What would dedicated AMP do for me? Is it all a nonsense? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-08-2014, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

Here is my system that I have as of right now.

A/V Receiver - Denon AVR 4311ci
L/R - Ascend Sierra-1 NrT
Center - Ascend Sierra-1 NrT
Surrounds - Ascend HTM-200
Sub - Rythmik F12


Note .... apologies if I offend anyone with my title of the post. Just wanted to have a grabber.

I'll start by saying that I am happy with the sound I have right now.
I also have a 4 month old and these days ... I am not playing anything loud like I used to. I keep it below -16db (sad face)


Anyway ... for a long time I've been hearing how great it is to add a dedicated amp for even the front (L,R,C) speakers. All great stuff about Emotiva XPA-3, etc... So for someone in my situation with 50% regular TV watching, 30% Movies and 20% Music .... do I really need an AMP??? What sound improvement will I notice?

If you think that an amp is a good investment ... isn't it a great idea to go buy a 3-6 year old amp off of Ebay that costs 50% less these days as most of amps do the same thing?

thank you.
any feedback is appreciated.

Denon AVR 4311ci, Ascend Sierra-1 NrT, Ascend HTM-200 (surrounds), Rythmik F12, Sharp LC-80LE650U 80-inch, Samsung BD ES6000, Denon DVD-2910 SACD/DVDa, Monster HTS 5100 MKI, Monster Z2 Biwire, Logitech Harmony One, Sennheiser HD600, Schiit Modi/Vali
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-08-2014, 03:58 PM
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I've been the route you are talking about over the past 10 years. A few laps at that. It isn't an 'upgrade path' - its a treadmill ! I've had as many as three amps in the audio rack at times. I now have roughly the equivalent of your Denon in a Yamaha RX-V3900 - in tandem with that is an HK990 integrated amp with home theater bypass - you might want to look into that rather than adding a large multi-channel amp. I'm set for 10 years - I hope! The main difference is the HK990 drives the front L/R for multi-channel as well as 2 channel using the same speakers. Kind of handy.

Emotiva will let you try out one of their XPA-3 or -5 amps for 30 days - if you don't hear a difference send it back. You will be out return shipping. Your low lever listening will probably be key to the decision. I doubt you'll hear much difference - maybe none.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #3 of 9 Old 01-08-2014, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

I've been the route you are talking about over the past 10 years. A few laps at that. It isn't an 'upgrade path' - its a treadmill ! I've had as many as three amps in the audio rack at times. I now have roughly the equivalent of your Denon in a Yamaha RX-V3900 - in tandem with that is an HK990 integrated amp with home theater bypass - you might want to look into that rather than adding a large multi-channel amp. I'm set for 10 years - I hope! The main difference is the HK990 drives the front L/R for multi-channel as well as 2 channel using the same speakers. Kind of handy.

Emotiva will let you try out one of their XPA-3 or -5 amps for 30 days - if you don't hear a difference send it back. You will be out return shipping. Your low lever listening will probably be key to the decision. I doubt you'll hear much difference - maybe none.

I actually auditioned your Yamaha RX-V3900 at home about a year ago. Monster of a receiver ... just didn't work for my situation.

Anyway. ... when you say you doubt I'll hear a difference .... that's for the situation of lower level listening or you referred specifically to Emotiva?

Denon AVR 4311ci, Ascend Sierra-1 NrT, Ascend HTM-200 (surrounds), Rythmik F12, Sharp LC-80LE650U 80-inch, Samsung BD ES6000, Denon DVD-2910 SACD/DVDa, Monster HTS 5100 MKI, Monster Z2 Biwire, Logitech Harmony One, Sennheiser HD600, Schiit Modi/Vali
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-08-2014, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
I'll start by saying that I am happy with the sound I have right now.
I also have a 4 month old and these days ... I am not playing anything loud like I used to. I keep it below -16db (sad face)

Anyway ... for a long time I've been hearing how great it is to add a dedicated amp for even the front (L,R,C) speakers. ... do I really need an AMP???
Since you're happy with the sound you have right now, and since you don't play anything loud, you don't need an external amp.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-08-2014, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

Quote:
I'll start by saying that I am happy with the sound I have right now.
I also have a 4 month old and these days ... I am not playing anything loud like I used to. I keep it below -16db (sad face)

Anyway ... for a long time I've been hearing how great it is to add a dedicated amp for even the front (L,R,C) speakers. ... do I really need an AMP???
Since you're happy with the sound you have right now, and since you don't play anything loud, you don't need an external amp.
Exactly!

When all else fails - RTFM!

