Power Amp for Dynaudio Contour 30 and 25C

A

ajones82

Audiophyte
Hi fellow audio fans,

I currently have the following equipment:
Arcam AVR 850 which delivers 180W / channel at 4ohms
Front Left/Right: Dynaudio Contour 30 (300W 4ohm)
Center: Dynaudio Contour 25C (300W 4ohm)
Surrounds are Polk and an Infinity Sub.

I understand that Dynaudios are power hungry speakers and really start to sing with high power so I'm wondering if my Arcam is enough to drive the Dynaudio Contours.

I am looking to maybe upgrade to a Parasound A31 amp, maybe a Bryston. Looking in a 3500 range for the 3 channel.

What do you guys think ? Will it improve the sound of my 3 channels ?

I also want to add 4 SVS Prime Elevation speakers for my Atmos speakers as I am currently running a 5.1 and will be going 5.1.4 way. So I'm thinking of adding a 3 channel amp as mentioned above and adding another 2 channel amp for the 2 atmos speakers, was looking at a Parasound NewClassic 2250 v.2.

I know people report that Gryphon, Pass Labs and Simaudio pair really well with Dynaudio but those are just very expensive for me at this time.

Thanks for all the help!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I understand that Dynaudios are power hungry speakers and really start to sing with high power so I'm wondering if my Arcam is enough to drive the Dynaudio Contours.
That is such a die hard myth. Yes it can true for a speaker such as this, but is not true in all cases so your Arcam may be very adequate, or not but a speaker that can handle 300 W per IEC does not need 300 W or even 50 W to "sing". For argument sake, in a 12X 15 room sitting 8 feet from a pair, they will sing very well for you even with a 50 W amplifier, if you play some studio recordings of Jazz music like Diana Krall, Patricia Barber's.

Take a look of the relevant factors such as your seating distance, desire sound pressure level and the speakers sensitivity and impedance and you'll have the answer.

Specs of the Contour 30:
IEC power handling: 300W
Impedance 4Ω
Sensitivity: 87dB (2.83V/1m)

Now you can us an online calculator to get a rough idea, such as the following:
Crown Audio - Professional Power Amplifiers
Peak SPL Calculator (homestead.com)

And take a look of the following examples based on the speaker specs and the calculated results based on 1 speaker and seating distance 3 meters and assume no room gain:

Example A, you want reference level (105 dB max peak), you will need 1133 Watts.

Example B, you are okay with 10 dB below reference level, you will need 113 Watts.

Now if you sits closer, say 2.5 meters, that's about 8 ft:

Example A, you will need only 787 W
Example B, you will need only 78.7 W

So you can see it depends a lot on the distance and your desired SPL.

Also consider some facts:

1) 10 dB below reference is still loud enough for a lot of people, in fact a little too much for me.
2) The calculations above are based on THX standard, in practice, for music, most of the time two speakers will be making sound at the same time, so it is reasonable to expect 2X the SPL, and the power required for the same SPL will be reduced by half.
3) It may be reasonable to expect about 3 dB of "room gain", but room gain mainly affect the bass so that may be the reason why the Crown audio calculator ignore that factor.
4) The power handling rating of the speakers ultimately limit the maximum requirement if you want them to have a long live.

To gain 3 dB SPL, power requirement doubles, conversely for 3 dB less, power requirements will be halved.

The Contour 300's power handling spec is 300 W (IEC) so if you want to leave no doubts and not bother with any calculations for different scenarios, then you should get a power amp rated minimum 300 W into 4 Ohms, or 500 to 600 W into 4 Ohms if you want to have ample head room.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Parasound, Bryston, ATI, Legacy Audio, Anthem, Rotel, Classe, Krell, Mark Levinson, DataSat, Theta Digital.

You might just get a 2CH amp for the Main Front 2 speakers since they usually require a lot more power than the Center and surrounds. Or get a 3Ch amp as planned. :D

Something like ATI AT522NC (300WPC x 2Ch 4-ohm) or AT542NC (900WPC x 2Ch 4-ohm) or Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 (650WPC x 2Ch 4-ohm).
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Hi fellow audio fans,

I currently have the following equipment:
Arcam AVR 850 which delivers 180W / channel at 4ohms
Front Left/Right: Dynaudio Contour 30 (300W 4ohm)
Center: Dynaudio Contour 25C (300W 4ohm)
Surrounds are Polk and an Infinity Sub.

