What is the Best "Bang for the Buck" Sound-Quality Upgrade? - Page 9 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: What is the best "bang for the buck" sound-quality upgrade?
New speakers 318 52.13%
Upgrade AVR 71 11.64%
Acoustic room treatment 168 27.54%
Multiple subwoofers 45 7.38%
Replace generic cables 8 1.31%
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post #241 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Adding an outboard amp is only an upgrade if the receiver cannot handle the speakers because of low sensitivity and/or low impedance. It is fairly uncommon for an outboard amp to make any sonic difference in the typical home theater.

That's what I've heard/read as well, but imagic mentioned adding one really helped Popalock's Klipsch RF-7IIs when set to Large and I was trying to get some idea if he thought it would have any benefit when they were set to Small and a crossover applied....The consensus in the Klipsch Owners Thread is that when folks added an external amp it really made a difference even on the Heritage line which have above a 96 dB Sensitivity Rating and don't have low impedance dips. {Edit: I am not saying it does, just seeing what others think}

The majority of people who add amps to their AVRs seem to base their experiences on sighted evaluations which can pretty well be guaranteed to reinforce the prejudices that led them to their purchases in the first place.

Extra headroom is absolutely useless except to people who are trying to sell unneeded power amps.
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post #242 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 12:21 PM
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Extra headroom is useless? Wait a minute, when listening at higher volumes doesn't clipping come into play? Wouldn't having extra headroom possibly lead to not clipping your amp? I have never clipped my Sunfire amp but I've clipped every receiver I've ever owned. Having ample power to drive your speakers with less distortion is key IMO.
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post #243 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 12:56 PM
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I think adding an amp to many AVR's can make a pretty big difference. A lot of AVR's may have ample wattage but lack voltage to drive unruly speakers. There's nothing like having extra headroom. Before my upgrade I used a pair of PSB originals golds (still have them) and my old Denon AVR rated at 100 WPC had a hard time driving them, I added a Parasound amp and later a Sunfire amp and that woke them up biggrin.gif

I understand that some speakers are harder to drive than others, but my guess is your old Denon actually stated in the instructions to be careful with speakers that are rated under 6 to 8 Ohms and that is why you received some benefit from adding the amps...That said, I wonder if you started out with an AVR that was rated for 4 Ohm loads if you would get the same benefit as adding an external amp (unless you had a really big room)?
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post #244 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

That's what I've heard/read as well, but imagic mentioned adding one really helped Popalock's Klipsch RF-7IIs when set to Large and I was trying to get some idea if he thought it would have any benefit when they were set to Small and a crossover applied....The consensus in the Klipsch Owners Thread is that when folks added an external amp it really made a difference even on the Heritage line which have above a 96 dB Sensitivity Rating and don't have low impedance dips. {Edit: I am not saying it does, just seeing what others think}

That's the popular line most likely promulgated by the amplifier manufacturers. Klipsch doesn't make a speaker that is difficult for a receiver to drive. People who heard a difference by adding an amplifier expected to hear a difference and so they did. They wouldn't be able to tell a receiver from an outboard amp in a bias controlled test. Expectation bias. We all suffer from it.
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post #245 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Extra headroom is useless? Wait a minute, when listening at higher volumes doesn't clipping come into play? Wouldn't having extra headroom possibly lead to not clipping your amp? I have never clipped my Sunfire amp but I've clipped every receiver I've ever owned. Having ample power to drive your speakers with less distortion is key IMO.

The operative word is "extra." Every system needs some power overhead to handle peaks. But we don't need any more than that. Modern receivers have more than enough overhead to handle the average speaker system in the average listening room. My system puts out as much as 20 watts on peaks. My receiver has 140 watts per channel. Plenty of overhead.
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post #246 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

That's the popular line most likely promulgated by the amplifier manufacturers. Klipsch doesn't make a speaker that is difficult for a receiver to drive. .

What about these: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1412510/klipsch-rf7-ii-measurements

EDIT: Isn't what's important is the ability to handle the lower impedance swings and not necessarily the Watts-per-channel?
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post #247 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

I understand that some speakers are harder to drive than others, but my guess is your old Denon actually stated in the instructions to be careful with speakers that are rated under 6 to 8 Ohms and that is why you received some benefit from adding the amps...That said, I wonder if you started out with an AVR that was rated for 4 Ohm loads if you would get the same benefit as adding an external amp (unless you had a really big room)?



When it was all said and done I ended with seperates. At the time it was a Sunfire theatre grand V and a Sunfire 200~7 amp. I know a lot of guys use an AVR I just like a seperate pre and amp. So yes it's possible the AVR wasn't rated at 4 ohms.
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post #248 of 264 Old 08-26-2013, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

The operative word is "extra." Every system needs some power overhead to handle peaks. But we don't need any more than that. Modern receivers have more than enough overhead to handle the average speaker system in the average listening room. My system puts out as much as 20 watts on peaks. My receiver has 140 watts per channel. Plenty of overhead.



