AVR Power Ratings - What Am I Actually Getting? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-27-2011, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm seeking guidance and insight from the experts that know this stuff. I think I'm down to two AVRs to choose from to replace my old one: Yamaha RX-A3010 or Integra 50.3. I know that power numbers can be fudged a little but how do we know what exactly these AVRs provide in terms of power? I bring this up because, in another thread, someone mentioned that Yamaha's numbers don't actually show what they actually drive.

I did a little digging and found the info on AVRs that are close to the ones I'm considering. These are reviews from Home Theater Magazine.

This link is to the lab results for the Yamaha RX-A2000. Of particular note is the actual output they measured
Code:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 70.7 watts 
1% distortion at 79.9 watts 

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 62.9 watts 
1% distortion at 76.9 watts
Yamaha's specs show the power for the 2000 as follows:
Code:
Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven)
----- 130W (8ohms, 0.06% THD)

Dynamic Power per Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms)
----- 165/210/285/405 W
The Integra 50.2 HT labs results show
Code:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 110.8 watts 
1% distortion at 134.1 watts 

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 107.5 watts 
1% distortion at 127.7 watts
Integra's specs show the power for the 50.2 as follows:
Code:
Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz-20 kHz, FTC)
----- 135W /Channel (8 Ω) 

Dynamic Power
----- 300W /Channel (3 Ω)
----- 250W /Channel (4 Ω)
----- 150W /Channel (8 Ω)
So what exactly should I expect from a unit that is specified to deliver certain power. How would I know what the actual output is for a unit if not provided by testing labs like Home Theater Magazines?

Are the "discrepencies" between the numbers in the spec and the lab numbers for the Yamaha something to actually worry about? The Integra numbers are much closer.

Right now I'm leaning towards the Integra due to the "better" power, as it seems and the Audessey XT since I don't have the same exact speakers in my HT set up.

I don't know much about this stuff, but I know I don't want to under-drive my speakers. So right now I'm not sure what actual power I would be getting if I go with the Yamaha RX-A3010 once it's available.

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post #2 of 19 Old 07-27-2011, 09:41 PM
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Unless you see a review with bench tests of the AVR you have in mind it is difficult to know exactly what you are getting. As you've discovered, the power the AVR can deliver to each channel depends on the number of channels used (2 or 5 or 7 for example). If you can find bench tests for the same manufacturers similar, or closely related, product(s), that's a data point. If, for example, product literature says 100 watts per channel and a similar product bench tested 30% less than what it claimed for the number of channels you are interested in, then you might reasonably conclude that the one that claimed 100, is probably about 70. Another impotent consideration is how much power you need. That depends on you listening distance, speaker efficiency and desired SPL. Google "crown amplifier power calculator" to find a nice online calculator.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 01:29 AM
 
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Generally speaking here.....

All manufactures test power / rate their power differant ....the AV world loves the numbers game and its a game unfortunatly.

But the saving grace here is your looking at reputable manufactures and what I mean by that is they build a quality product and what I have found over the years is if you stick with a reputable receiver that makes at least 100 watts per channel youll be fine. They may not exactly push 100 true watts to your speakers when the knob is maxed out but before you even reach max youll be way too damn loud...seriously...

Now if you were talking about an insignia receiver Id say you better put it on a bench to make sure the thing can run a bose speaker....LOL...

Buy a name brand receiver with a good power rating and youll be fine, dont get hung up on the numbers, this one is 100 watts that one is 110 watts at the end of the day it will do its business just fine. Again dont buy a cheep low power receiver becuase thats exactly what youll get. Your concidering two good units so narrow it down to what you really need and want and theres your choice.

You will never really know how the manufacture rates for power. Harman Kardon at one time told us they gave us real power with all channels driven. Alot of others just run one channel to max, get that highest power rating weather is usable power and call the receive XXX watts per X channels.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I really appreciate the feedback. I'm going down to a local dealer on Saturday to listen to an Integra 30.2 as he doesn't have the 50.3 yet. I'll check out the online power calculate too. Thanks again.

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post #5 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AYColumbia View Post

I don't know much about this stuff, but I know I don't want to under-drive my speakers. So right now I'm not sure what actual power I would be getting if I go with the Yamaha RX-A3010 once it's available.

