Finally making the jump to seperates, and need advise please - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to purchase used equipment and was wondering, as far as the pre/pro goes, would it make sense to get a really good quality older unit without all the new HDMI swiching, etc, or get a newer one, lesser quality, but all the new tech.

Currently I have a cable box and blu ray player going into my receiver and then to my tv.

I don't have tons of source devices, just 2.

Better quality? More features?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 05:53 PM
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Budget?
Speakers?
Can you use your current receiver as a pre, and then buy a nicer amp?
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post #3 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Budget, $1000.
Speakers, AV123 X-Statik
Intergra 7.9 receiver, and yes I can use that as a pre/pro.
Should I just do that and get a better amp?
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 06:37 PM
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What's wrong with the Integra? It's a nice receiver already.
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post #5 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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It is nice, but everyone says seperates are better. No? Would getting, say, an Emotiva XPA-5 not improve sound?
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post #6 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 08:39 PM
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If the receiver has the features you want, just us it as the pre/pro. Using a receiver as you first pre/pro is an economical way to move to separates.

I needed to move to separates because I went to 4ohm speakers. I am thrilled with the results. However, if your current receiver is not having trouble driving your speakers, the change to separates might not be dramatic.

I went with a Yamaha A800 refurb and Emotiva UPA-500 and came in well under your budget.

David
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cps7553 View Post

It is nice, but everyone says seperates are better. No? Would getting, say, an Emotiva XPA-5 not improve sound?

So why not just add an amplifier? I don't see you getting a better set up if you bought a new receiver, and a new amplifier, rather than just using your current receiver and a new amplifier. If you got a pre amp surround processor and then a seperate amplifier, You'd probably be cutting quite a number of features just to have a pre amplifier. You certainly won't keep 9.2 preouts.

Why buy a cheap receiver, and a cheap amplifier like the UPA-500 and only get 80 wats for 5 channels, when your current receiver is putting out 130 per channel. You're basically trading down. Just add an XPA-2 or you can go the cheapo route I'm doing and buying a Crown Amplifier first to see if I like having an amplifier. Most people have reported (from my research since I'm not an expert in the matters), that the fans never come on, it runs quite and cool, and powers their stuff easily. You could probably pick up a used one with transferable warranty off ebay for like 150 and just test it and see if you even need an amplifier. If not, you're only out 150 and it will take some load off your receiver. if you do like it, you can keep it and if it's too loud, you can buy another Emotiva amp, and still come in under budget compared to your current two options and you can probably just sell the used amplifier back on ebay.
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post #8 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post

Why buy a cheap receiver, and a cheap amplifier like the UPA-500 and only get 80 wats for 5 channels, when your current receiver is putting out 130 per channel. You're basically trading down.

Is that 130 per channel with all channels driven, or just two? Makes a big difference.

David
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post #9 of 27 Old 02-13-2013, 11:45 PM
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Not positive but I'm going to even take the leap to say that a 9.2 top of the line receiver, can output 80 watts to 5 channels lol. Just look at the htlabs of weaker integra receives they all are more than capable of that.
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post #10 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 02:05 AM
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First, not everyone (certainly not on AVS) says separates are better. It depends.

Second, having older AVRs while generally heavier does not always mean better SQ.

Third, a little Google search reveals the Int 7.9 is the Onkyo TX-SR806 which has been bench tested:
http://www.hometheater.com/content/onkyo-tx-sr806-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures and has very decent power.

Therefore, I'd argue that the AV123's are 8Ω 90.5dB you don't need more power than what the Int can provide. Getting a 5CH or 7CH power amp is way overkill but some people like having a 2CH or 3CH power amp to take the load off the AVR.

The Integra only has Audyssey MultEQ so upgrading to an AVR with XT32 will be more likely to give better SQ than just buying more power per se which isn't used at normal listening volumes.

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 #11 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post

Not positive but I'm going to even take the leap to say that a 9.2 top of the line receiver, can output 80 watts to 5 channels lol. Just look at the htlabs of weaker integra receives they all are more than capable of that.

The 130 wpc on the Integra is only 2 channels driven, so 80-90 watts is about what the Integra will do with 5 channels driven. That puts it about the same as the UPA-500. The Emotiva also has significantly lower THD at .01%, although the Integra is very good at .08%. There is also the benefit in an external amp in that each channel has discrete power circuitry. So I wouldn't say that the UPA would be considered a downgrade.

