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Adding an amp

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by John6938, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. John6938

    John6938 Auditioning

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    Hello, brand new here and to HT as well.

    I bought an HK AVR 340 last month (open box at Circuit City $390).
    Got it hooked up pretty easily and ran the auto setup fine. The thing sounds great, but you have to turn it up about -10 to have it at a good movie volume. The room we have it in is 18 feet deep and 15 feet wide , with vaulted ceilings. After reading thru some of the postings here, I am considering adding an amp to the system. My first question would be ,if I get a 2 channel amp and hook it up to the pre-outs on the front left and right, does the receiver adjust and send the power its not using on the fronts now to the center and surrounds? Or do i need to get a 7 channel amp?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Whatever channels you send to an amp, the amps for those channels are simply not used. While that power is not distributed to the other channels, it does mean the rest of those channels will have more headroom available to them because the 2 mains are not in use. A 2ch amp can make a big difference, though the center demands a fair amount of power normally too. The surrounds are not such a big deal in general. I'd try out a 2ch amp to see if that is sufficient for your needs. I am running all 4 Ohm speakers and my receiver didn't like it (Marantz 8300), so I added 2 monoblocks to power the mains and all is good now.
     
  3. John6938

    John6938 Auditioning

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    Oh Ok thanks for the reply.
    Are there 3 channel amps to cover the center as well?
    And any suggestions for around $500-$800?
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    3ch amps are not so common, but they are out there. 2ch or 5ch will be much easier to come by, but that price range may be limiting.

    What speakers?

    I just noticed Outlaw has a new 70x7ch amp that is $699: http://www.outlawaudio.com/products/7075.html
     
  5. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    John

    It really depends on setting your receiver cross over properly. That means setting all speakers to small and letting a good subwoofer handle all the bass below 80Hz. A good subwoofer, such as the forthcoming SVS PB12 NSD @$600 + shipping will give you far more bang for the buck than adding an amp.

    My buddy JG has exceptionally demanding speakers. The vast majority of HT speakers will work fine with your receiver if you XOver at 80Hz [​IMG]
     
  6. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    What kind of speakers do you have?
     
  7. John6938

    John6938 Auditioning

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    Have the following-(inheriited from brother-in law when he up graded)

    Front Polk Monitor 50
    Center Polk CS1
    Surround Polk R20
    Sub MTX SW2 ( never heard of it before he gave it to me)

    All speakers set to small by the HK auto set up
     
  8. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    John

    If you add or replace that sub with what I suggested, you will notice a big difference. You might have to get used to what a really good subwoofer sounds like, (probably a lot less boomy). But you will be on the path to much better subwoofing.
     
  9. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    Your HK should be more than fine. Having it set at -10dB is nothing to be worried about, it's just how the levels are set. You can go to your receivers setup and see if the levels are hot (+dB) or cold (-dB) but I wouldn't be worried about it myself if the receiver can drive your system to a desired sound level. With that size room and those speakers, you should be more than fine.

    I'd go with Arthur's suggestion and spent the money on better subwoofer at this point. I would worry about external amp only if you are going to upgrade the speakers to something that are harder to drive than the ones you have now, especially since you're happy with how it sounds.
     
  10. John6938

    John6938 Auditioning

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    Ok thanks
    So you think that would be the best place to start? I know I need to eventually get all new speakers, but am going to have to do this in $500-$1000 chunks every six months or so. So you would recommend the first $600 going toward that sub? From what I've been reading around here, seems like most arent big fans of the cheaper polks either.
     
  11. Adam Stoltz

    Adam Stoltz Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Arthur, keep the HK, it should be fine for what you need with your set-up, definitely a good sub added to a system will improve upon the overall sound. Do this test, play your system with the sub and then without, a sub will make your fronts as well as your whole system sound a lot bigger than what it is, by pressurizing the room. Get a decent sub, and then upgrade your speakers down the road and so on. Good luck.
     
  12. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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  13. John6938

    John6938 Auditioning

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    Ok will definitely go the sub route first. I noticed the first 2 listed are within $50 of each other. Is there any advantage of the cylinder design over the box?
     
  14. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    John

    There are 2 advantages to the cylinder subs.

    1) They take up less floor space.
    2) They weigh less. Perhaps ~25 pounds less for competing cylinder vs. box. My suggestion, either the 20-39PCi, or the new PB-12NSD. Both $600 right now. In some thread here, Tom Vodhanel, co-owner of SVS says they are quite comparable. You can't lose either way.
     
  15. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    1) Sub First.
    2) When you get an external amp, audition a Crown or QSC pro amp (you can rent them from pro audio supplies). I did a lot of auditioning and my $300 Crown amp was on par with $2k audiophile amps (although I had to block the fan noise). Highly recommended.
     

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