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  1. #1

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    Default Do i need more power?

    Hello all, I am looking to get some new towers and am curious if my HK254 will be enough for them. It is rated at 50w per channel but I have heard that HK's are known to rate power differently. I have my planned set up below and was curious if i would have any issues. Thanks for any info.

    HK 254
    pair of RTi A5's
    pair of RTi A3's
    CSi A4
    PSW 110

  2. #2

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    IMO: I would definitely look at an external amp. I don't know much, but 50watts per channel on those speakers that you have listed is very little power. Your receiver has pre-puts, I would look into some 3/5 channel amps.
    Samsung LN52A850 (52" 1080P LCD TV) | RTi A9's (Fronts) | Csi A6(Center) | FXi A6 (Rear Surrounds) | SVS PB12-NSD (Sub) | Oppo BDP-103 | Panamax M5300-PM

    Pre-Amp: Marantz AV7005 | Amp: Emotiva XPA-5 | Speaker wires: Signal Cables | Interconnects: Signal Cables

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    Welcome to Club Polk Packet.

    All speakers benefit from more power. Your HK has preamp outputs so that if you decide that you do want more power, you will just have to buy a separate amplifier to attach to the receiver.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

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    yeah like cfrizz' Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp.....thats a beast!
    Polk Audio Surround Bar 360
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  5. #5

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    i know that they would sound better with more power, but i am curious if my HK will be able to power them on its own. This is my first 5.1 HT and can not afford to get an amp at this time.

    Should i not get the A5's? I know that with any of the other larger towers I would have issues but thought that the smaller A5's would be ok with my current AVR and the power it puts out.

  6. #6

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    Those are 50 real watts though, not "50" watts from cheap receivers.
    For most people that would be enough, but if you want the best from your speakers I would give them much more power, like the sunfire that was recommended prior.^^
    Main Surround -
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  7. #7

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    sure it will, just not very efficently, just be careful to not start clipping them.
    Polk Audio Surround Bar 360
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  8. #8

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    I am going to buck the trend a little. That HK's 50w per ch will do a decent job at driving those speakers, which is not a difficult load at all. As others have said just about all speakers benefit from more power, specifically gobs of reserve power available for instantaneous short term peaks. As long as you are in an average size room with average listening levels, you will probably be happy.

    As others have pointed out your HK has pre outs, so if you feel like you want more power, that option remains open to you but does not need to be rushed into.

  9. #9

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    Default Very Similar Starter Experience ...

    Quote Originally Posted by packetjones View Post
    Hello all, I am looking to get some new towers and am curious if my HK254 will be enough for them. It is rated at 50w per channel but I have heard that HK's are known to rate power differently. I have my planned set up below and was curious if i would have any issues. Thanks for any info.

    HK 254
    pair of RTi A5's
    pair of RTi A3's
    CSi A4
    PSW 110
    One of my first real HT systems (with surround sound) used a h/k 147, rated at just 40w/ch, and speakers very similar to yours (older RT800 and RT55 and a CS245i).

    Several remarks come to mind. Firstly, as a starter HT, it was absolutely outstanding IMO. Of course, there is better, but it completely exceeded all of my expectations for as long as I used it.

    Secondly, those speakers are very efficient. Reference level is 85dB(A), and from reading discussions here, many people do not listen that loud (but I do, usually). Since the RTi A5, your mains speakers, are rated at 90dB, that means that, listening at 1m (about 3'), it would require one single watt to play at 90dB. As you move further away, the power requirements quickly increase dramatically, but in your case, you are unlikely to need more than 30w/ch to play as loud as you will ever need in a normal room. IMO, the only argument to be made for adding external amplification in the setup you describe, is for the ability to handle peaks with more authority (loud passages). In any case, even then I would recommend borrowing an amplifier first, and then making your purchase decisions based on the perceived improvement ... or lack thereof.

    Thirdly, harman/kardon do rate their receivers all channels driven, and very conservatively. In the case of the 147 I was using, it was actually tested to output almost 70w, compared to the 40w published in the specifications. This is rarely true of most brands. While some very expensive receivers claiming to deliver 140w/ch have been similarly tested to actually deliver less than 50w/ch, there is every indication that the AVR 254 will output at least as much power as stated.

