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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to decide which option I should pursue between purchasing a cheaper AVR w/ a separate power amp or a more expensive AVR w/ a better built-in amp. Down the line, I'd like to add an amp to run better fronts, but what I don't understand is how adding a power amp will affect the built-in amp. Does it by-pass the built-in amp entirely, effectively making it a waste of money investing in a more expensive AVR for its better amp section (not considering the extra bells and whistles)?


I'd like to stay around $800 max, but I'm also fine with spending less now on a receiver and adding a amp later.


Any suggestions? Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tygger /forum/post/20869892


I'm trying to decide which option I should pursue between purchasing a cheaper AVR w/ a separate power amp or a more expensive AVR w/ a better built-in amp. Down the line, I'd like to add an amp to run better fronts, but what I don't understand is how adding a power amp will affect the built-in amp. Does it by-pass the built-in amp entirely, effectively making it a waste of money investing in a more expensive AVR for its better amp section (not considering the extra bells and whistles)?


I'd like to stay around $800 max, but I'm also fine with spending less now on a receiver and adding a amp later.


Any suggestions? Thanks

It all depends on what speakers you will buy. If you are going to buy speakers with several drivers and 4 ohm rating an external amp would be useful. If the speakers are smaller or 8 ohm a mid-level receiver by itself should be fine. On any given channel you can use either internal or external amp but not both at same time.
 

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You also have to look at the cost, most inexpensive AVR's don't have pre-outs to hook up an outboard amp. You normally have to look at the 500.00 range and up to get the preouts. By adding say a simple two channel amp to drive your mains, frees up the AVR's built in amplifier so that is has more power to drive the other speakers. Most surounds don't require much power but if using a two channel amp to drive the mains, your AVR has alot more power to drive the center which normally accounts for 70-90% of the sound.


The more speakers you hook up to an AVR the less power to each channel you'll get, hence why most reviews claim the wpc with only two speakers hooked up. Take the Sony ES recievers rated at 120 wpc, with two channels it gets like 105 wpc, with 5 speakers that number drops to like 55 wpc and with 7 speakers your only get about 41 wpc (this is an example and not indicative of all Sony or any AVR for that matter) by adding outboard amps you give the AVR more to work with.


Take my Onkyo 805 I use outboard amps for the center and surrounds and have my mains only hooked up to the AVR because the built in amp running two channels is so powerful (171 wpc two speakers only) that it can match wits with my 200 watt monoblock for my center and my 105 wpc amps for my surrounds. I can crank it to ungodly levels with no distortion


For 800.00 though I would look at Audiogon for a great used multi channel preamp and five channel amp.
 

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The cheapest receiver I see that you can buy new right now is the Yamaha 667. The 867 is also pretty cheap right now and has preamp outputs and adds networking. I think it's good to have preouts just in case you want to try out an amp in the future. I found a 2 channel amp on craigslist and bought but it didn't make any difference with my Denon 3310 so I sold it on craigslist. Some systems have plenty of power without needing an amp. Like it was mentioned, it depends on the speakers and it also has a lot to do with the room size as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpearce023 /forum/post/20871037


The cheapest receiver I see that you can buy new right now is the Yamaha 667. The 867 is also pretty cheap right now and has preamp outputs and adds networking. I think it’s good to have preouts just in case you want to try out an amp in the future. I found a 2 channel amp on craigslist and bought but it didn't make any difference with my Denon 3310 so I sold it on craigslist. Some systems have plenty of power without needing an amp. Like it was mentioned, it depends on the speakers and it also has a lot to do with the room size as well.

The RX-A700 is another good choice.




Regarding whether or not you "need" an external amplifier depends on a few factors, some of them have been mentioned here (room size being a big one), some of them haven't (like speaker efficiency, target SPLs, and perception of loudness).


Some receivers, but not all, will deliver on their claimed output (or close enough that we don't care; I'll come back to this in a minute) - price usually doesn't dictate this, and there are some (ungodly) expensive receivers out there that absolutely do not approach their claimed outputs.


Regarding "close enough that we don't care"...


- In order to perceive a doubling in loudness ("how loud is it?") we need 10 dB more acoustic intensity, which requires a ten-fold increase in power. This gets into the realm of very large numbers very quickly.


