Receiver Watts Ratings - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I would like to upgrade my receiver, currently I have a Pioneer VSX-1018. I got new speakers and they recommend 80 to 110 watts per channel. I was also reading about how they say that under power receivers could damage speakers, so I want to make sure I am getting a good receiver.
I went to www.hometheater.com website where they review and list the actual watts the receiver gives out. My 1018 was not listed there, but the 1019 was. My receiver on the spec sheet said the continuous average power is 110 watts per channel. When hometheater.com did a test on the 1019, they said the actual wattage is 28 watts per channel. My 1018 is probably going to be the same. When I looked at the Elite SC-61, it said it has 125 watts per 7 channels, hometheater.com tests shows it at 109 watts, so it's close.
When buying a receiver, how do you know you are getting the right amount of watts that is on the spec sheet ? Are any of the specs listed accurate ?

Thanks
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 07:58 AM
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I believe your receiver has 130wpc. But, that doesn't matter anyway. You'd be fine with 80wpc or less. You DO NOT need a new receiver!!
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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If it gives out 80 wpc I am happy with that. But with the tests on the 1019, it showed it was only giving 28 wpc, and I don't want that.
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 08:21 AM
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Companies have all sorts of deceptive ways that they can publish their specs. Most companies only test their receivers with two channels driven. That's why it always looks like they put out more power than they actually do. For example, the box of a receiver might say 110 Watts X 7, or 110 Watts per channel. Well, technically, there are seven channels, so they can say 110 Watts X 7. But, when you dig a little deeper into the manual or product page on their website, you'll see that it will say 110 Watts per channel (2 Channels driven). As soon as you start running all channels, the power drops, considerably.

Higher end receivers will usually put out more power and a lot of the time, reflect more closely, their rated power. The Elite receivers seem to always test really well. Odds are, if you buy a more high-end model, you're going to be getting better quality and better power. This isn't always the case, so it's always good to look for reviews or check here within the different owner's threads. Note that, if you thought your previous receiver worked well, you probably don't need anything more than that. Most people who listen to their content at low to moderate levels, never needs some gigantic, beefy receiver. Even when you have a huge receiver, you're likely never using all of that power. Unless, you're constantly watching movies at reference volume or you have a gigantic theater room in your house that you're trying to fill. A decent, mid-range receiver is usually more than enough for even an advanced home audio enthusiast.

That said, if you want to make sure you're getting decent power, stick with something that's at least mid-range in a company's lineup. The Pioneer Elites are great. Pioneer also has models that are identical to the Elites, they just don't carry the Elite logo and they're a few hundred dollars cheaper and don't sacrifice quality, such as the SC-1222 and SC-1522. Onkyo's mid-range to upper-end receivers also seem to be favorably reviewed in the power dept and go on great sales, often.

Really, the only way to ever know for sure if you're getting what a company claims is to find reviews on it. You can never really trust any of the specifications given by the company. No company ever has completely accurate specs as far as power output goes. It's always inflated or has an asterisk by the specs because there's some hidden footnote that you need to read.

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Of course, I got it modified with the TK-427, which cheeks it up another, maybe, 3 or 4 quads per channel.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 11:32 AM
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Well, I'd look at it differently. Manufacturers rate their receiverd in the US according to the current rules from the federal trade commission. The rule requires "all associated channels" to be tested simulteneously, and everybody seems to interpret that as front left and right is one set of assoicated channesl, surround is a set of associated channels, rear surrounds is a set of associated channel (center seems to get to be all by itself.) So you'll generally see ratings that are for two channels only. Back in the day, receivers had less powerful amps for the surround channels. That changed more because of marketing than because of any actual need.

Most importantly, recognize that no amp puts out full power all the time. The more power, the louder, right? So if the dialog is 20 dB below the loudest car crash sound (that's actually about right given how movies are maxed for theaters) the amp needs 1/100 (one stinking percent) of the power for the car crash to drive the dialog portions of the movie. And that's all the amp will put out during the dialog. Otherwise it would be too loud. Most of the time most of us are using a watt or so. But the loud parts might take a lot more power.

To make a particular amount of power you need two things. First, power devices (transistors to most of us) that can dissipate the desired pwer and second, a power supply that can supply the power for the transistor to output. So a 100 watt transistor output stage connected to the power supply for a preamp might only 5 or 10 watts because the power supply doesn't expect to be supplying that much power.

Ideally, you'd have a "stiff" enough power supply so that every channel could reach its output-device-distortion limited total power into every possible impedance with all channels full out at once. That's not how receivers are designed. They typically have the exact same kinds of power output transistors for each channel, but the power supply cannot "service" them all at full power all at once. The good news: probably saves a real 20 percent or more on cost to purchase. The bad news: the power supply cannot push all channels to full power all at once.

One further tad bit of good news: Movies and music NEVER require full power from all channels all at once. If the non-full-out channels are even just "one notch" quieter than the channels going full chat, they need one half the power of those other channels. Yes, 3 dB (most folks would say it's about "one notch") is a power factor of two. So that for most folks who don't listen at "reference level" in their homes, the fact that the receiver cannot output full power all the time to all channels is simply irrelevant.

In the end, if you don't have audible distortion, more power won't actually help anything. It might reduce the inaudible distortion level to make it inaudibler, but you'll never know the difference. (the fly in THAT ointment is that we may not know we're hearing distortion until we hear the soundtrack at the same level WITHOUT distortion, which only happens if we at least temporarily find a higher powered amplification device).
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Banner23 View Post

If it gives out 80 wpc I am happy with that. But with the tests on the 1019, it showed it was only giving 28 wpc, and I don't want that.

The VSX-1019 was major step down from the VSX-1018. The 1018 had multichannel inputs, 7.1 preouts and weighed 29 lbs. It was more like an Elite receiver.

The VSX-1019 lost the multichannel inputs, 7.1 preouts and the weight dropped down from 29.1 lbs to 19.3 lbs. I think its pretty safe to say a lot of the weight loss was due to a weaker power supply and amp section.

Your speakers should be fine with the 1018 receiver.

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post #7 of 7 Old 05-16-2013, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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That's good to know. The 1019 losing 10 pounds is a lot, I'll stay with what I got.
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