Preamp Question - Worth it?

TheheadsnTheheadsn Posts: 400
This is a total newbie question, but are the improvements in sound and performance worth the upgrade?

If I were to have a receiver hooked up with external amps, is it worth it at that point to go out and buy a preamp instead?

I know with a lot of audio its subjective. But is there an objectively increase in sound?

Yes I do understand most people dont listen at refrence levels, and if you dont listen at loud volumes it doesn't matter much to begin with. I'm just curious if its more of a snake oil type of things or an actual jump in quality. Thanks again as always
Home Theater Setup
  • Receiver - Onkyo TX-RZ1100
  • Mains - Polk RTi A9's
  • External Amps - Outlaw 2200 Monoblocks for L/R
  • Center - Polk CSiA6
  • Side Surrounds - Polk FXiA6's
  • Atmos - 4 Polk 80F/X RT's
  • Sub - Polk PSW505
  • T.V. - LG OLED65C7P

Comments

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,839
    And yes, a well designed dedicated stereo preamplifier will almost always outperform a HT receiver or processor acting as a preamp.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • TheheadsnTheheadsn Posts: 400
    Clipdat wrote: »
    Theheadsn wrote: »
    Yes I do understand most people dont listen at refrence levels, and if you dont listen at loud volumes it doesn't matter much to begin with.

    I completely disagree with this statement.

    I should have been more specific on what I meant with "it doesnt matter"
    Obviously clean power is always preferred, and you dont need much to produce quality sound.
    What I meant to say was if you are trying to fill a large space full of sound and need to raise the volume up high, having a dedicated amp helps greatly. Most people though dont have huge spaces to fill, so they dont need to turn the volume up as loud, which means you wouldn't ever get close enough to clipping levels. Not saying thats the rule though
    Home Theater Setup
    • Receiver - Onkyo TX-RZ1100
    • Mains - Polk RTi A9's
    • External Amps - Outlaw 2200 Monoblocks for L/R
    • Center - Polk CSiA6
    • Side Surrounds - Polk FXiA6's
    • Atmos - 4 Polk 80F/X RT's
    • Sub - Polk PSW505
    • T.V. - LG OLED65C7P

  • TheheadsnTheheadsn Posts: 400
    Clipdat wrote: »
    And yes, a well designed dedicated stereo preamplifier will almost always outperform a HT receiver or processor acting as a preamp.

    But in what ways specifically?
    Home Theater Setup
    • Receiver - Onkyo TX-RZ1100
    • Mains - Polk RTi A9's
    • External Amps - Outlaw 2200 Monoblocks for L/R
    • Center - Polk CSiA6
    • Side Surrounds - Polk FXiA6's
    • Atmos - 4 Polk 80F/X RT's
    • Sub - Polk PSW505
    • T.V. - LG OLED65C7P

  • daddyjtdaddyjt Posts: 870
    There are a couple of very good reasons to go with separates.

    1. Generating substantial amounts of power requires large amounts of electrical current. A dedicated amplifier’s power supply is designed for this, and that power supply has no other obligation within the amplifier. In a receiver, that same power supply is feeding the amplifier section, preamp section, sound processors, DA converters, phono sections, etc. when the amplifier is at high demand, the other obligations of the power supply could (will) potentially suffer.

    2. The high current generated in amplifiers can corrupt delicate signals running between preamp sections, phono sections, etc within a receiver.

    3. The purity of the signal, and an abundance of power are critical at ANY listing level - arguably even more so at lower volumes.
    Too much stuff to keep track of.

    Currently enjoying: Legacy Focus 20/20, McCormack DNA 225, Bill D C1, Oppo 105
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,839
    edited July 5
    Theheadsn wrote: »
    But in what ways specifically?

    In every audible way. When a product is engineered to specifically be a stereo preamp and nothing else, it's performance will exceed a product that's designed to be a one box HT solution like a receiver/processor.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • TheheadsnTheheadsn Posts: 400
    I agree that for a myriad of reasons a dedicated preamp should in theory work way more effeicient then just a stand alone receiver. I'm curious though if you take away the receiver itself needing power to run the speakers (with having a separate amp or monoblocks), is the improvement as great or just very subtle.
    Home Theater Setup
    • Receiver - Onkyo TX-RZ1100
    • Mains - Polk RTi A9's
    • External Amps - Outlaw 2200 Monoblocks for L/R
    • Center - Polk CSiA6
    • Side Surrounds - Polk FXiA6's
    • Atmos - 4 Polk 80F/X RT's
    • Sub - Polk PSW505
    • T.V. - LG OLED65C7P

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 6,839
    The preamp section in a receiver/processor is likely an afterthought or something build to meet a specific tight budget.
    • "Electronic music is human sound adapting to indulge technology, and for some, it feels like the signature sound of energy. New and abstract sounds over hypnotic rhythms can conjure vast soundscapes for escape, pleasure, and transcendence."
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,199
    I probably have/had more preamps than any other component, and, I find the pre to be extremely critical.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 13,517
    edited July 5
    Receivers are jack of all trades and a master of none.
    A dedicated preamp is a master at that trade
  • rburgess714rburgess714 Posts: 426
    Ah ha moment was adding and external amp to my AVR. Adding a dedicated pre was a defining moment; clarity, separation of instruments and a wider sound stage. A few months ago I had to send my pre back to replace the volume pot and went back to using the AVR as a pre. It really was noticeable and I was thrilled to get my pre back.
    Living Room
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A 1060, Parasound P5, Parasound A23, Yamaha BD-S681, Cambridge Audio Azur 851N, Polk S60, Polk S30, Samsung 60" LED

    Office
    Yamaha A-S501, Auralic Aries Mini, LSiM 703s

    Douglas Connection ICs and Cables
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