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Thread: Amp for RTi-A7s

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    Default Amp for RTi-A7s

    I now run RTi-A7s and an Emo XPA-200 amp for two-channel listening. The amp is my first venture into separates, and I did notice an immediate improvement relative to the AVR's amplification. However, I do feel the sound is still somewhat 'thin' which I have been trying to address by adjusting the receiver's parametric equializer - with not-yet-fully-satisfied results. I'm not sure whether my dissatisfaction rests with the speakers or the amp. At this point, I'm more interested in upgrading the amp than the speakers (because I'm still enamored by the speakers). Perhaps in the next 12 months, I'll be ready to upgrade the amp. My price point would be approximately $1500-$2000. I'd like to buy new because I'm nervous about used gear. I like HT, but I prefer music. In actuality, the system is used 50/50 by the family. What models and brand names would you suggest? Thank you.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    In the other thread, you sounded like you kind of wanted to jump ship on the A7's as well. If this is the case, you might want to start figuring out what speakers you want first and then focus on the amp. For instance, my Usher's sound fantastic on the Shuguangs, but they really don't let 4 ohm speakers open up the way they should. The Magnepan SMGa's just dont really sound the way they think they should on it.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Parasound works well with the A7's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    In the other thread, you sounded like you kind of wanted to jump ship on the A7's as well. If this is the case, you might want to start figuring out what speakers you want first and then focus on the amp. For instance, my Usher's sound fantastic on the Shuguangs, but they really don't let 4 ohm speakers open up the way they should. The Magnepan SMGa's just dont really sound the way they think they should on it.
    In retrospect, I probably should have picked a more musical speaker than the RTi-A7, but I still mostly like them, and I might like them more with an amp with a dissimilar voice characteristic - as discussed in the other thread.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by chumlie View Post
    Parasound works well with the A7's.
    Not sure whether to choose a 2-channel or 3-channel amp: I'm presently running the center channel from the AVR - which is working fine. Again, HT is not a high priority. The EMO is rated at 150W, and I'm sure I never get close to using all of of that, even sporadically. Therefore, the Parasound A-23 or Model 2125 might meet my needs. Your thoughts?
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    I now run RTi-A7s and an Emo XPA-200 amp for two-channel listening. The amp is my first venture into separates, and I did notice an immediate improvement relative to the AVR's amplification. However, I do feel the sound is still somewhat 'thin' which I have been trying to address by adjusting the receiver's parametric equializer - with not-yet-fully-satisfied results. I'm not sure whether my dissatisfaction rests with the speakers or the amp. At this point, I'm more interested in upgrading the amp than the speakers (because I'm still enamored by the speakers). Perhaps in the next 12 months, I'll be ready to upgrade the amp. My price point would be approximately $1500-$2000. I'd like to buy new because I'm nervous about used gear. I like HT, but I prefer music. In actuality, the system is used 50/50 by the family. What models and brand names would you suggest? Thank you.
    Few things before you start swapping gear in and out.

    Have you set or checked all the settings in the receiver ? You complain of thin sound, maybe set the A7's to large and see if you like it better if not already done. Where are the speaker levels set at ? Should be close to 0 give or take a few db's. Sub crossover is set at what ?

    Also a contributing factor to your thin sound is, as I see it, the Roku, Pandora as your source. Not very good to start off with. A good cdp will better gage your speakers sound. Also, the Emotiva amp probably isn't the best match for RTI's, both are a tad on the bright side. The Parasound mentioned would be a better match along with B&K amps.

    The Honda Accord.....don't know what exactly that's contributing to the sound. Look also at your cables, if your using monoprice or monster, they aren't doing you any favors either. Personally, I'd start with adjustments in the receiver, then address your source before swapping out amps. If your dead set on keeping those sources as is, a dedicated dac may help you achieve better sound. If your playing computer music, always use a lossless format such as Flac....even apple lossless is better than MP3's, if that's what your using.
    Last edited by tonyb; 08-28-2013 at 07:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Few things before you start swapping gear in and out.

    Have you set or checked all the settings in the receiver ? You complain of thin sound, maybe set the A7's to large and see if you like it better if not already done. Where are the speaker levels set at ? Should be close to 0 give or take a few db's. Sub crossover is set at what ?

    - The A7s are set to large; center set to small. The mains levels are set to 0, and the center is set to -3. Sub levels are also set to 0 with crossovers at 60Hz.

