Just Curious - About using a AV Receiver as main unit


Just curious about something.

I know it is preferable to use a Integrated Amp or Pre-Amp+Amp combo as your main unit in the system but sometimes I see used AV's receivers see from manufacturers who make really good high end 2 channel equipment and these receivers sell for less then say a 2 channel component from the same manufacturer (units from say Rotel, Anthem, Arcam, Marantz, etc). Also, since we are talking about AV Receivers, I guess it's fair to compare them to SS Amps. If your into Tubes, then that is whole different story.

I wonder sometimes if you start a build using one of the AV receivers instead of the 2 channel component, would that be a good system to build off of.

I will say for myself, I started with a Denon AVR-5700 (which I still have and was a beast in it's day) and I think it was an excellent piece of equipment and had a great 2 channel section.

Last year I bought a Integrated amp but honestly, I could have easily stayed with the Denon and build off of that.

Sure, these AV's receivers wont compare to components that are way up there in the thousands but if your budget is bit tight I think these components would be great to start with and I am not talking about your $400 dealer receiver from best buy, I mean AV's receivers that were top of the line in their day and now can be had for much cheaper. 

Well just curious and my opinion.

Thanks
jay73
I see used AV's receivers see from manufacturers who make really good high end 2 channel equipment and these receivers sell for less then say a 2 channel component from the same manufacturer

Yes and for a really good reason: AVRs are crap. Pure crap.
Its not that they set out to deliberately make crap. As you point out there's some decent names with decent 2ch rep making AVR crap. It is however always crap, no matter who makes it, and for good reasons.

One of the hardest things to do, and most important to get right in any component, is the power supply. A seemingly simple thing to do it is in practice quite hard to supply constant clean power. Hard to do with just one component. In an AVR one power supply is supposed to power a 5 channel preamp, 5 power amps, one multi-channel processor, one tuner, and God knows what else. Because AVR buyers all think the more they get the better the deal. They are in other words ignorant and misinformed. Don't be like that. Especially not now. Having been informed you are mono longer ignorant and would then have to be deluded. Don't. Just don't.

Sure, these AV's receivers wont compare to components that are way up there in the thousands but if your budget is bit tight I think these components would be great to start with and I am not talking about your $400 dealer receiver from best buy, I mean AV's receivers that were top of the line in their day and now can be had for much cheaper.

Yeah, no. Not even. Quite the opposite. The less you have to spend the harder it is to get quality and so its even more important not to search out a high value integrated and not squander your scarce resources on a POC AVR.  

But hey, don't take my word for it. Just go back and look at those prices. Listen to price. Hear the message those prices are sending: this is all its worth- because its crap.
Millercarbon just gave you the very best advice supported by a well composed succinct summary of key reasons why.

The “older” receivers ( pre-HDMI ) arguably may still be operating longer when compared to the current predictable failing AVR HDMI offerings ..... ok .... maybe ... but It’s not that they were built better,

Rather, it’s only because their obsolete legacy composite inputs and non-HDMI main boards don’t suffer from the well-travelled posts about the HDMI dodgy handshake issues and eventually failing HDMI main boards. 
Most importantly, the key point highlighted by Millercarbon involves the important issue that AVRs have comparatively crummy power supplies that limit their performance.

Takeaway

AVRs have their niche in “manufactured sound” multi-channel audio home theatre setups .
However, quality build 2-channel audio components (either a pre-amp / power amp or an integrated amp ) is your preferred pathway forward for 2-channel audio performance and audio enjoyment in lockstep. They will clearly best the AVRs - full stop - and the differences are not subtle.
AVRs are all over the map. Pure sound quality, the Onkyo receiver and Emotiva processors I heard were garbage. I haven’t heard every brand and every unit though. In particular, these units sounded thin, powerless and lifeless.

Anthem is much much better. It is worthwhile and simpler to think about an Anthem MXR-720 for instance, and then consider adding an external 2 channel amplifier for your mains, especially in terms of system simplicity and having a built in DAC. You save a lot on cables and shelf space!

