adds AV to a stereo amp (av processing and centre and rear power)? Or am I going to have to set aside more money for features I don't need so that I can get the ones I do want?
 

Isco 3

Active Member
I suppose a £500 processor would 'process' like an £800 integrated would, when the pre-outs are being used. So you might as well use an integrated amp for such task.
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I've not seen a £500 pound av processor for many years although one of the cheapest is still until £1k (well just about) and that this Emotiva MC-700. I know it's well received by many but does require a power amp to hear it sing.

Now if you already have a stereo solution and it has something call "av bypass" (not all have it labelled, so consult the manual) which basically means one of its inputs can be fixed allowing control from the volume level from an av receiver with front outputs via RCA.

If this is what you are looking for then Yamaha's RX-V6A is something closer to that price point which you are looking for as it has the ability to pass signal to a compatible stereo amp with movies whilst allowing you to use your stereo amp for everything else (which is what I think you might be looking in a roundabout way) :)
 

Thumpermawer

Active Member
I've not seen a £500 pound av processor for many years although one of the cheapest is still until £1k (well just about) and that this Emotiva MC-700. I know it's well received by many but does require a power amp to hear it sing.

Now if you already have a stereo solution and it has something call "av bypass" (not all have it labelled, so consult the manual) which basically means one of its inputs can be fixed allowing control from the volume level from an av receiver with front outputs via RCA.

If this is what you are looking for then Yamaha's RX-V6A is something closer to that price point which you are looking for as it has the ability to pass signal to a compatible stereo amp with movies whilst allowing you to use your stereo amp for everything else (which is what I think you might be looking in a roundabout way) :)

Thanks for the reply. Hadn't come across the Emotiva before, will look into this some more as with av bypass.

I feel like I am about to disappear into a home theatre shaped hole as everything I discover is it's own little can of worms :)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
If music is as important as movies, and you want the option to change the AV side of your system as technology changes, then definitely investing in a nice stereo integrated amp with HT bypass is the way to go. That will give you a standalone amp that you can use for 2 channel music, and can easily integrate into any AVR that has pre-outs for the front left and right channels, it will also act as a power amp for HT use, so will give a bit of a boost of headroom to the AVR.

There is a list of HT bypass amps here, lots of them are ridiculously expensive but there are some entry level at around £600.

 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Cheapest is iota or something like that,.then the marantz av7705, pretty much all expensive. Annoys me also I want to upgrade but £3000 is just to much
 

itsdigger

Standard Member
I hear ya Thumpermawer! I just went through what you are now. Here's what I found. It's an integrated amplifier made by PS Audio called The Sprout 100 . Not the most inexpensive one but, this thing is compact ad really checks all of the boxes. I have it connected to my Windows 10 computer to a set of Jamo Concert 9 Series C 93 II rated @ 6 ohm rms. That makes the Sprout 100 a 75 WPC amp.

Anyway, have a look at The Sprout > Sprout 100 - Google Search
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Is there really no market for a ~£500 processor? There's plenty of Receivers at or under this price point offering new formats and connectivity that have integrated amplification, why the reluctance to offer the same models sans amps?
Yes, there really is insufficient market for a cheap processor and what doesn't sell in adequate numbers isn't economically worthwhile. The cost of a cheap processor + power amplification is (at this price point) somewhat greater than the cost of the identical single box solution, so people don't buy into the concept. That's also why most (cheaper) processors are basically AVRs with the amplification removed - a custom processor design won't pay back.

You also need to consider the number of people who actually only want better amplification for the front 2 (or 3) speakers. Even you ask about this option, implying that the internal amplification for the surrounds is good enough for you. Therefore many manufacturers add an HT bypass option to their integrated stereo amplifier offerings.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I have long bemoaned this. There should be plenty of scope for a £500 processor based on the processor section of a ~£800 AVR. I hear the argument that there’s insufficient market, but has the market ever been given a chance? Call me cynical but I think that because AVPs are a rather specialised use case and tend to be sought by enthusiasts, manufacturers are exploiting the situation and forcing people to pay over the odds just because they can. I suppose that’s capitalism, but it is annoying.

Take Arcam for example, on their previous range and the new one, the processor is functionally identical to all the AVR models, but is priced higher than any of them. That’s just taking the mickey.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I've not seen a £500 pound av processor for many years although one of the cheapest is still until £1k (well just about) and that this Emotiva MC-700. I know it's well received by many but does require a power amp to hear it sing.

Now if you already have a stereo solution and it has something call "av bypass" (not all have it labelled, so consult the manual) which basically means one of its inputs can be fixed allowing control from the volume level from an av receiver with front outputs via RCA.

