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Thread: Using Separates in an audio system

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    Super Moderator GOS's Avatar
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    Default Using Separates in an audio system


    OK all you audio gurus. I've been reading some other threads and many times "separates" get mentioned. What we need is a simple explanation of how you would build an audio system using separates. Consider that most would want or need a 5.1 or even a 7.1 system. How to do it, what pieces are needed and how do they work. What is their job.

    If possible - this thread needs to start out by explaining it in a manner that all can understand.

    OK...GO! lol
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    "Use the Force Luke" KuroHD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using Separates in an audio system

    Separates generally means having the sound processor,or pre/pro, and the amplifier as separate units. When you buy an A/V receiver it comes with both of these in the same unit, which means compromises in the amplifier and cheaper components in the preamp section. By purchasing these in seperate units you are generally getting a more beefy amp and better built and sounding pre/pro.
    Reference or Bust

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    R.I.P. Loves2Watch ev666il's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using Separates in an audio system

    Hi GOS,

    KuroHD is right.

    When digitally bitstreamed from your source, the audio signal needs to be processed (if applying any kind of DSPs), converted to analog and amplified before being sent to your speakers. If using analog, your source does the conversion, and your pre/pro may or may not be able to process the signal afterwards depending on your model (though it would be downright insane: first your source converts the signal from digital to analog, then your pre/pro turns it back to digital, applies DSPs, and converts it to analog again... it's a wonder the signal can actually make it to your speakers after that marathon!). From a strictly theoretical point of view, when using analog your pre/pro should only handle volume setting, but they all sound different so there must be something else.

    Nevertheless. When using an integrated AVR, you're basically asking one single piece of equipment to do all of the above. Given the complexity involved, the need to remain within certain size/weight thresholds, and the need to keep costs at bay, AVRs just can't be good at everything. Manufacturers usually put more emphasis on features and sound processing (the pre/pro part of the AVR) and do what they can with the amp part, given the room and resources at their disposal. In light of this, it's no wonder most of them flat out lie about their AVRs' actual power output capabilities. With separates, on the other hand, you get a pre/pro for the whole processing part, and an amp to amplify the signal before it is sent to your speakers. Since each component is dedicated to a specific task, and therefore designed with nothing else in mind, it will obviously outperform general purpose units in that field. It is also possible to hook up your source directly to an amp using analog, though I would strongly advise against it: first, unless your source has a built in volume control, it will always output the maximum volume; secondly, I believe pre/pros are essential to a good sounding system.

    This is what the output stage of a Krell HTS pre/pro looks like, and these are the innards of a Krell HTS 7.1 pre/pro. Good luck fitting all that stuff into an AVR (this is a detail of the HTS 7.1's output stage).

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    Default Re: Using Separates in an audio system

    key word..
    AUDIO

    I used to have a Juicy Music Peach with a MC-240 Tube amp and Klipsch Lascala.. those were the days
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    Default Re: Using Separates in an audio system

    I think the question has already been answered. One thing I would like to add that you can closely relate too, is your sub you just got built. I am sure you notice a difference in the RMS power your amp has in your Rythimik, compared to the Klipsch sub you had prior. Now of course you have improved the driver but the biggest difference you have is a good amp behind it. This works the same as your loudspeakers, I mean could you imagine what your sub would sound like just hooked up to your AVR. I don't know if you have a passive sub lying around but if you or someone you know has one go ahead and hook it up to your AVR and see if it does in fact sound like it is really receiving a constant 100 watt or what ever your AVR claims. This is a good test you will find that even a $100 powered sub that claims 100 watts rms will have much much more power than your AVR. The trouble with MOST AVR's is they simply don't have the proper power to run your speakers even close to their full potential don't get me wrong they get the job done but the key is getting the most out of your speakers.I have heard many pre pro setups, but after adding an amp my self I have realized even my small and efficient speakers have been getting choked out by lack of power. "Garbage in Garbage out"

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    Default Re: Using Separates in an audio system


    Quote Originally Posted by ev666il View Post
    Hi GOS,

    KuroHD is right.

    When digitally bitstreamed from your source, the audio signal needs to be processed (if applying any kind of DSPs), converted to analog and amplified before being sent to your speakers. If using analog, your source does the conversion, and your pre/pro may or may not be able to process the signal afterwards depending on your model (though it would be downright insane: first your source converts the signal from digital to analog, then your pre/pro turns it back to digital, applies DSPs, and converts it to analog again... it's a wonder the signal can actually make it to your speakers after that marathon!). From a strictly theoretical point of view, when using analog your pre/pro should only handle volume setting, but they all sound different so there must be something else.

    Nevertheless. When using an integrated AVR, you're basically asking one single piece of equipment to do all of the above. Given the complexity involved, the need to remain within certain size/weight thresholds, and the need to keep costs at bay, AVRs just can't be good at everything. Manufacturers usually put more emphasis on features and sound processing (the pre/pro part of the AVR) and do what they can with the amp part, given the room and resources at their disposal. In light of this, it's no wonder most of them flat out lie about their AVRs' actual power output capabilities. With separates, on the other hand, you get a pre/pro for the whole processing part, and an amp to amplify the signal before it is sent to your speakers. Since each component is dedicated to a specific task, and therefore designed with nothing else in mind, it will obviously outperform general purpose units in that field. It is also possible to hook up your source directly to an amp using analog, though I would strongly advise against it: first, unless your source has a built in volume control, it will always output the maximum volume; secondly, I believe pre/pros are essential to a good sounding system.

    [B]This[/B] is what the output stage of a Krell HTS pre/pro looks like, and these are the innards of a Krell HTS 7.1 pre/pro. Good luck fitting all that stuff into an AVR (this is a detail of the HTS 7.1's output stage).


    This is a great point you make evil. Shoot look at my little adcom,

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There is no room for that in my AVR. Especially if you were to multiply it my three which still only gives you 6 channels rather than an AVR's regular 7+ plus that would be over 60lbs in just amplification alone, my AVR weighs 35lbs including everything else, and that is pretty hefty for an AVR.

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