When it comes to the nerve center of a home theater, most consumers opt for an A/V receiver, which combines a preamp/processor (pre/pro) and multichannel power amp in one chassis. However, some enthusiasts choose to buy a separate pre/pro and power amp, believing that this results in superior sound quality, though it's generally a more expensive way to go. If you want the best possible sound—and you have the budget—you're probably shopping for separates.
Once you decide that you want separates rather an A/V receiver, you've crossed over into the world of high-end home-theater electronics, and you probably won't find these products at your local big-box chain. Specialty retailers provide the best selection, overall knowledge, and customer service for this type of product.
Most pre/pros are sure to meet your needs; the key differences for most buyers will be the features. For instance, Marantz and Denon have adopted Apple's AirPlay, allowing you to play music wirelessly from any Apple iDevice through your sound system, while Integra offers 4K video upscaling. Ultimately, you will make your final decision based on the feature set that appeals to you the most—and, of course, the sonic character you find most pleasing with your system.
In fact, you might want to consider getting a pre/pro and matching power amp from the same manufacturer. Not only will they be sonically matched and optimized for each other, they will present a unified visual appearance, if that's important to you.
Hometheater.com has even more info if all this was not enough for you.
The experts at Foss Audio & Tint have a great deal of experience installing home audio systems. We support and sell the best brands including Bose, Sonos, Dennon, Kef and many more. Call us or drop by today and we’ll be happy to discuss the best options for you. Also be sure to check out our promotions page to see if we’re running any specials on home audio.