If this is what you are looking for then Yamaha's RX-V6A is something closer to that price point which you are looking for as it has the ability to pass signal to a compatible stereo amp with movies whilst allowing you to use your stereo amp for everything else (which is what I think you might be looking in a roundabout way) :)
I like the look of the Emotivas. When I move on from my Arcam I’ll be looking at them. The only thing that counts against the MC-700 for me is that it doesn’t have Dirac which I find very beneficial in my tricky room. But then I don’t want to pay way more for the XMC-2. A second hand or refurbished XMC-1 might be the ticket. BTW your MC-700 product page does have an erroneous reference the the XMC-1 and Dirac on there.

Any view on how good Emo-Q is?
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'Is there really no market for a ~£500 processor?' - there is a market for it just not a profit in it.

Unlike a 'stereo' amp anything you put into the 'AV' market must come with a team of Tech support software engineers to constantly keep the product up to date and or resolve 'in life' software issues.

Atlantic Technology plus a bunch of other smaller brands had a go at a 'collaborative' AV processor built around a common chassis a few years back and as great as it was at the price they could not keep it up to date in terms of new HDMI and audio formats which seem to arrive daily.

Emotiva are great value, we have a few installed systems, though feel clunky at times vs. the more expensive options, of course even the most expensive options can drive you mad at times if you hit issues :)

The arrival of eARC could mean one of the more established brands will break rank and come out with an AVP with a single eARC Input, much like where the Soundbar market is heading, and leave the HDMI switching to the TV or an off board Switch.

Joe
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
Nothing wrong with old kit, in fact an awful lot right with it. I had a £12k AV processor and in a limited 7.3.0 speaker set up I want back to using analogue out from UHD player. I preferred it as my naim AV2 working with a Supercap and naim pre amp was overall better for film (some wins some losses) and definitely better for music
 

DT79

Well-known Member
'Is there really no market for a ~£500 processor?' - there is a market for it just not a profit in it.

Unlike a 'stereo' amp anything you put into the 'AV' market must come with a team of Tech support software engineers to constantly keep the product up to date and or resolve 'in life' software issues.
But this is exactly where an AVP which is basically a stripped down version of an AVR would alleviate that issue. It could run the same software. They don’t even need to invest in manufacturing a different case. Maybe save a bit more cost with a lower spec transformer. Brands have done that but they’ve all seen fit to charge more not less!
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
@Thumpermawer you could look at the Yamaha RX-V6A plus the AudioLab 6000A for starters, they are quite a bit lower than the £3K that you have seen which will get you up and running for the HT Bypass option

Connectivity is simply an RCA cable like the image below. Settings may need to be changed, so always check the manuals :)


Any view on how good Emo-Q is?
I cannot say I've heard anyone complain, however every room eq has its own characteristic and it may not be to everyone taste (I've found fault with everyone I've tried at home so far, yet each one is seemingly getting better and better in my opinion (but none are perfect and picking fault is really being picky as I come from an era when room correction didn't exist on AV processors/receivers ;))). I cannot say it's going to be like the best ones on the market as those on receivers which cost quite a bit more, but as a whole I cannot complain unless I be a picky chappy

yamaha-rx-v6a-6000.jpg
 
Last edited:

shug4476

Active Member
There has been a general upward drift of prices.

Rotel used to make the RSP-1066 and RSP-1068 which were both excellent processors that, I think, cost substantially less than a grand.

There are some absolutely insane bargains to be had in the second hand market for previous generation processors from Arcam, Denon, Tag McLaren, and Lexicon. The Arcam AV8 has gone for less than £100 on a few occasions. There is nothing even in the second hand stereo pre-amp market to touch it at that price.
 

shug4476

Active Member
But this is exactly where an AVP which is basically a stripped down version of an AVR would alleviate that issue. It could run the same software. They don’t even need to invest in manufacturing a different case. Maybe save a bit more cost with a lower spec transformer. Brands have done that but they’ve all seen fit to charge more not less!

Manufacturers realised about 15 years ago that far more money can be made if you are able to assemble all of your products on a common production line with as few variations in components as possible.

The ideal is to have everything you produce the same size and shape in the same chassis with as few interior modifications as are needed.

Cyrus have been practising this for a long, long time. Denon cottoned on in about 2006 and unfortunately their kit took a turn for the worse.

Arcam wised up, hence everything from the AVR600 onward looks almost identical up until the most recent change.

