5.1 -> 7.1 which amp to upgrade?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Merrell, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    I am currently auditioning an Outlaw 950 with a Parasound HCA-855A (85W x 5 @ 8 Ohm) that I already own. It looks like I'll be keeping the 950.

    If I want to add rear channel speakers, should I:
    • Go with a three channel amp for the L/C/R speakers
    • Get a two channel amp for the rears
    • Get a two channel amp for the mains, leaving the center on the 955[/list=a]
      I am currently using Swan Diva 4.1 mains, C3 center, and 2.1 side surrounds, with an SVS PCi 16-46 sub. I would probably pick up a pair of R3s on clearance to round things out. This is in a 14'x16' room.

      My system sounds great, now, though I should probably pull out some demo material that stresses dynamics before stating that I have plenty of power. It is this fact that make me lean towards getting a relatively low power 2 channel amp for the rears.

      However, if I do determine (or am encouraged by the devil on my shoulder -- that's you guys) that I want more power in the front, what are your opinions on 3 matching channels for the L/C/R vs. a stronger amp for the mains and one of the 85W channels for the center?

      Finally, how much is enough? This question applies to all scenarios. How much power do I need for the rears? Likewise, the front, if I go that route?

      Thanks,

      --Mike
     
  2. John S Choi

    John S Choi Agent

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    I would buy 2 channel amp and drive the mains. Bigger amp
    will give you overall better sound.
     
  3. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    How important do you think the center is in this equation? Would it matter if the center were driven by an 85W amp while the mains were driven by a 200W amp, for instance? It's the answer to this that would decide between a 3-channel amp and a 2-channel.

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  4. John S Choi

    John S Choi Agent

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    Do you like the way you center channel sounds right now.
    I never owned Swan Divas but I will say that Parasound
    amp is more than good enough to drive C,SR,SL,SBL,SBR speakers at high db without running out of gas.
    The main reason is main speakers will be more musical
    with bigger amp. The review are awesome for these speakers and they sing with better amp.
     
  5. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess I'm just not clear on what channels get worked the hardest during the most powerful movie scenes. While I know that it is the front soundstage in general, I am not clear on whether the center is getting as much sound as the mains when it comes to the truly demanding stuff.

    It sounds like it's the mains, from what you are saying. In that case, going with a 2x200 (or something similar) for the mains might be my solution.

    Thanks for the help,

    --Mike
     
  6. John-Tompkins

    John-Tompkins Second Unit

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    The center channel works the hardest with ht. Some amp manufacturers even recommend more power for the center then the towers. The amp for the center channel in ht is just as important as the towers imo.
     
  7. John S Choi

    John S Choi Agent

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    O.K. We all know the center speaker is most active in hometheater. The correct system for front should have all 3
    speakers/amps to be same but in most hometheater systems
    its not. I was trying to save you some money but go head and get a 3channel amp.
     
  8. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey, laying out the options is a good thing!

    So, it looks like two is enough, with three being optimal. This means that I could go with two now, with the possibility of a third later (say in the form of monoblocks like the Outlaw M200), or a three channel from the start. I guess this decision might come down to M200 vs. 3 Channel amp; it seems like there are several used 3x200 solutions that would cost less than 3xM200s.

    No hurry. Plenty of time for searching the forums for conflicting opinions! ;-)

    Thanks again,

    --Mike
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I would get a 2 channel amp for the mains, and keep everything else in the Parasound. Yes, the center channel is worked the hardest for home theater, but a Parasound amp is a Parasound amp (meaning "good"), so it should have no problems, depending on room size, speaker efficiency, volume. I also have a 950 for 7.1, and yes the rears get used, but not as much as the surrounds. So if the Parasound works now for 5.1, offloading the mains will continue to allow it to work as part of a 7.1 system.
     
  10. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmm... I'm fairly ignorant on amp design and function. I've seen reference to multi-channel amps that have mono-block-type separate power supplies; I take this to mean that most multi-channel amps share power. If 4 of 5 channels on my 855 are running light, does that leave more reserve power for the 5th channel? If so, is that power reserve still limited to the equivelant of the power per channel, all channels driven?

    --Mike
     
  11. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Mike- Most reasonably priced HT multi-channel amps have just one transformer, so to some degree, the power is shared between all the channels. So yeah, if you're running light on 1 or more channels, there *is* more reserve power for the other channels.

    (Some Rotels and B&K's and Outlaw and other amps have 2 transformers; some others do have individual transformers for all the channels, but those cost you more. [​IMG] )
     

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