AVR for Maggies? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Baselworld is only a few weeks away. Getting the latest news is easy, Click Here for info on how to join the Watchuseek.com newsletter list. Follow our team for updates featuring event coverage, new product unveilings, watch industry news & more!


Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Ranger Tim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Question AVR for Maggies?

Hello All,

The time has come to update my HT with a new AVR. I currently utilize an old HK AVR 525 which has given me many years of excellent service. Recently the center channel went out and it has no HDMI ins or outs - time to move up! Here's the rub:

I power a pair of legacy Magneplanar MGIIA's with two pairs of MMGW's for surrounds in a 5.1 system. They all work on a 4-6 ohm range and demand a stable power supply and amp section, although the impedance loads do not fluctuate as widely as typical cone speakers do. My Hsu VTF (original version) is powered separately by a Carver 500 wpc amp and is really not an issue, as long as there is enough adjustability to the AVR subwoofer gain. I punted the BASH amp a long while back and directly wired the sub.

Which brand would be the best bet for power stability and sound quality for these inefficient planar speakers but also offer the ability to integrate wireless features? I have been out of the loop enjoying my system with no participation as to the current state of the market. We are Apple users and would like Airplay and the ability to mesh Apple TV and other offerings. We have MacBooks, iPads and my entire music collection is contained on my iPod.

We watch two or three movies a week streamed, and I listen to audio about 5-10 hours per week. I am a critical listener with degrees in jazz performance, so I take my listening seriously, all genres.

The budget is $300-600. The room is large - 20x30 ft and has cathedral ceilings, however I do not need to reach very loud sound levels. The 90 wpc HK has done fine. I do want the flexibility of 7.2 and multi-room use. A/B speaker main switching would be nice. But I digress. I can sort through the rest of it.

HK does not seem to have the robust amp section it once did. Is there any manufacturer that still will power my Maggies without blowing up or getting too hot? Or am I fretting over a non-issue with the latest equipment? I have liked Denon stuff and am leaning that direction, possibly an X2100W or similar.

Your thoughts?

Ranger Tim

The first half of my life I concentrated on making music. I intend to spend the rest of it listening.
Ranger Tim is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 02:37 PM
AVS Special Member
 
DonH50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monument CO
Posts: 7,361
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 734 Post(s)
Liked: 521
The Denon claims 4 to 16 ohm "output connectors" though only specs to 6 ohms. Probably as good a choice as any. BUT, it does not have preamp outputs, so if you decide you do need a power amp it will not serve as a preamplifier -- you'll have to buy a different AVR or a pre/pro. I do not know if any AVR's in your price range will have preamp outputs but it might be worth looking around.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
DonH50 is offline  
post #3 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Ranger Tim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks DonH50!

I do know that many manufacturers do not like to spec their offerings in too much detail, but sometimes it can help to ask those who own the brand what their impressions are. My last Sony receiver did a really poor job at low ohms (below 8) so it jaded me re that brand.

Nothing gets the job done like looking inside the case of the AVR but can't get that over the net. Seems the buzz is all about the surround modes and not the beef of the amp section these days. Not that surround features aren't important either. I also know that if I go to the Magneplanar forums I will get told to buy a more eclectic and expensive unit, but I have neither the money nor the interest in doing so. If the HK was good enough then there must be something else out there.

I will keep on checking through the Denon lineup. Have found the outlet store on the Denon site very affordable. Some trepidation about buying refurb'd exists however.

Thanks again for the attention!

Ranger Tim

The first half of my life I concentrated on making music. I intend to spend the rest of it listening.
Ranger Tim is offline  
post #4 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 04:56 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Class A's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,566
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 141 Post(s)
Liked: 124
Thumbs up

You may want to look at the Odyssey Khartago Amp 110wpc and is 2ohm stable. Should b e a good match for the Maggies.
Class A is online now  
post #5 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 05:41 PM
Senior Member
 
kamouflage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 103 Post(s)
Liked: 73
I'd check what receivers are in your price range new, on closeout, or refurbed and see if they have a review on Sound & Vision. They bench test all of the receivers that they write a review on.

