New receiver or new amp?

May 13, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

8 comments on “New receiver or new amp?”

  1. There are a lot of nice vintage receivers that have good amplifiers, nice analog tuners, and decent preamplifier sections with a phono’s built in. Many of those are worth fixing. If the receiver is garbage to begin with and cheaply built than ditch it for a better receiver or separates.

  2. Perhaps he wants to retain Surround capabilities. You can’t do that with separates without a 2nd mortgage. There some very capable AV receivers these days. Think Anthem, etc.

  3. Depends on budget. Some think the Anthem stuff is more then they spend on whole system. But again they would not be watching this video. I have not done much with vintage anything. I had a Yamaha integrated amp in college I paid what I thought was ton of money back then and it broke. Back then they even said not worth fixing. Got a Receiver that was not on the same par. I am into separates now (35 years later since buying that integrated) with outboard DAC etc.. I dont hold things long at all now. Maybe 5 years and I replace. Speakers were an anomaly I kept for 17 years. Got a deal on VSA VR4-gen III HSE.. kept a very long time. But even those went.

    Paul is in the business of making the best he can and it does cost a pretty penny, but of course he will say upgrade.. its his business. But I do agree with him but budget always wins in reality.

  4. I will give you, two companies that are still making top notch receivers today that are stereo receivers.
    Out Law Audio and Dennon.

    Outlaw makes the 2166, and Dennon makes the Dra-800H.
    Both of them sails for less then $1000.

  5. The best features of my first receiver (with modules for fm tuner and phono-preamp) and later my first integrated amp (with a phono preamp module) were the internal equalizers. Now having learned from Paul‘s Posts that the most crucial aspect is that a power amp must match the loudspeaker and that the volume control is the weakest link of a preamp (better go for a gain cell instead of a (stepped) potentiometer design) I would go today for an active loudspeaker featuring the best amp for each driver (no passive crossover) and an internal equalizer – or have the equalizer being integrated in the DAC!

  6. For me, I keep both a receiver around, for surround sound, as well as separates for music. I don’t think it is fair to say across the board that receivers have inadequate amplifier sections, especially in some of today’s AV receivers. Pragmatically, an AVR makes entire sense to me if only for surround sound which they seem to focus on. My experience with mid-level models from Onkyo and Denon bares that out. Even for two channel music, while not at the level of separates, the performance is decent for someone that can only budget for one or the other and needs to give priority to home theater.

    I have both an AVR and a separates system each with their own set of cables. If I’m watching TV or movies I plug in the receiver, for music I plug in the separates. This seems to give me the best of both worlds. I only need a 5.1 receiver, which can be had inexpensively and still provide all the performance and audio codecs that I need to support video. The separates are easily engaged by switching cables when I’m listening to music. If I’m feeling to unmotivated to switch cables, the AVR can still provide a satisfying musical experience.

    As an aside, back in the late 70s I bought a Tandberg receiver, obviously before home theater was what it is today. That was one of the first receiver tauted to be built in the image of separates in a single housing with a quality tuner, preamp and amp akin to separates. For a receiver, it was also fairtly high end. It made me aware that there were at least some manufacturers looking to dispel the myth that receivers were inferior to separates. With today’s receivers, while I still prefer separates for a more optimum musical experience, I think there are many receivers that have respectable amplifier sections that provide a reasonably decent musical performance for those that only have room or a budget for one.

  7. Hi Paul. Speaking for myself, it’s because we also want to watch TV/Movies etc and utilize our sound system to make that all happen. Finding a Preamp with HDMI input/output switching isn’t all that easy (or inexpensive).

    I used to have a dedicated audio ONLY system. I simply can’t justify that anymore, therefore, I seek the best of both worlds…. A compromise… It’s a different world now.

    1. Good morning Cristopher!
      If you take a very close look at the Dennon DRA-800H stereo receiver, you will find that, it does everything you need it to do for you.
      Not only can it be connected to your home network via ethernet and or WIFI, Dennon made it to where you have HDMI connectivity.
      And it also gives you video upskilling and HDR10 and HDR10 plus.
      And the receiver does 4k UHD as well.
      You also get Bluetooth and Apple Airplay as apart of the price package deal too.
      You can’t go wrong with that $549 Dennon receiver.
      And plus, it has preouts, and mane ins too.
      You can use the stereo amp that’s built in to it.
      Or, you can take the jumpers off of it and use it as a preamp to drive a larger power amp.

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