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Adding an amp to my receiver..worth it???


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20 replies to this topic

#1 of 21 Andy Kramer

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Posted April 01 2003 - 05:55 AM

Hey everyone.
I currently have been hearing that adding an amp to my receiver would be a good idea. I know that more power makes better sound (obviously). But i currently have Panasonic sahe-100 receiver and was wondering if i would benifit from an amp? I currently enjoy my receiver and have no complaints with the power being its 100 for all 6 channels. Any suggestions of what kind of amp if it would benifit my system?
Thanks
Andy
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#2 of 21 Yogi

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Posted April 01 2003 - 08:47 AM

Almost any amp from a decent maker (Rotel, Parasound, B&K, Anthem, ATI, Outlaw, Sherbourn, Odyssey, Aragon, etc.) would give you improved resolution and dynamics even if in the same power range (100Wx5). Before that see if your receiver has preamp outputs for all the channels that you want to use external amplification for. If not you have no way of adding external amplification unless you buy one of those speaker level to line level converters.
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#3 of 21 Arthur S

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Posted April 01 2003 - 08:59 AM

>>>>>I know more power makes better sound (obviously)>>>>>

We all get upgraditis at times. Adding an outboard amp (if you can as Yogi points out) may not make as much of a difference as you might expect. In my experience, the differences among amps are subtle except if you
don't
use a subwoofer and compensate by turning up the bass on the receiver. If you use a subwoofer it will mask some of the differences and they were subtle to begin with. If you really want a big difference, get yourself a bigger screen TV. There is no mistaking the impact of a bigger screen.

#4 of 21 EdNichols

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Posted April 01 2003 - 09:21 AM

I also wondered about doing something similar(my receiver only has 65 WPC)and no pre-outs so I thought I would have to start all over and go with a pre/pro to get separates which is a big expense all at once. I did not know about the speaker level to line level converter that Yogi mentions. It seems with one of those you go with an amp using the existing receiver then the pre-amp later. I just wonder what kind of "clean" sound you can get by using something like that. Anybody every used one of those?

#5 of 21 Yogi

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Posted April 01 2003 - 10:07 AM

I have no experience with the speaker level to line level connector myself but know that partsexpress carries them. I think it should make a minimal impact on the sound quality.

Quote:
Adding an outboard amp (if you can as Yogi points out) may not make as much of a difference as you might expect. In my experience, the differences among amps are subtle except if you


I agree that differences between amps are subtle as long as they are operated within their linear regimes. Its a different story that most receiver's internal amps are easily driven to the point of non-linearity and clipping than any outboard power amp. Thats where you really feel the difference between internal and external amplification that is during explosions and high impact scenes. Also as Arthur points out the differences are pronounced when you redirect all your bass to the main speakers but when you add a powered sub to the equation the differences do get subtle atleast at the first go around. The best way to find if there is a difference is to keep the amp in your system for a period of atleast few weeks and then switch back to the receiver's amp and that should give you a remarkable feel of the difference between the two. Also if you have superefficient speakers with a sensitivity of over 93db/w/m then you really wont gain much in terms of power by going with an outboard amp. OTOH if you have speakers with low sensitivity (<86db/w/m) or of 4 ohm impedance then adding a separate amp will most definetly make a good amount of difference in the dynamic presentation of your music and movie tracks. So in the end it all depends on the other components of your system esp the speakers.

Hope that clarifies some of the mystery around the merits of separate amplification.

Regards,
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#6 of 21 Yumbo

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Posted April 01 2003 - 03:23 PM

is this what the pre/pro talk is about?

#7 of 21 Kevin. W

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Posted April 01 2003 - 03:45 PM

When I added my Rotel RMB-1066 to my Denon 1801 I noticed a huge difference in sound. Dedicated amps are designed to do one thing and thats provide clean unadulterated power. With receivers there is just to much in the box that can introduce noise, or overpower the amp section. One thing people seem to forget with a dedicated amp is the capacitor storage capacity and number/type/size of the output devices. You will not find the same specs of a dedicated amp in a receiver until you hit the higher end.

Kevin

#8 of 21 Brett DiMichele

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Posted April 01 2003 - 04:42 PM

For what it's worth I have a fairly decent Reciever (Or at
least I would like to think it is) the Onkyo TX-DS787 which
is a THX Select, DD,DTS-ES 7.1 unit. Out of the box it has
amplification for 6 channels (x100 Watts) or so says Onkyo.

I always ran into problems with my Reciever not pushing my
mains (which are very efficient)the culprit in my case was
the low frequency which is much harder on the amp than mids
or highs. I suspect I have low impedance swings on the sub's
when playing real loud and low passages that would cause the
Onk to go into Thermal Protection.

I decided to buy Onkyo's M-282 2 Channel Power Amp which
they make to add the 7.1 amplification to the 787 (and some
of the newer models also) or can be used as a stand alone
Power Amp when used with a Pre.

I decided to use my 787 as a Pre and feed the mains off the
M-282. The difference was anything but subtle to my ears.
I run the highs off the M-282 and the lows off a dedicated
sub amp. The Onk M-282 is hardly a Bryston or even an Adcom
but it is a very well built 2Ch amp with fairly large
capacitors and a heavy transformer. The Dampening factor is
in the 200 range and that's still low compared to most high
end amps but the difference was night and day to my ears.

Cleaner more controled sound, more seperated and I actually
have a sound stage now that blows my mind.. (adding tubes in
the mix certainly didn't hurt either).