PSN ID: javant86
Xbox Live: PikturePerfekt
kamouflage is online now  
post #6 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 08:37 PM
AVS Special Member
 
DonH50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monument CO
Posts: 7,361
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 734 Post(s)
Liked: 521
Hi Tim,

I rarely discuss it but my worst experience in recent history was with a upper-end ($1000 or so at the time) Sony AVR. I did not have my Maggies set back up at the time and was driving a decent Infinity Alpha system. I thought I was hearing clipping but that did not seem reasonable. I measured and sure enough it was clipping. I read through some reviews (yes, I should have done more pre-sales research, but...) and discovered the output dropped drastically when going from 2 to more channels. I mean like 100 W dropped to 50 W with a center and 30 ~ 35 W when five speakers were playing. My speakers were a little below 8 ohms in an average room and the Sony AVR flat-out could not handle them. My Emotiva's are the direct result of that AVR. I later ungraded to a Pioneer Elite with similar power ratings and it did fine. It also did fine with my Maggies, but I already had the amplifiers so I kept the amps in line and used the Pioneer as pre/pro. I have Denon and Yamaha receivers in the house and they all do OK. I do not know if it was a bad model, a bad year, or what, but that Sony AVR shook my faith in a brand I had respected for years. (I have owned a number of ES components through the years, among about a bazillion other things.) Hopefully they are doing better now.

Magnepans are one of those rare times I might suggest an amplifier but I always suggest seeing if the AVR will do the job first. You do need a bit more care since Magnepans are inefficient and low-impedance (though pretty flat and almost purely resistive).

HTH - Don

p.s. Mine are Magnepan MG-IIIA's, with a CC3 and bunch of MC1's for surrounds and rears. I really like the ribbon tweeter, but it does cause the impedance to drop to 2.5 ~ 3 ohms at very HF's. Fortunately the power is low up that high so it does not really tax the amp.

p.p.s. Stereophile is another good source for reviews with measurements.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
DonH50 is offline  
post #7 of 18 Old 08-21-2015, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Ranger Tim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks again for the suggestions. I am not interested in going with separate amps unless the AVR's are just not going to provide enough stable power. I guess that's why a liberal return policy is worth something.

Thanks!

Ranger Tim

The first half of my life I concentrated on making music. I intend to spend the rest of it listening.
Ranger Tim is offline  
post #8 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 05:07 AM
AVS Special Member
 
rnatalli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,879
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 54 Post(s)
Liked: 108
Maggies are a tough load in general so agree with going the amp route.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
rnatalli is online now  
post #9 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 07:57 AM
Member
 
dacarter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Cypress (Houston, TX)
Posts: 117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I recently upgraded my HK 325 to a Yamaha with twice the power and half the weight and I really am not impressed. The HK gave me so many "wow" moments with 5.1 music DVD's and those same DVD's sound flat and too bright with the Yamaha (Paradigm Atoms with a powered sub). The HK had a very rich, warm and powerful sound and I'm thinking about going back to it since it basically still works. I, like you, was craving HDMI switching and the new network features but I'm not sure it's possible in the sub $1000 price range to get something as good as our 40lb HKs... Good luck.
dacarter is offline  
post #10 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 09:21 AM
AVS Special Member
 
DonH50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monument CO
Posts: 7,361
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 734 Post(s)
Liked: 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnatalli View Post
Maggies are a tough load in general so agree with going the amp route.
Maggies are not that tough a load. They are 4-ohm nominal but there is little variation in impedance magnitude or phase, unlike most speakers. Most AVRs will handle them fine, 4-ohm rated or not. The problem is mainly their inefficiency, common to all planars, that makes them need more power than conventional speakers.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
DonH50 is offline  
post #11 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Ranger Tim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
dacarter,

I too am disappointed that the older HK won't be able to adapt to the new tech, but I do wish I had a better idea of how well built the newer Denons, Onkyos, etc. are in comparison (power-sound-wise). I can always re-power the mains with my Carver amp and buy a new sub amp. I will probably try one of the Yamahas, Denons or Marantzes as I trust them a bit more than the other brands. Why? I have no idea, just a gut thing I guess. More research and data needed!

The Denon X2100w is a great buy on the Denon site as a refurb at just over $300. Looks like a killer deal, as long as the wireless stuff isn't still as flaky as when introduced. My projector is only 720p and I still have another replacement lamp left. That tells me the AVR will be okay with last year's tech as long as I don't begin to drool over Atmos. 5.1 has kept us happy for so long. The older I get the more picky about movies I enjoy anyway. Music is going to be the main use until I go deaf - 15-20 yrs maybe?

Ranger Tim

The first half of my life I concentrated on making music. I intend to spend the rest of it listening.
Ranger Tim is offline  
post #12 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
Ranger Tim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
DonH50,

There are many misconceptions about planar speakers, particularly Magnepans. Those of us that have owned them for many years are familiar with their peculiarities and choose to adapt our systems accordingly. You are correct about their impedance characteristics and efficiency. I choose to keep and enjoy them due to the "large wave effect" and the truly flat response I can achieve in my large room. Crushing sound effects and massive spl's are not my cup of tea, however, many visitors are surprised how difficult it is too carry on a conversation when the Maggies are turned up. They just don't sound loud until you try to talk!

