Add Separate Amp For 2 Channel Listening? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 30 Old 02-01-2020, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Add Separate Amp For 2 Channel Listening?

Hello. I would appreciate some opinions on this, preferably from those that have actually done this . My setup:
- Denon x6500
- Cambridge Audio CXNv2 (network streamer) - connected to AVR via L/R analog cables
- Def Tech BP9080 towers (front speakers)

Last night I spent several hours connecting my new CXN to my system and demoing back and forth from the Denon HEOS functionality to the CXN, playing the same songs from the same NAS. I have the sound configuration the same through the Denon for both inputs (no sound options on CXN), i.e. all Audessy stuff off, 2 channel stereo, front speakers full range, no sub, graphic equalizer flat initially. The CXN sounds better to me for sure.. wider sound stage and things are just a bit clearer and more crisp. Is it 1k better... NOT according to my wife.


Questions: do you think I'd notice another improvement if I had a separate amp for the front 2 channels? I would run everything through this new amp via the analog preamp out terminals of the Denon. If some of you thought it would be worth while, would I run my CXN directly through the amp, bypassing the Denon all together? The down side to this is that the CXN has no tone controls, which I insist on having. The PB9080s don't require a lot of power to run them and my theater room is smallish. Does anyone have an amp/integrated amp with tone controls and HT bypass that they would recommend in the 1K price range? If running everything through the Denon is perfectly acceptable, then I wouldn't need tone controls, as I would have the Denon equalizer.


Thank you in advance!!
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-02-2020, 03:21 PM
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The only integrated amplifier that comes to mind in the $1000 price range (it is actually $1500, link below) that has tone controls and HT bypass is the Cambridge 851A. Only you and your wife can decide whether the sound quality is preferred over your Denon.

Time for the Superbowl.

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Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #3 of 30 Old 02-02-2020, 11:07 PM
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A further thought: Adding an integrated amp will make it rather complicated for others in the family to use the system. Speaking from past experience, you can expect telephone calls from home asking, in frustration, "How do I get sound for a movie? I cannot get it to work. Explain again what to do."
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #4 of 30 Old 02-05-2020, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
The only integrated amplifier that comes to mind in the $1000 price range (it is actually $1500, link below) that has tone controls and HT bypass is the Cambridge 851A. Only you and your wife can decide whether the sound quality is preferred over your Denon.

Time for the Superbowl.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_779851...1A-Silver.html

Thanks for the suggestion Alex! The funny thing is, before I read this, I ordered the only one they had in stock, that was black, from their outlet store. I also ordered the Cambridge DacMagic 100, with the hopes of returning the CXN v2 to save some cash. The setup will be a bit complicated as you suggested in one of your replies, i.e. I'll access my music/NAS using Denon's HEOS app and then via the HDMI zone 2 out off of the Denon (another $30 device). That device will feed the dacmagic via a coax or optical cable and then the dacmagic will feed the Azure 851A, which will in turn feed my speakers. Hopefully filling my theater room with amazing Cambridge sound that I know I loved back when I had the CX80A, which didn't have theater bypass... so things were really complex!


For this new added complexity, I use a Harmony remote, which makes things easy for those that don't want to use all of the required manufacturer remotes :-). Not sure what we did before harmony and other remotes like it?
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post #5 of 30 Old 02-07-2020, 12:52 PM
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I think you need a flow chart for that setup.
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post #6 of 30 Old 02-11-2020, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nathan Loiselle View Post
I think you need a flow chart for that setup.


So, I tried to save over $600 today, by connecting a Cambridge DacMagic 100 and Denon HEOS Link H2 to my Cambridge Azur 851A. This would replace my Cambridge CXN v2 (still in the return window). I was hoping that all of the extra money was for a slick form factor and a screen that shows the album art. I was wrong! With both connected to the 851A at the same time, via 2 separate analog inputs from the DacMagic and CXN v2, I played the same hi res Rush songs, toggling back and forth from inputs over and over again. The CXN v2 sounded noticeably better to me. It had a much weightier sound. The highs seemed less harsh, less fatiguing. Keep in mind that neither DAC has tone controls, only the 851A does. No matter how much I turned up the bass on the 851A, I could not achieve the same level of bass and weightiness and no matter how much I turned down the treble I could not remove the harshness of the highs without muffling/ruining them.

Oh well, it was worth a try... as long as AMAZON doesn't remove my membership :-). I've heard so many people say that none of these components make a difference, or should, in the way things sound and that only the speakers make a difference. I can not disagree more. Maybe manufacturers shouldn't have a signature sound, but I'm glad there are differences... makes this hobby that much more enjoyable! For me Cambridge Audi has the 2 channel sound signature that I enjoy the most (so far) and I've tried Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, Integra, NAD, Sony, Blusound Node 2, Arcam and Anthem. For surround sound, I'm not that picky, my Denon x6500 is just fine.
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post #7 of 30 Old 02-13-2020, 03:28 AM
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There is no guarantee the two source components have the same output, so you are picking the loudest one, even if it doesn't sound distinctly louder, as "best". That's why these sorts of tests are misleading at best, and basically useless.
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post #8 of 30 Old 02-13-2020, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
There is no guarantee the two source components have the same output, so you are picking the loudest one, even if it doesn't sound distinctly louder, as "best". That's why these sorts of tests are misleading at best, and basically useless.


They’re not misleading as long as you level match the output for each source to the other. People have a tendency to mistake minute increases in volume as quality increases when it’s actually just a slight increase in quantity. Again, if you want to test 2 things against one another in the audio world you have to make sure they’re volume level matched.
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-13-2020, 09:47 AM
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They’re not misleading as long as you level match the output for each source to the other. People have a tendency to mistake minute increases in volume as quality increases when it’s actually just a slight increase in quantity. Again, if you want to test 2 things against one another in the audio world you have to make sure they’re volume level matched.
I'm well aware of how to test correctly. There was no accurate level matching (to 0.1dB) done, so the results are misleading at the very best.
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-13-2020, 10:11 AM
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I'm well aware of how to test correctly. There was no accurate level matching (to 0.1dB) done, so the results are misleading at the very best.


Sorry. That wasn’t directed at you, but OP.
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post #11 of 30 Old 02-13-2020, 10:53 AM
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There is no guarantee the two source components have the same output, so you are picking the loudest one, even if it doesn't sound distinctly louder, as "best". That's why these sorts of tests are misleading at best, and basically useless.

Yep!!! Controlled listening tests are key and the 1st aspect of this is to level match volume; the same SPL from either source.

