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post #1 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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So I blew a speaker out on my OMD 15--I was showing off the system to a friend and bumped the volume up way too high, and it blew--won't be doing that again.

I could just replace that speaker, but I'm also considering upgrading, and was hoping to get some advice.

My budget is pretty flexible--up to around $6000.
My feeling is that I can get some great speakers for a lot less though.


I'll link to some room pictures at the end of the post.

Basically the theater room is a 16' x 18' x 7'8" area in half of my basement. I have some sound absorption up, but right now its at the front of the theater area (because the OMDs are omni-directional, and I've heard you shouldn't tread the primary reflection point for such speakers). I can of course move some of the absorption to other areas if I get regular speakers.

I have a Denon AVR-4311CI receiver, and two Rythmik Audio FP15HP subs.

Anyway, I'm wondering whether omni-directional speakers are really for me. I tend to stay in one spot, don't have very many listening positions (2 really, its a small area), and the right tower is moderately close to the wall, while the left is not (which is not ideal for omnis).

I tend to use the system 80% for music, 10% for video games, and 10% for movies/tv.

I'd want at least a 5.1 setup. I probably don't need 7.1 in such a small space--I have that now and I think its overkill. The only time I really notice it is with 7.1 video games, and I'm not sure I'd be missing much with 5.1.


So my question is: If I did want to upgrade, what would some good options be? I may end up just replacing the speaker I blew, but I may as well look around at upgrades since my wife already oked it.

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post #2 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 07:36 PM
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don't feel bad. I have blown three sets of speakers throughout my life. I am mostly a 2 channel guy, the last dvd that I rented was 6 months ago. it has been a few years since I started watching movies in surround sound. I wanted to comment that I like your set up. I agree that you can find something that sounds good for less then 6,000 dollars. Any brands that you are interested in? you mentioned that you listen to a lot of music. what kind do you like to listen to? I think some speakers sound better for movies then music. klipsch speakers sound better for movies I think.
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post #3 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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One other thing I'm considering if I do stay with omnis is to upgrade to OMD 28s and the OMD C2, and just leave the OMD 5s in place (I have a feeling placing OMD Rs in that room would be difficult... and I could always grab them later if I really wanted to).

Anyone have opinions on the SQ of OMD 28s vs comparably priced direct radiating speakers?
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post #4 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardcat View Post

don't feel bad. I have blown three sets of speakers throughout my life. I am mostly a 2 channel guy, the last dvd that I rented was 6 months ago. it has been a few years since I started watching movies in surround sound. I wanted to comment that I like your set up. I agree that you can find something that sounds good for less then 6,000 dollars. Any brands that you are interested in? you mentioned that you listen to a lot of music. what kind do you like to listen to? I think some speakers sound better for movies then music. klipsch speakers sound better for movies I think.

I am unfortunately not very familiar with most of the brands out there, so I don't really know what to look at.

I listen to mostly rock and metal, but I venture into all sorts of genres. Not much classical/jazz.

So long as movies sound good, and video games sound pretty good, I'm ok. One thing is I want very clear dialogue in tv & movies. (I have this now.)

Basically what I'm looking for is if there are some direct radiating speakers out there which would work better for me than upgrading to OMD 28s, or than just sticking with the 15s, without going over my budget. If people have any recommendations I could go check them out and then decide what I want to do.
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post #5 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 07:54 PM
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what do you think about definitive technology? I hear people like them for bass heavy music like rock. I heard mirage speakers a few months ago and think that they sound pretty good. Some people online thought that they create effects in movies that you can't get with other speakers. They said that the explosion or t rex growl sounded like it was right by them when the speaker was further away.
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post #6 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll look into definitive technology.

