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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i been browsing this forum and checking peoples set-ups and noticed that almost all high tech HT systems have 2 channel and or multi channel amps and the recievers they have are allready powerfull enough to drive their speakers?


i have a denon 3310ci, "120w X 7", which seems plenty and i never max it out. just curious, why would you add a amp? Is there a reason for it or just bragging rights?
 

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There have been a couple threads on this subject already if you do some searching. In most instances, an external amp isn't required at all. Considering at average volume < 5W/CH are used, the majority of AVRs have more than enough power. An external amp may definitely be required with lower efficiency 4 ohm speakers at higher volumes or in larger than average room sizes. Some claim that an external amp offers "cleaner" sound even at lower volumes.
 

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I think that some of the obvious advantages(in my system anyways) is the bass signal is tighter with a seperate amp, and when you are really pushing the spls to high levels the seperate amp shines in that respect. I think if its a decent amp section in the reciever it should hold its own in most cases.
 

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"Everyone"? Hardly



Theoretically, your power needs could be estimated based on desired SPL, listening distance to each speaker and speaker sensitivity. That would be worse case scenario (for movies) as you would probably not need full power for every channel at all times. This means perhaps, that there's no simple way to calculate whether a receiver (who's specs won't give you the info you need either,) to know if you have enough power.


So just because your receiver model XTC is rated at 120x7 Watts, does not mean it can do 120x7 Watts continuous. If you calculated that you needed 120 Watts (on average,) per channel to drive your speakers to desired SPL, you would not know, what actual peak max power at any point in time would be needed. It's been said that THX has an idea on this, from analyzing movies, but they have not shared it with the public.


Some reasons I can think of, for people to buy an external amp for use with a receiver -

* They like the idea (more power, like on Tool time)

* They can afford it

* They are unsure their receiver can meet their needs (They have a big room, inefficient speakers, they really like it loud, etc.)

* They noticed distortion at the louder volume levels they desired
 

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Barring reasoning completely outside of sound reproduction, the assumption that:


1. an amplifier will increase fidelity.


2. an amplifier will (significantly) increase output SPL and/or dynamics.


3. both.


As an owner of multiple amplifiers (for large spaces/multiple zones/and listening tendencies where the extra 3-5 dbs actually DO come in handy) I can confidently state that the vast majority of spaces and listening habits I've seen them in do not nearly warrant their use.


I suppose they look good though.


James
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavelbarchuk /forum/post/0


So i been browsing this forum and checking peoples set-ups and noticed that almost all high tech HT systems have 2 channel and or multi channel amps and the recievers they have are allready powerfull enough to drive their speakers?


i have a denon 3310ci, "120w X 7", which seems plenty and i never max it out. just curious, why would you add a amp? Is there a reason for it or just bragging rights?

3310 is not that much powerful. Rated 120W are only valid for two channels. It also is not very happy with low impedance (4 ohm) load.

There are some receivers that do better than that. But to get real difference you need real power. I would say if you want to add amp, choose one that produces at least 500W per channel.
 

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1. speaker sensitivity, listening distance, required SPL for maximum dynamics.

2. Lower impedance curves that regular AVRs can not handle.


Remember this too


1W = 0dB gain

2W = 3dB gain

4W = 6dB gain

8W = 9dB gain

16W = 12dB gain

32W = 15dB gain

64W = 18dB gain

128W = 21dB gain

256W = 24dB gain

512W = 27dB gain

1024W = 30dB gain



So it takes a lot of power to gain 3dB (120 to 240 is JUST 3dB).


Imo, we should be all demanding >= 95dB speakers then we would not be wasting money on 200Watt amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
well my speakers are 8ohms, so the 3310 should and does ok with it plus i live in a small apartment. our lease expires in a few months and we will be moving into a house. thats where i think a amp might come in handy, cuz i do really like my movies/music loud, my speakers "boston VR3" are rated at "Recommended Amplifier Power 15-250 watts", but, i connected them with bi-amp, does that mean i have 240 watts going to them now?


and anyways, i need more gear in my system anyways so i will be buying a amp one day soon, so what kind of amp would you guys recommend? 2 channel? 3 channel? or the whole 5/7? as of right now i have everything hooked up to a 5 channel setup, not sure if going to a 7 will make that much of a difference.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavelbarchuk /forum/post/19561753


....., but, i connected them with bi-amp, does that mean i have 240 watts going to them now?

No, it means it still has the roughly 5W or less that is normally going to them. At best that AVR can put out about 90W/CH and the passive bi-amp connection you have isn't going to increase that. With 8 ohm speakers you would be much better served simply using the 3310 first and then adding a 3CH emp (eg. XPA-3) if you want to spend more money.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray /forum/post/19561722


1. speaker sensitivity, listening distance, required SPL for maximum dynamics.

