4-ohm receiver and speaker setup recommendations?

M

movinginstereo

Enthusiast
Looking for advice on choosing a receiver for phono, CD/DVD, and TV audio that will work well with some combo of these speakers:

ELAC Uni-fi UF5 (4-ohm floors)
ELAC Uni-fi UC5 (4-ohm center)
Optimus STS 830 (8-ohm old-schools)
Q Acoustics 3020 (4-ohm bookshelves)
SVS SB-1000 (powered sub)

This is for a very large room. Music. Looking for high clarity and warmth (best sounds I've ever heard came out of Salk SongTowers). I don't need wireless capability or other bells and whistles.

Would I get the best sound by using only the ELACs and sub or by using the ELACs and sub with another pair of speakers?

Should I use the center speaker for music?

What would be a good receiver for under $500 new or used?

How can I judge whether a receiver is truly optimized for 4-ohm impedance speakers, vs. having an impedance switch for the sake of circuit protection?

Many thanks!
MovinginStereo
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Few receivers, particularly avrs, have a 4 ohm rating. Doesn't mean they can't drive 4 ohm loads but depends to what level, sometimes a power amp is a better way to go (and a receiver with pre-outs to accommodate such). As to what speakers, just depends on what your preference for layout is, surround or just 2ch, then get appropriate electronics. $500 is kinda skinny for capable new receivers.
 
MaxInValrico

MaxInValrico

Full Audioholic
Looking for advice on choosing a receiver for phono, CD/DVD, and TV audio that will work well with some combo of these speakers:

ELAC Uni-fi UF5 (4-ohm floors)
ELAC Uni-fi UC5 (4-ohm center)
Optimus STS 830 (8-ohm old-schools)
Q Acoustics 3020 (4-ohm bookshelves)
SVS SB-1000 (powered sub)

This is for a very large room. Music. Looking for high clarity and warmth (best sounds I've ever heard came out of Salk SongTowers). I don't need wireless capability or other bells and whistles.

Would I get the best sound by using only the ELACs and sub or by using the ELACs and sub with another pair of speakers?

Should I use the center speaker for music?

What would be a good receiver for under $500 new or used?

How can I judge whether a receiver is truly optimized for 4-ohm impedance speakers, vs. having an impedance switch for the sake of circuit protection?

Many thanks!
MovinginStereo
if what you are looking at doesn't show a 4 ohm rating, look for something else.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
The Elac speakers are to be used in a very large room. What is the size of the room but what is even more important is at what distance will your main listening position be from the speakers? Also, what will be your listening content? Is it pop or classical music or both, also action films? How loud will you listen to the audio content?

If you answer all those questions, we should be in a better position to give you a more accurate suggestion as to what type of receiver you should be looking for. As far as I can tell so far, you might not be able to find at present a suitable receiver for less than one Grand.
 
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P

pewternhrata

Audioholic Chief
Few receivers, particularly avrs, have a 4 ohm rating. Doesn't mean they can't drive 4 ohm loads but depends to what level, sometimes a power amp is a better way to go (and a receiver with pre-outs to accommodate such). As to what speakers, just depends on what your preference for layout is, surround or just 2ch, then get appropriate electronics. $500 is kinda skinny for capable new receivers.
Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't most avrs rated at 8ohm more than capable of driving 4ohm? I've heard if there's a switch to still keep it at 8. unless a draw at 3ohms or less is presented it'll be fine without going to standby. My opinion, 500 is more than enough to go used and def hopeful to be just fine without the newest codecs, bells/whistles, ect.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't most avrs rated at 8ohm more than capable of driving 4ohm? I've heard if there's a switch to still keep it at 8. unless a draw at 3ohms or less is presented it'll be fine without going to standby. My opinion, 500 is more than enough to go used and def hopeful to be just fine without the newest codecs, bells/whistles, ect.
HD said "Doesn't mean they can't drive 4 ohm loads but depends to what level "
Of course you are right, but so is HD.:)

Manufacturers created this circle of confusion by over simplifying specifications such as 100 W into 8 ohms at 0.05% THD+N, 20-20,000 Hz and then try to imply the device can also drive 4 ohm speakers but would also tell you to set the device impedance selector (via software or a physical switch/selector) to 4 ohms (or 6 ohms in some cases).

