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  1. #1

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    Default Question about Amps in general

    excuse my newb ness on this but what make an amp the ideal way to hook up at least your front speakers? I have a yamaha V465 which I don't think has the pre outs required to use an amp, but it does produce 105W per channel and has all the surround decoding i need and a tuner.

    now if I did have the required preouts, would I be better off also getting $3-400 amp that produces 100w/channel, if that's the case why.. based on what I've see on here the answer would be yes, but i'm not sure why. or would I only need and amp if I want to push w/channel higher.. say 150 or 200?

    maybe i'm just confused thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolsax View Post
    excuse my newb ness on this but what make an amp the ideal way to hook up at least your front speakers? I have a yamaha V465 which I don't think has the pre outs required to use an amp, but it does produce 105W per channel and has all the surround decoding i need and a tuner.

    now if I did have the required preouts, would I be better off also getting $3-400 amp that produces 100w/channel, if that's the case why.. based on what I've see on here the answer would be yes, but i'm not sure why. or would I only need and amp if I want to push w/channel higher.. say 150 or 200?

    maybe i'm just confused thanks.
    What speakers are you using? What sound levels do you like to drive them to?

    An external amp is going to be able to provide more current, it's going to be designed with out the concessions that the amp in your receiver had made.

    It for one should have a lower noise floor. If it has a better dampening factor it should tighten up what you are hearing. Drums should have a bit more slam and cymbals should have better timbre (as examples).

    An amp is only good as what feeds it however and that is where the DAC section of any pre/pro or receiver comes in to play.

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    currently M60s with a CS1 center and I have M40's being shipped for rears and a psw 505 for sub.

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    I am running the Polk LSI 15s with a sunfire amp(TGA5200) which gives them 400 watts into 4ohms. Would it make any difference in sound quality if I buy a TGA7401 which will do 800 watts into 4 ohms for the LSI15 and 400 watts into 8ohms for the rest of the speakers. All other speakers such as surrounds and center are 8ohm speakers.

    Thanks for all your help

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolsax View Post
    currently M60s with a CS1 center and I have M40's being shipped for rears and a psw 505 for sub.
    Do you feel that you are missing something?

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    no not really, i'm just more curious as to why go with an amp vs a normal AVR?

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    Chances are your receiver isn't putting out NEARLY as much power as you think it is, especially with multiple channels being driven.

    But like most of the people here would tell you, it's not solely about that number but also how clean the signal is and all that other jazz.
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

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    coolsax, a receiver's power supply also has to power the pre amp section, tuner, and amp's in it. whereby a stand alone power amp only has to do one thing.. and the power supplies only power for the most part one thing. the amps. so most of the current goes directly into amp section, then to your speakers.

    also, a receiver listed at 105 wpc is not pumpting out 105 wpc all the time. given that a receiver has many duties.. your 105 wpc may in fact most times when your are using it could be as low as only 30 or 40 wpc. that can put a lot of stress on a receiver if you're driving difficult speakers or several speakers such as in a home theater set up.

    this is a very simple explanation, there are other factors that come into play.. but this is one of the big reason's people like to use an external power amp. more power, cleaner power and more stable power and higher current being used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danger boy View Post
    coolsax, a receiver's power supply also has to power the pre amp section, tuner, and amp's in it. whereby a stand alone power amp only has to do one thing.. and the power supplies only power for the most part one thing. the amps. so most of the current goes directly into amp section, then to your speakers.

    also, a receiver listed at 105 wpc is not pumpting out 105 wpc all the time. given that a receiver has many duties.. your 105 wpc may in fact most times when your are using it could be as low as only 30 or 40 wpc. that can put a lot of stress on a receiver if you're driving difficult speakers or several speakers such as in a home theater set up.

    this is a very simple explanation, there are other factors that come into play.. but this is one of the big reason's people like to use an external power amp. more power, cleaner power and more stable power and higher current being used.
    +100

    Call me skeptical, but I do as much as I can myself to not use anything my AVR shouldn't be using. IE I use pure direct for everything so that it shuts off anything video related such as video processing,etc even front display (utilizing a bit less power) and giving me a bit cleaner sound....even if it is just for my center+surrounds. External amplification is the way to go. :)
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    Danger- thanks that does explain pretty well but it leads me to a few more questions.

    so with an external amp if its listed at 100w/ch, then it is more likely to actually output that amount due to only using the power supply to send the sounds to the speakers?

    other than marketing what is the point of manufacturers putting that higher amount when the true wattage is much lower b/c of the dipersement of power from the supply?