2. Lower impedance curves that regular AVRs can not handle.


Remember this too


1W = 0dB gain

2W = 3dB gain

4W = 6dB gain

8W = 9dB gain

16W = 12dB gain

32W = 15dB gain

64W = 18dB gain

128W = 21dB gain

256W = 24dB gain

512W = 27dB gain

1024W = 30dB gain



So it takes a lot of power to gain 3dB (120 to 240 is JUST 3dB).


Imo, we should be all demanding >= 95dB speakers then we would not be wasting money on 200Watt amps.

Some people complain that high efficiency speakers don't sound as good or something. I would not know. They don't like horn loading?
 

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If you're happy with the sound quality of your system, then don't sweat what others are doing. For home theater systems, the all-in-one convienience, and sound processing modes of a receiver can often trump any perceived quality where movies and television are concerned, where the experience is more about the visuals and the story being told.


Where seperate (quality) amps tend to have noticable differences are in systems where the owner is going for the cleaner sound for 2 channel audio. External amps are often seen as having a sound of their own and may be swapped out to match other components in the whole system better. For instance, a user might try to tame "bright" sounding speakers with a tube amp. Or conversely, a user might pick a "forward" sounding amp to liven up a pair of "laid back" speakers (Spendor's, Harbeths, and the like).


Once the amplification needs of the system are met, users can easily (more cheaply) swap out pre amps (or processors) as technology changes or the users needs change. Like someone rediscovering vinyl, and deciding to change digital sources upstream, to analog.
 

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It depends on your speakers more than anything. If you are using highly efficient (95db+) speakers you might not need an external amp. Also, if you are using smaller speakers(bookshelf, satellite) that are designed to run at a high crossover of 80Hz or higher and sending the power hungry low signals to your sub(s) then there is likely no need for an external amplifier.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavelbarchuk /forum/post/19561753


well my speakers are 8ohms, so the 3310 should and does ok with it plus i live in a small apartment. our lease expires in a few months and we will be moving into a house. thats where i think a amp might come in handy, cuz i do really like my movies/music loud, my speakers "boston VR3" are rated at "Recommended Amplifier Power 15-250 watts", but, i connected them with bi-amp, does that mean i have 240 watts going to them now?

I'd suggest waiting to shop for amps until you're in your new place, the system is hooked up, and you've have had some review time with it. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for buyer's remorse. The space will dictate your needs. And no, you will not "need" 240 wpc. You may "want" it however. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pavelbarchuk /forum/post/19561753


and anyways, i need more gear in my system anyways so i will be buying a amp one day soon, so what kind of amp would you guys recommend? 2 channel? 3 channel? or the whole 5/7? as of right now i have everything hooked up to a 5 channel setup, not sure if going to a 7 will make that much of a difference.

This is your call. Are you happy with the 5-channel set up? Do you feel you're missing anything not having the extra 2 channels? Will your new space be able to double as an NBA regulation basketball court? Is your audio system geared towards movies/TV only?


I would suggest a seperate 2-channel amp only if you're going to build a seperate, dedicated 2-channel music system. You're likely to see little (noticable) gain,for the amount of money you'll spend, by powering the mains off an external amp, and running the rest off the receiver in a 5-7 channel configuration.


My personal opinion where sound quality is concerned, is that you want to spend the bulk of your budget on either ends of the audio stream. Meaning... good source material > then the source player (CD transport, DAC, Blu-Ray) > then Pre amp/processor.

On the other side of the stream... speakers > subs (if needed). I believe the amp, beyond actually doing it's job, and having enough WPC to power your system, has the least impact on sound quality.


As for high efficiency speakers, they seem to be gaining popularity with the SET amp crowd. The Zu Audio line looks pretty amazing for the price, and I'd love to get my hands on a pair for a trial. And they're made right here in the US!


Best of luck with the move.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavelbarchuk /forum/post/19561753


well my speakers are 8ohms, so the 3310 should and does ok with it plus i live in a small apartment. our lease expires in a few months and we will be moving into a house. thats where i think a amp might come in handy, cuz i do really like my movies/music loud, my speakers "boston VR3" are rated at "Recommended Amplifier Power 15-250 watts", but, i connected them with bi-amp, does that mean i have 240 watts going to them now?

Your 3310 will be fine in a house unless it's an enormous room. My slightly less powerful 2310 was perfectly fine in a 600 sq ft area (living room + kitchen - open floor plan) with 8 ohm 86db speakers. Same with my Marantz SR7002. I watch moves quite loud.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman /forum/post/19561830


Some people complain that high efficiency speakers don't sound as good or something. I would not know. They don't like horn loading?

