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post #1 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently purchased all this gear based on reviews (for the electronics) and based on listening for the speakers.
As they were bought from all different places, was not able to listen to the entire setup until it was connected at home.

I am a little underwhelmed and expected a lot more for the cost.
Even when the receiver turned to 0, its loud, but not the oomph I was expecting.

Can anyone offer some advice? I'm open to constructive criticism.

Denon AVR-A100, using pre-outs, connected to:
Emotiva XPA-2 500 Watt 2 Channel Amplifier (2 x 300) - connected to 2 x Paradigm S8's
Emotiva XPA-5 1,000 Watt 5 Channel Amplifier (5 x 200) - connected to 2 x Paradigm S2's (rears) & 1 x Paradigm Signature C5
(2 outputs not used)
1 x Emotiva Ultra Sub 12"

Any help/advice appreciated. This setup is for movie viewing (DD/DTS 5.1), and occasionally party night stereo FLAC's.
Room is (tiny) 9 feet x 11 feet.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 11:54 AM
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Hmm...I am not familiar with Paradigm speakers but can't help but think your Denon AVR-A100 alone would drive those 5 speakers in that small of room.

If you ran Audyssey and are playing material at "0" that is Reference Level and should be quite loud...That said, if you ran Audyssey correctly (as per setup instruction in the AVR section's "Audyssey Owner's thread) you may want to make sure you have "Dynamic Volume" set to Off...Fwiw, I thought the same thing you did with my AVR-4311ci and when I made that one change everything opened up. {Note: on my remote it's labeled "Dyn Eq/vol"}

EDIT: Here is a search for "Paradigm" in the Denon AVR-A100/AVR-4311ci Thread: http://www.avsforum.com/newsearch/?search=paradigm&resultSortingPreference=recency&byuser=&output=posts&sdate=0&newer=1&type=all&containingthread%5B0%5D=1274153&advanced=1

and here is the Audyssey Setup Link: http://www.avsforum.com/t/795421/official-audyssey-thread-faq-in-post-51779/51750#post_21782993
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post #3 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 12:05 PM
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If it isn't loud enough use the volume control.
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post #4 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

Room is (tiny) 9 feet x 11 feet.

If you can't get enough volume in a 9x11' room using 200 WPC amps, you have one of three problems:
1) bad ears
2) bad gear
3) bad (improper) setup/connections

Something's wrong or overlooked IMO.
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post #5 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 01:44 PM
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Post your channel levels for your speakers and sub,
Also your crossover levels and speaker configurations. ( small or large)
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post #6 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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All speakers are set to Large. Sub is set Main+LFE. Speakers set to 8Ohms.
Cable: 12AWG Enhanced Loud Oxygen-Free Copper Speaker Wire

Using a dB Meter C weighting, fast response, 1 meter away.
At reference (0db on Receiver):

Fronts S8's - 84 dBs, Crossover 40Hz
Center C5 - 85 dBs, Crossover 40Hz
Sides S2's - 80 dBs, Crossover 60Hz
Sub - 80 dBs

Denon has Dynamic Volume OFF

Accourding to this calculator http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html , it should be ~113dB, unless I am misunderstanding.
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post #7 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 04:09 PM
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Did you run the Audyssey EQ and if so what trim levels did it set (-12 to + 12)? I also would try running your Speakers as Small and crossing them over at 80 Hz or possibly 60 Hz and run the sub as LFE (instead of Mains + LFE). In that configuration you should definitely be getting Reference Level at "0" with the peaks you are expecting...

That said, what source material are you using and what SPL level are you getting at your Listening Position with it setup as it is on that material now? Fwiw, the Denon Owners Thread I linked to earlier should give you an idea of what other Paradigm Owners are experiencing with that AVR.
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post #8 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 04:42 PM
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^^^^agree....set all speakers to small and an x-over of 60hz the front 3
and 80hz for the rears.

Post the speaker trim levels for all speakers and sub.
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post #9 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

All speakers are set to Large. Sub is set Main+LFE. Speakers set to 8Ohms.
Cable: 12AWG Enhanced Loud Oxygen-Free Copper Speaker Wire

Using a dB Meter C weighting, fast response, 1 meter away.
At reference (0db on Receiver):

Fronts S8's - 84 dBs, Crossover 40Hz
Center C5 - 85 dBs, Crossover 40Hz
Sides S2's - 80 dBs, Crossover 60Hz
Sub - 80 dBs

Denon has Dynamic Volume OFF

Accourding to this calculator http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html , it should be ~113dB, unless I am misunderstanding.

What test signal? Witha zero signal the spl dang well better be uh zero. Typical test signals are either 20 or 30 dB below full scale and should be expected, therefore, to be either 20 or 30 dB below the volume they would hit at full scale. If calibrated to reference the system should hit 85 dB with appropriate -20dB test signal, or 105 dB at digital full scale (0 dBFS). If you don't know what the test signal is you don't know what your results mean.