Check out the audioholics review of the A3000. They run different test on amplifiers and stated that the A3000 amps are very respectable.
http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/r...surements-cont
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpearce023 View Post

Check out the audioholics review of the A3000. They run different test on amplifiers and stated that the A3000 amps are very respectable.
http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/r...surements-cont

I just quickly looked through this article and what a great reference. Thanks so much for providing this. This is exactly the type of info that is very helpful and puts the power ratings in context when explained so well. Yet another site going into my favorites.

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post #7 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AYColumbia View Post
I just quickly looked through this article and what a great reference. Thanks so much for providing this. This is exactly the type of info that is very helpful and puts the power ratings in context when explained so well. Yet another site going into my favorites.
Another that excellent reviews and test reports that should be on your favorites list. They just reviewed the Yamaha A2000 and it is there also. Good luck. IMO you can't go wrong with any of the Aventage series from Yamaha. They are still considered by many to be the most reliable,long lasting AVR's on the market.


http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 09:39 AM
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Hello,
If considering the 3010 bear in mind that it is a 9 Channel AVR whereas the A3000 is a 7 Channel AVR. It seems 9 Channel AVR's do not do as well when Bench Tested as the 9 Channel TX-NR5008 actually tested worse than the Integra 50.2 even though the 5008 is Ultra2 Plus Certified and weighs about 20 Pounds more than the 50.2.
Cheers,
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 10:02 AM
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Hello,
As a corollary to my last post, I would recommend checking out Audioholics Articles about the All Channels Driven Fallacy.

It mentions that many of the Publications that do these Tests do not disclose the Testing Conditions (whether they have an Regulated AC Power Supply capable of 2000 Watts, the Line and Frequency Voltage when Testing, etc.

For instance the 50.3 is based of the TX-NR809 which is rated at 7.5 Amps whereas the 5008 is rated at 11.6 Amps.

With this being the case, it defies logic that the 50.2 or 50.3 are more powerful than the 5008. Yet, when Bench Tested, the 50.2 had higher specs by a fairly decent amount.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-28-2011, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiodork View Post
Hello,
If considering the 3010 bear in mind that it is a 9 Channel AVR whereas the A3000 is a 7 Channel AVR. It seems 9 Channel AVR's do not do as well when Bench Tested as the 9 Channel TX-NR5008 actually tested worse than the Integra 50.2 even though the 5008 is Ultra2 Plus Certified and weighs about 20 Pounds more than the 50.2.
Cheers,
AD
Yes, one of the reasons I'm looking at the 3010 is the presence and the fact that they provide the power to one set now. It'll be nice once bench tests are available for both AVRs.

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post #11 of 19 Old 07-30-2011, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AYColumbia View Post

I'm seeking guidance and insight from the experts that know this stuff. I think I'm down to two AVRs to choose from to replace my old one: Yamaha RX-A3010 or Integra 50.3. I know that power numbers can be fudged a little but how do we know what exactly these AVRs provide in terms of power? I bring this up because, in another thread, someone mentioned that Yamaha's numbers don't actually show what they actually drive.

I did a little digging and found the info on AVRs that are close to the ones I'm considering. These are reviews from Home Theater Magazine.

This link is to the lab results for the Yamaha RX-A2000. Of particular note is the actual output they measured
Code:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 70.7 watts 
1% distortion at 79.9 watts 

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 62.9 watts 
1% distortion at 76.9 watts
Yamaha's specs show the power for the 2000 as follows:
Code:
Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven)
----- 130W (8ohms, 0.06% THD)

Dynamic Power per Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms)
----- 165/210/285/405 W
The Integra 50.2 HT labs results show
Code:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 110.8 watts 
1% distortion at 134.1 watts 

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads: 
0.1% distortion at 107.5 watts 
1% distortion at 127.7 watts
Integra's specs show the power for the 50.2 as follows:
Code:
Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz-20 kHz, FTC)
----- 135W /Channel (8 Ω) 

Dynamic Power
----- 300W /Channel (3 Ω)
----- 250W /Channel (4 Ω)
----- 150W /Channel (8 Ω)
So what exactly should I expect from a unit that is specified to deliver certain power. How would I know what the actual output is for a unit if not provided by testing labs like Home Theater Magazines?

Are the "discrepencies" between the numbers in the spec and the lab numbers for the Yamaha something to actually worry about? The Integra numbers are much closer.

Right now I'm leaning towards the Integra due to the "better" power, as it seems and the Audessey XT since I don't have the same exact speakers in my HT set up.

I don't know much about this stuff, but I know I don't want to under-drive my speakers. So right now I'm not sure what actual power I would be getting if I go with the Yamaha RX-A3010 once it's available.