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post #12 of 30 Old 02-14-2020, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
There is no guarantee the two source components have the same output, so you are picking the loudest one, even if it doesn't sound distinctly louder, as "best". That's why these sorts of tests are misleading at best, and basically useless.

You guys crack me up, always discounting everyone's opinion... I hope that brings you joy. No, I did not pull out my decibel meter, although I did for making sure my dual subs had the same volume level at my listening spot. But 100% for sure the 2 DACs sound different. The volume level, as I instantaneously switched between the 2 DACs, connected the same way to the same amp, were approximately the same. What was different was the levels of each of the individual frequencies that make up the sounds I was hearing. There is no doubt Cambridge programmed the 2 DACs differently to emphasize different frequencies at the same over-all volume level. That, in my mind, accounts for the difference I heard. I also believe that not all DACs and their supporting circuits are created equal or why would all these manufactures bother making their own? Resolving the 1s and 0s and the intended timing of it all does not have to be the same. As an electrical engineer and software developer, I know for a fact there are a million ways to skin a cat and some are most certainly better than others :-)
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-14-2020, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post
You guys crack me up, always discounting everyone's opinion.
No, it's about getting a worthwhile comparison and not just automatically validating your opinion, which is what most subjective only posters want. Your type of test is as useful as comparing two car's timing at the strip* by, not using the electronics, but by standing at the side and counting, 1 elephant, 2 elephant...


* Separate runs, not side by side.

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post #14 of 30 Old 02-14-2020, 05:53 PM
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There are several integrated amps on the market with tone controls and HT bypass. You could look for a Yamaha A-S1000 (same as I own), no longer in production, that goes for $700 and up used, or a new A-S1100, or a Marantz 8006, which has the tone controls and HT bypass. None of the lower Marantz models offer HT bypass. The Marantz will set you back about $1100, and the A-S1100 goes for around $1600 and up, new. The A-S2100 is on closeout since the new A-S2200 is coming to market, so there may be some nicely priced options available for that model. There are a couple of Onkyo integrated amps that have HT bypass, but I can't recall the model numbers offhand, and I have no idea whether they have the tone controls you want.
There are other brands/models that have these features too, but I have CRS. Seems like the upper end models are the only ones that get the HT bypass. Wonder why.

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post #15 of 30 Old 02-15-2020, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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No, it's about getting a worthwhile comparison and not just automatically validating your opinion, which is what most subjective only posters want. Your type of test is as useful as comparing two car's timing at the strip* by, not using the electronics, but by standing at the side and counting, 1 elephant, 2 elephant...


* Separate runs, not side by side.
So, you're saying, the only way to determine if something sounds better than something else, is with scientific measuring equipment? Hmm... can you please scientifically help me determine my favorite color, ice cream, movie, musician...

I'm not publishing a scientific study or offering any concrete evidence one way or the other, I'm simply stating my opinion of what I heard in a relatively controlled environment, i.e. same room with the door closed and no distractions or other sounds, same seating position, same source, same speakers and same amplifier. Again, there are no tone controls on the CXN and it was the source that fed the DacMagic (via coax), which in turn fed the 851A (source 1 - analog). The CXN also directly fed the 851A at source 2 - analog. So, with the CXN playing the music, I simply toggled back and forth between source 1 and source 2 of the 851A and listened to the differences. I did adjust the input gain on the 851A to see if that affected my opinion and although it made the overall volume of the DacMagic louder, it did not sound better in my opinion... not even close. As I previously stated there was no setting to make the DacMagic sound as good in my opinion.

Are you noticing a common theme here... "my opinion", in a relatively controlled environment, is all I'm stating, take it for what it's worth. It's not like I was standing at Best Buy auditioning equipment with Lord knows what settings. And for the record, I've returned far more expensive equipment in this quest for the best 2 channel listening for me. I'm definitely not justifying an expensive purchase, I'm just trying to figure out what sounds best to me.

People like you make reading this forum less enjoyable... just trolling around, trying to make people feel stupid.
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post #16 of 30 Old 02-17-2020, 03:20 AM
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It took a bit to actually figure everything you are doing. Now, I cannot say that I have been 100% satisfied with my yamaha, and after some intermittent sub output level issues, and dissatifaction with center channel dialogue performance, I am looking at upgrading. In fact, I just picked up a marantz to try out tonight...... that being said, for your situation, it does have easy quick features to jump from ht to music with a few hard buttons on the front, which would be easy to show my family which button to push, if it didn't already stay on the preferred setting for each source..... anyways, the one that stands out, and I've seen on other units is the pure direct button. In the living room, I currently only have satellites, even for zone 2 music, and let the subs fill in, but I still plan on one of my nice front speaker pairs when I rearrange, and that would work out perfectly. You already answered your own question about the sound quality, and if you need a separate amp. Honestly, 20wpc sounds good, 30, better, 50 great, and 100 is a party. You could stand to trade down on power a little if it means the features you want, as well as getting down to the 1k budget. I think it will be far harder to function with a separate 2ch for the front stage, than it would be to figure out the source and monitor hookup and switching to listen to music. I believe the other brand I was looking at was an hk witj pure direct, but dont quote me on that.

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post #17 of 30 Old 02-21-2020, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
No, it's about getting a worthwhile comparison and not just automatically validating your opinion, which is what most subjective only posters want. Your type of test is as useful as comparing two car's timing at the strip* by, not using the electronics, but by standing at the side and counting, 1 elephant, 2 elephant...


* Separate runs, not side by side.
In the US we count seconds much more accurately: "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi. . . "
---

The notion people need to buy two amplifiers (one being dedicated to 2ch. content only) is a marketing ploy designed to sell consumers twice as many amps as they need.
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post #18 of 30 Old 02-22-2020, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post
Hello. I would appreciate some opinions on this, preferably from those that have actually done this . My setup:
- Denon x6500
- Cambridge Audio CXNv2 (network streamer) - connected to AVR via L/R analog cables
- Def Tech BP9080 towers (front speakers)

Last night I spent several hours connecting my new CXN to my system and demoing back and forth from the Denon HEOS functionality to the CXN, playing the same songs from the same NAS. I have the sound configuration the same through the Denon for both inputs (no sound options on CXN), i.e. all Audessy stuff off, 2 channel stereo, front speakers full range, no sub, graphic equalizer flat initially. The CXN sounds better to me for sure.. wider sound stage and things are just a bit clearer and more crisp. Is it 1k better... NOT according to my wife.


Questions: do you think I'd notice another improvement if I had a separate amp for the front 2 channels? I would run everything through this new amp via the analog preamp out terminals of the Denon. If some of you thought it would be worth while, would I run my CXN directly through the amp, bypassing the Denon all together? The down side to this is that the CXN has no tone controls, which I insist on having. The PB9080s don't require a lot of power to run them and my theater room is smallish. Does anyone have an amp/integrated amp with tone controls and HT bypass that they would recommend in the 1K price range? If running everything through the Denon is perfectly acceptable, then I wouldn't need tone controls, as I would have the Denon equalizer.


