Budget avr + future AMP or mid/higher end avr by itself? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Im looking to start from scratch to get into home audio/theater (50% audio, 50% tv or bluray). I dont listen at very high levels either for music. Low-medium on average in a smaller-medium average room. No more than 500 sq feet room and will sit within 10 feet of speakers. I do not have an audiopile ear nor am i very picky. I just like what sounds good and want to enjoy it. I would want to utilize airplay/pandora/tv/blue ray/cds. That is the extent of what I am looking for.

To tide me over for the next year or so and see if i really want to drop $$ on serious stuff, i am thinking of starting with a pair of bookshelves and not expensive receiver to power those. In the next year or so i will also definitely be moving , so dont know what kind of room/space i will have for towers/subwoofer. Once i am more settled I want to get a serious set of floor speakers and then go with a quality amp if the $ and interest is there.

I am overwhelmed though by the sheer amount of receiver/pre amps/integrated amps etc etc. Can you let me know if these scenarios makes sense? Any recommendations?

Scenario 1 - Correct me if i am wrong, i think i can do an entry levelish receiver now ($500??) then just add the amp in the future as long as the receiver has preouts correct? I wouldnt have to deal with a "preamp" right? This gameplan would allow me to get into things at a basic level with some bookshelfs ($500/pair budget), then in the future step up to 2-3k towers along with a good amp. If i go 5.1, should i just get an amp for the LR or LCR and power the rears with the receiver?

Scenario 2 - If i just buy a ~$1000 receiver now and ignore the future amp purchase, would this receiver also be sufficient to power 2-3k floor speakers, given the above stated listening style/room size? What about 5.1 at this price point?

For either of these scenarios, are there any features i need to look for to allow for scaleability/not be obsolete in two years?? Ive read about 4k pass through which i think will be covered at most price points. At the most i would have a 5.1 in a couple of years, at the least i would have a 2.1 system. For these receivers that support airplay, but do not have a built in wifi, i need to buy the seperate wifi module correct? They do not make that clear in the marketing material. Appreciate any advice or suggestions you may have!
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 11:32 AM
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Scenario 1- hard to find a $500 AVR with pre-outs. May be able to find a model a year or two old. But then it may not have the gadgets you want/need.

Scenario 2- This would depend on type of speakers you "may" add. Some AVR's in this price range may or may not power the speakers you like to the levels you want. However AVR's in this price range will almost always have pre-outs to add an amp if you feel you want to add an amp. Also there are AVR's between the $500 to $1k range that have pre-outs and maybe also the bells and whistles you want.
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Phantom, on scenario two, are you referring to comparing power requirements for speakers and wattage numbers on amps? Or are you referring to quality of power, a more subjective measure? I really like Martin Logan electrostat ESL speakers, but have read some rumors that this style of speaker needs a dedicated amp, but this could be unfounded. That seems to be a stereotype for that technology of speaker, but may not be true for that specific model.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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i just realized that speaker sensitivity may be an important factor. Is the sensitivity rating already factored into a speakers recommended wattage requirements? Again, i am someone who will be in smaller-medium rooms and not play at super loud levels.

For example of one ideal speaker I may buy in the future, ML Em-ESL electrostats are 91 db, 20-300 watts recommended per channel. With that info, can you make a determination of whether I need a seperate amp, versus a $1000 receiver?

http://www.martinlogan.com/electromotion/specs.php
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 11:57 AM
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Those speakers are hard to drive. As for the power requirements I would think that the quality of power is the deciding factor. You will also want to decide what form of room eq you want. The Pioneer Elites may be able to drive those speakers to the levels you want. Look into their models. The Denon X4000 has pre-outs and the best form of Audyssey(XT32) but is out of your budget range at this time. Also on those Pioneers use MCACC for room eq, and though I've never used it from what I've read does not eq subs very well. If I were you I would either pm or call jdsmoothie and get his opinion and even a quote on what you may need to power those speakers you are wanting to use. You may have already read the review on those speakers I've linked below. He feels that those speakers can be driven by many of todays AVR's. If that is indeed the case then the Denon X4000 may be the AVR for you to look into. Hope this helps in some way.

http://hometheaterreview.com/martinlogan-electromotion-loudspeaker-reviewed/
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 12:12 PM
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IMO, buy an AVR that has the features you want + pre-outputs. That way, you have the flexibility to add an external amp if you want or need to.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 12:17 PM
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i recommend option 2 with a good avr

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post #8 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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It is very helpful! I could stretch to $1300 for a receiver if i felt confident that it would take me through the next 5 years feature wise and would be an all in one solution versus needing an amp. I would hate to spend that much (all relative) and then realize in 2 years if i want a 4k TV i need to get an all new receiver, just for example....

I know nothing about room EQ/audesy so i have to read up on that big time.

Lastly, would you say there is a big difference between a $750 receiver and a $1400 receiver? Is that difference mostly power output or special features that certain audiophiles crave?
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chkelly View Post

It is very helpful! I could stretch to $1300 for a receiver if i felt confident that it would take me through the next 5 years feature wise and would be an all in one solution versus needing an amp. I would hate to spend that much (all relative) and then realize in 2 years if i want a 4k TV i need to get an all new receiver, just for example....

I know nothing about room EQ/audesy so i have to read up on that big time.

Lastly, would you say there is a big difference between a $750 receiver and a $1400 receiver? Is that difference mostly power output or special features that certain audiophiles crave?

