Emotiva XPA-5 and Pioneer 1120-K - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 40 Old 12-07-2014, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Emotiva XPA-5 and Pioneer 1120-K

I've been thinking about getting the Emotiva XPA-5 to go along my existing Pioneer 1120-k.
My problem/issue lies on back end of my 1120, where it has a "pre out" section and everything starts to get a bit confusing.

How exactly will I be able to connect the XPA-5 to it. Also, the center channel is sharing the "sub out" section and I'm no sure whether I'll need a special connector or dongle for it.
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post #2 of 40 Old 12-07-2014, 08:37 PM
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You need standard RCA wires to connect to the amp, 5 of them presumably. The center and sub outputs are next to each other just because they are both single channels instead of stereo pairs like the others, it isn't a special section. They are all RCA connectors, nothing special. I'm guessing you want to use Front left and right, Center, and Surround left and right.

The XPA-5 doesn't have any channel designation on the back other than numbers 1-5, and it doesn't matter which amp channel you use for which sound channel. So, plan ahead, make sure you are plugging the right speaker wires to match the RCA wires from the 1120. Maybe label the wires, I used different colored tape on mine.
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post #3 of 40 Old 12-07-2014, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildude View Post
I've been thinking about getting the Emotiva XPA-5 to go along my existing Pioneer 1120-k.
My problem/issue lies on back end of my 1120, where it has a "pre out" section and everything starts to get a bit confusing.

How exactly will I be able to connect the XPA-5 to it. Also, the center channel is sharing the "sub out" section and I'm no sure whether I'll need a special connector or dongle for it.
Ok. I see your confusion. (You are trying to look at those as speaker post connections)
The preout channel connectors (RCAs) are one per channel. Red for the Right and White for the corresponding Left. (Unlike speaker connectors where there are 2 connectors per speaker)
With XPA-5 you will be able to drive 5 channels from the preout.
e.g. 2 Front channels (Left (white) and Right (red)) RCA cables will connect to Channel 1 and Channel 2 on XPA-5 where it says unbalanced.
1 Center (It's not shared with subwoofer, It's subwoofer and Center preout spearately) will connect to say Channel 3 on XPA-5
2 Surround Channels ( Left(White) and Right (red)) RCA cables will connect to the remaining Channel 4 and Channel 5 on XPA-5
If you happen to have Back Surrounds, you
will either need another stereo amp or should use 1120's internal amp (by connecting speaker directly to the speaker posts).

Edit: I just noticed that XPA-5 does have channel designation on the back. So you might want to us it that way. 1-FL, 2-LS, 3-Center, 4-RS, 5-FR (It's mentioned just above the channel marking). This is just a convention and not mandatory.

Last edited by aaranddeeman; 12-07-2014 at 08:50 PM.
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post #4 of 40 Old 12-07-2014, 10:30 PM
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The good question too is do you really NEED that extra amplification? It's not going to make things sound better. Unless you're getting clipping, you could be dropping a grand or whatever for no reason.
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post #5 of 40 Old 12-07-2014, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by zgeneral View Post
The good question too is do you really NEED that extra amplification? It's not going to make things sound better. Unless you're getting clipping, you could be dropping a grand or whatever for no reason.
Completely agreed (I'm glad someone was asking this question)!

The 1120 puts out 110 watts into 8ohms. What kind of speakers are you trying to drive? Do you find yourself turning the volume above the 0db mark (or really close to it?)
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post #6 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaranddeeman View Post
Ok. I see your confusion. (You are trying to look at those as speaker post connections)
The preout channel connectors (RCAs) are one per channel. Red for the Right and White for the corresponding Left. (Unlike speaker connectors where there are 2 connectors per speaker)
With XPA-5 you will be able to drive 5 channels from the preout.
e.g. 2 Front channels (Left (white) and Right (red)) RCA cables will connect to Channel 1 and Channel 2 on XPA-5 where it says unbalanced.
1 Center (It's not shared with subwoofer, It's subwoofer and Center preout spearately) will connect to say Channel 3 on XPA-5
2 Surround Channels ( Left(White) and Right (red)) RCA cables will connect to the remaining Channel 4 and Channel 5 on XPA-5
If you happen to have Back Surrounds, you
will either need another stereo amp or should use 1120's internal amp (by connecting speaker directly to the speaker posts).

Edit: I just noticed that XPA-5 does have channel designation on the back. So you might want to us it that way. 1-FL, 2-LS, 3-Center, 4-RS, 5-FR (It's mentioned just above the channel marking). This is just a convention and not mandatory.
I see, so basically it'll be something like this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nalthien View Post
Completely agreed (I'm glad someone was asking this question)!

