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Will I experience any gain by getting separates for my speakers?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Haris Ellahi

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Posted March 13 2009 - 09:49 AM

The audio side of my home theater consists of the following: A/V Receiver: Harman Kardon AVR 8500 (named AVR 8000 in the US) Center: Klipsch RC-7 (98 dB sensitivity) Mains: Klipsch RF-7 (102 dB sensitivity) Surrounds: Klipsch RS-7 (98 dB sensitivity) Subwoofer: None (but working on it) My Harman Kardon AVR 8500 (or AVR 8000 for the US) outputs 110 watts into 5 channels while operating at full power. In stereo or 2-channel mode, it outputs 125 watts to both channels. I've heard that Harman Kardon is quite conservative with its watts rating and Harman Kardons usually output more than their advertised specs. This was the last true high-end Harman Kardon A/V receiver and it sounds great. I heard that the replacement high-end Harman Kardon is coming soon and is named AVR 7550HD and outputs 110 watts into 7 channels. I have never had any problems regarding power and no matter how loud I play it (even with the mains running as Large due to no subwoofer), the A/V receiver never shows any signs of stress. I might be upgrading my amplification side of my home theater soon to incorporate the new Blu-ray audio formats. I can get either the new upcoming Harman Kardon AVR 7550HD (which is said to retail for about $2,799) or a Rotel or Parasound 250 watt amplifier + processor combo for about $6,000 (I can probably get a little discount from $6,000 as this is the maximum sales retail price). My question is, will my speakers benefit from 250 watts per channel separate amplifiers or will I not notice the difference between them and the upcoming Harman Kardon AVR 7550HD with 110 watts into 7 channels (or even my current A/V receiver with 110 watts into 5 channels)?

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted March 14 2009 - 02:15 AM

Unless you listen at insane volumes or have a huge room I don't think extra watts will add much considering the price you're paying for them. I don't have a lot of experience with separates but from what I've read they can add warmth, headroom, detail, etc. but again that's a lot to pay for what will probably be very little improvement. I say that because as receivers go the 8000 is one of the better ones. People still fight over them on eBay when they're up for auction. The biggest difference you will notice isn't in the amp but the processor, whether you go with a receiver or a pre/pro. Even though the 8000 was an exceptional receiver for it's time (I've been using an H/K 520 in my "everyday" room for 6-7 years now) new products have many more features like room correction, built-in decoders, hdmi, etc. that will be more beneficial than a more powerful amp section. Besides, $6000 worth of electronics powering $2000 worth of speakers is kinda backwards. If a lack of power does become an issue, you can always add a two channel amp to power the fronts. BTW, S&V magazine tested the 7300 (the 8000's replacement) and rated it @ 143 wpc X 5 and 128 X 7. I would consider going with a new receiver (the price on the 7550 should drop quickly and considerably shortly after introduction) or even up-grade your speakers. The benefits will be far greater IMO.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.


#3 of 7 OFFLINE   pink


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Posted March 15 2009 - 06:50 AM

My question is, will my speakers benefit from 250 watts per channel separate amplifiers or will I not notice the difference between them and the upcoming Harman Kardon AVR 7550HD with 110 watts into 7 channels (or even my current A/V receiver with 110 watts into 5 channels)?[/quote] Your speakers surely will benefit with more power. I would'nt even consider anything under 200 watts. I run 350 watts and that's nice. You'll think you have a new pair of speakers. There is nothing like lots of power.

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   TeddM



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Posted March 17 2009 - 01:33 PM

I doubt you'll gain much as you have extremely effecient speakers to begin with. Adding a quality subwoofer would be my first choice over amps. You will get very good value by adding the new HD codecs, hdmi 1.3 and room correction.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   sestamuch


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Posted March 17 2009 - 07:11 PM

I've seen pretty crazy war bids going on ebay for it as well.

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   rantz



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Posted March 18 2009 - 06:02 AM

Well from my experience I have enjoyed my seprates and the more detail sound over a very good reciever with the same speakers. I have a marantz reciever that I just love. I then added a two channel Adcom amp to it for the fronts. I could notice a more detailed powerful sound from what the amp was doing. But my main thing is two channel audio, so the combo of Adcom amp/Marantz reciever as a processor was greater in detail and sound over just the Marantz by its self. I then bought the Rotel amp 1080 and the control amp 1090 but had no speakers. So I connected the speakers I was using on the Adcom/Marantz combo and wala....the sound was even more detailed an clear. SO yes I would say you would see and improvment over just the reciever. rantz

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted March 20 2009 - 03:59 AM

I think you are going to find people on both sides of the fence on this topic. I agree with Rantz that it does help and that extra detail is added when going seperates. You also have the benafit of higher quality amplifiers, higher detail and better head room on the amplifier. It depends on your priorities and budget, how much of a critical listener are you?

I use to own a McItosh MX-130 preamp that I busted my rear to own and I wish I still had it. I got married and then couldn't afford to upgrade it so it got traded for a Yamaha reciever. Posted Image Posted Image Granted the Yamaha has done a great job, but its no McIntosh!
So I would very much agree that seperates can make the difference. But not all seperates are created equal so be careful and do your homework before buying.

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