Add Amp to A/V Receiver, or Not?

Braddock

Braddock

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
4
#1
I know this has been asked a million times before, and I even searched a little for it. But I want a truly honest answer. I have an A/V RCVR which supposedly kicks out 140w per ch and an 5 channel amp that kicks out 200w per. Ive read so many testimonials about how their soundfield is so much clearer and crisper when using an amp with the same setup I have. I just question if thats even true sometimes. I dont know the formula off the top of my head, but thats giving me what, an additional 2dB roughly, if even that? Should I even pair the two or use the amp to drive a couple of different 2-channel setups with old pre's and receivers for fun? The room its currently in is maybe 1600 cubit feet and I typically listen to movies at a fairly higher level than normal as well as music.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,882 16 36
#2
I don't bother these days but am not listening at higher levels these days either. Low impedance needs can often be better addressed by a separate amp. YMMV
 
R

rbdan

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#3
I know this has been asked a million times before, and I even searched a little for it. But I want a truly honest answer. I have an A/V RCVR which supposedly kicks out 140w per ch and an 5 channel amp that kicks out 200w per. Ive read so many testimonials about how their soundfield is so much clearer and crisper when using an amp with the same setup I have. I just question if thats even true sometimes. I dont know the formula off the top of my head, but thats giving me what, an additional 2dB roughly, if even that? Should I even pair the two or use the amp to drive a couple of different 2-channel setups with old pre's and receivers for fun? The room its currently in is maybe 1600 cubit feet and I typically listen to movies at a fairly higher level than normal as well as music.
Hey Braddock,

I just purchased an Outlaw 5000 today to add to my system so I can search for a new AVR and not focus on power just features. Right now I am looking at the Denon 4400 since it seems to have all the technology and features of the 6400 and 8500 without all the WATTs. But with my Outlaw 5000, I will not have to worry about that at all.

Dan
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,882 16 36
#4
As far as finding other uses than supporting an avr, yes have other setups to use my amps with, I've found that a good way to go. Good way to use up extra speakers :)
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic General
Ratings
473 6 22
#5
I know this has been asked a million times before, and I even searched a little for it. But I want a truly honest answer. I have an A/V RCVR which supposedly kicks out 140w per ch and an 5 channel amp that kicks out 200w per. Ive read so many testimonials about how their soundfield is so much clearer and crisper when using an amp with the same setup I have. I just question if thats even true sometimes. I dont know the formula off the top of my head, but thats giving me what, an additional 2dB roughly, if even that? Should I even pair the two or use the amp to drive a couple of different 2-channel setups with old pre's and receivers for fun? The room its currently in is maybe 1600 cubit feet and I typically listen to movies at a fairly higher level than normal as well as music.
I doubt that you would get any improvement as some have reported to you about a clearer sound field etc., unless the amp power you already have is insufficient to drive your speakers to the SPL you like to listen your movie soundtracks and music to.

I suggest that you verify with the following link: http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

Unless your speakers have a very low sensitivity, I honestly think that your existing equipment is adequate to drive your speakers to ear bleeding levels in your listening room.
 
L

Leemix

Audioholic
Ratings
29
#6
I know this has been asked a million times before, and I even searched a little for it. But I want a truly honest answer. I have an A/V RCVR which supposedly kicks out 140w per ch and an 5 channel amp that kicks out 200w per. Ive read so many testimonials about how their soundfield is so much clearer and crisper when using an amp with the same setup I have. I just question if thats even true sometimes. I dont know the formula off the top of my head, but thats giving me what, an additional 2dB roughly, if even that? Should I even pair the two or use the amp to drive a couple of different 2-channel setups with old pre's and receivers for fun? The room its currently in is maybe 1600 cubit feet and I typically listen to movies at a fairly higher level than normal as well as music.
Try back and forth a few times over a couple of weeks and see if it improves anything for you. Thats the only way to know whats best for you in your room and with your gear.
Personally i find there is more to amps then just higher spl and at my low/moderate volume use a powerful amp improves things even at whisper levels. Thats not to say all would, i was very happy with my parasound 2205 until that stopped working and replaced it with a 5250. It lacked something so was replaced with an a31 and all was good again. The difference wasnt big but it was enough that i often didnt listen to music because something was missing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
H

