Denon AVR 4400 H with Emotiva xpa gen 3

K

kevrev

Audiophyte
Some advice please people!! I run a Denon AVR4400 with Kef Q 500's Q200c and Q150's. My sub is a BK XXL400. I am soon to upgrade my Kef's to R5's and R2c. My question is, given the speakers I have and the speakers i will upgrade to, will adding an Emotiva xpa 3rd Gen power amp add much to this package? Or is it money spent for no significant overall improvement? thanks in advance
 
nathan_h

nathan_h

Audioholic
Those are nice speakers to upgrade to!

They are reasonably efficient, and if you use bass management (ie, set them to small in the AVR and cross them over around 80hz to the sub) which you should if you want the best sound in your room, then you don't need that amp unless you are sitting more than a dozen feet from the speakers and like it loud.

The weak link in the system will be the subwoofer you have. It is a great unit in a bedroom, for a music oriented system, but it doesn't have the output and extension for serious home theater in a normal room.

Ok, that was harsh.

My point is that if you are looking to drop $1500 to improve things, an AMP is not the bang for buck choice. Getting something like an SVS PB 3000 would be a MUCH BIGGER improvement to your sound. (Or, if you are ready to spend some time setting them up, two PB2000, would sound great and let you get consistent bass across more seats in your room.)
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
will adding an Emotiva xpa 3rd Gen power amp add much to this package? Or is it money spent for no significant overall improvement? thanks in advance
If depends on your actual power need. You can use an online calculator to figure that out, then we can answer yes or no. As it is now, the answer is, again, it depends. For example, if distance if 10 ft, and you listen to 5 dB below reference at the most, then no, it most likely won't make a difference.
 
K

kevrev

Audiophyte
Thanks for the responses so far. My question wasnt really about loudness, it was more around if the quality would be improved ? I have seem some articles that say a separate power supply from the avr will add clarity ??
 
nathan_h

nathan_h

Audioholic
Thanks for the responses so far. My question wasnt really about loudness, it was more around if the quality would be improved ? I have seem some articles that say a separate power supply from the avr will add clarity ??
Don't believe the hype. An amp is very unlikely to make ANY audible difference as long as you are not running your AVR beyond its capabilities....hence the questions about how much power you need (listening habits, speaker efficiency, listening distance).
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks for the responses so far. My question wasnt really about loudness, it was more around if the quality would be improved ? I have seem some articles that say a separate power supply from the avr will add clarity ??
I think people do understand your question "Or is it money spent for no significant overall improvement? " that "improvement" is not about "loudness". You don't have to believe anyone, or "articles" if they/those gave their subjective views, or opinions. Just look at the facts that the Emotiva amp you mentioned did not show any evidence it would improve based on available measurements such as those on Stereophile, other that it obviously is more powerful than your AVR. That's why some of us are telling you you won't likely (I always prefer to insert "likely") hear a difference if your AVR can cover your current power need, with reserve. Other than that, no, "the quality would not be improved, at least not to the point it would result in a audible difference. Case in point, the X4400H has not been measured, but the very similar X3600, 3700, 4700 have been measured, they all have virtually identical power amp section, especially the X4700H.

Emotiva XPA Gen3 two-channel power amplifier Measurements | Stereophile.com

If you have questions on those measurements, we can likely help.

Now if you want to be sure, it definitely won't hurt to go for the amp anyway.
 
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G

Gmoney

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for the responses so far. My question wasnt really about loudness, it was more around if the quality would be improved ? I have seem some articles that say a separate power supply from the avr will add clarity ??
Only at very high levels, you do know out put at say umm 100 watts will make your ears bleed right?
 