Thank you in advance!!

For connection to the Denon unit, a Monoprice Monolith 2 channel power amplifier for $1k would work or spend another $100 and get a 3 channel unit. You'd have 30 days to try the amp. You said you don't need more power, but the Monoprice unit is also good at 1 watt. See page 3 of the attached measurements. The top set of measurements are at 1 watt. The bottom set are at 200W. The large number of output transistors in the Monolith units should both increase the voltage gain of the output stage and average out performance in the crossover region. These effects should reduce crossover distortion.

https://downloads.monoprice.com/file...ort_160504.pdf

Of course you could get a passive RCA connection switch box for a few dollars and share the amp with the CXN and Denon. No tone controls of course, but that would let you try both options.

Emotiva makes the XSP-1 Gen2 preamp that's about $1,200 and appears to have all sorts of controls. Audioholics reviewed the unit quite a few years back and found it had good measurements. Again you could try it for 30 days.

https://www.audioholics.com/av-pream...1-preamp-video

Of course the preamp and amp combination puts you over $2k and you only wanted to spend $1k That about typical budget creep in AV. There appear to be several XSP-1 Gen2's on the used sites (usaudio…, etc.) so you could save a few dollars. Some of the used units would be several years old so of course reliability is a question.

Does someone know of an integrated amplifier with tone controls that would directly meet the PO's requirements for <$1k? Clearly passive speaker switch boxes are available to handle the integration task.
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-22-2020, 08:15 PM
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@tklein2 , I have in my bedroom a 5.1.2 setup. I have a pair of Large Vintage Polk Audio Monitor 10a (yep, the old ones with the Peerless Tweeters) as front L & R (updated crossovers, you know) I like to listen to music in the bedroom with those Polks in 2.0 only. they give me plenty of high frequency, midrange with great heaping amounts of low end; the separation is, amazing.

my Marantz 1607 offers me a solution. it has front L & R pre-outs in case I want to use an external amp to power those channels; that is what I've done. I've set the speaker types to Large (no sub) and connected the speakers directly to the amp.

when I listen to music, be it loud or with deep low end, I never have to worry about taxing my little receiver as I have a 200wpc 2 channel amp powering them. I get peace of mind knowing I have true power, dedicated power @ 200wpc (both channels driven) available to each channel and for them only. I prefer no sub, I only listen to stereo music and I still get all the other features of the receiver from Audyssey so I lose nothing but gain more power from 2 channel music when I need it.

your denon offers a full compliment of pre-outs, you could always connect a 2 channel amp to it and power your speakers if that's what you want to do. it wouldn't hurt to try it and listen for your self to determine if it's right for you.

my old polks love the power and I do listen to some Jazz, Classic Rock. some of it digs deep on the power end, and I never worry about it at loud levels (not too loud, I wanna keep my hearing in tact ) i'm very happy with the setup I have.

you may or may not hear any difference, but, if you have a 2 channel amp and a pair of interconnects sitting around doing nothing, you have nothing to lose except the time it takes to connect it up then listen.

best of luck, keep us posted.

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post #20 of 30 Old 02-24-2020, 09:54 AM
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So, you're saying, the only way to determine if something sounds better than something else, is with scientific measuring equipment?

He's not saying that. What he is saying is that proper listening tests need to be blind (meaning you don't know which amp is being tested at the moment in the comparison) with output levels the same as you switch between amps. The thing about hearing is that sight and mood influences how we hear at that moment in time. Subjectivists don't accept that fact and claim that they have the discipline not be influenced by other senses. However, scientific study after study have shown that we as humans are not disciplined enough to filter out affects of are other senses when listening. Live long and prosper.
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post #21 of 30 Old 02-25-2020, 09:52 AM
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Let us boil this down to the root question "Do watts matter?"

Years ago, I learned electronics as a career gig before audio became a hobby. Makes sense, when in school a boombox fit my needs at the time so press on. Since I had the supernatural ability to install a car stereo by making my own wiring harness, installing the speakers and doing the proper tuning without burning up the electrical supply I became "that guy". I learned quickly when people wanted "help" it means YOU get stuck doing the full installation and I don't find being upside down in a hot car sweating while wiring to be particularly enjoyable so rapidly became an "advisor" not an installer! The sub amp think was the dominant question with an almost religious ferver when it came down to diameter of the subwoofer, brands, how it was loaded and more power was always the answer! I specified low power at the start because I did not want to purchase a high amp alternator, batteries used in commercial trucks or use electrical wiring the size of my thumb. It was a 100% stealth install to include the stock faceplate (mounted with magnets) to cover the CD deck and the subwoofer was built and installed in a gym bag complete with socks hanging out. The sub was a ported 10 inch subwoofer tuned to around 30 Hz, high passed at 25 Hz and used quasi-metric EQ to smooth down the mess. The speakers I used were very efficient at around 93dB 1w/1m and the sub had the maximum effciency I could get in that sized enclosure. It had the capability to get your ears ringing and over 120dB of bass response so I was content. The fun part was I never told them what amplifier power, speaker brands or even where the sub was located. The way to avoid those mall parking lot testosterone battles was call it a "SQ" (sound quality) system

A co-worker wanted the sound quality I had but more...as in MOAR! He had a pile of car audio magazines (early 90's) and not only drank the Kool-Aid..he was drunk on it. Attempting to teach him about watts, speaker efficiency, inverse square law, proper wire guages, alternators, batteries and so on would of been a waste of my time. By then I realized that I could not teach the world and have a life at the same time. What I did was take a pair of PA speakers (6 to 8 ohms impedance 100dB at 2.83V) and a car amp that produced 15 watts per channel into 4 ohms or around 10 watts per channel into the 6 ohm PA speaker woofer impedance. I told him the rather small amp was a Class D that pushed big watts per channel and he fell for it. Sure, I wired it into the 20 amp fuse on his panel but...reality does not matter. He took his hatchback out, the high frequency and midrange horns pointing directly at his ears for a bit of blasting. A few hours later he comes back with a big smile on his face complete with his ears ringing. After all, if your ears are ringing that is the built in physical max so...

