Amp Benchmark

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by mackie, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    I just added two outlaw M200 monoblocks to my Denon 3803, Paradigm Studio 40v3 setup. So far, the jury is still out. The external amps play louder, but don't necessarily improve detail, imaging, or sound stage. I guess I'd like feedback on what to realistically expect from this type of upgrade.
     
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    The increased headroom should make watching those action flicks smoother even at moderate volumes. Less strain on your amps and your ears. There should be more punch and sounds should be more defined esp tracks that have lots of bass energy. Intially it might seem like the separate amps didn't improve sound much, but wait for your ears to get used to the new sound for a few weeks/months and then switch back to the 3803's amps and notice the stark difference. For my ears its always easier to notice change going from better to worse rather than the other way around. Where as my wife will notice an immediate improvement in sound either ways. Are there other members (from the opposite sex) in your jury besides yourself?
     
  3. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the reply Yogi. Yes, my girlfriend lives with me, and I'm interested to see what she says. I'm skeptical though since she thinks I'm crazy for doing this since what I had sounded good. The amps are hidden in my equipment rack and I'll hide the boxes to see if she says anything. I guess I was expecting a noticeable improvement right away after reading all the threads about the benefits of more power, separating power from processing... I'll give it a few weeks to grow on me. I'll throw in a heavy duty action movie to test the amps.
     
  4. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Also always compare amps in stereo mode with the subs turned off while running speakers full range aka 'direct' mode on your Denon. Also orchestral music is good to differentiate men from the boys.

    Best of luck. Let us know the jury's verdict.
     
  5. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    There isn't an easy answer to that.When I bought my Parasound amps,I immidiatelly "heard" a noticable improvement,however when my friend came over with his Sony 777ES receiver a [top of the line at the time],hooked it up to a speaker switcher.and swithched it in/out with my Denon 3300 as preamp to the Parasound amps.We did a rudimentary level balance first.Once we dialed it in we started to do the switching,as fast as we could without causing a short.At the end of the day we had a hard time to differentiate among those three components as power source.It was a stereo "test" only with a pair of Def Tech Bp-10s as fullrange speakers[no sub].The Parasound seemed to hold an edge over the receivers,but we concluded if we had used a powered sub and set the speakers to small those "advantages" would quickly diminish.
    Regardless, after that I've bought 5 more of these amps,and currently 7 being used.[​IMG]
     
  6. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    First of all, it never hurts to have amps around; you can always find good uses for them, especially if you decide to build some subs.[​IMG]

    There's so many variables, you have to take it on a case by case basis. We've had these discussions before with some saying that adding an amp to a receiver will automatically improve the very things you mentioned. I think that can happen, because if someone is running their receiver too hard for the speakers, room size, and listening levels and the amps start compressing the signal down and creating more distortion, then sure, a seperate amp will alleviate that, but the degree is variable depending on the three things I mentioned.

    That said, it's a good thing to have the extra power when you want it, so enjoy.

    DJ
     
  7. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Jury's verdict - Amps do improve sound stage and imaging at higher volume levels. I think adding the amps does add a real benefit to my system.
     
  8. Yogi

    Yogi Screenwriter

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    Thanks for sharing your jury's findings with us.
     
  9. Ben Stern

    Ben Stern Stunt Coordinator

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    The external amps play louder, but don't necessarily improve detail, imaging, or sound stage

    mackie - you answered your own question. Unless you play at reference levels all the time and/or your home theater is HUGE, there will be very little improvement, if any. But, as others have noted, a little headroom ain't a bad thing. I speak from over 30 years experience in this hobby.
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    This doesn’t seem to get much discussion, but I think a lot of it simply has to do with a particular amplifier/speaker combination.

    For instance, there’s a good chance that a speaker with a complex load will sound better with an amp rated for 4-ohm performance than one rated for 8-ohms, whereas one with a very stable load (i.e., similar to that of a static resistor) might not sound different with either amp.

    Aside from that, one of the “safest bets” for noticeable improvement will be if you have inefficient, power-hungry speakers. Conversely, if you have highly-efficient speakers there’s less of a chance that you’ll notice any improvement.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  11. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Unless you play at reference levels all the time and/or your home theater is HUGE, there will be very little improvement, if any.

    I don't listen to music too often at reference levels and my room isn't huge, but after spending some time listening at higher volume levels there is a noticeable improvement in the sound.

    I will probably add one more amp for the front in the future[​IMG] It's funny how this works.

    Are the Paradigm Studio series speakers a difficult speaker to drive? I've heard different things. They advertise them as 8ohm compatible, but a Sound and Vision review mentioned the impedance is nominal 5 ohms and minimal 3.5 ohms. I would think this would indicate a difficult to drive speaker; however, the Denon 3803 didn't seem to have difficulty driving them unless pushed really hard?
     

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