Currently I run an Anthem AVM into a Luxman integrated with spearate 3 channel amps for the rest of the HT. Waaaay too much shelf space when you consider the 3 sources (streamer, dac, Roku, Bluray), so I feel your pain in terms of money and space savings and the sheer volume of remotes!

Best,

E
I don’t think AVRs are all that bad. My 11 year old Onkyo (post HDMI) is more than adequate for casual listening. It 1. Does not distort 2. Has no noticeable frequency imbalances 3. Is very dynamic (you should see the power supply tranny on this baby!) and 4. Has versatility out the wazoo!
It is lacking some power (on paper) compared to my BAT two-channel and some refinement but it isn’t "total crap" -not by a long shot.
Finally, what the Onkyo does with a movie soundtrack is awesome!
Onkyo TX-SR876
I had an Onkyo receiver, and Theta Casanova at the same time.

Even my non-audiophile friends didn't like the Onkyo. This was many years ago and your mileage may vary, but it was yet another piece of gear I recycled quickly.

I ended up using a Parasound P7 with an Oppo Bluray player for a very long time.
If money is tight while you're building your system, then an A/V receiver is fine to start. You can find them cheap (sometimes very cheap) on a variety of websites. I have seen them for 10% of their original price. Try to get one from a well-known manufacturer (like Marantz or Pioneer), with HDMI. You can always upgrade, but in the meantime, you'll be listening to music or watching movies.
I'm sure it goes without saying, but I was talking about buying your A/V receiver on the used market.
They sell for 10% of original price for a reason: nobody wants them. Nobody wants them for one very good reason: they are crap.
When money is tight the absolute last thing you can afford to do is throw it away on crap.
Pennywise, pound foolish. Think about it.
I don’t think AVRs are all that bad.
+1

Marantz SR-14 and SR-18 are my favorite, you can use it as power amp just remove the jumpers.

Thanks for all the suggestions

This was just a thought experiment, as I stated I already have a Integrated Amp that I use.

At Millercarbon,

I have to say, I can’t imagine they are all crap. I get that if a person can start off with a 2 Channel Component from the get go, that is the ideal way to go but some of the more higher end AVR’s that are now cheaper (money wise) I just can’t believe they are crap and that they can not perform strictly for 2 channel music.

For example, the older Denon 5800 or even the slightly older Yamaha CX-A5100 (preamp) and MX-A500 (Amp), which I see for much cheaper now. One benefit I see of these components is that they have so many inputs available.

And how about using the AVR as just a pre-amp and adding a really good 2 channel amp to it, if power is a issue in the AVR?

This was just a thought experiment
I can’t imagine they are all crap
Well then thanks for letting us know this is all in your mind. Would have been nice to know before wasting our time. But whatever.
If you do at some point decide to quit just making stuff up and venture out into the real world, there you will discover the reality that AVRs are indeed all pure crap. Whether you can imagine it or not.
Reality. What a concept.
And how about using the AVR as just a pre-amp and adding a really good 2 channel amp to it, if power is a issue in the AVR? 
Nope. Sorry. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Miller,

Actually, in my original post, I stated "Just Curious" and I also stated, " I will say for myself, I started with a Denon AVR-5700" and also, " Last year I bought a Integrated amp but honestly, I could have easily stayed with the Denon and build off of that."

So I think I was pretty str8 forward with the intention of this post, if you feel this was a waste of time for you, that's on you.

And I was under the impression forums were a place to gain knowledge, share ideas and thoughts. Something popped in my head and I thought I would come here to talk about it.

And I am not making stuff up, I was trying to have a conservation with the community and I very much live in the real world.

Conversation:  a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.