The 1120 puts out 110 watts into 8ohms. What kind of speakers are you trying to drive? Do you find yourself turning the volume above the 0db mark (or really close to it?)
I'm currently in college, so my speakers are rather "modest" by the standards of many members here.
(SP-PK51FS)[minus the sub] I've been upgrading my setup slowly over time and I'm not done yet, I hope to in the next 5 years be able to get better sounding and more efficient speakers so I want the amplification part to be done by then. But if getting the XPA-5 to go along my aforementioned AVR and speakers won't do anything to the quality then I guess I'm better of waiting then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiky View Post
You need standard RCA wires to connect to the amp, 5 of them presumably. The center and sub outputs are next to each other just because they are both single channels instead of stereo pairs like the others, it isn't a special section. They are all RCA connectors, nothing special. I'm guessing you want to use Front left and right, Center, and Surround left and right.

The XPA-5 doesn't have any channel designation on the back other than numbers 1-5, and it doesn't matter which amp channel you use for which sound channel. So, plan ahead, make sure you are plugging the right speaker wires to match the RCA wires from the 1120. Maybe label the wires, I used different colored tape on mine.
Thanks for the advice. How do you like the XPA-5?
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post #7 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 02:51 AM
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I'm currently in college, so my speakers are rather "modest" by the standards of many members here.
(SP-PK51FS)[minus the sub] I've been upgrading my setup slowly over time and I'm not done yet, I hope to in the next 5 years be able to get better sounding and more efficient speakers so I want the amplification part to be done by then. But if getting the XPA-5 to go along my aforementioned AVR and speakers won't do anything to the quality then I guess I'm better of waiting then.
Don't waste your money. You'll notice 0 difference. Your setup is fine.
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post #8 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by zgeneral View Post
The good question too is do you really NEED that extra amplification? It's not going to make things sound better. Unless you're getting clipping, you could be dropping a grand or whatever for no reason.
Yeah. I had that question too. Especially to the lines that OP has a grand to spend on the amp but not sure how to connect it (Sorry but..)
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post #9 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 09:01 AM
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My experience is that an added amp will improve the sound quality of your system over the chip amps included in your receiver.

Whether you hear this difference depends on your ears.

I will say that the difference I experience is with music, rather than movies.

I use a Pioneer 1014 receiver as a pre-amp with a separate 2 channel amp in a 2.1 music only system. The system with the receiver driving the speakers produced as much sound as I desired. Adding the amp changed the "sound" to music.

My speakers are 6 ohm towers, that are not easy for an amp to drive. This may contribute to the amp's being a positive addition to the signal chain. It might be that the separate amp is just driving the speakers properly, supplying the needed current when the content demands it.

I do not listen at high volume levels, so I am not just getting more sound from the speakers. It is of a higher quality, with better separation of instruments and more overall clarity.

Now there is a theory that "amps is amps" here among some AVS members. They say that all amps sound the same if driven within their designed specs.

They are 100% correct - if that is what they hear.

My experience has been different. The fact that their are receivers with pre-amp outputs; pre amps/processors; and separate amps for sale by a variety of vendors tells me that I am not the only person that feels that a separate amp makes a difference for music reproduction.
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post #10 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildude View Post
I'm currently in college, so my speakers are rather "modest" by the standards of many members here.
(SP-PK51FS)[minus the sub] I've been upgrading my setup slowly over time and I'm not done yet, I hope to in the next 5 years be able to get better sounding and more efficient speakers so I want the amplification part to be done by then. But if getting the XPA-5 to go along my aforementioned AVR and speakers won't do anything to the quality then I guess I'm better of waiting then.
You're sort of putting the cart before the horse here. Even among the folks who hear what they call "significant differences" between amplifiers will tell you that you will hear far bigger differences between speakers than between amplifiers. You really want to have your plan for speakers before you look at amplification--discrete or otherwise. You really need to trust your ears here: if you can't hear the differences between amplifiers (and most people can't, honestly--but I won't argue against those who can) then you can save a lot of money by not diving into the world of AV Separates.

The thing you need to ask yourself is not, "what part should I buy next"--it's "where do I find weaknesses in my current system?" Unless your issue is "I can't play it loud enough (and honestly, the amp in your AVR can drive all of those speakers fully so an amp isn't going to change that now) an amp shouldn't be at the top of your list.

