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Old 09-24-2013, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there,

I am beginning my search for a separate Amp. I have been using a Marantz SR8200 AVR for a number of years, and am seeking to upgrade my sound system to a separate Amp / Pre setup. My initial plan is to keep using the Marantz as the pre-amp with the newly purchased amp and then upgrade the system as funds allow. Upgrading the Pre & subwoofer(s) are on my wish list, and funding limitations do not allow me to purchase everything right now.

I have already invested in purchasing some speakers about 6 years ago with some Sunfire XT CRS-3 speakers for a 2 channel setup. They are accompanied by the CRS-3C center channel, and the CRM-2BIP surround speakers. The efficiency is 90 dB, with a 6 ohm nominal load. I am not sure about the desired SPL, so I am guessing that 95 dB would be good?

The room dimensions are 15 ft x 20 ft x 9ft tall.
Listening position is 9 ft from the speakers.

Speakers
Efficiency = 90 dB
6 ohm load
Desired SPL = 95 dB?

I am lucky in that my wife likes 2 channel music (Rolling Stones, singer / songwriter vocals, and folk music). I use it for movies (a 5.1 or 5.2 setup for now), and some streaming using the Roku / Pandora set up.

$2500 budget for an amp, new or used. Looking for 3 channel and 5 channel amps. Mono amps would be okay, if they fit the budget.

I have been looking at Emotiva, Outlaw, used Parasound Halo's, and the like. I am not opposed to buying used. So recommendations are helpful. The timeline to purchasing is fuzzy as I do not have a clear vision of amps. I have also been all over the map with amps as well. So some feedback would be great.

Thanks.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:15 AM
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Emotiva XPA-3 and XPA-5. Solid performers, great value.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi eljaycanuck... thanks for the recommendation. I have been looking intensely at the XPA 3/5 and the XPR 3/5 as well. I do not need the power of the XPR series, however, I am still lured by the potential gain in build quality.

I have not seen comments on the differences between the XPA vs. XPR series, other than power gains. Do you, or anyone else have any thoughts?
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:16 AM
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Given your speakers and room size, the SR8200 is more then man enough to drive your speakers and then some. If you are expecting $2500 worth of better sound with an external amp, you will be MAJORLY DISAPPOINTED. Spend the $2500 on better speakers first. Rule of thumb: if your AVR can drive your speakers without distortion or clipping, an external amp will be of ZERO benefit. I suspect your current AVR isn't even breaking a sweat on your current speakers / room set up.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddzak View Post

Hi there,

I am beginning my search for a separate Amp. I have been using a Marantz SR8200 AVR for a number of years, and am seeking to upgrade my sound system to a separate Amp / Pre setup. My initial plan is to keep using the Marantz as the pre-amp with the newly purchased amp and then upgrade the system as funds allow. Upgrading the Pre & subwoofer(s) are on my wish list, and funding limitations do not allow me to purchase everything right now.

I have already invested in purchasing some speakers about 6 years ago with some Sunfire XT CRS-3 speakers for a 2 channel setup. They are accompanied by the CRS-3C center channel, and the CRM-2BIP surround speakers. The efficiency is 90 dB, with a 6 ohm nominal load. I am not sure about the desired SPL, so I am guessing that 95 dB would be good?

The room dimensions are 15 ft x 20 ft x 9ft tall.
Listening position is 9 ft from the speakers.

Speakers
Efficiency = 90 dB
6 ohm load
Desired SPL = 95 dB?

When you say 95 dB, do you mean 10 db over 85 dB average reference level or 10 dB under 105 dB peak reference level?

What speakers?
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey SledgeHammer,

I thought I did upgrade my speakers to something mid-fi on the sunfire setup. I understand that opinions vary on a brand / product basis, as well as what sounds 'good' / 'great'.

The AVR is lacking some power as I am at ~69% gain during normal listening conditions (the SR8200 read -10). Thus my desire to get an external amp. So my question comes to getting some louder volumes from my system while watching movies and music. Also, the listening room is open to the kitchen, dining room and nook... I have an 'open' house floor-plan. So the listening room is part of an overall room.

Floorplan:
http://www.beazer.com/atlanta-GA/vistas-at-castleberry/driftwood-ii?productLine=the-vistas-at-castleberry

The listening position is in the Greatroom.

Marantz has an unusual way of telling you where you are in gain... -71 to +18; where -10 is louder than -40, and +18 is the loudest.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Arnyk,

I guess it would be 10dB below reference? I would need to get an SLP meter to verify where I am currently listening to, and where I want to be. I am slacking on the technical side, and a shame to my engineering profession (chem eng).

