4 ohm speakers, which surround sound receivers can legitimately drive this ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Am interested in currently available (2011 model year) receivers that can legitimately drive 4 ohms speakers with at least 120Watts of power (continuous power, not peak power) for all surround channels. Either 5.1 or 7.1 channel receivers would be acceptable.

I don't want to limit the discussion to a specific price range, but please keep the suggestions reasonable (mentioning a $20,000 receiver isn't much help to mere mortals :-)).

Would like a quality, well constructed and reliable receiver for which we can actually believe the specs.

What are the options ? What would you recommend ?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond.
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post #2 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 07:22 AM
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I'd think you would want to go with the flagship of most any brand. Anthem MRX700 comes to mind but Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo probably all have flagships with power enough.

Frankly, if driving 4ohm speakers at any volume in a decent size room, I'd go with a seperate amp but that's more from preference than need.

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post #3 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 07:29 AM
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The Denon 4311CI would meet your needs and can be had for under the $2100 MSRP by "calling" AV Science or Electronics Expo. It was just on sale at Newegg this past weekend for the lowest price ever from an authorized reseller.

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post #4 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 08:44 AM
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The Pioneer Elite SC models are more than capable of driving 4Ohm speakers.
For example the Pioneer Elite SC-35/37 or the newer Pioneer Elite SC-55/57 are all four great for using low-impendance speakers.

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post #5 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Good point, the flagship high end receiver models will more than likely handle 4 ohm speakers at 120 watts per channel continuously and still meet spec.

Maybe I made this discussion too easy. How about changing the rules a bit.

What's the most economical, but good quality receiver that can handle 4 ohm speakers with at least 120 watts per channel.

I want to avoid cheapo receivers with optimistically spec'ed amplifier stages that can't meet the current surge requirements of 4 ohm speakers without overheating or premature failure.

Steven
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post #6 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 11:01 AM
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The problem is that few receivers claim to support 4 ohm speakers on all channels (some will say it's ok to run them on the left/right channels only.)

I just buy 8 ohm speakers. Then you don't have to worry about it.

If you already have 4 ohm speakers, you either have to take a chance or go with something like a high end Onkyo model that claims to have 4 ohm certification (whatever that is, THX?)

I suspect most mid range and up receivers can handle 4 ohm speakers on movies, because they don't get a continuous work out. Music is perhaps a different issue - but when only using two speakers, the load on the receiver is easier than if you were to use all channel stereo.

I remember playing a Yamaha stereo receiver very loudly with A+B speakers connected, all four speakers being 8 ohm. That's a 4 ohm load right there. So maybe it's common for receivers to handle 4 ohm speakers with music with only two channels driven. And maybe it's ok to play movies with 4 ohm speakers all around, because average power needs are so low, and high demands are over a short period of time.

I still think it makes sense just to use 8 ohm speakers. I don't know why they make 4 ohm speakers for home theater use when it's confusing and possibly worriesome to consumers.

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post #7 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 02:22 PM
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Why 120 watts? Is that stereo or all channels? Is that 5, 7 or 9 channels?

The NAD T757 IMO would be about the best choice if audio quality is more important than having 30 DSP modes that never get used.

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...57-av-receiver

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post #8 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 02:39 PM
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Both the Onkyo 3009 and 5009 state that they support 4 Ohm and don't state any limitations on how many channels can be connected.
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post #9 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 02:56 PM
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Most receivers these days have protection circuits that kick in when presented with 4 ohm loads, this includes the flagship Onkyos.

All of the flagships however will easily do 120Wx2 into 4 ohms. You won't find a HDMI1.4a 120x7 @4ohm receiver however. Previous generations did but as may guess, a 60+lb receiver tends to have limited sales.
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post #10 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Why 120 watts? Is that stereo or all channels? Is that 5, 7 or 9 channels?

The NAD T757 IMO would be about the best choice if audio quality is more important than having 30 DSP modes that never get used.

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...57-av-receiver

Gene

I think it depends on if you actually care about audio quality or just want the name of an "audiophile" brand. You can get the Denon 4311 for around the same price which features the highest version of Audyssey compared to the 757 which features a crippled version of Audyssey that offers no room correction at all. To each their own I guess.
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post #11 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 04:07 PM
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Agreed, this is probably one of the reasons for this question. I have Linn speakers, which are all 4 Ohm, and in a 6.1 setup they are driven quite nicely by my NAD receiver. I am looking to upgrade receivers as mine is 10 years old, but I do not want to buy an Onkyo for the features only to find that it has a hard time driving 7.1 on my speakers.
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post #12 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Kini62,

I have Emotiva 4 ohm speakers in a 5.1 surround setup.