They should have simply provide two output rating under the same conditions except one for 8 ohm and the other for 4 ohm, such as 100 W into 8 ohms at 0.05% THD 20-20,000 Hz, and 100 W into 4 ohms at 0.1% THD 20-20,000 Hz. I have yet to see one single receiver that specifies their output this way. So a safe way to guess the 4 ohm rating would be to half the 8 ohm rating based on Ohm's law and the power formula, but that would not likely reflect reality for real world use.

Ideally, it is better to specify power amps in terms of voltage, current, duration (such as 20 ms, 10 minutes, continuous etc.) in terms of both average and peak ratings, then the consumer would have a better chance to answer such as the OP's. But of course manufacturers will never do such a thing unless they are regulated, and regulators aren't keen in using their resource to figure on what to do with audio power amps used for entertainment. They have more than enough to do on health and safety related issues. Some audio forums will get such kind of questions weekly if not daily, keeping some of us busy trying to help answer where we can..
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't most avrs rated at 8ohm more than capable of driving 4ohm? I've heard if there's a switch to still keep it at 8. unless a draw at 3ohms or less is presented it'll be fine without going to standby. My opinion, 500 is more than enough to go used and def hopeful to be just fine without the newest codecs, bells/whistles, ect.
Like Peng says for the most part altho I don't know about most avrs....the low end ones are probably more on the lightweight side than worth bothering with if you have really low impedance speakers and an itch to listen loud, particularly if you're at a significant distance from your speakers. Still, if you listened at reasonable levels at a reasonable distance from the speaker, could be fine. Depends. Using an spl calculator might help http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html and depending how a 4 ohm speaker rates sensitivity, might lower sensitivity by 3dB as Peng often reminds us. 500 used would be a lot easier than 500 new, but somewhat depends what feature set you want overall. Might look at third party bench tests of a given unit in addition to looking at the manufacturer's ratings....

As to the impedance switch, try this https://www.audioholics.com/audio-amplifier/impedance-selector-switch-1
 
M

movinginstereo

Enthusiast
Thanks for your suggestions!

The room is about 900 sqft with vaulted ceilings. I will probably spend as much time listening from 10 ft as from 35 ft. Listening to crisp music, along the lines of Sarah McLachlan or Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, sometimes with orchestral background. No films. Never blasting it.

My current receiver is a Pioneer VSX-D414. It can be set to 6 ohms, but tech support said not to use it with 4-ohm speakers, because there's no thermal shut-off and it could damage the speakers, as well as the amp.

It's been difficult to find a used receiver designed for 4-ohm speakers.
New options include:
Onkyo TX-SR393 $329
Pioneer VSX 534 $349
Cambridge Audio AXR85 $400
Cambridge Audo AXR100 $600 (would be looking for used or marked down)
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yow that's a large room, especially for one little sealed sub! :) Do you own all the speakers you listed?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
It's not a great time to buy a receiver due various shortages on the new stuff. I think you're aiming a bit low on the Onkyo/Pioneer models....and why Cambridge Audio....where are you? Oh, and check out the article I linked on using the impedance selector switch.....and don't listen to salesmen so much.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for your suggestions!

The room is about 900 sqft with vaulted ceilings. I will probably spend as much time listening from 10 ft as from 35 ft. Listening to crisp music, along the lines of Sarah McLachlan or Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, sometimes with orchestral background. No films. Never blasting it.

My current receiver is a Pioneer VSX-D414. It can be set to 6 ohms, but tech support said not to use it with 4-ohm speakers, because there's no thermal shut-off and it could damage the speakers, as well as the amp.

It's been difficult to find a used receiver designed for 4-ohm speakers.
New options include:
Onkyo TX-SR393 $329
Pioneer VSX 534 $349
Cambridge Audio AXR85 $400
Cambridge Audo AXR100 $600 (would be looking for used or marked down)
I'm not sure those Cambridge receivers are rated for 4 ohm loads. The more expensive CX series are though.
 
