Upgrading receiver and adding an amp - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to upgrade my current receiver. I have an Onkyo TS SR605 and I am looking at a Denon AVR 2313 or 3313 or a Onkyo TX-NR717 or a Yamaha RX-V773. I was kind of leaning to the Onkyo because the price dropped on them, but I also really like the Denon.

I will be using a Polk CS400I center, RT25I surround, and Montior 30 rears. I have a Polk PSW 125 sub. I have older Polk towers (RT1000I) that I am also going to replace. I plan to get either RTiA7's or RTiA9's (this is a separate question that I am asking on the speaker page)

I am also considering an XPA-3 AMP to power the new towers and the center. (I will upgrade the center at some point but for now I think it is ok)

I am no expert plus living in beautiful northeast PA, there are no stores to go and listen to these, so my questions are:

1. Of the above receivers, which would you recommend. I am not tied to a strict budget and will pay a little more for better quality. I have had two Onkyo units so far and had no issues with either. I know nothing about the Denon except what I read and the Yamaha was recommended by someone. If there is a better suggestion I would welcome it.

2. If I go with the A7's or the A9's will the XPA-3 give me a better sound?

3. Will the XPA-3 help my center channel or I am better to get a 2 channel amp and run the center through the receiver? I do plan to upgrade the center at some point.

I am more concerned with doing it right rather than saving money, but I don't want to go overbord and spend 10 grand. My room is carpeted, about 15 x 20. I primarily watch TV, sports and blu ray. If I can get good music sound, I would also use it for music maybe 15% of the time.

Thank you for your help.
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philliesphan101 View Post

I am more concerned with doing it right rather than saving money, but I don't want to go overbord and spend 10 grand. My room is carpeted, about 15 x 20. I primarily watch TV, sports and blu ray. If I can get good music sound, I would also use it for music maybe 15% of the time.
Thank you for your help.

You should start with good, quality amplification.

Unlike receivers, good amps last many years and don't become obsolete. You can get some great deals on eBay/Audiogon/Craigslist. I regularly see Bryston, Adcom, ATI - all at reasonable prices.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 10:25 AM
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Both the Denon 2313CI and 3313CI would be an upgrade in audio fidelity over the 717 as they both use the much higher level Audyssey MultEQ XT rather than the lowest version of Audyssey 2EQ in the 717 (same as in your 605); however, note that the 2313CI does not have main zone pre-outs, so if there is any thought of adding an external amp, in the Denon line the 331XCI series is the lowest you can go.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 11:14 AM
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If I were you I would save on the external amp and would channel my funds into a Denon or Onkyo with Audyssey MultEQ XT 32 (highest version). IMHO the power of these AVRs should be enough to drive your speakers in your 15 x 20 room (even if you like to listen at 0 dB reference level), while you would get the highest SQ (Sound Quality) available on the market today.

Just another tip. YMMV. smile.gif
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

If I were you I would save on the external amp and would channel my funds into a Denon or Onkyo with Audyssey MultEQ XT 32 (highest version). IMHO the power of these AVRs should be enough to drive your speakers in your 15 x 20 room (even if you like to listen at 0 dB reference level), while you would get the highest SQ (Sound Quality) available on the market today.
Just another tip. YMMV. smile.gif

I disagree.

Here's my reasoning...

The Polks he linked are not very efficient (89db).

The Denon 2313 is only rated 105 watts stereo. You're looking at approx 75-80 watts into 5channels. Less into 7...
The Denon 3313 is rated the same, but 125 watts. So you're really looking at 90 wpc or so into 5, less into 7...
The Onkyo 717 plays the same misleading game. They use a 6ohm load to fudge the numbers, at a 1khz rating no less (not full bandwidth)
The Yamaha 773 is only rated for 95 watts stereo. So you're looking at approx 70 watts into 5 channels.

These receivers are not going to drive 89db speakers to reference levels easily. Push too hard, clipping occurs and there goes a speaker.

The OP said he was concerned with Sound Quality

Only the top tier receivers compete with separates when it comes to sound quality. The amplifier section of a mid/low end receiver cannot (and should not) compete with the sound quality a separate quality amp. Having 1 box for the processor, amplifier is convenient. It's also inexpensive to mass produce them. But when it comes to sound quality, receivers simply cannot compete (unless we're talking about the top tier products, which are, essentially separates in 1 box).

You can easily pickup a ATI 5 channel amp for $1k, that will output 150 clean watts of power to 5 channels simultaneously. If you're not on a strict budget, there's no reason not to.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

I disagree.
Here's my reasoning...
The Polks he linked are not very efficient (89db).

Good reasoning, indeed. smile.gif

Then, since the OP mentioned he is about to upgrade his Polk towers, why not recommend him to look for speakers with higher efficiency than 89 dB. We know that a 3dB increase will render double power, and with the same amp output power but more efficient speakers he can get the same result and call it a day.