I broke it to him that the amp produced about 10 watts per channel and what he was hearing was massively efficient PA speakers with bass response boosted by cabin gain. It is almost impossible to go into denial when your ears are ringing! Welcome to 18's class called "Watts don't matter" and he learned about speaker efficiency, speaker power handling, converting watts to amp gain or dB/W, the inverse square law, basic horn/waveguide theory, dispersion and speaker bandwidth with the focus on subwoofers. In mall parking lot audio wars, always use a thousand watt amplifier (into 1 ohm) and drive it at 2 ohms or even 4 ohms to get 250 to 500 watts to prevent frying your battery/alternator but still have mall street cred by having a "thousand watt amp" Going with higher efficiency subs (12/15/18, ported/bandpass) will give you the insane SPL without blowing up the electrical power or dim your headlights like noob systems. It "is" a thousand watt amp technically--learn to lie legally!

Watts are just one tool in the tool box of audio, by itself it is meaningless. Speaker efficiency, speaker power handling, speaker impedance, listening distance, how large is the acoustic space and even room reflectivity all play a critical part. My buddy wanted to have a party in the woods--he had the two greatest audio enhancements ready ever devised. Basically, alcohol and women in shorts--those two things always improve sound quality. We used my 4 ohm load 157 pound each 3-way PA speakers and he drove them with the rear two channels of his 4x75 watt car amp. Rotated the balance to the rear channels and hooked them up. Those 4 ohm monsters produced 103dB one watt/one meter so at say 63 watts with the engine off, that calculates to 18dB of amp gain. 103 + 18 = 121dB each which was deemed reasonable SPL for a party in the woods. Figure around 110dB peaks at a distance of 10 feet so it was time to party! We had a good time for around 5 or 6 hours, crashed to our tents once the keg ran out and all was well. Generally speaking, the speakers were not driven into clipping and the load was low enough not to kill his monster battery so we could drive out in the morning.

Obviously, if I had two completely different sets of PA speakers I was either the villiage idiot or used them for PA purposes--a little of both actually! Doing PA systems brings you to the real world quickly, you have to learn what "loud" is in decibels, you learn that wall outlets have a limited amount of power to feel power hungry AB amps, more power applied means more distortion as SPL has an inverse relationship with sound quality. Other things like dispersion become critical, room acoustics will bite your butt if you can't predict them or have ways to minimize their effects. After all, you are the "professional" that should be able to fix the acoustics in a school gym to get stellar sound quality--right? Yeah, but the advertisements say that the Spazmaster 3000 will cure all acoustic ills with a push of the button! The best thing I ever purchased in pro sound equipment was a book--because throwing money at the problem is an option but knowing I'd have to carry all those racks up a flight of stairs created the weight limit rapidly. Time is not unlimited because I had a day job so learning about acoustics, EQ, PEQ, delay etc. and taking measurements saved a ton of time when doing proper setup. Times up and the show must go on. It did not matter what I thought of the sound, it mattered what the people that paid money at the door thought of the sound. If you consistently do it wrong, you won't get hired and will take a bath on resale value so education was not optional. Nothing personal, just business. I did PA for 9 years--good times but once you hit 30 in the nightclub world--you are old and a bit creepy... that was fine, I learned what I needed to know so sold off most my gear and pressed on. One pair of the small PA speakers became my garage speakers so I didn't need rockstar mode in the house. After a few brews, it sounded good and only got better the longer the night wore on (or until you fell asleep, cops show up etc.)

Consumer audio in your house has the same rules that apply be it car audio, PA systems in rooms, party systems in the woods or computer speakers. The room acoustics is the variable as it changes depending on room size, reflectivity or if no room at all. Car audio is nearfield to the extreme, PA systems outside in the woods is farfield in the extreme but the rules for amplifier power don't change. Room acoustics, speaker positioning etc. get very complex quickly or why there are engineers that study that science. However, amplifiers and their interaction with speakers are not a complex subject. Sure, you have power compression, beaming, lobing, distortion etc. with speakers but amplifier power is rather simple. Basically, understand the relationship with watts to amplifier gain in decibels, learn the rate of speaker SPL decline over distance, understand the difference between efficiency and sensitivity and how to calculate it. If you like, get a SPL app for your phone and measure the decline in SPL difference between 1 meter (39.4 inches) and the listening position where your head holes are located. Once you get that measurement, say it is -8dB in YOUR room...now you can calculate SPL accurately with amplifier power as long as you know actual measured (third party) efficiency measurements of your speaker. If you want 100dB peaks rated C in dB you will know 108dB is required from your speakers at one meter. That can be easily calculated by converting watts to dB of gain. Don't be a moron! Learn the difference between A weighting and C weighting with SPL meters--don't want to look like a fool and go safety nanny screaming about how 85dB rated C measurements can damage your hearing when that is actual A weighting in measurement. Learn what C weighting is and how it drastically differs from A weighting. If you care about hearing damage, always use A weighting because C weighting is used for frequency accuracy testing--not hearing damage. It matters!

In summation, watts only matter until they don't matter. The area they don't matter is when other factors matter more be it room acoustics, speaker efficiency, distance from the speakers and so on. My system will hit reference levels at less than 40 watts to any speaker in the system (measured) My AVR has the limiter set at "0dB" so keep spinning that knob, it just stops. Would I get better sound with outboard amps? I have two outboard amps and I did screw around with them cuz...beefy amps are cool. My beefy amps are generally used for my PA system out in the garage but I bring them in during the winter and want to play with my toys. Alas, they also have power/clip lights and if I really care, I can plug in my laptop to the USB outputs and get actual waveforms and readings in real time. Nothing cooler than that... gangster audio points. My AVR still kills the party at less than 40 watts for the mains but my subs can easily drain over 1,000 watts during movie chaos so I feel better. I did this specifically by design. My living room MLP is 11 feet but I might move and throw the system in a full basement with two rows of seats! My mains can easily handle 250 watts each (tested) so I would get and outboard amp for my left/center/right because I have two rows of seats. For living room use I don't need outboard amps but for full basement use with two rows I will. The system design is flexible enough to add more power when needed, not needed now but that might change in the future and I don't want to throw it all away and start over.

