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post #1 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Amp Choices: Big or Small?

Hello,

I am intending on purchasing my first ever stand alone amp. Right now I use a Denon X3400H which is a 7.2 channel AVR that I have no meaningful complaints with for power. What I mean by this is that I can get plenty loud and I don’t hear any distortion when playing music or watching movies at high volumes. I plan to (eventually) get 4 in-ceiling speakers for Atmos. Right now, the Denon X4500H which can process that much seems like a great pick. I assume that AVRs of that mold will continue to be made. By “mold” I mean that they can process 11 channels, even if they only have 9 (or fewer) amplified channels.

Anyway, I use Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR) and RP-240D (RL/RR) for my speakers. Probably not as sensitive as the spec sheet for them would say, but certainly not the most power hungry speakers.

I feel like I have two broad choices.
1) Get a great 3 or 5 or 7 channel amp for the speakers that get the most content.
2) Get a less-great stereo or 4 channel amp for the Atmos speakers.

I realize that Option 2 will save me money. I think I’d rather work with Option 1 because it would allow me to look at the amp next to my AVR and think “yeah, that thing is providing the oomph to my music and movies” and not look at it and think “glad I get to hear the Atmos effects, how neat”

Also, the “all competently made amps that are used within specs sound the same” line makes me wonder. Do the aforementioned AVRs meet this criteria? I sometimes doubt the performance of AVR amps due to budget constraints and spec targets in the all-in-one boxes. I reason that getting a well made amp, with enough power for my purposes, with a good warranty, made by a company that has some “staying power” would be good.

I’d like spend less than 2500 on this. After all that (and the discussion below), I ended up with this list.

Emotiva Gen 3 XPA-5, XPA-7, XPA-11 No need for more than 3 channels
Emotiva XPA-3 — gives me the flexibility to upgrade to the higher channel options later.
Emotiva XPA-DR3
Parasound A31 and A52+
Marantz MM7055 and MM8077 Reviews indicate underwhelming performance objectively and subjectively
Yamaha MX-A5000, MX-A5200 No need for more than 3 channels
Monoprice Monolith Series Too heavy
ATI A/B stuff is too heavy, Class D stuff is a bit pricey, No desire for a bunch of mono blocks
Outlaw Audio The 5000 is dramatically less wattage than the others, even if it’s also cheaper. The budget can push higher, so I don’t need to compromise on this one.
D-Sonic M3a-1200-3

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)

Last edited by Scars; 03-18-2019 at 07:59 PM.
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post #2 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 06:30 AM
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I think you've thought things out well in what you're contemplating. I have 7.2.4 setup using X4300 and ATI 2005 and ATI 1807. I have less efficient speakers and listen at high levels but I could have likely done an inexpensive amp for my ATMOS speakers and used the main AVR amp for the 7 channel base layer for normal family use (without going crazy with AVS friends).

If you really "want" an amp - I'd go for a 3, 5 or 7 channel for the base layer and you'll be set forever without worry about how much power your AVR can provide and you won't need to buy an AVR with extra amp channels each time perhaps saving you money over time. My ATIs are like the Monolith - heavy and warm/hot. They are also built like tanks and will last forever. You may want to consider looking at used amps - there are often very good buys here in classifieds, CraigsList, Audiogon and eBay.

There are those who's opinions may differ, but double blind testing by numerous AVS GTG groups suggest that mid-level AVRs and amps sound the same with no audible differences. I am in that camp having taken part in that testing with things like Marantz 8802 Pre-Pro vs Denon 4200 or 4300 and Marantz 7702. The sound differences are more related to the audio processing like Audyssey and DIRAC with proponents for each method. Room acoustic treatment typically gives most bang for the buck from a sound quality perspective and there are a lot of good DIY options.