As long as your happy with your setup that's all that counts.
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post #249 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

As long as your happy with your setup that's all that counts.

Well, I wonder if there is some validity to my comments about purchasing an AVR to be able to cover the impedance dips at the volume one wants to listen instead of the need to purchase an external amp to give ample Headroom.
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post #250 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Well, I wonder if there is some validity to my comments about purchasing an AVR to be able to cover the impedance dips at the volume one wants to listen instead of the need to purchase an external amp to give ample Headroom.



I think there is with the higher end AVR's. I didn't mean to lump all AVR's into one category. There are some really good ones. And there are those that are too good to be true.
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post #251 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 08:48 AM
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What about these: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1412510/klipsch-rf7-ii-measurements

EDIT: Isn't what's important is the ability to handle the lower impedance swings and not necessarily the Watts-per-channel?

That's the normal excuse to buy a high end amplifier but it usually doesn't apply to the typical home theater. Firsly, amplifier impedance ratings are full power ratings and we rarely, if ever, use full power. Secondly, the impedance varies with frequency so signals that will feed those impedance dips are usually infrequent and of short duration. In order to hurt the amplifier, you need to heat up the output stage enough to do damage. Using a fraction of the rated power for a fraction of the time usually won't do that. I'm not suggesting that there aren't situations in which an outboard amp is necessary. I'm just saying that, usually, it is desired and not needed. My own main speakers, for instance, are 6 ohms and probably go below 3 ohms some where in the frequency spectrum. I can drive them with my receiver to ear splitting levels in an 18X22 room with no amplifier overheating at all. The amps are just pleasantly warm as they should be. I suspect my situation is pretty typical.
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post #252 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

That's the normal excuse to buy a high end amplifier but it usually doesn't apply to the typical home theater. Firsly, amplifier impedance ratings are full power ratings and we rarely, if ever, use full power. Secondly, the impedance varies with frequency so signals that will feed those impedance dips are usually infrequent and of short duration. In order to hurt the amplifier, you need to heat up the output stage enough to do damage. Using a fraction of the rated power for a fraction of the time usually won't do that. I'm not suggesting that there aren't situations in which an outboard amp is necessary. I'm just saying that, usually, it is desired and not needed. My own main speakers, for instance, are 6 ohms and probably go below 3 ohms some where in the frequency spectrum. I can drive them with my receiver to ear splitting levels in an 18X22 room with no amplifier overheating at all. The amps are just pleasantly warm as they should be. I suspect my situation is pretty typical.

What happens if you use an AVR that doesn't go down to the ohms that your speakers do? Is it bad for the AVR amp? Kill the longevity? Do you actually "miss" some sounds and not get the full experience? Reason I ask is I'm just using a Denon 3313 to drive Martin Logan Theos in the front, ML Stage center and B&W CM9's as surrounds. The Theos go down to under 1 ohm and I'm sure the Denon doesn't. I don't really want to add an external amp as I don't listen loud at all (maybe 75-85 db on the peaks in movies). But if I'm missing some sounds at the high end I may consider it.

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post #253 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubSolar View Post

What happens if you use an AVR that doesn't go down to the ohms that your speakers do? Is it bad for the AVR amp? Kill the longevity? Do you actually "miss" some sounds and not get the full experience? Reason I ask is I'm just using a Denon 3313 to drive Martin Logan Theos in the front, ML Stage center and B&W CM9's as surrounds. The Theos go down to under 1 ohm and I'm sure the Denon doesn't. I don't really want to add an external amp as I don't listen loud at all (maybe 75-85 db on the peaks in movies). But if I'm missing some sounds at the high end I may consider it.

Just looking at the specs for the Martin Logan Theos, they drop to 0.8 Ω at 20kHz. Not really a whole lot happening up there, and very likely very little demand for much power.

Running your numbers through Crown's Amplifier Power Required Calculator:

Listening distance: 3.5 m (about 12')
Desired level at listener distance: 85 dB
Loudspeaker sensitivity: 90 dB
Amplifier Headroom: 3 dB

The Crown calculator indicates that you only need 8 watts of power. So your Denon should be fine without resorting to adding an external amplifier.

http://www.crownaudio.com/elect-pwr-req.htm

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post #254 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SubSolar View Post

What happens if you use an AVR that doesn't go down to the ohms that your speakers do? Is it bad for the AVR amp? Kill the longevity? Do you actually "miss" some sounds and not get the full experience? Reason I ask is I'm just using a Denon 3313 to drive Martin Logan Theos in the front, ML Stage center and B&W CM9's as surrounds. The Theos go down to under 1 ohm and I'm sure the Denon doesn't. I don't really want to add an external amp as I don't listen loud at all (maybe 75-85 db on the peaks in movies). But if I'm missing some sounds at the high end I may consider it.