I understand that Dynaudios are power hungry speakers and really start to sing with high power so I'm wondering if my Arcam is enough to drive the Dynaudio Contours.

I am looking to maybe upgrade to a Parasound A31 amp, maybe a Bryston. Looking in a 3500 range for the 3 channel.

What do you guys think ? Will it improve the sound of my 3 channels ?

I also want to add 4 SVS Prime Elevation speakers for my Atmos speakers as I am currently running a 5.1 and will be going 5.1.4 way. So I'm thinking of adding a 3 channel amp as mentioned above and adding another 2 channel amp for the 2 atmos speakers, was looking at a Parasound NewClassic 2250 v.2.

I know people report that Gryphon, Pass Labs and Simaudio pair really well with Dynaudio but those are just very expensive for me at this time.

Thanks for all the help!
Those speakers will only need a high powered amplifier if you want to use them at high SPL- at any other level, the power output isn't going to be much more than any other moderately sensitive speaker. I installed a 5.1 system in a house with Dynaudio Audience speakers and they were called 'difficult to drive' but the original Denon AVR and its replacement have never had any problems with them. The distributed audio speakers, also Dynaudio, are powered by a McIntosh amp and the living room speakers (Dynaudio Excite 34) are powered by an Audio Research amp. Their second home has three pairs of Dynaudio Excite 14 powered by an old B&K amplifier and they have been in use for close to 5 years without a hitch.

Don't overthink this.
 
A

ajones82

Audiophyte
@PENG thanks very much for your input. I haven't thought about it this way. Now, just to be honest, I am not a sound engineer nor am I a professional so I'm just trying to get the best sound possible from my speakers and therefore based on all of the research I did I concluded that high powered amps work better with Dynaudio even at low SPL and make them sound better, etc. Therefore I was looking to maybe add a separate amp for these 3 fronts but everything you said also makes sense. :) I don't usually listen at very high levels as I live in an apartment in San Francisco which is a very dense city with lots of people and I would piss off the neighbors....hahah. My room is also oddly shaped (again SF style homes) with bay windows, fireplace, my listening position is not in the center, etc. Of course I have Dirac room correction with Arcam which makes it much better but I want to make sure I get the MAX out of my speakers. Also in the future I can see myself going with separates versus the AVR, eventually. Maybe I just have an upgrade itch. :) Thanks again for your insights.
 
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A

ajones82

Audiophyte
@AcuDefTechGuy thanks for your thoughts. So are you saying that any of those amps pair well with Dynaudio ? Throughout doing my research I've seen that people say that different amps sound different with different speakers and some pair well and some don't. Are you saying any of the amps you mentioned would pair well with my speakers ? Thanks!
 
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A

ajones82

Audiophyte
@highfigh Thanks for your response. As I replied to @PENG I have seen people say that even at low SPL high current to the Dynaudio matters and therefore I am looking to upgrade. Are you saying that my Arcam is enough ? You mentioned that you had used McIntosh with the Dyns. I've seen a lot of people report that McIntosh sounds awesome with Dyns but man are they expensive :))) I'm also looking to possibly add the Atmos, add the 2 amps as mentioned and then maybe even get a DAC for my Mac Mini and do Mac>Audirvana>Qobuz>Chord Qutest>Arcam Analog Inputs. I think I do have an upgrade itch....haha
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Pairing is a word borrowed from wine world, really doesn't happen in audio. Your amp capability is just that, a capability, so at low spl you aren't even tapping into the capability of a high powered amp (unused power remains just that, unused). Most are at such low distortion levels they're indistinguishable on that level. I think you're looking at overpriced amps myself, especially when your Arcam is likely just fine on its own.

Is there something lacking or you're running into distortion/clipping with your Arcam and these speakers at your listening levels? Having lived in SF for many years, and the thin walls, yes, you can easily annoy your neighbors all too often....even in the houses that are side by side rather than the apartment buildings.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
@AcuDefTechGuy thanks for your thoughts. So are you saying that any of those amps pair well with Dynaudio ? Throughout doing my research I've seen that people say that different amps sound different with different speakers and some pair well and some don't. Are you saying any of the amps you mentioned would pair well with my speakers ? Thanks!
Yes. I think all those amps will sound great with your speakers.
 