Considering my path, I think you'll "feel" you've done the right thing by getting the amp (like I did) though you likely won't hear a difference but it will be satisfying that you know you've checked that box. You've got 3 nice subs - you're a happy man that way already I assume. I really recommend a used amp for $600 to $1,000 which will buy you something very nice and spend the extra $1,500 to $1,900 on either room acoustic treatments, or as you are likely a basshead, on some Crowson Tactile transducers. The room treatments and Crowsons will make you much, much happier in the end and I think are a better use of your AV dollars.
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7.2.4 with Denon X4300W, ATI 2005 & 1807 Amps, Kef Reference 203 Mains, 202c Ctr, 201 Surr, Ci200RR-THX Top Rears, Q300 Frt Hts, E301 Rear Surr, Power Sound Audio PSA dual S3600i Subs,
GIK & DIY Acoustics, JVC X790/RS540 Projector, Stewart Neve 100" Screen, Panasonic Blu-Ray DMP-UB900, Xbox One X, Crowson Transducers, INSTEON, UDI ISY994i, Amazon Echo
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post #3 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scars View Post
I feel like I have two broad choices.
1) Get a great 3 or 5 or 7 channel amp for the speakers that get the most content.
2) Get a less-great stereo or 4 channel amp for the Atmos speakers.

I think I’d rather work with Option 1 because it would allow me to look at the amp next to my AVR and think “yeah, that thing is providing the oomph to my music and movies” and not look at it and think “glad I get to hear the Atmos effects, how neat”

I’d like spend less than 2500 on this. After all that, I ended up with this list.

Emotiva Gen 3 XPA-3, XPA-5, XPA-7, XPA-DR3
Parasound A31 and A52+
Marantz MM7055 and MM8077
Monoprice’s Monolith series is excluded because I don’t want to wrestle with a 90lb amp inside my all-wood cabinet.

I’m leaning towards attempting to find the A52+ but wanted to share this jumbled mess of a thought process with you guys before I went any further. Of these options, is that a good choice that meets my described criteria?
It's just over your budget for a 5-channel amp, but I'd have a look at:

https://www.d-sonic.com/products/m3a...amplifier.html

If you do want a big block with lots of LED lights to look at, this won't do. It's low profile, low weight, low heat, but built like a tank. Plenty of power, you'll never be concerned with that again. It is 19" long though, so need to make sure you've got front to back clearance if the cabinet is enclosed. Just throwing this one out there for you as I have been so very pleased with mine, and this was my choice after demoing my gear with Parsound Halos among others.

Do you absolutely need an amp? Probably not based on your receiver experience thus far, but I think you are wanting one and there is nothing wrong with that if you've got the space and money!
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7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #4 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 06:36 AM
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I have both Emotiva (XPA-5, 2nd gen) and a Parasound A21 (to drive the L/R speakers).

You can safely buy used, but try to do so locally because these weigh a lot.
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post #5 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zorax2 View Post
I think you've thought things out well in what you're contemplating. I have 7.2.4 setup using X4300 and ATI 2005 and ATI 1807. I have less efficient speakers and listen at high levels but I could have likely done an inexpensive amp for my ATMOS speakers and used the main AVR amp for the 7 channel base layer for normal family use (without going crazy with AVS friends).
Thanks for your reply! I struggle to venture into the used market because I’d like to maximize the warranty value. Going used means I forfeit the warranty at the benefit of a lower cost, of course. I’m a bit too risk averse for that, though.

I don’t quite know what the subs are like yet, they won’t arrive until next week. I do look forward to integrating them, though!

As for room treatments, I do have GIK Acoustic made treatments in the room. Corners treated, side walls treated, a couple of panels in the front and back room. All in all, it’s truly amazing how much improvement there was. It’s not as “fun” as buying a new electronic component, a new speaker or whatever... but it’s freaking awesome to experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
It's just over your budget for a 5-channel amp, but I'd have a look at:

https://www.d-sonic.com/products/m3a...amplifier.html

If you do want a big block with lots of LED lights to look at, this won't do. It's low profile, low weight, low heat, but built like a tank. Plenty of power, you'll never be concerned with that again. It is 19" long though, so need to make sure you've got front to back clearance if the cabinet is enclosed. Just throwing this one out there for you as I have been so very pleased with mine, and this was my choice after demoing my gear with Parsound Halos among others.