    Also a contributing factor to your thin sound is, as I see it, the Roku, Pandora as your source. Not very good to start off with. A good cdp will better gage your speakers sound. Also, the Emotiva amp probably isn't the best match for RTI's, both are a tad on the bright side. The Parasound mentioned would be a better match along with B&K amps.

    - I'm using a standard Sony 5-CD changer (didn't think it worth mentioning). Sometimes I also play tunes from a portable MP3 player (see my further comment, below).

    The Honda Accord.....don't know what exactly that's contributing to the sound. Look also at your cables, if your using monoprice or monster, they aren't doing you any favors either. Personally, I'd start with adjustments in the receiver, then address your source before swapping out amps. If your dead set on keeping those sources as is, a dedicated dac may help you achieve better sound. If your playing computer music, always use a lossless format such as Flac....even apple lossless is better than MP3's, if that's what your using.
    - My speaker cables are Radio Shack 12 guage copper, and they run about 6 feet to the amp. I've run the YPAO repeatedly, and adjusted the parametric equalizer to reduce the 'thin'' effect, but with limited effect. I'll take a look at the Apple MP3 format and change to lossless, of not already. Thank you.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    Not sure whether to choose a 2-channel or 3-channel amp: I'm presently running the center channel from the AVR - which is working fine. Again, HT is not a high priority. The EMO is rated at 150W, and I'm sure I never get close to using all of of that, even sporadically. Therefore, the Parasound A-23 or Model 2125 might meet my needs. Your thoughts?
    Personally I would go for the A-23. I'm running the same front as you are and see no need to amp the center. Amazed what the Parasound did for my A7's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chumlie View Post
    Personally I would go for the A-23. I'm running the same front as you are and see no need to amp the center. Amazed what the Parasound did for my A7's.
    Prior to your Parasound, what were you using?
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    - My speaker cables are Radio Shack 12 guage copper, and they run about 6 feet to the amp. I've run the YPAO repeatedly, and adjusted the parametric equalizer to reduce the 'thin'' effect, but with limited effect. I'll take a look at the Apple MP3 format and change to lossless, of not already. Thank you.
    What about inter connects? You need some decent speaker cables bud, especially if you're going for 2ch. This is precisely why I wanted you to start a new thread: there are many places to improve and that amp might not be your most limiting factor right now.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    - My speaker cables are Radio Shack 12 guage copper, and they run about 6 feet to the amp. I've run the YPAO repeatedly, and adjusted the parametric equalizer to reduce the 'thin'' effect, but with limited effect. I'll take a look at the Apple MP3 format and change to lossless, of not already. Thank you.
    You have to do more than play with the equalizer my friend. Go into the receivers menu and check the settings. Specifically if the speakers are set to large or small, and speaker level adjustments. Also see where the crossover is set at. If it's too high your sucking too much of the lower bass notes and handing them off to the subwoofer.....which will make your speakers sound thin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    Prior to your Parasound, what were you using?
    Pioneer Elite VSX-33 which is now acting as the Preamp for the Amp ( Parasound HCA1500a ) and running CS20 + RTiA1's. And yes I've heard the A-23 with the A7's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    What about inter connects? You need some decent speaker cables bud, especially if you're going for 2ch. This is precisely why I wanted you to start a new thread: there are many places to improve and that amp might not be your most limiting factor right now.
    I'm using Radio Shack interconnects (about $6/each). The maximum run length between the components (TV, CD player, Roku receiver, TV converter, VCR) is about 3 feet - so I didn't see a need to get better-quality interconnects. Am I mistaken? I've read that copper wire is copper wire, and that 14 guage is usually adequate, so I thought 12 was more than adequate, especially for a short distance. Wrong again?
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    You have to do more than play with the equalizer my friend. Go into the receivers menu and check the settings. Specifically if the speakers are set to large or small, and speaker level adjustments. Also see where the crossover is set at. If it's too high your sucking too much of the lower bass notes and handing them off to the subwoofer.....which will make your speakers sound thin.
    Mains set to large, center set to small.
    Main level set to 0, center level set to -3, subwoofers set to 0.
    Sub crossovers set to 60Hz.
    No surround sound, my system could be characterized as 3.2.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    how far apart are the A7s? and how far are they from your listening position? Also in the Yamaha try pure direct mode and get rid of the eq. Then try setting the eq in the options menu to fronts. otherwise calibration will make all speakers mimic the worst one you have.

