Using a separate poweramp for front channels - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Using a separate poweramp for front channels

I'm using a Yamaha RX-A2030 receiver to drive my home theater (5.1) in the family room, a second TV via HDMI and two speakers in the master bedroom and two stereo speakers (audio only) on the patio. I'm considering purchasing either a two or three channel power amp (Emotiva perhaps) to drive the left + right or all three front speakers. I have a couple of questions regarding this.
  • I'm often running two or all three locations, so most, if not all of the amplifier channels are driven. Will using a separate amp help the receiver in any way, either sonically or perhaps extend its life?
  • How will the channels driven by the power amp match the channels driven by the receiver, volume wise?
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post #2 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 03:45 AM
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Using an external amp will free up power supply on your AVR for the remaining channels. If you look at your manual you'll see different power ratings for 1,2,3,4 channels driven. So using a big two or three for your fronts/center frees up power

You match the gains, so it's no different to YPAO setup.

I'm using a three and two twos, but if I had a AVR the three could be used, using the AVR for side and surrounds.

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post #3 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Using an external amp will free up power supply on your AVR for the remaining channels. If you look at your manual you'll see different power ratings for 1,2,3,4 channels driven. So using a big two or three for your fronts/center frees up power

You match the gains, so it's no different to YPAO setup.

I'm using a three and two twos, but if I had a AVR the three could be used, using the AVR for side and surrounds.
Thanks. Now that I look at the specs I see the rated output is specified with 2 channels driven. Love to know what the numbers are with 5 or 7 channels driven.

If I get a poweramp I'm wondering whether to get a 2 (left & right) or 3 (left, right & center) channel amplifier.
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post #4 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 05:38 AM
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Considering the 3020 has 64W 7 channels, 1khz, clipping...
http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...eceiver-page-4

back of your 2030 states 500W power usage / 9 channels = 55W. Sounds about right. Lower than that due to power loss etc.

I went for a ATI 2000 series btw. Personally I'd get a 7 channel if you just want one box. ATI 1807 isn't too bad price considering.. I went for 2003 and using two other makes of power amplifier for side & surrounds

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post #5 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 05:41 AM
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Adding an external amp will lessen the load on your receiver and will keep it running cooler.


Outlaw has a sale going on now on all their amps. I would consider getting the 7075. It's 7 channels at 70 wpc. 70 wpc may not seem like much, but an honest 70 wpc will more than keep up with your receiver.
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post #6 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
Considering the 3020 has 64W 7 channels, 1khz, clipping...
http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...eceiver-page-4

back of your 2030 states 500W power usage / 9 channels = 55W. Sounds about right. Lower than that due to power loss etc.

I went for a ATI 2000 series btw. Personally I'd get a 7 channel if you just want one box. ATI 1807 isn't too bad price considering.. I went for 2003 and using two other makes of power amplifier for side & surrounds
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post
Adding an external amp will lessen the load on your receiver and will keep it running cooler.


Outlaw has a sale going on now on all their amps. I would consider getting the 7075. It's 7 channels at 70 wpc. 70 wpc may not seem like much, but an honest 70 wpc will more than keep up with your receiver.
Thanks to both of you. Fatbotttom, I didn't think of looking up the power requirements of the receiver. I actually think 55 wpc might be generous. I looked at models from Emotiva, ATI & Outlaw and they all had power requirements of up to 1800 watts, driving fewer channels than my Yamaha. Makes me wonder how they could run on a 15 amp circuit.

Both of you recommend purchasing 7 channel amplifiers. I'm assuming the front speakers (L + C + R) generally use the most power. I'm wondering, in order to get the most bang for the buck, if it would make sense to go for a 3 channel amp, or at most 5 channels, leaving the receiver free to only worry about zones 2 and 3. I have a 5.1 channel setup, without much chance of expanding in the near (or distant) future.

For that matter I have a Yamaha RX-V3300 receiver that's sitting on eBay with zero bids. How about using that baby to power the left & rights? Its rated at 130 wpc, with no mention of how many channels driven. I'm sure it's got to be good for over 100 wpc with two channels driven.

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post #7 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 06:35 AM
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The choice of number of channels is up to you, you'll save money by getting the single amp rather than a 3 and a 4. . But I listen to a lot of 2 channel so thought would be best to split up the amps into two boxes. The big 7 ran a bit hot as the heatsinks are squished up next to each other.