The last piece of advice applies if you have pre-amp outs on your AVR/reciever or whatever. You can rent PA amplifiers that have USB outputs to read in real time what your output looks like in power and the waveform. Learn how to connect them up and use that software and you will see in real time what is required for your amplifiers to do with your speakers, in your speakers location, in your room with whatever SPL level you require. Very educational, you will have the results in real time what is required for amplification. Before strapping up those pro amps, read up how to do it and program the amplifier to set a limiter to your speaker maximum power level (or RMS rating) also set the high pass filter to filter out frequencies below the rated bandwidth of your speakers to prevent woofer damage. Once you have it programmed, if you like you can crank it up a bit to "see what it will do" at max power but pay attention to the output limiter light! Red is bad! The good news is not only are you gaining understanding, it is rather entertaining to be loud and stupid "for science" If your ears are ringing but the limiter never flickers--congrats, you have more SPL capability than you can use... Sorry if this information annoys the mall parking lot audio gurus... 100 watts, 1000 watts or 10,000 watts don't mean anything without all the other factors in the calculation. If you require one number--I'd say 43--it is always the answer.
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post #22 of 30 Old 02-26-2020, 03:56 AM
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If you just have the desire to listen to music in "pure" 2.0 channel, there's nothing wrong with that, but it is in no way optimal for sound quality if that is your goal. "Pure" 2.0 channel without subs and eq is low fidelity. If you want true high fidelity sound, start with well placed dual subs, and eq below 3-400 Hz to fix the horrible response down low that you get from two speakers and no subs. Horribly uneven frequency response is not high fidelity. Far from it, and that's what you get with two speakers and no subs.

So if you just prefer the low fidelity of "pure" 2 channel, go for it. If you want high fidelity and the best sound quality, use dual subs and eq, but limit eq to below 300 Hz. Well designed speakers should not be eq'd full range. If you have lousy speakers(and *many* speakers, even well known audiophile brands are lousy), full range eq might be less bad.

If you haven't done so, a Umik-1 for $100 along with REW will let you see how your equipment is performing and give you an objective, fact based idea as to wether or not you are hearing high fidelity sound.

Last edited by bear123; 02-26-2020 at 04:04 AM.
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post #23 of 30 Old 03-02-2020, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
Let us boil this down to the root question "Do watts matter?"

Years ago, I learned electronics as a career gig before audio became a hobby. Makes sense, when in school a boombox fit my needs at the time so press on. Since I had the supernatural ability to install a car stereo by making my own wiring harness, installing the speakers and doing the proper tuning without burning up the electrical supply I became "that guy". I learned quickly when people wanted "help" it means YOU get stuck doing the full installation and I don't find being upside down in a hot car sweating while wiring to be particularly enjoyable so rapidly became an "advisor" not an installer! The sub amp think was the dominant question with an almost religious ferver when it came down to diameter of the subwoofer, brands, how it was loaded and more power was always the answer! I specified low power at the start because I did not want to purchase a high amp alternator, batteries used in commercial trucks or use electrical wiring the size of my thumb. It was a 100% stealth install to include the stock faceplate (mounted with magnets) to cover the CD deck and the subwoofer was built and installed in a gym bag complete with socks hanging out. The sub was a ported 10 inch subwoofer tuned to around 30 Hz, high passed at 25 Hz and used quasi-metric EQ to smooth down the mess. The speakers I used were very efficient at around 93dB 1w/1m and the sub had the maximum effciency I could get in that sized enclosure. It had the capability to get your ears ringing and over 120dB of bass response so I was content. The fun part was I never told them what amplifier power, speaker brands or even where the sub was located. The way to avoid those mall parking lot testosterone battles was call it a "SQ" (sound quality) system

A co-worker wanted the sound quality I had but more...as in MOAR! He had a pile of car audio magazines (early 90's) and not only drank the Kool-Aid..he was drunk on it. Attempting to teach him about watts, speaker efficiency, inverse square law, proper wire guages, alternators, batteries and so on would of been a waste of my time. By then I realized that I could not teach the world and have a life at the same time. What I did was take a pair of PA speakers (6 to 8 ohms impedance 100dB at 2.83V) and a car amp that produced 15 watts per channel into 4 ohms or around 10 watts per channel into the 6 ohm PA speaker woofer impedance. I told him the rather small amp was a Class D that pushed big watts per channel and he fell for it. Sure, I wired it into the 20 amp fuse on his panel but...reality does not matter. He took his hatchback out, the high frequency and midrange horns pointing directly at his ears for a bit of blasting. A few hours later he comes back with a big smile on his face complete with his ears ringing. After all, if your ears are ringing that is the built in physical max so...

I broke it to him that the amp produced about 10 watts per channel and what he was hearing was massively efficient PA speakers with bass response boosted by cabin gain. It is almost impossible to go into denial when your ears are ringing! Welcome to 18's class called "Watts don't matter" and he learned about speaker efficiency, speaker power handling, converting watts to amp gain or dB/W, the inverse square law, basic horn/waveguide theory, dispersion and speaker bandwidth with the focus on subwoofers. In mall parking lot audio wars, always use a thousand watt amplifier (into 1 ohm) and drive it at 2 ohms or even 4 ohms to get 250 to 500 watts to prevent frying your battery/alternator but still have mall street cred by having a "thousand watt amp" Going with higher efficiency subs (12/15/18, ported/bandpass) will give you the insane SPL without blowing up the electrical power or dim your headlights like noob systems. It "is" a thousand watt amp technically--learn to lie legally!

Watts are just one tool in the tool box of audio, by itself it is meaningless. Speaker efficiency, speaker power handling, speaker impedance, listening distance, how large is the acoustic space and even room reflectivity all play a critical part. My buddy wanted to have a party in the woods--he had the two greatest audio enhancements ready ever devised. Basically, alcohol and women in shorts--those two things always improve sound quality. We used my 4 ohm load 157 pound each 3-way PA speakers and he drove them with the rear two channels of his 4x75 watt car amp. Rotated the balance to the rear channels and hooked them up. Those 4 ohm monsters produced 103dB one watt/one meter so at say 63 watts with the engine off, that calculates to 18dB of amp gain. 103 + 18 = 121dB each which was deemed reasonable SPL for a party in the woods. Figure around 110dB peaks at a distance of 10 feet so it was time to party! We had a good time for around 5 or 6 hours, crashed to our tents once the keg ran out and all was well. Generally speaking, the speakers were not driven into clipping and the load was low enough not to kill his monster battery so we could drive out in the morning.

Obviously, if I had two completely different sets of PA speakers I was either the villiage idiot or used them for PA purposes--a little of both actually! Doing PA systems brings you to the real world quickly, you have to learn what "loud" is in decibels, you learn that wall outlets have a limited amount of power to feel power hungry AB amps, more power applied means more distortion as SPL has an inverse relationship with sound quality. Other things like dispersion become critical, room acoustics will bite your butt if you can't predict them or have ways to minimize their effects. After all, you are the "professional" that should be able to fix the acoustics in a school gym to get stellar sound quality--right? Yeah, but the advertisements say that the Spazmaster 3000 will cure all acoustic ills with a push of the button! The best thing I ever purchased in pro sound equipment was a book--because throwing money at the problem is an option but knowing I'd have to carry all those racks up a flight of stairs created the weight limit rapidly. Time is not unlimited because I had a day job so learning about acoustics, EQ, PEQ, delay etc. and taking measurements saved a ton of time when doing proper setup. Times up and the show must go on. It did not matter what I thought of the sound, it mattered what the people that paid money at the door thought of the sound. If you consistently do it wrong, you won't get hired and will take a bath on resale value so education was not optional. Nothing personal, just business. I did PA for 9 years--good times but once you hit 30 in the nightclub world--you are old and a bit creepy... that was fine, I learned what I needed to know so sold off most my gear and pressed on. One pair of the small PA speakers became my garage speakers so I didn't need rockstar mode in the house. After a few brews, it sounded good and only got better the longer the night wore on (or until you fell asleep, cops show up etc.)