My *personal* advice: You'll get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of improving your system by adding a subwoofer--either the matching one from this set or another listed in the Subwoofers section here.
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post #11 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 09:34 AM
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Below clipping, there are plenty of tests out there that show they all basically sound the same. When you've just spent $1000 on something, your ears are compromised. Hard to drive speakers need more power to play loud. If you get into clipping, the two will sound different, but otherwise, they sound the same. Sorry to tell you.

"My experience has been different. The fact that their are receivers with pre-amp outputs; pre amps/processors; and separate amps for sale by a variety of vendors tells me that I am not the only person that feels that a separate amp makes a difference for music reproduction."

They exist because in a small number of cases, the people need that extra amplification. The extra power doesn't get you that much more sound out of the speakers but it gets you some.

It's got nothing to do with a personal opinion. Opinions based on one person's un-objective thoughts doesn't really mean anything especially when you're suggesting a stranger, who by the sounds of it is a poor student, would hear no difference.

I think it was HK's labs where they had people audition a speaker and they hated it higher based on how it looked.
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post #12 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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My *personal* advice: You'll get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of improving your system by adding a subwoofer--either the matching one from this set or another listed in the Subwoofers section here.
I have one, which I didn't list before. I took a few months of research and many suggestions from members here back in 2010 and I ended up getting a BIC America F12 Which by the way I really like, in fact I'm impressed on how good it sounds in my living room.
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I have one, which I didn't list before. I took a few months of research and many suggestions from members here back in 2010 and I ended up getting a BIC America F12 Which by the way I really like, in fact I'm impressed on how good it sounds in my living room.
I do like the idea of investing in speakers, the downside is that I will have to buy all 3 front at once. Any recommendations?
I love the way Klipsch reference RF52 II look like but I think they are a but too bright for my taste.
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post #14 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 08:25 PM
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I love the way Klipsch reference RF52 II look like but I think they are a but too bright for my taste.
I would STRONGLY suggest you listen to
Them first. To me "bright" is an understatement.
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post #15 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildude View Post
I do like the idea of investing in speakers, the downside is that I will have to buy all 3 front at once. Any recommendations?
I love the way Klipsch reference RF52 II look like but I think they are a but too bright for my taste.
Can't ask a question like that without mentioning what your budget might be.
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post #16 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 09:17 PM
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Thanks for the advice. How do you like the XPA-5?
Works fine. The above advice is pretty accurate, though, in that you'll likely not notice a difference from your receiver, unless you tend to play it quite loud. However, you do have comparatively difficult speakers to drive, at least compared to what I am currently using, a predecessor to the Klipsch you are looking at. For Klipsch high efficiency horns, you definitely wouldn't need an external amp. And a comment on them....for HT/TV (mostly spoken word) they are excellent, that's why I've had them for awhile. For music (with real instruments) the tweeters are a bit bright.

Personally, I got the amp (and other amps) for many reasons. Sound quality issues wasn't exactly one of them.

If you have a grand to spend on your system, there are probably other places that would be more value at the moment.
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post #17 of 40 Old 12-08-2014, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Can't ask a question like that without mentioning what your budget might be.
For the 2 floor standers and a center channel $800, $900 max.
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post #18 of 40 Old 12-09-2014, 03:59 PM
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It's got nothing to do with a personal opinion. Opinions based on one person's un-objective thoughts doesn't really mean anything especially when you're suggesting a stranger, who by the sounds of it is a poor student, would hear no difference.
Opinions mean everything in audio. If they didn't there would be one brand of speaker.

I have auditioned a number of highly rated speakers that didn't do it for me at all. When it is my cash being spent, my opinion is the only one that counts for components I will use.

The op was discussing trying an Emotiva amp. Emotiva products come with a really liberal try it at home policy, so the op is only out significant cash if the item doesn't live up to expectations.

I don't make purchase decisions for others, just give my honest experience based opinion.

My advise to anyone questioning a new audio purchase is to try it out, and see if the expense incurred represents good value to the purchaser. Having a home trial, or good return policy, should be part of the purchase decision - unless you just want to hope it makes an improvement.
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post #19 of 40 Old 12-09-2014, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aydu View Post
Opinions mean everything in audio. If they didn't there would be one brand of speaker.

I have auditioned a number of highly rated speakers that didn't do it for me at all. When it is my cash being spent, my opinion is the only one that counts for components I will use.

The op was discussing trying an Emotiva amp. Emotiva products come with a really liberal try it at home policy, so the op is only out significant cash if the item doesn't live up to expectations.