I'd personally look at the 125W Outlaw x7 as a upgrade over your Yamaha.

Of course if you go pre-power you'd need all channels in a power amplifier but having a AVR you could use it for side/surrounds..but you also have choice of offloading all amps externally. Personally I wouldn't use a AV amp as a power amp.

In the US, I think the higher range ATI amps require a dedicated 20A circuit. In the UK that's not needed, I think 3.3kW is maximum current from the socket, so even with a ATI 3007, a standard circuit is ok, ie if you get a 300W x7

It also depends on your room size, what speakers you have. My fronts are <4ohm, but my sides and rears are 8ohm, and quite efficient. So a 200W x 4 for rears may be over the top, but not for the front three.

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post #8 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
The choice of number of channels is up to you, you'll save money by getting the single amp rather than a 3 and a 4. . But I listen to a lot of 2 channel so thought would be best to split up the amps into two boxes. The big 7 ran a bit hot as the heatsinks are squished up next to each other.

I'd personally look at the 125W Outlaw x7 as a upgrade over your Yamaha.

Of course if you go pre-power you'd need all channels in a power amplifier but having a AVR you could use it for side/surrounds..but you also have choice of offloading all amps externally. Personally I wouldn't use a AV amp as a power amp.

In the US, I think the higher range ATI amps require a dedicated 20A circuit. In the UK that's not needed, I think 3.3kW is maximum current from the socket, so even with a ATI 3007, a standard circuit is ok, ie if you get a 300W x7

It also depends on your room size, what speakers you have. My fronts are <4ohm, but my sides and rears are 8ohm, and quite efficient. So a 200W x 4 for rears may be over the top, but not for the front three.
I was actually looking at the 125 W unit from Outlaw. The 7075 has an even greater sale going on, but I think I'd rather go with something with a little more oomph. My only concern is that receiver is only available with unbalanced inputs. My Yamaha does not have balanced outputs so that wouldn't matter right now, but I'm wondering if it would be a better idea to purchase something with balanced inputs in order to future proof my system.

You said "Personally I wouldn't use an AV amp as a power amp." Does that mean I should not use my old receiver to drive the main channels or do you mean you would use the current AV receiver strictly as a preamp, replacing the entire amplifier section?
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post #9 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 07:04 AM
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Consider 3 mono amps from Outlaw. Minimal footprint, efficient and they stay very cool. You can stack them, they look good too. Output is 200 watts with .05% distortion, well below what is audible. I bought 3 of these to power my front 3 speakers for the very reason you are considering doing the same thing, a 15 amp circuit will work fine I speak from experience. Outlaw offers discounts on multiple monos plus free shipping, even better you have 30 days to give them a listen. I have been extremely pleased with the amps, have had them for about 4 weeks. Give Outlaw a call, they may even give you a better deal then what is listed. Another plus was I ordered on Tuesday and had them on Thursday. As far as how they sound - I would say neutral - but I am from the camp that an amp shouldn't have a sound (ex tubes) assuming it has been built/designed correctly.
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post #10 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by orcrone View Post
I'm using a Yamaha RX-A2030 receiver to drive my home theater (5.1) in the family room, a second TV via HDMI and two speakers in the master bedroom and two stereo speakers (audio only) on the patio. I'm considering purchasing either a two or three channel power amp (Emotiva perhaps) to drive the left + right or all three front speakers. I have a couple of questions regarding this.
  • I'm often running two or all three locations, so most, if not all of the amplifier channels are driven. Will using a separate amp help the receiver in any way, either sonically or perhaps extend its life?
  • How will the channels driven by the power amp match the channels driven by the receiver, volume wise?
Hi, i was using a Yamaha RXV1900 myself sometime back. I thought the sound was good until i added a 200wpc 5-channel power amp. It made a night and day difference to my HT experience. And there was no turning back ever since. And yes, it would help sonically (esp if your speakers are juice-hungry), and also make your AVR operate less hot (which may extend its life....)

Suggest u consider getting at least a 200WPC power amp. Emotiva XPA5 or XPA3. If u have more budget, can get the XPR series.

