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Old 2nd May 2016, 03:29 PM   #1
srinath is offline srinath  United States
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Default HDMI Preamp recomendations

I'm looking for a HDMI preamp, preferably one that also has a tuner.

Also I'm fine with using a receiver with preouts cos the preamp section is great, but the amp isn't that great.

Anyone have any experiences with any ?

Thanks.
Srinath.
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Old 8th May 2016, 08:17 AM   #2
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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The cheapest I've heard of was from Emotiva. Going by reviews and forum comments, they suffered from some bugs. Pioneer made AVRs with preamp outputs, but used receivers are liable to have problems, so that's a different gamble. Maybe it's feasible to modify an AVR and add preamp outputs; a used one with a blown amp channel ought to be dirt cheap. But, if they've gone to an all-digital signal path, you might just have a door-stop.

So, the cheapest safe bet is to embrace the dark side and get a new AVR with a warranty on sale. Or if you really want a pre/pro, hunt for older models that don't do 3D or 4k or Atmos. High-end dealers and installers may have trade-ins.

Last edited by dangus; 8th May 2016 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 8th May 2016, 09:16 AM   #3
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I think it's a shame that preamp outs on receivers went away. With the race-to-the bottom pricing mindset these days, it seems like any feature that falls beneath some high threshold of popularity is immediately deleted.

I have discovered that a lower-end receiver with a mediocre power amp section can have a surprisingly nice-sounding front end when connected to some decent amplification. I've modified a couple of inexpensive Yamaha AVRs for preamp outs, and have been very pleased with the results. If you're into modding your gear, all it really takes is a free afternoon and a bit of shielded cable (and ideally a schematic & board diagram). You can repurpose some unused input jacks for outputs. I also disconnected & grounded the inputs to the internal power amp channels.

-- Jim
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Old 8th May 2016, 02:28 PM   #4
srinath is offline srinath  United States
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@Dangus: Emotiva I have looked into, also into a sherbourne. I'm in no hurry, I would wait for the technology to get better. I have a few HDMI avr's that have had issues. I'll wait it out if needed.

@Jim: Lower end receiver sounds like a good idea, but have any specific make/model numbers ?

Cool.
Srinath.
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Old 8th May 2016, 08:03 PM   #5
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The AVRs I've modified were both Yamahas, model HTR-4065 and RX-V573 - essentially 5.1 and 7.1 versions of the same model. I had access to service manuals for both, as I was working for a Yamaha dealer at the time. Not sure how hard it would be to obtain this info as a "civilian" - different manufacturers have different policies about supplying service materials & parts to end users. Still, it's not impossible to complete a project like this without a road map; just more time-consuming and error-prone.

A couple of things I forgot to mention - I was lucky with my Yamahas to find a point to pick off the signal that was directly before the power amp input, but directly after the simple shunt muting circuit for each channel. This is an important feature.

Also, remember that this point in the circuit isn't necessarily designed to be a connection to the outside world. For example, I was basically taking the signal right out of the multichannel volume control IC, with the shunt muting transistor in parallel and a low-value resistor or two in series. The block diagram for this chip indicated buffer stages at each analog output, but I had no actual specs for them - they were just little triangles on the page. I never used cables longer than 2 or 3 feet to connect to the power amps, and all my frequency response measurements remained ruler-flat; but with longer cables, your mileage may vary.

Good luck,

-- Jim
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Old 9th May 2016, 04:23 AM   #6
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Some searching suggests that Marantz may be the way to go. Crutchfield has the AV7701 for $1k, although the AV7702 gives you Atmos for just 200 more.
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Old 9th May 2016, 08:59 AM   #7
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There is also the miniDSP route https://www.minidsp.com/products/ht-series/nanoavr-hda

But still needs an 8 channel pre-amp. Most newer blu-ray output LPCM.
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Old 9th May 2016, 01:30 PM   #8
rif is offline rif  United States
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Outlaw audio? I have no experience with them, however

http://outlawaudio.com/products/975.html
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Old 9th May 2016, 01:58 PM   #9
srinath is offline srinath  United States
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Thanks Jim.
There is an RX-V673 on my local CL, these Yamaha HDMI amps are not too rare, I should be able to find them pretty easy over the next few months.

@Dangus: That Marantz series does have a great rap, I also have seen em on my local CL for ~500. I'll have to try the Yamaha modification idea first though, I'm more of a tinkerer than a spender, even if it means not saving much $$$ or getting a better product.
@Billshruv: Yea I looked @ the minidsp earlier, 8ch preamp - well, I'm trying to get one that also does HDMI input processing.
@Rif: I think I'd probably go the Yamaha direction, but outlaw is very very cool just to say I have an outlaw anything. LOL.


Cool.
Srinath.
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Old 9th May 2016, 06:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billshurv View Post
There is also the miniDSP route https://www.minidsp.com/products/ht-series/nanoavr-hda

But still needs an 8 channel pre-amp. Most newer blu-ray output LPCM.
You don't really need a preamp to use nanoAVR-HDA. Here's my recent upgrade story which deals with that (coincidentally, Outlaw Audio is also involved).

Epilogue: The tweeters have been replaced.

-- Jim
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