Thoughts on Marantz AV8802a vs Rotel RSP 1582


OK so I love both 2 channel and HT and am building my little man cave and need a good pre/pro for both.  The two I have narrowed it down to are, as the title reads, the Rotel and the Marantz.  The Marantz has the definite edge with the latest HDMI, but according to Rotel they have, or will have the upgrade any moment.  Any strong opinions for either?  The rest of my system is listed below.  I have some inexpensive Klipsch surrounds I will probably hook up for ATMOS but 2 channel is REALLY important.  Thanks in advance........   

Front B&W N803 and a HTM1.  
Rear B&W N805 and a HTM2 
Sub Martin Logan Dynamo 700 x 2
Rotel 1095 bi-amped for front and center
Rotel 1075 bi-amped for 805 and center back
65" 4k Samsung 8000 series
Ordered Oppo UDP-203
reefmadness
but 2 channel is REALLY important.  Thanks in advance........
If 2 channel is really important than get either pre/pro and another piece of equipment - a 2 channel analog preamp with an HT Bypass function.  There are many available.  Connect your 2 channel sources to this and enjoy the music! 

"2 channel is REALLY important."

Buy a good 2 channel preamp with a HT bypass feature.

Just my 2 cents...

I think using a typical 2-channel preamp is a mistake, because it does nothing to alleviate room effects. The room has the largest impact on sonics, so why not address that?

The Marantz, with Audyssey MultEQ XT32, is easily the better choice.

Note, you'll also lose bass management when using a 2-channel preamp and speaker level matching and distance delays. Why spend money on nice speakers, subs and amps and then hamper them?

IMO, Anthem would be the only option to the Marantz.

"I think using a typical 2-channel preamp is a mistake, because it does nothing to alleviate room effects. The room has the largest impact on sonics, so why not address that?"

That's not good advice. One thing has nothing to do with the other. A 2 channel analog preamp isn't supposed to have an effect on room acoustics, or do any signal processing. In fact, that's exactly why it was recommended in the first place. Providing the components in a system are matched reasonably well, the preamp usually has the biggest effect on the sound that comes out of the speakers. There's better ways to deal with room acoustics than run a perfectly good audio signal through a bunch of crap. Process HT only. Not only that, we don't know anything about the OP's room. Maybe it doesn't need anything.

"Note, you'll also lose bass management when using a 2-channel preamp and speaker level matching and distance delays"

Good. There's no reason for bass management in a 2 channel preamp. If a sub is added to the system, you use the xover in the sub itself for bass management.

Before this turns into a long, senseless argument, consider this. When you go to shows like CES, NY, Rocky Mountain, etc..., how many high end displays use bass management? With exceptions for odd brands like Tact and Meridian, none of them do. In the last 25 or so years, I have yet to see 1 setup that employed bass management.

Excellent info thank you.  My room is small and probably not ideal for acoustics.  It is a detached 2 car garage that I have converted the front half into a man cave.  The back half is a home gym and separated by a curtain.  leather couch and large rug in the front.  The half I use for lounging is 18x12.  The seating position is a little over 12' from the speakers.

I hadn't considered a separate 2 channel pre due to cost, but now I am intrigued.  

Please keep suggestions coming and thanks again to everyone who posted.           

"My room is small and probably not ideal for acoustics. "

Few rooms are. We all have rooms that are not perfect. That said, I see nothing about your room that should pose any major issues. If a problem does arise, it can be fixed acoustically without spending a lot of money.

"I hadn't considered a separate 2 channel pre due to cost, but now I am intrigued. "

Here's a good article on the subject that goes into a bit more detail. It starts on page 4.



To reinforce mgreen's position, serious 2 channel HiFi and HT stuff are two different worlds.  And the biggest difference is usually found in the stereo preamp section of a good HiFi system.  The preamp section in an AVR or a TOTL pre/pro like your considering is merely an afterthought even in so called "pure direct" mode.   

After a 12 year affair with the HT mistress always being left unsatisfied with music, I returned to 2 channel only and couldn't be happier.  And that was using a variety of flagship AVR's and HT separates. 

But these two worlds can be easily and elegantly be brought together by use a stereo preamp with an HT Bypass feature.  You can still use your Rotel HT amps in this configuration.  This is why I so quick to suggest one.  And you can now pick the pre/pro that you want without worry of which will be best for 2 channel as neither really will.

OK  so it seems pretty clear a 2 channel pre is in my future.  Any recommendations on units with the HT bypass and a cost of less than 1500? I don't mind going used.

Again thanks for the great advise 
Providing the components in a system are matched reasonably well, the preamp usually has the biggest effect on the sound that comes out of the speakers

I don't know of any evidence that backs up that statement and it's not important, because the sound that we are interested in is the sound that reaches our ears. And that sound is completely perturbed by the room especially from the lower midrange downward. 

There's better ways to deal with room acoustics than run a perfectly good audio signal through a bunch of crap.

There are different ways for sure, but none are as effective and practical as digital room mode correction in the bass region. Effective passive bass traps are simply not practical. 

Not only that, we don't know anything about the OP's room. Maybe it doesn't need anything.

Every room, i.e., bounded space, has room modes. It's a fact of physics. Audiophiles typically choose to ignore it; either from a lack of knowledge or the misguided belief that it's not a big deal. Historically, audiophiles would rather worry about the minuscule effects of cables and electronics instead of the several dB variations in frequency response caused by rooms.

There's no reason for bass management in a 2 channel preamp. If a sub is added to the system, you use the xover in the sub itself for bass management.

You don't seem to understand bass management. Using the low pass filter in a sub is not bass management.

When you go to shows like CES, NY, Rocky Mountain, etc..., how many high end displays use bass management? With exceptions for odd brands like Tact and Meridian, none of them do. In the last 25 or so years, I have yet to see 1 setup that employed bass management. 

I agree. The majority of the high end audio industry is stuck in the dark ages. It's too bad. We are fortunate to live in a time where DSP is capable enough to correct issues with both the speaker itself and the speaker/room interface.

For anyone with an open mind wanting to improve their audio systems, I suggest reading the three whitepapers (particularly Part Three: Getting the Bass Right) by Dr. Toole at the Harman web site:

http://www.harman.com/innovation


I'm always amazed at the number of people that think HT, multi-channel audio and two-channel audio are so different from one another. The same acoustic issues arise in each and the same solutions can be applied in each.

 My room is small and probably not ideal for acoustics

Every room has room modes that cause several dB variations in frequency response. The frequency of the room mode is a function of the dimension of the room. Smaller rooms will have room modes at higher frequencies than larger rooms. This means that room modes will have a larger impact on typical music in smaller rooms than larger rooms.

Any recommendations on units with the HT bypass and a cost of less than 1500? 

Any analog two-channel preamp can be used. The HT bypass (unity gain input) is not a necessity; it simply makes controlling volume easier.

Best of luck with your system.

OK so it seems pretty clear a 2 channel pre is in my future. Any recommendations on units with the HT bypass and a cost of less than 1500? I don’t mind going used.

Again thanks for the great advise
You’re welcome and your making a wise choice getting a 2 channel preamp with HT Bypass. Here is a pretty comprehensive list of units that you can start researching. There should be several, new or used, around your budget of $1500. Scroll down for the preamps.  Good luck to you and let us know how its going.
http://www.audiophile.no/en/articles-tests-reviews/item/426-amplifiers-with-processor-input