Wow, what a concept.
jay73 - Don't let it get to you kid. Most of us are on your side.
Enjoy the miracle.
Hello Jay,

It seems like you want a system for 2-ch music and surround sound for television and recorded movies(home theater or HT).
If so, I have a suggestion that will be a good transition from an AVR to higher quality separates that you can build on as funds allow:

The main hub component of this solution is to buy a used Oppo 105 Bluray player. This is a very versatile product with a very high quality audio section that can serve as a preamp (but only for CDs and streaming since it has no inputs for other sources), CD and SACD player, streamer, surround sound processor up to 7.1 (but no Atmos) as well as an excellent Bluray video player (1080p but not 4K).
For 2-ch listening, the Oppo has left and right rca and xlr outputs you would connect to a separate stereo amp of your choice. This is a transition point into higher quality stereo playback since almost any separate stereo amp will perform and sound better than the amps in your Denon AVR. The l+r stereo channels double as your front l+r mains when your using the Oppo for HT surround sound playback.
For the other 5.1 or 7.1 surround channels, you could start out by connecting the analog surround channel outputs on the Oppo to the analong surround channel inputs on your Denon AVR. This will allow you to utlize the internal surround channel amps in the Denon.
When you have the funds, you can transition to better separate amps for these surround channels that would be connected directly to the analog surround channel outputs on the Oppo. You would have the option of using a high quality 5 channel amp or using a combination of multiple channel,stereo and mono amps for powering the center, side and rear surround channels. Remember, your separate stereo amp for l+r 2-ch music playback would double as the amp for your l+r front mains for HT playback.
Volume and source selection would be controlled via the Oppo’s remote. There’s also an analog sub output that can be connected to your sub if you have one. This output allows you to use the sub for LFE (low frequency effects) for HT and as a normal sub for music. The Oppo has internal menus that let you control the cutoff frequency for the sub and for setting and balancing the relative volume of all surround channel speakers including the sub.
You can connect the Oppo to your wi-fi, either through an ethernet cable or wirelessly, to receive software updates and stream music, tv and movie content from internet sources such as Apple, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Tidal, Spotify, etc.
You can also connect an external storage device for movie and music playback that utilizes the Oppo’s excellent Saber DACs for high quality digital to analog audio conversion on both video and music stored content.
When you’re ready, you can continue your transition to higher quality separates by choosing a preamp with HT Passthru to allow for more source components to be connected to your system and even further improve audio playback quality.
I utilized my Oppo 105 in exactly this manner for about 6 months, in a effort to simplify my system, with excellent results.

Tim
@dweller 

Thanks, I am doing ok. 

@noble100 

Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

Actually, I am not looking to incorporate a AVR as I already have a 2 channel system with a Integrated Amp.

I had just brought up the subject because I thought it would be beneficial to talk about in case someone out there was looking at building their first 2 channel system but were on a tight budget and so I thought starting with quality AVR might not be a bad idea.

As they build their system around it, they could simply replace the AVR with a good Integrated or Separates. 

That's the only reason I brought up the topic but to be clear, I was not trying to get advice on incorporating a AVR for my own system (I had started that way but moved on).

Sorry for the all the confusion, perhaps I started a bad topic.
"quality AVR" is the key. The giants pop out crap because 90% of people think spending more than $500 for an AV receiver is foolish. My Onkyo full retail is close to $1800. For that much they can afford good parts. Don't worry about your topic. I'm sure it was interesting and inspiring to more than a few people.
jay73:
" I had just brought up the subject because I thought it would be beneficial to talk about in case someone out there was looking at building their first 2 channel system but were on a tight budget and so I thought starting with quality AVR might not be a bad idea."

Hello jay73,
     Okay, so you decided to make up a pretend and hypothetical post without stating so right from the get go?  Then I, never even considering another member would display such poor judgement as to think this was a good idea, spend about an hour of my life describing in detail how using an Oppo 105 is an excellent and much higher quality method to avoid using an AVR?  WTF? Really Jay, as if making up a pretend and hypothetical post was not a dumb enough idea, you took it to a super-uber-dumb knuckle-headed level idea by not stating it was a hypothetical post right from the beginning.  
     Please don't do this again.