Anyone have any experience with Magnepan? I have a dealer nearby who I can check out next Saturday.
Looks like for around my budget, I could pick up a pair of 3.7s and a center. And could get 2 pairs of the wall mounting ones for surround if I wanted a 7.1 system. (I assume I wouldn't want to keep the OMD 5s with them)
My neighbor has been raving about electrostatic speakers for a while now...
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post #7 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 09:26 PM
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there was a guy selling two pairs of older magnepan speakers in nyc. not sure if he still has them. i think he wanted 200 for each pair. if i can find his info in my sent folder do you want his email? the ad was a few months ago. he was selling them because he was moving. I heard Magnepan for the first time at lyric hifi a few months ago in NYC. They sounded good,but if you aren't sitting in the right spot, they might sound a little off balance. it was that way at least for me.I have seen people say that they aren't good for surround sound. It is hard to match them up with rooms sometimes. They have to be so far apart from the wall etc. Send this guy a pm about magnepan and home theater. He is cool and smart. I asked him about magnepan before.
http://www.avsforum.com/u/7902917/commsysman He can tell you what other brands might be good for passive radiators also. Some heavy bass songs in rock I hear don''t always do to well with magnepan. The onesa that I heard were 5,500 a pair the owner said I think. I see KEF speakers recommended a lot on here. If you decide to get magnepan keep in mind that some amps have a lot of trouble powering them because of the 4ohms and frequencies that they can dip down to. it sets some amps into protection mode. A guy a few months ago said that he didn;t like the way Rotel sounded with his magnepans. I think that denon sounds good,
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post #8 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 09:31 PM
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I hear that electrostatic speakers in general don't have a lot of bass. If a pet pees on them it may damage them or maybe even a coke or something spilling on them could damage them. I read a story on here about a dog ruining a pair of electrostats. the guy wasn't mad and the repair guy fixed them.
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post #9 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't allow my pets into the basement, so that shouldn't be an issue. We do sometimes eat and drink on the sofa...

I'm not too worried about the bass--I assume the 2 rythmik subs would pick up any slack?
Except I see that the CC5 only goes down to 200 hz... the rythmik's aren't going to be good up to 200.

I was looking at some of the KEF speakers too.

At this point I think I'm going to go demo some stuff next weekend (Magnepan and maybe B&W, pioneer, etc, since the same dealer carries them), and then figure out what to do.
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post #10 of 103 Old 08-18-2012, 10:35 PM
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newegg.com had some subscriber coupon codes for signing up for the newsletter. I thought I saw some pioneer speakers listed. i saw a pair of definitive technology speakers on sale, but they are only bookshelf speakers. I am about 8 hours from Boston or I would suggest good places to demo speakers. I see a lot of brands mentioned a lot like paradigm, monitor Audio, Dali, NHT, Cambridge Audio, I hear good things about Cambridge Audio s30. go to several stores and hear several brands. I hear rythmik svs and hsu subs recommended the most on here so the rythmik sub should be fine for your bass.
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post #11 of 103 Old 08-19-2012, 07:02 AM
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The Magnepan 3.7 is one of the best speakers in the world; it is amazing. You won't believe how much better they are than what you have now.

The things you need to be concerned with are the fact that they do have to be several feet from the rear wall, and need to be driven by a high-quality amplifier with at least 200 watts at 4 ohms. You definitely want to add an amplifier for the front two channels to get the best out of them, but that also goes for any high-quality speaker. The Denon will not give you the best performance from better speakers. I recommend either the Vincent SP-331 or the Bryston 3B-SST (which I use).

For music, I would only want to operate a 2-channel system with them; other speakers will only detract from their performance.

For movies, a matched center speaker would be good but the other speakers are not too critical.

I am currently using Vandersteen 3A speakers at one house and Gallo Acoustics CL-3 speakers at the other. They are both some of the very best also.

Gallo has a 60-day free home trial on the CL-3; free shipping both ways if you return them. It is really an amazing speaker, and you might want to try them. There was a review on them in the July/August issue of The Absolute Sound.

B & W speakers are generally priced at about twice what they are worth, IMO. The KEF Refererence R700 are good, and of course I recommend Vandersteen and Gallo.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Morik View Post

I'll look into definitive technology.
Anyone have any experience with Magnepan? I have a dealer nearby who I can check out next Saturday.
Looks like for around my budget, I could pick up a pair of 3.7s and a center. And could get 2 pairs of the wall mounting ones for surround if I wanted a 7.1 system. (I assume I wouldn't want to keep the OMD 5s with them)
My neighbor has been raving about electrostatic speakers for a while now...
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post #12 of 103 Old 08-19-2012, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, I was reading on another thread that this Denon had pretty good power output at 4 ohms...
There was a link to this: http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/receivers/denon-avr-4310ci/avr-4310ci-measurements-and-analysis
And the poster said that the 4311 uses the same power system.


