Adding mono-amps - help me understand this

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Shane Morales, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. Shane Morales

    Shane Morales Second Unit

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    Say you have a 5.1 setup with good quality bookshelf speakers and a decent mid-range receiver like a Denon 2803 or Onkyo TX-SR601; something of that caliber.

    If you then add two mono-amps like the Outlaw 200's for the 2 front speakers, will that make those speakers sound a lot better? A little better? No difference? I'm thinking in terms of music, not HT.

    Whatever the answer is can someone explain the why of it? I keep reading how a better amp means better sound, especially with floorstanders, but I don't understand why.

    If we need specifics about the speakers let's use the Aperion Audio Intumus speakers for the example.

    Thanks.
     
  2. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Hi Shane,

    When you add an external power amp, you relieve the amplifier of the burden of powering those two (three, four, etc) channels.

    The amp's power supply will be able to devote it's attention to powering however many channels are left. More available juice = better headroom. (less chance of clipping/distortion.

    Also, a dedicated power amp will have much more reserve juice than your receiver will.

    The reference to floor-standing speakers comes from the fact that typically, floor standers are big, power-hungry speakers and play much cleaner and louder when powered by a dedicated amp than by the receiver.
     
  3. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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  4. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Cagri,

    While I did type my response kinda quickly, I don't see what's incorrect about my response.

    "Typically" floor standers ARE power hungry, especially in the context of this enthusiast forum, where "floorstanding" usually means a big, multiple-driver speaker.

    Floorstanders are also more likely to be 6 or 4-ohm models and have lower sensitivity than bookshelves, therefore requiring a low-ohm capable amp to drive them.

    On a related note: If all he's looking for is outboard power for his main L/R, what would be wrong with two mono amps ala Outlaw M200 Monoblocks? They are comparably priced with other quality stereo power amps.
     
  5. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The operative word is may here. Yes, you'll get better sound IF your present receiver is not able to deliver the amount of power required without some sort of audible distortion and/or limitations. Hence, if your receiver is being taxed by trying to reproduce the sound you want at the levels you want, then yes, an external amp is the ticket. It's not an easy question to answer as it depends on your current setup (room size, speaker efficiencies, program material, speaker placement, listening levels, etc.). There are many people who've added external amplification with no tangible benefits whatsoever, while some, perhaps will lower-end receivers that have power delivery issues, have benefitted enormously.
     
  7. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Cagri,

    OK, your argument makes sense and I can respect your opinion. [​IMG]

    Anyways, as Chu said, there are a lot of factors to consider here:



    Being that Shane is talking strictly about the benefits for MUSIC (i.e. two channel) things get a bit harder to answer.

    If we're talking HT, then, yes; most definitely there would be a noticeable improvement in sound due to the receiver being relieved of powering 40% of it's channels. (two of five channels) but with music...hard to say.

    There's a big difference b/t say, a Denon 2803 and my old Kenwood VR-409 AFA onboard amplification goes.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  9. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    Wayne,
    You are saying that we can say that floor standers are typically power hungry speakers, and the reason of this is they have larger bass drivers demanding more power.

    Well, let's take 2 speakers, one bookshelf and one floorstander and let's assume that both have same impedance and same sensitivity, bass driver of the latter is larger than the former. You are suggesting that the floorstander demands more power because its driver is larger? These speakers will respond similarly to any watt as I would think, the SPL will be similar, but the floorstander might have deeper freq. response, preferably (or might not).

    Am I wrong here?
     
  10. Chris Purvis

    Chris Purvis Stunt Coordinator

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    Size of the speaker and drivers has nothing to do with it. Ask anyone driving a Klipschorn with a 3 watt tube amp how loud it gets.

    We used to have a pair of old Altec's which were about as big as your refridgerator (each) with a sensitivity of around 106 db/watt. A portable CD player could make those things play as loud as you would ever want.

    As for the original question, unless you have a really, really high-end receiver the improvement in headroom is probably going to be noticable (may not be big depending on other factors, but probably noticable) if you switch to a separate amp or amps. I have a receiver which has a pretty highly rated amplifier section, but it's power supply is still miniscule (and for 6 channels @ 60 w.p.c.) compared to one of the two power supplies in each of my relatively low-powered 60 w.p.c. stereo amplifiers that I use for my tiny bookshelf-sized speakers which have a high sensitivity of 96 db/watt. You can definately hear a difference between the separates and the receiver, even when the receiver is only powering one channel when it's intended to drive 6. And that's into a pretty easy to drive speaker load.
     
  11. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Cagri,

    Re-reading my post it appears I managed to paint myself into a corner. :b What I was trying to say (rather poorly!) was that there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding speaker size vs. sensitivity or nominal impedance. Anyone who wants to take the time to slog through a few dozen speaker manufacture’s websites can see for themselves.

    Sorry for the confusion. [​IMG]

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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