Teach me about the pros/cons of a dedicated Preamp and power amp over an integrated

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by halkaloogie, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I replaced a highly regarded integrated I had (Luxman L-505u) with a separate phono preamp (Fosgate Signature), line-stage (Promitheus TVC), and power amps (at first, my Luxman MB-3045 monoblocks, then the Prima Luna Dialogue Premium). Each separate unit had to beat the corresponding stage of the Luxman integrated, and each did, to my ears. Total cost went from $3700 to $5700. It was nice to have a known-excellent benchmark unit to compare to, and to be able to change one component at a time, rather than taking a gamble on another combination unit.

    I think I done good. ;)
     
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  2. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I believe that matching a separate power amp to a pre is as important to its success or failure as the choice between integrated and separate . I would if possible choose a power and pre amp that were designed to go together. If not I would plan on experimenting with different combinations, or more likely just look for a good high quality integrated with more than enough power to drive my speakers.

    I like my Kenwood separates because they were built for each other with the intent to compliment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  3. elcoholic

    elcoholic Just Nevermind Subscriber

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    My preamp has 2.1 HT bypass with high & low pass filtering. I don’t use it for my HT. I use it for my sub. I’m not sure I’d find this on an integrated.
     
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  4. RT Fan

    RT Fan AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have always been a fan of Integrated Amps, a nice step up in quality over run of the mill receivers and even some "better" receivers. As I am not a fan of radio, why pay for a tuner, that I never use? I did make the leap to seperates about a decade or so ago and was pleased with the upgrade in quality sound. That being said it was an apples versus oranges fight both in wattage and cost. I will say that as I am approaching retirement, forced or otherwise, and the realities of the golden years dawn upon me, my plan is to revert back to an Integrated Amp for the sake of simplicity. 1 button on & off with a 12V trigger to the cd player. The "KISS" theory, keep it simple stupid.
     
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  5. Hyfi

    Hyfi Super Member

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    A little too general of a statement

    What about
    Pass Labs Int units
    Leben CS600
    Luxman 509x
    Burmester 032 and 082
    Boulder 865

    I would take any of the above over lots of lower priced separates
     
  6. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Active Member

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    Another pro to the integrated, the pre and power are a matched set, designed to go together. Having multiple systems I currently have pre with two power amps biamping the mains, and an integrated as pre with two power amps biamping the mains, another with an integrated driving the mains, and my son's rm a receiver driving the mains.

    All are enjoyed equally, it's not a matter of which is best, but which suits the situation best.

    It's a hobby, have fun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  7. twiiii

    twiiii Super Member

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    87 db i meter 1 watt with a response from about 40 to 20,000 Hz. They are very flat from 300 hz on up, but are very susceptible to room loading and placement is what I found.

    With the small woofer they aren't going to produce big levels with low distortion, so I would Imagine 100 watts would be about it unless you install a high pass filter to roll off the bass below 40HZ saving stress on the amp and speaker. Listening at 10 ft you might just be able to reach concert level with no provisions for peaks. 104 db with both speakers operating. But as average folks listen around 85 db with 10 to 15 db peaks you make it just under the wire. They work rather well in smaller rooms with short listening distances and have a nice ambient sound that some folks really love. I prefer speakers with a firm foundation to build upon. But having speakers that are pleasant to the ear and sacrifice a little bass allowing the room to make up for the weakness is sometimes a good thing.
     
  8. darkblue94

    darkblue94 It wasn't me. Subscriber

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    Wrong thread?
     
  9. Mozart1220

    Mozart1220 Active Member

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    Rotel RTC-940AX Tuner/preamp Rotel RB-971 power amp. $60 on Craig's List. Later I can get a bigger amp.
     
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  10. halkaloogie

    halkaloogie That Jerk Subscriber

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    I don't get the need for a "matched set". Wouldn't just about any good low distortion power amp compliment a nice preamp?
     
