Is this overkill?

Marshall Sander

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Mar 1, 2002
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I have in-wall/in-ceiling speakers:

B&W Sig7NT - 1 7" mid/bass, 1 1" tweeter, Freq. Resp. 40hz - 25KHz; Sensitivity 88db; 8

ohms (front left and right)

B&W CCM 80 - 1 8" mid/bass, 1 1" tweeter, otherwise same as above (rear left and right)

B&W CMC CC - 2 5.5" mid/bass, 1 1" tweeter, Freq. Resp. 65hz - 20KHz; Sensitivity 88db; 8 ohms (center)

I have been contemplating getting a 5 ch. amplifier (maybe the Sherbourn, Rotel or Parasound).

I believe that for large, floor standing speakers, the increased power from a seperate amplifier will definitively improve sound. BUT, with my smallish, in-wall speakers, will I see significant improvement in sound from a seperate amp, or am I just getting caught up in the HT thing?

Will I get the same sound/performance with a receiver?
 

Greg_R

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The sensitivity and impedance of the speaker are the critical numbers you should be comparing. It is possible that a small inwall will require more power vs. a large floorstanding speaker (to achieve similar SPL levels). If you listen at loud levels, you may want more power (keep in mind it takes a doubling of power for a 3dB increase). 88dB is a slightly hard to drive load (but should easily be handled by most receivers)...
IMO, the main advantage of an external amp is a lower noise floor and upgrade issues (only have to upgrade the pre/pro). If you get a receiver, make sure you get one with a decent amplifier section.
 

Dave Moritz

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I have to agree with Greg that you may not get the results you are hoping for with your current speaker configuration. I have noticed that somewhere around 80 to 100 watts. You need alot more power to get a modest 1 to 3 db increse. This was proven by a demonstration given by my father. He had a comercial Yamaha power amp pluged into the Altec Voice to the Theater speakers I now own. This power amp put out aprox. 300 Watts/per channel continuous. After the amp hit 100 watts/ch it took alot more to make a big differance in volume level or output in db's. Depending on your receiver and how much power it puts out. Getting a seperate power amp may not provide any improvement. If you get larger cabnets with larger drivers that want or can handle more input. Then it would imho be worth running a seperate power amp of your receiver.

Dave Moritz

Whittier, CA
 

Greg_R

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Except that driver or cabinet size has nothing to do with it... it's the sensitivity of the speaker that's important. There are subwoofers that can easily be driven by a 100W amp whereas some panel speakers need a lot more power.
 

Mike Matheson

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 15, 2000
Messages
416
Marshall,

There's no question that a lot of us have found a big improvement in our sound by using a separate amp instead of a receiver's amp section, but this isn't a guaranteed outcome. You may just need to try it out and see if the cost differential and (possible) sound difference in your system is worth it to you.

To me, it's not a question of more power but rather the (possible/probable) quality of the amplification provided by an external amp that provides the difference vs. a receiver. Typical results: better bottom-end, larger/wider soundstage, more detail, etc.

YMMV, however.

Regards,

Mike
 

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