5 channel Power amp comparison

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pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Hi Guys,

Look for people's suggestion and also may user review on "not so expensive" 5 channel power amplifier as i am currently looking for one. My short list is:

1. Anthem PVA5 (105W X 5 in 8 Ohms continuous all channel driven)
2. Rotel RMB-1555 (120W X 5 in 8 Ohms continuous all channel driven)
3. Outlaw Model 5000 (120W X 5 in 8 Ohms continuous all channel driven)

Any comments or personal reviews will be much appreciated. Thank you all in advance!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Assuming 105 watts is enough (and it is plenty in most cases), any one of those should do a fine job. All are respectable companies.

The Outlaw was reviewed here if you did not see it:

I will also mention this Marantz (just another candidate, no reason to believe it is better, but if your pre or AVR is Marantz, you might want to match the design):

The above is a refurbished amp from Accessories4Less. A lot of us have had excellent experiences with A4L and the money saved or you can always buy a new one!

Just a FYI (hands on, but no measurements):

I don't know if the Rotel or Anthem is similar, but I do like the modular approach the Outlaw chose for their discrete amp boards:


What speakers are you driving and what are you using for a pre-amp?
 
P

pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Hi KEW,

Thank you so much for your reply. I have read the review of the Outlaw model 5000 in Audioholics review article. Awesome review! Talks about all the measurement and really dig into the amp to see how it performs, sadly not all review websites does that. Hence why I don't have a comparison on the Rotel and Anthem. Strangely enough, it seems Audioholics has much less review on Anthem and Rotel products...are they less popular?

I currently have the Anthem MRX 510 receiver, from the spec sheet it is claiming 100W continuous for 2 channel driven, and 75W x 5 for 5 channel driven. The speaker I have is the Paradigm monitor 11 v7 for front main channels and Paradigm Monitor Cener3 v7, surround is the Paradigm Atom monitor.

So I am not sure if the Anthem PVA5 will be the best match (as it is the same brand as my receiver) compare to Rotel and Outlaw. The audioholic have such a positive review for the Outlaw which makes me hard to pass this one, but other review websites also commented that the Rotel is a good amp too. Anthem PVA.... not many reviews out there...It did thought about Marantz 7055, but wan't sure how it will mate with Anthem in terms of sound.

what do you think KEW?

Cheers
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Hi KEW,

Thank you so much for your reply. I have read the review of the Outlaw model 5000 in Audioholics review article. Awesome review! Talks about all the measurement and really dig into the amp to see how it performs, sadly not all review websites does that. Hence why I don't have a comparison on the Rotel and Anthem. Strangely enough, it seems Audioholics has much less review on Anthem and Rotel products...are they less popular?

I currently have the Anthem MRX 510 receiver, from the spec sheet it is claiming 100W continuous for 2 channel driven, and 75W x 5 for 5 channel driven. The speaker I have is the Paradigm monitor 11 v7 for front main channels and Paradigm Monitor Cener3 v7, surround is the Paradigm Atom monitor.

So I am not sure if the Anthem PVA5 will be the best match (as it is the same brand as my receiver) compare to Rotel and Outlaw. The audioholic have such a positive review for the Outlaw which makes me hard to pass this one, but other review websites also commented that the Rotel is a good amp too. Anthem PVA.... not many reviews out there...It did thought about Marantz 7055, but wan't sure how it will mate with Anthem in terms of sound.

what do you think KEW?

Cheers
Don't hurt your head worrying over how well any of these amps will mate with the Anthem. I know many professional reviewers talk like that, but consider that the reviewer would be out of a job if he just said this amp performs just like any other modern well-designed amp which produces X number of watts. However that is more the reality than what the reviewers say about night and day differences and sound signatures!
Think about it this way. Class AB amps (which I am pretty sure all of the units you are looking at are) have been around for several decades. It is a mature science and any major company producing them can be relied on to make a competent amp! If a power amp imparted its own sound signature on the signal, that would be a form of distortion (at an audible level). However, you will see distortion levels below 0.1% for these amps, which is not audible.
I forgot that the Outlaw is probably a better amp than the others because Outlaw is specifying 120 watts for all channels driven at once (and Audioholics measured 135W X 5). Marantz, Rotel, and Anthem are using the more standard rating of power when only two channels are driven.
Marantz is probably the highest volume (production quantity) among these. Rotel is European, and while available here, are not a big player in the US. Anthem is a comparatively low volume manufacturer compared to companies like Marantz, Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, etc. Outlaw is an ID company, so wants reviews to have a better market presence. So that kind of explains the availability of reviews. Audioholics does, indeed, do a great job of taking thorough measurements.
If I was in your shoes, I would get the Outlaw 5000 and use it for the front three channels and let your Anthem MRX 510 drive the 2 surrounds (assuming the Anthem is in good condition). Figure the 5000 does 170W @ 2 channels and 135W @ 5 channels, so it is probably something like 155 to 160W @ 3 channels. That should make for an easy load for both units and provide a good distribution of power (the front 3 are generally more demanding and the surrounds do lighter duty on standard HT content). You are not using two of the Outlaw channels, but that just keeps it cooler for a good long life (and I don't believe you can find a better 3 channel amp for the same $650 as the 5000)! If you later go to 7.1 or add atmos, you can tap into the other amps (both Anthem AVR and Outlaw) with the lighter loads from the extra channels.
 