    So then If you were to use say a 100w/ch, 2 channel amp off of a preout and still had the surrounds and center off the AVR would then the true wpc on those speakers be higher than when you were running the fronts off the avr as well?

    I'm just trying to wrap it around my mind b/c I've always known that the watts/channel on most HTiB were always misleading, but I assumed that when you started getting to a little bit higher end and a lot higher end stuff that it would be less so.

    is the 30-40 watts you quoted a realistic number then b/c that would seem to be getting really close the low end of accepted watts for the speakers as they need a minimum of 20 in the Monitor series...

    thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by kawizx9r View Post
    +100

    Call me skeptical, but I do as much as I can myself to not use anything my AVR shouldn't be using. IE I use pure direct for everything so that it shuts off anything video related such as video processing,etc even front display (utilizing a bit less power) and giving me a bit cleaner sound....even if it is just for my center+surrounds. External amplification is the way to go. :)
    Pure Direct is a myth. It leads one to believe it's a direct signal from input to output but it's not.

    An AVR will never match a good pair of seperates.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    An external amp as Danger described, will have more current flowing straight to the speakers. It's not only about wattage, its about the current behind it. There should be a subtle difference at the very least if you ran lets say your center channel only from your AVR. During passages in a movie where dynamics are all over the place, your center should sound a bit cleaner at higher volumes because there isn't as much stress on your AVR's internal amplifier section to drive a bunch of other speakers at the same time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Pure Direct is a myth. It leads one to believe it's a direct signal from input to output but it's not.

    An AVR will never match a good pair of seperates.

    H9
    I never said it will, or that it would even compare. I've heard separates and it's a whole new world, but that of course is not my ballpark. Music/HT is a 70/30 split for me, and I've still yet to buy a separate preamp.......its coming though :D
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolsax View Post
    Danger- thanks that does explain pretty well but it leads me to a few more questions.

    so with an external amp if its listed at 100w/ch, then it is more likely to actually output that amount due to only using the power supply to send the sounds to the speakers?

    other than marketing what is the point of manufacturers putting that higher amount when the true wattage is much lower b/c of the dipersement of power from the supply?

    So then If you were to use say a 100w/ch, 2 channel amp off of a preout and still had the surrounds and center off the AVR would then the true wpc on those speakers be higher than when you were running the fronts off the avr as well?

    I'm just trying to wrap it around my mind b/c I've always known that the watts/channel on most HTiB were always misleading, but I assumed that when you started getting to a little bit higher end and a lot higher end stuff that it would be less so.

    is the 30-40 watts you quoted a realistic number then b/c that would seem to be getting really close the low end of accepted watts for the speakers as they need a minimum of 20 in the Monitor series...

    thanks
    I"m not the best one to answer all your questions.. as I am still learning a lot of this about current and amps and watts myself.

    Here is what I have been told.. if a amp or receiver is rated at say 100wpc it's not sending that amount of power all the time. Those 100wpc would be called into play if your speakers demanded it. A amp or receiver pumping out 100wpc all the time would likely melt from the intense heat build up. :p

    For normal volume listening. whether it be music or a movie... there are peaks and valleys in the audio. When needed an amp may call up more power/current as need from the amp section. This is called headroom... you want and need a good amount of headroom (reserve current and watts) for it to handle those peaks in the music or movie.

    If you go looking to buy a receiver.. you'll see listings that say.. 550wpc, 990wpc, I saw one that said 1305wpc. Yeah right.. if they built an amp that was multi-channel and each channel had 1305 watts.. that thing would be as big as a WV Beetle.

    What they are doing is adding up all the channels, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 etc.. together and coming up with those exceedingly high numbers for wpc. 9 channels x 100wpc = 900 watts of power right? So people look at this and think their receiver is capable of delivering 900wpc and then freak out when it shuts down and goes into protect mode or starts clipping. That's not to say an external amp can't go into protect mode or start clipping too.. they can, but they are more likely to have enough current and headroom in most cases.

    So don't concern yourself with just wpc numbers.. they are very misleading and can vary from brand to brand. You will often times see Harmon Kardon receivers listed at only 80wpc.. and most people think they would be very underpowered.. but that's not the case.. they just measure their receivers output differently than say Onkyo or Denon.

    If you are only running two or three speakers off a receiver is will be less taxing on it then say if you were running 5 or 7 off that same receiver.