A

ajones82

Audiophyte
@lovinthehd well, I think that at lower volumes, it's sometimes hard to hear instruments distinctly and voices too. I understand that it is possible that my ear just then doesn't hear well enough at that volume, but I'm thinking since people online in forums say that more current makes the Dyns sing that I need an amplifier to have more crisp sound even at low volumes.

Now, I need to think about it after all these responses. Maybe invest money instead in a simple amp to add for my Atmos (5.1.4) and then get a Chord Qutest to do MacMini>Audirvana>Qobuz/Tidal>Chord Qutest>Arcam Analog input.
I can do 5.1.2 without any additional amps but to do 5.1.4 I need to add either 2 channel or a 4 channel to power all 4 atmos channels with the same amp. Any recommendations on the amp 2 or 4 channels to match my system better ?

Do you think this might yield better ROI instead of adding more amplification ?

Thanks!
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
@highfigh Thanks for your response. As I replied to @PENG I have seen people say that even at low SPL high current to the Dynaudio matters and therefore I am looking to upgrade. Are you saying that my Arcam is enough ? You mentioned that you had used McIntosh with the Dyns. I've seen a lot of people report that McIntosh sounds awesome with Dyns but man are they expensive :))) I'm also looking to possibly add the Atmos, add the 2 amps as mentioned and then maybe even get a DAC for my Mac Mini and do Mac>Audirvana>Qobuz>Chord Qutest>Arcam Analog Inputs. I think I do have an upgrade itch....haha
Current is calculated using measured voltage and resistance- I fail to see how more current will result from one amp at the same voltage as what came from another if the speaker's impedance doesn't dip extremely low. The ability to provide higher output current is only useful at low impedance. At nominal impedance, amplifiers are basically equal unless one has a poorly designed power supply.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Pairing is a word borrowed from wine world, really doesn't happen in audio.
That may be, but there sure are a lot of 'cork-sniffers' in the audio community.

Maybe they're more similar to the Prius owners in the South Park episode.

Or,

1618230011843.png
 
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A

ajones82

Audiophyte
@highfigh "Maybe they're more similar to the Prius owners in the South Park episode." LOL .....that's some funny stuff. :) Thanks appreciate your thoughts here. I guess I need to try things out and see just what I like. Maybe I'm going to start with adding Atmos speakers and a simple stereo amp for the 5.1.4. Maybe try out an amp before buying. Need to find a place.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
@lovinthehd well, I think that at lower volumes, it's sometimes hard to hear instruments distinctly and voices too. I understand that it is possible that my ear just then doesn't hear well enough at that volume, but I'm thinking since people online in forums say that more current makes the Dyns sing that I need an amplifier to have more crisp sound even at low volumes.

Now, I need to think about it after all these responses. Maybe invest money instead in a simple amp to add for my Atmos (5.1.4) and then get a Chord Qutest to do MacMini>Audirvana>Qobuz/Tidal>Chord Qutest>Arcam Analog input.
I can do 5.1.2 without any additional amps but to do 5.1.4 I need to add either 2 channel or a 4 channel to power all 4 atmos channels with the same amp. Any recommendations on the amp 2 or 4 channels to match my system better ?

Do you think this might yield better ROI instead of adding more amplification ?

Thanks!
Could also be speaker setup/room acoustics, aside from the speakers themselves the room is a huge part of it. Could be your hearing. In SF could even be a high noise floor to an extent too....

People in forums saying more amp makes whatever brand of speaker "sing" I just roll my eyes as I find them rather meaningless anecdotes from guys who may have a lot of odd ideas about how audio works. If you're listening at modest volumes I doubt you need any more amp for the singing thing, you already have a good amp section in your avr per these bench tests https://www.soundandvision.com/content/arcam-avr850-av-receiver-review-test-bench

Now if you need to add amps anyways to reach your total speaker goals, then may as well use that as rationalization to get a decent power amp :). Plenty around but if I were in the amp market Monolith, Outlaw and ATI (ATI making the Monolith and several of the Outlaw amps) are good choices. Maybe power your fronts with external amps like a set of three Outlaw 2220s, you can usually get a good deal on the three together.

I'd think the dac in your avr is also just fine rather than add an external one into the mix let alone one that expensive. IMO.
 

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