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P

pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Hi Kurt,

Thanks for the advice! I think I am gonna agree with you that your suggestions seems to be the best solution. If I want to go even bigger, would you say the Emotiva XPA-3 Gen3 will be the way to go? So that is 275W X3 all ch driven in 8 ohms to drive the front 3 speakers and the 2 surrounds will be power from the MRX510 receiver (yes, the receiver is still in perfect shape)?

Cheers
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Hi Kurt,

Thanks for the advice! I think I am gonna agree with you that your suggestions seems to be the best solution. If I want to go even bigger, would you say the Emotiva XPA-3 Gen3 will be the way to go? So that is 275W X3 all ch driven in 8 ohms to drive the front 3 speakers and the 2 surrounds will be power from the MRX510 receiver (yes, the receiver is still in perfect shape)?

Cheers
Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, but @gene (president of AH, who usually does the bench testing of amps) has sworn off Emotiva because they were not willing to repair his Emotiva amp. I wish I remembered the specifics, but it was not especially old (maybe 7 years?) and knowing it became a boat anchor when you generally figure 20 years or better out of an amp if you allow it decent ventilation/cooling was a hard pill to swallow. I'm thinking this may have been one of the premium Emotiva Reference amps like the XPR-1!
Not quite as powerful, but I would look at the Monoprice Monolith 3 (manufactured in the US by ATI):
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
OTOH the amps you're looking at are little different from the amp power of your avr. Just what do you expect the external amp to do?
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
OTOH the amps you're looking at are little different from the amp power of your avr. Just what do you expect the external amp to do?
His AVR is rated at 100W X 2 and 75W X 5.
The Outlaw is rated at 120W X 5 and measured 135W X 5 and 170W X 2.
If he splits the load between the two, he is going from 75 X 5 on his Anthem to better than 150W/ea for the front three which is a doubling of power.
The surrounds are only seeing a 33% increase from 75 to 100W, but I doubt that is a source of problems.

Of course, if he is not needing more than the Anthem provides, he will not see any improvement.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
His AVR is rated at 100W X 2 and 75W X 5.
The Outlaw is rated at 120W X 5 and measured 135W X 5 and 170W X 2.
If he splits the load between the two, he is going from 75 X 5 on his Anthem to better than 150W/ea for the front three which is a doubling of power.
The surrounds are only seeing a 33% increase from 75 to 100W, but I doubt that is a source of problems.

Of course, if he is not needing more than the Anthem provides, he will not see any improvement.
Still, ACD ratings aren't that meaningful either as that's not very real world. Just wondering mostly, altho not a bad idea to share a load or take one off an avr, but depends. Maybe playing with this might help http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html
 
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PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Keep in mind whether a more power amp would help or not depends on the need for volt/amps, or "power".

If the OP's speakers only draw, say, 50 WPC peak (highly likely less), then the 275 W XPA amp would offer no Sonic advantage. In that case I would go for quality based on specs and measurements and I would then give the MM7055 the edge, followed by the Rotel. The Anthem PVA would probably be even with the Outlaw.
 