M

movinginstereo

Enthusiast
Yes, the Cambridge Audio receivers are designed to work with 4-ohm speakers, which is why they're on the list (I'm in the U.S.). I think it's becoming more common to have this capability in lower-end models, which is good! Yea, stock is pretty limited for some models.

So, do you think I might get better sound from one brand vs. another in these basic models? I don't want to pay for more features, just want the best sound quality.

Yes, I do actually own all these speakers. I just bought the ELACs and the Q Acoustics used, unaware that my receiver wasn't really compatible.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I don't see Cambridge offering a 4 ohm rating on the AXR85/AXR100, nor bass management for a sub and they're just 2ch units so not particularly different from avr ratings. I'd probably consider an avr just for better value, bass management, putting more speakers to use for better coverage of a big room.....
 
M

movinginstereo

Enthusiast
Both are definitely 4-8 ohm, with sub out, A+B (so, 2 pairs), but no center out. I'm not sure center adds anything for music listening. What do you think? The major difference seem to be digital in on the AXR100.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I just looked at the Cambridge site and manual....no sign of a 4 ohm rating. A+B on a 2ch amp is just going to limit you impedance-wise. Not a good thing. I see little value in Cambridge Audio units generally, more a boutique thing than something of particular value.
 
zieglj01

zieglj01

Audioholic Spartan
What would be a good receiver for under $500 new or used?
The room is about 900 sqft with vaulted ceilings. I will probably spend as much time listening from 10 ft as from 35 ft. Listening to crisp music, along the lines of Sarah McLachlan or Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, sometimes with orchestral background. No films. Never blasting it.

My current receiver is a Pioneer VSX-D414. It can be set to 6 ohms, but tech support said not to use it with 4-ohm speakers, because there's no thermal shut-off and it could damage the speakers, as well as the amp.
New options include:
Onkyo TX-SR393 $329
Pioneer VSX 534 $349
Cambridge Audio AXR85 $400
Cambridge Audo AXR100 $600 (would be looking for used or marked down)
I would go with the Onkyo and look for a used or on sale Onkyo TX-NR5100
 
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M

movinginstereo

Enthusiast
I just looked at the Cambridge site and manual....no sign of a 4 ohm rating. A+B on a 2ch amp is just going to limit you impedance-wise. Not a good thing. I see little value in Cambridge Audio units generally, more a boutique thing than something of particular value.
That's good to know. 4-ohm is printed on the back at the terminals, but yea, if I throw 2 pairs on it, it might not work as well. Another option is the Denon PMA-600NE, which people seem to like.
 
A

Am_P

Full Audioholic
Thanks for your suggestions!

The room is about 900 sqft with vaulted ceilings. I will probably spend as much time listening from 10 ft as from 35 ft. Listening to crisp music, along the lines of Sarah McLachlan or Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon, sometimes with orchestral background. No films. Never blasting it.

My current receiver is a Pioneer VSX-D414. It can be set to 6 ohms, but tech support said not to use it with 4-ohm speakers, because there's no thermal shut-off and it could damage the speakers, as well as the amp.

It's been difficult to find a used receiver designed for 4-ohm speakers.
New options include:
Onkyo TX-SR393 $329
Pioneer VSX 534 $349
Cambridge Audio AXR85 $400
Cambridge Audo AXR100 $600 (would be looking for used or marked down)
I am currently the Unifi 2.0 series in my multichannel setup primarily for music (setup on my signature) It is a bit easier to run than your original Unifi. The issue is that a 500 dollar budget can't get you much unless you get real lucky on the used market. For instance, i picked up a RX-A3070 Yamaha for a little over 500 bucks. So, stuff like that may show up when you're not even looking.

Your current Pioneer should be alright if you are able to keep it cool... Set its impedance at 8ohms so it doesn't current limit anything. Set one of these coolers on top of it and you should be alright for the most part, while you save up more cash for your upgrade. Just don't go crazy with the volume knob.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LW0G46K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 
zieglj01

zieglj01

Audioholic Spartan
With the Onkyo 8260 receiver you can hook up one set of speakers, and it also has a sub out hook-up
 
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