Will my receiver handle 4 ohm speakers? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-09-2017, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Will my receiver handle 4 ohm speakers?

I was thinking about taking advantage of the current Amazon sale on Elac Uni-Fi F5s, and then I saw that they are rated at 4 ohms. I currently have a Yamaha RX-V471 AV receiver (specs here: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio...v471_black__u/). I'm a newbie to the audio stuff, so bear with me:

1. Can I run 4 ohm speakers with this AV receiver, or would that be bad for the receiver and/or bad for the speakers?

2. Even if the 4 ohm speakers can be run without breaking anything, am I putting a Pinto engine in a Ferrari? In other words, should I consider a receiver upgrade a necessary part of my speaker upgrade?

3. If I do need to upgrade my receiver, what's the best way to do it--replace the receiver entirely, or add a separate amplifier to it? Can I even add a separate amplifier to my Yamaha? Are there any specific receivers/amplifiers you would recommend for these speakers?
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-09-2017, 05:43 PM
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Take a look at page 12 and 72 in the manual, it appears 6 ohms is the minimum

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post #3 of 14 Old 01-09-2017, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the diplomatic version of "RTFM!"

That's kinda what I thought...and it makes my speaker upgrade a little pricier...I may lower my sights to the 6-ohm Debut F5. Unless it makes sense/is possible/is even a good idea to add a 4-ohm capable power amp on top of my existing AV receiver.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-09-2017, 06:58 PM
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I don't see pre-outs listed on that receiver, so you aren't likely to expand that with an external amp.

That said, it should work anyway... Jones/Elac seem to be very conservative (or perhaps better "truthful") on their impedance ratings than most of the other manufacturers. As long as you don't try to drive them really hard I suspect it wouldn't be an issue. You could pose the question in the Elac owner's thread in the Speaker forum...

Nowadays finding a receiver that is rated officially for 4 ohms isn't very fun... Marantz and Pioneer Elite are the only mainstream brands I can recall being specifically marked that way... Denon "unofficially" supports it (there is a FAQ on their website about this). Even Yamaha's flagship line only "officially" supports 4 ohm for the Front Left/Right.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-09-2017, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, that makes sense. Pardon the noob question, but what exactly are pre-outs? There are photos of the back of the RX-V471 here: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio...v471_black__u/. What am I looks for/what am I missing?

For now, this is just a 2.1 system used for mostly music, some HT, so we're only talking front left/right channels anyway. Not sure if that makes things easier on the receiver.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-09-2017, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcitrus View Post
I was thinking about taking advantage of the current Amazon sale on Elac Uni-Fi F5s, and then I saw that they are rated at 4 ohms. I currently have a Yamaha RX-V471 AV receiver (specs here: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio...v471_black__u/). I'm a newbie to the audio stuff, so bear with me:

1. Can I run 4 ohm speakers with this AV receiver, or would that be bad for the receiver and/or bad for the speakers?

2. Even if the 4 ohm speakers can be run without breaking anything, am I putting a Pinto engine in a Ferrari? In other words, should I consider a receiver upgrade a necessary part of my speaker upgrade?

3. If I do need to upgrade my receiver, what's the best way to do it--replace the receiver entirely, or add a separate amplifier to it? Can I even add a separate amplifier to my Yamaha? Are there any specific receivers/amplifiers you would recommend for these speakers?
1. At average (ie. TV listening) volume levels, it shouldn't be a problem, however, if you prefer louder volume levels for movie/music listening, the AVR is likely to shut down in protection mode.

2. If you like louder volume levels and want to stay with the 4-ohm speakers, you would be well advised to select a higher level model with main zone pre-outs.


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Originally Posted by bigcitrus View Post
Thanks for the info, that makes sense. Pardon the noob question, but what exactly are pre-outs? There are photos of the back of the RX-V471 here: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio...v471_black__u/. What am I looks for/what am I missing?

For now, this is just a 2.1 system used for mostly music, some HT, so we're only talking front left/right channels anyway. Not sure if that makes things easier on the receiver.
Main zone pre-outs allow you to connect a more powerful external amp (eg. 200W+) to provide power to harder to drive speakers than what the AVR itself is capable of doing. Your V471 does not feature main zone pre-outs as the V871 is the lowest 2015 model that provides main zone pre-outs as is the 2016 V781.