Do you absolutely need an amp? Probably not based on your receiver experience thus far, but I think you are wanting one and there is nothing wrong with that if you've got the space and money!
Thanks for sharing another option. D-Sonic’s website wasn’t playing nice with me when I looked into them, so I wasn’t sure if they were in business still. Your link worked for me, so maybe it’s an issue on my end. Anyway, I don’t think depth is going to be an issue. The cabinet is about 24 inches deep.

For my current needs, I certainly do not need an amp. In planning the leap to Atmos, it seems like I can go with a mega AVR or have an amp plus AVR. Given those options, I’d rather have the dedicated power for the speakers playing the most content and let the AVR handle the rest. Definitely a “want”

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #6 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 07:25 AM
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Check out Outlaw audio amps also.

http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/7000x.html

They also have a 5 channel A5000.
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post #7 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 07:25 AM
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I know you mention you'd like new (and don't necessarily want heavy), but check out the ATI 2006 available on Audiogon. It's a mint condition trade-in from a customer upgrading. ATI amps are bulletproof - and if there is a problem - ATI will make it right for you even with an older or used amp. They are great to work with. You can even get a new non-rack type faceplate from them if you don't like that "rack" look. With an amp like this and within your budget, you'll never have to wonder whether you purchased the best amp for your needs.


Nice to hear you've got the acoustic treatments already. It sounds like you really have an incredible setup. Keep the Crowsons in mind to add to your mix somewhere down the road - I'm sure you'd really enjoy them.
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7.2.4 with Denon X4300W, ATI 2005 & 1807 Amps, Kef Reference 203 Mains, 202c Ctr, 201 Surr, Ci200RR-THX Top Rears, Q300 Frt Hts, E301 Rear Surr, Power Sound Audio PSA dual S3600i Subs,
GIK & DIY Acoustics, JVC X790/RS540 Projector, Stewart Neve 100" Screen, Panasonic Blu-Ray DMP-UB900, Xbox One X, Crowson Transducers, INSTEON, UDI ISY994i, Amazon Echo
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post #8 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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You guys are great at giving more options to look at and not-so-great at narrowing the options down, lol.

I’ll add Outlaw and some ATI amps to agonize over

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #9 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 08:17 AM
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I went the Rotel route, built like a tank and reasonable price.
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post #10 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I went the Rotel route, built like a tank and reasonable price.
What else did you try?
What makes you view the build quality of Rotel as “built like a tank” ?

I am not a huge fan of the look of the Rotel in online pictures, but I can make a point to go see it in person. Maybe it’d look less like an air vent to me in person.

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #11 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilbur_the_goose View Post
I have both Emotiva (XPA-5, 2nd gen) and a Parasound A21 (to drive the L/R speakers).

You can safely buy used, but try to do so locally because these weigh a lot.
Do you perceive any meaningful difference in things like heat output, look & finish, noise/hiss between those two amps?

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #12 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 08:57 AM
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In terms of used stuff, I'd have similar concerns regarding warranty with a PJ, AVR, BluRay, etc. as there can be more potential issues if that's a concern. On the other hand, amps by most brands favored on AVS tend to have very few problems even after having been used many years. There just isn't much to go wrong with them.

ATI is certainly here to stay given their history and acquisitions they've made. They make amps for their various in-house brands and amps that are rebadged by others both hi-end and things like Outlaw and Monolith. They'll repair things at the board level or simply replace an amp channel circuit board. You'd always have the support you need and they don't rake you over the coals on repair parts or service like most places do.

Great thing about a good used amp is that you can typically sell it for close to what you paid for it if you find it didn't meet your needs or you want to try something else. A used amp at a decent price is one of the few home theater purchases that will have any resale value over time and is also a system component that will never need to be changed due to changes in technology like AVRs, PJs, TVs, BluRays, etc.
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7.2.4 with Denon X4300W, ATI 2005 & 1807 Amps, Kef Reference 203 Mains, 202c Ctr, 201 Surr, Ci200RR-THX Top Rears, Q300 Frt Hts, E301 Rear Surr, Power Sound Audio PSA dual S3600i Subs,
GIK & DIY Acoustics, JVC X790/RS540 Projector, Stewart Neve 100" Screen, Panasonic Blu-Ray DMP-UB900, Xbox One X, Crowson Transducers, INSTEON, UDI ISY994i, Amazon Echo
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post #13 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 09:43 AM
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What else did you try?
What makes you view the build quality of Rotel as “built like a tank” ?