I don't make purchase decisions for others, just give my honest experience based opinion.

My advise to anyone questioning a new audio purchase is to try it out, and see if the expense incurred represents good value to the purchaser. Having a home trial, or good return policy, should be part of the purchase decision - unless you just want to hope it makes an improvement.
Here is the thing, I listen to about 50% music and 50% tv/gaming/movies and rarely pass the 40db mark on the volume. Except perhaps when I watch movies, then I sometimes go as high as 34db. Based on that information and my AVR, Speakers specs and small room size 206 sq ft. All I wanted was an honest opinion as to whether "investing" in a $800 Emotiva amp was the way to go.
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post #20 of 40 Old 12-09-2014, 07:11 PM
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There is another factor that should be considered with external amplifiers and AVRs....

With all of the video processing and audio channels beyond 7.1 that goes on in modern AVRs DSP and amp HEAT can become an issue. This A/V processing heat in addition to normal amplifier heat and many more amplifiers can eventually shorten your AVR life especially if the AVR is in a cabinet without optimal ventilation.

My Onkyo TX-NR929 (fairly high end AVR depending on your perspective) in 9.2 mode with an external 5 channel amp freely vented and running only 4 channels of surrounds can get a bit warm at higher volume levels in a large room. I ran that setup for a while before selling my 5 channel amp to a friend.

I currently have an external 7 channel 100/125watt amp running with only the rear surrounds from the AVR and the heat is reduced even more. Once I add front height speakers if I only had a 5 channel external amplifier it would still require 6 channels to be driven from the AVR which is more amplifiers running than 5.1 surround (granted none will be demanding L/C/R channels)... I am about to add the front heights and a second 5 channel amplifier.

Additionally the Onkyo 929 can support 11.2 Audyssey DSX only with an external amplifier and the extra cost of a 5 channel amplifier over a 2 channel amplifier is often not that significant...

I don't expect a significant sound difference, it is really more to get longer life from my current and future AVRs. It is cheaper to buy an AVR than a comparable pre-processor so I just let the AVR amps sit idle and don't worry about balanced interconnects (which are often fake anyway)...

I am sure that amplifying all 11 channels (13 if you count the subs) externally is overkill but I got a deal on the amps and find it fun. Plus the amps should still be alive and kicking long after I need a new AVR for some crazy new feature (who knows if it will be atmos or smell-a-vision) that seems fun at the time.

IMO it really depends on how many channels you plan to run and how loud. If you are running a 5.1 system with a decent AVR then there is probably no reason to have more than a 3 channel amplifier (If you get an external amplifier at all) but then you have to look at the cost difference from 3->5 and see if it might be only a little more to get a 5 channel amp.

-Rich

Quad Marantz AVR 9.2.(4+2) Atmos/DTS:X using Dual sr7010's + Dual scAtmos nr1403's
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HTD Speakers L3 Tower L/R, L3 Center, Dual 12" L3 Subs, L2 Tower SL/SR, L2 Bkshlf SBL/SBR, Flat Panel WL/WR, Angled 6.5" In Ceiling FH/RH, 8" In Ceiling TM
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post #21 of 40 Old 12-10-2014, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post
Opinions mean everything in audio. If they didn't there would be one brand of speaker.

I have auditioned a number of highly rated speakers that didn't do it for me at all. When it is my cash being spent, my opinion is the only one that counts for components I will use.

The op was discussing trying an Emotiva amp. Emotiva products come with a really liberal try it at home policy, so the op is only out significant cash if the item doesn't live up to expectations.

I don't make purchase decisions for others, just give my honest experience based opinion.

My advise to anyone questioning a new audio purchase is to try it out, and see if the expense incurred represents good value to the purchaser. Having a home trial, or good return policy, should be part of the purchase decision - unless you just want to hope it makes an improvement.
Let me rephrase what I said then. You noted that my statement was just my personal opinion. My opinion has nothing to do with it. We're emotional beings thus personal opinions are stupid. Give people two amps, one that looks better and costs more and by the time those people hook it up they'll be so biased that they'll say it sounds better. HK in their labs have done tests with speakers. Take one speaker and make it look better and almost always it gets the nod as sounding better even though there's no difference.

Amps, within their limits, all sound the same. There's been boatloads of tests. Of course, this challenges the emotions of people who've made up their minds on emotion, so they defy it. There's a reason why there are placebos in drug trials, a multi-billion dollar supplement industry and people buying magic pills on TV late at night because they think it will make their wrinkles disappear or their johnson magically be bigger. It's a Hans Christian Anderson story.

