Do I need an amp?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Chase_ Morgan, May 3, 2004.

  1. Chase_ Morgan

    Chase_ Morgan Auditioning

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    Well I finally purchased my speakers, Paradigm Studio 100's V.3. They are spectacular but won't to make sure I'm getting the full benefit from them. I have an onkyo tsxr800 which is 700 watts/channel and am wondering about getting an amp. Do I need this? I won't to make sure I take full advantage of these speakers but also I don't want to spend an arm and a leg. Im all for used so that should help and am looking to spend around $500. Will this be enough. Which brand should I look at? I still have to buy my center, surrounds, and subwoofer. I wasn't even thinking of getting an amp but I hear a little distortion when I turn it up? Is that because I don't have enough power going to the speakers? Will the amp help this? I really appreciate the help!!

    Thanks
    Gary
     
  2. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Your AVR is 100watts/channel x 7.
    Yes I would look for a 2x200 for the Studio 100's fronts.
    The best place would be audiogon for used.
    I'm sure others will chime in as to brands and models.
     
  3. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    If you bought your Studio 100's new then yes, you are likely hearing distortion from the receiver. It depends on what you mean by "a little distortion when I turn it up". How much is "little" and more importantly, how much is "up"?

    Not to beat a dead horse but driving 7 channels of quality sound at higher levels from one receiver is dicey at best. Depending on the size of your listening room, the 'real world' rated power of your receiver/amp, the quality and specs of all of the speakers involved, etc. you are likely going to want good clean and ample power. You have quality mains and if you are hearing distortion on sound peaks when driving only two channels now there is a problem. Check your wiring and connections first. If that inspection reveals no obvious problem(s) then look to help the Onkyo out with a good used amp for the mains or a 3 channel for the front soundstage. Anything over 150W should bring a noticeable change.

    Quality speakers always respond to ample power. They are easier to drive and usually voice with both more subtlety with low volume levels and fuller, cleaner response on the high volume end.
     
  4. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    You will have very few choices at the $500 range, even used, but it is doable.

    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ult&1087666562

    I say look for a good 5 channel like the one above and add B&K AV5000 and Rotel 985 to the lookout list. I would suggest biamping the 100 speakers with one of these amps with the 5th channel going for the center. That should free up enough power for the receiver to do the rest. I don't think you will be able to get a quality 200 wpc 2 channel amp unless you up your spending to closer to $700. I think the better bargain/path for you is the 100wpc 5 channel and biamping.
     
  5. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Gary,
    Check your pm for a few leads like this one at audiogon
    Parasound HCA1500A 2 channel amp - 205 watts per
    $450.00 obo
    Condition 8/10
    I am not the seller, your 100's would love the extra power.
    The AVR then could handle the remaining duties.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You just might benefit. Since your long range plan is to flesh out your speakers, I'd consider a nice 3 channel amp to eventually power the fronts and center and leave the Sony to handle the rest. Like Paul said, it can get dicey for a receiver to competently drive all the speakers.
     
  7. Chase_ Morgan

    Chase_ Morgan Auditioning

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    1st I would like to say thank you for the responses....Paul, I bought the speakers used, but they are less than 6 months old and I hear distortion when I crank it playing music with bass. I also hear a little from tweeters at very high levels. The volume level for the onkyo is 0-100. I can barely hear speakers at 40. Is this correct? I have to turn up way over half way for biggest benefit to 70. Im starting to wonder if I the receiver settings are correct.... So many variables!!!
     
  8. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Chase,

    Is there any way you can switch out the receiver and try another to test if the problem truly is the speakers? If the speakers are used they just MAY be damaged themselves...though probably not from your description. It does sound as though they are not receiving clean signals under load which would finger the Onkyo.

    Again, as Chu reiterated, clean 7 channel power will require a good bit more performance than the 800 can provide with power hungry speakers. But before you spend more money, I would try to more exactly determine the source of the distortion you are currently hearing now driving only two channels.

    As to the volume scale, many modern receivers employ a volume control which is not linear. Other Onkyo owners could better answer this more directly but your numbers sound about right. If you haven't done it already, you need to calibrate your system with a test disc and sound meter even if only using two channels at present. It will help to familiarize your system response and better relate the sound output in dB's to the volume scale.
     

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