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The Case For AVRs... Am I missing something???

Do you have more use for a good stereo amplifier or an AVR?

  • AVR

    Votes: 55 59.8%
  • Stereo Amplifier

    Votes: 37 40.2%

  • Total voters
    92

luft262

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I would like to make a case for AVRs and ask why so many people seem to be interested in stereo speaker amplifiers.

Below we can see the results for stereo amplifiers, reviewed and recommended by Armin, ranked by THD+N:

1631748607957.png







Below we can see the same results for AVRs:






1631748645520.png


It seems to me that the audio quality of the electronics is very similar between AVRs and stereo AMPS at a given price and that the AVRs allow for a lot more functionality. In addition, few people are going to have enough space and WAF to have both a HT system in their living room and a Hi-Fi stereo system in a big and acoustically-capable room at the same time. This means a dual HT/Stereo Hi-Fi system is probably the norm. It seems to me that AVRs are the way to go in most situations and for most people. Yet I see tons of talk about stereo amplifiers, more so than AVRs, it seems to me.

Am I missing something?

Thanks!
 

Helicopter

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AVRs are so home theater, so 1998, so passé. And they are not hifi. None of them measure great compared to the best stereo gear, and none of them offer the aesthetic delight or euphonic distortion on the other end of hifi. ;)

In seriousness, stereo is trendy right now so a lot of design, engineering, and production resources are allocated to it accordingly. The most demanding consumers often prefer stereo. Most music recordings are mastered in stereo. You only need two speakers for stereo.

Multichannel has other tremendous advantages, but it seems like your question was mostly about why the focus is often on stereo. The biggest advantage of multichannel is that it sounds better.
 

alex-z

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A lot of the low and medium budget AV receivers don't have good room correction software. Something like a $80 TPA3255 chip amplifier paired with a miniDSP 2x4HD gives a lot more control, especially for integrating subwoofers.

Something like the Denon X3700H has good enough room correction software that you aren't compromising your setup by using it. Not to mention the allure of 11 channel processing, a good Atmos experience is a revelation to someone who normally listens in stereo.
 

beeface

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My shoebox apartment living room is way too small for multichannel audio beyond 3 channels to be feasible.

In theory, buying a stereo amplifier for stereo playback means you're not paying for extra stuff you don't need, like 7 amplifier channels. In reality, I'm not sure if it's as simple as that. I suspect there's better margins on stereo amps.

On the other hand, stereo amplifiers often miss out on features that would be perfect for people who need to have their TV and Hi-Fi in the same room, like HDMI eARC and CEC.
 

Epos7

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You're correct that AVRs offer a ton of features. I ordered a X3700H just the other day, but primarily because there are no good A/V pre/pro units around the price point of the X3700H. You can make a case there aren't any compelling pre/pro solutions on offer at all right now.

Personally I'm a bit bummed I had to order an X3700H because I'm paying for a ton of features I'm not going to use. I'd much rather have spent the same money on a pre/pro as it could likely be made smaller, run cooler, and focus more on the features I want.
 

escksu

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No, you are not missing anything. AVRs are geared towards home theater with multiple inputs and speaker outputs while stereo integrated amps are mostly for stereo audio.

IF you compare a $1000 stereo amp with $1000 AVR, the AVR cannot match the stereo amp's performance for obvious reasons. While the stereo amp just concentrate on input/pre/output, the AVR has to cater for alot more things. DAC, ADC, DSP etc etc....even the output stage, most amps have easily 9-11 channels. In a traditional A/B amp, you need at least 1 pair of transistors per channel. Thats 9 pairs. Not to mention the transformer used in AVR is inadequate to power all 9 channels simultaneously.
 
OP
luft262

luft262

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richard12511

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Why pay for 5 or more channels when I'm only going to use 2?

Because those extra 5 channels are usually free, or they pay you for them:p(5 channels AVRs are often cheaper than most stereo gear). It sounds the same for 2 channel pre-eq, and sounds much better in real use due to better EQ and BM.

I wish there were cheaper stereo gear available. From what I've seen, 2 channel gear is usually more expensive, and performs worse(no BM or EQ). Quite frustrating, really.
 