In that $750 range there are AVR's with pre-outs. As for the room eq requirements some like them and some don't. I would get a AVR that has the best one available for your use. If you don't like it with the eq on you can always turn it off. That way you have more flexibility without wondering if the next level up would be better. The X4000 has the best Audyssey version and has pre-outs if you decide you want more power. It is a feature laden AVR. Now if you feel you don't want the best level eq and all the bells and whistles and just want an AVR that plays very well then the NAD T758 is barely under $1k at crutchfields. It does have Audyssey although a lesser version. However it does have a full disclosure power with all channels driven. There are others from Onkyo with differing versions of Audyssey and with pre-outs. Realize though that the Onkyo's still seem to be having more HDMI board problems than the other brands. There is the Yamaha Aventage line with pre-outs but to get the good version of YPAO you need to step up to the 2020/2030 or the 3020/3030 models. These models are also out of the budget you have set. If you are not afraid to buy refurbs look at www.accessories4less.com at the above mentioned brands and models with the exception of the NAD. I would definitely get something with pre-outs for those speakers. From what I've read they do dip to very low ohms, so it would stink to have them clip when peaking.
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-07-2014, 06:31 PM
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Yamaha 773 Receiver. $440 including full preouts and wifi module.
Airplay, Ethernet, room correction. Sounds pretty decent. Remote has 17 inputs.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882115377
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-08-2014, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
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sorry if these are dumb questions,

1) but can my receiver be configured so it is using an external 2 channel amp for LR and then power everything else by itself?
2) if speaker and receiver (100x7 watts) are biampable, that makes i can reroute unused 2 channels back to the speakers, meaning the speakers now get 200 amps each?


kikken, thanks that looks like a perfect solution!
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-08-2014, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom52 View Post

Those speakers are hard to drive. As for the power requirements I would think that the quality of power is the deciding factor. You will also want to decide what form of room eq you want. The Pioneer Elites may be able to drive those speakers to the levels you want. Look into their models. The Denon X4000 has pre-outs and the best form of Audyssey(XT32) but is out of your budget range at this time. Also on those Pioneers use MCACC for room eq, and though I've never used it from what I've read does not eq subs very well. If I were you I would either pm or call jdsmoothie and get his opinion and even a quote on what you may need to power those speakers you are wanting to use. You may have already read the review on those speakers I've linked below. He feels that those speakers can be driven by many of todays AVR's. If that is indeed the case then the Denon X4000 may be the AVR for you to look into. Hope this helps in some way.

http://hometheaterreview.com/martinlogan-electromotion-loudspeaker-reviewed/

More to the point is the speaker's impedance curve which is probably well-approximated by its brand mate:



Not unusual for an electrostatic (ESL) speaker.

That looks pretty horrific until you also include information about the power contained in the music it will be reproducing. For example:

This is an analysis of the power in typical musical selections taken from a paper on headphones by Sean Olive:



The pink line shows how the energy in typical music taken across almost 20 years has a average downward slope of 20 dB per decade. IOW the energy around 1,000 Hz is 100 times less than that around 100 Hz. The energy around 10,000 Hz is 10,000 times less.

Translating the energy contained in music into current required from an amplifier amplifying this music, I find that the current required at 1,000 Hz is ten times less than at 100 Hz, and the current required at 10,000 Hz is 100 times less. This is like multiplying the impedance curve by like amounts. So if we adjust the impedance curve of the speaker above in accordance with what we know about music, we might reinterpret it as follows:



IOW, even though the ESL impedance curve looks taxing, if you weight it by the spectral contents of music it turns into a paper tiger.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-08-2014, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chkelly View Post

sorry if these are dumb questions,

1) but can my receiver be configured so it is using an external 2 channel amp for LR and then power everything else by itself?

Easily done if there are preamp outputs for at least the L&R channels.
Quote:
2) if speaker and receiver (100x7 watts) are biampable, that makes i can reroute unused 2 channels back to the speakers, meaning the speakers now get 200 amps each?

Passive biamping like this has very few real world benefits, and you would be better off pursuing other approaches.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-08-2014, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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arnyk thank you. most of your graphs post is over my head , but i think the conclusion is that the speakers are NOT as power hungry as initially thought?

one more dumb question:

If plenty of amps out there give 100x7 watts, why would anyone buy a 50 watt per chan amp such as the one below? Are these for people with old receivers , or would this $550 amp make a pair of speakers (lets assume em-esl) sound better at moderate levels than your typical $1000 do it all receiver? There has to be a variable that I am missing other than wattage #s.

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-gbjWn010aLi/p_745C326BEE/NAD-C-326BEE.html
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-08-2014, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chkelly View Post

sorry if these are dumb questions,

1) but can my receiver be configured so it is using an external 2 channel amp for LR and then power everything else by itself?
2) if speaker and receiver (100x7 watts) are biampable, that makes i can reroute unused 2 channels back to the speakers, meaning the speakers now get 200 amps each?


kikken, thanks that looks like a perfect solution!
Thanks. #1 is the hot setup. No need to use every line level out.
Using less internal amplifier channels is better than using all 7.
They all share 1 power supply so receiver bi-amping is foo foo. Don't.

A higher end integrated amp is designed for 2 channel audio.
Not so good for 7 channel and sometimes weak on internet streaming
features. Lower powered mainstream equipment has decent power
as long as the deep bass notes are covered by a different amp.
And the preouts cover your butt in case you need more watts.
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