The speakers are the Sunfire XT speakers. They are not well known, and the design technology is over 6 years old.
http://www.sunfire.com/productdetail.asp?id=18

Speakers
Efficiency = 90 dB
6 ohm load
Desired SPL = 95 dB?
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Arnyk,

I realized that I did not properly answer the SPL question. I am thinking that 10dB over 85dB average listening level.

Sorry, and thanks.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddzak View Post

Hey SledgeHammer,

I thought I did upgrade my speakers to something mid-fi on the sunfire setup. I understand that opinions vary on a brand / product basis, as well as what sounds 'good' / 'great'.

The AVR is lacking some power as I am at ~69% gain during normal listening conditions (the SR8200 read -10). Thus my desire to get an external amp. So my question comes to getting some louder volumes from my system while watching movies and music. Also, the listening room is open to the kitchen, dining room and nook... I have an 'open' house floor-plan. So the listening room is part of an overall room.

Floorplan:
http://www.beazer.com/atlanta-GA/vistas-at-castleberry/driftwood-ii?productLine=the-vistas-at-castleberry

The listening position is in the Greatroom.

Marantz has an unusual way of telling you where you are in gain... -71 to +18; where -10 is louder than -40, and +18 is the loudest.

Isn't the SR8200 130 watts? I have a Denon AVR-3808CI (which is also 130 watts) and I typically have the volume at -17dB. Yeah, it is probably around 70% or so of the range... thats normal dude smile.gif. If I went to 80%+, the cops would be at my house.

Sounds like you've got another 30% head room.

Spending $2500 to offload the amp duties to another box so your AVR can show a lower % on the volume graphic is a very silly reason to buy an external amp.

Just giving you honest advice smile.gif. If you want more volume, turn up the volume lol. If you go to 80% on your AVR, do you get distortion or clipping? does the unit get hot? If you don't get distortion / clipping / overheating, you are honestly wasting your $$$ on an external amp and it will give you no advantage other then helping you sleep better at night because the volume bar is lower on your TV smile.gif.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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No offense taken. smile.gif Thanks for putting the % output into context. The SR8200 is 120 into 8 ohms. I have not really put my hands on the AVR under louder conditions as I never pushed it that far. I was concerned about pushing my AVR too hard. Given that I have another 30%, I will go up in volume, and check for overheating... if there is any.

The clipping is something that I cannot really hear, but the distortion is something I will listen for as I go up in volume.

Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:04 PM
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My rule of thumb is that if you are 10dB or more down from the top of the dial you shouldn't have to worry about overheating the amp. YMMV.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddzak View Post

No offense taken. smile.gif Thanks for putting the % output into context. The SR8200 is 120 into 8 ohms. I have not really put my hands on the AVR under louder conditions as I never pushed it that far. I was concerned about pushing my AVR too hard. Given that I have another 30%, I will go up in volume, and check for overheating... if there is any.

The clipping is something that I cannot really hear, but the distortion is something I will listen for as I go up in volume.

Thanks!

You should be fine with the AVR without the amp. You'll probably have environmental distortion before the AVR does (plantation shutters / window rattles, furniture rattle, wife throwing things at you smile.gif, etc). Your speakers aren't "cheap", I didn't mean to imply that. They are good speakers, but they are consumer grade. Some people have like $100k speakers/pr lol. Or more realistically $5k - $10k/pr if you aren't rich but an audiophile.

You only realistically need an external amp in a dedicated hometheater where you have > 7.1 speakers or have demanding speakers or a larger room.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddzak View Post

Arnyk,

I realized that I did not properly answer the SPL question. I am thinking that 10dB over 85dB average listening level.

That's quite a lofty goal - if you don't have a SPL meter you may not know how loud 95 dB average really is. It is loud! Let me put it this way, the world is full of people who never run their systems within 10 dB of that loud. Most of the rest are quite happy getting to the standard 85 dB average SPL mark.

If I were you I'd get over embarrassment with not having a SPL meter by simply getting one. Knowledge is power!
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

That's quite a lofty goal - if you don't have a SPL meter you may not know how loud 95 dB average really is. It is loud! Let me put it this way, the world is full of people who never run their systems within 10 dB of that loud. Most of the rest are quite happy getting to the standard 85 dB average SPL mark.