Recently, I helped my godpa add a XPA5 into his HT setup, and through a blindfold test, he could hear a big improvement in the SQ. Even i was impressed by the improvements.
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post #11 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 07:18 AM
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I'm sure you'll be happy with the Outlaw 125W x 7. However a quality amp will last 15+ years and in that time you may get more power hungry, harder to drive speakers, or want fully balanced. I think if this is your first dedicated power amplifer, I'd go for the Outlaw 125W x 7. It's only $850 But if you already have gone power amp path and looking to upgrade (like I have) going from 4 amps at 60W and 100W a piece, unbalanced, the 200W fully balanced ATI's looked more sensible than buying a Outlaw 7 x 125W (or similar)

The Outlaw 7200 and 7500 look another good option excellent prices. I believe the 200W models are made by ATI (1805 and 1807)

Course if you're well off you could just get a ATI 6007.

If you want to go down full av pre-power you will need a 5 or 7 depending what system you have (and with atmos keep that in mind) good thing about ATI they offer all the way from 2, to 7 for my model, so I could have got a single 7, a 4 +3, 2+5, or with my 3, then maybe whatever atmos would require (7?) Emotiva or Outlaw don't do this

Lots of options really, good thing about seperates, not locked into single AVR for everything. Choice of monoblocs all the way to 12 or 16 channel power amplifier or something like that.

If you do get the 7 channel 200W model it's really heavy so you may need a stronger rack.

Some of the more expensive power amps use monobloc construction (multiple toroids) rather than 1 single, or 2. So in a 7 channel amp, you have 7 toroids. Tag Mclaren did this for the 250W model way back.

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post #12 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smurraybhm View Post
Consider 3 mono amps from Outlaw. Minimal footprint, efficient and they stay very cool. You can stack them, they look good too. Output is 200 watts with .05% distortion, well below what is audible. I bought 3 of these to power my front 3 speakers for the very reason you are considering doing the same thing, a 15 amp circuit will work fine I speak from experience. Outlaw offers discounts on multiple monos plus free shipping, even better you have 30 days to give them a listen. I have been extremely pleased with the amps, have had them for about 4 weeks. Give Outlaw a call, they may even give you a better deal then what is listed. Another plus was I ordered on Tuesday and had them on Thursday. As far as how they sound - I would say neutral - but I am from the camp that an amp shouldn't have a sound (ex tubes) assuming it has been built/designed correctly.
Thanks. I didn't look at these initially. When I think monoblock I think big, bulky, EXPENSIVE. I was looking at the Outlaw 7500, (5 channels, 200 watts/channel). At $1500 it's also $300/channel, but gives much more flexibility. Just need more A/C outlets. Do the 2200s run cool enough to stack?
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post #13 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 08:13 AM
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Definitely - I have my 3 stacked and even after 3 hours of pushing them they are not anywhere near as warm as my Denon 4311. There is a thread on AVS for these, I believe at least one member has 7 of them stacked. I like the idea of the mono design and the ability to add a few more should my needs change.
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post #14 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 08:19 AM
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Personally monoblocs in a HT seems a bit over the top. In a Hifi..more sensible.

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post #15 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sevenz View Post
Hi, i was using a Yamaha RXV1900 myself sometime back. I thought the sound was good until i added a 200wpc 5-channel power amp. It made a night and day difference to my HT experience. And there was no turning back ever since. And yes, it would help sonically (esp if your speakers are juice-hungry), and also make your AVR operate less hot (which may extend its life....)

Suggest u consider getting at least a 200WPC power amp. Emotiva XPA5 or XPA3. If u have more budget, can get the XPR series.

Recently, I helped my godpa add a XPA5 into his HT setup, and through a blindfold test, he could hear a big improvement in the SQ. Even i was impressed by the improvements.
Thanks Sevenz,

The XPAs are certainly in the running, but the XPR overshoots my budget by a bit.

One thing that keeps raising my eyebrow is the 1800 watt power consumption. I know most of the time it draws less, but that seems like it should require a dedicated circuit.
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post #16 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 09:22 AM
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The 55 watts thing is a bit unfair for the 2030. I keep saying this, I don't know why it doesn't take.