I am not a huge fan of the look of the Rotel in online pictures, but I can make a point to go see it in person. Maybe it’d look less like an air vent to me in person.
Tried Anthem really nice, good build quality, Canadian company, the MCA series was a bit out of my budget. The Rotel, in my opinion, was a bit better sound quality than the Anthem lower PVA series. Auditioned the Marantz 7055, just wasn't impressed. Mine looks good to me, I have the smaller RMB1555, 50lbs with a massive torroidal transformer, very sturdy and very good binding posts on the back. The RMB 1585 is nearly 100 lbs, was overkill for my room. Very happy with my unit, tons of headroom over my receiver, a really nice sound, just a slight hint on the warm side, very pleasing. These guys know how to make good quality amplifiers, they have been doing it for decades. These opinions are just that, my opinions. When I brought a demo home to try I was sold right away, just works good with my stuff.
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post #14 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erick granato View Post
Tried Anthem really nice, good build quality, Canadian company, the MCA series was a bit out of my budget. The Rotel, in my opinion, was a bit better sound quality than the Anthem lower PVA series. Auditioned the Marantz 7055, just wasn't impressed. Mine looks good to me, I have the smaller RMB1555, 50lbs with a massive torroidal transformer, very sturdy and very good binding posts on the back. The RMB 1585 is nearly 100 lbs, was overkill for my room. Very happy with my unit, tons of headroom over my receiver, a really nice sound, just a slight hint on the warm side, very pleasing. These guys know how to make good quality amplifiers, they have been doing it for decades. These opinions are just that, my opinions. When I brought a demo home to try I was sold right away, just works good with my stuff.
Understood. Thanks for sharing your experience with me.

I really don’t want a big heavy amp, and I really am glad that you found something that improved your experience! At 50lbs, that’s not too bad at all.

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #15 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 10:04 AM
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Thanks for sharing another option. D-Sonic’s website wasn’t playing nice with me when I looked into them, so I wasn’t sure if they were in business still. Your link worked for me, so maybe it’s an issue on my end. Anyway, I don’t think depth is going to be an issue. The cabinet is about 24 inches deep.

For my current needs, I certainly do not need an amp. In planning the leap to Atmos, it seems like I can go with a mega AVR or have an amp plus AVR. Given those options, I’d rather have the dedicated power for the speakers playing the most content and let the AVR handle the rest. Definitely a “want”

Oh yes, definitely still in business. I think at most, you could get away easily with the 5-channel, let a 5-channel handle your L/C/R and side surrounds. The majority of the action is in the front 3 (esp. center), followed by the (side) surrounds. You could even look into a 3-channel and you'd be plenty fine.
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7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #16 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh yes, definitely still in business. I think at most, you could get away easily with the 5-channel, let a 5-channel handle your L/C/R and side surrounds. The majority of the action is in the front 3 (esp. center), followed by the (side) surrounds. You could even look into a 3-channel and you'd be plenty fine.
I did a search on D Sonic on the forum and you’re quire the evangelist of the products, lol. I did see a post you had where you explained why you picked D Sonic, and I think I’m in a similar boat as you.

There’s definitely one aspect of stand alone amps that I don’t want to deal with. I don’t want ANOTHER space heater. The Denon doesn’t get all that hot, but when I use the PlayStation for HDR gaming... holy crap.

I really had my eye on the Parasound, but I’m finding a number of people talk about how much heat they put off. I really don’t know if I want to deal with that. I also don’t know how much of what I read is hyperbole versus real.

D Sonic has a very nice visual appeal, has a ton of power, and isn’t a space heater. Having that much power at my disposal gives me some concerns about ruining the speakers, though. I suppose thats where the master volume limiter comes into play, but holy cow those things have a ton of watts. It also bothers me a little bit that I can’t find a third party benchtest for D Sonic. Have you stumbled across one, by chance?