One thing I don't see mentioned in the responses is that the differences among the various measurement results you listed are so small as to be inaudible. It takes a 3dB increase or doubling of power to notice an increase in volume. Therefore, in order to notice an increase in volume, one would have to go from 100W to 200W or from 200W to 400W, etc. Dynamic power is a measure of what the amplifier can deliver for a fraction of a second on musical peaks.

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post #12 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 12:18 AM
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The comparison of the A2000 and Integra is useful to have, but the differences shown will be inaudible in practice. Add to that that either unit can and will hit its channel ratings in stereo or per channel, and that you will NEVER see an all channels driven scenario (aside from testing); it's no problem whatsoever. And on top of all of that - you'll almost certainly never listen to that much power (if you do, it's a non issue, you'll be deaf soon enough).

I wouldn't consider Audyssey a must because you have mismatched speakers (YPAO is Yamaha's analog, and the A2000 and A3000/3010 feature it), but I would suggest some sort of calibration/adjustment. Either should be suitable, but the Integra may have a slight edge with XT (it'd be hard to say without comparing them in your given environment with your given speakers). I see nothing wrong with either solution. Remember that Audyssey does have DSX, although I don't know if the Integra itself offers this. I know Marantz/Denon and Onkyo do, so I assume Integra does.

See the link in my signature for more - it's a more in-depth take of what I'm talking about, with numbers and citations (and it's from a thread dealing with one of the Aventage units; I just got tired of re-typing the entire thing). Generally for the difference to be audible, the science says 10 dB, which is 10x power. The dynamic range required by movies can be 20 dB, or 100x power. So if you want that 75-85 dB at the listening position with normal speakers, figure .5W to 1W continuous, and the ability to hit 50 or 100W as a peak; if you need more then you need an external amplifier that will give you 200-400W or better, and speakers that can handle that program.

Bottom line: get whichever has the feature-set (inputs/outputs, DSP suite, etc) you want, if both are dead even, get whichever is cheaper, if both are the same price, flip a coin. This is not universally applicable, but between the Yamaha and Integra units mentioned thus far, you should have no issues at all (now, if you come back and tell us you're driving 75 dB/W speakers in a 25,000 cf room, and want to sit 30 ft away, we might have an issue).
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AYColumbia View Post

Are the "discrepencies" between the numbers in the spec and the lab numbers for the Yamaha something to actually worry about? The Integra numbers are much closer.

The listed power output specs are almost always based upon two channels driven. Home Theater displays THD vs two channel power output measurements in graph form. See below:


http://www.hometheater.com/content/y...-labs-measures


http://www.hometheater.com/content/i...-labs-measures

In two channel output, the roles between the A2000 and 50.2 are reversed -- the A2000 is more powerful and offers lower distortion. And some argue that two channels driven is far more representative of real world performance than is all channels driven.

So, examine power specs/measurements with a critical eye.

AJ
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post #14 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post


In two channel output, the roles between the A2000 and 50.2 are reversed -- the A2000 is more powerful and offers lower distortion. And some argue that two channels driven is far more representative of real world performance than is all channels driven.

So, examine power specs/measurements with a critical eye.

AJ

True, but if you are using it in a HT setup that uses 7 channels 80% of the time you'd want that output to be decent. If you're really concerned greatly with the output you get on a 7 channel AVR in 2 channel stereo for sound quality purposes you'd be much better off getting a dedicated amp for those two channels.

I had posted in the Onkyo 809 thread, the 509 was tested ( rated a 80Wpc ) and sure it did fine in 2 channel mode, but put out 28.4wpc in 5.1. That is a stark fall from the rating and frankly not enough to power anything other than tiny cube speakers.

I would love to be able to see the real world results in full channels driven of any AVR before my purchase.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryankenn View Post

True, but if you are using it in a HT setup that uses 7 channels 80% of the time you'd want that output to be decent. If you're really concerned greatly with the output you get on a 7 channel AVR in 2 channel stereo for sound quality purposes you'd be much better off getting a dedicated amp for those two channels.

I had posted in the Onkyo 809 thread, the 509 was tested ( rated a 80Wpc ) and sure it did fine in 2 channel mode, but put out 28.4wpc in 5.1. That is a stark fall from the rating and frankly not enough to power anything other than tiny cube speakers.

I would love to be able to see the real world results in full channels driven of any AVR before my purchase.