The 2030 is rated as this -
Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven) 140 W (8 ohms, 0.06% THD)

When bench tested Yamaha receivers often beat their spec. With real world material, it's not expected that all channels would peak at the exact same time, so it's not expected that you would see these worse case scenarios people imagine that would occur during all channels driven testing with sine waves.

Your 2030 is likely similar to my Z7 which never runs out of power. Nothing wrong with buying more power if you can afford it. But please, don't represent a receiver like the 2030 as a 55 watt amplifier as that's inaccurate.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #17 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 09:30 AM
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If you doubt what I say, read this review and read the all channels driven article mentioned in the review (I think it's mentioned.) Read the power measurements in the article and look how much power the 3000 puts out in burst testing, which is trying to model real world signals. The 2030 should perform almost as well.

Gene has background in electronics engineering and I think he has a clue and knows what he's talking about.

As a quick summary, this was the chart from the dynamic power testing-
1 Dynamic PWR 217wpc 8-ohms 1%
1 Dynamic PWR 386wpc 4-ohms 1%
2 Dynamic PWR 205wpc 8-ohms 1%
2 Dynamic PWR 330wpc 4-ohms 1%
7 Dynamic PWR 153 wpc 8-ohms 1%

55 watts you say? I strongly disagree. Admittedly, the distortion is measured at 1% which is a bit aggressive. .1% would result in a drop in power, but not down to 55 watts. Presumably the dynamic power test itself uses 1%.

http://www.audioholics.com/av-receiv...surements-cont

To be clear I am not saying this is more powerful than an amp that can do 140 watts @ 8 ohms into seven channels with ACD. I am only trying to downplay some of the claims made based on sine wave ACD testing which doesn't match real world signals.

"But this one goes up to 11"

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post #18 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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If you doubt what I say, read this review and read the all channels driven article mentioned in the review (I think it's mentioned.) Read the power measurements in the article and look how much power the 3000 puts out in burst testing, which is trying to model real world signals. The 2030 should perform almost as well.

Gene has background in electronics engineering and I think he has a clue and knows what he's talking about.

As a quick summary, this was the chart from the dynamic power testing-
1 Dynamic PWR 217wpc 8-ohms 1%
1 Dynamic PWR 386wpc 4-ohms 1%
2 Dynamic PWR 205wpc 8-ohms 1%
2 Dynamic PWR 330wpc 4-ohms 1%
7 Dynamic PWR 153 wpc 8-ohms 1%

55 watts you say? I strongly disagree. Admittedly, the distortion is measured at 1% which is a bit aggressive. .1% would result in a drop in power, but not down to 55 watts. Presumably the dynamic power test itself uses 1%.

http://www.audioholics.com/av-receiv...surements-cont

To be clear I am not saying this is more powerful than an amp that can do 140 watts @ 8 ohms into seven channels with ACD. I am only trying to downplay some of the claims made based on sine wave ACD testing which doesn't match real world signals.
I've owned three receivers since 1977, all Yamaha, so I'm definitely not a detractor. One reason I've loved them is the extra they hold in reserve for the transients. This is evidenced by the fact that the products of theirs I've owned have had dynamic ratings down to 2 ohms. That, and their weight, (my RX-V3300 weighs almost 50 pounds) tells me that they use some big. beefy power supplies.

The numbers you provided above, although very good, are dynamic results. That's where the large, high-current power supplies come into play. However it's physically impossible for an amp to consume 500 watts and output 500 watts or more. That's where the 55 watts per channel comes from. Amplifiers that can output 140 watts/channel into all channels simultaneously has more of an ability to drive loudspeakers.

The question for me becomes what is needed. Driving speakers with a continuous 140 watts/channel (or 55 for that matter) might have most people running for the exits. I'm just trying to determine if I'll notice the difference in my living room with an amplifier that can output it's rated load continuously to all channels vs. the respectable dynamic numbers quoted.
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post #19 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 01:29 PM
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Exactly, dynamic peaks mean nothing, as does 1% THD. If I take my Yamaha rated output of 90W, then use 130W, well that's 50% more.

Also the Yamaha is £2500, can you buy something which offers better value for money in seperates? How about Emotiva XPA-3 or 5 and a AVR with pre-outs? That way you haven't spend a much sum on a AVR which tbh do go out of date pretty quick, especially if you're the type that chases the latest PEQ system. But you have the dedicated amp which you keep over multiple mid-range AVR purchases using some channels off board.

