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#188240 - 12/14/07 08:10 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: Joey]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4800
Loc: western canada
 Originally Posted By: Joey
But is the difference really worth nearly 4g's??? I mean cm'on, it's still just a digital amplifier with some very good capabilities.

Well considering it does power EIGHT channels as well...
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#188242 - 12/14/07 08:21 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: tomtuttle]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
 Originally Posted By: tomtuttle


Now, conventional upgrade path wisdom is that a person could use one of these full-featured receivers as a pre-pro with one of these wonderful amps. That makes sense to me. However, simply not using the amps in the receiver doesn't remove them from the receiver chassis. Typically, the physical separation of the processor from the amplifier is cited as an important component of cleaning up the signal path and hearing the angels' wings beat.

So, for you engineer types, does simply NOT USING the amplifier in the receiver meaningfully (audibly?) diminish the amount of electro-wavy interference introduced to the signal path, or is it really in fact necessary to get a dedicated, amplifier-free processor in order to reap the benefits of sonic bliss?

If somebody at least understands what I'm flailing around at, please chime in.


It is my understanding that the Transformers, Powersupplies and such still cause issues in the AVR's pre/pro system, which is why it is recommended to go the seperate route. Now if you happen to have an AVR with preouts it will still let you use the extra power available in a seperate amp right away and then buy the seperate pre/pro later when they finally catch up with all the bells and whistles.

I don't have any preouts on my Denon so I am out of luck, any which way I look at it \:\(
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#188244 - 12/14/07 08:27 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: jakewash]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8271
Loc: Tacoma
Jason, I'm the same preoutless Denon boat as you are; I was just looking for some theoretical backup. Thanks!
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#188257 - 12/14/07 09:43 PM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: tomtuttle]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3292
Tom,

Do you get a better picture when you separate the LCD control printed circuit board from the LCD tuner printed circuit board in an LCD TV? It's total nonsense my friend. A well-designed integrated receiver cannot be audibly discriminated from well-designed separates when operated within spec. Heck, I "proved" that a crappy Sony 2W boombox couldn't be discriminated from my 90W+ Denon feeding my 80s when both were operated within the boombox's spec. Now of course if you put a shiny, smooth, Canadian beaver on top of one of the components...well...then all bets are off \:\) .

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#188307 - 12/15/07 04:12 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: Mojo]
jakeman Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
This receiver centric mania is very strange to say the least. While I fully understand that in many cases it is the best economical alternative and it does usually represent the best alternative for new codecs and formats, to suggest receivers are on par with the acoustical performance of a powerful amp and well implemented pre-amp??

I'm not going to go over the problems with one box solutions again. They are relatively cheap and that is great. I own pioneer, HK, sherwood, and sansui receivers. They all serve a purpose but none of them are great reproducers of quality sound.

They all clip and distort but maybe I'm more sensitive to that than most people. One thing is for sure there is no way anyone with a receiver alone is maximising the performance of the great Axiom speakers like the M80s.

To some it may represent diminishing returns and that is understandable. But in the absense of budgetary considerations it seems rather foolish to ignore the inherent engineering, design and other problems created by not going with separate preamp and amp.

What I find interesting is that once people experience separates the rarely go back and the ones in denial have never used separate components. In any event the axiom amp is not meant to appeal to the "receiver is all you need" crowd. It is clearly aimed at a niche striving for higher quality sound and willing to pay more than receiver prices for the improved performance.

Not meaning to burst any bubbles as I'm sure that there are many applications where a good receiver works just fine. I just don't like to see things blurred. Better quality sound often requires paying up for arguably diminishing levels of performance.

And there is no denying the A1400-8 is a terrific breakthrough amp for those concerned about quality amps and separate components.
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#188308 - 12/15/07 04:24 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: jakeman]
RickF Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 5210
Loc: Vero Beach, Florida
... "What I find interesting is that once people experience separates the rarely go back and the ones in denial have never used separate components." ...

And are often the most outspoken against using them.

John, seems to me one of the problems going with separates all the way is finding a good processor. I'm using an HK AVR635 as a processor via the Rotel 1080 amp for the 80s but am looking to upgrade somewhere in the not too distant future ... what would you suggest as a good (great!) processor?
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#188317 - 12/15/07 10:11 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: RickF]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3292
As I've said somewhere else on these boards, anyone who is listening at 4W nominal, is kidding themselves if they use an integrated receiver. An A1400 is an absolute must! But, for someone like me, that listens at a half watt nominal the large majority of the time, separates would be a waste of money.

