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Why are AVRs and AVPs so expensive?

funnychap

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But that's exactly what most end users don't understand.
The device would be significantly more expensive due to the much lower sales figures. Which is because all costs are spread across much lower volumes.
Many costs also increase because of the lower quantity, e.g. housing, packaging, circuit boards, etc.

Even under favorable circumstances, such a device would be at least $500-1000 more expensive, which would not exactly increase sales.
Is it worth it just so that the power amplifiers are missing?

Another important point, with most AVR / AVPre the signals for the XLR outputs are only generated at the output. Is that worth the extra cost?
XLR have higher volts than RCA, and cables are less prone to interferences. So yes XLR is worth it.
 

dlaloum

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XLR have higher volts than RCA, and cables are less prone to interferences. So yes XLR is worth it.
And how will that impact the signal going all of 30cm / 1ft from the AVR to the power amp directly beneath it?

RCA's and unbalanced lines were designed for consumer use within a single rack - and do the job well.

XLR's and balanced lines, have come to us from professional and studio environments, where cables are going all over the place often over lengthy distances and crossing each other as well as power lines - ie: a high interference environment, where resistance to that interference is critical.

Will you achieve any gain when using XLR's in an environment which is within the design purpose of standard unbalanced RCA's?
No, not in 99% of circumstances.
The exception will be very rare edge cases, where some form of interference is involved (including some ground loop cases) - where the XLR will have an edge.

Given my power amps have XLR as well as RCA inputs, if I had XLR outputs on my AVR/AVP would I use them? - Sure I would... absolutely lets use the higher quality connector! - but I would absolutely not be expecting any difference in performance. (assuming the voltages and gains involved work for both setups)

Typical areas of concern will happen when someone has a low gain amp, that requires high input voltages to reach its rated outputs... by default the "standards" (or rather, "conventions") are that RCA's are 0.7V (often 1V) and XLR's are 1.4V (often 2V) - but there are plenty of examples of both connection types being used at substantially higher voltages ... current generation Onkyo's can put out circa 3.6V on their RCA connectors, Denons/Marantz gear have similar outputs according to some measurements (and depending on whether running in preamp mode or not).

So in many actual use cases, the voltages are the same across both connection types, and the real benefits of XLR connectors are achieved if they are properly set up as balanced connections so as to cancel out noise picked up on the run. (and preferably the component should be internally designed as a balanced circuit, to also cancel out internal interference etc... as often there is more noise likely to be picked up internally within the AVR, then in the short run between AVR and power amp! - but this is sadly very very rare... not aware of any current AVR's that are internally balanced.)
 

Roland68

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XLR have higher volts than RCA, and cables are less prone to interferences. So yes XLR is worth it.
You would really benefit from XLR in exactly 2 cases.
As @hdhdhh wrote, with longer cable lengths, but especially with power amplifiers that require a balanced input.

But what I actually meant, is $1000, 2000 or even more worth it just for balanced connections that are only created at the output? In addition, with a very simple circuit with 2 x NE5532 per channel?
I saved myself the money and generate the XLR signals 5cm after the RCA outputs, with a higher quality power supply, higher quality components/circuitry and no additional plug contacts. And that for a small 3-digit amount.

An internal symmetrical signal routing/signal processing is not desirable or sensible, especially in an AVR. In this respect, the symmetrical signal generation at the output (regardless of whether it is directly before or after) should not be seen as a disadvantage.
 

NirreFirre

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And how will that impact the signal going all of 30cm / 1ft from the AVR to the power amp directly beneath it?

RCA's and unbalanced lines were designed for consumer use within a single rack - and do the job well.

XLR's and balanced lines, have come to us from professional and studio environments, where cables are going all over the place often over lengthy distances and crossing each other as well as power lines - ie: a high interference environment, where resistance to that interference is critical.

Will you achieve any gain when using XLR's in an environment which is within the design purpose of standard unbalanced RCA's?
No, not in 99% of circumstances.
The exception will be very rare edge cases, where some form of interference is involved (including some ground loop cases) - where the XLR will have an edge.

Given my power amps have XLR as well as RCA inputs, if I had XLR outputs on my AVR/AVP would I use them? - Sure I would... absolutely lets use the higher quality connector! - but I would absolutely not be expecting any difference in performance. (assuming the voltages and gains involved work for both setups)

Typical areas of concern will happen when someone has a low gain amp, that requires high input voltages to reach its rated outputs... by default the "standards" (or rather, "conventions") are that RCA's are 0.7V (often 1V) and XLR's are 1.4V (often 2V) - but there are plenty of examples of both connection types being used at substantially higher voltages ... current generation Onkyo's can put out circa 3.6V on their RCA connectors, Denons/Marantz gear have similar outputs according to some measurements (and depending on whether running in preamp mode or not).

