Can AV Receivers Handle 4 Ohm Speakers?

H

Hellfire94

Audioholic Intern
Hello. I'm planning to get the M&K Sound M-5 Satellite speakers for my home theater. The only problem is that they're 4 ohm speakers. My current Wharfedale Diamond 220 speakers are 8 ohm and paired with the Denon avr-x2300w. I will sell that receiver and get a new one. Probably a 9.2ch avr. My only options are the Denon avr-x4500h and the Yamaha rx-a2080. Will those receivers be able to handle the M&K M-5 speakers in a 7.1 or 9.1 setup? The M-5 technical specs states that it needs 25 - 80 watts of power and the sensitivity is 84.5 dB. If I have the extra money then I might get the M-7 for the front LCR and the M-5 for my side and rear surrounds and perhaps front height if I want to do a 9.1 Dolby Atmos setup. There are no multichannel amplifiers available at my local store so I won't be able to use an external amp.
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
Unfortunately, with the advent of more and more amplifier channels in an AVR, the ability to drive difficult loads is greatly reduced. It’s highly doubtful that either of the AVRs you’re considering will be able to handle a full complement of M5s.

Your best bet would be to go with another speaker, or get one or two multichannel amplifiers. You don’t have to get the amps from a local store – there are no shortage of on-line sources.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Why are you getting those speakers particularly?
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I just want to make the point that you don't have to go "all or none" on this. For example, I listen to stereo music 95% of the time that I "make my system work" (listening to standard TV without the type of emphasis on sound quality that many movies have - say news or a show like Seinfield at normal levels does not "make my system work). So for me, I'd almost always figure on adding a stereo amp for the R&L speakers. For 4 ohm surround speakers, I would probably get something like the Marantz below (which I consider roughly equivalent to the AVR's amp section) and run 3 or 4 speakers off of it and the others off of the actual AVR (it should be fine with 3 or 4 normal 4 ohm speakers)
 
H

Hellfire94

Audioholic Intern
Unfortunately, with the advent of more and more amplifier channels in an AVR, the ability to drive difficult loads is greatly reduced. It’s highly doubtful that either of the AVRs you’re considering will be able to handle a full complement of M5s.

Your best bet would be to go with another speaker, or get one or two multichannel amplifiers. You don’t have to get the amps from a local store – there are no shortage of on-line sources.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
I live in Fiji and it'll be too expensive to import an amplifier from an overseas online website. Most don't ship to Fiji. The cost would be over $1000 for the amp and the customs here charge a lot as well. Then there's the problem of the warranty and if I get a malfunctioning unit then there'll be even more hassle.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic Chief
I live in Fiji and it'll be too expensive to import an amplifier from an overseas online website. Most don't ship to Fiji. The cost would be over $1000 for the amp and the customs here charge a lot as well. Then there's the problem of the warranty and if I get a malfunctioning unit then there'll be even more hassle.
Go to the used market like Ebay for an external amp.
 
H

Hellfire94

Audioholic Intern
Why are you getting those speakers particularly?
I've been doing some research and M&K have a really good reputation for making good quality home cinema speakers. I can't afford their higher end speakers so I thought I'd settle for the M-5. I was also considering the Klipsch RP speakers but M&K speakers are said to sound like studio monitors and are perfect for movies.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I've been doing some research and M&K have a really good reputation for making good quality home cinema speakers. I can't afford their higher end speakers so I thought I'd settle for the M-5. I was also considering the Klipsch RP speakers but M&K speakers are said to sound like studio monitors and are perfect for movies.
The M&K speakers from their original era do have a good reputation, generally though don't know about these particularly, are they from the "newer" MK Sound instead? I don't see much about them at all in a search. How much are they? Have you heard them? The sensitivity, low impedance and max rating of 80w for low sensitivity speakers isn't encouraging in any case....plus they're awfully small. How far away do you sit from the speakers and how loud do you want to play?
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I've been doing some research and M&K have a really good reputation for making good quality home cinema speakers. I can't afford their higher end speakers so I thought I'd settle for the M-5. I was also considering the Klipsch RP speakers but M&K speakers are said to sound like studio monitors and are perfect for movies.
Why not just get an actual studio monitor like theJBL LSR 305's?
 
