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Why an AMP?


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10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Shane_M

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Posted March 29 2003 - 01:15 PM

I know a fair share about home theatre and I'm afraid my knowledge falls short when it comes to AMPS. Why would I want an amp when I already have, what I consider, a kick butt receiver? What does an amp do that my receiver can't? Home Theatee Receiver: Onkyo TX-DS696 DVD Player: Sony Sony DVP-S530D (I think - not at home right now) Fronts: Cerwin Vega E-706 Center: Cerwin Vega (Unknown) Rears: Cerwin Vega DX-5?? Sub Woofer: Cerwin Vega HT-S10 I'll update this post once I get home and can look at the back of the speakers and the DVD Player.
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#2 of 11 OFFLINE   RayJK

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Posted March 29 2003 - 03:02 PM

A receiver is generally considered to be a tuner, preamp and amp in one chassis. Getting a separate amp may or may not improve your sound depending on numerous things. One of the advantages of having separate components is that you can upgrade/change one item at a time, A good separate amp will last for 20 years or more, the same with a tuner. Usually the build quality of separates is higher and are easier to fix if something does go wrong because everything isn't crammed together in one box. So, to answer your question you don't absolutely need an external amp if you own a receiver.

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted March 29 2003 - 05:28 PM

...but with a good amp, more overhead power generally = cleaner sound.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Shane_M

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Posted March 29 2003 - 05:34 PM

So, with my current setup would it be worth picking up an amp. I'm in the middle of building my HT room right now and hope to have it completed by end of sumemr. 11.5' x 20.5' x 8' is the size of the room.
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#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted March 29 2003 - 07:26 PM

finish the room then decide. it really depends if, in that new room, if your receiver can deliver the power you need to listen to the volumes you prefer without distorting. nothing wrong with more power and the comments about potential headroom or dynamics is certainly correct. but that does come down to 'if you need it'. do a good job on the room first.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Mathew Shelby

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Posted March 30 2003 - 03:39 AM

But is there any extra wiring he needs to do while he is still in the building process that he wouldn't be able to do once the room is finished? If he finishes the room and then decides he needs an amp he will kick himself for not doing the wiring ahead of time...right?

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted March 30 2003 - 03:56 AM

well by all means, if he's doing the room himself, he ought to plan for possible contingencies. doesn't hurt to run a couple of extra circuits with independent ones for the amp and another for everything else. great time to toss in a whole house surge protector too.

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Michael R Price

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Posted March 30 2003 - 11:32 AM

It's not just about power. A good amplifier might sound better than a receiver at any volume (regardless of the difference in power). The additional flexibility gained from going to separates to me isn't as big of a deal. If a receiver sounded better than the separates, everyone even very high-end setups would use them.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   Shane_M

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Posted March 30 2003 - 02:52 PM

Chu Gai, I don't follow what you mean by running a seperate circuit, does that mean just more speakers wire? I'm going to be running PVC Pipes along the outer edge of the room for upgrading to 9.1/11.1 or whatever comes out. They sell whole house surge protectors? Geez, you'd figure being a geek I'd know that. BTW - Thanks for the info everyone.
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#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted March 30 2003 - 07:11 PM

The primary reason as I see it for running separates has to do with increased flexibility. Shane I'm talking about running one or two or however many work for you, separate lines from from your circuit breaker. 20 amp lines don't cost much more than 15. These would be additional lines that'd be dedicated to your HT. The whole house surge protectors install either at the breakers or at the meter. Their purpose, being whole house, is to simply protect ALL incoming lines: cable, AC, and likely phone. Parts cost is fairly nominal being a hundred or so. If you're having an electrician do the lines, then he could do that at the same time. Then, you could certainly purchase some localized protection that's geared not so much to surges, but to dealing with any concerns you may have regarding power glitches and potential noise. Surge protection installed at the power mains is far more effective than at the source because of the proximity of the earth ground. Closer you are to it, the better the protection. Myself, I'm not recommending that you do or don't get an amp. Simply that you complete your project, install your system, play around with where everything's going to go, try and get the speaker placements corrects, deal with any sound issues at that time, which may or may not require buying/making some sound absorption/diffusion panels, see if there are any boominess issues with the sub...deal with the basics first. Michael, I do have an idea where you're coming from. Myself though, I'm not about to spend people's money on 'might'. If, and yes it can be a mighty big if, the receiver is being operated within its design parameters, then the addition of external amplification won't do much to speak of. However if, now that the system is in the new room, one finds it difficult to reach the listening levels they desire, then it's time to rethink things. Maybe a 3 channel amp. Maybe monoblocks. Maybe a receiver nearer to some company's top line. IMHO, it can be a judgement call by the purchaser. I just happen to think it's still too early seeing as how the room's not completed and the system hasn't been installed.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Shane_M

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Posted March 31 2003 - 03:41 PM

Thanks for the info Chu. Once it's finished, I'll be putting up a post in the HT Design Topic, with pics and what not... Again, thanks.
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