- Differences of a few watts, or even tens of watts, unless we're talking about very low level output (1-2W amplifiers), are usually inconsequential. Having an AVR that produces 100wpc into stereo, but only 50wpc into five, is not a "bad" thing - it likely won't even be noticed. However, having an AVR that produces 100wpc into mono, but only 5wpc into five, is a terrible thing. Both exist.


- If your speakers are very sensitive (efficient), they need less power to create a given acoustic intensity. For our purposes, this means they get louder. Conversely, they require less power to get "as loud" as some less efficient speaker. If you have very efficient speakers (Klipsch Reference are a great example of this) you generally don't require anywhere near as much power as average efficiency speakers (Yamaha Soavo are a great example of this). This doesn't speak to sound quality or any other factor, just power in-loudness out.


- Target loudness is another good consideration. Aside from causing hearing damage at absurd levels (90 dB+), we should be concerned with output in terms of being able to approximate a reference level (which is generically, 85 dB continuous (observed from the listening position) for all channels, with the capacity of 20 dB peaks, and 105 dB for the LFE channel (this is higher because our hearing is not linear - lower frequencies have to be more intense to sound as loud)). If you're only sitting 3-6 ft from your speakers, you can probably accomplish 85 dB with most speakers with less than 1W in, and then your 100W amplifier can provide the required 100-fold increase (for the 20 dB gain)). Even if the amplifier cannot provide 100W CACD (Continuous All Channels Driven), it potentially can provide it for one or two or three channels as a peak. Remember that we don't listen to sine-sweeps (which is how CACD is measured), we listen to dynamic content that doesn't try to drive every channel at 0 dBfs until the amplifier shuts down.


Adding an external amplifier makes a lot of sense in a few cases:


- Support for very low impedance speakers.


- Support for very efficient or inefficient speakers. Inefficient speakers require more power, or a different gain structure (a more sensitive amplifier), efficient speakers may require a lower noise floor.


- Other considerations, such as aesthetic reasons (desire of another amplifier, or use of a tube amplifier, for example), multi-zone installations, or additional features (amplifiers with A/B terminals, for example).


We can look at a few receivers around your price range, and a few over, to get an idea of what power can cost. And yes, this is entirely ripped from the post linked in my signature.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/s...-labs-measures (what we absolutely don't want to see - there's so little power available that headroom does actually go out the window in this situation; 1-3W input will probably get you the 80-90 dB output, but what about the 10 or 100 fold power increase for dynamic peaks?)
http://www.hometheater.com/content/s...-labs-measures (what we absolutely do want to see)
http://www.hometheater.com/content/i...-labs-measures (what we absolutely do want to see)
http://www.hometheater.com/content/a...-labs-measures (for the price, what we absolutely do not want to see)
http://www.hometheater.com/content/p...-labs-measures ("average" - this is roughly what people are getting at in terms of midrange equipment)
http://www.hometheater.com/content/s...-labs-measures (actually outperforms more expensive equipment in terms of ACD - cost/brand name can't always be used as an indicator of performance)
http://www.hometheater.com/content/y...-labs-measures ("average")


Some further reading about the perception of loudness; amplifier output, sensitivity, and power; and SPLs:
http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2004-About-dB/
http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=58829
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html (you can figure out theoretical output based on speaker efficiency and amplifier power with this toy)
http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~guymoo.../lecture11.pdf
http://www.butleraudio.com/damping1.php


Regarding the impact on the built-in amplifier - generally the internal amplifiers are disabled (either turned off or simply fed no signal) when external amplifiers are connected. This usually does little for power consumption (unfortunately), although power consumption on most AVRs at idle is low enough to not be a concern (even 100W is not really problematic; if you're concerned about your energy footprint (or bill), replace a few fixtures with CCFL or LED bulbs or line dry your clothes a few times a month).


Some AVRs (nothing you can buy currently, at least that I know of) will allow you to use both their internal and an external amplifier at once. I have no idea as to why you'd want to do this, but as long as you don't connect both amplifiers to the same speakers (more to the point: as long as they aren't connected TOGETHER), you shouldn't have any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Which setup do you think would be better?


1. Yamaha RX-V867 $480 and Emotiva UPA-2 $300 = $780 total


OR


2. Pioneer SC-35 $750+tax


Seems like the Yamaha has a bunch more features and adding in the power amp negates the SC-35s advantage in that area. Both have preouts and networking, but I think only the Yamaha has HD radio. Also, are there different levels of YPAO like Audyssey?


