Home Theater Preamp/amp advice.


I have about $2,000 to spend on a home theater Preamp + 5 channel amp combo. Can you experts out there recommend some brand/models to look for on the used market in this price range?

What are you using for speakers and source?How is your room set up?What are you looking for soundwise?This info will get better responses from others.Personally,if I had $2000.00 to spend,I'd be looking for a really good 5.1 integrated.BTW,I am not nor do I claim to be an expert!!!!
T is correct. The vitals are really important.
Room dim's, a diagram with some specificity, speakers you'll be using, seating arrangements.
Your basic question can be answered by saying, Yamaha is good, not at all like several years ago when it had a very hot high end. Denon is good, Marantz has been good for a long time now. The Marantz is more user friendly than the Yamaha.

If you can share more I'll be happy to suggest.

Integra DTR 8.9 or 9.9 or Onkyo TX-nr3007 would be right about at your purchase point if you want new and latest features.

But once we understand your speakers and room, we might recommend some used gear or some of "last years" models.
For less than $2,000, you might be able to pick up a Theta Casanova Pre-Pro and a Theta Intrepid 5 ch Amp.
Thanks for the comments.

The application is a master bedroom 13'x16'. I have a 52" Samsung LCD TV and Direct-TV HD source. I plan to add PC based multimedia for downloading Netflix movies, and eventually a Blueray disk player.

I currently have a pair of Sonas Faber Grand Piano Home speakers and a Martin Logan Depth-i subwoofer that I want to use. I still haven't decided on a center channel speaker and the ceiling mounted side/back speakers.

I'm leaning towards separate amp/premp pieces because it seems to me that amp technology is fairly mature (a 20 year old high quality amp is still good today), but the preamp technology is still changing rapidly with all the the new surround formats, and connections, etc. I'd rather spend the money on a good amp, and less on the preamp since I'm likely to replace it down the road. Make sense???
If you want to be able to use the new Codedec's and HDMI connectivity, go with the latest units that can accomodate the formats (Dolby HD & DTS HD). If you have Blu-Ray, HD TV box and computer, definitely go with newest technology.

My Recommendation:

Used Integra 9.8 Processor/Pre - Can find for $700-900. I use the unit and it works great, HDMI switching, decodes new formats, sounds good for movies, good video.

For amps there are a lot of options - I recommend a used 5 channel amp:

Arcam P1000 - around $1000-1200
ATI 5 channel - $1,000
Used Theta Intrepid - $1,500

I use a an ATI 3007 amp - (300 watt@ 8ohm x 7), found used for $1,800. Big power reserves for movies, fully balanced design, quality components, big power supplies. I am running it fully balanced from my Integra processor to the amp via balanced Kimber Hero interconnects. ATI owns Theta, so they their build quality is outstanding at a fraction of the price.

Hope this helps.

Your idea of separate pre/pro and amps is a good one, and for the reason you mention. I suspect you already know enough to make an informed selection. Aside from the info sought, I think you got some good equipment suggestions, especially the Theta combo. Many companies have PDA versions of manuals that you can download, so you can look at details about how well a unit might fit your application, e.g. how the Theta pre/pro deals with a sub.

I have a Rotel 1075/Onkyo PR SC886 combo. I bought the Onkyo new from Outlaw audio and the Rotel used off of Audiogon. Right in you price range. Since my basement theater is being worked on, I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.
Although I recommend them, the Onkyo/Integra's run very hot due to the REON chip which you can't turn off. If you are planning to put your components in a cabinet, this may be a factor. The other overall concern is power to the bedroom....which is usually on a shared 15A circuit. It's easy to say...get an ATI 2505, but do you have a 20a dedicated circuit. Stay with 5x150W or a class D high quality amp which draws less power at normal listening volumes (NHT Power5 comes to mind).

ATI 1505 would be perfect as long as your stand can support it's weight....$5-600. Then add an Onkyo/Integra processor for the latest codecs and you'll be set.
This time around I'm building a well ventilated rack with rear access. Tired of wiring nightmares I'm doing it correctly this time.

Thanks for the circuit info. As my basement room is being redone, I planned on having all my av stuff on its own circuit.

Audio will be Onkyo 886, Rotel 1075, Oppo 83, Totem Mite T and TC upfront, mites in the rear, HSU VTF 2.
hi out there i just buy a marantz av 8003 and want to buy a amp for 5.1 in the 1000 to 1500 dlls, a dealer recomend the marantz mm 8003 amp is 8 chanels but i dont what to buy.this amp is 1500 dlls. thanks
There is currently an Aragon Stage One pre/pro and 2007 amp (200 x 7) for sale for $1750 as a combo and would do exactly what you want. The buyer is also including interconnects for between the two. I have no affiliation with the seller, but have owned many Aragon pieces over the years and been pleased with them. This combo would be hard to beat at this price IMO as long as you don't have to have all of the latest bells and whistles.
I second ATI as a good option for an amp - 1505 or 1805. If you could get a 3 channel (or pick up a 2 channel and add a third through ATI - although the shipping may kill you) you could drive the rear channels with the receiver. B&K 200 watt/channel would also be an option. I think ATI or B&K are both more dynamic than Rotel.

As you probably know, the SF Home center is not up to the quality of the GP. A Thiel SCS4 would be a good option. I used an SCS3 with GPs and the SCS4 is better and cheaper at list.

If you want to use the GP for music, you could also consider a separate 2 channel to drive the GP and let the receiver drive the center and surrounds. You would need pre-outs from the receiver to drive the 2 channel integrated. More complicated, but worth it if getting the most out of the GP for music is important.
The Integra or Onkyo pre/pro is an excellant choice. Combine it with a B&K like this one:


B&K's are rock solid and reliable and very musical. They are able to drive just about any speaker you throw at them. No affiliation.

Thanks for your input. I'm currently using a Krell KAV-300i to drive the Sonas Faber Grand Piano Home's. This setup, along with the Martin Logan sub is also hooked to my Direct TV HD setup. I find that I use this system 95% of the time for watching TV, and only 5% for music, so I really want to concentrate on building a home theater system only.

Good point about the power needs. I've already planned to hire an electrician to do the wiring for my in-ceiling speakers. I'll add a dedicated 20a line as needed.

The Aragon amp looked really good, but the seller wants to sell the pre also as a package deal. I don't need all the bells and whistles, but I at least want HDMI in/out, and Stage One doesn't have it.

Thanks to everyone else for the comments and recommendations. I now have a list of components to look for in the classifieds. I'll post back when I purchase something. I'm not in a huge hurry -- I just want to get it done by Christmas.
I ran my GPs with a B&K 200.7 for a while and it was a nice combination, especially for home theater. Used it with Thiel SCS3 and SF Concertino's for surrounds. It was a nice combo. Have the 200.7 running Thiels in another setup now and that works nicely also.

Good luck with your hunt.
Jmetrisin, Is there a particular reason you don't like your system for music, since you only listen to music about 5% of the time?
I really do like my system for music, it's just that my lifestyle has changed a bit, and I only seem to listen to music in the car or on the go. Not so much at home. No particular reason I guess.
BTW... I guess I owe you all some follow-up. I ended up purchasing the following to round out my system:

Rotel-1095 amp
Integra DHC-9.9 pre
Paradigm SA-35 surrounds
Sonus Faber Solo Home center.

All from right here at audiogon.

I'm still waiting on some items for shipping, and I need to get some electrical work done to accomodate the amp so it will be several weeks before I'm up and running.

Thanks to all who responded. I got some good tips and you've all been very helpful.