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pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, but @gene (president of AH, who usually does the bench testing of amps) has sworn off Emotiva because they were not willing to repair his Emotiva amp. I wish I remembered the specifics, but it was not especially old (maybe 7 years?) and knowing it became a boat anchor when you generally figure 20 years or better out of an amp if you allow it decent ventilation/cooling was a hard pill to swallow. I'm thinking this may have been one of the premium Emotiva Reference amps like the XPR-1!
Not quite as powerful, but I would look at the Monoprice Monolith 3 (manufactured in the US by ATI):
Thanks Kurt,

Wow, @gene 's top of the line Emotiva amp died after 7 years of use?? That does sound a bit short...I think the warranty is 5 years correct? Like you said, I would definitely expect an properly build amp to last 20 years... :eek:)

@lovinthehd , as to why I want to have a power amp for my front 3 channels, I thought an external power amp will always be better than the amp in a typical mid range receiver, I am actually not after listening at a higher volume than what i am currently do, but I am in the hope of making the sound more tight and clean and punchy at moderate or even low volume. Hence why I thought maybe I don't need to have an power amp that gives me 300W per channel but instead a higher quality amp than my receiver that can give the above sound quality I've described (meaning I need more current??)

So please comment on what you think? I am correct on this? Or am I totally wrong?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Thanks Kurt,

Wow, @gene 's top of the line Emotiva amp died after 7 years of use?? That does sound a bit short...I think the warranty is 5 years correct? Like you said, I would definitely expect an properly build amp to last 20 years... :eek:)

@lovinthehd , as to why I want to have a power amp for my front 3 channels, I thought an external power amp will always be better than the amp in a typical mid range receiver, I am actually not after listening at a higher volume than what i am currently do, but I am in the hope of making the sound more tight and clean and punchy at moderate or even low volume. Hence why I thought maybe I don't need to have an power amp that gives me 300W per channel but instead a higher quality amp than my receiver that can give the above sound quality I've described (meaning I need more current??)

So please comment on what you think? I am correct on this? Or am I totally wrong?
Without information about your particular listening level at what distance from the speakers and which speakers....hard to know. I stopped using power amps on my avrs as I found no benefit paricularly at my listening levels.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Since you are new here (Welcome!), I figured I'd let you know that PENG is an EE and really knows a lot of details about these electronics. I defer to him on any matter involving electronics!
 
P

pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Without information about your particular listening level at what distance from the speakers and which speakers....hard to know. I stopped using power amps on my avrs as I found no benefit paricularly at my listening levels.
Hi @lovinthehd ,

I sit about 11 feet away from my front speakers. I typically listen to around 100dB max (when measured using my phone, not sure how accurate that is though). On my receiver, the volume was never near 0db, no way, probably -30 to -25 dB. The speaker I have are Paradigm monitor 11v7 and monitor 3v7 for center, and Atom monitor for 2 surrounds.

Thank you @KEW for introducing @PENG , so @PENG from your point of view you think the Marantz 7055 should be my number 1 choice, then Rotel no 2 and Anthem and Outlaw number 3? Anthem and Outlaw is this bad??
 
P

pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Keep in mind whether a more power amp would help or not depends on the need for volt/amps, or "power".

If the OP's speakers only draw, say, 50 WPC peak (highly likely less), then the 275 W XPA amp would offer no Sonic advantage. In that case I would go for quality based on specs and measurements and I would then give the MM7055 the edge, followed by the Rotel. The Anthem PVA would probably be even with the Outlaw.
Hi @PENG ,

Can you explain what you mean by "If the OP's speakers only draw, say, 50 WPC peak (highly likely less), "
How I I found this information for my speakers?

Thanks
 
P

pinifinina

Audioholic Intern
Have you tried using something like this to estimate your needs? http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html
Hi @lovinthehd ,

Yes I have, judging from the work sheet, 75W per channel us enough for me. However, like I mentioned before, I am looking for solution that can make the sound more tight, clean, and punchy... so I thought high wattage amps like 300W per channel might not be what I am after, but maybe just a better quality amp with enough power, hence why I short listed those amps which only capable of 105-125W per channel, all channel driven.

Do you think I am completely wrong on this? So to get sound to be more tight, clean, punchy, do I need to change my speakers instead of getting a power amp?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Hi @lovinthehd ,

Yes I have, judging from the work sheet, 75W per channel us enough for me. However, like I mentioned before, I am looking for solution that can make the sound more tight, clean, and punchy... so I thought high wattage amps like 300W per channel might not be what I am after, but maybe just a better quality amp with enough power, hence why I short listed those amps which only capable of 105-125W per channel, all channel driven.

Do you think I am completely wrong on this? So to get sound to be more tight, clean, punchy, do I need to change my speakers instead of getting a power amp?
The terms you use are odd to begin with to describe an amp, speakers maybe. Extra capability for peaks is nice but is it audible?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Hi @lovinthehd ,

Yes I have, judging from the work sheet, 75W per channel us enough for me.
75 WPC is a lot unless you sit far from the speakers and have speakers with low sensitivity. So how far do you sit and what kind of speakers you have again?
 

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