Hetfield

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
165 3 3
#7
Try back and forth a few times over a couple of weeks and see if it improves anything for you. Thats the only way to know whats best for you in your room and with your gear.
Personally i find there is more to amps then just higher spl and at my low/moderate volume use a powerful amp improves things even at whisper levels. Thats not to say all would, i was very happy with my parasound 2205 until that stopped working and replaced it with a 5250. It lacked something so was replaced with an a31 and all was good again. The difference wasnt big but it was enough that i often didnt listen to music because something was missing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
You are correct I believe also. I have a separate Parasound amp in my system and I feel it adds a lot to the overall sound. Again that is just my opinion.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
6,257 14 6
#8
In general, I think rule of thumb is that unless you are using big towers with big woofers FULL RANGE, you most likely will not need more than a good 100 WPC.

The big power requirement is for the big bass, not the midrange and tweeter.

So if you're not stressing out your speakers by setting them to SMALL and Crossover to 80-120Hz and letting your Subwoofer do all the heavy lifting, then you don't need to worry about it.

So the questions are: what speakers and subs do you have, how you set them up, how far you sit, how loud you play (SPL avg.) ?
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,351 7 1
#9
I know this has been asked a million times before, and I even searched a little for it. But I want a truly honest answer. I have an A/V RCVR which supposedly kicks out 140w per ch and an 5 channel amp that kicks out 200w per. Ive read so many testimonials about how their soundfield is so much clearer and crisper when using an amp with the same setup I have. I just question if thats even true sometimes.
I think people do give their "true honest answer" that you are asking, but it will be mostly subjective. People who know how amplifiers work will likely tell you that it depends... At the point of diminishing return, even the best amp money can buy may not make much of an audible difference. The answer can be more specific if you are asking about a specific set up.
 
MR.MAGOO

MR.MAGOO

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
252 9 9
#10
Curiosity led me to try bi-amping the front speakers so I added an external amp to drive the rears in my 7.2 system. That's only one example of adding another amp to an AV system.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Full Audioholic
Ratings
83 12 7
#11
Hey Braddock,

I just purchased an Outlaw 5000 today to add to my system so I can search for a new AVR and not focus on power just features. Right now I am looking at the Denon 4400 since it seems to have all the technology and features of the 6400 and 8500 without all the WATTs. But with my Outlaw 5000, I will not have to worry about that at all.

Dan
If you have an external amp, even the 4400 might be overkill. Having said that, many of the A/V receivers today seem to be lacking in the amp section. I don't think the Denon 4400 have powerful amps.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Full Audioholic
Ratings
83 12 7
#12
You are correct I believe also. I have a separate Parasound amp in my system and I feel it adds a lot to the overall sound. Again that is just my opinion.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
That's called "the expectation effect".
 
L

Leemix

Audioholic
Ratings
29
#14
That's called "the expectation effect".
It can be, doesnt have to be, even if it is we/you still enjoy the system more so it is an improvement. Although personally i have tried equipment i expected to be an improvement but wasnt.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
R

rbdan

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#15
If you have an external amp, even the 4400 might be overkill. Having said that, many of the A/V receivers today seem to be lacking in the amp section. I don't think the Denon 4400 have powerful amps.
I agree that the 4400 might be overkill but the way I landed on it was to start at the top of the line at the 8500 and worked my down until they started removing some of the technology features, The top 3 models have all the same features. I am coming from a prior Flagship Denon 4520 and here is what features that I noticed drop off at the 3400:
  • 32 bit D.D.S.C. HD Digital
  • AL32 Processing Multichannel
  • Clock Jitter Reducer
  • Auro 3D
 
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Auditor55

Auditor55

Full Audioholic
Ratings
83 12 7
#16
I agree that the 4400 might be overkill but the way I landed on it was to start at the top of the line at the 8500 and worked my down until they started removing some of the technology features, The top 3 models have all the same features. I am coming from a prior Flagship Denon 4520 and here is what features that I noticed drop off at the 3400:
  • 32 bit D.D.S.C. HD Digital
  • AL32 Processing Multichannel
  • Clock Jitter Reducer
  • Auro 3D
Auro 3D is a non factor, it has absolutely no market presence here in the U.S. of America. Clock Jitter Reducer, almost seem like snake oil to me, I don't know how having that would make an audible difference. What it does have is Audessey with Sub-eq, now that makes a difference.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,351 7 1
#17
If you have an external amp, even the 4400 might be overkill. Having said that, many of the A/V receivers today seem to be lacking in the amp section. I don't think the Denon 4400 have powerful amps.
Recent AVR models don't have powerful build in amps for sure, except the Denon and Yamaha flagship models such as the AVR-X8500H and Yamaha RX-A3080. Those two still can't compare to the properly rated 200 WPC power amps, but will most likely be more powerful than the smaller amps such as the Emotiva A series and even the Outlaw 5000, especially under 2 channel driven conditions into 4 ohms. The Outlaw 5000, 120W doesn't seem much on paper, but is probably the most powerful amp for $600, I really don't know how they an make a profit on them, unless they sell enough to mass produce them.