It is infuriating that you end up paying more for what seems to be 'less' with processors. The main advantage of a processor is having a dedicated PSU for the pre-amp stage which does not need to share power with the bulkier power-amp stage.
 

cwt

Active Member
I like the look of the Emotivas. When I move on from my Arcam I’ll be looking at them. The only thing that counts against the MC-700 for me is that it doesn’t have Dirac which I find very beneficial in my tricky room. But then I don’t want to pay way more for the XMC-2. A second hand or refurbished XMC-1 might be the ticket. BTW your MC-700 product page does have an erroneous reference the the XMC-1 and Dirac on there.

Any view on how good Emo-Q is?
The newest MC700 isnt the most reliable [though for some it was fine] due to its combination hdmi chipset [3 hdmi2.0 hdcp 2.0 for 4k bluray discs /streaming and 3 1.4s for everything else] I had its predecessor the UMC200 and it was reliable and would be real value today handling 2k sources[hdmi 1.4] . Its emo q did a good job along the level of say audyssey xt maybe not audyssey xt32 .. Very similar puck device for readings - no calibrated umik or similar for the superior ARC or Dirac
If you can wait till a few trade ins happen the superseded Emo xmc1 is great value and has the older proprietary version of Dirac live [not the new vers 2.0 ] ; its as good as its bench test on ASR makes it out to be -and cheap ; its worth asking about the hdmi chipset though ; it has had 3 upgrades over the years and some had troubles with the latest pcb install for 4k.. [the board also went into the new replacement line ]
XMC-1 Certified Refurbished
 

Thumpermawer

Active Member
Just to update the thread - in the end I plumped for a NAD receiver. There were a lot of reasons for this, but one of them was the modular design.

Depending on your views (and buying habits) the modular approach is either a mutt, or a nod to pre-pro as it allows upgrades to accommodate future formats/connections via hardware updates without having to junk the whole box. Obviously only good for as long as NAD support it, but there's little downside as I see it.

Thanks for the views and inputs.
 

cwt

Active Member
Just to update the thread - in the end I plumped for a NAD receiver. There were a lot of reasons for this, but one of them was the modular design.
Good move in these days of new hdmi variants coming so often ; they have a good track record and can work out the 4k/120 glitches for the next pcb board ;was it a T789 or a T758V3 btw ?
 

DT79

Well-known Member
The newest MC700 isnt the most reliable [though for some it was fine] due to its combination hdmi chipset [3 hdmi2.0 hdcp 2.0 for 4k bluray discs /streaming and 3 1.4s for everything else] I had its predecessor the UMC200 and it was reliable and would be real value today handling 2k sources[hdmi 1.4] . Its emo q did a good job along the level of say audyssey xt maybe not audyssey xt32 .. Very similar puck device for readings - no calibrated umik or similar for the superior ARC or Dirac
If you can wait till a few trade ins happen the superseded Emo xmc1 is great value and has the older proprietary version of Dirac live [not the new vers 2.0 ] ; its as good as its bench test on ASR makes it out to be -and cheap ; its worth asking about the hdmi chipset though ; it has had 3 upgrades over the years and some had troubles with the latest pcb install for 4k.. [the board also went into the new replacement line ]
XMC-1 Certified Refurbished
Thanks I do have half an eye on a certified refub XMC-1. Then I saw that the version of Dirac will only run on 2 legacy versions of MacOS.... there’s always something!
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
I
Thanks I do have half an eye on a certified refub XMC-1. Then I saw that the version of Dirac will only run on 2 legacy versions of MacOS.... there’s always something
I wouldn't hold my breath or rely on modular upgrades, just buy it as it is with current hardware and spec.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I

I wouldn't hold my breath or rely on modular upgrades, just buy it as it is with current hardware and spec.
Absolutely, always my philosophy.
 

Conrad

Moderator
This looks interesting: IOTAVX AVX17
If those sub outputs can be reassigned so that it can support 9.2.6 then that could be a real competitor.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
This looks interesting: IOTAVX AVX17
If those sub outputs can be reassigned so that it can support 9.2.6 then that could be a real competitor.

Very basic automatic room eq. Still probably cheapest 8+ channel av pre.

Concerned about firmware support from such a small company.
 

Conrad

Moderator
Very basic automatic room eq. Still probably cheapest 8+ channel av pre.

Concerned about firmware support from such a small company.

That's actually one of the things I like about it. Give me phase control and PEQ over the full range and I'll be happy.

Agreed about support long term, but if there are no major issues that prevent you doing what you need to do, what do you need support for?
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: Streaming Theatrical Releases And The Future Of Cinema
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Magico announces Titan 15 subwoofer
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Ajax Systems adds UK Socket to expand smart home options
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Best TVs of 2021 - Editor's Choice Awards
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Melco update improves N10, N100 and N1 EX digital libraries
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Loewe launches We.See TVs under new 'We. by Loewe' sub-brand
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom