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Receiver And Amplifier Questions- Need Purchase Advice

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello audiophiles. I need some more guidance from the super-knowledgeable community here. My home audio obsession started about 9 months ago with a Denon AVR 1613. My speakers consist of four Polk Monitor 70's, Polk center, and two Polk PSW 505's. The avr would shut down on thermal protection if I listened to more than one song at 78 absolute volume setting in 5 channel stereo. I then sold it for a more powerful unit with the hope of getting louder and not shutting down.

I got the Denon 3313ci for Spotify, extra wattage, and hopefully longer playing time before shutdown. To my surprise, going from 75 to 125 Watts was hardly noticeable volume wise. To top it off, I maybe got only another minute or so of play time before shut down. I think I got the heat situation a little more under control by hooking two PC fans up to the 12v triggers. Ultimately, I returned the receiver because I did not get the improvements I expected as far as heat or power.

Now that you know the situation, this is where I need help. I am considering a few options: avr x2000, 3313ci or x4000 (i know the differences between both) with Emotiva xpa5, or 4520ci. My reasoning for those avr's are as follows. I am considering the x2000 because it has all of the features I want including amped zone 2, it is the cheapest option, and since the power from 75 to 125 watts was barely noticeable, I assume going back down 25w will not be audible. Is that right?

The 3313ci or x4000 with emotiva xpa5 route will give me the power I would like to have. One thing I was wondering (never had a home audio amp before) is if I will be able to control the system volume with Denon's phone app. Does the volume have to be changed on the emotiva or can I just leave it turned up and control the preout volume with the remote app and Denon remote? I am not willing to give up the ability to control the volume with the phone for the amp.

Lastly, if I cannot control the volume with the app while using an amp, I would consider a 4520ci for its 150 watt amplifier. Would I notice the increase in power/ volume from the 95w x2000 or would I be spending the extra $ and not get an audible power difference.

Ultimately, if I will notice a power difference going from Denon's 95 wpc to Emotiva's 200 wpc and can still use the remote app I will do that. If I cannot use remote app will I notice a power difference from x2000 95wpc to 4520ci 150 wpc? If the answer to these is no, I will just stick with the x2000.

I hope you knowledgeable folks can take the time to help me with this. I am getting sick of pondering it.

Thank you
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrenalineJunky View Post

Hello audiophiles. I need some more guidance from the super-knowledgeable community here. My home audio obsession started about 9 months ago with a Denon AVR 1613. My speakers consist of four Polk Monitor 70's, Polk center, and two Polk PSW 505's. The avr would shut down on thermal protection if I listened to more than one song at 78 absolute volume setting in 5 channel stereo. I then sold it for a more powerful unit with the hope of getting louder and not shutting down.

This seems odd to me. I powered monitor 70's, monitor 60's, cs2 and monitor 30's as heights off a denon 1611 (previous version equivalent to your 1613) and I never once had it go into thermal shutdown....i did blow tweeters from too high volume levels and too many beers...but that is a story for another time. tongue.gif

I still fail to see how your 1613 would go into thermal protection. How do you house your avr? is it getting plenty of ventilation?
Quote:
I got the Denon 3313ci for Spotify, extra wattage, and hopefully longer playing time before shutdown. To my surprise, going from 75 to 125 Watts was hardly noticeable volume wise. To top it off, I maybe got only another minute or so of play time before shut down. I think I got the heat situation a little more under control by hooking two PC fans up to the 12v triggers. Ultimately, I returned the receiver because I did not get the improvements I expected as far as heat or power.

It does not surprise me that you noticed virtually no difference in volume going from a 75w/channel to 125w/channel avr. You need to double the wattage to gain a very sublte 3dB in loudness. You gained around 1.5 - 2 dB at most. But still having thermal issues - I'm betting something is up with the way your avr is housed.
Quote:
Now that you know the situation, this is where I need help. I am considering a few options: avr x2000, 3313ci or x4000 (i know the differences between both) with Emotiva xpa5, or 4520ci. My reasoning for those avr's are as follows. I am considering the x2000 because it has all of the features I want including amped zone 2, it is the cheapest option, and since the power from 75 to 125 watts was barely noticeable, I assume going back down 25w will not be audible. Is that right?

Yup hardly noticeable.
Quote:
The 3313ci or x4000 with emotiva xpa5 route will give me the power I would like to have. One thing I was wondering (never had a home audio amp before) is if I will be able to control the system volume with Denon's phone app. Does the volume have to be changed on the emotiva or can I just leave it turned up and control the preout volume with the remote app and Denon remote? I am not willing to give up the ability to control the volume with the phone for the amp.

Lastly, if I cannot control the volume with the app while using an amp, I would consider a 4520ci for its 150 watt amplifier. Would I notice the increase in power/ volume from the 95w x2000 or would I be spending the extra $ and not get an audible power difference.