If I were you I'd get over embarrassment with not having a SPL meter by simply getting one. Knowledge is power!
Psychologically I feel the need for more power when one AVR needs to be at -20 to start sounding loud whereas another room gets loud at -30 but I know with my speakers at 89 efficiency takes 40 watts to hit 85db(which is loud) at my 12 food listening position and one receiver is 95 watt per channel and the other is 100. So the trick is to get an SPL meter don't worry about the AVR dial until you are at 0(which is usually calibrated to be reference level).
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:43 PM
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Hi Oddzak,

I have these same exact Sunfire speakers.....Although they are the self proclaimed "The worlds most powerful on wall speaker", they need much more than the 120 watts per you are feeding them.
I had a Emo xpa5 hooked up to these bad boys and they love every extra watt you could feed them...My next purchase?....The emo xpr-5 with 400 watts per.

For $999 you can score the emo xpa5 and I can just about guarantee you will come back on here and say this unit made a HUGE differance.

Make no mistake, the Sunfire crs-3 on wall speakers can handle the power....I was in the same exact position as you in that I noticed (before I bought the 200 watt emo xpa5) that the speakers were just missing something...

I can't wait until I can get a xpr5 or even (still undecided) xpa-1 mono blocks that feature 500 watts per channel.

As you know, these speakers are beautiful and very/very underrated in the audio community...I have searched for 4 years and had several (Paridigm, etc) on-wall speakers and can say with authority the the Sunfire on-wall is a fantastic speaker....And, running just a standard avr receiver is not tapping into the potential these speakers can easily handle.

I read the forum daily and hardly ever post on a subject, but feel so strongly that with additional amplification of over 200 watts per channel for these speakers is highly suggested along with the benefits of taking some stress off your present avr.

Emo has a great return policy...Just be sure to keep all the packaging.

I would be interested in you posting follow-up comments if you do decide to try an external amp.

Take care!

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Old 09-25-2013, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Superspeed View Post

Hi Oddzak,

I have these same exact Sunfire speakers.....Although they are the self proclaimed "The worlds most powerful on wall speaker", they need much more than the 120 watts per you are feeding them.
I had a Emo xpa5 hooked up to these bad boys and they love every extra watt you could feed them...My next purchase?....The emo xpr-5 with 400 watts per.

For $999 you can score the emo xpa5 and I can just about guarantee you will come back on here and say this unit made a HUGE differance.

Make no mistake, the Sunfire crs-3 on wall speakers can handle the power....I was in the same exact position as you in that I noticed (before I bought the 200 watt emo xpa5) that the speakers were just missing something...

I can't wait until I can get a xpr5 or even (still undecided) xpa-1 mono blocks that feature 500 watts per channel.

As you know, these speakers are beautiful and very/very underrated in the audio community...I have searched for 4 years and had several (Paridigm, etc) on-wall speakers and can say with authority the the Sunfire on-wall is a fantastic speaker....And, running just a standard avr receiver is not tapping into the potential these speakers can easily handle.

I read the forum daily and hardly ever post on a subject, but feel so strongly that with additional amplification of over 200 watts per channel for these speakers is highly suggested along with the benefits of taking some stress off your present avr.

Emo has a great return policy...Just be sure to keep all the packaging.

I would be interested in you posting follow-up comments if you do decide to try an external amp.

Take care!

I will agree that the speakers can probably take a lot more then what the OPs AVR can put out, however, please be **realistic**. He has a 15 ft x 20 ft x 9 ft room. If he puts his AVR up to 80%/90%, its unlikely he could even stay in the room without causing hearing damage or having the cops called.

95db from an AVR is *EXACTLY* equivalent to 95db from an external amp. If you think there is a hearable difference in sound quality at the same db level, you are nuts. No doubt an external amp can drive the speakers at louder volumes, but its not like he can't hear them now lol.

Guarantee you his AVR can drive those speakers to "Honey, the cops are at the front door" levels without a need for an external amp.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:06 PM
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Best $1,800 Amp on the market right now is the Job 225 Amp. It is even better than the Hypex NCore 1200. Highly recommend it.

With the money saved over get an external DAC. Eximus DP-1 are excellent for music and crazy 3D soundstaging. Also, the NAD M51 is good.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:18 PM
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Get two Crown DriveCore XLS 2000's and monoblock them. You will certainly have enough power and they do a very solid job on being simply transparent. You will be at ~$1000.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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Old 09-26-2013, 03:20 PM
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Get two Crown DriveCore XLS 2000's and monoblock them. You will certainly have enough power and they do a very solid job on being simply transparent. You will be at ~$1000.
true the xls 2000 and 1500 sounds great they have so much control over the speakers its crazy. when i had my speakers hooked up to my 4520 and emotiva my woofers would move excessively when turned up, whith the crowns they barley move.
i love my crowns they sound great and i will never sell them. i also have a art clean box hooked up to them
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:32 PM
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true the xls 2000 and 1500 sounds great they have so much control over the speakers its crazy. when i had my speakers hooked up to my 4520 and emotiva my woofers would move excessively when turned up, whith the crowns they barley move.
i love my crowns they sound great and i will never sell them. i also have a art clean box hooked up to them
yup,lovin my xls2k...

