Integrated amp with surround sound?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by hifisoup, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. hifisoup

    hifisoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Does anyone know of a company who manufacturers an integrated amplifier with 5.1, 7.1 surround sound? I hate surround sound receivers and their complexity. To many features and not enough performance, IMHO. Looking for a much simpler solution. Thanks.
  2. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    Curious, what are you looking for in integrated amplifier with 5.1, 7.1 surround sound?
  3. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Supper's ready

    I had a NEC integrated that had synthesized "back surround" channels. It was a long time ago and the effect wasn't all that convincing.
  4. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    I don't think what you're looking for exists.

    Then again, I can't say I understand what you're looking for.

    Do you mean an analog multichannel integrated, with no processing or room correction? Something an Oppo universal player could hook up with?

    Parasound makes a preamp that does that, but you'd have to add a separate multichannel power amp.

    Model Halo P 7 « Parasound
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  5. quicksrt

    quicksrt Forum Resident

    City of Angels
    Did you forget to write the word "without" where you write "with"? Looks like a minor word mixup.
  6. hifisoup

    hifisoup Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A/V surround receivers are way to complex to operate, with to many features and poor audio performance. Plus most people don't use the AM/FM tuner in a surround sound setup which means you're paying for something you'll rarely use.

    So my question remains- does anyone make an integrated amp with surround sound processing in it?
  7. Matt Richardson

    Matt Richardson Forum Resident

    Probably the closest you'll get is something like Outlaw Audio's matching integrated amp and surround processor (however they are separate units).
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  8. BackScratcher

    BackScratcher Forum Resident

    The OP's question raises a bunch more questions:
    • What would be the multichannel source?
    • What format would be the input to this integrated amp? 5.1 and/or 7.1 analog? Dolby Digital or DTS? HDMI or optical/coaxial?
    • Where would you want the .1 bass management to occur?
    If there's .1 input for LFE, there has to be bass management somewhere. If it's multichannel analog input, then bass management and other multichannel complexities could be in the source device, e.g. an Oppo player. Bel Canto used to make an analog multichannel preamp called the Pre6 that you can probably find used, and mate it with a multichannel power amp.

    However, if you have an Oppo player with multichannel analog outputs, the Oppo itself has variable output volume and can function as a preamp. Just hook it up to a multichannel power amp.

    If it's digital multichannel signals output from the source device, then you pretty much need an AVR on the receiving input end.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  9. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    This is not a bad suggestion.

    I agree, that I do not much care for surround sound receivers. Many of which, today, are not bad products, just not my cup of tea.

    I like to integrate my two channel stereo and my HT together.

    I think, that the best way to do this is to decide what you are going to use as your two channel integrated amp or preamp / power amp combination, then add on your HT processor.

    I dedicate an Emotiva 250-watt XPA-2 to my front two speakers.

    I use a Peachtree Nova or iNova, as my DAC / preamp / input selector. The outputs of which go to the power amps in the system. Before, I bought the XPA-2, I used the power amplifier section in the Nova or iNova's integrated amp.

    A pre-owned Nova can be had on eBay for about $400 orig. retail $1,300), an iNova (orig. retail $1,800) for about $600.

    When I was ready to UG to an external power amp, I just disconnected the speakers and sent the Peeachtree's preamp outputs to the Emotiva power amp.

    Once you have your 2-channel set up the way that you want, it can remain that way, practically forever.

    As I see it, the two main things that constantly change, in out hobby, are DAC's and Processors.

    I think that you are better off, with a separate processor, that is the way that I have chosen to go.

    I use an Emotiva UMC-1 as my processor. I take the HDMI out from the OPPO BDP-93 to the processor for DVD's and Blu-Ray disks.

    (When I listen to CD's, I use the Oppo simply as a transport, from a digital out, to a digital input on the Peachtree. That is why I didn't buy a 95 or 105).

    I use a 50-watt power amp amp to power the rear speakers and another power amp to power the center channel.

    After Emotiva came out with the UMC-1, they came out with the UMC-200 and now, they offer a new processor for $599, the MC-700.

    That means that you can pick up a UMC-1 off of eBay in the $200 price range or the UMC-200 in the $300 price range, used.

    Unless you are cramped on space, the extra power amps, can be just about anything, use an old receiver, for HT, center or rears, an amp is an amp.
    Vinny123 likes this.
  10. POE_UK

    POE_UK Forum Resident

    I use a sony ta-636 for my fronts, an a triple channel denon poa-f100 for the center, and surrounds. i must say, it sounds REALLY good. generally AV amps are weak at stereo, thats why i did it this way. If you are going to use separate amps make sure you use analog inputs not digital, otherwise you will have speaker delay problems. mine are plugged into a HTPC via analog out of my creative X-FI fatality sound card.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  11. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    My experience is different. To me, they're not that difficult to unravel, and doing so ultimately results in good audio performance, all other things being equal. That SQ assessment may not fly if your reference point is a fastidious, short-signal-path, dedicated stereo system in a treated room, however; they are two different animals. But modern AVRs are credible music players.

    Yes. Approximately $10.

    Short answer is no.

    What you're asking for is an AVR with the radio removed. If you need surround processing, you necessarily take in a lot of added circuitry to get that job done. After a couple decades of R&D, refining manufacturing, and customer feedback, the mainstream AVR brands (Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, etc) have developed mature, comprehensive products that, with setup effort, really do sound quite good.
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  12. dolsey01

    dolsey01 Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    Just released RAP-1580
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  13. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    South Bend, IN
    Find a used or refurb Anthem MRX-710.

    heyMo likes this.
  14. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    The colloquial name given to "integrated amp with surround sound processing" is "receiver". I don't think very many of them have AM/FM tuners anymore, if it makes you feel better about not paying for the $2 op-amp tuner.
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  15. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    That is one helluva nice-looking unit.