I want a 5.1 (or a 7.1 that also supports a 5.1 mode) receiver with enough headroom to drive these speakers well without clipping in loud movies.

The speakers are rated for 50 -350 watts of power input. To head off the obvious comment, I am aware the wattage numbers are only a rough guide.

The older receiver I have now (Pioneer Elite VSX-95 (1993 vintage)) supplies 125watts into 8 ohms for left + right speakers only (with an option to run 185 watts into 4 ohms via a selector switch on the back of the receiver). The center channel and surround speakers only get 40 watts into 8 ohms (with no option for 4 ohm support). These are all continuous power numbers, not peak power.

I watched the latest Star Trek movie last night and the 40W center channel amplifier clipped every time the planetary drill sound showed up.

I need more current drive on at least the 3 front channel speakers. Something rated for at least 125W continuous into 8 ohms should produce close to 200W into 4 ohms if the receiver amplifiers have a 4 ohm selector switch.
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post #13 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 04:34 PM
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Maybe the Pioneer VSX-2021, in the EU it is called that way, I think over there in US it is named as the Pioneer VSX-1121 or as Pioneer Elite VSX-52. This receiver has the THX® Select2 Plus Processing & Certification, which means that it is testen at the ability to drive low impedance (3.2 Ohms) speakers while still producing a volume level of 105dB..

The requirements for the THX certification see: http://www.practical-home-theater-gu...me-cinema.html

See for tested outputs: http://www.hometheater.com/content/p...52-av-receiver

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post #14 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 04:34 PM
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You're not going to find a receiver that delivers 140 wpc to the surrounds. Receiver ratings are based on driving the front two speakers only. A vestige of when everyone only used two speakers. If you're driving 5 or 7 channels, you'll get a fraction of the rated power per channel. Typically less than 40% of the rated power.

The only way you're getting 140 watts per channel to your surrounds is to buy a power amplifier.

4 ohms is really nothing to worry about unless you play at levels that would likely cause issue regardless of the impedance rating of the speaker. A receiver has to deliver more power for a given volume level with a lower impedance, but at the same time, it's capable of delivering more power at a lower impedance. While it probably won't be able to deliver twice as much power into 4 ohms than 8, it's not that far off.

Also, impedance isn't a constant. It varies with what's being played. An 8 ohm speaker will frequently have an impedance drop below 4 ohms during normal usage. I've found that 4 ohm speakers are generally better than 8 ohm in that the manufacturer actually took the time to get an actual impedance rating. Many speakers rated for 8 ohms aren't measured at all. They just get an 8 ohm label by default. The impedance rating is a very broad ballpark estimate. That's why it's rated to the nearest 2 ohms. It would be analogous to receiver power ratings being to the nearest 25 watts.

I've owned numerous 4 ohm speakers and I've never done anything differently with regards to how loud I play or anything else. I generally ignore the impedance ratings of speakers.
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post #15 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Prietz0r,

Just checked the data sheets for the Pioneer Elite series receivers. They offer 8 and 6 ohm support (selectable), but not 4 ohm. Could they drive 4 ohm ? Maybe, but the manufacturer does not explicitly state this.
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post #16 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 04:58 PM
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Those 'selectors' are just to limit current.
Just leave the selectors on 8 Ohm for the most power output and keep enough clearance above and around the receiver.
Well the Pioneer Elite's are well known for their abiltiy of driving 4 Ohm speakers.
Pioneer CS would disagree, but most of the manufacture CS would do that, just to cover their back. But it is a fact that thos receivers did pass the THX testing guide-lines and they state that the receiver has to be able to run speakers with a impedance of 3.2 Ohm at 105dB.

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post #17 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 05:56 PM
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The Pioneer Elite SC-55/57 should probably be able to do 100Wx7 into 4 ohms. It can do this into 8 ohms but some receivers will reduce output when a 4 ohm load is detected.
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post #18 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpearce023 View Post

I think it depends on if you actually care about audio quality or just want the name of an "audiophile" brand. You can get the Denon 4311 for around the same price which features the highest version of Audyssey compared to the 757 which features a crippled version of Audyssey that offers no room correction at all. To each their own I guess.