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K

kevrev

Audiophyte
I think people do understand your question "Or is it money spent for no significant overall improvement? " that "improvement" is not about "loudness". You don't have to believe anyone, or "articles" if they/those gave their subjective views, or opinions. Just look at the facts that the Emotiva amp you mentioned did not show any evidence it would improve based on available measurements such as those on Stereophile, other that it obviously is more powerful than your AVR. That's why some of us are telling you you won't likely (I always prefer to insert "likely") hear a difference if your AVR can cover your current power need, with reserve. Other than that, no, "the quality would not be improved, at least not to the point it would result in a audible difference. Case in point, the X4400H has not been measured, but the very similar X3600, 3700, 4700 have been measured, they all have virtually identical power amp section, especially the X4700H.

Emotiva XPA Gen3 two-channel power amplifier Measurements | Stereophile.com

If you have questions on those measurements, we can likely help.

Now if you want to be sure, it definitely won't hurt to go for the amp anyway.
I think people do understand your question "Or is it money spent for no significant overall improvement? " that "improvement" is not about "loudness". You don't have to believe anyone, or "articles" if they/those gave their subjective views, or opinions. Just look at the facts that the Emotiva amp you mentioned did not show any evidence it would improve based on available measurements such as those on Stereophile, other that it obviously is more powerful than your AVR. That's why some of us are telling you you won't likely (I always prefer to insert "likely") hear a difference if your AVR can cover your current power need, with reserve. Other than that, no, "the quality would not be improved, at least not to the point it would result in a audible difference. Case in point, the X4400H has not been measured, but the very similar X3600, 3700, 4700 have been measured, they all have virtually identical power amp section, especially the X4700H.

Emotiva XPA Gen3 two-channel power amplifier Measurements | Stereophile.com

If you have questions on those measurements, we can likely help.

Now if you want to be sure, it definitely won't hurt to go for the amp anyway.
thanks! Thats really helpful knowing that evidence is there to show no measurable differences with an amp added.
I think I am best spending money first on my planned speaker upgrades. I am pleased with my Kef Q series and will be interesting to hear the difference the R series make.Most agree it will make a decent difference.
At the end of the day its getting a set up that suits your personal listening preferences thats important : I just wanted to check I wasnt making an error in set up by not using added amps etc to get the best possible for the money spent.
I suppose the next question is can i get better than the Kef r’s for the same money ???
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Gmoney just added some clarity to the OP's question about "quality" vs "loudness". In this case it is actually true to a point that it could be about "loudness". For example, assuming the OP sits from say 10 ft and want to listen at reference level. The Denon won't be able to do it while maintain distortions plus noise below 0.1% The Emotiva XPA-3 gen3 may be able to do it, but barely, due to the well known fact that it takes 2X the power output to gain 3 dB more SPL.

Reference level is, of course very loud, likely too loud for most home theater users. So in way, it is sort of about loudness too. In this example if you listen at 5 to 10 dB below reference level, the sky may be blue, but it may be perceived half as loud, though still quite loud to a lot of people.

This kind of question seems to be asked almost every month if not every other week. And specifically for users of the Denon AVR-X4X00H series and want to know if the Emotiva xpa-3 gen3 will make an audible difference, they are in luck because detailed measurements are available.

Denon AVR-X4700 AVR Review (Updated) | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum
Emotiva XPA Gen3 two-channel power amplifier Measurements | Stereophile.com

The two graphs below show that the AVR actual has slightly lower THD+N at rated output as well as at below 1 W output. Of course THD+N is not the only important measurement, but the other measurements are there for comparison.

Note that one used dB while the other used % but if you don't know how to convert them you can use yet another online calculator:

THD to dB - convert percent % to decibels dB percentage voltage % vs per cent converter THD+N total harmonic distortions calculation signal distortion factor attenuation in dB to distortion factor k in percent decibel damping - sengpielaudio Sengpiel Berlin

1612895959429.png


1612896113814.png
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
thanks! Thats really helpful knowing that evidence is there to show no measurable differences with an amp added.
I think I am best spending money first on my planned speaker upgrades. I am pleased with my Kef Q series and will be interesting to hear the difference the R series make.Most agree it will make a decent difference.
At the end of the day its getting a set up that suits your personal listening preferences thats important : I just wanted to check I wasnt making an error in set up by not using added amps etc to get the best possible for the money spent.
I suppose the next question is can i get better than the Kef r’s for the same money ???
Be careful, I don't mean to double talk but I did say it depends.. I would suggest you go through the exercise of figuring out your power need first, because it is possible that you may be benefit from a 300 W power amp such as the XPA-3 gen3, especially if you end up with the KEF R5.