So in many actual use cases, the voltages are the same across both connection types, and the real benefits of XLR connectors are achieved if they are properly set up as balanced connections so as to cancel out noise picked up on the run. (and preferably the component should be internally designed as a balanced circuit, to also cancel out internal interference etc... as often there is more noise likely to be picked up internally within the AVR, then in the short run between AVR and power amp! - but this is sadly very very rare... not aware of any current AVR's that are internally balanced.)
Good advise! Just another €0.02 from experience.
Having the combination of using a projector and a HTPC will in my experience heighten the probability of issues mitigated by a balanced connection. Running the source on one side of the room and the amps and speakers in the other made them use slightly different earth circuits. A ground loop hum was introduced.
Solving that (common ground), the projector used a third outlet and connecting that by hdmi to the htpc + and at the same time routing the audio across the room parallel to surround speaker cables was also not great for the noise levels.

In short. Bad planning and poor understanding of noise sources in AV gear could be (not guaranteed!) mitigated with balanced connections, and money My solutions were luckily in the range of @Roland68's and not $1000s
 

Galliardist

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Well, there are active speakers that take PoE, so it is only a single cable and that's it (and also wireless speakers that only take power cord). I am also thinking that active speakers are the more and more popular these days. Every bluetooth speaker and sound bar and subwoofer is essentially active. The passive speakers seem to be more and more in a niche, and that market is only getting smaller.
Don't confuse "powered" with "active", though the difference is probably irrelevant with low end black box products.
 

Galliardist

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geox

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$3000+ usd (higher in other countries )

for decent powered 11 channel avr will push more and more people into solutions like Sony's HTA9 and soundbars.
 

dlaloum

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$3000+ usd (higher in other countries )

for decent powered 11 channel avr will push more and more people into solutions like Sony's HTA9 and soundbars.
the "Home Theater in a Box" solutions have always sold in larger numbers than AVR's...

This is not new!

The keen hobbyists will get the steps up, set up the required speakers, or even dedicate a room to create a home theatre

The rest of the population will get a soundbar as a step up from the TV speakers... or even "go fancy" and get a "HTiaB"...

This is a niche hobby - a substantial niche, but a niche nevertheless
 

Vacceo

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the "Home Theater in a Box" solutions have always sold in larger numbers than AVR's...

This is not new!

The keen hobbyists will get the steps up, set up the required speakers, or even dedicate a room to create a home theatre

The rest of the population will get a soundbar as a step up from the TV speakers... or even "go fancy" and get a "HTiaB"...

This is a niche hobby - a substantial niche, but a niche nevertheless
I went kind of compromise for my mother. I got her a pair of LS50 WII to replace her old stereo system and give her an upgrade for her TV. Not surprisingly, she has returned to listen to a lot of music, something she used to do years ago, while reading.

Not as great as a full multichannel system, better than a soundbar. This is the reason why I´d love KEF to provide some expansion on their active systems: multichannel and source management (a kind of CD/Phono remote) from their APP.
 

Roland68

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$3000+ usd (higher in other countries )

for decent powered 11 channel avr will push more and more people into solutions like Sony's HTA9 and soundbars.
This is a complete misrepresentation of reality, because in fact something else happened.
The fact is that the customers made the decision years ago in favor of the soundbars and not the manufacturers. The remaining AVR fans now have to live with the consequences.

Look back a few years, about 8 years. The end of the AV receiver marriage was heralded, but not by the manufacturers, quite the opposite.
Just as an example, Yamaha RX-V779 RRP €749 (2015 without Dolby Atmos) and RX-V781 RRP €749 (2016 with Dolby Atmos), both good receivers with top equipment, including all channels as preamp outputs .
Devices of this type were on the shelves of manufacturers, distributors, local dealers and also mail order companies, like lead. After just a few months, these devices were drastically reduced in price and the sell-off (less than 12 months after appearing) at prices of € 500 and below lasted for months.
This happened above all in the price range below and up to approx. € 1200.00. The effects were also there in the upper price ranges, but not as fatal.

It was the customers who didn't buy AVRs or bought a lot fewer in the lower price range and thus made the decision.
It is striking that almost all manufacturers got into trouble during this time.
If the sales of the manufacturers in a division collapse so much and a large part of the production has to be sold too cheaply, then 2 things always happen:
1. Will manufacturers adapt their portfolio to the market and reduce accordingly.
2. The cost of the remaining devices will increase drastically.
- There is a lack of sales with the smaller devices, which carried a large part of the development costs.
- As a result, the entire development costs must be allocated to the remaining devices.
- All other costs (material, packaging, employees) also increase due to lower purchase quantities or have to be allocated to lower sales and quantities.
 

geox

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This is a complete misrepresentation of reality, because in fact something else happened.
The fact is that the customers made the decision years ago in favor of the soundbars and not the manufacturers. The remaining AVR fans now have to live with the consequences.

