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Amp or no amp

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I need to know if I need an amp. I have a 5.2 set up. My amp is a Denon 3312ci and I am running two brand new Monitor Audio RX8's with the RX center and a pair of Mordaunt Short Carnival 2's for sides along with a pair of Outlaw subs. For HT it sounds fantastic, but I think the subs really richen up the sound. In 2ch the speakers sound a little bit flat, and I would really like to get these puppies singing. I really don't have much experience with home audio amps, I have hooked up a few amps in my cars when I was kid, but that was for BOOM.

I have looked at a few different brands, but considering that Emotiva being a site sponsor and good feedback that It would be a model to consider, but which one? If anyone has a few minutes and could explain it a little clearer to me, I would really appreciate it. I would just like to keep it simple, for the time being that is and I think a grand is what I would like to spend. Thanks.
post #2 of 5
I'm a little confused by how you phrased your question.

Are you asking how to use amps to improve the sound coming from your RX8 speakers without using a subwoofer?
If so, the answer is "You can't." Those speakers are highly efficient and do not need a lot of power to do their best.

If you want to be able to hear lower frequencies (= make sound fuller), you need to use speakers with larger drivers. 6" drivers simply cannot go as low as 12" drivers, and even the largest floor-standing speakers cannot do as good a job for the lowest frequencies as dedicated subwoofers can.
post #3 of 5
With your speakers being 4 ohms I would consider adding an amp to the 3312 if you listen to music pretty loud. If you are not impressed at medium volume then it’s more room interaction than amp power. I would make sure you have speakers positioned properly before spending money on an amp. How close they are to the back wall and side wall will have a big impact on imaging. Try pulling them out into the room (like 3 or 4 feet off the wall) and see if that makes a difference. Then you would move them back towards the wall trying to find the best spot for imaging. Also play with the toe-in and see if that clears things up some. It may take some hours of adjusting but it made a huge difference for my speakers when I positioned them correctly. If they sound good a low/medium levels but start to get harsh at loud levels then I would probably look at an amp. You could get the emotiva XPA3 and run your center and mains off of it or just get the XPA2 and run the two fronts from it. Either way will work.
post #4 of 5
Just beware of advice that additional power will make your speakers "open up" or "sing." That's straight-up nonsense. The fact that you say your speakers sound "flat" for music (which is one of those vague terms that doesn't really mean anything) makes me suspicious that you may have bought into such nonsense, but I dunno. No amp is going to magically "bring your speakers to life."

Most amps (including those in receivers) will drive most speakers pretty loud in most rooms. That said, I don't know anything about your listening habits or your room, so you have to ask yourself this question: Do you think you're overdriving your amp now in two-channel mode for music? If you really think you're driving your amp to its limits (it's certainly possible), then, yes, you'd benefit from a powerful two-channel amp for your main channels. But then, also beware that sound-pressure levels are logarithmic: doubling your power will raise your output levels by only 3 dB.

High power is a good thing, but the returns diminish sharply: It takes 10 times the power to double perceived loudness. Ergo, it takes lots of power (and usually lots of money) to achieve significant gains in output levels.
post #5 of 5
Beware of this advice: A good amp won't have to work as hard as the overloaded amps in a typical AVS receiver, and that will make a difference in the sound.

Bass, however, is a more difficult problem. Your subs are self-powered, and adding an amp to the mains will do nothing for your subs. Many people, your humble narrator included, wonder where the bass went when they switch from home theater to stereo music sources. A major part of the problem cannot be solved; home theater just has more and deeper bass information than does your average CD. No amp or speaker is going to fix that problem.

All of that said, I am very happy with what the XPA-3 has done for my system. It looks like all of the Emotiva amps are on sale at 10% off right now.
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