85 dB is loud but not utterly crazy loud. But only loud parts should be utterly crazy loud. If you want crazy loud every single second gotcha some loudness war abusive music and turn it up. No dynamics at all. Then prepare to enjoy a lifetime of high frequency sound in your head that never ever stops. Just cannot tell you how very much I enjoy my tinnitus . . .. It starts to get old after a decade or so.
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post #10 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

I recently purchased all this gear based on reviews (for the electronics) and based on listening for the speakers.
As they were bought from all different places, was not able to listen to the entire setup until it was connected at home.

I am a little underwhelmed and expected a lot more for the cost.
Even when the receiver turned to 0, its loud, but not the oomph I was expecting.

Can anyone offer some advice? I'm open to constructive criticism.

Denon AVR-A100, using pre-outs, connected to:
Emotiva XPA-2 500 Watt 2 Channel Amplifier (2 x 300) - connected to 2 x Paradigm S8's
Emotiva XPA-5 1,000 Watt 5 Channel Amplifier (5 x 200) - connected to 2 x Paradigm S2's (rears) & 1 x Paradigm Signature C5
(2 outputs not used)
1 x Emotiva Ultra Sub 12"

Any help/advice appreciated. This setup is for movie viewing (DD/DTS 5.1), and occasionally party night stereo FLAC's.
Room is (tiny) 9 feet x 11 feet.

Unless an AVR is calibrated, the dBs indicated by its volume control or front panel display are arbitrary. IOW, they lack real world meaning. How could they have any real world meaning if they weren't calibrated?

How did you calibrate your AVR?
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post #11 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

All speakers are set to Large. Sub is set Main+LFE. Speakers set to 8Ohms.
Cable: 12AWG Enhanced Loud Oxygen-Free Copper Speaker Wire

Using a dB Meter C weighting, fast response, 1 meter away.
At reference (0db on Receiver):

Fronts S8's - 84 dBs, Crossover 40Hz
Center C5 - 85 dBs, Crossover 40Hz
Sides S2's - 80 dBs, Crossover 60Hz
Sub - 80 dBs

Denon has Dynamic Volume OFF

Accourding to this calculator http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html , it should be ~113dB, unless I am misunderstanding.

The SPL calculator gives the maximum power that would be available without clipping. I suspect that your system is limited by its non-standard calibration or lack of calibration.
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post #12 of 50 Old 04-05-2014, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post


I am a little underwhelmed and expected a lot more for the cost.
Even when the receiver turned to 0, its loud, but not the oomph I was expecting.
.

If your looking for more "oomph" in your system
I would think about upgrading your SUB to match
The level of the rest of your equipment. I didn't even know
Emotiva made subs.wink.gif

http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/sealed-box/SB13-Ultra#.U0CiFSe9KK0
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/FV15.html
http://www.powersoundaudio.com/products/xs30
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post #13 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshoppers View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post


I am a little underwhelmed and expected a lot more for the cost.
Even when the receiver turned to 0, its loud, but not the oomph I was expecting.
.

If your looking for more "oomph" in your system
I would think about upgrading your SUB to match
The level of the rest of your equipment. I didn't even know
Emotiva made subs.wink.gif

http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/sealed-box/SB13-Ultra#.U0CiFSe9KK0
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/FV15.html
http://www.powersoundaudio.com/products/xs30


Yup, an "Ultra sub" with just a 12" driver sounds a little bit like an oxymoron... IMO 12" is the beginning of interesting and useful subs for a typical listening room, not the pinnacle. For the record my main system has 2 12" subs but the 15 inch drivers are in the shop waiting some box building...
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post #14 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 06:14 AM
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I disagree somewhat. While I do use a 15" sub, it replaced a 12" sub. I replaced it not because it didn't produce enough bass but because I didn't like its sound. It would shake the walls with LFE and support the main speakers quite well for music listening. My room is fairly large an open to the entire first floor of the house. My 15" sounds a lot better but not necessarily because of the size of the driver. I'm not a bass maniac some on AVS but I know when bass is adequate or not. His issue relates to two things in my opinion. The first is that he is adjusting personally to a new sound and his room may have some bad acoustics. I wouldn't blame it on his subwoofer.
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post #15 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I disagree somewhat. While I do use a 15" sub, it replaced a 12" sub. I replaced it not because it didn't produce enough bass but because I didn't like its sound. It would shake the walls with LFE and support the main speakers quite well for music listening. My room is fairly large an open to the entire first floor of the house. My 15" sounds a lot better but not necessarily because of the size of the driver. I'm not a bass maniac some on AVS but I know when bass is adequate or not. His issue relates to two things in my opinion. The first is that he is adjusting personally to a new sound and his room may have some bad acoustics. I wouldn't blame it on his subwoofer.