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #17 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Does the fully differential design of the Emotiva DR3 have any meaning if I’m connecting with unbalanced RCA’s off an AVR?

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
Denon AVR-X3400H; Klipsch RP-280F (L/R), RP-450C (C), RP-250S (SL/SR), RP-240D (RL/RR); PSA V1510 (x3 SW)
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post #18 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 02:41 PM
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Does the fully differential design of the Emotiva DR3 have any meaning if I’m connecting with unbalanced RCA’s off an AVR?
Much more power into 8 ohms than a non-DR model. (The difference is small with 4 ohm loads.) It may be a power supply limitation. 600W/channel X3 may require special house wiring if you ever max'ed it out for a duration.

The DR has significantly higher price than the XPA3.

I doubt that the added noise from an unbalanced input is significant for short cable runs, if you have a reasonably benign EMI environment. I have an XPA3, and with 3' (0.9m) RCA cables of the RG-59 coaxial type, I have had no pickup problems.
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post #19 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Much more power into 8 ohms than a non-DR model. (The difference is small with 4 ohm loads.) It may be a power supply limitation. 600W/channel X3 may require special house wiring if you ever max'ed it out for a duration.

The DR has significantly higher price than the XPA3.

I doubt that the added noise from an unbalanced input is significant for short cable runs, if you have a reasonably benign EMI environment. I have an XPA3, and with 3' (0.9m) RCA cables of the RG-59 coaxial type, I have had no pickup problems.
Gotcha. Sounds like connecting unbalanced to this amp has no meaningful impact on it’s benefit.

Emotiva is local for me. They’re like 15 minutes from my house, actually. The XPA-11 is very appealing, especially since it’s the same cost as the XPA-7. Right now I’m trying to arrange child care so that my wife and I can go visit their home office and demo som of their products. I also read that they run very cool, which should resolve my space heater concerns.

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post #20 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 03:39 PM
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I did a search on D Sonic on the forum and you’re quire the evangelist of the products, lol. I did see a post you had where you explained why you picked D Sonic, and I think I’m in a similar boat as you.

I definitely am a D-Sonic cheerleader. I'll admit, I was initially a skeptic of an "unknown" brand, but decided to give it a spin for many reasons. Never looked back, so glad I made this choice.


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There’s definitely one aspect of stand alone amps that I don’t want to deal with. I don’t want ANOTHER space heater. The Denon doesn’t get all that hot, but when I use the PlayStation for HDR gaming... holy crap.

I really had my eye on the Parasound, but I’m finding a number of people talk about how much heat they put off. I really don’t know if I want to deal with that. I also don’t know how much of what I read is hyperbole versus real.

It's one of the many benefits of class D amplification - efficiency and far less heat. I was very keen on how much heat was putting put out by the various amps I tested - including the Halos - which were in open air. They were warm, no doubt, but not blazing. In a cabinet? Would have been a different story. My dealer said he'd not place one in a cabinet without active ventilation. Dunno. Don't get me wrong, I liked the Parasound gear very much, but there was simply no need for the size, heat, and cost to performance ratio. I have no doubts of the quality though, and I auditioned both my Paradigms and Totems on various flavors of Parasound gear - sounded great, but no better than the D-Sonic (granted, no side x side, blind comparisons were possible).


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D Sonic has a very nice visual appeal, has a ton of power, and isn’t a space heater. Having that much power at my disposal gives me some concerns about ruining the speakers, though. I suppose thats where the master volume limiter comes into play, but holy cow those things have a ton of watts. It also bothers me a little bit that I can’t find a third party benchtest for D Sonic. Have you stumbled across one, by chance?

Yeah, and 400 watts/channel is the "weakest" of the line up..... Seriously, that's the one thing you don't need to worry about - too much power. Sure, you could do damage if you go too high on the volume knob, depending on the speakers of course. But you're clearly cognizant of that, so you won't. You'd know if did anyway, you'd hear the distortion. Not sure about bench tests, you can find the periodic review by just searching though! If you're curious, give Dennis a call! He's great to talk to, and it's not everyday you call a company and actually get to talk to the actual designer.
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post #21 of 45 Old 03-16-2019, 07:21 PM
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Gotcha. Sounds like connecting unbalanced to this amp has no meaningful impact on it’s benefit.