    30 to 40 wpc is low yes.. but even that isn't needed when listening to music or a movie. I have an old school Yamaha amp.. and it shows in analog dials a somewhat reference on how much wpc are being used when I listen to music. I bet you'd be surprised to know that in normal volume listening. the VU meters are only showing that I am only using about 3 to 5 wpc. Pretty low yes? So that again confuses people who think they need 500, 600 or more wpc and the only want to spend $199 for it at Wally Mart. :p

    *I encourage anyone to correct or add anything to my long explanation, as you see fit if it's misleading or incorrect. Unless you're Doro, then you don't have my permission. :p:p

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    I finally invested in an external amp...an Adcom 545ii with a modest 100wpc at 8 ohms. My Pioneer Sc-05 is rated at 130wpc. Last night was my first experience with a seperate amp and I was blown away by the difference between the AVR and amp. I am already thinking about an Adcom with more power and using the 545 for my rear speakers. The seperate amp has been the largest incremental improvement in sound in my system thus far...

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    Oh man, don;t let the Pioneer ICE amp fanboi's read your post :p. They think the ICE amps can't be touched.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Think of seperate amps and the amp built-into an avr as a 4 cylinder and 8 cylinder engine. Both will do 100mph, but which one does it more effortlessly, smoother while doing it, and with more to spare?

    There's your analogy.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 10-08-2009 at 05:52 PM.

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    ...now you might be thinking "but do I need an external amp?" No. You don't need an external amp; but since when has the hi-fi hobby ever been about what we need? :D

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    It's really amazing how much difference an amp can make. I'm running my SDA 1Cs off of an old 65wpc pioneer amp, rather than my Onkyo DS-TX777 HTR. The Onkyo reciever is rated for just as many watts, but the difference is night and day, especially in bass response and in rendering details.
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    Thanks guys that definitely helps me understand better... I"m going to try and avoid upgrading for the short time being as I will just be completing my HT this weekend.. but it sounds like I may have to upgrade the AVR so I can get preouts to hook up an amp at some point... nothing I need to do immediately though :)

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    Some good help here. Nothing to add as for your question, but a side benefit to using a separate amp is that amp technology is somewhat peaked/stable. If you buy a good amp and use some common sense care for it you can keep them along time. Where as AVR's and Pre-Pros is where all the technology is packed. HDMI 1.3 has just settled out and they are talking HDMI 1.4. Not to mention we now have Dolby PLZ, with probably 2 or 3 things over the horizon that we do not know about. Even if you do not feel the need to rush out and upgrade to new technology, at some point you almost get forced into it. But that amp will probably still be good to go. You keep that and only need to upgrade the pre-pro. Same for the AVR, but you are still paying for the amp in it even if not using it. It's getting to a point where pre outs are hard to come by in AVR's until you step into some upper level models, which generally have better amp sections in them so it puts you in a catch 22 position when it comes to $$ for something you will not use.

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    I just have to tag one question on here, while were on the subject of AMPs.
    Would there be a huge difference in hooking up 1 545ii to each speaker?
    Would each speaker get 100wpc at 8ohm, or 200wpc...probably a dumb question, but you can see what I'm thinking of already...

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    Only if the amp is mono-bridgable, will the output increase.

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    since it was still in 30 days.. returned my yamaha 465 and got the 665 so i could have preouts w/o having to upgrade receiver later when I decide to get an amp.

    thanks again for all y'alls help

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    Good deal, now your options are wide open.

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    No kidding, very good choice. I've been kicking myself for a few months now for not pony'in up the dough for a receiver with pre-outs. I have these lovely speakers that are just begging for more watts.... and me without the cash to provide :(

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    yeah well I really didn't want to go over $500 for the receiver atm so the yamaha was pretty much the only option... but i had already enjoyed the 465 so i wasn't worried about not liking it. would have had to go into the 600 or 700 range on Denon, pioneer and onkyo to get preouts with them.

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    ...you know the old saying: "better to get what you want and cry once, than to compromise and cry twice"

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Pure Direct is a myth. It leads one to believe it's a direct signal from input to output but it's not.

    An AVR will never match a good pair of seperates.

    H9
    It's definitely not a myth. It may not be as good as separates, but the "Pure Direct" setting in my Yamaha RX-v2500 receiver makes a huge difference over the other stereo modes. Supposedly (and I say supposedly because I have no proof) it bypasses some of the circuitry and gives a purer signal.

    My Denon 3910 universal player also has a "direct" setting that supposedly bypasses the video circuitry and optionally even the LCD circuitry.

    I don't think that either unit claims that the "direct" setting is a completely pure signal from source to output, but that it bybasses some of the circuitry that would otherwise be in the signal path.
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