Amplifiers don't "go" to an impedance. They react to an impedance. The lower the impedance, the higher the current draw and the more heat is generated because amplifiers aren't 100% efficient. The amplifier will produce sound through a 1 ohm load but not for a long time at full power. The post above mine gave you pretty good advice. The low point in the impedance curve is above where sound is recorded so your amplifiers won't encounter it at all let alone for very long. Any receiver will handle those speakers in a normal environment - normal room, normal listening volume.

If you want an outboard amplifier, by all means have one. Just do it for the right reason and handling the speakers isn't the right reason.
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post #255 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 09:53 AM
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OK, so I'm not losing any sounds or killing the AVR? What's the difference or advantage of an amp rated for lower ohms then?

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post #256 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 11:50 AM
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OK, so I'm not losing any sounds or killing the AVR? What's the difference or advantage of an amp rated for lower ohms then?

It will handle lower impedance loads at a higher volume for a greater length of time. I didn't suggest that there are no reasons to buy an outboard amp nor did I suggest that some situations don't require it. I only suggested that most home theaters with most speakers in most home listening rooms don't require them. I used my own system as an example. I'm not against outboard amps. I just like for people to have the information that the manufacturers don't provide.

Here is a shot of my installation. You can see the receiver in the console. There is no outboard amp there. The speakers are nominal 6 ohm.

ht-med.jpg
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post #257 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

It will handle lower impedance loads at a higher volume for a greater length of time. I didn't suggest that there are no reasons to buy an outboard amp nor did I suggest that some situations don't require it. I only suggested that most home theaters with most speakers in most home listening rooms don't require them. I used my own system as an example. I'm not against outboard amps. I just like for people to have the information that the manufacturers don't provide.

Here is a shot of my installation. You can see the receiver in the console. There is no outboard amp there. The speakers are nominal 6 ohm.

ht-med.jpg



Very nice! What kind of towers are they?
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post #258 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 01:02 PM
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They work pretty well. They are Impressions towers from EMP. Made in China and sold internet direct so they are a good value. EMP is the internet direct arm of RBH Sound.
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post #259 of 264 Old 08-27-2013, 01:04 PM
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Very impressive smile.gif
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post #260 of 264 Old 08-29-2013, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubSolar View Post

OK, so I'm not losing any sounds or killing the AVR? What's the difference or advantage of an amp rated for lower ohms then?

The advantage of that amp is headroom, but kind of like how if you're only going to go 120km/h with cruise control on in the highway, it doesn't matter if you've got a ferrari or a BMW... headroom only matters if you're gonna need it!

Interestingly I have heard the same EMP towers powered by two different Marantz receivers and a two high powered amps, and between none of these did I perceive much difference. I did think that the room made a big difference in the presentation, though.

Does that mean all speakers require the same potential headroom? No. Some require more headroom, and others require far less. But the aformentioned speakers are very typical in their sensitivity and minimum impedance.
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post #261 of 264 Old 09-05-2013, 05:25 PM
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They work pretty well. They are Impressions towers from EMP. Made in China and sold internet direct so they are a good value. EMP is the internet direct arm of RBH Sound.
Hmmmmmm, need to research these, I know rbh is good. Thanks for this info.

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post #262 of 264 Old 09-11-2013, 12:18 AM
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someone please help. im at my wits end. i bought a great sound system with denon 2310 avr and b&w 600 fronts and M1 surrounds. calibrated it using every guide going, but my sound (and my room room) sucks:

ive got a full side wall of windows and glass doors adjacent to the fronts, a stone floor in the entire downstairs area which is open plan and an open staircase facing the fronts. the sound upstairs is CLEARER than downstairs ffs.

im unwilling to pay 500 quid for acoustic panels. what is the cheap option for sound absorption that is effective?
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post #263 of 264 Old 12-11-2013, 11:50 AM
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The correct answer to the question "What is the best bang for the buck sound quality upgrade?" is "It depends on what you currently already have, on what's available to you at which price, on how much your used gear will be sold for, and on the person/persons who is/are doing the listening". tongue.gif
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post #264 of 264 Old 12-21-2013, 05:04 AM
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finite9, look into LEDE (live end dead end) room design. Basic idea is that one side of the room is hard surfaces, other side soft (to absorb sound). So put some area rugs on the floor, and cover those windows with drapes!
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