Consumer audio in your house has the same rules that apply be it car audio, PA systems in rooms, party systems in the woods or computer speakers. The room acoustics is the variable as it changes depending on room size, reflectivity or if no room at all. Car audio is nearfield to the extreme, PA systems outside in the woods is farfield in the extreme but the rules for amplifier power don't change. Room acoustics, speaker positioning etc. get very complex quickly or why there are engineers that study that science. However, amplifiers and their interaction with speakers are not a complex subject. Sure, you have power compression, beaming, lobing, distortion etc. with speakers but amplifier power is rather simple. Basically, understand the relationship with watts to amplifier gain in decibels, learn the rate of speaker SPL decline over distance, understand the difference between efficiency and sensitivity and how to calculate it. If you like, get a SPL app for your phone and measure the decline in SPL difference between 1 meter (39.4 inches) and the listening position where your head holes are located. Once you get that measurement, say it is -8dB in YOUR room...now you can calculate SPL accurately with amplifier power as long as you know actual measured (third party) efficiency measurements of your speaker. If you want 100dB peaks rated C in dB you will know 108dB is required from your speakers at one meter. That can be easily calculated by converting watts to dB of gain. Don't be a moron! Learn the difference between A weighting and C weighting with SPL meters--don't want to look like a fool and go safety nanny screaming about how 85dB rated C measurements can damage your hearing when that is actual A weighting in measurement. Learn what C weighting is and how it drastically differs from A weighting. If you care about hearing damage, always use A weighting because C weighting is used for frequency accuracy testing--not hearing damage. It matters!

In summation, watts only matter until they don't matter. The area they don't matter is when other factors matter more be it room acoustics, speaker efficiency, distance from the speakers and so on. My system will hit reference levels at less than 40 watts to any speaker in the system (measured) My AVR has the limiter set at "0dB" so keep spinning that knob, it just stops. Would I get better sound with outboard amps? I have two outboard amps and I did screw around with them cuz...beefy amps are cool. My beefy amps are generally used for my PA system out in the garage but I bring them in during the winter and want to play with my toys. Alas, they also have power/clip lights and if I really care, I can plug in my laptop to the USB outputs and get actual waveforms and readings in real time. Nothing cooler than that... gangster audio points. My AVR still kills the party at less than 40 watts for the mains but my subs can easily drain over 1,000 watts during movie chaos so I feel better. I did this specifically by design. My living room MLP is 11 feet but I might move and throw the system in a full basement with two rows of seats! My mains can easily handle 250 watts each (tested) so I would get and outboard amp for my left/center/right because I have two rows of seats. For living room use I don't need outboard amps but for full basement use with two rows I will. The system design is flexible enough to add more power when needed, not needed now but that might change in the future and I don't want to throw it all away and start over.

The last piece of advice applies if you have pre-amp outs on your AVR/reciever or whatever. You can rent PA amplifiers that have USB outputs to read in real time what your output looks like in power and the waveform. Learn how to connect them up and use that software and you will see in real time what is required for your amplifiers to do with your speakers, in your speakers location, in your room with whatever SPL level you require. Very educational, you will have the results in real time what is required for amplification. Before strapping up those pro amps, read up how to do it and program the amplifier to set a limiter to your speaker maximum power level (or RMS rating) also set the high pass filter to filter out frequencies below the rated bandwidth of your speakers to prevent woofer damage. Once you have it programmed, if you like you can crank it up a bit to "see what it will do" at max power but pay attention to the output limiter light! Red is bad! The good news is not only are you gaining understanding, it is rather entertaining to be loud and stupid "for science" If your ears are ringing but the limiter never flickers--congrats, you have more SPL capability than you can use... Sorry if this information annoys the mall parking lot audio gurus... 100 watts, 1000 watts or 10,000 watts don't mean anything without all the other factors in the calculation. If you require one number--I'd say 43--it is always the answer.



There seems to be a rather erroneous myth that for a given SPL at a given distance from the speaker and well within the power envelope of the weaker AVR (including transients), the speaker attached to a power amp will draw more power from it than from the AVR as the AVR is somehow limits the power. I'm not sure how this line of thinking is even remotely possible .
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AVR Yamaha RX-A 3060/ RX-V 1900/1500
TT/Cassette ProJect Xpression III/Yamaha KX1200/KX800
BR Yam. BD-S681/Sony X800/Pan. BD30 DPL Sam. 65"/ 55"/50"
Speakers PSB T-45,8C,1B/ PSB 500,200C,RBH A600/Alphas
Subs Rythmic LV12-R/PSB Subsonic 6/5
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Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post
Hello. I would appreciate some opinions on this, preferably from those that have actually done this . My setup:
- Denon x6500
- Cambridge Audio CXNv2 (network streamer) - connected to AVR via L/R analog cables
- Def Tech BP9080 towers (front speakers)

Last night I spent several hours connecting my new CXN to my system and demoing back and forth from the Denon HEOS functionality to the CXN, playing the same songs from the same NAS. I have the sound configuration the same through the Denon for both inputs (no sound options on CXN), i.e. all Audessy stuff off, 2 channel stereo, front speakers full range, no sub, graphic equalizer flat initially. The CXN sounds better to me for sure.. wider sound stage and things are just a bit clearer and more crisp. Is it 1k better... NOT according to my wife.

Questions: do you think I'd notice another improvement if I had a separate amp for the front 2 channels? I would run everything through this new amp via the analog preamp out terminals of the Denon. If some of you thought it would be worth while, would I run my CXN directly through the amp, bypassing the Denon all together? The down side to this is that the CXN has no tone controls, which I insist on having. The PB9080s don't require a lot of power to run them and my theater room is smallish. Does anyone have an amp/integrated amp with tone controls and HT bypass that they would recommend in the 1K price range? If running everything through the Denon is perfectly acceptable, then I wouldn't need tone controls, as I would have the Denon equalizer.