I had the HK running as preamp to the Carver/MGIIA's for years, until I had to have the amp repaired. Upon powering them with the 90 wpc HK I found it was more than adequate to the task. I was surprised! The Carver does a much better job powering my sub (bridged mono).

There are other speakers that carry specific requirements to satisfy and require complimentary electronics too. My Aura LS series 5.1 system is incredibly sensitive to high frequency distortion and needs super clean treble to prevent listener fatigue (due to the Linaeum tweeters). Being an audiophile is more than a brief visit to Best Buy or Costco and requires tuning the mind's ear, a lifetime effort. The musician in me is never satisfied with just taking a "sound bath" but is constantly analyzing the sound I hear. This is when the frustration of insufficient funds coupled with living in a remote area (now SE Idaho) gets really aggravating.

Folks tend to dismiss the sonic impact of amplifiers on sound character - yes, I was a member of that camp early on. Years later I found I could hear and appreciate subtle differences between brands and even models. Today, the extra amount of signal processing and manipulation has really made this a new landscape for listeners of all kinds, whether music or video.

Thanks to all who have bothered to read this and especially to those who chose to respond. I will come back to update this thread when the new AVR has been tested and evaluated. It'll be a few weeks. Rapture is a new component that actually fulfills its promises!

Ranger Tim

The first half of my life I concentrated on making music. I intend to spend the rest of it listening.
Ranger Tim is offline  
post #13 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 01:25 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 0
I used to have Magnepan IIB's myself (and now 3.6's). They can sound quite lovely, but they are very inefficient, even more so than modern Magnepan models. And you have a large room.

I think you'll get the best results if you go used; get a higher-end but older model without all of the fancy decoders. Weigh them, and choose the heaviest, as that corresponds to the largest transformer and real-world current capacity.

Personally I would give up 7 channel and Atmos if it came down to that vs good quality. Best (but probably probably out of your price range): NAD, Anthem. Then, Denon, Marantz, Cambridge & better Pioneer. Avoid Sony.

If it were me, I would stretch my $$ and look at something like this.

http://www.spearitsound.com/Surround...furbished.html

or something inexpensive now that has line level inputs for an external main amplifier.
drchaos is offline  
post #14 of 18 Old 08-22-2015, 09:16 PM
AVS Special Member
 
DonH50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Monument CO
Posts: 7,361
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 734 Post(s)
Liked: 521
@Ranger Tim -- Thanks. I have had Maggies since the late 70's though have had many other speakers rotate through my system from cheap bookshelves to Infinity IRS II. Mine are going to need refurbishing or replacement soon; had them (my current MG-IIIA's) since 1988, and they are just starting to sound the death rattle of delamination...

One note about Magnepan (or any planar's) efficiency: They have a dipole radiation pattern from the upper bass/lower midrange on up due to the large panel (LF point depends on panel size). That means they tend to send the sound straight ahead (and straight back). Minimal interaction with side wall and floor/ceiling, and effectively about 3 dB improvement in real-world sensitivity since the sound is directed at the listener instead of fanning out like conventional speakers.

The back wave is always a challenge; you need a large enough room to get them far enough away from the wall that it doesn't cause problems, or dampen the wall behind (my usual approach). Comb filtering with big panels (Magnepans, ESLs, Apogees, etc.) is hard to avoid without treating the rear.

@drchaos : Are you using a NAD AVR with your Maggies? I always liked NAD's sound but my experience has been very mixed with their amplifier stages. They provide lot s of dynamic headroom but IME seem a little "soft" compared to other amps and tended to run hot. But, I have no recent experience with their product line, curious how the newer gear is working out.

Onwards - Don

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
DonH50 is offline  
post #15 of 18 Old Today, 10:40 AM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
@Ranger Tim -- Thanks. I have had Maggies since the late 70's though have had many other speakers rotate through my system from cheap bookshelves to Infinity IRS II. Mine are going to need refurbishing or replacement soon; had them (my current MG-IIIA's) since 1988, and they are just starting to sound the death rattle of delamination...

