A/V processors or preamplifiers are designed to centralize all your audio and video sources. They process, decode and pre-amplify the audio signals and send them to one or more power amplifiers. There are many advantages to using an A/V processor as opposed to an integrated A/V receiver (a receiver with an integrated preamplifier), including greater flexibility, more supported channels, and less chance of interference for optimal sound quality.
A/V processor: choosing flexibility
Choosing a preamplifier that is separate from the receiver provides greater flexibility and ease, both when creating your home theater system and when you eventually update it. When major technological developments occur, such as new audio or video formats, new connectors or new features, an A/V preamplifier can be easily changed, allowing you to take advantage of these new technologies without disrupting the balance between the amplifier section and the speakers.
A/V processor: choosing quality
Although audiophile-quality integrated A/V receivers are available, a system that combines a preamplifier and a power amplifier usually provides even better performance. This is because the audio and video signal treatment sections are entirely separated from the amplification section, which reduces the risk of interference. A/V processors are also optimized to reduce noise and distortion. They use discrete, ultra low-noise components to efficiently pre-amplify the signal while ensuring an excellent signal-to-noise ratio for the best possible sound quality.
A/V processor: able to decode many channels
It isn’t always easy to find an integrated A/V amplifier capable of efficiently powering the many speakers in a dedicated home theater room. Even the most powerful receivers, such as the Denon AVC-X8500H, are usually limited to 13 channels. An A/V processor such as the Lyngdorf MP60 is a must for anything over this amount. The Lyngdorf MP60 can decode all of the latest audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D across 16 channels, making it easy to create an 11.1.4 audio system. Its HDMI inputs support UHD 4K, 3D, HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision and HDR10 video streams with a very high bitrate of 18 Gbps.
A/V processor: power
It is technically difficult for manufacturers to design a very high-power integrated A/V receiver. Even the most powerful models struggle to exceed 150 watts in stereo. This power is further reduced the more speakers there are to drive. In the vast majority of cases, this is more than enough to enjoy quality sound at very high volume. However, it may not be sufficient for a high-volume home theater or to power demanding speakers. Using a processor alongside a power amplifier allows you to benefit from increased power that is better adapted to the speakers in the system. For example, the Emotiva XPA-6 Gen3 power amplifier is capable of producing between 200 and 800 watts depending on the connected speakers.
Creating a system that combines an A/V processor and a power amplifier allows you to enjoy outstanding performance and using separate components ensures that you can always take advantage of the latest technologies and audio formats by simply changing the processor. As power amplifier technologies evolve more slowly, a power amplifier can remain a part of your system for many years without affecting the performance and musicality of your home theater installation.