The xpa-5 does not have any volume or gain control. Just hook it up to your avr's pre-outs and control the volume as normal through the avr.
Quote:
Ultimately, if I will notice a power difference going from Denon's 95 wpc to Emotiva's 200 wpc and can still use the remote app I will do that. If I cannot use remote app will I notice a power difference from x2000 95wpc to 4520ci 150 wpc? If the answer to these is no, I will just stick with the x2000.

You will notice a difference in loudness between the avr and the amp...not overwhelming but the amp will get a bit louder then the x2000, not so much noticeable between the amp and the 4520. You might be able to notice that the amp plays lower frequencies with less distortion then a low to mid end avr - but this is sorta moot when operating a subwoofer incorporating bass management through your avr.
Quote:
I hope you knowledgeable folks can take the time to help me with this. I am getting sick of pondering it.

Thank you

I think before you upgrade any more components you need to determine why your previous avr's have gone into thermal protection on you. Since you have a sub, i assume you have configured all your speakers to "small" with ~80hz crossover as is often recommended? This allows your sub to play the low difficult frequencies and takes a load off your avr allowing it to run at cooler levels. Also you need to ensure that your avr has around 8 inches per side including top and around 4 inches in back of free space (differnet avr's might have slightly different requirements, refer to your owners manual for specifics for your unit). If you are putting your avr in an enclosed cabinet then that could explain why you have had heat issues. Adding fans, as you mentioned, can help, but you really need to have plenty of space around the avr so it operate at it's normal operating temps - even at loud volume levels.

Also, ensure all your speaker connections are good and tight, and no stray wires grounding out anywhere. If they ground out it could cause the avr to go into protection mode. Also if you are trying to fill an auditorium sized living room with ~85-100dB of sound this could also explain why your avr's have overheated, if this is the case you need much more efficient speakers. Your polks with any of the avr's you have listed in your post should be fine at up to near reference levels for long periods it more modest sized rooms and should not cause your avr to overheat...they are fairly easy to drive after all.
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrenalineJunky View Post

Hello audiophiles. I need some more guidance from the super-knowledgeable community here. My home audio obsession started about 9 months ago with a Denon AVR 1613. My speakers consist of four Polk Monitor 70's, Polk center, and two Polk PSW 505's. The avr would shut down on thermal protection if I listened to more than one song at 78 absolute volume setting in 5 channel stereo.

This is weird, Shorted speaker wire(s)?

Bad woofer(s)?

What sorts of SPL are you going for during your listening sessions?

Have you calibrated your AVR with Audyssey? If not, your volume control settings mean nothing.
Quote:
then sold it for a more powerful unit with the hope of getting louder and not shutting down.

No hope of that working.
Quote:
I got the Denon 3313ci for Spotify, extra wattage, and hopefully longer playing time before shutdown. To my surprise, going from 75 to 125 Watts was hardly noticeable volume wise.

As others have pointed out, thats worth a couple of dB on the best day of your life, and presuming you are already gutting your system out with the volume control.
Quote:
To top it off, I maybe got only another minute or so of play time before shut down.

How long were you letting your system "warm up" before you do these tests with immediate shut downs?
Quote:
I think I got the heat situation a little more under control by hooking two PC fans up to the 12v triggers.

So there was a heat problem?
Quote:
Ultimately, I returned the receiver because I did not get the improvements I expected as far as heat or power.

If you'd asked...
Quote:
Now that you know the situation, this is where I need help. I am considering a few options: avr x2000, 3313ci or x4000 (i know the differences between both) with Emotiva xpa5, or 4520ci. My reasoning for those avr's are as follows. I am considering the x2000 because it has all of the features I want including amped zone 2, it is the cheapest option, and since the power from 75 to 125 watts was barely noticeable, I assume going back down 25w will not be audible. Is that right?

If 50 watts more didn't do much for you in a positive way, then 25 watts less won't do much for you in a negative way.
Quote:
The 3313ci or x4000 with emotiva xpa5 route will give me the power I would like to have. One thing I was wondering (never had a home audio amp before) is if I will be able to control the system volume with Denon's phone app. Does the volume have to be changed on the emotiva

I keep telling people to actually spend a little time checking these products out for at least 10 seconds before they start thinking about buying them. If you look at http://shop.emotiva.com/products/xpa-5 for a few seconds you will see that it has no volume controls.
Quote:
or can I just leave it turned up and control the preout volume with the remote app and Denon remote?

The AVR volume control is what controls the preamp, as well as the amp outs.

I am not willing to give up the ability to control the volume with the phone for the amp.
Quote:
Lastly, if I cannot control the volume with the app while using an amp, I would consider a 4520ci for its 150 watt amplifier. Would I notice the increase in power/ volume from the 95w x2000 or would I be spending the extra $ and not get an audible power difference.

Well we know what you think of 2 dB increase (not a heck of a lot and properly so) so we kinda know what you will think of a 3 dB increase. Not a heck of a lot.
Quote:
Ultimately, if I will notice a power difference going from Denon's 95 wpc to Emotiva's 200 wpc and can still use the remote app I will do that. If I cannot use remote app will I notice a power difference from x2000 95wpc to 4520ci 150 wpc? If the answer to these is no, I will just stick with the x2000.