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Old 09-27-2013, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Sledgehammer,

You are correct. The AVR does open up with greater gain on the volume. I finally put the AVR to the reference level of zero on the dial, and the XT's opened up. Better still is the fact that the AVR did not break a sweat. The room dimensions are not limited by walls, but rather by the carpet / wood floor boundary. I have posted a pic for you to get a better understanding.

But the cops aren't coming for me if I turn up the volume! Since I live in a North Carolina suburb, we have a little more space between houses than in the Research Triangle Park area. Its a lot different than my apartment in the Oakland Hills / San Francisco! I am betting that I can turn up a pair of subs and still not get a complaint.


Superspeed,

Yeah, I agree with you. When I auditioned the Sunfire XT's at the dealer, and then again at home, I was in awe at the step up from my bookshelf Boston Acoustics. I must say that they started revealing more music details as I cranked up the AVR. Very impressive. I am not sure if I do need to go louder, but it depends if I am in the kitchen or dining room.

Upone hearing JinJuku's, GTwizard's, and Airgas1998's recommendations, and some research of the Crown XLS, that might be a good way to go for an external amp. Its a Class D (I think), and might provide some economical power for the CRS-3's. I had better start playing the wedding song again on the home stereo for the wife to okay this purchase! Its how I was able to get my partial system set up to begin with!

Will update if I do move forward. At present I might stay with the AVR and get a SPL App for the iPad... a follow up to Arnyk's comments.
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WHY DONT YOU LOOK AT THE ROTEL RMB 1095 AMPLIFIER IM SELLING. . . IT HAS NEVER HAD A. BAD REVIEW. . . . 200X5 RMS. .
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtwizard View Post

true the xls 2000 and 1500 sounds great they have so much control over the speakers its crazy. when i had my speakers hooked up to my 4520 and emotiva my woofers would move excessively when turned up, whith the crowns they barley move.
i love my crowns they sound great and i will never sell them. i also have a art clean box hooked up to them
yup,lovin my xls2k...

Probably due to the XLS2K having less bass extension. Pro audio amps commonly have their bass extension limited to 10-20 Hz because that's a good thing to do in most situations where they are used.
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Old 09-28-2013, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Probably due to the XLS2K having less bass extension. Pro audio amps commonly have their bass extension limited to 10-20 Hz because that's a good thing to do in most situations where they are used.

I think they go down to 5Hz....

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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Old 09-28-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddzak View Post

Hi there,

I am beginning my search for a separate Amp. I have been using a Marantz SR8200 AVR for a number of years, and am seeking to upgrade my sound system to a separate Amp / Pre setup. My initial plan is to keep using the Marantz as the pre-amp with the newly purchased amp and then upgrade the system as funds allow. Upgrading the Pre & subwoofer(s) are on my wish list, and funding limitations do not allow me to purchase everything right now.

I have already invested in purchasing some speakers about 6 years ago with some Sunfire XT CRS-3 speakers for a 2 channel setup. They are accompanied by the CRS-3C center channel, and the CRM-2BIP surround speakers. The efficiency is 90 dB, with a 6 ohm nominal load. I am not sure about the desired SPL, so I am guessing that 95 dB would be good?

The room dimensions are 15 ft x 20 ft x 9ft tall.
Listening position is 9 ft from the speakers.

Speakers
Efficiency = 90 dB
6 ohm load
Desired SPL = 95 dB?

I am lucky in that my wife likes 2 channel music (Rolling Stones, singer / songwriter vocals, and folk music). I use it for movies (a 5.1 or 5.2 setup for now), and some streaming using the Roku / Pandora set up.

$2500 budget for an amp, new or used. Looking for 3 channel and 5 channel amps. Mono amps would be okay, if they fit the budget.

I have been looking at Emotiva, Outlaw, used Parasound Halo's, and the like. I am not opposed to buying used. So recommendations are helpful. The timeline to purchasing is fuzzy as I do not have a clear vision of amps. I have also been all over the map with amps as well. So some feedback would be great.

Thanks.[/quote classe amps
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Get two Crown DriveCore XLS 2000's and monoblock them. You will certainly have enough power and they do a very solid job on being simply transparent. You will be at ~$1000.