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    Dale, take a look at this thread.

    It might not get you where you're going, but there's some decent information in there about how to build a system on the cheap. Might trigger something for you.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    My experience with similar gear leads me to suggest that your receiver affects the tonal quality more that your amp. I cycled through several receivers and was definitely not impressed with the Yamahas in that model range. There was a significant improvement when jumping up to the AVENTAGE line (at least with the 10xx series and higher, IMO). My next best preference was a lower-priced Harman Kardon model (AVR-254). Moving from Emotiva to an Adcom amp, the change was more subtle. Swapping out receivers, the changes were far from subtle. Bottom line - not a fan of that AVR, although I love the Yamaha sound, in general. Your description of "thin" mirrors my experience.
    7.1 - polk RTi10 x 3 (LCR) : FXi3 x 2 : RTi4 x 4 : MFW-15 (RIP): Yamaha Aventage RX-A1000 : Adcom GFA-7500 : PS3 : Squeezebox Touch : DIRECTV : Panasonic PT-AX200U PJ @120"
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    What about inter connects? You need some decent speaker cables bud, especially if you're going for 2ch. This is precisely why I wanted you to start a new thread: there are many places to improve and that amp might not be your most limiting factor right now.
    Agreed! Better ICs will also help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pretzelfisch View Post
    how far apart are the A7s? and how far are they from your listening position? Also in the Yamaha try pure direct mode and get rid of the eq. Then try setting the eq in the options menu to fronts. otherwise calibration will make all speakers mimic the worst one you have.
    They're about 8' apart from each other and 16' to the ideal listening position; the AVR is set accordingly. I will try the 'fronts' setting on the AVR and see whether that results in any improvement. Thank you.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdaudioguy View Post
    My experience with similar gear leads me to suggest that your receiver affects the tonal quality more that your amp. I cycled through several receivers and was definitely not impressed with the Yamahas in that model range. There was a significant improvement when jumping up to the AVENTAGE line (at least with the 10xx series and higher, IMO). My next best preference was a lower-priced Harman Kardon model (AVR-254). Moving from Emotiva to an Adcom amp, the change was more subtle. Swapping out receivers, the changes were far from subtle. Bottom line - not a fan of that AVR, although I love the Yamaha sound, in general. Your description of "thin" mirrors my experience.
    Very interesting. I didn't think the 'thinness' issue could be coming from the AVR. I bought the amp because I thought it would add 'fullness', which it did, but not to the extent I had hoped. The amp added texture, clarity, and improved tonal quality, and helped lower the AVR's operating temperature, but it didn't generate the quantity of fullness that I wanted. My system sounds good, crisp, and clean at what I'd consider to be loud volumes, but it just doesn't seem full-bodied (I'm talking about sound, not wine). Does that make sense? My system also tends to sound a bit 'harsh' at higher volumes which I haven't been able to conquer through adjustments in the AVR's setup program.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Another thing to consider: do you have a lot of reflective surfaces? You might try draping a few things with blankets and see what it does to the sound. The more the things in your room reflect, the harsher it will sound. I used to think my Usher's could get a tad bright and a little fatiguing. Well, after doing room treatments and a few other things, I now feel they've lost a bit of sparkle they used to have. I think I'm hearing now what the speaker actually is and not how the environment plays with it.


    This isn't really an area I think you need to address first, but I'm trying to educate you a little on how EVERYTHING plays into the picture. If your purpose is music, I'd highly recommend you start looking at your preamp (AVR in this case) as well as your source. Again, with $2k, you have a lot of options to consider.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    I'll take a look at the Apple MP3 format and change to lossless, of not already.
    Your source is the weakest point right now.

    Am I mistaken? I've read that copper wire is copper wire, and that 14 guage is usually adequate, so I thought 12 was more than adequate, especially for a short distance. Wrong again?
    Yes, you're mistaken. This area should be second on the list.

    After you have dealt with the above, the AVR/amp is next.
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    Here is a quick run down of what I might consider if I were in your shoes:

    Dared SL2000a new for under $500 - http://app.audiogon.com/listings/tub...-naperville-il. You can get an older one used for $150-200 less from what I've seen.

    Save about $300-400 for Interconnects/Speaker Cables. The standard on this forum is either MIT or Douglas Connection. Both make great cables and $400 should get you two pair of IC's (source to pre, pre to amp) as well as two pair of speaker cable. I prefer Doug's cables, they just work the best in my system.