    Finally, every system is a compromise according to personal priorities. Were you to spend extra money now on improvements, I would suggest the following priorities as providing the best return on your investment:
    - Bigger center channel: the CSi A6.
    - Better subwoofer, able to play lower than 30Hz.

    Your subwoofer is currently the weakest link, IMO, but there are only a few subwoofers worth considering in the $200-499 range. Fixing the center channel would be a much easier decision, and you should seriously consider it IMO. The bigger Polk center channels really are wonderful to have.

    Oh! Welcome to Club Polk BTW!

  10. #10

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    As you can see from my signature,I have a very similar speaker set up with A5 as my fronts and RTI6's (older version of the RTIA3's) for my rears. I am driving them with a powerful avr and they sound great. You won't be able to drive them like I am but you will be able to drive them with your avr. That said, I am going to purchase a power amp in the future and use my avr as a pre-pro. If you were to listen to my current set I think you would be pleased at what you hear. But were always looking to get more out of what we have. Take the advice of others in here and put more power to those speakers, you won't be dissappointed in the results.


    Tim
    "They're always talking about my drinking, but never mention my thirst" Oscar Wilde


    Pre-Amp: Anthem AVM 20
    Amp: Carver TFM-35
    Amp: Rotel RB-870BX
    Fronts : SDA 1B w/ RDO-194s
    T.V.:Plasma TC-P54G25
    Bluray: Oppo BDP-93
    Speaker Cables: MIT Terminater
    Interconnect Cables:DH Labs Silver Sonic BL-1isonic

  11. #11

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    I also have the A5's and a csi A4 and was wondering about adding more power. My receiver putts out 90 watts to 7 channels and doesn't have pre outs. For me to get more power to them would cost around 1000$. Will the difference in sound be worth 1000$? or should I upgrade my surrounds to the fxi line instead.
    Denon 1909, want to upgrade for pre outs
    Fronts-polk RTi A5
    center-polk CSi A4
    Sides Polk FXi A6
    rears- polk rm8's
    sub-SVS pb-13 ultra
    Blue ray-ps3
    Panasonic plasma 50 inch
    Buttkicker(don't use or need it anymore since getting the Ultra)

  12. #12

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    I ran my RTi A5's off a HK unit for a good while. It ran with zero problems and sounded really nice.
    I later added an amp and the biggest jump in output was the noticeable bass increase. Highs got a little more tame but in the end the HK did a decent job on it's own.
    Will a amp help them later on certainly but if your budget is tight i wouldn't worry about it too much for the time being.
    Living Room Rig:D
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    Rotel RB1050/Tannoy DC4's/Klipsch RW-10d/ImodIpod/HK AVR230 for now....
    Headphones-Ultrasone-HFI780's w/LittleDot MK Vamp Portables Panasonic HJE-900's

  13. #13

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    I appreciate all the additional responses. The first few responses made it sound like i would have to have an amp to enjoy the new speakers. I knwo that teh sub that i have is not the best but i got it opn the cheap $100. I work at best buy so i can get a good deal on all of these speakers.


    Does anyone have any good recommnedations on budget amps if i find that i need one. I am thinking that a 2 or 3 channel amp should be sufficient.

  14. #14

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    You can never have too much power.

    I have owned 2 HK AVR's and they were rated at 35 and 65 wpc and I was never impressed with their power output. I do like listening to music at near concert levels so that most likely is why I have 500 wpc on my main 2 channel system.
    Sunfire TGP, Sunfire Cinema Grand, Sunfire 300~2 (2), Sunfire True Sub (2),Carver ALS Platinum, Carver AL III, TFM-55, C-19, C-9, TX-8, SDA-490t, SDA-390t

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    The HK 2xx is an excellent platform. It will drive the A5s without issue. I still use mine as a pre/pro, but prior to that I compared it to several quality entry to mid level AVRs from Onkyo, Pio and Denon and preferred the HK sound. There was no discernable lack of power, in fact the high capacitance of the HK gave it a cleaner an punchier sound than all of them (except the Denon 2307CI...though I still preferred the warmer HK). As stated the A5s aren't a load. They will improve with an amp, but the HK will sound very respectable.