That's not my personal opinion. It's what's been proven time and time again over time. When I fly on an airplane tomorrow, I'm not doing so because my personal opinion is that it's safe, it's that someone did tests in terms of wings, flight tests, etc, that show it will fly.

There are rational people in this world and then the big johnson people. An amp that you don't need is the latter.
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post #22 of 40 Old 12-10-2014, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfb6435 View Post
There is another factor that should be considered with external amplifiers and AVRs....

With all of the video processing and audio channels beyond 7.1 that goes on in modern AVRs DSP and amp HEAT can become an issue. This A/V processing heat in addition to normal amplifier heat and many more amplifiers can eventually shorten your AVR life especially if the AVR is in a cabinet without optimal ventilation.

My Onkyo TX-NR929 (fairly high end AVR depending on your perspective) in 9.2 mode with an external 5 channel amp freely vented and running only 4 channels of surrounds can get a bit warm at higher volume levels in a large room. I ran that setup for a while before selling my 5 channel amp to a friend.

I currently have an external 7 channel 100/125watt amp running with only the rear surrounds from the AVR and the heat is reduced even more. Once I add front height speakers if I only had a 5 channel external amplifier it would still require 6 channels to be driven from the AVR which is more amplifiers running than 5.1 surround (granted none will be demanding L/C/R channels)... I am about to add the front heights and a second 5 channel amplifier.

Additionally the Onkyo 929 can support 11.2 Audyssey DSX only with an external amplifier and the extra cost of a 5 channel amplifier over a 2 channel amplifier is often not that significant...

I don't expect a significant sound difference, it is really more to get longer life from my current and future AVRs. It is cheaper to buy an AVR than a comparable pre-processor so I just let the AVR amps sit idle and don't worry about balanced interconnects (which are often fake anyway)...

I am sure that amplifying all 11 channels (13 if you count the subs) externally is overkill but I got a deal on the amps and find it fun. Plus the amps should still be alive and kicking long after I need a new AVR for some crazy new feature (who knows if it will be atmos or smell-a-vision) that seems fun at the time.

IMO it really depends on how many channels you plan to run and how loud. If you are running a 5.1 system with a decent AVR then there is probably no reason to have more than a 3 channel amplifier (If you get an external amplifier at all) but then you have to look at the cost difference from 3->5 and see if it might be only a little more to get a 5 channel amp.

-Rich
The AVR companies warranty their products. Thus don't worry about the heat unless your setup is outside in the sahara or arctic. The very smart electrical engineers have already taken that into consideration. My $3000 laptop, for instance, sometimes gets hot but the people who designed it have taken that into consideration.

For the VAST majority of people, there's no reason to run an amplifier.
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post #23 of 40 Old 12-10-2014, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildude View Post
Here is the thing, I listen to about 50% music and 50% tv/gaming/movies and rarely pass the 40db mark on the volume. Except perhaps when I watch movies, then I sometimes go as high as 34db. Based on that information and my AVR, Speakers specs and small room size 206 sq ft. All I wanted was an honest opinion as to whether "investing" in a $800 Emotiva amp was the way to go.
Evildude, unless your listening habits change dramatically in the coming years, you’re nowhere near the territory where an power amp will make any difference. I’ll tell you now - at your preferred maximum volume level, you’ll be asking the Pioneer to generate less than 1W peak into each of the front speakers.

What the heck, here's a rough outline:

  1. Reference calibration by AVR: -30dBFS input signal measures 75dBC per channel at seat
  2. Therefore theoretical maximum peaks: 105dBSPL per channel (for a 0dBFS input signal)
  3. With assumed average program level: 85dBSPL per channel
  4. Master volume at reference: 0dBMV
  5. Say your maximum master volume: -30dBMV
  6. Therefore your theoretical maximums: 75dBSPL peak; 55dBSPL average per channel at seat
  7. Net SPL attenuation with distance (assuming 10’ to seat): 5dBSPL
  8. Therefore required SPL at 1m from speaker: 80dBSPL peak; 60dBSPL average
  9. Adjusted speaker sensitivity: 85dB/1W/1m*
  10. Therefore gain required from amp: -5dBW or 0.3W peak; -25dBW or 3mW average

[* 2dB penalty for exaggerated specs. For a start, Pioneer put 2.83V into a 6Ω speaker, which makes 1.3W]

Therefore, in your current situation a power amp would be a very poor investment.