    That leaves you with $700-1100 to allocate to a source. This again leaves you quite a bit of room. You could get a CD/Universal player, or you could look into going computer based and getting a standalone DAC that you can stream music into. You could also allocate some of those funds to some tube upgrades in the Dared to really make it shine.


    Edit: Forgot to add that you should also consider power cable upgrades for your source/pre. I didn't notice nearly as much difference on any amp I've owned when upgrading there, but the gains on the two mentioned can be VERY substantial, even with $30 Pangea Cables.
    Last edited by DSkip; 08-28-2013 at 11:38 PM.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    They're about 8' apart from each other and 16' to the ideal listening position; the AVR is set accordingly. I will try the 'fronts' setting on the AVR and see whether that results in any improvement. Thank you.
    My Yamaha receivers really aim for a flat response, it took a lot of fidgeting to get the bass where i wanted it. I could not tell if you have always had them set to large if so, your sub will not work unless you set extra bass on. Also keep in mind you are 8 feet out of the "golden triangle" the avr settings just ensure you get the correct db at your seating location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Your source is the weakest point right now. Yes, you're mistaken. This area should be second on the list. After you have dealt with the above, the AVR/amp is next.
    I've read several articles (as I presume you have, also) that refer to exotic cables as "snake oil." Simple inexpensive interconnects for digital signals are adequate, and analog cables should be heavy guage copper (stranded or unstranded makes no difference) and as short as possible. If the cables must run for long distances (i.e. 15-20 feet or more), then they should also be shielded from radio interference. What would you recommend?
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdale View Post
    I've read several articles (as I presume you have, also) that refer to exotic cables as "snake oil." Simple inexpensive interconnects for digital signals are adequate, and analog cables should be heavy guage copper (stranded or unstranded makes no difference) and as short as possible. If the cables must run for long distances (i.e. 15-20 feet or more), then they should also be shielded from radio interference. What would you recommend?
    See my post. Not everything you read on the internet is true, but the fact that cables make a difference in sound is. If you're around long enough, you'll see that non-believers convert even after being staunch in their beliefs (see JHayman), but believers NEVER revert back to the other camp.

    Jesse will recommend MIT. Can't go wrong with either though. Doug is a Polkie based out of Austin and is passionate about what he does.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    My wife will appreciate another reason to replace our family room drapes, thanks! By the way, the room is 8'x20'x20' with 1.5 of the walls open to a large kitchen, stairway, and hallway. It is far from a sealed accoustic environment, which is why dual subs have been utilized. Perhaps this also helps to explain why the system sounds thin.
    Yamaha RX-V667 Receiver, Emotiva XPA-200 Amp, Polk RTi-A7 Mains, Polk CS20 Center, SVS SB12-NSD Subwoofers, Roku WiFi, Netflix, Pandora, 2000 Honda Accord

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    Of course, I prefer MIT, but folks I respect seem to think highly of Doug's Cables. Signal Cables are also a forum favorite.

    I'd recommend trying some cables that fit your budget, just not Monoprice or Monster. Buying used is a good way to test the waters. There is also a company that rents cables, but I can't remember their name. You pay a rental fee that gets applied to the cost if you end up buying them, IIRC.
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    As MDaudio guy said the lower to mid level Yamaha avrs are less than impressive.I still run a RX-665 and have had my own problems of it getting hot, clipping when pushed (My fault for sure) but was impresessed w/ my Klipsch smalls,set to small so the sub and center does the majority of work and is set at 80 hz.At 90 wpc I thought I had enough power but of course it's 90 not driven at all speakers, I added an Adcom555 at 1st to power the H/T w/ the Yamaha becoming the pre before I went to all seperates.I also used the mic and YPOA multiple times and found it did it's job of setting levels telling you something was out of phase ,sub levels, stand by power settings, feet from listening area and all that....I addition at the very least I/C S DO matter I have Signal Cable 1 mt. analog I/CsThe speaker wire debate Iam refusing to deal w/ here again,I have my World Famous 14gu clear and it will stay until buckets of cash rain in my house........

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    You don't need buckets of cash LW. Look at Doug's website, he's very reasonable and no doubt an upgrade to what your using. Besides, if you let loose with some of the stuff you have laying around and concentrate on one good system, you could improve your listening pleasure many times over.

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