One note about Magnepan (or any planar's) efficiency: They have a dipole radiation pattern from the upper bass/lower midrange on up due to the large panel (LF point depends on panel size). That means they tend to send the sound straight ahead (and straight back). Minimal interaction with side wall and floor/ceiling, and effectively about 3 dB improvement in real-world sensitivity since the sound is directed at the listener instead of fanning out like conventional speakers.

The back wave is always a challenge; you need a large enough room to get them far enough away from the wall that it doesn't cause problems, or dampen the wall behind (my usual approach). Comb filtering with big panels (Magnepans, ESLs, Apogees, etc.) is hard to avoid without treating the rear.

@drchaos : Are you using a NAD AVR with your Maggies? I always liked NAD's sound but my experience has been very mixed with their amplifier stages. They provide lot s of dynamic headroom but IME seem a little "soft" compared to other amps and tended to run hot. But, I have no recent experience with their product line, curious how the newer gear is working out.

Onwards - Don
I'm using an Anthem MRX 310, and an external amplifier for the main (3.6R). I tried the 710 which had enough power but preferred the sound through my existing amp (it was not a huge difference).

I'd recommend the Anthem certainly but it's above your price range.

The room/speaker correction & matrix decoding modes on the Anthem---proprietary to them only---are excellent. Many other types make the sound worse, especially for 2-channel music. It seems that Anthem ARC and Dirac are the best well-available available algorithms. This was the reason I got the Anthem, coming from straight 2-channel.

Also, subwoofer integration is great as well; also not always so easy with maggies.

I haven't used NAD power amps specifically on my maggies, just going by their reputation on this one, that they concentrate on their normal strengths (audio) instead of all the digital signal processing & modes directed at video. (licensing & implementation & software is expensive---more attention there means less attention elsewhere for the money).
drchaos is offline  
post #16 of 18 Old Today, 01:35 PM
AVS Special Member
 
JHAz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 4,299
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Liked: 211
I loved my Maggies and drove them happily with my former Bryston amp, a low power Arcam, and my Denon receiver. I don't listen terribly loud but before I bought the receiver I found a couple of different third party reviews with testing that showed decent power into four ohm loads.

AFAIK, the truth is, at a watt or two, any amp will be stable into 4 or 2 or maybe even 1 ohm. The problem comes as voltage goes up to get more volume because the amplifier sections have to supply more current (relatively) at any given power. But for a guy like me, listening to movies at -20dB from reference, and "loud music" with 85 to 90 dB averages at the very most, the real power dissipated likely never would have been an issue with anything that could output even 30 watts at 4 ohms.

When playing with the specs, you do have to remember that Magnepan, like many, specs sensitivity at the voltage that yields one watt at 8 ohms, so the sensitivity is really 3 dB lower. You can think of it as the sensitivity at 2 watts instead of 1 watt. Not a big deal until you start cranking the volume. Peaks that I don't reproduce but are not unreasonable that might take 100 watts at 8 ohms will be 200 watt peaks for the Maggies. No receiver will get there, and you'll have distortion which, I believe, the maggies will reproduce all too faithfully. On the flip side, my overall sense is that Maggies on the whole tend to compress fairly smoothly and with less speaker distortion than cone based systems. FWIW, IMO, YMMV, thank you and good night.
JHAz is offline  
post #17 of 18 Old Today, 01:41 PM
Senior Member
 
Squirrel!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 433
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Liked: 88
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...tore_price.asc

Main: Mitsubishi 73736 DLP|Amazon FireTV|Toshiba HD DVD-A35|Sony BDP-S1100|Denon AVR-4311CI|MartinLogan Preface|Phantom|MartinLogan Encore TF|2 - DIY Class G 540w 12" Subs|APC H15|Harmony 720 Remote|Linksys E3000 Dual Band N-Router|Linksys SE2500 Ethernet Switch

MBR: Vizio VF550M|Roku 2XS|Sony BDP-S1100|Denon AVR-X1000|Chane A1rx-c|Phantom|Dayton Audio SAT-BK|MartinLogan Dynamo 300|Belkin PureAV PF30|Harmony 550 Remote
Squirrel! is offline  
post #18 of 18 Old Today, 02:55 PM
AVS Special Member
 
rnatalli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,879
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 54 Post(s)
Liked: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
Maggies are not that tough a load. They are 4-ohm nominal but there is little variation in impedance magnitude or phase, unlike most speakers. Most AVRs will handle them fine, 4-ohm rated or not. The problem is mainly their inefficiency, common to all planars, that makes them need more power than conventional speakers.

Didn't mean load literally as in resistance, just generally. You're right, but I would still hook them up to an external amp.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
rnatalli is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Receivers, Amps, and Processors



Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off