I'm not saying it would be a good choice for the OP. The speakers he has are not demanding on a receiver. Like I said, in that case there might not be much difference with a separate amp. With his budget, he could keep the receiver as a pre/pro and go for more power with the highly regarded Emotiva XPA-5, or he could just get a new receiver with the latest features. Or maybe the money might be better spent on a subwoofer, or additional surround speakers.

David
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post #12 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussader View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post

Why buy a cheap receiver, and a cheap amplifier like the UPA-500 and only get 80 wats for 5 channels, when your current receiver is putting out 130 per channel. You're basically trading down.

Is that 130 per channel with all channels driven, or just two? Makes a big difference.

Not necessarily. First to clear the air, here are the actual ratings:

130 watts minimum continuous
power per channel, 8 ohm loads, 2
channels driven from 20 Hz to 20
kHz, with a maximum total
harmonic distortion of 0.08% (FTC)

145 watts minimum continuous power
per channel, 8 ohm loads, 2 channels
driven at 1 kHz, with a maximum total
harmonic distortion of 0.7% (FTC)

160 watts minimum continuous power
per channel, 6 ohm loads, 2 channels
driven at 1 kHz, with a maximum total
harmonic distortion of 0.1% (FTC)

THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)
0.08% (Power Rated)

The FTC test is performed by law using a pure sine wave and a resistive load. Music is not a single pure sine wave but a combination of a number of waves that vary in terms of frequency and amplitude all of the time. Therefore the energy content of music runs from 1/3 to 1/10 or even less of the sine wave that is used to establish the FTC specifications. That means that the AVR's power supply can handle from 6 to 20 or more channels operating at the same time with music. Loudpspeaker impedance are not a fixed number as specified but again vary considerably depending on the frequency. This cuts the AVR additional slack. Off loading the bass to a powered subwoofer cuts the AVR even more additional slack.

Therefore the ratings given above are actually conservative compared to what is likely to happen in your listening room.

If you are going to add an external amplifier, then you would like to be able to play your system a little louder, no? If you want to obtain twice the perceived loudness you would need 10 times the power or about 1450 watts per channel. Good luck with the durability of your speakers if you actually tried to play them that loud.
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post #13 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussader View Post


The Emotiva also has significantly lower THD at .01%, although the Integra is very good at .08%.

Two relevant facts:

(1) The distortion created by a power amplifier is a strong function of power levels, particularly near power output. Here is an example:



First off the apparent increase in distortion below 15 or so watts is actually an increase in noise which is confirmed by the slope of the increase.

You can see that I can rate this amplifier at anythnig from 0.003% to 3% distortion by picking the power level for the rating. If I want to impress you with its power, I could pick 0.1% THD which seems reasonable enough and have an approximate 1200 wpc amplifier. Or I could try to impress you with my leading zeroes and pick 0.03% THD and have a 1000 wpc amplifier.

Thus there is a degree of arbitrariness in power amp and AVR distortion ratings. In practice just about everybody runs their amplifiers and AVRs at only a fraction of their maximum output, and the distortion is always lower than the published specification.

(2) Now that we are talking 0.03% distortion, we should note that this is such low distortion that it is never actually heard, even under worst case circumstances. There are many reasons for this including the fact that speakers almost always have several times this much distortion, and then there is masking by the other sounds in the recording.

I wish that everybody who posts on AVS could spend some time with this device which I helped design and build. It allows you to dial in various amounts of various kinds of distortion. We were amazed at how much distortion is required to be audible.

http://home.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_coh.htm

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post #14 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

First to clear the air, here are the actual ratings:

What are the ratings for 5, 7, or 9 channels driven?
Quote:
If you are going to add an external amplifier, then you would like to be able to play your system a little louder, no? If you want to obtain twice the perceived loudness you would need 10 times the power or about 1450 watts per channel. Good luck with the durability of your speakers if you actually tried to play them that loud.

I know this is often pointed out, but would anyone really want to double the perceived loudness of a typical receiver? I would think a 15-20% boost in perceived loudness would be pretty significant.

David
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:33 AM
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In the end, if I were the OP I would spend the money on a subwoofer as AV123 recommended for the X-Statik speakers since they only go down to 65hz. I think that would make more of a difference than any changes in amplification.

David
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post #16 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:42 AM
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I think you're going about this wrong.

The first question you need to actually ask is what features you want. If you actually want features in a new receiver that are necessary for you (can't do withouts), then it may be time to upgrade.