Smaller speakers doesn't mean lower power requirement or higher efficiency, size is unrelated. Some of the largest speakers ever built use rather paltry amplifiers. That said, 30wpc vs 80wpc is again an inconsequential jump, around 4 dB, and it assumes all channels driven to 100% 100% of the time (which no content will ever do, except testing signals).

No, it isn't the best ever, but consider what you're paying and what you get in return - it'll be more than enough for most users.
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post #16 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 04:45 AM
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I would like to know what happens with real world material. There have to be points in the audio track of a modern action movie where the peak levels of all channels are high. If high enough, I suspect weaker receivers are more likely to limit power due to the power supply being inadequate, or the limiter circuits kicking in.

Because of these thoughts, I like to see the all channels driven thing measured. Yes, I have read all the articles people post on the topic. I don't think Gene is dumb or misguided or anything. But I personally find the measurement interesting.

What good is the two channel rating when assessing how well the receiver will work for a movie? Look at those budget receivers that rate themselves near 100 watts / channel? You think that number is at all indicative of their abilities? Because you might think, that they are not much worse off than some midrange 120x7 watt rated receiver. But the midrange receiver may have a much more capable transformer.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryankenn View Post

True, but if you are using it in a HT setup that uses 7 channels 80% of the time you'd want that output to be decent. If you're really concerned greatly with the output you get on a 7 channel AVR in 2 channel stereo for sound quality purposes you'd be much better off getting a dedicated amp for those two channels.

No, you misunderstand the two channels driven measurement argument (which is not my argument, but I present it, nonetheless). It has nothing to do with two channel stereo sound quality. Additionally, you confuse proportion of time with that of stimulus level.

To borrow your example, if you are using the AVR in a home theater set up and running seven channels 80% (or even 100%) of the time, real world source material never presents 100% stimulus level in all channels driven simultaneously. Rather, 90% of the time, all channels are loafing along at <10% stimulus level. Transients do come and go, but those reach 100% stimulus level in only a few channels simultaneously. Even if a transient hits 50% stimulus level in all channels simultaneously, that requires only 20 W/ch for 90 dB sensitivity loudspeakers to produce 103 dB/ch.

Think of a small rubber band. It cannot stretch greatly in all directions at once without breaking. But it can stretch extensively in one direction, then in another direction, then in another, etc. That, by analogy, is the two channels driven argument. How far the AVR power supply can "stretch" in one or two directions simultaneously is good indication of its real world performance.

AJ
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

No, you misunderstand the two channels driven measurement argument (which is not my argument, but I present it, nonetheless). It has nothing to do with two channel stereo sound quality. Additionally, you confuse proportion of time with that of stimulus level.

To borrow your example, if you are using the AVR in a home theater set up and running seven channels 80% (or even 100%) of the time, real world source material never presents 100% stimulus level in all channels driven simultaneously. Rather, 90% of the time, all channels are loafing along at <10% stimulus level. Transients do come and go, but those reach 100% stimulus level in only a few channels simultaneously. Even if a transient hits 50% stimulus level in all channels simultaneously, that requires only 20 W/ch for 90 dB sensitivity loudspeakers to produce 103 dB/ch.

Think of a small rubber band. It cannot stretch greatly in all directions at once without breaking. But it can stretch extensively in one direction, then in another direction, then in another, etc. That, by analogy, is the two channels driven argument. How far the AVR power supply can "stretch" in one or two directions simultaneously is good indication of its real world performance.

AJ

When discussing power output specifications with a 5.1 or 7.1 AVR, one needs to differientiate the type of source material.. Music or cinema..

Playing music streams are significantly more challenging for the amplifiers and power supply compared to cinema tracks as all channels are used...
Whereas for the cinema tracks, frequently there is little info from the rear and surround channels except when the sound-stage or action is moved there..
Another factor is whether or not the loudspeakers are Large (full range), if set to Small the amplifiers and power supply are less taxed..
And one final consideration is the price category of AVRs, if the SRP is <$999 the brands tend to trade off amplifier and power supply over-design for other more visible, perceived fluff features..

Just my $0.02...
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-31-2011, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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The ongoing conversation has been very enlightening to me so thank you. For my use, it's primarily movies and that's about 95% of the time and always in surround.

On those rare occassions when I listen to music, I don't use any music processing other than a mode that allows the use of a subwoofer with only L/R. One of the features I love on my current STR-DA5500ES is that it allows me to run the L/R stereo on all L/R channels as they are, i.e., L is the same on F, S and SB and respectively on R. But I'm getting off topic.

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