Thank you in advance!!
I have newer and older connected by pre-outs for 2.0 HT or 2CH music listening. The 30 year-old integrated amp. easily beats the AVR for 2CH music listening. No subs, no EQ, no HT Bypass, no switchers. I like the simplicity, and the capability for sometimes watching soundless TV while listening to CDs.

Re HT Bypass amps., a list as follows.

http://audiophile.no/en/articles-tes...rocessor-input

Panasonic TC65CX850U Yamaha RX-V1079 Technics SU-V650 Panasonic DMP-UB900 Sony UBP-X800 Polk Audio SDA-2B

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post #25 of 30 Old 03-02-2020, 12:42 PM
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For anyone interested in audio science rather than blindly following the marketers' myths they spew in trying to sell the consumer more products than they need, I fully explain what bi-preamping, aka "HT Bypass" truly is here.

There are slight variations depending on if the extra device they are trying to push is just a preamp or an integrated amp.

Last edited by m. zillch; 03-02-2020 at 12:45 PM.
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post #26 of 30 Old 03-02-2020, 07:15 PM
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Re HT Bypass amps., a list as follows.

http://audiophile.no/en/articles-tes...rocessor-input
Your link to a list of integrated amplifiers and preamplifiers that have some form of home-theater bypass is extremely helpful. It is up to date as well. It will come in very handy for many here now and into the future.

I sent an email moments ago to the fellow in Norway who maintains the list to thank him for his good work.

Thank you, too, for the link!

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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Is it possible that the two DAC's sound differently because one is a R2R and the other isn't? I mean, that would make them physically different.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
Let us boil this down to the root question "Do watts matter?"



Years ago, I learned electronics as a career gig before audio became a hobby. Makes sense, when in school a boombox fit my needs at the time so press on. Since I had the supernatural ability to install a car stereo by making my own wiring harness, installing the speakers and doing the proper tuning without burning up the electrical supply I became "that guy". I learned quickly when people wanted "help" it means YOU get stuck doing the full installation and I don't find being upside down in a hot car sweating while wiring to be particularly enjoyable so rapidly became an "advisor" not an installer! The sub amp think was the dominant question with an almost religious ferver when it came down to diameter of the subwoofer, brands, how it was loaded and more power was always the answer! I specified low power at the start because I did not want to purchase a high amp alternator, batteries used in commercial trucks or use electrical wiring the size of my thumb. It was a 100% stealth install to include the stock faceplate (mounted with magnets) to cover the CD deck and the subwoofer was built and installed in a gym bag complete with socks hanging out. The sub was a ported 10 inch subwoofer tuned to around 30 Hz, high passed at 25 Hz and used quasi-metric EQ to smooth down the mess. The speakers I used were very efficient at around 93dB 1w/1m and the sub had the maximum effciency I could get in that sized enclosure. It had the capability to get your ears ringing and over 120dB of bass response so I was content. The fun part was I never told them what amplifier power, speaker brands or even where the sub was located. The way to avoid those mall parking lot testosterone battles was call it a "SQ" (sound quality) system



A co-worker wanted the sound quality I had but more...as in MOAR! He had a pile of car audio magazines (early 90's) and not only drank the Kool-Aid..he was drunk on it. Attempting to teach him about watts, speaker efficiency, inverse square law, proper wire guages, alternators, batteries and so on would of been a waste of my time. By then I realized that I could not teach the world and have a life at the same time. What I did was take a pair of PA speakers (6 to 8 ohms impedance 100dB at 2.83V) and a car amp that produced 15 watts per channel into 4 ohms or around 10 watts per channel into the 6 ohm PA speaker woofer impedance. I told him the rather small amp was a Class D that pushed big watts per channel and he fell for it. Sure, I wired it into the 20 amp fuse on his panel but...reality does not matter. He took his hatchback out, the high frequency and midrange horns pointing directly at his ears for a bit of blasting. A few hours later he comes back with a big smile on his face complete with his ears ringing. After all, if your ears are ringing that is the built in physical max so...



I broke it to him that the amp produced about 10 watts per channel and what he was hearing was massively efficient PA speakers with bass response boosted by cabin gain. It is almost impossible to go into denial when your ears are ringing! Welcome to 18's class called "Watts don't matter" and he learned about speaker efficiency, speaker power handling, converting watts to amp gain or dB/W, the inverse square law, basic horn/waveguide theory, dispersion and speaker bandwidth with the focus on subwoofers. In mall parking lot audio wars, always use a thousand watt amplifier (into 1 ohm) and drive it at 2 ohms or even 4 ohms to get 250 to 500 watts to prevent frying your battery/alternator but still have mall street cred by having a "thousand watt amp" Going with higher efficiency subs (12/15/18, ported/bandpass) will give you the insane SPL without blowing up the electrical power or dim your headlights like noob systems. It "is" a thousand watt amp technically--learn to lie legally!



Watts are just one tool in the tool box of audio, by itself it is meaningless. Speaker efficiency, speaker power handling, speaker impedance, listening distance, how large is the acoustic space and even room reflectivity all play a critical part. My buddy wanted to have a party in the woods--he had the two greatest audio enhancements ready ever devised. Basically, alcohol and women in shorts--those two things always improve sound quality. We used my 4 ohm load 157 pound each 3-way PA speakers and he drove them with the rear two channels of his 4x75 watt car amp. Rotated the balance to the rear channels and hooked them up. Those 4 ohm monsters produced 103dB one watt/one meter so at say 63 watts with the engine off, that calculates to 18dB of amp gain. 103 + 18 = 121dB each which was deemed reasonable SPL for a party in the woods. Figure around 110dB peaks at a distance of 10 feet so it was time to party! We had a good time for around 5 or 6 hours, crashed to our tents once the keg ran out and all was well. Generally speaking, the speakers were not driven into clipping and the load was low enough not to kill his monster battery so we could drive out in the morning.



Obviously, if I had two completely different sets of PA speakers I was either the villiage idiot or used them for PA purposes--a little of both actually! Doing PA systems brings you to the real world quickly, you have to learn what "loud" is in decibels, you learn that wall outlets have a limited amount of power to feel power hungry AB amps, more power applied means more distortion as SPL has an inverse relationship with sound quality. Other things like dispersion become critical, room acoustics will bite your butt if you can't predict them or have ways to minimize their effects. After all, you are the "professional" that should be able to fix the acoustics in a school gym to get stellar sound quality--right? Yeah, but the advertisements say that the Spazmaster 3000 will cure all acoustic ills with a push of the button! The best thing I ever purchased in pro sound equipment was a book--because throwing money at the problem is an option but knowing I'd have to carry all those racks up a flight of stairs created the weight limit rapidly. Time is not unlimited because I had a day job so learning about acoustics, EQ, PEQ, delay etc. and taking measurements saved a ton of time when doing proper setup. Times up and the show must go on. It did not matter what I thought of the sound, it mattered what the people that paid money at the door thought of the sound. If you consistently do it wrong, you won't get hired and will take a bath on resale value so education was not optional. Nothing personal, just business. I did PA for 9 years--good times but once you hit 30 in the nightclub world--you are old and a bit creepy... that was fine, I learned what I needed to know so sold off most my gear and pressed on. One pair of the small PA speakers became my garage speakers so I didn't need rockstar mode in the house. After a few brews, it sounded good and only got better the longer the night wore on (or until you fell asleep, cops show up etc.)