♫♫♫ Two Channel Rules! ♫♫♫

GO SEAHAWKS!!!
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-09-2014, 01:23 AM
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I kept throwing a Yamaha 663 into protection mode with a pair of B&W 663's running full range at loud volume with bass heavy tracks which the speakers are known to have a 3.5 or 2.5 ohm impedance dip somewhere in the bass section. So I bought an Emotiva XPA-5 and that was the end of that. I will say that even at lower volume levels the Emotiva did make the speakers seem like they had a little more weight/punch to the bass and the amp did sound a little darker and less bright than the Yamaha's amp's. Now that I pretty much crossover to a sub regardless I'm not so sure that a dedicated amp makes that much difference but it is nice to have since I can add with total freedom any processor I want and always know my amplification will stay perfectly consistent. I don't have to worry about getting my next AVR and worry if it's one of those years or brands that has poorer amp's than the previous models since I'd be using the same dedicated amp over again or have the ability to buy just a pre-amp/processor without having to worry about buying an amp since I'd already have it. Plus it eases my mind knowing I'm less likely to drive a dedicated amp into speaker damaging clipping as easily as an AVR - having some extra clean power on tap isn't going to hurt. For most of these reasons mentioned I'll probably always continue using a dedicated power amp, but just don't expect a night and day difference if you're crossing over to a powered sub or have easy to drive speakers. I will say that even my old Cerwin Vega speakers from the early 90's noticeably benefited from a dedicated power amp over an AVR (lower ohm speakers, more weight and punch to the bass with the dedicated poweramp).

Oh and there's nothing wrong with playing back at -16db if you're calibrated for reference level at 0db. My system sounds great even at lower levels....
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-09-2014, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Emig5m View Post

I kept throwing a Yamaha 663 into protection mode with a pair of B&W 663's running full range at loud volume with bass heavy tracks which the speakers are known to have a 3.5 or 2.5 ohm impedance dip somewhere in the bass section. So I bought an Emotiva XPA-5 and that was the end of that. I will say that even at lower volume levels the Emotiva did make the speakers seem like they had a little more weight/punch to the bass and the amp did sound a little darker and less bright than the Yamaha's amp's. Now that I pretty much crossover to a sub regardless I'm not so sure that a dedicated amp makes that much difference but it is nice to have since I can add with total freedom any processor I want and always know my amplification will stay perfectly consistent. I don't have to worry about getting my next AVR and worry if it's one of those years or brands that has poorer amp's than the previous models since I'd be using the same dedicated amp over again or have the ability to buy just a pre-amp/processor without having to worry about buying an amp since I'd already have it. Plus it eases my mind knowing I'm less likely to drive a dedicated amp into speaker damaging clipping as easily as an AVR - having some extra clean power on tap isn't going to hurt. For most of these reasons mentioned I'll probably always continue using a dedicated power amp, but just don't expect a night and day difference if you're crossing over to a powered sub or have easy to drive speakers. I will say that even my old Cerwin Vega speakers from the early 90's noticeably benefited from a dedicated power amp over an AVR (lower ohm speakers, more weight and punch to the bass with the dedicated poweramp).

Oh and there's nothing wrong with playing back at -16db if you're calibrated for reference level at 0db. My system sounds great even at lower levels....

It's too bad from the standpoint of sound quality and your checkbook, that you weren't advised to get the subwoofer first.

The very idea of running in-wall 6 1/2" drivers at loud volume with bass heavy tracks makes my head hurt. Visions of a large section of drywall flexing an inch in and out comes to mind. ;-)
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-09-2014, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post

Hi guys,

Here is my system that I have as of right now.

A/V Receiver - Denon AVR 4311ci
L/R - Ascend Sierra-1 NrT
Center - Ascend Sierra-1 NrT
Surrounds - Ascend HTM-200
Sub - Rythmik F12


Note .... apologies if I offend anyone with my title of the post. Just wanted to have a grabber.

I'll start by saying that I am happy with the sound I have right now.
I also have a 4 month old and these days ... I am not playing anything loud like I used to. I keep it below -16db (sad face)


Anyway ... for a long time I've been hearing how great it is to add a dedicated amp for even the front (L,R,C) speakers. All great stuff about Emotiva XPA-3, etc... So for someone in my situation with 50% regular TV watching, 30% Movies and 20% Music .... do I really need an AMP??? What sound improvement will I notice?

Whether or not you need an outboard amp would be easy if your AVR had clipping indicators like many pro sound amps do, but few if any actually do.

You can get a fair estimate of your power needs with a fast responding, peak holding SPL meter such as this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271167212819?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649



Plug the numbers you measure for peak SPL into a SPL calculator like this:

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

and you can estimate peak amplifier power required.
Quote:
If you think that an amp is a good investment ... isn't it a great idea to go buy a 3-6 year old amp off of Ebay that costs 50% less these days as most of amps do the same thing?

Some people find out that their SPL needs demand an immediate amp upgrade and others find not so much.

Knowledge is power!
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-09-2014, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

It's too bad from the standpoint of sound quality and your checkbook, that you weren't advised to get the subwoofer first.

The very idea of running in-wall 6 1/2" drivers at loud volume with bass heavy tracks makes my head hurt. Visions of a large section of drywall flexing an inch in and out comes to mind. ;-)

Well number one I had a sub that I actually bought with the speakers but just chose to play stereo without it at the time since the speaker placement let the speakers put out good bass for music without the sub and secondly, those speakers aren't in-wall, they're towers (have no idea where you got these assumptions from).
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