    Combo rig:

    Onkyo NR1007 pre-pro, Carver TFM 45(fronts), Carver TFM 35 (surrounds)
    SDA 1C, CS400i, SDA 2B
    PB13Ultra RO
    BW Silvers
    Oppo BDP-83SE

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by packetjones View Post
    I appreciate all the additional responses. The first few responses made it sound like i would have to have an amp to enjoy the new speakers. I knwo that teh sub that i have is not the best but i got it opn the cheap $100. I work at best buy so i can get a good deal on all of these speakers.


    Does anyone have any good recommnedations on budget amps if i find that i need one. I am thinking that a 2 or 3 channel amp should be sufficient.
    Audiosource amps, good price & under-rated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Temple View Post
    The HK 2xx is an excellent platform. It will drive the A5s without issue. I still use mine as a pre/pro, but prior to that I compared it to several quality entry to mid level AVRs from Onkyo, Pio and Denon and preferred the HK sound. There was no discernable lack of power, in fact the high capacitance of the HK gave it a cleaner an punchier sound than all of them (except the Denon 2307CI...though I still preferred the warmer HK). As stated the A5s aren't a load. They will improve with an amp, but the HK will sound very respectable.
    Excellent advice from Ron Temple.

    The HK254 has sufficient power for the lower end Polk RTi's.
    If go for 7.1 sound and upgrade the fronts to the higher end RTiA7's or 9's and the CSiA6, then you can add a three channel amp such as the Emotiva XPA-3 to provide the additional power to the front sound stage to improve the sound. That is the beauty of a receiver like the HK254, it lets you grow your system.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut View Post
    Audiosource amps, good price & under-rated.
    The first amp I added was an Audiosource Amp/One A. I bought it for $100 used. 80wpc X 2 and ran it on R50s and RTi8s, even my SDAs for a short time. It was a neutral, clean sounding amp and an improvement over the HK 2xx.

    If you look in that direction, go with at least an Amp200 or 300. The Amp100 won't be enough of an upgrade.
    Last edited by Ron Temple; 09-05-2009 at 02:13 PM.

    Combo rig:

    Onkyo NR1007 pre-pro, Carver TFM 45(fronts), Carver TFM 35 (surrounds)
    SDA 1C, CS400i, SDA 2B
    PB13Ultra RO
    BW Silvers
    Oppo BDP-83SE

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    Ron, I am using the Amp Three and Amp One right now. They are both neutral sounding, but the Amp Three has more headroom, as expected.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Temple View Post
    The first amp I added was an Audiosource Amp/One A. I bought it for $100 used. 80wpc X 2 and ran it on R50s and RTi8s, even my SDAs for a short time. It was a neutral, clean sounding amp and an improvement over the HK 2xx.

    If you look in that direction, go with at least an Amp200 or 300. The Amp100 won't be enough of an upgrade.
    For the price, the Amp 310 from Audiosource is hard to beat.
    Stereo (8 ohm): 150W RMS per channel at 8 ohms, 20Hz - 20kHz, <0.1% THD+N
    Stereo (4 ohm): 225W per channel at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, <0.1% THD+N

    http://www.amazon.com/Audiosource-AM.../dp/B0013D36Z4
    http://www.parts-express.com/pdf/302-652m.pdf

    I have a lower powered design from Stellar Labs, SLA250 which is similar to the Audiosource Amp 200 or 210 that I use to power a pair of LSi9's in a two channel bedroom setup.

    Those budget priced Audiosource amps should certainly be considered and have been discusssed at Club Polk.
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73305

  21. #21

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    The Amp Three is the first version of the amp 310. It's far from an audiophile amp, but it's much, much better than most of the receiver's amp. It's very good value for the $.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingtut View Post
    The Amp Three is the first version of the amp 310. It's far from an audiophile amp, but it's much, much better than most of the receiver's amp. It's very good value for the $.
    Those amps don't get much attention but they work well for most applications. My Pioneer 25 disc CD player is connected directly to the two channel SLA250 amp and it plays for hours at moderate volumes into the LSi9's and it just gets warm.

  23. #23

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    A buddy brought over an Amp300 he bought off CL. We plugged it in here and I was surprised at how much bass and punch this amp had. It wasn't as defined as my TFM45, but it had plenty of balls. I think he paid $110 for it.

    Combo rig:

    Onkyo NR1007 pre-pro, Carver TFM 45(fronts), Carver TFM 35 (surrounds)
    SDA 1C, CS400i, SDA 2B
    PB13Ultra RO
    BW Silvers
    Oppo BDP-83SE

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