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post #1 of 18 Old 02-07-2020, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Amplifier Questions

I currently have a 9.2 channel Pioneer Lx503 setup with a 5.1.4 system. I dont have any amplifiers, the Pioneer alone powers all 9 channels. It sounds pretty good to me, but I have no baseline as to what a great sound system is, seeing as I am the first one I know to build a home theater.

I was thinking about a Emotiva A-500 5 channel Amp to power my base speakers and let the Pioneer power the 4 atmos speakers.

I feel like the sound is already loud as it is and I rarely ever turn the volume louder than -10db.

My question is, would an amplifier increase clarity also? Because I certainly dont need volume. MAYBE just a bit more sound out of the 4 overheads, but that's about it. Is it absurd to have the Pioneer actually powering ALL 9 channels by its self?

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post #2 of 18 Old 02-07-2020, 11:30 PM
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It sounds like you should well enough alone. An outboard power amplifier won't help clarity unless you need more power to go louder which it appears you don't. If you want to improve the sound the number one component to make the most difference is speakers. Then room treatment, it's the next thing to do to improve the sound. Most people don't realize how much it can help until they try it and then wonder why they didn't do it sooner.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-08-2020, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by warnerwh1 View Post
It sounds like you should well enough alone. An outboard power amplifier won't help clarity unless you need more power to go louder which it appears you don't. If you want to improve the sound the number one component to make the most difference is speakers. Then room treatment, it's the next thing to do to improve the sound. Most people don't realize how much it can help until they try it and then wonder why they didn't do it sooner.
So you think it's fine running 9 channels off the receiver alone?

The room has plenty of soft objects such as an area rug between the couch and t.v. and most of the walls being covered by couch and wall decor.

Would you say my Polk Speakers are my weakest links? Polk T15's for surrounds, Polk T50's for tower speakers on the front left and rights, Polk TSX 100c for center and Polk OWM3's for overheads. They are basically all lower end polk speakers.

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post #4 of 18 Old 02-08-2020, 01:02 AM
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if your avr isnt shutting itself down, you probably are fine.

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post #5 of 18 Old 02-08-2020, 01:06 AM
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I have polks too RTI A7s AND CSI for the center RTIs all around on a Pioneer Elite SC-37 theri flagshil receiver 8 years ago... to be honest Polk sucks.... The distortion is really bad.... Planning on going DIY getting CSS or DIYSG because I can't afford 3k audiophile speakers..... My family was in the pro sound system business here in the Philippines and I grew up on top notch speakers like Genelec and Apogee. These Polks are a ton better than Bose but damn.... It's just good for movies..... It makes my head ache with music....

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post #6 of 18 Old 02-08-2020, 02:47 AM
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If you want clarity try adjusting your speakers with EQ. If that doesn’t work, try different speakers. If you’ve got adequate power to your speakers and you don’t listen at reference levels an amp will do nothing for you.

Amps are good for powering lower impedance/power hungry speakers that cause too much strain on an avr. E.g 4 ohms and lower. Modern avrs can handle 4 ohms but some speakers dip into the 2 ohm range and that’s not good for an avr.

Do you need an amp for what you’re doing? Probably not. Otherwise get one and try it.

Look at 3 outlaw monoblocks (m2200) for your front 3 And let the avr power the rears/atmos. Or if you’re dead set on a multichannel amp, look at Monoprice Monolith 3, 5 or 7 channel amp. It benches very well. 200 watts/channel @ 8ohm.... Oh and it’s made in the USA by ATI. Just my .02
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-08-2020, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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If you want clarity try adjusting your speakers with EQ. If that doesn’t work, try different speakers. If you’ve got adequate power to your speakers and you don’t listen at reference levels an amp will do nothing for you.

Amps are good for powering lower impedance/power hungry speakers that cause too much strain on an avr. E.g 4 ohms and lower. Modern avrs can handle 4 ohms but some speakers dip into the 2 ohm range and that’s not good for an avr.

Do you need an amp for what you’re doing? Probably not. Otherwise get one and try it.

Look at 3 outlaw monoblocks (m2200) for your front 3 And let the avr power the rears/atmos. Or if you’re dead set on a multichannel amp, look at Monoprice Monolith 3, 5 or 7 channel amp. It benches very well. 200 watts/channel @ 8ohm.... Oh and it’s made in the USA by ATI. Just my .02
Copy that! I'm still new to HT and wasn't sure if it was taboo to run 9 channels strictly on a receiver (especially a low mid level receiver) and if it had any serious repercussions.

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post #8 of 18 Old 02-08-2020, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MisterCassera View Post
Copy that! I'm still new to HT and wasn't sure if it was taboo to run 9 channels strictly on a receiver (especially a low mid level receiver) and if it had any serious repercussions.

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Taboo? Nope.