    But it's still an AV receiver.

    However, for the OP's purposes, Rotel has always declined to include any room-correction circuitry; it will be simpler than a mainstream AVR. But he will still need to put in some setup time. As with any AVR.

    And oh yeah, the $3800 price tag.

    I mention that as a Rotel fan. Instant purchase if I win the lotto. Otherwise... [ balk ]
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  16. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    As do your your questions.

    Not necessarily. In my main system, I do not use bass management but feed my subs directly from sources that have a .1 channel.

    Yes, an AVR or a Preamp/Processor.
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  17. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    I feel the OP's apprehension.

    When I first got my AVR, the remote was intimidating, the manual as thick as War and Peace, poorly written, and all I wanted to do was have a beer and enjoy some music.

    Instead, I spent an hour or more reading the manual, pushing buttons, and fumbling about the crude on-screen menu to get thru the basic setup and trying to understand what LFE was, what bass management was, assigning inputs, grinding my teeth and cursing at the complexity.

    Of course, now, in hindsight, I know what buttons to push and why, but that first part of the learning curve makes one wish for the Easy Button.
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  18. BackScratcher

    BackScratcher Forum Resident

    But the source device likely has bass management. (Or what multichannel source device are you using that doesn't?)

    Bass management is necessary to handle bass differently, for example, when the content does or doesn't have .1 or LFE but still use the subwoofers when there's no .1.

    Or are you not using the subwoofers at all if there's no .1 in the content?
  19. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I used to have a late model Sherwood stereo receiver that I used for a rear amp, it had a tuner. I had tried a Marantz AVR, it had a tuner. My Emotiva processor has a tuner, not that I have ever used the tuner in one of these.

    As you say, the tuners are all $2 op-amp tuners. Why they even bother, escapes me?

    Yes, and when the next generation of HT comes along, you are left with a 50-lb boat anchor.

    You will then need to replace your entire HT/stereo, instead of just dumping the processor part, which the OP can purchase new for $599 or used, in the $200 - $400 price range.

    For the average HT customer, AV receivers have indeed reached maturity, where they sound decent as a SS stereo amplifier, in addition to decoding surround sound. If you don't like the $2-radio, don't use it.

    These are not the half size, but the full size AVR. The parent company also owns Dennon, but the Marantz is a step up. This is a $899 receiver that was introduced back in 2013. My processor died due to an electrical surge. I bought this receiver off of eBay, because, at that point in time, they did not have a Emotiva replacement available.

    This is a top shelf product with a retail price of $899. I paid <$300 for it. It has every feature you can possible think of and it is only a three year old product.



    The remote does not have back lighting, but the buttons are glow-in-the-dark. There is no phono input. The next model up does have a phono and retail's for $1,199.

    Marantz '08 SR Receivers Conclusion
    Marantz's new 2013 receiver lineup stays true to the company's long lineage of audiophile products. Many other AV companies tend to focus on offering as many features as possible, at as low of price as possible, usually at the expense of build quality (checkout our article on Marantz has resisted that urge, and has chosen to focus on high quality internal components in pursuit of the best sound quality possible. This also means that you might have to pay more for a Marantz to get the feature set you want. So, is one of the new 08' SR receivers right for you? Well, that depends on what type of consumer you are. But, we're confident that between Marantz's and Denon's offerings, there's sure to be a receiver for most anyone.

    These are always popping up on eBay

    These are far better than to half size AVR's.

    I gave mine to a friend who lives in Tennessee and was down visiting a couple of weeks back, along with a complete set of Polk speakers for a 5.1 HT system.

    I tried to make it work for me, but it does not have any digital outs, like coax or optical, just HDMI. The way my system is hooked up, I require a processor. I bought two processors, so I have extra. My new eBay processor is back in my system.

    Everything is well engineered with this Marrantz, DAC sounds nice, late model technology. Pay with PayPal and you have eBay's guarantee that the product will be as shown and advertised, or your money will be refunded.

    I don't think you will beat something like this for the money. It really is a nice unit.

    The advantage of a product like Marantz, is that, since they have so many units out there, you can buy them on the used market for excellent prices.
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  20. Matt Richardson

    Matt Richardson Forum Resident

    It might sound fabulous, but for $3,800 I would expext more than 100 watts per channel.
  21. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    I'm sure there are plenty of brands who would rate the same amp at 200 watts per channel. Rotel is notoriously conservative/honest in their ratings.
  22. Isaac K.

    Isaac K. Forum Resident

    From my point of view, I cannot fathom why anybody would want AV surround capabilities in an integrated amp, or what the benefit would be. If you want surround then get a high end AV receiver. I've been down that road and I'm happier with the simplicity of an integrated amp.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  23. heyMo

    heyMo Forum Resident

    Anthem was suggested earlier. I second. The sound, with the built in room correction (ARC) will be tough to beat.
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  24. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Nope. If there is a .1 channel on the original recording, it plays through to the subs. Otherwise, the subs are silent.

    A computer-based server but that is not the point. I have the option of bass management on that, just as one does on an AVR, but I choose to not use it.


    Vide supra.
  25. Tom Littlefield

    Tom Littlefield Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    ARC has nothing to do with room correction. It is just the capability to carry both video and audio on one cable instead of a separate one for each.

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