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Adding an external amp to Denon 3806 opinions


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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 24 2006 - 04:53 AM

Currently have a Denon 3806 receiver. My speakers are all 8 ohm speakers with sensitivity ratings of either 90 or 91, (Triangle) I have a Seperate, powered subwoofer. System used for 99% movies and I listen at refrence levels frequently. Opinions wanted on if I would gain any benefit in sound (not volume) by adding a seperate power amp (200x5) as I have an opportunity to grab an amp at a great price.

#2 of 22 Jongyoon Lee

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Posted February 24 2006 - 06:02 AM

My suggestion to any upgrade is first locate the weakest link in the system. Did you notice any problem, such as distortion or clipping when listening at the reference level? Are you in general not very happy with the quality of the sound?

If the amp section is indeed the weakest link in your use, then adding external amps would make sense. Even if your amp section is not the bottleneck, adding external good quality amp may/will improve the sound quality. But that may not be the best upgrade you could have done for the money.

Denon 3806 is already at the top of midline receivers. If you spend another $1000 on amps, you would have invested over $2000 on the amp/preamp/pro section already, then it would have been better if you had gone separate pre/pro and amp to begin with.

Another thing to consider when choosing the amps is the build quality. Since you are after the better sound quality, the selection should be based on the reputation of the manufacturer and reviews instead of the power rating and price. If you have an opportunity to demo the amps in your house you can do the comparison and judge for yourself.

#3 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 24 2006 - 10:52 AM

All very sound advice, but I don't believe I have any weak links in my system. I used to have a system built around seperates, specifically a B&K Ref 50 and Sherbourn Amp. I sold them off and when I rebuilt my system, I went with a receiver and really love the Denon. So my question has more to do with the fact that somebody has come to me with a great deal on a very nice power amp. One side of me wants to say no, I'm happy and have no weak links. The other side of me says, sure what the heck, a deal is a deal. But I was just wondering if anybody had actually used this model Denon as a pre/pro connected to a power amp and if so, what difference, if any, did they experience.

#4 of 22 Richard Travale

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Posted February 24 2006 - 11:43 AM

Is there no way this person will let you try it out in your room?
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#5 of 22 Henry Wai

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Posted February 24 2006 - 12:16 PM

Quote:
Another thing to consider when choosing the amps is the build quality. Since you are after the better sound quality, the selection should be based on the reputation of the manufacturer and reviews instead of the power rating and price.


What kind of amp is it?

#6 of 22 Shane Harg

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Posted February 24 2006 - 01:25 PM

Will you ever do 7.1 surround? If so, that amp will be of no use to you in working seamlessly with the Denon.

With relatively sensitive speakers, like the ones you have, I'd be willing to bet that the Denon is not even breaking a sweat at the reference levels you are speaking of. Your ears would start to bleed before the 3806 would start to complain.

That being said, let's take a look at just how much louder that 200x5 amp would actually make your speakers play, taking into consideration your most sensitive speaker at 91db:

91db/1 meter = 91db when measured from one meter. Pretty loud. It takes an increment of 3db to make your speakers perceptibly louder and a doubling of amplifier power for every 3db increment so -

1 watt = 91db
2 watts = 94db
4 watts = 97db
8 watts = 100db
16 watts = 103db
32 watts = 106db
64 watts = 109db
128 watts = 112db

This is about where your Denon tops out, but can you see where this is going? To make your speakers perceptibly louder than 112db, how many watts are you going to need? Thats right - 256. And that's assuming your speakers could even handle that. Theoretically, that amp isn't going to cut it (except to perhaps provide a just a tad more "umph" and detail at extremely low levels), is it?

Now, I don't know about you, but I couldn't stand to be in a room with 5-7 speakers pounding away at 112db each. My ears hurt just thinking about it.
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#7 of 22 Shane Harg

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Posted February 24 2006 - 01:33 PM

Okay, I just went back and read your post again. You were after sound over volume, a point I missed on first read, but makes my above post, for the most part, pointless. Sorry.

I did answer that question as well, though. At much lower listening levels, the amp in question would perhaps provide a little more detail, but at reference levels, I doubt your ears would notice difference.

Again, however, there is the question of 7.1 surround...
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#8 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 24 2006 - 04:07 PM

Shane:

My logic and reason agrees with everything you say, but darn, the emotional aspect of simply buying electronics is sometimes hard to pass by. But this time I think I'll take the pass. I actually have a 7.1 system and I was going to use the on board amps of the receiver to power the rear speakers and use the power amp for the other 5. But your right, with speakers with sensitivity ratings of 92 for my center, 91 for my mains, and 90 for the other 4 surrounds and with them all being 8 ohm speakers and a powered sub, I'm not using anywhere near the power of the receiver's amp as it is. By the way it was a B&K 7250 amp that I can get for less than a grand.

Maybe I'll upgrade my DVDO Iscan Pro to the HD model Posted Image

#9 of 22 mackie

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Posted February 24 2006 - 04:55 PM

I added a pair of outlaw M200 monoblocks to my Denon 3803 to drive my Studio 40 speakers. I use a 80 hz crossover point and have a powered sub.

