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I recently moved and am determined to set up a decent 7.1 system. I ordered the following items:

AVR: Yamaha RX-V779 (rated at 95W 2 channel driven)
Fronts: Polk Audio RTi A5
Center: Polk Audio CSi A6
Others: Polk Audio FXi A4

I know the amp in the receiver and power supply is limited. After hours of research I concluded that the receiver would be able to provide plenty of volume, but it wouldn't sound at its best.

I got the center speaker today, hooked it up with 12 gauge wire and put something on. I set the volume to -20db and it doesn't feel what I read would be "plenty loud". In fact it is slightly quieter than my TV speakers at -20db. I realize it can be turned up a bit more, but my last HTIB sound system was plenty loud at -20db.

I have considered an amp for later, but was seeking to just start out with the receiver only, even if it is inferior. So my real question is: Am I doing something wrong? Could I be doing something better? I also heard the A5 would run fine on a similar AVR. They have the same power requirements and speakers as the center A6 does.
 

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What content? Music? Movies?

Your Yamaha has a "proper" master volume control, meaning that volume at 0 is reference level. Most folk prefer -20 to -10 for movies in domestic envirnoment (+bass boost).
Your TV and HTIB probably don't have MV set same way...well maybe they do but I suspect sound might be heavily colored (some loudness countour at least), so thats why it feels kinda louder.

Btw, have you ran calibration on your AVR?
 

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What content? Music? Movies?

Your Yamaha has a "proper" master volume control, meaning that volume at 0 is reference level. Most folk prefer -20 to -10 for movies in domestic envirnoment (+bass boost).
Your TV and HTIB probably don't have MV set same way...well maybe they do but I suspect sound might be heavily colored (some loudness countour at least), so thats why it feels kinda louder.

Btw, have you ran calibration on your AVR?
Thanks for the reply! My old Panasonic also used 0db as a reference as well. I have been testing the speaker out on more things since I wrote my post. My current testbed is Doctor Strange. I realized my initial tests may not have exercised the center channel very well. With these things in mind, I'm getting better levels at the -15db range.

I haven't calibrated it yet because I have no other speakers hooked up. Figured I would at least wait for my A5s to get in. My old speakers were left at my last home for the new owner, or I would hook them up.
 

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The Yamaha is delivering a cleaner signal than your old HTIB. That is why it doesn't seem as loud.
That's the secret beauty of better equipment




And you probably cannot compare volume settings between those two. Remember the 11 on Spinal Taps amps?
 

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Volume level numbers are meaningless to compare from one device to another until both devices are calibrated with their supplied mic. Calibration itself will often change the output levels of some speakers as much as 24dB (+/- 12 dB), which is a lot.

[Technically different companies are free to use whatever reference level they want for their "0 dB" level but most mainstream AVR brands, including Yamaha, have decided to settle on the same standard that THX uses even if the device itself is not THX certified. I don't know what HTIBs do, for sure, but I'd think it would be the same if they come with a calibration mic.]
 
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