Thanks for all the feedback!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert /forum/post/20871435


Some AVRs (nothing you can buy currently, at least that I know of) will allow you to use both their internal and an external amplifier at once. I have no idea as to why you'd want to do this, but as long as you don't connect both amplifiers to the same speakers (more to the point: as long as they aren't connected TOGETHER), you shouldn't have any problems.

I am confused about this.


Do you mean connecting up an external amp to a channel you are already using an internal amp on?


See no reason this does not work. My Z7 manual suggests not doing this, but I bet it works (just like Y connections work to connect multiple subs, right?)


Clearly you can mix/match though. I amplifiy 5 speakers with two external amps, and 2 with my Z7 amps.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tygger /forum/post/20885489


...Also, are there different levels of YPAO like Audussey?


Thanks for all the feedback!

Yep.


There's a few flavors of YPAO. I assume they have made "silent" changes to YPAO all along. There are different im[plementations of bass/LFE EQ as I recall. And there's been some fancier additions to YPAO on higher end models like being able to measure at more than one position, and this doohicky that measures from the same position at different angles (forget what it does, something with standing waves I thought.)


But Yamaha does not create new names when they make changes or have different features. It's all called YPAO.
 

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Excellent points about Yamaha's lack of nomenclature with YPAO. I would personally get the SC-35. As it seems to share the identical amplifier stage as the SC-37, you are getting a true 100 Watts+ into 5/7 Channels. As the Center Channel is a true linchpin to a great HT experience, I would go that direction and coupled with the huge savings and the fact it is the last of the B&O ICEPower Elite AVR's.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman /forum/post/20885520


I am confused about this.


Do you mean connecting up an external amp to a channel you are already using an internal amp on?


See no reason this does not work. My Z7 manual suggests not doing this, but I bet it works (just like Y connections work to connect multiple subs, right?)


Clearly you can mix/match though. I amplifiy 5 speakers with two external amps, and 2 with my Z7 amps.

Yes I mean connecting a pre-amp output and the speaker level output at once (to two different speakers, of course) - many receivers will auto-mute the internal amplifier if those pre-amp outputs are connected. I don't know why they do, I've just seen it time and again in user manuals and heard a few units in person open their relays if those connections are used. Again, I have no idea what the reasoning is on the designer's side.


I know that older AVRs that feature in/out loops, like the Technics SA-TX50, would obviously let you run both internal/external with splitters and the jumpers out (just like the sub out), and I'm sure there are units out there that let you do what you've described (I'm actually curious if your Z7 would do this or not, mind trying it and telling me/us what happens?).


All of that said, I have no idea why anyone would want this, unless you're doing multiple rows of surrounds, but there are far more logical ways to accomplish this in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpearce023 /forum/post/20885539


^^^^^

Here are the different verisons of YPAO

Single point which goes up to the 667 & A700

Multi point A800 & A1000 & 867

Multi point/Angle/Reflected sound control A2000 & A3000 - This is the only one that will EQ a sub.

First, and most dramatic difference I've seen written about the A700 vs the V867, thank you (I've been looking for a reason to justify the 867's higher price).



To the original question about "which to get" - I'd probably agree with the suggestion towards the Pioneer, mostly because I hear good things about the unit. I don't follow Pioneer though, so for all I know it's a completely awful product and entirely not worth the money - I'm purely going on what I've heard and read.


The Yamaha would probably be just as good, especially with an outboard power amp, as in I doubt you would notice any major differences. However, more power and/or more quality is never a bad thing. That Pioneer has a pre-out section as well, so if you end up wanting a bigger amplifier down the road, you're still set.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by walbert /forum/post/20871435


Some AVRs (nothing you can buy currently, at least that I know of) will allow you to use both their internal and an external amplifier at once. I have no idea as to why you'd want to do this, but as long as you don't connect both amplifiers to the same speakers (more to the point: as long as they aren't connected TOGETHER), you shouldn't have any problems.

Denon, Marantz, and Onkyo (at the very least) have no issues doing this, all be it a rare configuration to be sure. One Denon owner posted using both internal and external amps to put a 2nd 5.1 setup from the same AVR in another room.
 
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