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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What the Hell Is Pre/Pro?

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So you've been looking for a new home theater system. You've probably come across all types of wacky terms you've never heard of in your life; DAC's, preamplifiers, amplifiers, and pre/pro's. Well, here's some help, straight from the experts.

If you ignore the cost angle, a Preamp/Amp combo will sound better than any all-in-one receiver. The fact that the amps and the preamp circuitry are actually separated is supposed to be good thing. Some may argue that it's cheaper in the long run to go with separates. Since you can keep an amp for decades, you just need to swap out the pre-amp as new formats become available; however, with a receiver, you need to swap out the entire unit. This argument only makes sense if you're going with the really high end receivers.

The obvious pro-receiver argument is cost. A good receiver can be had for less than $1,000, whereas an entry level preamp/amp will cost you much greater than $1,000. The best inexpensive preamp/amp combo I know of is from Outlaw. Their 970 PrePro/7075 Power Amp combo costs around $1300.

A rule of thumb in home theater and stereo should be like this: 70% goes to speakers and 30% on electronics. If your speakers run $3000, then you should go with separates. Otherwise, stick with an AV receiver until you have enough for the high end.

Art by Netherland.

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