Hoping for knowledgeable opinion

S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#1
Of course I'm new to this forum and to better equipment. I'll keep it brief. Started trying to improve on a 20 year old Technics 5.1 system. After buying a Polk PSW108 sub and a Sony SS CS8 center, I decided it was time to just get new everything. So, got a new receiver, Onkyo TX RZ820 and a pair of RTi A7's, price was good and seemed like it'd be enough. From reading, figured I'd need to get an amp...so here I am.

While the sub, center and the ancient Yamaha NS a635a 3 way studio monitors I've always had as surround will get replaced...I'm wanting to try the amp first. So, checking the Emotiva XPA 2 GEN3 amp. Reads like I can add mods as I replace the rest of the system but still get better 2 channel music in the meantime.

So any opinions on how the Onkyo, RTi's and the Emotiva will work with each other? I mean, I'd hate to trial and error $1k.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,878 22 38
#2
/me Does Jedi Mind Trick - You don't need an amp.
homework for you:
https://www.audioholics.com/home-theater-connection/connecting-an-external-amp-to-a-receiver

My suggestions if you want to get to a nice 5.1 is to invest most in speakers. You already have a very capable receiver/amp/processor. Time to stop semi-randomly purchasing speakers and invest in higher quality but still great value options AFTER you consult with AH Hive mind.
I'd personally start by returning the sub AND seriously considering matching front/center/left to same brand and series. Sony core are highly reviewed speakers, so you probably should match your current center to
SSCS3 towers, not Polk A7s.
Sub wise, my go-to brand for budget Sub would be HSU and/or Monoprice THX.
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#3
/me Does Jedi Mind Trick - You don't need an amp.
homework for you:
I have gone thru the link you posted before I joined the site...just, I'm reading, trying :)
Hopefully you will indulge. You don't think the RTi A7 are a good start?
The sub is neither here nor there as far as money wasted. I'll use them.
Anyway, it's promising the receiver is good, but until I hit -30db on the volume, it's not very loud. And after 0.0, it's distorting. That said, I am at the same time trying to learn more about how to have good quality music and there is a lot to that.
If I don't need an amp then I don't need an amp. I do like it loud, the test I scored a 4 on, certainly not for room size, but because I like to really turn it up sometimes.
Overall, I'm shooting for clear, quality music and I'm just starting to learn both equipment and what goes into good source, definitely in over my head. Still, like to learn about it though.
Thanks man, appreciate any help at all.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,792 3
#4
I agree with Bored. Amp should be the last part of the puzzle, added after you know how everything else performs. Speakers and subs are going to always make the most notable difference, and matching your Front 3 is a good idea. Not always necessary, but it helps usually.

What are your goals for this system? How much music to HT? Home or apartment? SIze of room and how far do you sit from the speakers?
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#5
I agree with Bored. Amp should be the last part of the puzzle, added after you know how everything else performs. Speakers and subs are going to always make the most notable difference, and matching your Front 3 is a good idea. Not always necessary, but it helps usually.

What are your goals for this system? How much music to HT? Home or apartment? SIze of room and how far do you sit from the speakers?

The goal is the best quality audio and decent home theater as I can muster. Best quality music is #1.
It's a home, but it's from the 30's so rooms are small. 14x15.
Sit less than 10' from speakers, but there are qualifiers. :)
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,878 22 38
#6
10ft from speakers,
TLSGuy aka Dr Mark did not mince words (in his usual style) describing them as simply garbage:
https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/polk-rti-a7-for-treble-lovers-only.67008/
This person word carries a big weight 'round here.

HT Review was much more careful with ratings, but even they gave very poor 3-star scores for it:
https://hometheaterreview.com/polk-rti-a7-floorstanding-loudspeakers-reviewed/

And lastly, my own personal subjective opinion based on listening to entire Polk range at the dealer a while ago and until I hit last one (top-end) model - LSi/9 - they all did not sound very nice to my ears.

If music is important to you and playing a bit louder than most, then you clearly need very different speakers.
JBL often has very good sales on their Studio tower speakers, I've seen Studio 580 as low as $350.
These deal return often, just keep an eye on them.
https://slickdeals.net/f/12985366-jbl-studio-580-for-349-95-with-f-s
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,901 21 47
#7
Might try playing around with an spl calculator to see how the relationship of your speakers' sensitivity, your distance from the speakers and amp power work together.

As far as the experience with using the reference volume scale, did you calibrate the avr? 0 (reference level) should be quite loud, average of 85dB and allowance for 20dB peaks (and relates mostly to movies recorded to such a standard, music not so much). Your speakers may also be a limiting factor rather than amplification.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,878 22 38
#8
Might try playing around with an spl calculator to see how the relationship of your speakers' sensitivity, your distance from the speakers and amp power work together.