I couldn't find an exact price on the 3B-SST within a few minutes of searching around, but looks like around $2500 or $3k? That would push me over my budget by a good bit. I could do it, but my wife may have some issues. The vincent looks cheaper from a quick search. But if I do go with 3.7s, I'll probably give the Denon a shot given the above article, and then if its insufficient, I'll move up.

I do only use 2 channel for music (though I kick in my subwoofers--I assume I'd want to do the same with the 3.7s).
My current speakers are about 4 feet from the wall. I assume I'd be able to place 3.7s at about the same distance. (They are about 7 feet from the listening position)

In another thread I read that sound absorption behind Maggies helps them sound better (in addition to moving them further from the back wall). I do have sound absorption up on the back wall (as can be seen in my photos in the OP).
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post #13 of 103 Old 08-19-2012, 02:25 PM
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No. You shouldn't need to buy another amplifier to accommodate speakers. There are plenty of speakers out there well within your budget range that would work well with that receiver. Stick to 6 ohm and 8 ohm impedance speakers, and I'm sure you can find something you like.

Since you are in Boston, I would imagine that there are some good audio stores in your area. Go listen to speakers at a few stores. Ask about return policies--the intention being to demo what you like. Pick out the best pair, buy 'em, bring 'em home and see how they sound. If the L/R sound good, then go back and get the rest. Otherwise, return them.

And yes. You have two good subs that will handle the bass very well smile.gif

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post #14 of 103 Old 08-19-2012, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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cel4145: is there a reason I shouldn't consider 4 ohm speakers with this receiver? From the article I linked to, it looks like it should handle them just fine?

A few more questions about the Magnepan's:
- in terms of the center channel, it looks like I'd either have to shell out mega bucks for a CCR & CC stand (to get full range there without it sounding clunky since the CCR only goes down to 200), or same for CC5 + CC stand, or just bite the sub reproducing the center stuff up to 200hz... or get the mmgc, if it really does go down to 100hz well. (Or a CC3 if I can find one?)

- my current surrounds & rears (OMD 5s) have a 90db sensitivity, 6ohm impedance (but can take 4), and say they don't want more than 175W of power (presumably at 6ohms). Would it not be problematic to mix these with power-hungry Magnepans?


The Gallo CL3 and Vandersteen 3As look to be in very different price groups... I'll look at some reviews and consider the in home gallo trial.
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post #15 of 103 Old 08-19-2012, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morik View Post

cel4145: is there a reason I shouldn't consider 4 ohm speakers with this receiver? From the article I linked to, it looks like it should handle them just fine?

Sure. The reciever will work fine with some 4 ohm speakers. Just be wary of difficult to drive ones.

But it sounds like this is your first big foray into direct radiating speakers. There are tons of options out there for you. Best way to get a feel is to go listen to some. Then you'll have a better idea of what sonic signature you like.

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post #16 of 103 Old 08-19-2012, 07:43 PM
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cel4145 what are some brands that have direct radiators would you suggest for him to check out? Any models that you would recommend?
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post #17 of 103 Old 08-20-2012, 07:09 AM
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Paradigm, B&W, Kef, Focal, Monitor Audio, Klipsch, JBL, PSB are some popular brands.

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post #18 of 103 Old 08-20-2012, 07:21 AM
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Try something new. Revel, KEF, B&W, Focal, Dynaudio, Pioneer.
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post #19 of 103 Old 08-20-2012, 11:41 AM
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^ Those minus B&W, and to add to it: Salk Sound, Philharmonic Audio, Acoustic Zen and Soundfield Audio.


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post #20 of 103 Old 08-20-2012, 11:39 PM
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For the type of music you like I'd suggest JBL, Definitive Technology, Polk Audio, Paradigm and the Martin Logan Motion Series. I have personally never liked electrostatic type speakers for rock/metal or hip-hop, although i think they are fantastic with classical and jazz.

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post #21 of 103 Old 08-21-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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So I went and listened to the Maggies yesterday (I got ansy and went into work early so I could leave early). They sound really, really good.

I didn't have any CDs with me though (I'm all digital at home), so I'm going back later this week with some CDs (burned from lossless sources), and they are going to have the 3.7s set up with a velodyne. (When I was there they were on a 2 channel pre-amp (I believe) & a a McIntosh tube amp with I believe 300W/channel)

Anyway, my goal is to see how loud they can go when some of the low end load is taken over by the sub (I think he said he'd be cutting them over at 80hz), and whether I still think the unique sound qualities are my cup of tea when presented with my variety of music.