H

Hellfire94

Audioholic Intern
The M&K speakers from their original era do have a good reputation, generally though don't know about these particularly, are they from the "newer" MK Sound instead? I don't see much about them at all in a search. How much are they? Have you heard them? The sensitivity, low impedance and max rating of 80w for low sensitivity speakers isn't encouraging in any case....plus they're awfully small. How far away do you sit from the speakers and how loud do you want to play?
I think the M-5 speakers are from the old M&K. I have not heard them. I'm getting my relative to buy them from a home theater store in Australia. My relative will check if the speakers are working and stuff and then ship them to me. Each M-5 speaker costs AU$549. I'll probably start of with 2 or 3 first. Like I said, I would like the S150s but they're way too expensive. That's why I'm settling for the M-5s. But one thing that's bothering me is that I've seen a few videos on YouTube where people are using the LCR750 and 950 speakers with just 7.2 avrs. No external amp. Even one of the reviewers from AVForums told me that he was using a Marantz and Yamaha avr to power their reference M&K S150 Dolby Atmos setup without any external amp. He said he tested them for nearly a month and that the av receivers could handle the 4 ohm load without any issues. Those S150s are a beast compared to the M-5.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Hello. I'm planning to get the M&K Sound M-5 Satellite speakers for my home theater. The only problem is that they're 4 ohm speakers. My current Wharfedale Diamond 220 speakers are 8 ohm and paired with the Denon avr-x2300w. I will sell that receiver and get a new one. Probably a 9.2ch avr. My only options are the Denon avr-x4500h and the Yamaha rx-a2080.

Will those receivers be able to handle the M&K M-5 speakers in a 7.1 or 9.1 setup?
The answer is always, "It depends". :D

But I would say that for most cases, the Yamaha A2080 and Denon X4500 will be able to do just fine in 9.1 with 4-ohm speakers.

The salient fact is that in real life, your AVR will usually never be forced to handle ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN. In real life, the AVR is usually forced to handle 2CH (Front Left and Right) or 3CH (Front 3) DRIVEN. The rest of the Surrounds require significantly less power.

So bottom line is to look at the 2CH DRIVEN measurement of the AVR. In this case, both the Denon and Yamaha will have plenty of power.

For example, the Yamaha A2080 can output 260 Watts x 2CH in 4 ohms, which is plenty of power.
 
P

Paul Mohr

Audioholic Intern
If someone is going to buy your speakers and send them to you I assume this means you are not forced to get those particular speakers. Just for whatever reason you heard they were good and want them. The question is how were those speakers being driven at the time? They sound like fairly power hungry speakers, low ohm, low SPL rating ect. My guess is they were not being driven by the receivers you are limited to using and may not sound that great for you. Something to consider.

I would suggest having your relative find a different set speakers with better specs that would work with well with those receivers. There are a LOT of really good speakers on the market right now. It shouldn't be hard to find some that make you happy and will work well. I can't find any M-5 speakers from them, do you mean the M-50 on wall speakers? If you are spending 550 a speaker on them I honestly think you could get a better speaker for that kind of money, or less. Or keep your Wharfedale Diamond's. It's not like those are crappy speakers lol.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
The answer is always, "It depends". :D

But I would say that for most cases, the Yamaha A2080 and Denon X4500 will be able to do just fine in 9.1 with 4-ohm speakers.

The salient fact is that in real life, your AVR will usually never be forced to handle ALL CHANNELS DRIVEN. In real life, the AVR is usually forced to handle 2CH (Front Left and Right) or 3CH (Front 3) DRIVEN. The rest of the Surrounds require significantly less power.

So bottom line is to look at the 2CH DRIVEN measurement of the AVR. In this case, both the Denon and Yamaha will have plenty of power.

For example, the Yamaha A2080 can output 260 Watts x 2CH in 4 ohms, which is plenty of power.
Dont forget that room size and desired volume levels also determine if an additional power amp is required. Those are two factors that are always overlooked in the question, can AVR handle 4 ohms. ;)
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
Another question is: Is it a real 4 ohm speaker or one which impedance goes down to 3 ohms or less at frequencies below 400 Hz. In this latter situation, many AVRs won't be able to handle it because of their inadequate power supplies.
 