As far as the experience with using the reference volume scale, did you calibrate the avr? 0 (reference level) should be quite loud, average of 85dB and allowance for 20dB peaks (and relates mostly to movies recorded to such a standard, music not so much). Your speakers may also be a limiting factor rather than amplification.
RTI A7 rated at 89db/8ohm [nomimal] , but I think Polk was being a bit overly optimistic with these numbers. This is my educated guess, I am curious to see an actual measured impedance plot.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,901 21 47
#9
RTI A7 rated at 89db/8ohm [nomimal] , but I think Polk was being a bit overly optimistic with these numbers. This is my educated guess, I am curious to see an actual measured impedance plot.
It's not a bad idea to fudge the manufacturer's sensitivity spec by a few dB to stay on the conservative side....many such specs (particularly Klipsch) are somewhat optimistic :) I would just use the spl calculator as a general guide more than an absolute.
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#10
I did read the second link before buying and it did not sound like a deal breaker then or now...but again...I'm learning.
So no amp needed...would you tell me what is the purpose of a power amp? When would a system require one?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,901 21 47
#11
I did read the second link before buying and it did not sound like a deal breaker then or now...but again...I'm learning.
So no amp needed...would you tell me what is the purpose of a power amp? When would a system require one?
Might start here (the first link BSA provided) and ask specific questions? https://www.audioholics.com/home-theater-connection/connecting-an-external-amp-to-a-receiver

ps Sometimes ya just gotta get an amp to resolve the itch....and then you might say down the line heck I don't need that for my use.
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#12
Might try playing around with an spl calculator to see how the relationship of your speakers' sensitivity, your distance from the speakers and amp power work together.
I did, but moved sitting position slightly...6" and the sound has been less than expected all along. I just read and still am trying to completely grasp the volume reference...but my understanding was that 0.0 was a max which actuallly equals the absolute values. I'll look into the spl calculator...thank you. Trying to read as much as I can so experience is invaluable.
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#13
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
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2,562 9 17
#14
Upgrade that subwoofer and put the amp on a back burner! If you want to improve sound quality it's in the speakers and subwoofer. Subwoofers are often overlooked by the inexperienced. I found in my own experience that a good subwoofer (or 2) can have a huge impact in overall sound quality for the entire system! I was genuinely surprised at the improvement a good pair made in my system. It really will clean things up.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,901 21 47
#15
@Sparkus When you hit reply, answer outside of the original post you're quoting, your answering posts are appearing within the quoted post. You using a computer to the site directly or thru tapatalk?

Some avrs on the reference volume scale can go above "0" (mine generally go to +18). At reference it's likely close to maximum volume in any case. Did you calibrate the avr using AccuEQ or ? I simply limit my avrs with the reference scale to 0 in any case, and mostly listen at -20 for movies, depending on the movie maybe up to -10. I'm trying to be nicer to my ears these days, too. I did used to use external amps on my avrs. Here's how the absolute vs reference volume scales work in general (even tho different brand) https://denon.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/136/~/relative-and-absolute-volume-ranges.

Still, specific questions on what isn't making sense will help. I think that sub (if you can call it that) is definitely a weak point and I'd address that before an amp. I'd also look at better speakers before worrying about an amp unless you're just eager to be as loud as possible....
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
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#16
The sub is neither here nor there as far as money wasted. I'll use them.
*Pogre passes out...

You might find replacing that sub will make a lot of that distortion go away. I went from a pair of 10" Klipsch subs to a pair of 15" Hsu VTF 3 MK5's and thought at first they weren't working properly because they actually seemed quieter. After listening for a bit I realized that they weren't quieter. They weren't distorting and dragging the whole system down. Big, BIG difference.

Like ADTG said too, matching speakers up front is where you wanna go. The Rti A7's I've read aren't bad speakers, but can be difficult to drive. There are so many other options out there to consider such as Salk, Ascend, SVS, Kef, Hsu and a bunch more. What kind of budget are you looking at? Right off the bat I'd say take whatever you're planning to spend on an amp and put it into speakers and sub.
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#17
I appreciate all your input. I think I'll shelve the amp and do some more reading. I have too much to learn and it's disappointing to think I bombed on the RTi's but I bought them before I even thought about reading more. I don't think they are terrible...but the loudness with clarity isn't what I want. It's fine with HT, but audio is just lacking. I think I would be better served with looking at the media and players for music first. Of course, looking at all the suggestions at the same time. Thank you all...very helpful...very kind. Just need to learn more.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,562 9 17
#18
I appreciate all your input. I think I'll shelve the amp and do some more reading. I have too much to learn and it's disappointing to think I bombed on the RTi's but I bought them before I even thought about reading more. I don't think they are terrible...but the loudness with clarity isn't what I want. It's fine with HT, but audio is just lacking. I think I would be better served with looking at the media and players for music first. Of course, looking at all the suggestions at the same time. Thank you all...very helpful...very kind. Just need to learn more.
Sub...


...woofer.

:p
 
S

Sparkus

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#19
I've been deleting the original post...maybe not far enough. Hope this is better, thanks for the tip...been a long time since I've been on a forum. I think I'm going to read some more, try some more things before buying an amp. When I bought the RTi's I was less knowledgeable than now, if you can believe that :). The sound volume is fine at 5.1 for HT...but it's far less at 2.1, no sub, and at higher volume starts losing clarity. I kept reading the A7/A9's needed an amp...so I thought before I jumped I'd post here. Glad I did. Need to do more reading and gain a better understanding I think.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,562 9 17
#20
I appreciate all your input. I think I'll shelve the amp and do some more reading. I have too much to learn and it's disappointing to think I bombed on the RTi's but I bought them before I even thought about reading more. I don't think they are terrible...but the loudness with clarity isn't what I want. It's fine with HT, but audio is just lacking. I think I would be better served with looking at the media and players for music first. Of course, looking at all the suggestions at the same time. Thank you all...very helpful...very kind. Just need to learn more.
Also, I don't think you "bombed" with the RTi's. You can do worse for speakers. That's why I keep zeroing in on what I believe to be the weakest link in your system. I think you're doing the right thing by coming here to ask questions before going further and absolutely encourage you to read up and learn as much as you can. I've learned a ton myself over the last couple of years here. Don't get discouraged, you'll get things on track!
 

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