Look back a few years, about 8 years. The end of the AV receiver marriage was heralded, but not by the manufacturers, quite the opposite.
Just as an example, Yamaha RX-V779 RRP €749 (2015 without Dolby Atmos) and RX-V781 RRP €749 (2016 with Dolby Atmos), both good receivers with top equipment, including all channels as preamp outputs .
Devices of this type were on the shelves of manufacturers, distributors, local dealers and also mail order companies, like lead. After just a few months, these devices were drastically reduced in price and the sell-off (less than 12 months after appearing) at prices of € 500 and below lasted for months.
This happened above all in the price range below and up to approx. € 1200.00. The effects were also there in the upper price ranges, but not as fatal.

It was the customers who didn't buy AVRs or bought a lot fewer in the lower price range and thus made the decision.
It is striking that almost all manufacturers got into trouble during this time.
If the sales of the manufacturers in a division collapse so much and a large part of the production has to be sold too cheaply, then 2 things always happen:
1. Will manufacturers adapt their portfolio to the market and reduce accordingly.
2. The cost of the remaining devices will increase drastically.
- There is a lack of sales with the smaller devices, which carried a large part of the development costs.
- As a result, the entire development costs must be allocated to the remaining devices.
- All other costs (material, packaging, employees) also increase due to lower purchase quantities or have to be allocated to lower sales and quantities.
regardless of the reasons, having a super high entry point beyond the reach of many is NOT going to make adoption any easier or maybe adoption will happen in other forms and box avrs will be super niche.

Sony in its HTA9 has managed put most of AVR functionality in an apple tv like box. In the world of active speakers, maybe we could have AVR functionality built into speakers. Most of it (Dirac Live, Trinnov) is software processing anyway.

JBL, Yamaha, Kef, Sony, Onkyo, Klipsch can all do this
 

dlaloum

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This is a complete misrepresentation of reality, because in fact something else happened.
The fact is that the customers made the decision years ago in favor of the soundbars and not the manufacturers. The remaining AVR fans now have to live with the consequences.

Look back a few years, about 8 years. The end of the AV receiver marriage was heralded, but not by the manufacturers, quite the opposite.
Just as an example, Yamaha RX-V779 RRP €749 (2015 without Dolby Atmos) and RX-V781 RRP €749 (2016 with Dolby Atmos), both good receivers with top equipment, including all channels as preamp outputs .
Devices of this type were on the shelves of manufacturers, distributors, local dealers and also mail order companies, like lead. After just a few months, these devices were drastically reduced in price and the sell-off (less than 12 months after appearing) at prices of € 500 and below lasted for months.
This happened above all in the price range below and up to approx. € 1200.00. The effects were also there in the upper price ranges, but not as fatal.

It was the customers who didn't buy AVRs or bought a lot fewer in the lower price range and thus made the decision.
It is striking that almost all manufacturers got into trouble during this time.
If the sales of the manufacturers in a division collapse so much and a large part of the production has to be sold too cheaply, then 2 things always happen:
1. Will manufacturers adapt their portfolio to the market and reduce accordingly.
2. The cost of the remaining devices will increase drastically.
- There is a lack of sales with the smaller devices, which carried a large part of the development costs.
- As a result, the entire development costs must be allocated to the remaining devices.
- All other costs (material, packaging, employees) also increase due to lower purchase quantities or have to be allocated to lower sales and quantities.
In the 1970's and even the early 1980's the biggest selling televisions, were substantial console units, with quite substantial speakers.

Then there was a switch to a "monitor" style, with derisory mini speakers and nothing properly facing the viewer.... needless to say people revolted, and sought out TV's with "proper" speakers.

Ultimately that is where the soundbar came in .... it is the logical extension of a TV to get halfway decent sound - the surround experience is an afterthought, a bonus on the better ones - but it is not why most people purchase it.... they purchase it because standard built in TV speakers are awful.

In the mid 1980's people like us started to add TV's to their Stereo's - and then surround speakers with processors

These were NOT the same people that were purchasing console TV's with speakers built in (my parents, grandparents and most of their friends!)....