The problem you had with the 12" is one of those things that an educated ear and a parametric equalizer can fix in most cases.

I think that conceptually I'm with you brother because I prize natural bass over really deep bass, which is why I have two subwoofers going on 3. The fact that the new sub is going to be a dual/opposed-15 has more to do with economics and clean sound than any quest for earth-shaking bass. I also have a room with really stiff walls (thick wet plaster over steel beams) and less absorption of low bass than many. It seems to me that it is easier to clean up the bass generation end of the equation then try to conquer bass standing waves with absorbers.
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post #16 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The problem you had with the 12" is one of those things that an educated ear and a parametric equalizer can fix in most cases.

I think that conceptually I'm with you brother because I prize natural bass over really deep bass, which is why I have two subwoofers going on 3. The fact that the new sub is going to be a dual/opposed-15 has more to do with economics and clean sound than any quest for earth-shaking bass. I also have a room with really stiff walls (thick wet plaster over steel beams) and less absorption of low bass than many. It seems to me that it is easier to clean up the bass generation end of the equation then try to conquer bass standing waves with absorbers.

Sure, my problem with my B&W 12" is that it had a little boominess and honkiness. That hasn't changed because I now use that sub in my bedroom. But the home made 15" is as clean as whistle. It is more than adequate for handling my listening habits. I think the 12" would have been as well if it sounded better. Maybe one day, I'll put the B&W driver in a sealed box and see how that works.
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post #17 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 11:16 AM
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The OP hasn't responded to any of the posts in the last 20 hours or so..
People trying to help him but not getting much feedback/input isn't
Very encouraging. Looks like he hasn't properly ran Audyssey and
Does not know how to properly implement bass mgmt. ("All speakers set to Large")
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post #18 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 11:28 AM
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He may be "underwhelmed" with the responses.
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post #19 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

He may be "underwhelmed" with the responses.

Hard to say if he isn't going to participate in his own thread. biggrin.gif
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post #20 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I've actually been reading and changing settings as per all your suggestions and as per the Audyssey FAQ and guide.
I also replaced a lot of old (many times reused) cables.

I think it sounds a little better with the fronts set to small (and disabled LFE + Main).
As per the FAQ this means base management was disabled previously.
However I think my 12" sub might be one of the weak links in my setup and can't quite deliver the punch to keep up with the fronts.

I played with the crossovers frequency a bit and am not convinced I like it as high as 80 hz.

I also thought as there only 2 listening positions I only had to run Audyssey for 2 locations, but now read I need to run it for all 8 locations.
This is my next action and will re-do all the changes I just made!

I couldn't find an article on calibrating my reciever, is that something other than running Audyssey?
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post #21 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

I've actually been reading and changing settings as per all your suggestions and as per the Audyssey FAQ and guide.
I also replaced a lot of old (many times reused) cables.

I think it sounds a little better with the fronts set to small (and disabled LFE + Main).
As per the FAQ this means base management was disabled previously.
However I think my 12" sub might be one of the weak links in my setup and can't quite deliver the punch to keep up with the fronts.

I played with the crossovers frequency a bit and am not convinced I like it as high as 80 hz.

I also thought as there only 2 listening positions I only had to run Audyssey for 2 locations, but now read I need to run it for all 8 locations.
This is my next action and will re-do all the changes I just made!

I couldn't find an article on calibrating my reciever, is that something other than running Audyssey?

Good to hear from you! Sounds like your on the right track. Speakers set to small is good.
Also remember that if Audyssey set s your xover to ..for example 80 hz... That it is OK
To RAISE the xover point but you should Never lower it! If you feel that you should
Be getting a lower xover point on your speakers you need to play with the positioning of your
Speakers.
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post #22 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

...I couldn't find an article on calibrating my reciever, is that something other than running Audyssey?

No. After rerunning Audyssey I am curious what your trim levels are going to be for each channel--That said, I still think you can run your speakers on the AVR alone and you may not benefit from the external amps. If so, sending those back could pay for a quality subwoofer and have some cash left over for source material. smile.gif My 2 cents.

{EDIT Note: I sit pretty close to my speakers in a small room and also like 60 Hz better than 80 Hz for the subwoofer, Fwiw, I can't tell when the speakers roll off to the subs and the sound is seamless.}
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post #23 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 02:47 PM
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^^^^^^ What he said.