We can wait for some bench test numbers but I bet the 4400 would likely beat the Outlaw 5000 in two channel driven outputs, but only marginally. For two channel or even 3 channels, it has the advantage of having the decently sized transformer and 30,000 uf to give some reasonable numbers for 4 ohm loads. Under 5 channel driven conditions the Outlaw will do better for sure, especially for 4 ohm loads. Regardless, we need 2X the power to gain 3 dB of spl, and it is commonly believe that most people need a 10 dB increase to perceive only 2X the loudness. Adding an external amp mostly help the AVR last longer, and may improve sound quality slightly depending on one's need and the real world difference in output between the two.

Back to the Outlaw 5000, I think every mid range 9.1 and up, AVR owners in the US should grab one for the main channels and let the AVR handle all those gadgetry channels. Congrats to your new purchase!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,351 7 1
#18
Auro 3D is a non factor, it has absolutely no market presence here in the U.S. of America. Clock Jitter Reducer, almost seem like snake oil to me, I don't know how having that would make an audible difference. What it does have is Audessey with Sub-eq, now that makes a difference.
How about Atmos? I really want to try it but am reluctant to do all the work, is it really worth it?
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Full Audioholic
Ratings
83 12 7
#19
How about Atmos? I really want to try it but am reluctant to do all the work, is it really worth it?
I own a Denon 4400 and the best thing about it, in my opinion, is sub-eq, that alone is worth purchasing an A/V receiver.

Atmos might be worth the time and investment if you have already moved to the 4K. It seems to me that Atmos is being included and primarily promoted as a 4K Blu Ray format. If you haven't moved to 4K (i.e. 4K TV, 4K/UHD Blu Ray player),like me, Atmos is scantly included on regular Blu Ray titles. I have a few titles myself, however, in my opinion, not really enough to justify the cost of the Atmos upgrade. I also have a few DTS-X titles, still not enough to justify the upgrade cost. Hopefully DTS-X can become standard for regular Blu Ray titles since DTS-HD is pretty much a standard on them.

I personally like to experiment, I would try it and see if you like, if not you could return your extra speakers. However, you don't want to do in ceiling speakers on an experimental basis. Anyway, the Denon 4400 is nice receiver, with exception of what I think is a little under powered, and would be a good receiver even without the Object based audio formats.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,351 7 1
#20
I own a Denon 4400 and the best thing about it, in my opinion, is sub-eq, that alone is worth purchasing an A/V receiver.

Atmos might be worth the time and investment if you have already moved to the 4K. It seems to me that Atmos is being included and primarily promoted as a 4K Blu Ray format. If you haven't moved to 4K (i.e. 4K TV, 4K/UHD Blu Ray player),like me, Atmos is scantly included on regular Blu Ray titles. I have a few titles myself, however, in my opinion, not really enough to justify the cost of the Atmos upgrade. I also have a few DTS-X titles, still not enough to justify the upgrade cost. Hopefully DTS-X can become standard for regular Blu Ray titles since DTS-HD is pretty much a standard on them.

I personally like to experiment, I would try it and see if you like, if not you could return your extra speakers. However, you don't want to do in ceiling speakers on an experimental basis. Anyway, the Denon 4400 is nice receiver, with exception of what I think is a little under powered, and would be a good receiver even without the Object based audio formats.
Thanks for the input. I do have a 4k Sony and the extra speakers. By the way, I also have a 4400 and like it a lot too. It seemed quite powerful when I tested it in my 2 channel set up. In my HT setup, it replaced my Marantz AVP so its amp section is not used at all. So far I think it performs better than the much more expensive AVP in bass.
 

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