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  11. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Separates:

    Pros:

    Flexibility. If you need more power, you replace one component, the power amp. Or more inputs, you can replace preamp, and etc.

    Service/Downtime. Similar flexibility as above. Borrow a component from another system, or from a stash - don't have to send all to shop.

    SQ. Varies by brands and models, but separates are often a brand's best effort.

    Cons:

    Usually a higher price.

    Take up more space, and heavier.

    May require careful matching, especially when mixing brands. (also can be an advantage, though)

    Requires more cables.

    Often lower WAF.


    Integrated Amps:

    Pros:

    Take up less space, usually.

    Less cabling.

    May be less expensive.

    Cons:

    SQ may not be as good as separates.

    Servicing requires sending whole thing, of course.


    My brain is running slow this morning, so I probably have glaring omissions. Regardless, even the few I cited aren't always accurate. It comes down to cases. I dare say my integrated's SQ will compete in respectable separates territory, as well it should. I do think, however, that it is in careful matching by those with access and experience which provides the key advantage of separates.
     
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  12. Hyfi

    Hyfi Super Member

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    Yes and No.

    I recently tested that theory by dropping a Hafler 9180 in place of my Counterpoint amp in main system.
    http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....mp-or-my-old-hafler-9180-is-no-slouch.765891/

    Although the Hafler performance did surprise me, it was out of the league of the Counterpoint. "Any amp" is not a good compliment, but the better your Pre Amp is, the better it will allow your Amp, mediocre or higher end, to perform.
     
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  13. gguillot

    gguillot Super Member

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    Separates are great. However, I wanted tube power from Rogue Audio and their Cronus Magnum integrated was only about $100 more than the Atlas, which is amp only. That $100 bucks bought an integrated tube preamp, phono pre and high quality remote control. There are variable and fixed outputs on the amp, so I could use the pre with another amplifier if I wanted to experiment.
     
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  14. onepixel

    onepixel .

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    My Cary Audio SLP 50B tube pre-amp and Carver solid state C2 pre-amp played separately with:
    Carver Magnetic Field Power Amplifier M-200t
    Marantz 4140 Quad Integrated in 2-Channel
    American SP-4 Modded Tube Amp
    And a number of other amps and receivers.

    It all sounded slightly different, some worked ok, some were orgasmic.

    Like I said, it's like sex.
     
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  15. halkaloogie

    halkaloogie That Jerk Subscriber

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    I get what you're saying, but isn't the Hafler a $200-$300 amp and the Counterpoint closer to $1500? That doesn't seem like a fair comparison.

    I'm currently using a good running modded Sansui AU999. I like the sound from the amp, I just don't think it is giving my Dahlquist speakers enough power to really open up. I thought running the 999 as just a preamp and getting a nice power amp that can give the speakers what they want would help.
     
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  16. Hyfi

    Hyfi Super Member

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    No, the Hafler was a $650 amp when new and the Counterpoint was $4500 :) and it's a Hybrid


    My Dynaudio speakers needed a Stratos Amp to perform better than the Hafler could drive them. Dyns open up nicely with more power and current.
     
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  17. halkaloogie

    halkaloogie That Jerk Subscriber

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    My price guesses were off but the point still stands that that doesn't seem like a fair comparison.

    Since I can't afford a $4500 amp, what should I be looking for in an amp that I can afford?
     
  18. vonclod

    vonclod AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have been enjoying the sh@t out of my Tri Vista since I got it, it's no compromise to my seperates, takes up less space has power to spare..it's a winner.
    mf 114.JPG
     
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  19. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Sometimes the preamp's gain can be too much for a power amp to match well. Then there are other tonal qualities of both that together can create magic, or something along the lines of mud. Of course this is all subjective, but the chances are with a matched set in the integrated that it will sound better and work better than the power/pre that isn't a well matched set IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  20. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

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    Ah you bought a TriVista? Its a very nice component, hard to go wrong with that one. And its probably easier to find tubes for than my NuVista.

    Regards
    Mister Pig
     
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