The R series have very nice specs and measurements, but take a look of the impedance curve:

They claimed nominal impedance 8 Ohms, but I bet our speaker experts such as @shadyJ and @TLS Guy might agree with me that they are more like nominal 4 Ohms. KEF recommend 25-200 W, so the XPA-3 gen3 is in fact a good match in terms of power output, if you need that much power.

Again an online calculator should help:

Peak SPL Calculator (homestead.com)

1612896721161.png
 
G

Gmoney

Audioholic Ninja
Very nice speakers.

I'm still waiting for @TLS Guy to give us his thoughts on the Emotiva amp. :D
Oh you know Doc gonna tell it like is, outside of following Gene, a few come to mind I follow Doc TLS Guy, PENG, You and of course ShadyJ, M Code and a few others. PENG 's right we get these kind of post almost every week about adding a amp.
 
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PTdoug

PTdoug

Enthusiast
my AR90 max out at 300W and 3.2 olm& 87 efficient. Even though the rest of my 7.1.1speaker systems is efficient(Klips,). I know my system especially in Stereo will sound better with the Emotive XPA Gen3 3. AR90s are a pig when it comes to power
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Denon is 125w, XPA-3 is 200w. It will get louder, not sound "better". It needs to be understood an amp won't change your sound, it will only add headroom and SPL.
 
PTdoug

PTdoug

Enthusiast
Denon is 125w, XPA-3 is 200w. It will get louder, not sound "better". It needs to be understood an amp won't change your sound, it will only add headroom and SPL.
I have owned these speakers since 1974. I have had verious amps driving them and until I got a pair of Carver mono block amps they where gasping for power. A good amp should only produce clean power. When a speaker has enough power to drive it it will sound the way it is supposed to sound. to little power it wont. Is that an accurate statement? "loudness". is a confusing word when it comes to speakers and amps and doesn't represent what a lot of use are talking about. Espisaly use old audiophiles. My AR90s will sound better with a more powerful amp. It will also drive the 4 10' woofers in a 4 way speaker system better
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
How big is your room? That matters too. But yes, you are correct that you need sufficient power for the speakers to work as designed. Too little power and they can sound poor. I was getting at the fact that it is often misleading that people think an amp will make their speakers sound "better" than they currently are just by adding power and that is not the case, unless you are clearly underpowered for how you are trying to listen.

How loud they sound in a given room depends on the size of the room, how far you sit from them and the characteristics of the room too though.
 
PTdoug

PTdoug

Enthusiast
When I work for Pacific Stereo I c an't tell you how many sales people would crank up speakers to impress. I always tried to impress people with how softly a speaker could be played and retain its integrity without effecting the speaker by introducing the preamps loudness curve. I also mentioned that loudness is distortion in general and that its that distortion that destroys speakers. You can destroy a speaker by not having enough power(creating distortion ) just as easily as having to much power. tweeters are known for that.
 
mono-bloc

mono-bloc

Audioholic
Basically all your doing by adding a power amp to drive your left and right front speakers is to lighten the load on the AVR's amp and power supply. End of story
 
Pandaman617

Pandaman617

Senior Audioholic
To add to the idea of adding a more powerful sub I can tell you that the community on here told me multiple times my setup was great but my weak point was my subs. I added numerous high end power amps and changed out speakers but for cinema and gaming I never got that “holy crap that sounds good” moment until I just spent the money and got myself some higher end subwoofers and than calibrated them with a MiniDSP 2x4HD. I can’t stress enough the impact quality subwoofers have on a setup
 
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