I think a lot of it has to do with the room and distance from the speakers. If the room is highly damped and you are sitting far back from your speakers (say, more than eight feet), you will need more than a half watt. Even in my relatively bright room, if I stand 15 feet back, I need to turn it way up and I'm sure (although I've never tested) that I could benefit from high power. But I sit 8 feet away. A watt nominal is darned plenty. As a matter of fact, if I turn it up too loud, my room dynamics blur the sound.

So far, the only empirical data I have is my boombox/Denon test. But I remain open to the idea of being proved wrong. I'm still waiting to get together with my buddy so that we can listen to his 300W into 4 Ohm Sansui through my 80s and compare to the Denon at the same SPL. And I also want to test using his Sansui massive pre-amp too. And then I want to take my 80s to his place (which is highly damped) and compare there too.

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#188323 - 12/15/07 11:07 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: jakeman]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4800
Loc: western canada
 Originally Posted By: jakeman
This receiver centric mania is very strange to say the least. While I fully understand that in many cases it is the best economical alternative and it does usually represent the best alternative for new codecs and formats, to suggest receivers are on par with the acoustical performance of a powerful amp and well implemented pre-amp??


I've done an A/B test, long ago, with a Parasound Halo amp and our Onkyo 797 receiver.
The three people who tried the test could not tell any difference. We even used individual frequencies from an audio test disc aside from music.

Let's not confuse the really cheaper, lower end receivers that have limited power supplies and/or features which may restrict the sound quality they can produce, with some of the midrange receivers or higher that have at least quality components in them (e.g. HTIB 'receivers' vs. a $500 Denon).

I have a Cambridge Audio receiver in our main room at the moment (for its switching features mainly) but it doesn't have a 'direct' mode selection, only stereo or other DSPs (DD, DPL, etc.). Anyone who thinks that is a quality receiver would be correct, for its build quality, but sound quality it wouldn't compare to a separate amp and pre-amp combo solely because of the 'direct' mode to which i refer.
If someone didn't know that was a difference and did a subjective comparison, well then that's only one example of how these rumours of receivers vs. separates gets started, then snowballs.

As long as the audio signal is not engineered in the electronics by going through filters for a design reason, a receiver will play sound equal to an amp, preamp combo.
Any test of a frequency sweep with these equipment pieces should show a flat frequency response across the spectrum (power specific artefacts like clipping excluded). If they don't, you may as well be using tube amps since the electronics are then truly colouring the sound.
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#188324 - 12/15/07 11:08 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: Mojo]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5331
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Tom did ask a good question, and I don't think we have answered it yet. [EDIT -- of course while I was typing this Chesseroo *did* start to answer it ;)]

If one of the "problems" of a receiver over separates is the fluctuating load from the power amplifier resulting in a less clean power supply to the pre-pro sections of the receiver, does that specific problem largely go away if the amplifier portion of the receiver is idle as a result of using an outboard power amp ? I think the answer is yes but I don't have any hard information on the relative contribution of the different "problems" to not-quite-audio-nirvana.

I will say that I am extremely pleased to see all this attention being paid to big-ass power amplifiers again. I would argue that "effortless reserves of power" make the difference more than physical separation from the pre-pro stages (if Axiom made a receiver based on the 1400-8 I bet it would sound mighty fine), but I have always felt that a powerful, high quality power amp made a noticeable difference in the overall sound quality.

Having said that, I think we all agree that UP TO A POINT spending extra money on better speakers will deliver more "enjoyment for the dollar" than upgrading electronics. The question is where you go when you already have very good speakers, and in that case making sure you have enough clean power to drive the speakers through the peaks at the highest levels you play can make a real difference.

In the meantime I just don't crank the volume up so high and am perfectly happy with my receiver.


Edited by bridgman (12/15/07 11:15 AM)

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#188325 - 12/15/07 11:11 AM Re: Reflections on the A1400-8 and other amps [Re: Mojo]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4800
Loc: western canada
 Originally Posted By: Mojo

I think a lot of it has to do with the room and distance from the speakers. If the room is highly damped and you are sitting far back from your speakers (say, more than eight feet), you will need more than a half watt.

There is something to be said about the power requirements of transient requirements though.
Yes a few watts or less on average are used, but for those short burst of much larger energy requirements, the capabilities of a standalone amp can go much further than most receivers.
Power capacity, big reserves.

I once tested out a Coda amp. I was playing music, turned off the amp, left the rest of the system on playing music and the speakers took about 2-3 seconds to drain the remaining power from the amp reserves at the original volume.
I was quite impressed.
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