Hooking up a power amp is so often seen as being a magic bullet or an easy win for improved sound quality, however this is rarely the case. A separate power amp will only make a real contribution to sound quality if the AVR is unable to generate the required power to cleanly play your speakers to your preferred maximum volume level. The motto applies: If you want better sound... buy better speakers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildude View Post
I'm currently in college, so my speakers are rather "modest" by the standards of many members here.
(SP-PK51FS)[minus the sub] I've been upgrading my setup slowly over time and I'm not done yet, I hope to in the next 5 years be able to get better sounding and more efficient speakers so I want the amplification part to be done by then. But if getting the XPA-5 to go along my aforementioned AVR and speakers won't do anything to the quality then I guess I'm better of waiting then.
If you're referring to "more efficient" as the combination of benign impedance (8Ω) and higher sensitivity, you actually need less amplification rather than more. For example, the 95dB/1W/1m JTR Single 8HT's will require over 6 times less power than the 87dB/2.83V/1m Pioneer SP-FS51-LR's for the same output level.
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Last edited by GIEGAR; 09-27-2015 at 06:43 PM.
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post #24 of 40 Old 12-10-2014, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgeneral View Post
The AVR companies warranty their products. Thus don't worry about the heat unless your setup is outside in the sahara or arctic. The very smart electrical engineers have already taken that into consideration. My $3000 laptop, for instance, sometimes gets hot but the people who designed it have taken that into consideration.

For the VAST majority of people, there's no reason to run an amplifier.
They might warranty it for 2 years but it will also be a big pain to ship out for repairs and wait for it to get fixed. They also run statistics knowing that most people won't stress the system and for those that do and cause failures they accept the cost of fixing things under warranty.... So if you are the guy pushing it harder than most expect it to fail eventually. That is just how the bean counters make things in a modern competitive world (especially in the low to mid range components). Quality creeps downward to try to lower cost and remain competitive.

Your $3k laptop is analogous to a $3k AVR and the VAST VAST majority of people don't have that. They go with the $500 laptop. Would you expect the $500 laptop to last 2 years with the abuse you give to your $3k laptop?

My point is that IMO a $500 AVR + $500 amplifier is more robust and better for the same money as a $1000 AVR. I also believe that it scales to 1000+1000. How much better is a good debate as is how much more robust. There are always diminishing returns so how much better does an individual want to pay for.

Modern electronics are dense and there are lots of things that can go wrong. Manufacturing of small surface mount devices on boards that see heat can be problematic. I have seen a lot of boards from high end companies that had to have the solder re-flowed. Solder joints expand and flex and break connections, Capacitors don't like heat, etc etc.

I did have an Onkyo TX-NR809 fail and get repaired (quickly and at no cost even out of warranty by Onkyo) but I was still without it for a couple of weeks.

I don't think it is realistic to expect a modern AVR with video DSPs, audio DSPs, and 9 channels of amplification to last as my father's 6ft*3ft*2ft stereo. It is reasonable to think they should be bulletproof but in reality they likely aren't so it isn't my expectation. Heck just the sheer increase in number of devices in an AVR creates exponentially more things that can fail.

Low cost and high integration means increased failures. Heck I can't even get 10 years out of a refrigerator anymore!

Sure the VAST majority of people don't need an amplifier but they also are running 5.1 at best, possibly soundbars, or even <gasp> TV speakers.

Half of the people also have below median setups anyway by definition...

-Rich

Quad Marantz AVR 9.2.(4+2) Atmos/DTS:X using Dual sr7010's + Dual scAtmos nr1403's
Marantz MM8003 150W/ch Amplifier Driving (L/C/R/SL/SR/SBL/SBR)
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post #25 of 40 Old 12-10-2014, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
IMO a $500 AVR + $500 amplifier is more robust and better for the same money as a $1000 AVR.
IMO you generally get a lot more features and better room correction stepping up in AVRs and the amplifiers in them work fine for the large majority of people and systems.

The hottest thing in a lot of modern AVRs is the DSP...

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #26 of 40 Old 12-10-2014, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
IMO you generally get a lot more features and better room correction stepping up in AVRs and the amplifiers in them work fine for the large majority of people and systems.

The hottest thing in a lot of modern AVRs is the DSP...
Ok point taken perhaps my price point was too low.

If we do a 1000 AVR and 500 amp I think it is better than the 1500 AVR then.

My Onkyo TX-NR929 with external amp doesn't lack much in processing compared to the 3010.

The 1030 doesn't lack much compared to the 3030, just more amplifiers and power supplies, balanced outputs (which I contend don't matter)...

So perhaps the jump where the amp makes sense is between Mid and High end.

