Pre-performance jitters with Marantz/Sonus Faber marriage

J

Jayem

Audiophyte
I just recently purchased Sonus Faber Sonetto Vs and Center 1 for the fronts of my 5.1 system, upgrading from some Mordaunt Short bookshelf speakers I've owned for over 15 years. While I'm waiting for the Sonettos to be delivered, I'm looking at my Marantz sr5013 and thinking I'm almost certainly going to need an upgrade to drive these 4 ohm speakers. The guy who sold me the speakers recommended I give them a try on the Marantz before I jump to buying something new, which I respect since he could have tried to sell me on something else.

Still, I keep pondering- am I wasting these speakers by having them paired with the Marantz vs. getting separates or maybe just a better AVR? I've read lots of posts on this forum looking for a clear answer regarding what to expect. I've read posts here that say that increasing wattage won't make much difference if you don't go loud and doubling wattage only increases volume by a few decibels. I tend to listen to things at a medium volume and am more interested in sound quality than volume itself. I'm positioned about 10-11 feet away. Options include sticking with the Marantz, adding an amp and using the Marantz as a preamp (which I have read may not be ideal), or getting all new separates. When getting separates, is there much difference in sound quality with more powerful amps? What is the advantage of higher end amps over lower end ones: noise, reliability, or sound quality? Do I need more power if I don't plan on destroying my eardrums? Or is the benefit in buying separates that I will have a better preamp (better DACs/other components)?

I'm not looking necessarily for specific purchase advice (e.g. get the yamaha or get the rotel or get the NAD....) but rather what direction I should take as a whole and on which of the components the money, if spent, should go to maximize sound quality.

System:
SF Sonetto V L&R
SF Sonetto Center 1
Marantz SR 5013
Rythmyik F12SE sub
Surrounds- Earthquake speakers that were installed in the home when I got it- don't judge- and will need to be replaced in the near future but wife will require that they be in-wall.
LG OLED 65 inch C9.
OPPO BDP-83SE
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic Field Marshall
More powerful amps will give you a bit more headroom, but using an spl calculator you will find that at a seating distance of 10 feet, you can hit 106 dB peaks with what you currently have and those speakers. If you're not chasing movie reference level SPL's you are more than likely fine. In one review I saw about the Sonnettos they even mention that using them with a 30 watt amp provided great results.

In order to maximize sound quality you should focus on getting the best speakers you can afford. Beyond that, the source of your media is going to have the next largest impact on sound quality (ie physical media vs streaming). Unless you're driving your current amplification into clipping there is no real benefit to having more power than you'd ever use. As far as better DAC's in a preamp, nobody can tell the difference. They might measure slightly better, but in practice human hearing isn't good enough to tell the difference between an amp with 0.01% THD and one with 0.001% THD.

In short, the guy who sold you the speakers gave you good advice to try them with your current gear first.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I just recently purchased Sonus Faber Sonetto Vs and Center 1 for the fronts of my 5.1 system, upgrading from some Mordaunt Short bookshelf speakers I've owned for over 15 years. While I'm waiting for the Sonettos to be delivered, I'm looking at my Marantz sr5013 and thinking I'm almost certainly going to need an upgrade to drive these 4 ohm speakers. The guy who sold me the speakers recommended I give them a try on the Marantz before I jump to buying something new, which I respect since he could have tried to sell me on something else.

Still, I keep pondering- am I wasting these speakers by having them paired with the Marantz vs. getting separates or maybe just a better AVR? I've read lots of posts on this forum looking for a clear answer regarding what to expect. I've read posts here that say that increasing wattage won't make much difference if you don't go loud and doubling wattage only increases volume by a few decibels. I tend to listen to things at a medium volume and am more interested in sound quality than volume itself. I'm positioned about 10-11 feet away. Options include sticking with the Marantz, adding an amp and using the Marantz as a preamp (which I have read may not be ideal), or getting all new separates. When getting separates, is there much difference in sound quality with more powerful amps? What is the advantage of higher end amps over lower end ones: noise, reliability, or sound quality? Do I need more power if I don't plan on destroying my eardrums? Or is the benefit in buying separates that I will have a better preamp (better DACs/other components)?

I'm not looking necessarily for specific purchase advice (e.g. get the yamaha or get the rotel or get the NAD....) but rather what direction I should take as a whole and on which of the components the money, if spent, should go to maximize sound quality.

