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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’m working on finally piecing together a home theater and am currently building out a 5.1/5.2 setup. As of right now I am powering everything off my AVR and am trying to decide my best next step in terms of introducing an amplifier to the setup. What I’m trying to figure out is which of the following really should be my target:

  1. 5 channel amp like the Outlaw 5000x
  2. 3 channel for L/R/C with something like the Emotiva XPA3 and surrounds off the AVR
  3. 2 channel for L/R maybe a Rotel or even a Crown XLS with the rest on the AVR
I’m hoping I can spend something around $1,000 or below but open to suggestion. I feel like surrounds off the AVR is probably ok but should I be powering my center?

Usage is about 50/50 two channel music vs movies in case that matters.

Note I specifically left off the list of speakers because I’m looking for a more general answer that can grow as my speakers change. The sensitivity of the speakers though are 92 for the L/R, 88 for C and unknown for surround
 

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which of the following really should be my target...
Well, do you feel you are running out of power? If not, you need none of those. But "feel" is kind of vague-I'm actually wondering how to get some kind of LED meter or something to check that (calibrated to the clipping stereo voltage, a bit rough...I wonder if there is any kind of storage oscilloscope app good enough to catch clipping).

AVRs all have pretty much the same power within a decibel or so, and they all droop in power as you load down more channels, and few are rated at 4 ohms continuous. Since hearing is logarithmic, it follows that for significantly more power you need at least 300 watts at
 

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I’m working on finally piecing together a home theater and am currently building out a 5.1/5.2 setup. As of right now I am powering everything off my AVR and am trying to decide my best next step in terms of introducing an amplifier to the setup. What I’m trying to figure out is which of the following really should be my target:

  1. 5 channel amp like the Outlaw 5000x
  2. 3 channel for L/R/C with something like the Emotiva XPA3 and surrounds off the AVR
  3. 2 channel for L/R maybe a Rotel or even a Crown XLS with the rest on the AVR
I’m hoping I can spend something around $1,000 or below but open to suggestion. I feel like surrounds off the AVR is probably ok but should I be powering my center?

Usage is about 50/50 two channel music vs movies in case that matters.

Note I specifically left off the list of speakers because I’m looking for a more general answer that can grow as my speakers change. The sensitivity of the speakers though are 92 for the L/R, 89 for C and unknown for surround
Like head_unit said, I agree you probably need none of those. AVRs are made to drive fairly standard speakers in a fairly standard sized room to close to reference volume levels. Unless you're chasing a specific sound for music, save your money. There are probably better ways to spend $1k in your theater and notice an immediate benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Fair. I’ve been hearing from folks that cleaner power from a dedicated amp will give better sound overall and especially at lower volumes which is why I was considering it. I don’t exactly feel starved for power with just my AVR at the moment though.
 

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I’ve been hearing from folks that cleaner power from a dedicated amp will give better sound overall and especially at lower volumes which is why I was considering it.
You will be using fewer Watts at lower volumes, because science.
Using fewer Watts means the same thing when using an AVR's amp or an external amp.
 
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I’m working on finally piecing together a home theater and am currently building out a 5.1/5.2 setup. As of right now I am powering everything off my AVR and am trying to decide my best next step in terms of introducing an amplifier to the setup. What I’m trying to figure out is which of the following really should be my target:

  1. 5 channel amp like the Outlaw 5000x
  2. 3 channel for L/R/C with something like the Emotiva XPA3 and surrounds off the AVR
  3. 2 channel for L/R maybe a Rotel or even a Crown XLS with the rest on the AVR
I’m hoping I can spend something around $1,000 or below but open to suggestion. I feel like surrounds off the AVR is probably ok but should I be powering my center?

Usage is about 50/50 two channel music vs movies in case that matters.

Note I specifically left off the list of speakers because I’m looking for a more general answer that can grow as my speakers change. The sensitivity of the speakers though are 92 for the L/R, 89 for C and unknown for surround
Your speakers are rather efficient, you don't need a power amp. Do you have a subwoofer?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not yet but am planning to pick up either one or two - still deciding. Something like an SVS PB-2000 pro (or pair). Also before anyone freaks out yes I am also considering HSU and Rythmik :)
 

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Also depends on the size of the mains and where you cut them off at....even large mains cut at 80 or even 100hz use far less power as do speakers with smaller drivers.


You can get a ruff idea by your speakers efficiency rating.


Say they are 95db at 1 watt, you get approx 3db increase by doubling power, so 2 watts is 98db........4 watts 101 db,....8 watts 104db........16 watts 107db,........32 watts 110 db.....etc etc etc


Bass is what consumes watts large drivers with low efficiencies..........12 to 24 inch drivers,....a 6 inch driver is lucky to do much under 100hz with any authority at all and uses very few watts.


I have 3 way mains with 15 inch drivers and the AVR does fine at lower volumes and most listening levels, I can tell they need more power when driven full range at extreme party volumes. I have them crossed at 80hz to subs most of the time when driving them loud and with them crossed at 80hz I never feel like the AVR does not have enough power, even at reference levels.


I run back MTM`s with dual 6.5 inch woofers, I run ceiling speakers with MTM`s with dual 6.5 woofers and 3 large 3 way 15 inch driver mains from my AVR, so 8 - 6.5 inch woofers, 3 -15 inch woofers, 7 horns and 3 -5.25 mids


Post your equipment so others who know way more than me can help you......which would be most here.:D
 

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A little late but thought I would post. I have an Onkyo RZ830 and was needing only a 2-channel amp for my rear atmos. I saw a great deal on a Emotiva 7-channel to drive everything but the atmos. It was 200.00 more than a 2 channel amp. Do I notice a difference in sound? No. Do I notice a difference in volume? yes and no. I, like you, split between 50/50 on music/movies. I use Focal's and B and W's for front /rear stage respectively, so nothing real demanding. Movies, I notice a big difference on volume level. Music, none. So like the other's say complete your system first, then go for adding the amp. What did make a HUGE difference in my system for both music and movies was adding a dual sub front/rear.



Hope that helps :)
 

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I've recently been upgrading components and trying out different amping configs. My notes on the setups...

AVR powering all channels - I needed to boost the center channel level up for movies. I was also worried about playing too loudly for fear of distortion but I did not experience any.
Adding an external amp for L/R - same center channel issue despite reducing the load on the AVR. I could play movies overall louder (although I had gotten a different AVR for this config). AVR still got quite hot.
Changing to a 3-channel amp for LCR - no center channel boost required anymore. AVR still gets quite hot.

A 2 or 3 ch amp would be fine but you could possibly just stick with your current AVR and get a fan for it to ensure it stays cool.
 
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