Didn't know you could get the 4311 for $1500. And don't think you can. Maybe about $2k.

Still Audyssey or however you spell it, isn't the be all to end all. It just makes up for poor speakers and/or poor room acoustics. Many audiophiles existed long before digital room correction existed.

Plus the NAD can be adjusted manually- God forbid one would actually have to do something manually!

And based on the 4311 thread I wouldn't buy one pretty much at any price.

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post #19 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scbartling View Post

Hi Kini62,

I have Emotiva 4 ohm speakers in a 5.1 surround setup.

I want a 5.1 (or a 7.1 that also supports a 5.1 mode) receiver with enough headroom to drive these speakers well without clipping in loud movies.

The speakers are rated for 50 -350 watts of power input. To head off the obvious comment, I am aware the wattage numbers are only a rough guide.

The older receiver I have now (Pioneer Elite VSX-95 (1993 vintage)) supplies 125watts into 8 ohms for left + right speakers only (with an option to run 185 watts into 4 ohms via a selector switch on the back of the receiver). The center channel and surround speakers only get 40 watts into 8 ohms (with no option for 4 ohm support). These are all continuous power numbers, not peak power.

I watched the latest Star Trek movie last night and the 40W center channel amplifier clipped every time the planetary drill sound showed up.

I need more current drive on at least the 3 front channel speakers. Something rated for at least 125W continuous into 8 ohms should produce close to 200W into 4 ohms if the receiver amplifiers have a 4 ohm selector switch.

Did you read the Sound and Vision review? I know it's only one review but based on how well it reviewed I don't think you're going to find a better amp in any AVR near $1500.

I would buy one if I were in the market for an AVR in that general price range.

Unfortunately for me my price range is more like $300 Which is why I'm using a HK AVR 1600 with all of it's 40/channel glory.

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post #20 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 06:36 PM
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Yamaha RX-V667, RX-A800 or Pioneer VSX-1121 and this Emotiva 5 channel amp.
http://emotiva.com/xpa5.shtm

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post #21 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post


Didn't know you could get the 4311 for $1500. And don't think you can. Maybe about $2k.

Still Audyssey or however you spell it, isn't the be all to end all. It just makes up for poor speakers and/or poor room acoustics. Many audiophiles existed long before digital room correction existed.

Plus the NAD can be adjusted manually- God forbid one would actually have to do something manually!

And based on the 4311 thread I wouldn't buy one pretty much at any price.

Actually its been under that on newegg several times and you can call around to places like electronics expo and find it for that price. I know EE is an authorized retailer and jdsmoothie said he checked with Denon and newegg is too so thats good enough for me.

The many people I have seen with room treatments and excellent speakers would argue your second point but if that's what makes you feel better then you can believe it. Audiophiles existed before blu-ray too but I don't see many people still rocking VHS in their theater.

If you don't have a problem stepping back a few years in technology to have the NAD name then that's your business.

And yes if you just read the first few pages of the 4311 owners thread about the blue rain issue then you might not want a 4311. Spoiler alert: they resolved it with a firmware update. Sorry to ruin the ending.
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post #22 of 67 Old 12-12-2011, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpearce023 View Post

If you don't have a problem stepping back a few years in technology to have the NAD name then that's your business.


Actually by going with the Denon you are stepping back a few years in tech. The NAD allows modular upgrades for a fraction of new AVR price to keep up with changing tech.

Go ahead and enjoy your Denon and in another year fork out another $2500 for one that supports the latest digital formats.

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post #23 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 01:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Actually by going with the Denon you are stepping back a few years in tech. The NAD allows modular upgrades for a fraction of new AVR price to keep up with changing tech.

Go ahead and enjoy your Denon and in another year fork out another $2500 for one that supports the latest digital formats.

I would definitely get a separate amp long before replacing speakers. Any GOOD amp should handle 4 ohms without a problem, including Emo amps.
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post #24 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

You're not going to find a receiver that delivers 140 wpc to the surrounds. Receiver ratings are based on driving the front two speakers only. A vestige of when everyone only used two speakers. If you're driving 5 or 7 channels, you'll get a fraction of the rated power per channel. Typically less than 40% of the rated power.