JeffS7444

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AVRs as a class have tended not to measure particularly well, though the listener's ears are not nearly so sensitive as the test instruments:
Halfway decent AVRs (should be pretty much all of them) work just fine for music listening, though not all will allow room correction with less than a 5.1-channel speaker setup, so do your homework before you buy. Got monaural or 2-channel music recordings? Dolby surround can do a surprisingly good job of utlizing center channel and surround speakers and filling a space with sound in a way that you won't get with a standard 2-channel system.

Denon/Marantz allow some degree of control over target room response via Audyssey iOS app, dunno about other brands.

Speaking of Audyssey, it seems there are multiple flavors of that, and more $ buys you more parametric filters with XT32 apparently being their best current consumer offering.
 

Fahzz

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I don't have the luxury of a separate "listening"room, so my music and home theater system have to be combined. AVR plus separate amp for the fronts is the way to go for me. Been looking to replace the old Pioneer AVR with Denon 3700 or my LS50's with R3's but the prices keep going up.
 

DVDdoug

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AVR -

I have no complaints about the sound. And, it's super-convenient and it was economical. And it's got remote control.

My main stereo is a home theater system with HUGE home-built left & right speakers and a pair of 15-inch subwoofers. The other surround speakers are mis-matched. (5.1 surround)

The bass management "just works" with surround or stereo. For stereo music I use one of the "soundfield" settings to get some delayed reverb in the rear speakers.

Of course I have a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player so again the AVR "just works" to decode & play any of the standard formats.

I've got an "extra" old laptop with the line/headphone output connected to an analog input. That laptop doesn't have HDMI but I might upgrade "soon".
 

Epos7

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I don't have the luxury of a separate "listening"room, so my music and home theater system have to be combined. AVR plus separate amp for the fronts is the way to go for me. Been looking to replace the old Pioneer AVR with Denon 3700 or my LS50's with R3's but the prices keep going up.

That is my plan as I am just now combining my stereo and home theater. Denon X3700H into Parasound P6 into some version of a Purifi amp. Center channel driven by the Denon and no surrounds for me. I likely will try to integrate two subs with a miniDSP 2x4 HD connected to the sub outs of the P6.
 

Promit

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In addition, few people are going to have enough space and WAF to have both a HT system in their living room and a Hi-Fi stereo system in a big and acoustically-capable room at the same time. This means a dual HT/Stereo Hi-Fi system is probably the norm. It seems to me that AVRs are the way to go in most situations and for most people. Yet I see tons of talk about stereo amplifiers, more so than AVRs, it seems to me.

Am I missing something?
I actually suspect that the proportion of people on ASR who are committed home theater junkies is quite low, compared to hi-fi fans. Certainly compared to a place like AVS, where HT-first or dual-use systems are a lot more common. An AVR is a pretty good compromise for dual use and anyone obsessing over SINAD numbers for movie playback is lost in the weeds. But if your interests are firmly on hi-fi, an AVR looks like a fairly obnoxious proposition for someone who just wants a high performance two channel system with room correction.

It feels like there's a market for a simple integrated stereo receiver with simple digital inputs (3x HDMI 2x Toslink 2x RCA or some such) with very high end amplification (NCore NC502MP type of thing), total SINAD in the 100 dB range and Dirac onboard. I mean not a huge one, but there are so many other stupid low volume products out there, how much worse could it be? But it falls awkwardly between the two worlds.
 

Chrispy

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Why pay for 5 or more channels when I'm only going to use 2?

Outside of perhaps the value still inherent even for limited use like mere 2ch, sometimes economies of scale still make it a very viable choice.
 

escksu

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If you want to have best of both worlds, you need a pre/power combo. An AV processor and multi-channel power amp or even monoblocks. Unfortunately, its also very very expensive.
 

Chromatischism

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Speaking of Audyssey, it seems there are multiple flavors of that, and more $ buys you more parametric filters with XT32 apparently being their best current consumer offering.
As long as you don't call them parametric ;)

 

Chromatischism

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I have no complaints about the sound. And, it's super-convenient and it was economical. And it's got remote control.
Clearly the stereo market, despite the tons and tons of choices, is not well-served if we can't find what we are looking for at the prices we expect. And, brands will keep on pricing things the way they are as long as the market "perceives" them to be better.
 
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