And then this weekend I think I'm going to Best Buy to demo some of the other brands that have been recommended--looking at their websites and dealer finders, it seems Best Buy is the only area dealer that carries most of those brands.

I did check out Gallo on their website... their speakers seem quirky: Very low weight, no electronic crossover (I found a review that said the way their drivers & enclosures are designed compensates for this)...
But they seem well liked, so I guess if I want to know I really should take the time to order up a pair of CL-3 or CL-4s and try them out for myself. Unless I can find somewhere to demo them.
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post #22 of 103 Old 08-21-2012, 08:21 PM
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The maggies I heard in New York City were also used with a McIntosh amp. I guess dealers like to use them mainly with maggies. did you subscribe to the newegg newsletter yet? I saw a pair of floorstanding definitive technology speakers on sale this week through the newsletter. think they were 500 each but on sale for 200 each with the coupon code. best buy magnolia store is where I heard martin logan.
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post #23 of 103 Old 08-21-2012, 09:45 PM
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The only experience that I had with a velodyne sub was when Circuit City was open. The worker though it was the stores best sub at the time. It was 7 or 800 dollars I think. I can't remember. It was a 12 inch sub. He played star wars on it. It did sound pretty good. I heard that over the years the new velodyne subs don;t have the same powerful punch that the old ones did. I tried to hear a velodyne sub earlier this year, but the dealer steered me away from it saying it didn't sound that good. he told me to check out some other brands that they had instead.
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post #24 of 103 Old 09-16-2012, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I gave the maggies a longer listen both in-store and at home (borrowed the floor models for a day).

They sound really good, but I found that they have volume limits that would mean I'd be constantly worried about damaging them. I sometimes (not often, but sometimes) want to sit around and listen at 90-95db at my listening position. WIth the maggies I could get it up to 88db at my listening position--more than that and the speakers started to have issues. I asked whether it was a power issue (I was driving them with my 4311), and was told that its really more of a limitation of the speaker, and that even with more power I wouldn't be able to drive them louder than that, certainly not 7db louder.

Now I'm looking at the Anthony Gallo reference 3.5, and also thinking about the Salk veracity HT3 or possibly the Soundscape 8. Anyone heard both the reference 3.5 and one of the Salks? If so, what would you say the differences are?
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post #25 of 103 Old 09-16-2012, 05:18 PM
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Maybe try high sensitivity speakers if you want loud output? Like JTR triple 12's or something similar. People on this board seem to like them, especially for home theater. I have the Chase Home Theater SHO-10's which are high sensitivity and they can get VERY loud distortion-free (as in dB in the 100's pretty easily). These speakers seem to be well suited for movies and live music where dynamics is important. I don't know too much about how they perform for CD's and such as i don't really listen to music through them, but just another thing to consider.
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post #26 of 103 Old 09-17-2012, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morik View Post

I gave the maggies a longer listen both in-store and at home (borrowed the floor models for a day).
They sound really good, but I found that they have volume limits that would mean I'd be constantly worried about damaging them. I sometimes (not often, but sometimes) want to sit around and listen at 90-95db at my listening position. WIth the maggies I could get it up to 88db at my listening position--more than that and the speakers started to have issues. I asked whether it was a power issue (I was driving them with my 4311), and was told that its really more of a limitation of the speaker, and that even with more power I wouldn't be able to drive them louder than that, certainly not 7db louder.
Now I'm looking at the Anthony Gallo reference 3.5, and also thinking about the Salk veracity HT3 or possibly the Soundscape 8. Anyone heard both the reference 3.5 and one of the Salks? If so, what would you say the differences are?

You got bad information. It's most definitely a power issue. They will be able to achieve the SPLs you desire at the LP with a capable amp. The 4311 or any HT receiver can't come close to driving ANY Maggie properly. The power supply is too puny for the job. The Maggies are inefficient and a 4 ohm load to boot. They need a powerful amp that can deliver a lot of current with both channels driven. If you are entertaining the idea of purchasing Maggies then you also need to figure in the cost of an external amp into the equation. The other speakers you mention are also good choices but will require external amps as well if you want to get the most out of them. I have the predecessor to the 3.5 (3.1) and get over 100db at the LP from 13.5 feet away, but I have an external 5 channel amp (Adcom GFA-7705) driving them and they are crossed over to my sub at 60hz. The amp gives out before they do. I can't recommend Gallo speakers enough.

