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Do AV Amplifiers make good Integrated Amplifiers?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by FloydVivino, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. FloydVivino

    FloydVivino Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Theres the bang for your dollar aspect. I can imagine that for the same sonic performance one pays much more for an AV than for an Integrated. Also, a high end AV Amp may well provide for at least as good sonic performance as a mid-range or entry level integrated amplifier. But are there not negative having all the video relating wiring in the same box as everyting else? Ideally would one keep things separate? What's your experience and views?

  2. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Washington DC
    Nope generally AV amps are pretty poor at audio I would stick to an integrated amp of you really care about sound quality.
  3. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Columbus, Ohio
    They can. For example, I can not tell a difference in sound quality bw my Yamaha RX-V1105 (AV receiver) and my RX-950. While the RX-950 is a receiver (TOTL in 92ish) and not an integrated amp, Ive got a bunch of Yamaha receivers and do feel that the Yamaha "natural sound" is consistent bw models as well as over the years/decades. Other brands it probably depends and generally the answer is no, but I feel Yamaha AV receivers dont give up much in sound quality (I cant tell at least) when compared to their stereo gear.
  4. I've heard some good AV receivers over the years. Guessing that the big-name AV manufacturers - Marantz, Yamaha, etc. - also have good R&D in place (economies of scale) so you might get more 'bang for the buck' vs. a dedicated integrated from a boutique company where reasearch/development is a bigger part of the cost.
    head_unit likes this.
  5. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    In some cases, yes, without question.
    head_unit likes this.
  6. JakeMcD

    JakeMcD Forum Resident

    So Central FL
    I keep around my trusty Yamaha RX-V2095 which has soundly defeated my NAD 375BEE (yuck), Rega Brio R (nice), and Blue Circle FTTH (an acquired taste) through many speaker combinations. It's 20 years old, built like a tank, and never runs out of gas. I primarily use it in 2-ch mode even though it has many old school A/V options which most sound weird. I occasionally kick on the other channels to watch a football game or play multichannel SACDs. Ok, one, DSOTM, and that's it. I have not been a Yamaha fan prior to buying this (Natural sound of the non A/V 90s integrateds, yeesh), and have not been interested in their offerings since.

    I think I saw one available recently for $150. Stupid good value for a Japanese built box. It weighs a ton and is big. I think retail was north of $1,700, back then. So, a resounding yes from me. I listen to it everyday, and now in fact.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
    rodentdog and head_unit like this.
  7. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    I think some can be good at audio, but most aren’t.
    Just like with nearly anything else, there are exceptions.

    Edit: about separation, within one box it’s still possible to keep things separate by making compartments inside the box.
    Just like some dedicated phono preamps that have a separated compartment for the built in PSU.
    Like the Parasound JC3+
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
    head_unit, bluemooze and Monty12 like this.
  8. I own a Pioneer SC LX-76, a 9.1 receiver from 2012 sold in the US under the Elite range. It's configured as 5.1 with the three front channels bi-amped, that's around 220 Watts available for the three front channels so it has plenty of power to spare when playing stereo music. When set to "Pure Direct" it doesn't digitize incoming signals so I get pure analogue sound from my turntable and tube Phono peamp.
    Sound is great, not agressive at all, on the contrary, its sound it's on the soft side and it has very good imaging. I don't miss an integrated amp at all, downside is that this AVR cost me 2000 Euros, around 2370 US $, not ultra expensive but not cheap either.
    head_unit and gmcjj like this.
  9. Douglas Lam

    Douglas Lam Well-Known Member

    It depends on your definition of "good". Lol
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    But is that 220 watts-per-channel RMS, and for full bandwidth, and with multiple channels driven simultaneously? It’s not uncommon for AVR manufacturers to rate an amp’s power based on single channel performance, at a single frequency (1kHz) for only a split second. In other words, the amp’s dynamic power capability for a single channel.