Most Receivers internal amplification is not up to snuff.
The Processor section and switching sections take up most of
the room and what you are left with is amps that put out
power but not much else IMHO. (And Onkyo's Receivers have
been said to be more "Musical" that certain HK and Denon
offerings in the same range) And while it wasn't bad stock
it just wasn't good enough for music.. For movies it was
great other than just not having enough headroom for my
large speakers.. With a Sub and Sat's that would never have
been an issue.

I think the best Amp you can afford is always a great idea
amps never get outdated and you can upgrade further up the
stream after the amp has been swapped out.
Brett DiMichele
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#9 of 21 Andy Kramer

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Posted April 01 2003 - 04:49 PM

Well, seems like sticking with the receiver and the built in amp is a good choice. I appreciate all the suggestions. I guess i will have to spend alot of time at tweeters and feel out an amp and what it does for a specified receiver. Thanks everyone! Just a final question about ohms.... what the heck does it mean. I swear i am "special" because ht is a hobby and i am always wanting to learn more. Can anyone shed some light. No laughing please!
Andy
" Pool on the roof must have a leak"

#10 of 21 Brett DiMichele

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Posted April 01 2003 - 04:56 PM

Andy,

Go here and read Posted Image

http://ohmslaw.com/

Everything you ever wanted to know about Ohms Posted Image
Brett DiMichele
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#11 of 21 Andy Kramer

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Posted April 01 2003 - 04:58 PM

THANK YOU!! I find this hobby more fun when you learn new things! Thanks man.. life saver
Andy
" Pool on the roof must have a leak"

#12 of 21 Brett DiMichele

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Posted April 01 2003 - 05:02 PM

No Problemo! Posted Image
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#13 of 21 John-Miles

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Posted April 02 2003 - 02:51 AM

I have a question and this seems a good thread to ask in. if you add an amp to your receiver then will you be adding the power of both together?

i ask because my yamaha rx-v1300 provides good power for my liking 100w per channel, so if i added an amp that was 100w per channel would i be able to get 200w per channel or would i need a 200w amp for that?
Cheers

John

#14 of 21 EdNichols

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Posted April 02 2003 - 03:30 AM

John,

I am far from being an expert but I think when you connect an amp to a receiver (assuming you use the pre-outs) what ever power you have will be from the amp and not the receiver. So you can not double the power by using both.

If you want 200 WPC you will need an amp. You could get a 2 channel amp and power the mains while powering the rest of the speakers with the reciever. Then the mains would have 200 WPC and the rest would have 100 WPC.

#15 of 21 Bryce Miner

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Posted April 02 2003 - 03:42 AM

Use your receiver as the amp and by a pre/pro. To me that is a better improvement/price.

#16 of 21 Andy Kramer

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Posted April 02 2003 - 05:18 AM

ANother question... the preouts.... they are rca connections right? Not normal wire bindings...(i havent seen the back of an amp. so im kinda running blind right now). Kinda like the pre-out for your LFE channel. Am i right or wrong?
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#17 of 21 Yogi

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Posted April 02 2003 - 06:50 AM

Yes its exactly like the preout for your sub, except its for the other channels.

Also when you connect an amp to your recv. you are bypassing the amps in the receiver so you are not adding the powers. You are only using the amps power.

Also, although adding a preamp to your receiver and using its internal amps makes equal sense in terms of sound improvement as adding external amplification, I have rarely seen people do that mainly because of three reasons IMHO,

1) The preamps in receiver are usually much more feature laden compared to separate prepros in the same range.

2) People are not only looking to improve resolution by external amplification but also improve dynamics and that is most easily achieved by adding separate amplification. If it were only improvement in resolution and musicality that we were looking we would be adding separate prepros to our receiver's amps.

3) Adding external amps jives better with our testosterone levels as somewhere in the back of our minds more power equates to a better performing equipment. More power and headroom has better appeal than more resolved system, for most I think.

I think thats why most poeple end up using external amplification rather than external preprocessing.

MHO.
The truth is not out there but within you.

#18 of 21 Jonathan M

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Posted April 02 2003 - 10:35 AM

Yogi,

IMHO The MAIN reason that it is not generally a good idea to do a separate pre-pro into a receiver is that their a very few receivers with amplifier direct inputs. If you connect to the external 5.1 input then you have the extra problem of dual volume knobs. It may not be a sound quality issue (Depending on how your receiver handles the external input) but it is at the very least passing through an additional volume control.

There are a few receivers (NAD T752, T762, H/K 520) in the sub $1000 range that do have main-ins, but not many.

You're other 3 points are ofcourse valid (Especially #3) Posted Image
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#19 of 21 EdNichols

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Posted April 03 2003 - 12:38 AM

Johnathan,

What about a passive sub? Can you not use the LFE channel on the main receiver to another receiver (dedicated to the sub) and use it that way even though they both have volume controls?

#20 of 21 Jonathan M

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Posted April 03 2003 - 07:44 AM

Hi Ed,

Yes, ofcourse you CAN use another receiver as a power amp. The only thing I was noting is that in general you will be going through the pre-amp/processor first, out the pre-outs into the second receivers' pre-amp. Through this preamp and then on to the second receivers' power amp. This may cause signal degradation.

Obviously if we are only discussing sub bass signals, then signal degradation isn't as much of an issue as it's harder to hear the sub bass signals anyway. In this case there is no problem using a second receiver as an amplifier.

My main point was that it is generally more advantageous to add an amplifier to a receiver as the first move to separates, due to the fact that the amp sections in receivers are generally not as well built and don't have the power supply capacity that a separate power amp will have (Unless you have a H/K, NAD etc.)
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