Consumer audio in your house has the same rules that apply be it car audio, PA systems in rooms, party systems in the woods or computer speakers. The room acoustics is the variable as it changes depending on room size, reflectivity or if no room at all. Car audio is nearfield to the extreme, PA systems outside in the woods is farfield in the extreme but the rules for amplifier power don't change. Room acoustics, speaker positioning etc. get very complex quickly or why there are engineers that study that science. However, amplifiers and their interaction with speakers are not a complex subject. Sure, you have power compression, beaming, lobing, distortion etc. with speakers but amplifier power is rather simple. Basically, understand the relationship with watts to amplifier gain in decibels, learn the rate of speaker SPL decline over distance, understand the difference between efficiency and sensitivity and how to calculate it. If you like, get a SPL app for your phone and measure the decline in SPL difference between 1 meter (39.4 inches) and the listening position where your head holes are located. Once you get that measurement, say it is -8dB in YOUR room...now you can calculate SPL accurately with amplifier power as long as you know actual measured (third party) efficiency measurements of your speaker. If you want 100dB peaks rated C in dB you will know 108dB is required from your speakers at one meter. That can be easily calculated by converting watts to dB of gain. Don't be a moron! Learn the difference between A weighting and C weighting with SPL meters--don't want to look like a fool and go safety nanny screaming about how 85dB rated C measurements can damage your hearing when that is actual A weighting in measurement. Learn what C weighting is and how it drastically differs from A weighting. If you care about hearing damage, always use A weighting because C weighting is used for frequency accuracy testing--not hearing damage. It matters!



In summation, watts only matter until they don't matter. The area they don't matter is when other factors matter more be it room acoustics, speaker efficiency, distance from the speakers and so on. My system will hit reference levels at less than 40 watts to any speaker in the system (measured) My AVR has the limiter set at "0dB" so keep spinning that knob, it just stops. Would I get better sound with outboard amps? I have two outboard amps and I did screw around with them cuz...beefy amps are cool. My beefy amps are generally used for my PA system out in the garage but I bring them in during the winter and want to play with my toys. Alas, they also have power/clip lights and if I really care, I can plug in my laptop to the USB outputs and get actual waveforms and readings in real time. Nothing cooler than that... gangster audio points. My AVR still kills the party at less than 40 watts for the mains but my subs can easily drain over 1,000 watts during movie chaos so I feel better. I did this specifically by design. My living room MLP is 11 feet but I might move and throw the system in a full basement with two rows of seats! My mains can easily handle 250 watts each (tested) so I would get and outboard amp for my left/center/right because I have two rows of seats. For living room use I don't need outboard amps but for full basement use with two rows I will. The system design is flexible enough to add more power when needed, not needed now but that might change in the future and I don't want to throw it all away and start over.



The last piece of advice applies if you have pre-amp outs on your AVR/reciever or whatever. You can rent PA amplifiers that have USB outputs to read in real time what your output looks like in power and the waveform. Learn how to connect them up and use that software and you will see in real time what is required for your amplifiers to do with your speakers, in your speakers location, in your room with whatever SPL level you require. Very educational, you will have the results in real time what is required for amplification. Before strapping up those pro amps, read up how to do it and program the amplifier to set a limiter to your speaker maximum power level (or RMS rating) also set the high pass filter to filter out frequencies below the rated bandwidth of your speakers to prevent woofer damage. Once you have it programmed, if you like you can crank it up a bit to "see what it will do" at max power but pay attention to the output limiter light! Red is bad! The good news is not only are you gaining understanding, it is rather entertaining to be loud and stupid "for science" If your ears are ringing but the limiter never flickers--congrats, you have more SPL capability than you can use... Sorry if this information annoys the mall parking lot audio gurus... 100 watts, 1000 watts or 10,000 watts don't mean anything without all the other factors in the calculation. If you require one number--I'd say 43--it is always the answer.
Awesome, you mentioned "book" was that literally a book which you want to recommend. or in general just researching learning stuff from various areas.

How you explained in your post seems to be hitting the nail on the head.dont always get such a, to the point explanation as you gave. Thanks







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post #29 of 30 Old 06-14-2020, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesthefish View Post
Awesome, you mentioned "book" was that literally a book which you want to recommend. or in general just researching learning stuff from various areas.

How you explained in your post seems to be hitting the nail on the head.dont always get such a, to the point explanation as you gave. Thanks

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It has been decades but Yamaha wrote the book on Sound Reinforcement, it is around 200 pages or so. I read it cover to cover and kept it in my cabling box in case I had an issue with the rig. This was useful when I ran into other PA people and they had questions, 'd throw them the book. Be awae it is for PA with plenty of information about microphones, room acoustics, dispersion, proper placement and so on--stil applies to consumer audio but be aware it does not explain through a lot of the marketing used in consumer audio.

Another good source would be QSC, they make pro gear and have "white papers" You could also go to the ProSoundWeb site, they have plenty of information also--including forums discussing various things. Be aware that a lot of the information does not apply to you, big difference in demands between a living room and a stadium so scale down what the cool kids are using.

Be careful and be realistic, some of those pro tool toys they play with sounds like fun but always remember what they are used for and how they work. So if you want to dip your toe into pro gear, for home use I'd look at sound studio gear. The studio stuff is made to be accurate and above all...silent in use VS pro gear where loud fans etc. are not much of a concern. Some studio gear has XLR balanced and RCA unbalanced inputs which allows connecting it to consumer gear much easier.

You can go to ProSoundWeb to get educational information, Crown and Rane have "white papers" and sites like data-bass.com have an incredible amount of information and testing with prosound, HT and consumer subwoofers. As far as books go, it has been years but I know Yamaha revised that book a few times--I think it is still available. The gear has changed but the rules have not, so if you want to geek out with a book, the Yamaha one is a good read.

Hope that helps and good luck in your quest.
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post #30 of 30 Old 06-15-2020, 12:20 PM
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Thanks bud

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