Emotiva is local for me. They’re like 15 minutes from my house, actually. The XPA-11 is very appealing, especially since it’s the same cost as the XPA-7. Right now I’m trying to arrange child care so that my wife and I can go visit their home office and demo som of their products. I also read that they run very cool, which should resolve my space heater concerns.
My XPA3 Gen3 runs fairly cool, especially compared to my Denon AVR-X4300H. I don't know how much additional heat would be generated by adding 4 stereo modules.

It's a little on the deep side: 19". The X4500H is 15 3/8" deep, including the antennas.
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post #22 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I was very keen on how much heat was putting put out by the various amps I tested - including the Halos - which were in open air. They were warm, no doubt, but not blazing. In a cabinet? Would have been a different story. My dealer said he'd not place one in a cabinet without active ventilation. Dunno. Don't get me wrong, I liked the Parasound gear very much, but there was simply no need for the size, heat, and cost to performance ratio. I have no doubts of the quality though, and I auditioned both my Paradigms and Totems on various flavors of Parasound gear - sounded great, but no better than the D-Sonic (granted, no side x side, blind comparisons were possible).
This is very disappointing to hear. My cabinet is open to the front, but enclosed on the sides. I have no doors for it, and there is some generous cutouts in the back so that wires can be fed in and out.

Is this the inevitable result of the A/B amps? Do they all, for the most part, get hot like the Parasound does? Is the Parasound an outlier in this regard?


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Yeah, and 400 watts/channel is the "weakest" of the line up..... Seriously, that's the one thing you don't need to worry about - too much power. Sure, you could do damage if you go too high on the volume knob, depending on the speakers of course. But you're clearly cognizant of that, so you won't. You'd know if did anyway, you'd hear the distortion. Not sure about bench tests, you can find the periodic review by just searching though! If you're curious, give Dennis a call! He's great to talk to, and it's not everyday you call a company and actually get to talk to the actual designer.
One of the reasons I went with PSA was because of the ready access to Tom V. His previous success in establishing SVS also played into the equation. I want to do business with people/companies that still care about the entirety of the customer experience. I weigh that against the inherent risks with doing business with small(er) businesses. They’re more fragile in some ways, which means they can go the way of Reaction Audio, Elemental Design, and other brands that came in hot, won over a lot of AVS’ers and then just couldn’t keep it going for a variety of reasons.

D Sonic has the numbers, isn’t a space heater, isn’t going to break my back, isn’t going to break my bank... but it seems like it’s nearly a one-man operation. That eats at me a little bit.

After all this discussion, I think I’m down to Emotiva’s XPA-DR3 ($2K) or D-Sonic’s M3a-1200-3 ($2K).
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post #23 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
My XPA3 Gen3 runs fairly cool, especially compared to my Denon AVR-X4300H. I don't know how much additional heat would be generated by adding 4 stereo modules.

It's a little on the deep side: 19". The X4500H is 15 3/8" deep, including the antennas.
Thanks for sharing! This helps me keep Emotiva in consideration.

My Room 7.3:
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post #24 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 05:35 AM
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There’s definitely one aspect of stand alone amps that I don’t want to deal with. I don’t want ANOTHER space heater. The Denon doesn’t get all that hot, but when I use the PlayStation for HDR gaming... holy crap.

I really had my eye on the Parasound, but I’m finding a number of people talk about how much heat they put off. I really don’t know if I want to deal with that. I also don’t know how much of what I read is hyperbole versus real.
I have the Emo Gen 3 XPS 3, and I have the same speakers as you, and it barely gets warm. I listen to multichannel and stereo music very loudly, probably overall stresses the amp more consistently than movies, barely above room temperature, unlike my Denon, which generally only drives the side surrounds, and gets much warmer. I will edit this post with temperatures later this afternoon/evening if I remember.