I think you'll be hardpressed to find a receiver though under 600 dollars with better features than you're current receiver. You have the Multi EQ from audyssey (which you have to spend over 600 to get from everyone else), 12v triggers, and 9.2 preouts. But again, it's you and what you want. If you want network play and remote control using a phone then maybe a new receiver is for you (not sure if your receiver has this). However, if you get a new receiver/amp combo, you'll be probably getting the UPA-500 which is 80 W per channel for 5 channels. You have a top of the line receiver, again I know it's just a guess (we can't find lab tests), but I'm going to say that a receiver built to drive 9 channels can probably drive 5 at 80 watts. If for some insane reason a top of the line receiver can't, I'm sure it gets pretty damn close.

Either way though ignoring all that even, you gotta figure out what features you actually want. Then figure out how much power you want to use to drive your speakers (I can't find power handling specs on those anywhere). Then see what you'd be willing to trade off on.

Personally though:
I'd buy the Emotiva XPA-2. Pocket the other 200 dollars OR
I'd buy Pro Amp for like 350(you can easily get 350 W a channel with that cash), hook that up and pocket the extra 650, if I find a receiver I like at 650 and it has features that are must have over the receiver I currently have then I'd get that (this is actually the path I'm currently doing right now).
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post #17 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussader View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

First to clear the air, here are the actual ratings:

What are the ratings for 5, 7, or 9 channels driven?

For speaker loads and music, they are unknown. However a good estimate would be that they are not appreciably worse than the 2-channel bench test results. They could be quite a bit better since music gives the AVR a break.
Quote:
If you are going to add an external amplifier, then you would like to be able to play your system a little louder, no? If you want to obtain twice the perceived loudness you would need 10 times the power or about 1450 watts per channel. Good luck with the durability of your speakers if you actually tried to play them that loud.

I know this is often pointed out, but would anyone really want to double the perceived loudness of a typical receiver?

Just saying.

My idea is that if you are going to spend the kind of money it takes to upgrade this way, you want some clearly noticable benefit.

Quote:
I would think a 15-20% boost in perceived loudness would be pretty significant.

You would probably hardly notice it. I've done extensive testing of what various increments of additional loudness actually sound like with music. 15-20% louder can easily get lost in the music.
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post #18 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crussader View Post

In the end, if I were the OP I would spend the money on a subwoofer as AV123 recommended for the X-Statik speakers since they only go down to 65hz. I think that would make more of a difference than any changes in amplification.

Agreed.

My optimistic estimate of the bass dynamic range of the AC123s would be:

Freq,Hz Max SPL, DB

10 81
20 93
30 100
40 105
50 109
60 112
70 115
80 117
90 119


This does not include the losses due to the open baffle which are said to be significant.
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post #19 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies guys.

I ended buying an Emotiva XPA-5 last night.
I will use the Integra for my pre/pro.
I use 2 subs, and HSU 12" sub and AV123 15" sub.
The AV123 speakers are rated at 6ohms.
I think the only thing the Integra doesn't do is 3D, and since there is no 4k for consumer use, that's no worry either.
I think this will be a fantastic setup!

Thoughts?
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post #20 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 01:58 PM
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Good choice. Buying a brand new preprocessor and amp would not have gotten u the same results Imo.
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post #21 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 02:08 PM
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Congrats on the new gear.

Given that:

1. You already have the subs
2. The speakers are 6 ohm (I saw them somewhere mistakenly listed as 8 ohm)
3. The Integra makes for a nice pre/pro

I think you made a great choice. I would have done exactly the same.

David
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post #22 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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One more question gents.

I have a pair of B&W C6 dipoles and was thinking about a full 7.2 system.

Should I put those on the sides or back?

Thanks.
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post #23 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 08:53 PM
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It depends on what you use for the other two surrounds. Put the better surrounds on the side and the others in the back. The bigger question is what to use for a center.

David
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post #24 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I have the maching X-Staik center channel speaker, freaking HUGE!




The backs are also X-Statik towers.

That;'s why I was thinking about doing the dipoles on the side.

Never have used them, just got a great deal so I bought them.
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post #25 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 09:18 PM
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Actually the dipoles might be better on the sides. Of course the AVS way is to try them both and see which way sounds better to you.

David
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post #26 of 27 Old 02-15-2013, 06:37 AM
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Don't know what your goals are and it's difficult to compare the Onkyo to the emotiva due to the way they are tested but I'd expect your new amp will allow maybe 3-6 dB more loudness at a given distortion level in your room assuming your speakers can handle the extra power..
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post #27 of 27 Old 02-15-2013, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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It's here! And now I have to go to work frown.gif

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