Frankly, I didn't notice any difference, but I kept the amps for future upgrade purposes and the headroom factor.

It's always better to have too much power than not enough. You might decide to go back to separates one day or you may change your speakers or setup and need more power. If you did that, at least you know you'd have enough power.

I know this isn't helpful. What amp? Is it really that good of a deal? Will you be taking money away from something really important or pay interest on a CC because you bought it?

#10 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 25 2006 - 01:36 AM

I actually will need to go back to seperates in a few years as we will be moving to a house that will have a great room of 40'x60'. The room will be used for multiple duties, such as kitchen, and living area, but I will certainly go to a large power amp and pre/pro. Additionally I will have to upgrade my speakers as, as much as I love the Triangles I have now, they simply won't move enough air to fill the space I will need to fill. Hence another reason to perhaps pick up the amp now if I can get it reasonibly. No, I wouldn't have to put it on a cc or divert money that's not an issue, but even so, I love a good deal!

But as that's a few years down the road, still wondered if I could utilize it now for a better sound out of my Denon. Again, logic gave me the answer before I posted, but not having done it, there was at least a possibility that somebody had tried it and was going to give me a thumbs up. Posted Image

As it is, I think I'll pass and just buy a new 7 channel power amp when the new house is finished and we move.

#11 of 22 mackie

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Posted February 25 2006 - 02:06 AM

The Denon 38XX series are really good receivers and have all the power a lot of people need under normal settings.

#12 of 22 RussD

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Posted February 25 2006 - 12:43 PM

Albert,

I say get the b&k. I have a 3803 that i use as pre/pro (tho i do use amp in 3803 for rear surrounds). I have a rotel rmb 1095 that powers the fronts, center and side surrounds. If you LISTEN to music you will notice a diff. The b&k is a fine amp.
uncle r

#13 of 22 Robert_Gaither

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Posted February 26 2006 - 09:38 AM

Quote:
Is there no way this person will let you try it out in your room?


The only way you'll really know, and if it's a friend see if they'll loan it for a week.

#14 of 22 Henry Wai

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Posted February 27 2006 - 06:12 AM

Quote:
With relatively sensitive speakers, like the ones you have, I'd be willing to bet that the Denon is not even breaking a sweat at the reference levels you are speaking of. Your ears would start to bleed before the 3806 would start to complain.


I agree with Shane, Your getting 120 Watts per channel on your receiver, save your money.

#15 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 27 2006 - 06:28 AM

I agree and took a pass. In a few years,when I actually need an amp, I will buy one then.

Thanks

#16 of 22 Bobby T

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Posted February 27 2006 - 07:03 AM

Just an fyi to everyone. Sensitivity is not the only determining factor when deciding if you need an external. I have Klipsch RF7s, sensitivity 102 db. Going by this any decent receiver would be enough to power them. But the RF7s have a dip to 2.7 ohms in the lower bass frequencies. A receiver can't handle that very well. I have a B&K Ref 200.5 powering my speakers. And an amp helps with movie soundtrack dynamics as much as it does with music.
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#17 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 27 2006 - 07:39 AM

Good point and one I took into consideration. My speakers, as stated, are 8 ohm speakers and rarely, if ever, dip below 4 ohms. Also, as they are set to small with crossovers set to 80, they don't need to reproduce much, if any bass.

Believe me when I say I tried every reason I could think of to justify the purchase now, but alas, I agree with the majority.

#18 of 22 Shane Harg

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Posted February 27 2006 - 08:13 AM

Quote:
Just an fyi to everyone. Sensitivity is not the only determining factor when deciding if you need an external. I have Klipsch RF7s, sensitivity 102 db. Going by this any decent receiver would be enough to power them. But the RF7s have a dip to 2.7 ohms in the lower bass frequencies. A receiver can't handle that very well. I have a B&K Ref 200.5 powering my speakers. And an amp helps with movie soundtrack dynamics as much as it does with music.


Actually, many of today's higher end recievers are rated down to and can easily achieve 2 ohms, including the 3806.
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#19 of 22 Bobby T

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Posted February 27 2006 - 10:22 AM

Quote:
Actually, many of today's higher end recievers are rated down to and can easily achieve 2 ohms, including the 3806.


There's no mention of this in the specs in the 3806 manual, just 4 ohms. A 38 pound receiver just doesn't have the power supply neccesary to handle 2 ohm loads. Most receivers aren't 2 ohm capable, offerings from B&K and McIntosh being exceptions. And possibly the 5805 from Denon.

Having heard the RF7s on a Denon 3806, Pioneer 56 Txi, and a Yamaha 2500, then adding an amp. I can say they sound better with the B&K amp. They sounded good on all 3 receivers but adding the amp just improved everything dramatically.
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#20 of 22 AlbertD

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Posted February 27 2006 - 10:55 AM

So you are saying that adding an external amp to the Denon 3806 will "...improve everything dramatically?"


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