Has anyone added an external amplifier to their HT receiver? What do ya think?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan_C, Dec 10, 2001.

  1. Dan_C

    Dan_C Agent

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    I'm looking to add a relatively inexpensive ($300-600)external amplifier to the Harman Kardon AVR 520 I recently purchased to power my PSB 9C and 6Ts (150W into 6 ohms for the 6T and 8 ohms for the 9C).

    Has anyone else used the preouts on their HT receivers to add an external amp? What have you used and how do you like the results?

    I was thinking about the bridgeable Rotel 976 (or 1066) to power my front 3. Any other suggestions?

    One other thing; has anyone ever heard of using your HT receiver's front speaker internal amps to drive rear surrounds (when you have an external amp supplying the front 3)? I've heard folks talk about this and was wondering if anyone has tried it.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Myram

    Myram Second Unit

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    I added a Denon POA-5200 to my Denon AVR-4800. The 5200 is a THX Ultra certified amplifier rated at 120 watts x 2, and I use it to power my front main speakers. The 4800 powers the center and 4 rear surround speakers to finish off the 7.1 system.

    These two peices are made to go together, there is a 12v trigger to turn on the amp automatically, and they are rated at about the same wattage.

    I did this to acheive 7.1 sound, but just to have external amps power the speakers and use the 4800 as a pre amp seems like a waste for a $2000 unit. The 4800 is rated at 125w x5, but when tested it put out 148w x 5 so it is very capable of driving the speakers on it's own. I'm not sure how the HK unit is for power but if you think you are coming up short on power.....then go for it and get some external amps to power your speakers.

    Good Luck
     
  3. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=15444
    I suggest you check out that thread. Especially take note of the second paragraph in Michael Yung's post. IMO, very important.
    That thread deals with the HK 310, but I suspect reasoning would be exactly the same with the 520.
     
  4. Dalton

    Dalton Screenwriter

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    I have an Onkyo 797 and i use a Parasound HCA855A to bi-amp my mains and power the center channel and center surrounds. It works out great for me. It takes a load off of the 797's amp and my system has plenty of power and dynamic range. Adding an external amp can give you a dramatic improvement in sound quality. I much prefer the sound of my Parasound amp for 2 ch. listening over the 797's internal amp. Eventually I am thinking of selling the Parasound and putting the money towards the new Outlaw 770 7 ch. amp next year.
     
  5. Christian Speights

    Christian Speights Stunt Coordinator

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    I am using an Adcom GFA7500 amp with a Denon AVR3200 receiver. Problem with the Denon is that it only has pre outs for the LCR. I am letting the receiver power the rears.

    I can definitely tell the difference between the two power sources. Most distracting is a distinct hiss coming from the rears (the closest speaks to my ears.)

    I am not sure if its the amp in the denon that is the weak link or or if the receiver just doesnt function all that well as a preamp.

    Regardless, I am looking for a pre/pro so I can get all 5 channels of the Adcom in use and take advantage of DTS and all the other surround formats that have sprung up since I bought the 3200. For me, using the receiver is an interim decision...far from optimal.

    My 2.7 ¢. YMMV
     
  6. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    You have the right idea. Don't spend a fortune for a separate amp. Last year UBid sold a lot of amps under the Citation name. Citation was the high end of Harman-Kardon or the low end of Madrigal, depending on how you want to look at it. These were 4 channel amps with the option to use in 4,3,2 channel mode. Unusually, they are stable into 4 ohms in bridged mode.

    Having seen my share of big ass amps, I wanted one. So I ended up with a Citation 7.1. Don't let the name fool you, these are 4 channel amps. In bridged mode the 7.1 is rated at 400 watts per channel @ 8 ohms. Originally it listed for >$2,000. I paid $709 plus shipping. The unit weighs 70 pounds unboxed. Let me tell you, it is no fun moving this thing around.

    How much difference did it make? In my case, I would have to say that the Nakamichi receiver I use with it has very fine amps and it was not a night and day difference. But it does take a load off the Nak. Now I use the 100 watt per channel mains of the Nak for the surround channel with their own unpowered subwoofer, and the surround channel amps of the receiver can idle.

    In the back of my mind, I see adding a couple of big unpowered subs, such as SVS, and using the big amp to drive them.

    Bottom line, if you have inefficient mains that you run full range with the bass turned up, you will notice a difference. Otherwise, it is not so clear.

    Also, adding an amp can result in hum problems from ground loops. A lot of guys are thrown for a loop when they turn the system on for the first time and have noticable hum.
     
  7. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    I use a Yamaha RXV 795 connected to a Sunfire Cinema Grand amp(200x5)as a stepping stone to total seperates. Before I got the Sunfire, I used an Adcom GFA 5400 to power my Fronts and let the Yamaha power the Center and Rears.

    Even having the Yamaha only power 3 speakers was an improvement over using its amps for all five channels, and of course letting the Sunfire handle all of the channels is even better still. There's much more punch during dynamic peaks.

    I say give it a shot.

    DJ
     
  8. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Dan,

    In my case it was night and day when I added my Rotel RMB-1066. Its a very nice amp, well constructed with the ability to bridge. Down the road you can add another and have 6 channels @150w. Until I got my Pre/pro I ran the amp at 3x150w to power the fronts and allow my Denon 1801 to power the rears. I heard things I never hear before in movies(detail, clarity sound stage, etc). It is well worth the money you spend on it.

    Kevin
     
  9. Michael Klein

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    I like the amp in my Integra 7.1. Really, it sounds pretty darn good. However, there is no comparison between it and my EAD PowerMaster 500. Wattage parity aside, the EAD blows away the Integra in every regard. I don't have my audiophile buzzword thesaurus handy, but it just sounds wonderful to me on my Klipsch RF-3s.

    As always, the bottom line is that you need to try it for yourself. My father is 80% deaf in one ear, and might not notice if I plugged his receiver into a guitar amp. Most of us are a bit more discerning, however. Try it--you might like it.
     

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