I also found these interesting a few years ago, and I believe they discount them if you buy several at once. I wouldn't bother getting more than 3.
https://www.outlawaudio.com/products/2200.html

Now, I mostly play music, but I think getting an external 3 channel amp with those speakers should be plenty with movies as well. Even though the Denon will get hot, that's just what Denons do, I don't think it will have any problem powering Atmos and surrounds. The rare occasion I do watch a movie, I listen near or at reference, and no signs of any issues, except maybe in the subwoofer department, and that's because I went sealed instead of ported.

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post #25 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I have the Emo Gen 3 XPS 3, and I have the same speakers as you, and it barely gets warm. I listen to multichannel and stereo music very loudly, probably overall stresses the amp more consistently than movies, barely above room temperature, unlike my Denon, which generally only drives the side surrounds, and gets much warmer. I will edit this post with temperatures later this afternoon/evening if I remember.

I also found these interesting a few years ago, and I believe they discount them if you buy several at once. I wouldn't bother getting more than 3.
https://www.outlawaudio.com/products/2200.html

Now, I mostly play music, but I think getting an external 3 channel amp with those speakers should be plenty with movies as well. Even though the Denon will get hot, that's just what Denons do, I don't think it will have any problem powering Atmos and surrounds. The rare occasion I do watch a movie, I listen near or at reference, and no signs of any issues, except maybe in the subwoofer department, and that's because I went sealed instead of ported.
Very happy to hear a positive paring of the Emotiva amp with the Klipsch speakers. I also appreciate the review of the heat output.

I’d prefer to not go the mono block route. Because of my cabinet, they’ll be visible to anyone who sits down in my media room, and I personally find their aesthetic to be lacking. Super trivial thing, I know. :shrug:

My Room 7.3:
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post #26 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 08:06 AM
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This is very disappointing to hear. My cabinet is open to the front, but enclosed on the sides. I have no doors for it, and there is some generous cutouts in the back so that wires can be fed in and out.

Is this the inevitable result of the A/B amps? Do they all, for the most part, get hot like the Parasound does? Is the Parasound an outlier in this regard?
It depends on the amp's design and how the loads/demand plays into that. It's not unique to Parasound. One of the showrooms at my local dealer had nothing but class A/AB amps in it, and when they were all powered up, it was toasty in that space, good sized space too, maybe 7 or 8 different amps from Parasound, McIntosh, Classe, some other brand I can't recall. They simply give off heat. Even just idling they are warm. The Emotivas folks are talking about are a hybrid type amp that are more efficient and will radiate less heat. A lot of "audiophiles" though are insistent on class A amps as being the best at delivering the SQ-goods. (and maybe they are...but I'm not an audiophile or else I'd likely be very poor right now....)

In open air, a single amp of any kind isn't going to be too bad. In a cabinet that is enclosed, gonna get much warmer. In a vented cabinet, you'll be better off no question. I think you'd be O.K., doesn't sound like you are totally enclosed. If you keep all of the wiring tight and organized, that's best - you don't want a spaghetti factory interfering with airflow otherwise! Keep those cutouts as free as you are able.

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One of the reasons I went with PSA was because of the ready access to Tom V. His previous success in establishing SVS also played into the equation. I want to do business with people/companies that still care about the entirety of the customer experience. I weigh that against the inherent risks with doing business with small(er) businesses. They’re more fragile in some ways, which means they can go the way of Reaction Audio, Elemental Design, and other brands that came in hot, won over a lot of AVS’ers and then just couldn’t keep it going for a variety of reasons.

D Sonic has the numbers, isn’t a space heater, isn’t going to break my back, isn’t going to break my bank... but it seems like it’s nearly a one-man operation. That eats at me a little bit.

After all this discussion, I think I’m down to Emotiva’s XPA-DR3 ($2K) or D-Sonic’s M3a-1200-3 ($2K).
I definitely understand the trepidation of a small company like D-Sonic - believe me, I had it too. But I also bought an Oppo UHD player and look where that went.... If you can sport the $$$ up front, I'd maybe consider trying them BOTH. Nothing quite like having them on hand to fit them, fondle them, look at them, and then test them. Return the one you like less.
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7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
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post #27 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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It depends on the amp's design and how the loads/demand plays into that. It's not unique to Parasound. One of the showrooms at my local dealer had nothing but class A/AB amps in it, and when they were all powered up, it was toasty in that space, good sized space too, maybe 7 or 8 different amps from Parasound, McIntosh, Classe, some other brand I can't recall. They simply give off heat. Even just idling they are warm. The Emotivas folks are talking about are a hybrid type amp that are more efficient and will radiate less heat. A lot of "audiophiles" though are insistent on class A amps as being the best at delivering the SQ-goods. (and maybe they are...but I'm not an audiophile or else I'd likely be very poor right now....)