-Rich

Quad Marantz AVR 9.2.(4+2) Atmos/DTS:X using Dual sr7010's + Dual scAtmos nr1403's
Marantz MM8003 150W/ch Amplifier Driving (L/C/R/SL/SR/SBL/SBR)
HTD Speakers L3 Tower L/R, L3 Center, Dual 12" L3 Subs, L2 Tower SL/SR, L2 Bkshlf SBL/SBR, Flat Panel WL/WR, Angled 6.5" In Ceiling FH/RH, 8" In Ceiling TM
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The amp makes sense if you need it. An accurate amp that can output the power you need, whether its in a receiver or an outboard amp will be indistinguishable from another outboard amp once the sound levels are matched to adjust for differences in gain stages between different amps. If distortion is inaudible and frequency response is accurate, at any given output level, physical laws of our universe, as inexorable as gravity, absolutely prevent one amp from delivering power that differs from another amp.

Many but not all tube amps have a frequency response that deviates from accurate. So do at least some early cd era british amps (audible high frequency roll off) and some other amps. But if the amp is competently designed to be accurate, it will be indistinguishable from another similarly designed amp until one is pushed into audible distortion.
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post #28 of 40 Old 12-11-2014, 11:07 AM
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One thing I have learned about audio is to let your ears be your guide.

What sounds good to you is the only thing that matters.

Listening to everything from car stereo to multi channel home theater setups has led me to the following:

1. Price alone is not a guide to good or bad sound.
2. A sub adds to ht greatly, but is also an excellent addition to a music only system.
3. Buy as much power as you can afford. You do not have to listen at ear bleeding levels to appreciate power available in any system.
4. Don't rely too heavily on the recommendations of others when it comes to sound quality. People argue about what part of the signal chain is the most important (speakers, cables, electronics, etc.) but the connection between the listener's ears and brain are (in my experience) the biggest variable.
5. View specs with a grain of salt. Manufacturers often inflate their specs to look better than the competition.
6. People are usually right when they state their opinion on sound. Because we all hear differently and appreciate different sonic attributes, we will hear (or not hear) sonic differences.
7. The main purpose of sonic reproduction is enjoyment. It doesn't matter if the guy down the street (or here on AVS) thinks his system sounds better than yours.
8. Having "good ears" gets expensive - fast.
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post #29 of 40 Old 12-11-2014, 12:37 PM
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Buying as much power as you can afford is just a stupid statement. I could go out and buy a few hundred k of amplification and an electrician to rewire my nice in city condo. Of course, I won't ever use it and below clipping it sounds the same, so no, you really shouldn't do that. People should buy the amplification THEY NEED. For most people, what's in an AVR is just fine.

You have some good points there, but you're ignoring a lot of others. There's a lot of placebo effect that comes in to things. Good ears are the emperor's new clothes. Most of the people with 'good ears' are just wasting money. Give them a blind test and they're the same as everyone else. It's usually just a way to justify things that their emotions won't let them acknowledge.

We all hear differently is usually a crutch for people to justify stupid decisions. Put people in a blind test and then they hear accurately. Otherwise, there's too much bias involved. HK did an experiment in their lab. Played people the same sounds on the speakers but one was made to look higher end. Guess which one gets chosen as having better sound?

I do agree with you on all of your other points. Particularly 1, 2 and 5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfb6435 View Post
They might warranty it for 2 years but it will also be a big pain to ship out for repairs and wait for it to get fixed. They also run statistics knowing that most people won't stress the system and for those that do and cause failures they accept the cost of fixing things under warranty.... So if you are the guy pushing it harder than most expect it to fail eventually. That is just how the bean counters make things in a modern competitive world (especially in the low to mid range components). Quality creeps downward to try to lower cost and remain competitive.

Your $3k laptop is analogous to a $3k AVR and the VAST VAST majority of people don't have that. They go with the $500 laptop. Would you expect the $500 laptop to last 2 years with the abuse you give to your $3k laptop?

My point is that IMO a $500 AVR + $500 amplifier is more robust and better for the same money as a $1000 AVR. I also believe that it scales to 1000+1000. How much better is a good debate as is how much more robust. There are always diminishing returns so how much better does an individual want to pay for.

Modern electronics are dense and there are lots of things that can go wrong. Manufacturing of small surface mount devices on boards that see heat can be problematic. I have seen a lot of boards from high end companies that had to have the solder re-flowed. Solder joints expand and flex and break connections, Capacitors don't like heat, etc etc.