Tim
If you can find an old high quality AVR with multi channel analog input for cheap, pair it with miniDSP, you can build a 2/3 way active system for not much money.
If I’m building a 2-channel system only, I’m gonna start with 2-channel components.  Period.  I’d rather spend $500 on a good used stereo integrated like a Rega Brio R or Peachtree Decco 125 that I’d enjoy and actually want to keep around for awhile than on an older jack of all trades/master of nothing AVR I’d like to get rid of ASAP. 
@jay73 You took some flak there. No worries, dust off and regroup. I think it’s a good thread idea. You just didn’t state your case very well.

I used have an Onkyo receiver and 5:1 speaker set up in a temporary lodging and it sounded pretty dreadful. I got rid of the speakers and shelved the amp. One day, I needed a quick rig and used the Onkyo with my Spendors and a CD player. Guess what? It did not sound that bad at all. We used it in a church and you’d be hard pushed to think it wasn’t a more expensive rig.
@noromance

Thanks for the positive feedback.
Yea, I also used my Denon in the past and I thought it sounded pretty decent and that is why I am keeping it. Besides, I wouldn't get much for it anyway, it might have been close to $3k in it's day but I picked it up for about $250 a few years ago. It works perfectly and is a hefty monster.

I packed it up and put it away as maybe I can use it in the future for a 2nd system if I get more room.

Jay, not all receivers are crap.  I still have an old Denon receiver (pre-HDMI), made in Japan, 45WPC, 4 channels, non AVR, just straight up receiver.  It blew the crap out of a Parasound P3 and Acurus A150 combo, no questions asked.  How's that for crap?
older cambridge audio azur av receivers were very good. 
Jay, I pulled up the owners' manual on your Denon...!
It has more jacks on the back of it than an old Moog synth....or even the new ones....*whew*G*

You might employ it as a 'head unit' to feed whatever input into whatever you'd consider....your integrated, an amp, or ?

I feed 'source' into my 'puter....can employ eq that way, run a monitoring prog, run the output back into the matrix I have.

Defeat the tone controls if you can.... but all of the above makes the SAF go *foom*, so....;)

Mine has her own system...simple as a brick, but she still has issues with it....*shrug*
Millercarbon has a knee-jerk reflex where has has to call all HT stuff crap. He has a big negative attack especially on AVRs. I wouldn’t take his comments too seriously.

That being said, there is a small grain of truth in his comment (however, a very small one). It is trued that AV receivers can give a nice bang for the buck, but the preamp sections are not really going to compete with dedicated preamps. Part of the problem is that everything runs off one main shared power supply, and it’s always a power supply that is severely undersized (especially for the amp boards). The compensation for that is that receivers usually run at higher voltage (such as 60 or 70 volts DC). The preamp circuits are just regulated down from that. Or they may be run off a separate switching power supply.

A receiver is not going to compete with a dedicated HT pre/pro (which has no amp part). Some exceptions might be Anthem and Arcam.

If a AVR receiver is what you have to start with due to budget constraints, then go for it.  It is an okay platform "to start with".  If you have to budget for a dedicate HT processor, that would be significantly better.
The different from top of the line AVR than average AVR is the power supply, for example, Marantz SR-14 all five channel @1kHz measured continuous output power:
8 ohm 139.4 W 138.6 W 138.6 W 138.6 W 139.4 W
4 ohm 205.9 W 205.9 W 201.6 W 208.8 W 203.1 W
Front two channel only:
8 ohm 165.7 W 166.9 W
4 ohm 274.2 W 276.3 W
Not too many stereo integrated amp can deliver this kind of power!


   If we're all now misguided enough to treat hypothetical posts seriously, then the solution for this phony scenario is not difficult:


     A used Oppo 105 connected directly to an individual's choice of amp or amps will outperform virtually any AVR ever produced.  The sound quality levels achieved will depend on the combination of either new or used, multi-channel, stereo or mono and quality levels of the amps chosen. And it's a high quality universal video and audio disc player, to boot.  
What's left to hypothetically discuss?