7.1 preamp

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Sun Feb 27 16:54:03 MST 2011

On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM, Wade Preston Shearer
<wadeshearer.lists at me.com> wrote:
> Here's a question for the audiophiles on the list. I'm in the market for a new receiver. I'm pretty sure I'm going to replace my Harman Kardon with another Harman Kardon (unless someone can talk me out of it). I'm especially motivated because they just slashed prices to move out their inventory in preparation for the launch of the 2011 models. I can't decide between the AVR 2600 and the AVR 3600 though. The only difference is that the 3600 includes an iPhone dock, full multi-room support, more watts to each channel, and 7.1 preamp. I don't care about the first two items but the later to are important. The 2600 is now $500 (normally $800) and the 3600 is now $750 (normally $1,200). It seems like an extra $250 is worth it for the extra watts and the premap (especially for a receive that is normally twelve hundred bucks), although I'm still having a hard time understanding the preamp exactly. The 2600 only has preamp for the subwoofer whereas the 3600 has it for all speakers (7.1). I understand the basic idea behind an amplifier, but what exactly does it do here in a home stereo/theater scenario? More power to the speakers… but what does that mean? Just that I turn things up louder? Cleaner sound? I'm pretty sure that my current receive (AVR 635) only has the preamp for the subwoofer.

Jason is right, pre-amps are for big-budget audiophiles who have a set
of monoblock amps that need a clean line-level signal.  If you think
Harman Kardon stuff is expensive, you should take a look at Harman's
Mark Levinson brand, which carries audiophile mono amps.  Like most
audiophile stuff, it's about getting a cleaner, more accurate sound.
As far as I'm concerned, separate amplifiers are way beyond the point
of diminishing returns for my listening. :)


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