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receiver and/or amp for my speakers? I'm lost

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by ToddAB, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. ToddAB

    ToddAB Auditioning

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    About 4 years ago I purchased some speakers - but i think i bought too much speaker and am not sure what to power it with. I just blew my receiver (5 yr old kenwood 5.1 surround - @ $299.99 - not sure of model).

    I was never happy with the kenwood, and never felt like i could customize the sound at all. My rear speakers are probably too big and are under powered (jbl studio series 3-way bookshelf), and with the kenwood, i could not hear the rears well in surround mode and when i tried to put more power to them, they'd pop.

    I'm looking for a receiver in the $400-600 range, or if i need separate amps and need to spend more, what is the best course of action. I have no experience with separate amps and am not sure what I'm looking for.


    My biggest concern is not powering the S38's for my rears. Should I move to 7.1 and use those as a second front pair and buy a new smaller pair for my rears?


    Thanks!
    Todd

    My speakers:

    Fronts: JBL Home Theater Speakers Studio Series S-312II
    Sensitivity dB @ 1m/2.83V: 92
    Impedance (ohms): 8
    Bass Driver: 12" PolyPlas™
    Midrange Driver: 4" PolyPlas™
    High Frequency Driver: 1" Pure Titanium dome
    Power Rating: 250W
    Dimensions HxWxD: 41" x 16" x 12-7/8" (1041 x 406 x 327 mm)
    Frequency Response: 35Hz -- 20kHz
    Crossover Frequency(ies): 750, 3000Hz

    Center: JBL S-Center II Studio Series 3-Way Center-Channel Speaker

    Rears:
    JBL S-38IICH 8" 3-Way Horizontal Bookshelf Speakers
    Maximum Recommended Amplifier Power: 175 Watts
    Impedance: 8 Ohms
    Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1m): 89dB
    Frequency Response (–3dB): 45Hz – 20kHz
    Crossover Frequency(ies): 800Hz, 3200Hz
    High-Frequency Driver: 1" Pure-titanium dome with EOS™ waveguide
    Midrange Driver: 4" PolyPlas™ cone
    Low-Frequency Driver: 8" PolyPlas™ cone
    Dimensions (H x W x D): In Horizontal Configuration: 11-1/2" x 17-1/2" x 11-3/4" (292mm x 445mm x 298mm)

    Sub: JBL Studio Series Powered Subwoofer 12" 400 watt Item #: JBL-S120PII (not sure if it is this same model #, but it is essentially the same specs)
    Amplifier Power (RMS): 400 Watts
    • Low-Frequency Driver: 12" PolyPlas™ cone
    • Inputs: Line Level (switchable to LFE), BassQ™ and Speaker Level with gold-plated, 5-way binding posts
    • Outputs: BassQ™ and Speaker Level (High-Pass with gold-plated, 5-way binding posts)
    • Low-Pass Frequency: Continuously variable from 50Hz – to 150Hz
    • High-Pass Frequency: 150Hz when using speaker-level outputs
    • Frequency Response: 22Hz – Low-pass crossover setting
     
  2. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Hello Todd, If you are looking in the 400-600 dollar range then I would sugest an Harman Kardon. Harman Industries make JBL and more times than not sound very good with the HK recievers. I am going to go looking for a good model right now.

    Seth=L
     
  3. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    OK I just visited Circuit City's web page. They have a Harman Kardon Surround Sound Receiver (AVR340) on sale for $549.99. It is 7.1 and has 55 watts true power. (in harman kardon's case probably underated as they usually are). Some people get mislead and believe that if an HK has 55 watts per channel and a Sony has 110 watts per channel that the Sony is the one with more juice. If I had $400-600 to spend I would probably buy an HK or maybe a Denon. But in your case I think the HK would be best.

    Seth=L

    PS. I made an error in the price but corrected it.
     
  4. ToddAB

    ToddAB Auditioning

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    Seth -

    Thanks for the info. My father-in-law bought a Denon & I love the sound and setup options. I've also like the HK's but at the time i bought my speakers, i already had the kenwood & didn't have the $$ to upgrade.

    Can you or anyone else comment on my concern with the S38's for my rears? Is that even realistic to leave them back there or should I buy new rears too and use my bookshelf speakers elsewhere...

    Thanks,
    Todd
     
  5. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Do you have another stereo that you could use to test the S38's. If they are fine I would use them as side surrounds and then buy another set of JBL speakers for the surround backs if you do intend to move up to 7.1.
     
  6. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Wayne
    Since you don’t mind their size, there’s no reason not to use them. They aren’t as efficient as the fronts, but their efficiency is still average, at least, so your receiver will have no problem with them. Just be sure and set them (and the fronts) as “Small,” which rolls out the bass signal.

    I expect the problem you were having before with the rears popping was because you had them set to “Large” and were sending them a full-range signal. That’s a common mistake people with large speakers make: “These babies are good down to 28 Hz! It would be a waste to set them to small.” Well, just because they’re rated for a low frequency, that doesn’t mean they can deliver the lows at the extremely high levels home theater demands. Set all of the mains to small, and let the sub do the bass. It’ll sound better because you won’t have so many low frequency sources competing with each other and wrecking bass response with cancellations and phase issues. And you won’t have any of the main speakers bottoming out when those explosions hit.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  7. ToddAB

    ToddAB Auditioning

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    I do not have another receiver to test them on, but I do not believe that there is a problem with the speakers. I guess I could always buy the 7.1 HK and then if i don't like them in the rear, buy some more speakers and move the s38's up front.

    That will be a tough sell - I'm using wedding gift money with the wife's permission to make the upgrade. We will both be student's this fall & will be financing a crapload for our education.

    I also looked on HK's website and saw the AVR 445, but CC.com doesn't carry that one. Would the 55 vs. 65 watts make a difference in my case? Also, is the $550 a rare sale event with circuit city or do they always knock their prices down like that. It says $799 regular price & HK's website says $899! I'm not ready to jump on it yet as I am selling my house and moving two states away...
     
  8. Seth=L

    Seth=L Screenwriter

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    Understandable not to buy now under your circumstances. The price cut could mean that they are going to stop carrying that model in favor of a newer version. At the price the HK 340 is a pretty fair deal (the $250 price cut is a pretty substanstial cut). The 440 is now known as the 445 not sure why the change but they did change it. The only significant additions to the 445 are the increased power (only 10 watts more than the 340) and the HDMI switching. The starting price tag for this model will probably be in the range of $900-1000. You might also check out the Denon AVR-1906. It has 85 watts per channel 7.1 and with a price tag of $550. For $100 less you could have the AVR-1706 with 75 watts per channel.
     

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