If you only plan on using 4-ohm speakers for the FL/FR speakers, even the lowest level Marantz units (eg. NR1506) feature FL/FR pre-outs while in most cases, you have to step up to the mid-level models to get a full set of 7.1 pre-outs (eg. Marantz SR5011 or Yamaha V781).

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post #7 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 02:01 AM
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All that said, the Uni-Fi cannot handle that much power... they have a maximum power rating of 140w, so unless this is a conservative value as well there isn't any point at throwing large amounts of amplifier power at them.

This is likely a trade off that had to be made to get the lower frequency response, resulting in a not very sensitive speaker. They still get louder then I would use them for however....
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Great info, thanks for bringing me up to speed. I saw that my AVR had various outputs, and I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't a suitable amplifier pre-out hidden in there somewhere.

If I'm having to upgrade my AVR (which, at this point, I'm getting a little gun shy about, since the whole point was the good deal on the speakers....), then I guess I'd gravitate toward one that had (at least unofficial) 4-ohm capability and skip the separate power amp altogether. Although I suppose any 4-ohm receiver is likely to have a pre-out anyway....

The mention of low frequencies above also got me thinking (here's a bit of a self-thread-jack)--I have a separate subwoofer (Rhythmik LV12R), and I'm not even sure if I need tower speakers for low end. I've done a fair amount of reading on this forum on the subject of towers vs bookshelf-with-sub, and I've detected a pattern wherein people generally advise that bookshelf speakers are fine with a separate sub, and then they describe the towers+sub setup that they have!

The bookshelf Elac Uni-Fis are also rated at 4 ohms, but if they aren't doing heavy lifting on the low end, would that be less demanding of the AVR?

All in all, though, maybe the smartest thing is to chill out for a second and decide whether I should shop 6 or 8-ohm speakers, and/or upgrade my AVR first and do the speakers later. It's just that danged sale....
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcitrus View Post
Great info, thanks for bringing me up to speed. I saw that my AVR had various outputs, and I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't a suitable amplifier pre-out hidden in there somewhere.

If I'm having to upgrade my AVR (which, at this point, I'm getting a little gun shy about, since the whole point was the good deal on the speakers....), then I guess I'd gravitate toward one that had (at least unofficial) 4-ohm capability and skip the separate power amp altogether. Although I suppose any 4-ohm receiver is likely to have a pre-out anyway....

The mention of low frequencies above also got me thinking (here's a bit of a self-thread-jack)--I have a separate subwoofer (Rhythmik LV12R), and I'm not even sure if I need tower speakers for low end. I've done a fair amount of reading on this forum on the subject of towers vs bookshelf-with-sub, and I've detected a pattern wherein people generally advise that bookshelf speakers are fine with a separate sub, and then they describe the towers+sub setup that they have!


Having full-range towers means that you have the option of not using the subwoofer while listening to music. Towers often have had more effort put into their design in order to produce low-distortion audio than has been put into most bookshelf speakers. (There are exceptions, of course.)

Quote:
The bookshelf Elac Uni-Fis are also rated at 4 ohms, but if they aren't doing heavy lifting on the low end, would that be less demanding of the AVR?
The more low frequency audio you can redirect to a subwoofer (i.e. the higher the crossover frequency), the less power is required from the receiver.
Quote:
All in all, though, maybe the smartest thing is to chill out for a second and decide whether I should shop 6 or 8-ohm speakers, and/or upgrade my AVR first and do the speakers later. It's just that danged sale....
Money is best spent on high quality speakers. Don't buy them just because they're on sale. Check out the technical reviews showing their sonic qualities compared to others in the same price range. It's shocking how often the frequency response of some very high priced speakers looks just like a rugged mountain range.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Having full-range towers means that you have the option of not using the subwoofer while listening to music. Towers often have had more effort put into their design in order to produce low-distortion audio than has been put into most bookshelf speakers. (There are exceptions, of course.)
I listen to a lot of music with heavy low end, so I don't really foresee listening to music without the sub. On the bookshelf/tower thing, one of the interesting things about Elac is that they have bookshelf and tower versions of essentially the same speakers, so you can really do apples-to-apples comparisons. What makes it confusing is when you have several options in a similar price range, i.e. the Debut F5 towers at around $560/pair against the Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf pair at $500, and now the Uni-Fi UF5s on sale for $700/pair.