"I realize that somebody playing free music isn't as commercial as a hamburger stand. But is it because you can eat a hamburger and hold it in your hand and you can't do that with music? Is it too free to control?" - Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) discussing commercial success in the music biz


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post #24 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Results after running Audyssey in all 8 locations:

Crossover check:
Fronts - Full Band
Center - Full Band
Surround - 100Hz

Distance Check
(all speakers 8.7ft +/- 0.2ft)

Channel Level Check
Front L -12.0dB
Front R -11.5dB
Center -12.0dB
Sub -4.0dB

Is that what you mean by trim levels?
Does it make sense to adjust everything up 4dB? (making the Sub at 0db and the rest 4dB higher).

I changed the crossovers to 80dB and the speakers to small, however feel they are now lacking a little base.
I might play with this a little.

Over all, I think it sounds a little better, but still am not convinced it sounds like it should.

You really think the AVR @140W would sound close/comparable to the 300W Amps? That's surprising.

Thanks for all your help, everyone.
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post #25 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 02:56 PM
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Your trim levels are exactly why I don't think you need an external amp. As per the Audyssey thread, your trim levels at -12 are at the maximum. I am curious what they were before when you thought that at Reference level ("0") wasn't loud enough but my guess is if you disconnect the amps and run Audyssey again (I know--It can't me too much fun at this point) you will get lower numbers, more in line with what Audyssey can work with and it be PLENTY loud at Reference level...Once you get a better sub that can hit those lower notes cleaner and louder it shouldn't really get any better than that. smile.gif
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post #26 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post


You really think the AVR @140W would sound close/comparable to the 300W Amps? That's surprising.

Btw, others more knowledgeable than I can tell you about how many watts your speakers are using at any given time (having headroom for louder passages is important), but after your power supply gets all of the current it needs to drive your speakers you won't benefit from any extra...Iow, you are more than likely not using all of what's available in your AVR so adding an external amp isn't going to give you anything that your speakers aren't already getting...That said, if your speakers start to distort at louder volume then that is where you could benefit from one. {Disclaimer: I don't know much about Paradigm speakers, but they appear nice on paper and get good reviews.}
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post #27 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biship View Post

Results after running Audyssey in all 8 locations:


You really think the AVR @140W would sound close/comparable to the 300W Amps? That's surprising.
.

Of course. Why would it be any different? Assuming, like the rest of us, you end up using 20 watts per channel or so on peaks, I can sssure you 20 watts from 30 watt amplifier is the same as 20 watts from a 300 wat amplifier. The unused power is just not used. The outboard amp will add complexity to the system and complexity is certainly popular with audiophiles. Unfortunately it doesn't contribute to performance.
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post #28 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Your trim levels are exactly why I don't think you need an external amp. As per the Audyssey thread, your trim levels at -12 are at the maximum. I am curious what they were before when you thought that at Reference level ("0") wasn't loud enough but my guess is if you disconnect the amps and run Audyssey again (I know--It can't me too much fun at this point) you will get lower numbers, more in line with what Audyssey can work with and it be PLENTY loud at Reference level...Once you get a better sub that can hit those lower notes cleaner and louder it shouldn't really get any better than that. smile.gif

This is entirely correct!!!! I am also very curious as to what your
Trim levels would be JUST running the AVR by itself!!

I looks like you have TOO MUCH power going to the speakers
And Audyssey is trying to compensate for this by turning the trim levels
ALL the way DOWN.
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post #29 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow I am learning a lot here. So much for walking into a store, buying gear, setting it up and just enjoying!

So the $9k of S8's are receiving too much power, from what i consider a budget/mid-range $900 amplifier.
I find that confusing considering the range of other way more powerful and expensive amps available.

I see the next step is installing line level attenuator, but decreasing the power just sounds silly.

I always thought the more power the better (providing you don't exceed the speakers max input).
Thus allowing for the booms and other sudden loud sounds.

I will try to research what the S8 specs really mean:
Suitable Amplifier Power Range: 15 - 500 watts
Maximum Input Power: 250 watts
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post #30 of 50 Old 04-06-2014, 03:58 PM
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I agree that he's *probably not* getting any benefit from the external amps with those speakers in that room with that AVR smile.gif ..it should easily do the job. But he is running at essentially the maximum Audyssey trims so that is incorrect and the resulting Audyssey sound will not be correct. -12dB is the max the trims can go to, maybe they should be -14 or -20...who knows at this point?

If he wants to keep the amps (or has no choice, not that they're bad or anything, probably just unnecessary), then he should see if the amps have input attenuators, and if so adjust them to a less sensitive level. If they don't have input attenuators then he can't properly use those amps with that AVR with Audyssey, which would be a shame especially re the sub...I think that's the important thing. Of course he could use input attenuators to the amps, but now we're just getting stupid and needlessly complex, referring to my first sentence, and just "making stuff work".

PS *I* would not use the A100 amps with those Paradigm speakers, or anything Signature. I wouldn't use my Denon amps with anything even 1/4 that good, but that's me. smile.gif
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