95 to 200 watts is the same mild 3 dB increase as the one from 75 to 150 watts. If you want twice as loud you want 10 times the power, and that would mean buying new speakers as well.
Quote:
I hope you knowledgeable folks can take the time to help me with this. I am getting sick of pondering it.

You are describing something very atypical.

Unless you are deaf, what you have should be pretty loud. Your story about 2 different AVRs tripping out after a very short periods of time is not the symptom of a AVR with too low power, it is a story of a system with short(s) in its wiring or short(s) in its speakers which can happen if you have a rubbing voice coil in a woofer, for example.

And +1 to what 67Jason said. Don't churn any more equipment until you get your current situation cured.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrenalineJunky View Post

Hello audiophiles. I need some more guidance from the super-knowledgeable community here. My home audio obsession started about 9 months ago with a Denon AVR 1613. My speakers consist of four Polk Monitor 70's, Polk center, and two Polk PSW 505's. The avr would shut down on thermal protection if I listened to more than one song at 78 absolute volume setting in 5 channel stereo. I then sold it for a more powerful unit with the hope of getting louder and not shutting down.

This is to be expected as the AVR is not designed to be in this surround mode at that near reference level volume. If you must use that surround mode at such high volume levels, your only option would be a model with main zone pre-outs (eg. 3313CI, X4000, 4520CI) to connect an external amp (e.g. EMO XPA-2 or XPA-3) such that at least the FL/FR or better yet FL/C/FR can be powered by the external amp.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
First I would like to thank all three of you who took the time to respond to my question. I have at least narrowed my options to the x2000, 3313ci, and x4000. I would prefer the features of the x4000, namely the xt32 and sub eq as I have dual subs. Oddly enough, I want those features even after I preferred the sound without Audyssey xt for loud music. I guess I am hoping xt32 with sub eq will be that much better.

As far as the heat issue, I am getting conflicting reports with the addition of jd's post. The avr is in a smallish (approx. 50 cubic foot) closet in which I leave the door open. There is about 1.5' of space on either side, about 10" above, and about 3" of space behind the avr. The overheating only occurs at sustained loud (nearly as loud as possible before distortion, absolute level 78) volume when listening to music, which I do in multi channel stereo, for about four minutes. It is not an issue at moderate volume levels or when watching movies. With the amount of heat it gives off at this level, I cannot see the problem being cured, maybe very slightly helped, by putting the avr in a larger space. Also, setting the speakers to small had minimal effect as far as running cooler.

As far as connections, I can double check them, but I have changed and connected/ disconnected speakers a few times with the same results. The probability of having a stray strand of wire every time is unlikely, especially since I am neat and thorough.

Not speaking from experience, it seems as if JD's thought that the avr cannot handle loud music on multi channel stereo may be the issue. I will stick with this unless someone feels strongly that it is not the case.

I would probably be happy with the x2000, but for some reason am still (probably foolishly) considering spending double for the x4000 (either one would be a refurbished unit). I am liking the idea of the xt32 with sub eq and the ability to add an amp if I get bored with the volume level again. Feel free to talk me into one of them. biggrin.gif
post #6 of 8
AdrenalineJunky, wil the avr shut down when just listening in 2 channel mode? I respect what JD said about them not being designed to output reference level volume in all channel stereo, however I was able to do so with no shut down issues with my old 1611....i didn't do all channel stereo mode very often though.
post #7 of 8
AJ, I'll try to talk you into an X4000 later! At the moment though, I fear that if you can shut down the 3313CI after 4 minutes, the X4000 will do the same thing.

I've been pondering your problem since post 1 thinking that it shouldn't be happening and (initially) that you had a stray strand of wire somewhere, but that appears not to be the case. I believe jd and jason may be onto something though. Can you answer a few questions for me to see where it leads us?

1. This happens at absolute volume 78 right? Going on the absolute <-> relative relationship of my Onkyo (MultEQ XT), that would be -4dB relative to reference. Does that seem correct?

2. Are these your mains and surrounds: http://www.polkaudio.com/products/monitor70 ; and centre speaker: http://www.polkaudio.com/products/cs2 ?

3. When in All Channel Stereo mode are your subs engaged? (<- Showing my ignorance of Denon here!) And if so, what is the crossover frequencies?

4. What distances to your speakers did Audyssey report? And finally...

5. Have you adjusted any level trims or made other changes post Audyssey calibration?

Get back to us and we'll see if we can explain what's going on.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrenalineJunky View Post

I would probably be happy with the x2000, but for some reason am still (probably foolishly) considering spending double for the x4000 (either one would be a refurbished unit). I am liking the idea of the xt32 with sub eq and the ability to add an amp if I get bored with the volume level again. Feel free to talk me into one of them. biggrin.gif

The X2000 does not have main zone pre-outs so you would not be able to connect an external amp, rather only the 3313CI and the X4000 have pre-outs, although of the two, only the X4000 has the XT32 + Sub EQ HT you want. Also before going "refurb", call me. wink.gif
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