For sure strapping a couple of Crown XL 2000 in there Yousa lots of clean power 1,300W each at 8 ohm even more at 4 and 2 ohm how many AVR can operate a 2 ohms ( at lest for long ) anyway? OTOH are the speakers up to that? they are rated at 450wpc

Maybe just one Crown XLS 2500 ?? they are 450wpc @8 ohms what is to gain beyond that power in that size room ? speakers are rated at 117 db @450wpc . The Crowns are made to be run at constant high output levels being a pro amp and all decently clean also ,
at or much above 117db for any length of time the OP could maybe reasonably expect permanent hearing damage no?

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Old 09-28-2013, 07:10 PM
 
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Dosn't
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Originally Posted by tubetwister View Post

For sure strapping a couple of Crown XL 2000 in there Yousa lots of clean power 1,300W each at 8 ohm even more at 7 and 2 ohm how many AVR can operate a 2 ohms ( at lest for long ) ?anyway? are the speakers up to that?
dosn't matter you could put 5 thousand watts on a speaker as long as you don't distort it your fine. As a matter of fact your less likely to cause damage to a speaker having more power. Most people who blow their speakers are the ones trying to play to loud with under powered amps.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wadia 9 View Post

Dosn't
dosn't matter you could put 5 thousand watts on a speaker as long as you don't distort it your fine. As a matter of fact your less likely to cause damage to a speaker having more power. Most people who blow their speaker are the ones trying to play to loud with under powered amps.

Good point but the Crown XL 2500 is 775W @4 ohms and 450Wpc @8 ohms so with 6 ohm speakers amp would probably be outputting maybe 575 wpc ? just saying the crowns are pro amps and less likely to clip than most consumer amps remember the 2500 is rated to 1200wpc@ 2 ohms so if his speakers ever dipped that low certainly ample power reserves are present.would you agree? How many consumer amps can do that? but either way OP could do a lot worse than Crown amps and spend a lot more money in the process. OP's speakers are rated at 80kz on the low so no worries with Crown there.

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:17 PM
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Arnold wrote in part,

When you say 95 dB, do you mean 10 db over 85 dB average reference level or 10 dB under 105 dB peak reference level?

What speakers?


Have to admit pretty darn good question

Arny knows his stuff when it comes to that way better than us (he tought me a lesson biggrin.gif ) he is way beyond a hobby enthisiast in that field

One thing I can say when I saw Star Trek into darkness in digital Imax 3D
it was LOUD I'm well accustomed to loud music. (from listening habits)
over the years not so much anymore though . It was supposed to be at reference level.

85 dB SPL avg is THX reference level. I felt like it was much higher I would have guessed at least considerably well over 110 db peaks maybe 120db ?
but without a sound db meter who knows?
At least 2 OP's speakers are rated at 117db SPL so add in the others
and it's bound to be getting pretty loud in there with all the speakers peaking now and then.

like Arny says I wonder if OP knows how how loud 95db average is with peaks maybe in the 125 +db range eek.gif he should consider his peaks also.
OP needs to get a sound meter or he may be needing a hearing aid sooner than he thinks !

I read this about THX here
A preamp/receiver's internal calibration signal is typically banded pink noise played at a 75 dB SPL which is -10 dB down from the reference level. The quieter -10 dB signal is chosen by manufacturers because it is less harsh for users. It is also important to note that banded pink noise and full range pink noise will produce dB level settings that are slightly different. Which one equates to the true reference level depends on who you ask and how flat the frequency response of your speakers are.

Maximum Level
The 0 dB reference level represents an average 85 dB SPL and a maximum 105 dB SPL. The LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel used by AC3 (Dolby Digital) and DTS is +10 dB higher. This means that the maximum output for bass peaks is 115 dB SPL. The purpose of the +10 dB gain for the LFE channel is to increase the dynamic range of bass events such as explosions, crashes, punches, and rumbles. This means when the volume is set to 0 dB that the subwoofer could be asked to produce an output of 115 dB SPL. Such loud bass levels places a heavy resource burden and requires multiple high-end subwoofers to produce it accurately. Fortunately THX processors have a feature called the Bass Peak Limiter which compresses peak levels in an attempt to reduce distortion and prevent speaker damage.


I think Arnold mentioned something like that?


Even an enthusiast who listens
at those levels would be wise to invest in a sound meter if for nothing else at least
to protect ones hearing?

Hires Music formats ..............."Why does it sound like a CD ?" ............. can we make it louder "?
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