There will always be the "soundbar" majority.... and then those who seek more - regardless of what the underlying technology is.
And no it wasn't ultimately driven by the manufacturers. - Once people became aware that the stereo channels on their now HiFi VCR's included matrixed surround.... Fosgate came out with their matrix decoders, and others soon followed suit. - yes A smalll time, boutique manufacturer started this off - and once the mainstream ones saw the opportunity, they all jumped on board. But it wasn't the "big shops" that saw and leveraged the opportunity....
 

robwpdx

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Generally the component prices are half the sales price. The cost includes all the technology licenses. People will try to design around Intellectual property technology licenses, but you have to have HDMI and associated licenses, Dolby Licenses, DTS licenses. The MP3 License is now free. Usually the video codec would be in the TV, but here is a NAB article on video codec licensing - https://amplify.nabshow.com/article...issued,based royalties cost $0.025/subscriber.

Occasionally you will see a public teardown, and there are proprietary services that do a teardown and parts cost estimate. Techinsights does that. AVR product cycles are fast, so all the design and custom price trim has to be made back in limited sales.
 

dshreter

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In my perfect world:
- all the electronics and processing are built into the TV
- licensing models enable the addition of features such as multi-channel formats and room correction
- built in support for a wireless platform for use with wireless active speakers.

TVs are sophisticated and powerful enough as platforms to support this and would enhance their role as the hub of entertainment. Capabilities like game streaming are being built in that support that role too.

I would prefer if there was no need at all for an AVR
 

ban25

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I for one am very happy to see AVRs and separates continue, especially at the high-end (and I would argue that sub-$3000 is not high-end). Active speakers and soundbars are unfortunately landfill fodder, as standards evolve and processing needs expand. If you have an original KEF LSX, then it's already dated by the lack of inclusion of HDMI. Folks with Sonos soundbars will eventually have to toss them when new codecs emerge and/or Sonos pulls an S1/S2 transition again (forced obsolescence). The fact that Sonos is limited to 24-bit/48 kHz tells me that their onboard processing is already at the limit and further improvements will likely require new hardware and potentially a new incompatible OS.

Something else that's likely to brick Sonos hardware is the proliferation of WPA3 wireless encryption.

Then there's the cable mess that comes with active speakers as you suddenly have to route all your sources to your speakers or to your TV via HDMI eARC.

Passive speakers can last a lifetime, active, you are lucky to get 10 years.
 

HooStat

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In my perfect world:
- all the electronics and processing are built into the TV
- licensing models enable the addition of features such as multi-channel formats and room correction
- built in support for a wireless platform for use with wireless active speakers.

TVs are sophisticated and powerful enough as platforms to support this and would enhance their role as the hub of entertainment. Capabilities like game streaming are being built in that support that role too.

I would prefer if there was no need at all for an AVR
It would be nice to have fewer devices. But in the end, there is not much difference between your vision and an preamp/processor connected via HDMI. And the pre/pro is more upgradeable.
 

dlaloum

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In my perfect world:
- all the electronics and processing are built into the TV
- licensing models enable the addition of features such as multi-channel formats and room correction
- built in support for a wireless platform for use with wireless active speakers.

TVs are sophisticated and powerful enough as platforms to support this and would enhance their role as the hub of entertainment. Capabilities like game streaming are being built in that support that role too.

I would prefer if there was no need at all for an AVR
It exists (at a price)...


Usually the world takes a decade or so to catch up to B&O... (in terms of user interface and integration)
 

dlaloum

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It would be nice to have fewer devices. But in the end, there is not much difference between your vision and an preamp/processor connected via HDMI. And the pre/pro is more upgradeable.
Less convenient, less integrated,.... better value for money in pure performance terms.
 

robwpdx

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In my perfect world:
- all the electronics and processing are built into the TV
- licensing models enable the addition of features such as multi-channel formats and room correction
- built in support for a wireless platform for use with wireless active speakers.

TVs are sophisticated and powerful enough as platforms to support this and would enhance their role as the hub of entertainment. Capabilities like game streaming are being built in that support that role too.

I would prefer if there was no need at all for an AVR
eARC could be the basis for this. But you would still have to license an eARC HDMI de-embedder on the preamp side. The HDMI spec is updated every few years, but the embedder could be a separate box that is replaced every few years.

I would slightly disagree with the idea that all active speakers will be obsolete in a few years. You can run old code indefinitely if it supports an equally long lived digital input stream or transcoder to the old format. The issue is security. If you have a digital input to a box running old code, which in most digital devices is never updated, you have old security vulnerabilities. Even if you update the code automatically remotely, eventually you run out of memory, word length, and instruction set to do updated crypto.*

*Crypto for basic things like rooted trust certificates, not crypto currency!
 
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