Originally Posted by CDLehner
Originally Posted by Make Em' Dance
Let me save you some time and money. If you don't listen to music the way it was intended (2 channel stereo), then just power everything by your receiver.
The reason it is being suggested to power your two main speakers with a quality amplifier is because 2 channel music listening can be highly improved with a quality 2 channel integrated. If you are just listening in surround sound, then adding an additional amp will have limited benefits. All these "home theater" 3 and 5 channel amps are barely better than a quality receiver to begin with.
with MED here. More, my opinion; is by trying to fold good 2-channel and
good HT...into one system. Compromises both.
Sure...if you have mad money to throw at it; it can be pulled off. Though, I am in the camp...that what you're looking for, from the 2; is very different.
I understand; not everyone can have a dedicated
2-channel system...and dedicated
But maybe more than anything TD; you seem to be in a real rush...to the "next" thing. No sooner...than you're declaring your newly-arrived X18s; as CM2 killers...than you're looking at S40s.
Look; some people may say, I'm the last person...to be trying to slow someone's journey down. But, as they say: no zealot, like a convert.
I've been in your shoes, a bit. Work it backwards
: do you HAVE to have, HT? Sounds like yes. That leaves an IA out; and either an AVR or Pre-Pro. Then...if the question is; what power-amp, will do your X18s "justice". I'll second Aschen; ATI makes the guts...of some pretty hi-end kit. The Monoliths might be worth a shot.
Another school of thought: while they're hard to find...3 channels, keeps so much current; from pulled apart...5 or 7 different ways. Might try, an old anchor of an amp; like an HCA-1203 or 2003. Or an Aragon 8008.
not really in a rush per se, even if it might appear that way ostensibly. I’m definitely keeping my X18’s for a few years at least. I was just curious on the difference between those and the S40’s.
For the rest of it, I just want to get it all up and running, and I have a fixed budget to work with that won’t be able to be supplemented for at least a year, if not two, so it’s not like I can parse this project out over the next 6 months to allow better upgrades. I am, however, only going with 5.1 for now so that I can max out my main speakers, and I’ll worry about rears and Atmos later. I figured the X18’s are perfect bc I got a great deal on them, and if I want to upgrade my fronts down the road, I can move those to side surrounds and move the sides to the back.
HT was initially my main priority, but I don’t necessarily see any of this as a compromise, as I won’t be buying any lesser HT components or any greater stereo components no matter how I do this. I’m still buying one of the mid level 11.2 capable AVRs for $649-$699 regardless [the Integra or the Marantz 6013], as soon as one’s available. I see no reason to double that price for negligible gains. I’m still getting the same main 5 speakers no matter what [X14 for surrounds and either X18 or X28 for the center]. I already have my sub. My only real option to skimp on one thing in order to upgrade something else would be to pass on the X14 surrounds, find something cheaper with a similar sonic signature, and use those savings elsewhere, like on the amp or a 2nd sub [which I don’t think I need]. But then if I want 5-channel stereo capability or Blu-ray concerts, I think I’d want the X14’s over whatever improvement that an additional $300-400 in the amp can provide. How much more can a $1200 amp give me over an $800 one verses going with X14’s over a pair of budget speakers?
So the question really only comes down to what form the necessary external amplification comes in. I need at least 2 extra channels to make the full Atmos operational, and no matter how I do this, I will not be spending more than $800-1000 on an integrated amp and won’t be spending more than that on a power amp either, so this isn’t a scenario where I’d be even contemplating wanting to spend the entire $1600-2000 on one amp. I have absolutely zero problem with a comprise. You might view it as a compromise, in a negative light, but I simply look at it as— I’m getting dramatically better HT and music than I previously had, and that’s my goal. I’m not looking to sacrifice one for the other. I want good both... rather than great one, mediocre the other.... and I really don’t NEED my music to sound spectacular. I don’t NEED to spend a few grand to chase that extra 10% increase.
I mean, still remember a time when my music was listened to via cassette player on a boom box. Dyns with a premium AVR, even without an integrated amp, is a massive step beyond that and also beyond what 99.9% of the rest of the population listens to. Heck, I thought it was a huge upgrade 10 yrs ago when progressing to an Onkyo AVR with the KEF egg satellites in a box, and the Excites put that experience to shame. It kinda feels at times that some audiophiles treat this like, “unless you throw bookoo dollars into your system, all speakers will sound exactly the same and money spent on good speakers will be wasted”, but that’s just not the. This $800 pair of Excite X18’s on a 15 year old receiver, playing Pandora and Spotify for the time being, are a revelation compared to the same rig with B&W CM2’s and have me actually enjoying music enough to amend my HT/music ratio from the previous 95-5 to something like 70-30... and perhaps even 60-40.
So, back to my dilemma. I’ll need at least a 2-channel amp to get full Atmos and to be able to play 5-channel stereo without clipping. If I can accomplish that with an $800-1000 integrated that can allow me to stream my 2-channel music directly through it while still being able to stream 5-channel music through the AVR with the integrated amp remaining operational in this mode, and with the integrated also being able to power my fronts during HT usage, then to me that would seem like the ideal solution, not a compromise but being able to have my cake and eat it too.
Thanks on the amp recommendation by the way.