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Integrated stereo amp and AV Receiver ratings

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hoping somebody can clarify something for me. When researching AV receivers, one seems to see wattage per channel in the ~75-100WPC ballpark and above quite often. However, when looking at pure stereo integrated amplifiers, some excellent award-winning amps I've researched are 35-55WPC, much lower than what I see in AV receivers.

Guess I don't understand why audiophile stereo amps are rated so low relative to AV receivers. If 40WPC is sufficient for stereo bliss, why the need for significantly higher numbers in AV receivers? It can't be volume, since you're splitting your ear drums with 40W on a decent efficient speaker.
post #2 of 8
^^^

- because the marketing people like to advertise big numbers... smile.gif

- most avr's won't actually hit their advertised numbers (especially when driving multiple channels), at least until you get into the higher levels of a product line...

- most people "think" they need way more power than they actually do... tying back to the first statement, it's a marketers dream...

- "audiophile integrateds" tend to be very overpriced...
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
- because the marketing people like to advertise big numbers... smile.gif
- most avr's won't actually hit their advertised numbers (especially when driving multiple channels), at least until you get into the higher levels of a product line...
- most people "think" they need way more power than they actually do... tying back to the first statement, it's a marketers dream.....

This is accurate.

AV receiver manufacturers market to consumers mainly with feature set, and wpc ratings.

Since there's a lack of standardization on how WPC testing is performed, they can use testing practices that mislead consumers. It certainly doesn't help that receivers have even more channels to drive now than ever. 5.1, 7.1, 9.2, and even 11.2 channels of amplification are available today.

Some examples:

100wpc x 7 *really* means the amplifier is capable of sending 100watts into any of the 7 channels. One at a time.
Power is rated at 1khz, instead of 20-20khz
Power is rated into a 6ohm, inflating the number
Power is rated into 1% THD

Take this $500 Sony Receiver as an example:

http://www.hometheater.com/content/sony-str-dn1030-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

It's rated from Sony at 100wpc. And does push more than this in Stereo. 5 channels, it pushes 81.5watts. Into 7, it pushes 65 watts. As you can see, a 100wpc x 7 receiver, is misleading. It's more like 65 watts into 7 channels. But Sony fears the receiver would appear to be underpowered, if compared to a comparable Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, or Yamaha. Yet, all those guys play the same game.

As you already noted, with an efficient speaker 50 watts will get the system uncomfortably loud.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

- "audiophile integrateds" tend to be very overpriced...

The same marketers that advertise 100wpc receivers, also market "audiophile" grade components too. The premise being an integrated amp will sound better into 2ch audio than a similarly equipped receiver. This touches on a hot debate that's been had for decades... Is there really a difference in amplification? Is there any sonic difference between an Audiophile grade amp and a mass produced amp from a factory in Taiwan?

I'll let you figure that one out. And honestly, that's probably where you should start. Because if you cannot hear a difference, might as well get a cheap receiver.

biggrin.gif
post #4 of 8
^^^

we agree on part of it at least...

i won't bother to engage you again on the last part... that's a "religion vs. science" debate, and one that won't come to a satisfactory conclusion for anyone...
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
we agree on part of it at least...
i won't bother to engage you again on the last part... that's a "religion vs. science" debate, and one that won't come to a satisfactory conclusion for anyone...

I dunno man... I think we agree on all of it. Just one piece we agree to disagree.

wink.gif

I made it clear the OP should decide for himself. And it would make the choice easier.

biggrin.gif
post #6 of 8
fair enough... smile.gif
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcoulson View Post

Hoping somebody can clarify something for me. When researching AV receivers, one seems to see wattage per channel in the ~75-100WPC ballpark and above quite often. However, when looking at pure stereo integrated amplifiers, some excellent award-winning amps I've researched are 35-55WPC, much lower than what I see in AV receivers.

Guess I don't understand why audiophile stereo amps are rated so low relative to AV receivers. If 40WPC is sufficient for stereo bliss, why the need for significantly higher numbers in AV receivers? It can't be volume, since you're splitting your ear drums with 40W on a decent efficient speaker.

Also keep in mind it takes roughly a doubling of power to achieve a 3dB gain in spl. So it's not a huge difference in that whole range from that viewpoint...but a higher wattage, measured equally, can offer benefits for headroom if you don't play it that extra 3dB in volume...
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
- because the marketing people like to advertise big numbers... smile.gif
- most avr's won't actually hit their advertised numbers (especially when driving multiple channels), at least until you get into the higher levels of a product line...
- most people "think" they need way more power than they actually do... tying back to the first statement, it's a marketers dream.....

This is accurate.

AV receiver manufacturers market to consumers mainly with feature set, and wpc ratings.

Since there's a lack of standardization on how WPC testing is performed, they can use testing practices that mislead consumers. It certainly doesn't help that receivers have even more channels to drive now than ever. 5.1, 7.1, 9.2, and even 11.2 channels of amplification are available today.

Some examples:

100wpc x 7 *really* means the amplifier is capable of sending 100watts into any of the 7 channels. One at a time.
Power is rated at 1khz, instead of 20-20khz
Power is rated into a 6ohm, inflating the number
Power is rated into 1% THD

Take this $500 Sony Receiver as an example:

http://www.hometheater.com/content/sony-str-dn1030-av-receiver-ht-labs-measures

It's rated from Sony at 100wpc. And does push more than this in Stereo. 5 channels, it pushes 81.5watts. Into 7, it pushes 65 watts. As you can see, a 100wpc x 7 receiver, is misleading. It's more like 65 watts into 7 channels. But Sony fears the receiver would appear to be underpowered, if compared to a comparable Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, or Yamaha. Yet, all those guys play the same game.

As you already noted, with an efficient speaker 50 watts will get the system uncomfortably loud.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

- "audiophile integrateds" tend to be very overpriced...

The same marketers that advertise 100wpc receivers, also market "audiophile" grade components too. The premise being an integrated amp will sound better into 2ch audio than a similarly equipped receiver. This touches on a hot debate that's been had for decades... Is there really a difference in amplification? Is there any sonic difference between an Audiophile grade amp and a mass produced amp from a factory in Taiwan?

I'll let you figure that one out. And honestly, that's probably where you should start. Because if you cannot hear a difference, might as well get a cheap receiver.

biggrin.gif

Integrated amps of course are inferior to power amps and separate pre-amps wink.gif
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