Quote:
The more low frequency audio you can redirect to a subwoofer (i.e. the higher the crossover frequency), the less power is required from the receiver.
I've also done some forum research on this, and there doesn't seem to be a consensus on the "best" place to cross the mains to the sub, which also makes it tricky to decide whether I "need" towers or not. I currently have towers, so I guess I was leaning that way.

Quote:
Money is best spent on high quality speakers. Don't buy them just because they're on sale. Check out the technical reviews showing their sonic qualities compared to others in the same price range. It's shocking how often the frequency response of some very high priced speakers looks just like a rugged mountain range.
I'm admittedly only an aspiring audiophile--when it comes to speakers that I can't audition in person, I rely more on written reviews than more technical graphs, etc. I was initially drawn to the Elac stuff because it seemed like a nice stepping stone price-wise between entry level stuff and super-high-end. The Uni-Fis on sale were highly rated at $1k/pair, so I figure they've gotta be good at $700.

Anyway, thanks for all the info--I think I've more or less decided that the Uni-Fi will require an AVR upgrade and I'm not sure if I want to invest on that yet. Going forward, I just have to decide if I want to get speakers that will better fit my AVR, or wait until I am ready to upgrade my AVR before doing anything about the speakers.
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bigcitrus View Post
Anyway, thanks for all the info--I think I've more or less decided that the Uni-Fi will require an AVR upgrade and I'm not sure if I want to invest on that yet. Going forward, I just have to decide if I want to get speakers that will better fit my AVR, or wait until I am ready to upgrade my AVR before doing anything about the speakers.
If you believe that to be the case, then try to find reviews of other speakers in the price range that actually include proper measurements. One of the main competitors to the UF5 in that price range claims 8 ohms nominal, but multiple measurements put it at 4ohms nominal... whereas the UF5 claims 4 ohms nominal, and is measured to be somewhere around 6ohms nominal.

I've seen a few scenarios so far where people were dissuaded by the 4 ohm rating, and ending up purchasing a speaker that was actually harder to drive without realizing it
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 10:39 PM
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From reading the info at Elacs website , Nominal is 4ohms but minimum is 3.4 and sensitivity is 85db/1watt 1 meter so that receiver imho is not a good choice especially if you have a large room to fill.


Specifications

Speaker type: 3-way, bass reflex
Tweeter: 1 x 1-inch soft dome, concentrically mounted
Midrange: 1 x 4-inch aluminum cone
Woofer: 3 x 5.25-inch aluminum cone
Crossover frequency: 270 / 2,700 Hz
Frequency response: 42 to 25,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 85 dB at 2.83 v/1m
Recommended amplifier power: 40 to 140 wpc
Peak power handling: 140 wpc
Nominal impedance: 4 Ω; minimum 3.4 Ω
Binding posts: 5-way custom
Magnetic shielding: No
Cabinet finishes: Black brushed vinyl
Accessories included: Magnetic fabric grille
Dimensions (WxHxD) No Feet: 7.87″ x 38″ x 10.75″
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-10-2017, 10:56 PM
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The Elacs being 4 Ohms is 1 thing..
But the major challenge is the low sensitivity spec of 85dB..
U will need alot of current capability to drive these, and if the listening room is large U better use a component power amplifier.

Just my $0.02...
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-22-2019, 07:16 PM
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I realize this is an old thread... it would have been nice if the OP came back and let us know how this marriage of RX-V471 and low sensitivity 4 Ohm speakers worked out for him, or maybe he never bought those speakers?

I also have the same receiver, and recently picked up a pair of Dayton MK402X (4 Ohm, 84 dB sensitivity) speakers. I'm using them as L/R mains in a 3.1 setup, crossed over at 80 Hz. I did notice the receiver runs a bit warmer now, but not super hot. I sit pretty close to the TV and don't normally listen at high levels. These speakers are only rated for 40 Watt RMS, 80 Watt max power. So far, the receiver hasn't shut down, but I'm wondering if I am accelerating its demise anyway.
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