Just another audiophile myth.


You do not have use horns (btw in 2010 we now call them waveguides
) Ribbons have high sensitivity matched with high sensitivity mid range woofers gives me a design that does what I want without ever needing more then 50 Watts. Add a quality bass system and the money is spent on the right audio components.


Now, The waveguide is important because controlled directivity is extremely important to having the most accurate sounding setup.


NOTE: Im only talking about Main speakers. I would be a little hypocritical of me to talk about not needing power for subwoofers since I have more then 10,000 Watts in my home for subs
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakbob123 /forum/post/19561876


If you're happy with the sound quality of your system, then don't sweat what others are doing. For home theater systems, the all-in-one convienience, and sound processing modes of a receiver can often trump any perceived quality where movies and television are concerned, where the experience is more about the visuals and the story being told.


Where seperate (quality) amps tend to have noticable differences are in systems where the owner is going for the cleaner sound for 2 channel audio. External amps are often seen as having a sound of their own and may be swapped out to match other components in the whole system better. For instance, a user might try to tame "bright" sounding speakers with a tube amp. Or conversely, a user might pick a "forward" sounding amp to liven up a pair of "laid back" speakers (Spendor's, Harbeths, and the like).

The problem with these subjective conclusions is that there is zero data to back them up. I would love to read about conclusions that come from controlled listening tests and not highly inaccurate subjective but enjoyable listening experiences that also came with measurements.


There are differences between different designs, ala Tube amp sound but the discussion goes way to far in arguing one class D is completely different sounding then another Class D when there isnt any truth to that in measurements or controlled tests.


I think people are better off spending $$$ on products that allow them to set their own Curves, if they want to tame bright speakers then set the curve and change the speaker sound.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray /forum/post/19562463


The problem with these subjective conclusions is that there is zero data to back them up. I would love to read about conclusions that come from controlled listening tests and not highly inaccurate subjective but enjoyable listening experiences that also came with measurements.


There are differences between different designs, ala Tube amp sound but the discussion goes way to far in arguing one class D is completely different sounding then another Class D when there isnt any truth to that in measurements or controlled tests.


I think people are better off spending $$$ on products that allow them to set their own Curves, if they want to tame bright speakers then set the curve and change the speaker sound.

My examples were just to illustrate why one "might" use external amplification, not to suggest that there was one correct way of obtaining great sound for a particular need. I'd go as far to say that amps are the least important component in the stream. I agree that the hardcore audiophiles take this to the extreme (being able to "hear" power cables, speaker wire elevation blocks).


I'm of the opinion that what we hear as individuals is subjective, regardless of analytical data. What sounds great to one, might sound like total trash to another. Numerically perfect graphs and charts might back up a user's claims, but the (system, speaker, amp, whatever) may never "sound right" to a particular user. That's why everyone's first piece of advice to new comers tends to be "go demo, and listen for yourself."
 

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I recently added a Denon AVR2809 to my system (previous year predecessor of the 3310 model cited by the original poster). I got it to add HDMI audio and Audyssey to my system since I already have a Rotel RMB1075 125x5 power amp that I used with a previous receiver.


However, since the Denon is rated at 115W, I thought I would give it a go to see how it sounded and maybe eliminate the Rotel from my system as well, so during setup, I hooked up the speaker cables directly to the Denon, ran Audyssey and gave it a listen on some music.


In my PERSONAL OPINION, it sounded not so good. Female vocals sounded grainy, highs had no delicacy, and everything sounded somewhat rough and congested. It wasn't bad in a defective way; it just was not pleasant to listen to.


I swapped the speaker wires back to the Rotel, hooked up the pre-outs (nothing fancy: Monoprice premium 1 ft RCA's), re-ran Audyssey and listened to the same music. Smooth, detailed, clean separation of various instruments and voices, well controlled bass. Brought a smile to my face easily.


Now, I have a EE degree familiar with Bode plots and transfer functions so the "all amps must sound the same when operating within limits" argument does have some credence with me, but I also cannot deny my personal experience. So I would say, try it for yourself if you have the chance.
 

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As an EE, I am sure you know there are design differences in amps. For example, both Slone (sp?) and Self both spend quite a bit of time talking about the advantages of a well designed current source in your input stage, along with maybe using a current mirror* (as opposed to the simplest method for your CCS, which I believe mainly involves resistors.)


If these had zero relevance, maybe they would have been better off spending their writing talents on other topics



Well, the debate will continue endlessly



* The input stage seems more important maybe, than other stages, as you want a high power supply ripple rejection here, as well as low noise due to the low signal levels here
 
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