Too general. What sources? What price category?
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Even if the AVR is in the same price category as the Pre Amp it has the cost of features such as its amps, tuner, etc that mitigate any useful comparison based on cost. I would think the AVR would need to cost considerably more for its Pre Amp section to possibly contain the same quality components as a stand alone Pre. Anyways I think any comparison of products based on price is only the very roughest of guides.
Without specifically comparing the two I would be inclined to think that the components of AVR would not be of the same quality and that the other features might contribute noise into the system that would not be present in a separate.
I used my HK avr7200 as a pre for my forte 4a-I was able to blend the avr for home theater with the forte and have just the forte for my merlins in 2 channel--but--with the advice of several buds I checked with Dan Modwright to see if an upgrade to a seperate pre would produce any major sonic improvments-of course he said yes.So I bought a modwright SWL 9.0SE-and I can say it is well worth it.Hope this helps.I have enough extra speakers that I set this system up separate from the rest-the merlins have never sounded so good.Dan felt that having a tube pre-amp with solid state is one of the best ways to go.Good luck.
When I say assume same price, I really meant same level of quality in theory. Let's say a mid line avr and a mid line pre. Good info. I thought maybe since you were using in direct mode, it would be truly direct. But, the avr still has power supply, internal wiring, volume control etc. I learned from another audiophile that if you purchased lets say a mid line avr from a big brand like Marantz, don't expect a drastic sound improvement by switching to their mid line pre. He stated basically, the basic preamp internals would probably be identical to the AVR.
He stated basically, the basic preamp internals would probably be identical to the AVR.Not likely, AVR's use some sort of an electronic/digital volume control, and stereo preamps generally use an analog VC.
If you need the AVR for HT, then use a stereo preamp/amp or integrated amp with
HT by-pass. For 2 channel only, I can't see any advantage to use an AVR.
You already have the answer to your question,
I know using an AVR as a pre with external power amps (pre outs) is not sonically the most ideal.