Traditionally, on the Internet, you may expect a lot of help spending lots more money, though.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MisterCassera View Post
Copy that! I'm still new to HT and wasn't sure if it was taboo to run 9 channels strictly on a receiver (especially a low mid level receiver) and if it had any serious repercussions.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
For HT use (depends on AVR) running multi-channel (more than stereo 2.0) your unit typically loses half of it's normal rated power. E.g A yamaha that runs 100+wpc at 2.0 typically drops to around 40-50wpc when driven with ALL CHANNELS. In real world scenarios this doesn't really matter because you're typically not pushing sound out of all channels at once....

Other units have stronger amp sections like Onkyo RZ800 series for E.g 120wpc dips to 80-90wpc ACD. But again, in RW scenarios it doesn't really matter unless you listen to music or movies on the ALL channel setting on the AVR.

So, unless your speakers are distorting/clipping... I personally would put your money elsewhere to make your system better. Speaker upgrades, decent wires and cables, etc...

Hope this helps.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 07:37 PM
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You mention clarity. Do you mean dialog clarity? If so are you having issues with all sources & source material or just some?

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post #11 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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You mention clarity. Do you mean dialog clarity? If so are you having issues with all sources & source material or just some?

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Everything seems pretty clear. If I could change one thing though it would be that my atmos channels were a bit louder. Maybe I will try and up those by 1db each. This is my main worry, that my mains are taking up all the power and I'm not getting enough to my overheads. It's hard to tell when you never heard other systems and especially when each Atmos track is vastly different!

I am finding that I watch most movies at about the -13db range and some movies I have to turn it up to -10.....never really higher than that. I never get clipping or distortion (that i can hear).

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post #12 of 18 Old 02-09-2020, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MisterCassera View Post
Everything seems pretty clear. If I could change one thing though it would be that my atmos channels were a bit louder. Maybe I will try and up those by 1db each.

(snip)
You may want more than that. 1dB is barely audible.
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill-99 View Post
You mention clarity. Do you mean dialog clarity? If so are you having issues with all sources & source material or just some?

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Everything seems pretty clear. If I could change one thing though it would be that my atmos channels were a bit louder. Maybe I will try and up those by 1db each. This is my main worry, that my mains are taking up all the power and I'm not getting enough to my overheads. It's hard to tell when you never heard other systems and especially when each Atmos track is vastly different!

I am finding that I watch most movies at about the -13db range and some movies I have to turn it up to -10.....never really higher than that. I never get clipping or distortion (that i can hear).

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
Get yourself a decibel meter, sit in the center of your room, while the meter is on, go into setting of your unit and find “speaker level” adjustment. Make sure all speakers output at the same level from where you’re sitting.

For example; your front towers pulsing a noise at 65db, your rears also at 65db. Doesn’t have to be that exact number.... As long as they all match output wise.

See if that helps. Test it using a source you’re familiar with. If you find the atmos still lack in volume, head back to the same settings “speaker level” and adjust them up to your taste.

Also, make sure you’re measuring distance from each speaker to center listening area and set it accordingly in the settings. Adjustments like I’ve mentioned make a difference.
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post #14 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 05:44 AM
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^Good points all. I will add: experiment repeatedly and write down what you do to make dropping back easier.

Re: Atmos tracks being vastly different, that's no surprise really. There's a great deal of inconsistency in audio production today making tweaks for specific content an ongoing necessity. TV programs seem to be the most consistent though there are variations from channel to channel, program to program. Movies are the worst with dialog routinely being compromised, and surround levels low or almost absent. IMO these are production values issue that consumers can't fix and that studios have little interest in addressing, unfortunately. Sure, there are exceptions but there's a sea of dreck out there.


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post #15 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by kenlunsford View Post
Get yourself a decibel meter, sit in the center of your room, while the meter is on, go into setting of your unit and find “speaker level” adjustment. Make sure all speakers output at the same level from where you’re sitting.

For example; your front towers pulsing a noise at 65db, your rears also at 65db. Doesn’t have to be that exact number.... As long as they all match output wise.

See if that helps. Test it using a source you’re familiar with. If you find the atmos still lack in volume, head back to the same settings “speaker level” and adjust them up to your taste.

Also, make sure you’re measuring distance from each speaker to center listening area and set it accordingly in the settings. Adjustments like I’ve mentioned make a difference.


Not center of the room, the main listening position.


Auto setup on modern AVRs are usually very good at distances, especially subs which may had added DSP delay so manual may not be a good idea though its good to double check that its fairly close, except for sub with DSP.(they measure as further away)
Upping the atmos speakers a dB or 2 is no problem at all, its your(OP) taste that matters even if by chance the movie is well made.



