AVS Special Member
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: sierra ecuadoriana
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Again, you're not putting them at "max output" (that's the gain structure argument) - you're not even putting them at the same level out. It's entirely possible that the HK with it's dial "much lower" is just as close to it's maximum headroom, there's just more play in the dial (again, different gain structures) - the dB markings on the dial do not reflect acoustic SPL nor do they even reflect absolute dBV or dBW.
I can't say about that Denon. But the Citation 19 manual states that when the top row 0db LEDs are lit, the amp is at 100w output. It showed what the output would be for every level of those LED, when lit. So I was nowhere near max on the Citation.
AS for the Denon, that topped out at +5db, and constantly having to be somewhere from -1db to +5db is not a good thing imo. Have you ever played any 1/2 speed mastered LPs from Mobile Fidelity? Those LPs require quite a bit more power than a regular LP. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking 6db more, minimum, to get the same output. I'll have to check that. I have two 'Totally Hot' LPs, one is a 1/2 speed.
I did not even bother to try any 1/2 speed LPs, using that Denon receiver.
Here is the matrix of the Citation 19. As you can see, -18db not even close to max.
Custom, one of a kind pair, MJC212 mains, mod PT800 center, PT800 surrounds, SUB1500s. Parasound P7, Citation 19, Parasound HCA2205A, HK AVR3600, Marantz TT, Denon disc player, MacBook Pro w/ DragonFly usbDAC.