Just gotta be careful not to do an overkill wih speaker efficiency coz it can easily happen that Audyssey will bottom out on the negative trim side when striving to set speakers to ref. level.

How about suggesting to look for speakers somewhere between 92-96 dB efficiency. Furthermore, the upgrade could be concluded by a phased plan, i.e. in the first phase buy the AVR with a) Audyssey XT 32, b) with pre-outs. Second phase to buy more efficient speakers. Third and final stage buy the external amps, if still necessary. OK, OK, I know there is no final stage in this hobby, so let's just call it 3rd phase. smile.gif
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

... the OP mentioned he is about to upgrade his Polk towers, why not recommend him to look for speakers with higher efficiency than 89 dB.

He already has a polk center and surrounds. For a cohesive soundfield, it's best to stick with the same brand of speaker.
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Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

How about suggesting to look for speakers somewhere between 92-96 dB efficiency.

I don't know of any in the Polk line... If you do, it would be helpful.

In addition to the efficiency argument, you're not addressing my point about sound quality. A good quality amp is going to sound better at every volume than the amp in a receiver.
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Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

Furthermore, the upgrade could be concluded by a phased plan, i.e. in the first phase buy the AVR with a) Audyssey XT 32, b) with pre-outs. Second phase to buy more efficient speakers. Third and final stage buy the external amps, if still necessary. OK, OK, I know there is no final stage in this hobby, so let's just call it 3rd phase. smile.gif

Why not save a step and just buy a good amp now?
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

He already has a polk center and surrounds. For a cohesive soundfield, it's best to stick with the same brand of speaker.

Well, yes, agree, it would be best, but IMHO it would really do no harm to the cohesive soundfield to have different brand L/R speakers (read: in this case more efficient ones) up front from the rest when efficiency, clipping and the like are at stake. I do belive that an AB blind test between identical and timbre matched speakeras vs. a controlled mixed setup would be pretty hard to be passed by anyone among the mortal ones. cool.gif Whaddaya think?
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I don't know of any in the Polk line... If you do, it would be helpful.

I don't know either, would need more indepth research.
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In addition to the efficiency argument, you're not addressing my point about sound quality. A good quality amp is going to sound better at every volume than the amp in a receiver.

But I do, ...IMHO amps make no difference for sound quality, they are the least ones to "blame" as far as they fit power requirements, ...rooms, speakers and their relation and interaction are the biggest criminals when it comes to talk about SQ, aren't they?
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Why not save a step and just buy a good amp now?

Coz I think there are to many things to consider and talk about before taking the plunge, eh?! wink.gif
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

IMHO it would really do no harm to the cohesive soundfield to have different brand L/R speakers (read: in this case more efficient ones) up front from the rest when efficiency, clipping and the like are at stake. I do belive that an AB blind test between identical and timbre matched speakeras vs. a controlled mixed setup would be pretty hard to be passed by anyone among the mortal ones. cool.gif Whaddaya think?

If you can't tell the difference between different speaker brands, your ears don't work very good. eek.gif
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Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

.IMHO amps make no difference for sound quality

If you can't tell the difference between different amplifiers, your ears don't work very good. eek.gif

Right now in my HT I have access to the following amps:

Onkyo
Sonance
B&K

They all sound very different, driving the exact same speakers.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

If you can't tell the difference between different speaker brands, your ears don't work very good. eek.gif
If you can't tell the difference between different amplifiers, your ears don't work very good. eek.gif
Right now in my HT I have access to the following amps:
Onkyo
Sonance
B&K
They all sound very different, driving the exact same speakers.

OK, now let's do the blind AB test in your room, ...ready? smile.gifcool.giftongue.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #11 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

OK, now let's do the blind AB test in your room, ...ready? smile.gifcool.giftongue.gifbiggrin.gif

I have a friend who really can't tell the difference between his system and mine.

He's running KEF's + Pioneer Elite + Energy 10" sub. He got a lot of it at a pawn shop.

I'm running Sonance Amps for the front channels + Onkyo 804 as pre/pro + Infinity Overture speakers + eD A5 350. I've pieced my system together over the past 15 years.

It would be very convenient for me if ours sounded the same. I could sell all my gear on CL and buy a nice panasonic HTIB.

wink.gif
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post #12 of 12 Old 09-29-2012, 07:19 AM
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I've never heard a SUBSTANTIAL difference in sound between separate/basic amps. Subtle differences but not substantial. Output power of amps and handling of low impedance loads is what distinguishes amps AFAIK. Speakers on the other hand sound very different. Even individual speaker components such as my Scanspeak softdomes and Eton ceramic/magnesium domes sound quite different.
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