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post #16 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MisterCassera View Post
I currently have a 9.2 channel Pioneer Lx503 setup with a 5.1.4 system. I dont have any amplifiers, the Pioneer alone powers all 9 channels. It sounds pretty good to me, but I have no baseline as to what a great sound system is, seeing as I am the first one I know to build a home theater.

I was thinking about a Emotiva A-500 5 channel Amp to power my base speakers and let the Pioneer power the 4 atmos speakers.

I feel like the sound is already loud as it is and I rarely ever turn the volume louder than -10db.

My question is, would an amplifier increase clarity also? Because I certainly dont need volume. MAYBE just a bit more sound out of the 4 overheads, but that's about it. Is it absurd to have the Pioneer actually powering ALL 9 channels by its self?

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
I have felt the same as you a time ago and invested in outboard amps to replace the amplification in very capable receivers with very little return. It sounds like your Pioneer has very capable amplification for your need, and then some. If you feel that a new amp is a must, I would do a 3-channel amp to power the L/C/R. But instead, why not just boost the overhead levels? An amp would be a waste of money imo.

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post #17 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterCassera View Post
I currently have a 9.2 channel Pioneer Lx503 setup with a 5.1.4 system. I dont have any amplifiers, the Pioneer alone powers all 9 channels. It sounds pretty good to me, but I have no baseline as to what a great sound system is, seeing as I am the first one I know to build a home theater.

I was thinking about a Emotiva A-500 5 channel Amp to power my base speakers and let the Pioneer power the 4 atmos speakers.

I feel like the sound is already loud as it is and I rarely ever turn the volume louder than -10db.

My question is, would an amplifier increase clarity also? Because I certainly dont need volume. MAYBE just a bit more sound out of the 4 overheads, but that's about it. Is it absurd to have the Pioneer actually powering ALL 9 channels by its self?

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

A couple points:

An external amplifier may or may not be a good idea for you, but such a purchase may start an upgrade cycle that will mean spending more money, perhaps a lot more, than you originally planned. Go into this with you eyes open.

If you do decide to pursue an external amplifier the A-500 appears to be at best equal to what you have. Just to take a supermarket approach. The A-500 is a 5-channel power amplifier Class A/B with a linear power supply that weights 26.5 pounds according to the Emotiva webpage. At a high level, weight is good way to eliminate candidates for external amplifiers that have similar basic designs. Heavier is better. The A-500 is rather anemic.

For comparison, an alternative also a Class A/B amplifier with a linear power supply, that likely would represent as step up is the Monoprice Monolith 5, a 200 Watt per channel, 5-channel power amplifier that weights 78.5 lbs. The Monolith unit is $1,299, clearly more expensive, but a lot more amplifier, a clear step up. This really isn't to recommend the Monolith unit, there are other choices at higher or lower prices, but is intended to give perspective.

Emotiva offers a 5-channel power amplifier, the XPA-5 Gen3, at a bit more money than the Monolith unit, that others on this forum often consider a good choice. The Emotiva units has a different type of power supply so this supermarket approach doesn't apply. The Emotiva unit provides similar power output to the Monoprice unit.

If you do decide to pursue an external power amplifier you'll have no shortage of recommendations from forum members.

Again, a decision on what upgrade to pursue in your system, if any, along with budget limits, should be your first step.
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post #18 of 18 Old 02-10-2020, 09:55 PM
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Get yourself a decibel meter, sit in the center of your room, while the meter is on, go into setting of your unit and find “speaker levelâ€Â adjustment. Make sure all speakers output at the same level from where you’️re sitting.

For example; your front towers pulsing a noise at 65db, your rears also at 65db. Doesn’️t have to be that exact number.... As long as they all match output wise.

See if that helps. Test it using a source you’️re familiar with. If you find the atmos still lack in volume, head back to the same settings “speaker levelâ€Â and adjust them up to your taste.

Also, make sure you’️re measuring distance from each speaker to center listening area and set it accordingly in the settings. Adjustments like I’️ve mentioned make a difference.


Not center of the room, the main listening position.


Auto setup on modern AVRs are usually very good at distances, especially subs which may had added DSP delay so manual may not be a good idea though its good to double check that its fairly close, except for sub with DSP.(they measure as further away)
Upping the atmos speakers a dB or 2 is no problem at all, its your(OP) taste that matters even if by chance the movie is well made.


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I figured he’d get the point... We don’t stand in the center of the room to watch movies eh?
Nonetheless, center of listening. Guess it came out wrong....

Manually measuring distances compared to budget avr auto setup will always be more accurate. Auto Setups really don’t start getting good until you reach arc, dirac live, etc...

Been there, done that with accueq, mcacc, YPAO, Audyssey.... They’re decent at best.

YPAO offers parametric eq which i find the best for adjusting out of basic avrs...

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Last edited by kenlunsford; 02-10-2020 at 10:06 PM.
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