Cheers,
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post #27 of 103 Old 09-17-2012, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, so I don't really know how to choose between the 3 speakers I listed above. I can do the in-home demo of the 3.5s, though that is kind of a hassle, and I'd feel kind of bad demoing with no intention of buying through them. (It looks like the 3.5s can be had much cheaper through other channels)

With the soundscape 8, it seems like less amplification is suggested than with the ht3 or ref. 3.5. But its also a good bit more expensive.

I could easily fit something like the Emotiva xpa-3 into my budget, though I haven't really done a lot of research on amps, so I'm not sure why its so much cheaper than some other amps of that power level. (E.g., Bryston 4bsst is much more expensive than the Emotiva xpa-2, which has the same output... I understand that digging under the hood would reveal all sorts of differences, I just don't understand what the practical ramifications of those differences would be.)

That looks like it could power any of the above listed speakers reasonably well (and has more juice than the Soundscape 8s would need), and would also be able to power a matching center channel. Though again, not sure what I'd be sacrificing vs a more expensive amp--I'll have to go do some research.

I'm guessing I'd probably be plenty happy with any of the 3 speaker choices... the ref 3.5s would be cheapest (by how much depending on where I got them), and have the cheapest matching center as well... but I'm still indecisive. I'll give it some more thought.


As to the maggies & the power issue--the dealer brought over an external 150WPC amp (he said so I could see the difference in SQ at the same power level), and I didn't really notice a difference. Though we didn't level match it or anything.
He said the reason the maggies wouldn't be able to give more volume, even with a 1000W amp, is because the planar design doesn't allow much more excursion than they were giving already.
Also, my wife really didn't like the look of the maggies, though she said I can do whatever I want and she'd get over it. (Though if she hates the system, it means we'll be using the tv upstairs, with no sound system on there currently... so... smile.gif )
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post #28 of 103 Old 09-17-2012, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Morik View Post

Hmm, I was reading on another thread that this Denon had pretty good power output at 4 ohms...
There was a link to this: http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/receivers/denon-avr-4310ci/avr-4310ci-measurements-and-analysis
And the poster said that the 4311 uses the same power system.

Don't listen to some of these people. The Denon 4311 is great and you most likely won't need to waste any money on any amps. Just keep the speaker channel level at least 0.0 or higher so you don't subjectively feel like you have to turn up the volume.

The bass is what requires most of the power, not the midrange and tweeter. But if you are using subwoofers, your Denon won't have to worry about all that heavy power requirement for the subs.
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post #29 of 103 Old 09-17-2012, 11:09 AM
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As to the maggies & the power issue--the dealer brought over an external 150WPC amp (he said so I could see the difference in SQ at the same power level), and I didn't really notice a difference. Though we didn't level match it or anything.

Exactly. You won't notice any difference especially if you level match. Don't listen to some of these people. biggrin.gif

If they played the external amp even at 0.5dB higher, you would favor the external amp.

And some external amps have a votage gain of 34-38dB, instead of the more standard 28dB. So, of course, some of these amps will sound louder at the same master volume knob setting. biggrin.gif
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post #30 of 103 Old 09-17-2012, 11:30 AM
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I have some magnepan MGII's. I love them. I haven't heard any other speaker that can reproduce like they can. They produce a wall of sound as opposed to a few spots of sound like conventional speakers. I don't play at 0 DB, but I can play as loud as I want with an old Marantz 5.1 receiver.

You definately need a powered sub with maggies.

I would only buy maggies if they weren't so big. My wife hates them also. But admits they sound great.

I'm surprised thay can't play as loud as you want. I guess the 3.x series is different than the MGII.

I've heard people say they aren't good for HT. Not true at all. They sound great with everything. Also, they don't have to be 3' from the wall. Mine sound great against the wall also.

I have a 4311 and it's very powerful for a receiver, but I also have a NAD 5 channel amp hooked up to it and it's clearly much more powerful. I've heard good things about emotiva amps. They're a great buy for the $. And they have good customer support.
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