In open air, a single amp of any kind isn't going to be too bad. In a cabinet that is enclosed, gonna get much warmer. In a vented cabinet, you'll be better off no question. I think you'd be O.K., doesn't sound like you are totally enclosed. If you keep all of the wiring tight and organized, that's best - you don't want a spaghetti factory interfering with airflow otherwise! Keep those cutouts as free as you are able.
This makes sense to me. Thankfully the cutout in the back of the cabinet is probably equivalent to 70% of the opening the front. Regardless, I really want to avoid the space heater situation if I can reasonably do so.


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I definitely understand the trepidation of a small company like D-Sonic - believe me, I had it too. But I also bought an Oppo UHD player and look where that went.... If you can sport the $$$ up front, I'd maybe consider trying them BOTH. Nothing quite like having them on hand to fit them, fondle them, look at them, and then test them. Return the one you like less.
I could trying them both at the same time, and I might end up doing that. My wife really wants to “go on that field trip to Emotiva” before I pull the trigger in any direction. I’m certainly not in a rush, and I don’t mind dragging this out for a few weeks, maybe even waiting until summer to really do anything. I’ve already learned a great deal from the feedback from you and others in this thread, which gives me more to contemplate before putting in money into the mix.

My Room 7.3:
LG OLED65B7A; Sony UBP-X700; Sony Playstation 4 Pro; Apple TV 4K; SONOS Connect
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post #28 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 08:44 AM
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This makes sense to me. Thankfully the cutout in the back of the cabinet is probably equivalent to 70% of the opening the front. Regardless, I really want to avoid the space heater situation if I can reasonably do so.

Yeah, I think you are good to go. That's some generous space. You do want to have decent clearances around any unit, but especially vertical clearance, the more the merrier! (One reason I like lower-profile designs, I've got more in my cabinet than I would have otherwise with taller designs.) Just another point to think about - a few inches might not seem like much, but when you're starting to piece a system together, inches can matter!


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Originally Posted by Scars View Post
I could trying them both at the same time, and I might end up doing that. My wife really wants to “go on that field trip to Emotiva” before I pull the trigger in any direction. I’m certainly not in a rush, and I don’t mind dragging this out for a few weeks, maybe even waiting until summer to really do anything. I’ve already learned a great deal from the feedback from you and others in this thread, which gives me more to contemplate before putting in money into the mix.

GOOD! There is no need to rush. Rushing inevitable leads to less than optimal decisions and second guessing. If you've got time, take it! You're doing the right thing by gathering info. This will only help you make more confident decisions.

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #29 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 03:24 PM
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Very happy to hear a positive paring of the Emotiva amp with the Klipsch speakers. I also appreciate the review of the heat output.

I’d prefer to not go the mono block route. Because of my cabinet, they’ll be visible to anyone who sits down in my media room, and I personally find their aesthetic to be lacking. Super trivial thing, I know. :shrug:
I am not listening as loud as I do some days, but still plenty loud. My XPA3 is running at about 75 degrees, and my x4300h, pushing only side surrounds, is running 88 degrees. This in a cool basement in a large TV stand which is 100 percent open front and back.
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post #30 of 45 Old 03-17-2019, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Just measured my cabinet. I have 19 inches deep and 18 inches wide. I could go up to 14 inches tall by removing a shelf, so that’s not a real issue.

Emotiva is 19 deep.
D Sonic is 18.5 deep.

Both are gonna be tight...

In fact, this might be a dead idea after getting one of them and trying to put it where I want it. Not throwing in the towel yet, but I didn’t do this simple step until tonight.

My Room 7.3:
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