I did have an Onkyo TX-NR809 fail and get repaired (quickly and at no cost even out of warranty by Onkyo) but I was still without it for a couple of weeks.

I don't think it is realistic to expect a modern AVR with video DSPs, audio DSPs, and 9 channels of amplification to last as my father's 6ft*3ft*2ft stereo. It is reasonable to think they should be bulletproof but in reality they likely aren't so it isn't my expectation. Heck just the sheer increase in number of devices in an AVR creates exponentially more things that can fail.

Low cost and high integration means increased failures. Heck I can't even get 10 years out of a refrigerator anymore!

Sure the VAST majority of people don't need an amplifier but they also are running 5.1 at best, possibly soundbars, or even <gasp> TV speakers.

Half of the people also have below median setups anyway by definition...

-Rich
Again, the companies design the products knowing the thermal threshholds. They've all been doing this for a very long time. That something gets warm doesn't mean anything. It's designed that way. The manufacturers give you specifications of ambient operating temperatures. You don't need to worry about heat. The manufacturer knows how much heat the things put off. It's a non issue. You're dreaming up a problem that doesn't exist.

Since you're bolding, all amps sound the same below clipping, so spending $500 on amplification that you don't need is a stupid thing to do.
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post #30 of 40 Old 12-11-2014, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgeneral View Post
Again, the companies design the products knowing the thermal threshholds. They've all been doing this for a very long time. That something gets warm doesn't mean anything. It's designed that way. The manufacturers give you specifications of ambient operating temperatures. You don't need to worry about heat. The manufacturer knows how much heat the things put off. It's a non issue. You're dreaming up a problem that doesn't exist.

Since you're bolding, all amps sound the same below clipping, so spending $500 on amplification that you don't need is a stupid thing to do.
Sorry about the bold, I meant it to draw attention to a point in the thread not to scream it. I will try and use caps next time <kidding>.

I am not dreaming up a problem that doesn't exist at all. Your idea of a bulletproof design is often not a reality.

Here is something that might make you think again about specifications...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onkyo TX-NR929 Manual Ventilation Requirements
18. If you install the apparatus in a built-in installation,
such as a bookcase or rack, ensure that there is
adequate ventilation.
Leave 20 cm (8") of free space at the top and
sides and 10 cm (4") at the rear. The rear edge of
the shelf or board above the apparatus shall be
set 10 cm (4") away from the rear panel or wall,
creating a flue-like gap for warm air to escape.
Most AVRs have similar requirements.... If someone doesn't meet this (as many many don't) do you still think that the product can live in a shelf with 1" of clearance around it and not fail?

Bulletproof design is the enemy of profits. Which do you think is a corporations main priority?

I have worked in semiconductors since 1998 as a design engineer at more than one company and have a network of friends in various companies so I have some degree of insight into this. I am not trying to pull a credential card, I am just trying to show that I am not basing this on nothing.

While products have lots of design for reliability, design for manufactureability, reliability verification, burn-in, fault grading, and stress testing things are very often missed. One component that isn't properly tested or a bad batch of said components (often from an external supplier) can cause failures in even the best designs. Or a company will get a "deal" on an "identical" part from another supplier and change it without repeating the expensive test process. If that part isn't really "identical" then problems can ensue.

Ask Onkyo about what happens when you get a batch of capacitors that don't meet their design specifications.... After a while the heat degrades them and then the HDMI boards fail and the units don't work anymore... On the amplifier side I have read that Parasound's 1206 also had an issue with cost cutting and sub par capacitors that lead to failures.

I know that capacitors can fail when they get hot and I also know that I can drop internal temperatures of my receiver's HDMI board by 20 degrees with an external laptop cooling pad fan. The receiver doesn't have a fan there so I guess it is a bad idea to add one in your opinion?

I agree that buying anything that you don't need is stupid unless it brings utility (fun) to the purchaser.

My argument was that there are other factors than how the amplifier sounds when considering external amplification. Your opinion is that reliability concerns are not valid and I disagree.


-Rich

Quad Marantz AVR 9.2.(4+2) Atmos/DTS:X using Dual sr7010's + Dual scAtmos nr1403's
Marantz MM8003 150W/ch Amplifier Driving (L/C/R/SL/SR/SBL/SBR)
HTD Speakers L3 Tower L/R, L3 Center, Dual 12" L3 Subs, L2 Tower SL/SR, L2 Bkshlf SBL/SBR, Flat Panel WL/WR, Angled 6.5" In Ceiling FH/RH, 8" In Ceiling TM
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