Basic power/dB/volume question for receivers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Josh~H, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    I just bought a Yamaha HTR-5660 receiver, and after getting it set up last night, I've come to realize that I'm unfamiliar with the volume control. The Yamaha is the best receiver I've owned yet (that's not saying much), and I noticed the volume control goes from -90dB to 0dB. The lower end might be lower than -90, but that's probably not important to my question. My older, presumably worse receivers had the volume scale starting from 0, going up to various numbers. My last unit, an AIWA 5.1, went from 0-20's for example.

    Anyways, I was expecting the Yammy to have an easier time driving my speakers, since it's several years newer, has higher current amps, etc. But I can't really evaluate whether it drives my speakers better because I'm not used to the dB scale. With my old AIWA, if I wanted nice loud listening volumes for action movies, I'd have to turn it up to the low 20's, and the volume indicator would blink (I think this meant that it was using all its power). With the Yammy, on most input sources it seems I can't hear *anything* until the volume is around -60dB or so. It's plenty loud around -35dB, meaning I usually wouldn't want it any louder. Does this suggest that I have a significant untapped amount of power left over -- from -35dB to 0dB? If this is the case, then it's pretty clear the Yam is stronger than the old AIWA.

    On a related note, I'm shopping for new speakers to replace my current crappy set. I'm interested in Aperion and a couple of others. My concern is that some of the harder-to-drive speakers (like Aperion, for example) might be too much for my Yam's amps. Any insight on this? Am I worrying too much? I posted a similar question in the Speaker forum that went unanswered. Any responses will be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    To be honest I wouldn't worry about the db setting on the dial. It really doesn't mean much unless you use a sound level meter to calibrate your speakers. With a SPL meter you would set a point on the recievers dial that registers 75db on the needle on the meter and adjust each channel individualy. Your Yamaha sound have plenty of power to spare compared to the Aiwa. As far as speakers go, unless they are low Ohmn, low sensitivity speakers the Yamaha should have no problem.

    Kevin
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    The DB reading on the front panel is an aproximation.

    Think of it this way:

    - At the factory, they adjusted the display to read "0 db" when the volume control was set to produce the receivers Maximum Rated power output.

    - They took a "reference" speaker, put a SPL meter 1 foot in front of it and made the display read "-1", "-2", ... "-30 db" as the volume was turned down.

    Your speakers in your room at your seating distances will produce some different volume, but the display does give you an idea of how much over-head you have.

     
  4. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Bob, your SPL/dB description was good -- makes perfect sense to me. I understand that !(loud => better). I now believe that my old Aiwa was probably at its power limit for the size of my room/listening preferences. I feel like I have a "35dB" cushion, more or less, with the Yamaha.

    As for getting new speakers, I won't worry whether my receiver has the juice to power 'em. If it doesn't...well, that's what the pre-outs are for, right? [​IMG]
     
  5. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    You don't have 35db of cushion. The 0db point represents the maximum "gain," not actual output, that you can get from the receiver. You'd have to use a sound meter and calibration disk to figure out how the scale on the receiver relates to "reference level."
     
  6. Jim J

    Jim J Second Unit

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    The light on the aiwa probably indicated 'clipping' which is not good.
     
  7. Josh~H

    Josh~H Stunt Coordinator

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    "You don't have 35db of cushion. The 0db point represents the maximum "gain," not actual output, that you can get from the receiver."

    Maximum gain, or minimum attenuation? Eh, it doesn't really matter I guess.

    "The light on the aiwa probably indicated 'clipping' which is not good."

    I don't know what that is, but I'll agree that it doesn't sound good. Literally speaking.
     
  8. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    It's true that the receiver has a fixed amount of gain and the signal is attenuated by the volume control. The important thing is, just be aware when turning it way up, that the volume control has little to do with how much power the receiver can actually deliver. You can easily drive it to distortion before hitting the 0db mark.
     
  9. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    if it make's you feel better Josh I've got an RX-V730 which is similar to your reciever and I usually watch DD/DTS material around -30 to -25 db not wanting to get it much louder. It takes time to get used to the difference in volume control but in the end you'll find you'll probably like it much better as you can more fine tune the volume for your preference.
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  11. Basheer

    Basheer Auditioning

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    Josh, did you go with the Aperions? I have their 5.1 setup and am auditioning a Yamaha HTR 5660 right now. This is NOT a good combination in my opinion. It is extremely harsh at moderate to high volumes. I've had the Aperions for a year, so speaker break-n is not the issue. The Aperions are definitely on the bright side and WARM electronics are indicated. I'm still trying to decide on a good receiver to match the speakers.
     

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