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3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
There used to be a regular here who drove Electrostatics with a Yamaha RX-V2500 without issue. The AVR never shutdown or went into safety. I wish I could remember the poster's name. Electrostatics are one of the hardest speaker load to drive with its impedance being highly reactive.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Hello. I'm planning to get the M&K Sound M-5 Satellite speakers for my home theater. The only problem is that they're 4 ohm speakers. My current Wharfedale Diamond 220 speakers are 8 ohm and paired with the Denon avr-x2300w. I will sell that receiver and get a new one. Probably a 9.2ch avr. My only options are the Denon avr-x4500h and the Yamaha rx-a2080. Will those receivers be able to handle the M&K M-5 speakers in a 7.1 or 9.1 setup? The M-5 technical specs states that it needs 25 - 80 watts of power and the sensitivity is 84.5 dB. If I have the extra money then I might get the M-7 for the front LCR and the M-5 for my side and rear surrounds and perhaps front height if I want to do a 9.1 Dolby Atmos setup. There are no multichannel amplifiers available at my local store so I won't be able to use an external amp.
This kind of questions without the necessarily background information seem to get asked all the time and quite often get answered by people who just wouldn't bother to provide the conditions they based the answers on either, probably for good reasons.

The fact is, it depends on the several things, including but not limited to the following:

- Impedance vs frequency characteristics curve of the speaker, not just "4 ohms nominal".
- Phase angle vs frequency of the speaker, example: 4 ohm nominal+very benign phase angle may be better than 6 ohm nominal (even 8 ohm nominal in extreme cases) with terrible phase angles.

- Seating distance, this is a huge factor, the difference between 9 ft and 12.8 ft is 3 dB, so all else being equal, if you sit 9 ft from your 4 ohm speaker, for the same amplifier it would be like driving an 8 ohm speaker if you sit 12.8 ft from it, again, that's on all else being equal basis.

- The SPL you listen to, almost everyone on this forum knows for a 3 dB increase in sound pressure level, power requirement needs to be double. So if 85 dB average sounds very loud to you (as it is for most people), and you are currently find with an 8 ohm speaker, then you will be fine with a 4 ohm speaker if even 82 dB average sounds too loud for you (as it is for most people). Again, this is based on "all else being equal" obviously.

So one should not make a general statement, if think logically first, that receivers cannot handle 4 ohm speakers without specifying the conditions the statement is based on. By the way, many HTIAB kind of tiny satellite speakers have nominal impedance around 4 ohms or lower, yet the amplifiers that came with such packages are typically weaker than you Denon AVR-X2300W.

As an extreme example, consider the following:

Person A - Using a AVR-X4500H
- seating distance 9.5 ft

speaker specs:
- sensitivity 93 dB/2.83V/1m
- impedance 4 ohms nominal, minimum 3.5 ohms

SPL required at his mmp - 82 dB average, 102 dB maximum

Person B - Using a Yamaha CX-A5200 and MX-A5200, or an AT-2005 power amp
- seating distance 15 ft

speakers specs:
- sensitivity 87 dB/2.83V/1m
- impedance 8 ohms nominal, minimum 6 ohms

SPL required at his mmp - 85 dB average, 105 dB maximum (as loud as it is in a THX cinema)

If you do the math, you will see that Person A's AVR will have much easier time driving the 4 ohm speakers than Person B's power amp driving the 8 ohm speakers.

I hope I made my point clear about why one should not generalize by saying AVRs cannot handle 4 ohm speakers period, and/or power amps can do so period.

Regarding your current speakers, you can see the impedance and phase angles vs frequency graphs here:


It would appear that Whafedale specs of 8 ohm nominal, 86 dB sensitivity are not reflected by the lab measurements that show 84.7 dB/2.83V/1m sensitivity and the nominal impedance looks more like 6 ohms to me.

So in your current system, the weak link is actually the Diamond 220, not the entry level Denon AVR.

If you are getting the M5, or M7, you will be in the same or worse situation as you already know the M5/M7 have similar or even lower sensitivity and they can barely handle the rated output of even the AVR-X2300W.
  • Frequency Response: 100 Hz – 20 kHz ±2dB
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms
  • Power Handling: 80 Watts RMS
  • Sensitivity: 84,5 dB
  • Weight: 2,2 kg
Based on that, again your concerns should not be the Denon AVR, but your SPL requirement at your seating position.

Even the X1200W measured with the following results by S&V:

At 0.1% THD:

- 139.2 W into 4 ohms, 2 channel driven
- 69.9 W into 4 ohms, 5 channel driven
- 47.4 W into 4 ohms, 7 channel driven

It seems to me your Denon is a good match for the M5 and M7.
 

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