    Even makers of integrateds with honest power specs will use misleading specs when it comes to their AVRs, especially in the price tier commonly found at a Best Buy.
  11. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    I can hear a huge difference between even their entry-level integrateds and their mid-level AVRs. They may retain the same overall tonality but the integrateds and stereo receivers tend to sound far more effortless and smooth. I suppose this probably also depends on whether you’re comparing their flagship AVR or a $200 Best Buy model.
    head_unit likes this.
  12. Tawaun A Williams

    Tawaun A Williams Well-Known Member

    I think its not the norm for them to be as good as intergrated amps not even close infact... its the exception not the rule so dont count on them being good for 2 channel music especially budget receivers...
    head_unit likes this.
  13. Spitfire

    Spitfire Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest
    My Sony 6400ES had a nice amp section in it. Used it as my main amp for years.
    head_unit, gmcjj and Atmospheric like this.
  14. Claude M

    Claude M Well-Known Member

    Bergen County NJ
    I bet an Anthem, McIntosh, Rotel, and even the B&K vintage receivers sound good for music. Me I love my Yamaha receivers for home theater and then use Anthem and Parasound external amps. But I have to say, for cheap receivers the Yamaha's are hard to beat especially when used as a pre-amp with a 2 channel cheap power amp like a used Parasound.
    head_unit and Shawn like this.
  15. caracallac

    caracallac Forum Resident

    Unfortunately with many home theater amplifiers the focus of the designer is on video switching and DSP, with the result that absolute sound quality seems to be a bit of an afterthought. There are exceptions of course, but they usually are the exception.
    head_unit and unclefred like this.
  16. The specs say 110 (or was it 120?) Watts per channel @ 8 Ohm all channels driven. It's not the best AVR in the world but not a bad one either and it wasn't cheap, not the typical 600 US $ AVR by any means. Pioneer's Elite range is great value and makes decently sounding and priced AVR, I'm very happy with it. It features Class D amplification by the way. It never gets out of juice when playing loud with high dinamic range music.
    head_unit and Helom like this.
  17. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    More like the opposite. Cost depends far far more on sales volume than on component cost, and many features can be just burned into custom silicon chips. A lot of folks feel they are "paying more for features I don't use" however that is completely wrong, it doesn't look like that

    I would NOT agree that just because something has only two channels it has superior performance to an AVR. And while every AVR's power droops when driven into more channels, a lot of stereo units don't have huge low impedance power either. You just have to try it yourself with your speakers in your room. Or you could read this and discombubulate yourself:
    Denon vs Parts Express, round 1
    whereas on the other hand, I bought an Onkyo TX-8511 for $30 and gave it to a friend from Hannukah. When we replaced his vintage Yamaha, the bass had a notably difference sound. Firmer and warmer. Not like a crazy difference but a pleasant upgrade.
    Shawn likes this.
  18. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Forum Resident

    I lost my Sony ES and Mission satellites in my divorce. That combo sounded great.
    Spitfire likes this.
  19. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Depends on budget and the sound that's acceptable to you. I'd say have an AV and a separate 2ch or a decent AV receiver with pre outs and use a separate 2ch power unit. Generally -but there are exceptions- the pre part in AV receivers is not as bad as their power stages. You'll enjoy your movies and music much more with the last option. Now, if you will only get one and need both go for an AV receiver.
    head_unit likes this.
  20. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    Not to me.
    head_unit likes this.
  21. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    Surround receivers can be good and can be much MUCH better values that integrated amps.

    A good AV receiver from the big names like Yamaha, Denon and Marantz, Rotel, Arcam, NAD, use the same parts as they put into their integrated amps. So if the receiver is well made and knock down the noise and interference they can be quite good.

    Usually the receiver can be dramatically improved by adding a dedicated power amp. So make sure to buy one with preouts for the main two chanels at least. The nice thing is that you have an upgrade path.
    head_unit, gd0, Ilusndweller and 2 others like this.
  22. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    The Onkyo TX-NR818 amp I had a few years ago was a powerful beast and moreso than the US model of the same designation. 140wpc in stereo mode, which is what I used it exclusively for. Hi Fi World found it conservatively rated in its measurement tests too.

    No complaints here, that was one excellent amp and when I bought actives, it was a great preamp too. And that was compared and bought in preference to an Exposure 3010s, Leema Pulse and a Harman HK990.
    head_unit likes this.
  23. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    They often don’t use the same parts. Quite obvious when you look up pics of their interiors.
    head_unit likes this.
  24. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    That was a £1000 AVR when released so not very surprising. Stateside, Integra is Onkyo’s premium AVR brand and my experience is they sound thin and fatiguing.
    DavidR and head_unit like this.
  25. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA

    It's the game of what did you pay for each given unit for consideration?

    If it's a generalization: for each given price point, I'd pick the integrated over an AVR for sonics only.

    I used an AVR when I jumped back into HT and audio; not bad...but as I went down the rabbit hole, I started to notice differences.
    head_unit likes this.

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