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post #20 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by orcrone View Post

The numbers you provided above, although very good, are dynamic results. That's where the large, high-current power supplies come into play. However it's physically impossible for an amp to consume 500 watts and output 500 watts or more. That's where the 55 watts per channel comes from. Amplifiers that can output 140 watts/channel into all channels simultaneously has more of an ability to drive loudspeakers.
I am not debating that it's ACD performance drops. I am saying that does not seem to be important with real world signals

Feed seven identical sine waves to the amp at full power, and yeah, many readers of this forum fully understand receiver amps won't deliver their rated spec which is typically rated with two channels driven.

I am just trying to be the voice of reason here. Hammering on this point that it's power will drop well below 100 watts will imply to some readers that the receiver is weak. But...it's not. I honestly expect any external amp I can afford to do no better than 3 dB more SPL unless I have very difficult to drive speakers.

I am trying to honestly portray the real world performance of these receivers and therefore am trying to downplay this 55 watt concept.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #21 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post
I am not debating that it's ACD performance drops. I am saying that does not seem to be important with real world signals

Feed seven identical sine waves to the amp at full power, and yeah, many readers of this forum fully understand receiver amps won't deliver their rated spec which is typically rated with two channels driven.

I am just trying to be the voice of reason here. Hammering on this point that it's power will drop well below 100 watts will imply to some readers that the receiver is weak. But...it's not. I honestly expect any external amp I can afford to do no better than 3 dB more SPL unless I have very difficult to drive speakers.

I am trying to honestly portray the real world performance of these receivers and therefore am trying to downplay this 55 watt concept.
I think we're saying the same thing. Like I said I'm trying to determine whether an external amp would make a difference in the enjoyment of my system. As it is, after looking at some of the amps I'm a little concerned about not using a dedicated circuit.
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post #22 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by orcrone View Post
I think we're saying the same thing. Like I said I'm trying to determine whether an external amp would make a difference in the enjoyment of my system. As it is, after looking at some of the amps I'm a little concerned about not using a dedicated circuit.
I have an Emo XPA-3 (200x3) and a Crown XLS 1500 ( 200x2) and a Yamaha RX-Z7 hooked up to the same circuit. And two powered subs. Along with TV, various source devices, living room lights, who knows what else. Never tripped the breaker. Standard 15A circuit I assume.

I suppose if some very loud event while playing at high volume discharged all the caps at once maybe it might trip a breaker.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #23 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an Emo XPA-3 (200x3) and a Crown XLS 1500 ( 200x2) and a Yamaha RX-Z7 hooked up to the same circuit. And two powered subs. Along with TV, various source devices, living room lights, who knows what else. Never tripped the breaker. Standard 15A circuit I assume.

I suppose if some very loud event while playing at high volume discharged all the caps at once maybe it might trip a breaker.
Thanks. That's good to know. I saw the 1800 watts on the back of some of the units and got nervous.
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post #24 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 07:02 PM
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A good amplifier has some sort of inrush limiter (AKA soft start.) An amp that tries to fill up it's power supply capacitors quickly is likely to dim some lights or if you had multiple big amps and no way to sequence their power up, you might trip a breaker.

One reason we might not see fuses being blown is that the breakers don't insta trip from excess current. I believe this is a good idea, because a lot of stuff probably has substantial inrush. Like an classic lightbulb. Once it heats up ( which is fast) it's resistance will go up a lot. There's some time measured in miliseconds I suppose where current is higher than the breaker rating.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #25 of 25 Old 07-16-2014, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post
A good amplifier has some sort of inrush limiter (AKA soft start.) An amp that tries to fill up it's power supply capacitors quickly is likely to dim some lights or if you had multiple big amps and no way to sequence their power up, you might trip a breaker.

One reason we might not see fuses being blown is that the breakers don't insta trip from excess current. I believe this is a good idea, because a lot of stuff probably has substantial inrush. Like an classic lightbulb. Once it heats up ( which is fast) it's resistance will go up a lot. There's some time measured in miliseconds I suppose where current is higher than the breaker rating.
Thanks, that makes sense to me. And once past startup stage the amplifier is probably drawing nowhere near its rated load, unless playing the music very loud.
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