Should I add an amp? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-06-2012, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's my set up...I've got a Onkyo 709 reciever, Polk 70's in the front, CS2 center and two 40's in the back.

I'm looking for advice on adding an amp. Mainly suggestions on something that will make an improvement. If I need to spend more money to get an obvious improvement, I'm willing.

Honestly, not to sure where to even begin to add power to a set up, so any help is appreciated.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-06-2012, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbkxbb View Post

Here's my set up...I've got a Onkyo 709 reciever, Polk 70's in the front, CS2 center and two 40's in the back.
I'm looking for advice on adding an amp. Mainly suggestions on something that will make an improvement. If I need to spend more money to get an obvious improvement, I'm willing.
Honestly, not to sure where to even begin to add power to a set up, so any help is appreciated.
Thanks.

Im sure you will get many amp suggestions and I have been an amp guy too, but those speakers are pretty easy to drive unless your room is huge. I personally had an Onkyo 709 hooked to an Outlaw 7700(great amp) and used it without the amp, yes i gained a bit of clarity with the amp, but over all I wasnt crazy about it. I decided to test different receivers and found a much more appealing sound. I tested the Marantz 6007 which was hands above the 709 and then the Anthem MRX 500 which was even better. It was so good, I actually sold my Outlaw Amp, I didnt hear anything with the amp that made it better. So my advice would be, look at a different receiver if you are looking for better sound quality. Many people on here will say all reasonable quality receivers in the same price range will sound alike, I disagree. The Marantz and Anthem both sounded good, but also different. I tested them both in my house with my speakers. BTW, I sold my 709 for $500 on ebay and Outlaw 7700 for $1400, then spent $1400 on my Anthem MRX 500, so I ended up $500 to the positive which I spent on an Oppo 93, which is also great!

If you are dead set on an amp.....Outlaw and Emotiva make great stuff. Loved my Outlaw 7700, also you can find some great prices on used Parasound Halo amps...they are great, they would be my next amp if I move to a bigger place.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-06-2012, 07:28 PM
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I would look at room treatment before adding an amp with that set-up.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-07-2012, 02:11 AM
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Vague description gets general/vague answers. Tell us exactly what you feel needs to be improved in this THX Select 2 Plus certified AVR as we haven't heard it in your room and we don't know what your preference is.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

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post #5 of 10 Old 09-09-2012, 06:59 PM
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I'm curious as to the answer to the original post as well...

What do I personally want more of? I want it to be louder and clearer... my room size is 21' long by 11' wide by 8.5' tall.

will an Emo or Outlaw be louder and clearer than the Onkyo TX-NR709? I've been looking at Emo's rather intently but dont want to get one if I dont need it.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-09-2012, 09:12 PM
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How much of the receiver's power do you use? Run it near the top of its volume scale, or never over 50%? As others have said, those Polks are relatively easy to drive. I think you cash is probably better spent elsewhere.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-10-2012, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten8yp View Post

I'm curious as to the answer to the original post as well...
What do I personally want more of? I want it to be louder and clearer... my room size is 21' long by 11' wide by 8.5' tall.
will an Emo or Outlaw be louder and clearer than the Onkyo TX-NR709? I've been looking at Emo's rather intently but dont want to get one if I dont need it.

DId you run the autosetup? If so, unless something went wrong, if you buy new amps and rerun autosetup the system should be exactly the same SPL at any given volume setting as before. If the Onk's amps cannot keep up, you'll hear distortion./harshness at higher volume settings. But if you set the volume control to zero (reference) it should be mighty loud.

I guess I'm wondering whether you're experiencing discombobulation because the volume control scales differently than an old fashioned volume control. So if you're setting it at -30 dB you are using 1/1000 of the power that would be needed for reference level, at -20 you're using 1/1000 of that power and at -10 you are using 1/10 of that power. I'd expect that system to be perfectly capable of playing dialog and routine sound of a movie at reference but if you're running out ofpower, you'd possibly notice it on the louder passages, which can be up to around 20 dB louder than dialog (per speaker).
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-10-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten8yp View Post

I'm curious as to the answer to the original post as well...
What do I personally want more of? I want it to be louder and clearer... my room size is 21' long by 11' wide by 8.5' tall.
will an Emo or Outlaw be louder and clearer than the Onkyo TX-NR709? I've been looking at Emo's rather intently but dont want to get one if I dont need it.

Adding the outlaw amp added some detail and clarity to the onkyo 709, but didn't change the sound characteristics of the onkyo..I originally had an outlaw 990 pre/pro but it died last year and I went through a lot of trials before I found something as good/better. In the end, my room got smaller, I moved, and a receiver did the job. It was just finding the right receiver. The clarity and detail of the Anthem is outstanding. The room correction is better and it's a nice unit.

The amp will help make things better, but if you don't like the sound it will not help. It may add clarity but won't change the sound signature.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-11-2012, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz View Post

DId you run the autosetup? If so, unless something went wrong, if you buy new amps and rerun autosetup the system should be exactly the same SPL at any given volume setting as before. If the Onk's amps cannot keep up, you'll hear distortion./harshness at higher volume settings. But if you set the volume control to zero (reference) it should be mighty loud.
I guess I'm wondering whether you're experiencing discombobulation because the volume control scales differently than an old fashioned volume control. So if you're setting it at -30 dB you are using 1/1000 of the power that would be needed for reference level, at -20 you're using 1/1000 of that power and at -10 you are using 1/10 of that power. I'd expect that system to be perfectly capable of playing dialog and routine sound of a movie at reference but if you're running out ofpower, you'd possibly notice it on the louder passages, which can be up to around 20 dB louder than dialog (per speaker).

Almost correct. Those decibel settings have nothing to do with "reference level." It's the gain of the preamp. The amp section will have a fixed gain which is added to this number to give you the system gain (for that "volume setting" and that particular input). Some gear may let you recalibrate the volume display so that you may attempt to calibrate it to reference level (which would vary given the input, speakers, room, listening distance, etc., and would thus need to be custom calibrated), but otherwise it has nothing to do with reference level. I am pretty sure most gear doesn't even let you do that, but I do believe some does. I am not 100% sure about that part because it is absolutely pointless and I would never bother with it, myself. I listen to the volume level that I find comfortable... I certainly don't care about some arbitrary volume level that some people want me to listen at.

You are correct about the relative levels, though. -30dB is indeed 1/1000 the power of 0dB, whether 0dB is calibrated to be approximately reference level or not. Decibels are easy to compare like that smile.gif (the great thing about them is that when you have multiple sources of gain, decibels just add and subtract to find system gain, no need for more complex multiplication or division like you have to use otherwise). The vast majority of people not only do not need an amp, but rarely use more than a few watts per channel. I'm sure a higher percentage of people on this site do listen louder, but still, the vast majority of us also do not need an amp. I personally use one because I have DIY speakers with an active crossover.

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post #10 of 10 Old 09-11-2012, 03:14 PM
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^^^

if one calibrates with audyssey or mcacc (haven't used ypao in forever), "0db" on the volume display will be "reference" from the primary measurement position.... so he is actually completely correct... smile.gif

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