System:
SF Sonetto V L&R
SF Sonetto Center 1
Marantz SR 5013
Rythmyik F12SE sub
Surrounds- Earthquake speakers that were installed in the home when I got it- don't judge- and will need to be replaced in the near future but wife will require that they be in-wall.
LG OLED 65 inch C9.
OPPO BDP-83SE

I suspect the dealer gave you the correct advice. Your receiver does not have a four ohm spec, and the speakers are rated four ohm. I not the crossover does have impedance compensation. So it may be it does not have nasty phase angles.

I would hook it up and see how it sounds. If your receiver heats up a lot more than it did with your previous speakers, then it would be wise to use a power amp.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Also, adding an active cooling system to your AVR could be helpful. My Marantz SR6012 gets pretty warm without but adding the AC Infitity Aircom T series unit keeps it in the low 80’s.
Beyond that, there is likely no harm starting off with the 5013. And unless you are really looking to upgrade, I would say you should just get a good quality Amp to run your Front 3 if you decide to try something else. It should not change the SQ at all, assuming you are operating within parameters, but it will take the load off the Marantz.
 
J

Jayem

Audiophyte
Thanks so much and that is a relief. I'll keep tabs on the Marnatz's temperature. Currently it is at about 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit with the old speakers. Is there a "too hot" range? Or is it just a subjective put your hand on it and if you say ouch or the furniture holding it is about to melt, it's time to add the 3 channel (or maybe 5 to future proof).

I have always felt speakers were what money should go to, especially the front 3, more than any other component of my audio system. I think the confusing thing about this is that people swear by some high end amps/AVRs/preamps and I wonder if they might just have different coloration if not better sound quality. Is there really no sound improvement in those higher end products? Are the "improvements" more to do with different preferences or is it all psychological? Why does anyone spend the extra thousands on a NAD or McIntosh product if the sound quality will be the same? Pride of ownership?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks so much and that is a relief. I'll keep tabs on the Marnatz's temperature. Currently it is at about 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit with the old speakers. Is there a "too hot" range? Or is it just a subjective put your hand on it and if you say ouch or the furniture holding it is about to melt, it's time to add the 3 channel (or maybe 5 to future proof).

I have always felt speakers were what money should go to, especially the front 3, more than any other component of my audio system. I think the confusing thing about this is that people swear by some high end amps/AVRs/preamps and I wonder if they might just have different coloration if not better sound quality. Is there really no sound improvement in those higher end products? Are the "improvements" more to do with different preferences or is it all psychological? Why does anyone spend the extra thousands on a NAD or McIntosh product if the sound quality will be the same? Pride of ownership?
95-100 F if aimed at the warmest area of the AVRs enclosure, it is okay. When you do hook up the 4 Ohm SF speakers, you should have at least one 120 mm Infinity fan on top if you want the 5013 to last.
Amazon.com: AC Infinity MULTIFAN S7, Quiet Dual 120mm USB Fan, UL-Certified for Receiver DVR Playstation Xbox Computer Cabinet Cooling: Computers & Accessories

As far as needing an amp or not, it depends on you how power you need, and that depends on distance, spl required, and speaker sensitivity:
Peak SPL Calculator (homestead.com)

This calculator is based on 8 Ohm speakers, so whatever the result is, double it. Or enter sensitivity 87 dB instead of 90 dB, then you don't need to double the calculated power requirement.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Thanks so much and that is a relief. I'll keep tabs on the Marnatz's temperature. Currently it is at about 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit with the old speakers. Is there a "too hot" range? Or is it just a subjective put your hand on it and if you say ouch or the furniture holding it is about to melt, it's time to add the 3 channel (or maybe 5 to future proof).

I have always felt speakers were what money should go to, especially the front 3, more than any other component of my audio system. I think the confusing thing about this is that people swear by some high end amps/AVRs/preamps and I wonder if they might just have different coloration if not better sound quality. Is there really no sound improvement in those higher end products? Are the "improvements" more to do with different preferences or is it all psychological? Why does anyone spend the extra thousands on a NAD or McIntosh product if the sound quality will be the same? Pride of ownership?
Too deep to get into your more philosophical questions! :p
People like what they like and believe what they believe, for better or worse. *shrugs
I think for many here, pragmatism overrides foolishness most of the time, but not always.
You buy an AVR or AVP based on your needs and wants… user interface and ergonomics in a manner. Would I worry about a 20w difference in amp stage, likely not, but Audyssey XT32 compatibility YES, for example. I would also never buy an AVR at this point without Pre-Outs for running Amps.