The only way you're getting 140 watts per channel to your surrounds is to buy a power amplifier.

4 ohms is really nothing to worry about unless you play at levels that would likely cause issue regardless of the impedance rating of the speaker. A receiver has to deliver more power for a given volume level with a lower impedance, but at the same time, it's capable of delivering more power at a lower impedance. While it probably won't be able to deliver twice as much power into 4 ohms than 8, it's not that far off.

Also, impedance isn't a constant. It varies with what's being played. An 8 ohm speaker will frequently have an impedance drop below 4 ohms during normal usage. I've found that 4 ohm speakers are generally better than 8 ohm in that the manufacturer actually took the time to get an actual impedance rating. Many speakers rated for 8 ohms aren't measured at all. They just get an 8 ohm label by default. The impedance rating is a very broad ballpark estimate. That's why it's rated to the nearest 2 ohms. It would be analogous to receiver power ratings being to the nearest 25 watts.

I've owned numerous 4 ohm speakers and I've never done anything differently with regards to how loud I play or anything else. I generally ignore the impedance ratings of speakers.

When discussing 4 Ohm loudspeakers..
Beside the impedance, the crucial specification is sensitivity..
The higher the dB number the less power is required to reach the SPL level. Any spec <87dB will require significant power to drive it, while any spec >90dB simply requires less power to reach the SPL level.

Post back if more questions, or technical points needing clarification..

Just my $0.02...
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post #25 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post

When discussing 4 Ohm loudspeakers..
Beside the impedance, the crucial specification is sensitivity..
The higher the dB number the less power is required to reach the SPL level. Any spec <87dB will require significant power to drive it, while any spec >90dB simply requires less power to reach the SPL level.

Post back if more questions, or technical points needing clarification..

Just my $0.02...

Many of the best speakers are both 4 ohms (dipping to less) and low sensitivity <90db @ 1 meter.
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post #26 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

Many of the best speakers are both 4 ohms (dipping to less) and low sensitivity <90db/octave/meter.


Thats why a quality amplifier is required to deliver the best sonic performance.
The amplifiers found in 7.1 AVRs selling for <$1299 typically are incapable of delivering the best electrical performance...
Especially if one is using higher quality/resolution loudspeakers of which many are 4 Ohm and low sensitivity, they should step up to a component power amplifier and/or higher cost AVR..

Just my $0.02...
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post #27 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post

Thats why a quality amplifier is required to deliver the best sonic performance.
The amplifiers found in 7.1 AVRs selling for <$1299 typically are incapable of delivering the best electrical performance...
Especially if one is using higher quality/resolution loudspeakers of which many are 4 Ohm and low sensitivity, they should step up to a component power amplifier and/or higher cost AVR..

Just my $0.02...

Some higher end AVRs are no better with low impedance loads than their lower priced models. Its why I recommend component amps to those with "difficult" speakers and not just any component amps, I've seen test results for some that are no better than their receiver counterparts. Emo's are very good despite their budget pricing.
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post #28 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 02:41 AM
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Which usually doesn't stand the test of time as seen by other expandable unit before (Denon, Onkyo etc.)
Usually those units are much more expensive then standard AVRs and will only be serviced for a relatively short period of time, never realizing the savings envisioned before. After a short period they are no longer uptodate anymore, because new technology usually will take other turns as expected at the design time of the older unit thus making it obsolete in a rather short period of time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Actually by going with the Denon you are stepping back a few years in tech. The NAD allows modular upgrades for a fraction of new AVR price to keep up with changing tech.

Go ahead and enjoy your Denon and in another year fork out another $2500 for one that supports the latest digital formats.

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post #29 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post

Actually by going with the Denon you are stepping back a few years in tech. The NAD allows modular upgrades for a fraction of new AVR price to keep up with changing tech.

Go ahead and enjoy your Denon and in another year fork out another $2500 for one that supports the latest digital formats.

Also please realize that for the price of those "new" MDC boards you could buy an amp from Emotiva and be done with it. Those upgrade boards are no bargain by any means. The cost of those things made my decision to go another route easy.
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post #30 of 67 Old 12-13-2011, 05:13 AM
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No one has convinced me you can make good speakers designed for 8 ohm operation. I understand some "high end" speakers are 4 ohm speakers, low sensitivity or hard to drive.

But I am not convinced that's mandatory.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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