Anyway, Peng is spot on. Warm isn’t a concern. Hot is. If you found your AVR was hitting 115 on top of the Chassis, I would add cooling (but that’s just me). Whether a$20 solution or the $120 solution. If your shelf space is less than ideal (cubby or less than 8” on all sides, closed doors), I would add cooling. Even if you decide to add external Amps down the road, cooling is still helpful.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Warlord
Welcome to AH Jayem, and congrats on getting new speakers :). My comments below echo the advice given by others above. Because you asked numerous and detailed questions, I thought I'd answer each of them.
I just recently purchased Sonus Faber Sonetto Vs and Center 1 for the fronts of my 5.1 system, upgrading from some Mordaunt Short bookshelf speakers I've owned for over 15 years. While I'm waiting for the Sonettos to be delivered, I'm looking at my Marantz sr5013 and thinking I'm almost certainly going to need an upgrade to drive these 4 ohm speakers. The guy who sold me the speakers recommended I give them a try on the Marantz before I jump to buying something new, which I respect since he could have tried to sell me on something else.
The advice given by the guy who sold the speakers is good.

Your Marantz receiver is rated at 100 W at 8 Ohms / 20 Hz to 20 kHz / 0.08% THD. It is said to be stable at 4 Ohms, but no power rating is given at 4 Ohms. You can expect it to be somewhat more than 100 W.

Sonus Faber recommends amplifiers capable of 50W – 300W to drive these speakers. Your AVR can do that. SF also says the speakers should be driven without clipping. That is true for any speaker/amp combination. SF claims these speakers have a sensitivity of 90 dB, probably a slight exaggeration. As a guess, I'd say these speakers are not difficult to drive, and your receiver can drive it. Without seeing a graph of impedance vs. frequency, nothing else can be said about how easy or difficult your new speakers will be to drive. I looked and couldn't find such a graph.
Still, I keep pondering- am I wasting these speakers by having them paired with the Marantz vs. getting separates or maybe just a better AVR? I've read lots of posts on this forum looking for a clear answer regarding what to expect. I've read posts here that say that increasing wattage won't make much difference if you don't go loud and doubling wattage only increases volume by a few decibels. I tend to listen to things at a medium volume and am more interested in sound quality than volume itself. I'm positioned about 10-11 feet away.
That info is generally correct. But wait and see if your receiver can drive your new speakers in your room.
Options include sticking with the Marantz, adding an amp and using the Marantz as a preamp (which I have read may not be ideal), or getting all new separates.
If you do get an external amplifier, you can easily use your Marantz receiver as a preamp. Ignore any advice that it is not ideal.
When getting separates, is there much difference in sound quality with more powerful amps?
In short, no.
What is the advantage of higher end amps over lower end ones: noise, reliability, or sound quality? Do I need more power if I don't plan on destroying my eardrums?
There no advantage of higher end (price) amps over lower price amps. Well-designed solid state amps operating well below clipping, that are not misbehaving, and which have high damping factor across the band, will tend to sound the same. Note that some very expensive solid state amps do not meet this criteria – sometimes as a result of misguided design decisions intended to "improve" the sound.
Or is the benefit in buying separates that I will have a better preamp (better DACs/other components)?
No. There is nothing wrong with the preamp and DAC sections of your Marantz receiver.
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Field Marshall
An alternative to Infinity air coolers is a Noctua NA-FC1 fan controller using one or more of Noctua 5V PWM fans that can be powered by a USB port on your TV, this way the fan is only on when the TV is on. The Noctua fans are quiet/silent when not running at full speed. Sadly neither the Marantz nor the Denon (except 8500) have an USB port at the back. You can buy them on Amazon.

Currently I've two 80mm USB powered Noctua fans powered by the TV, and one 120 mm Noctua fan connected to my Blueray player, on top of my 2015 model Denon AVR-X4200W.

The Auto ECO feature of Denon/Marantz is very useful to keep the heat down when listening with volume less than or equal to -30dB, which is the majority of my listening.

I've 4 Ohm Canton Vento speakers in a 5.2 setup crossed over at 90 Hz in a 1600 ft^3 living room, and sitting about 9 feet from the LR.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Well props to the salesman for some decent advice. Definitely see if your avr cuts it for your use or not, I suspect it'll be fine with the use you indicate, altho "medium" volume could mean different things to different people :)

You can easily add amps after trying it out with what you've got (and I wouldn't worry about using your 5013 as a pre-pro only either). IMO many over-glamorize the importance of the electronics/amps these days. Enjoy your new speakers!
 

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