Which is more important here, lower THD or higher watts?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Lando, Dec 2, 2001.

  1. Matt Lando

    Matt Lando Agent

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    I'm looking at 2 receivers right now. The Yamaha HTR-5490 and the Onkyo 696. The Yamaha is rated at 80w x 6ch at .04%THD. The Onkyo is rated at 100w x 5ch at .08% THD. I'm most interested in clean sound with no hissing in the background. Which is more important, the fact that the Yamaha has .04% less THD, or the fact that the Onkyo has 20w/ch. more of power? Or is neither enough of a difference to even hear?

    Also, I have heard that both of these manufacturers are conservative when they rate the wattage. Could anyone give me an idea of how conservative they are? Meaning, about how many watts is each of these in actuality?

    I am also considering the Denon 2802.

    I don't have a "real" price on the Denon 2802 but crutchfield sells it for $799. I can get the Onkyo 696 for $549 and the Yamaha HTR-5490 for $569. Without knowing anything about the real price of the Denon yet, it seems that the Yamaha is better for the money over the Onkyo since it has 6.1 capability. Any thoughts/opinions? Thanks.
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Matt, welcome to the HTF. There are no hard-and-fast rules when looking at power and total harmonic distortion (THD) ratings by manufacturers. Just because one receiver is rated at 100 WPC and the other is rated at 80 WPC does not mean that the former offers more real power. For one thing, some manufacturers inflate their power ratings. It is not uncommon for A/V magazines to measure a lower continuous power rating than what is specified by the manufacturers. It works both ways, however. Some receivers and amps measure out higher.

    One also has to look at how the power rating for a receiver of amp is being reported. What you want to look for is continuous power with all channels driven into 8 ohms from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (the entire audible frequency spectrum). Some companies, notably Kenwood, will report the power rating into 6 ohms to provide a more impressive figure because they know that the average consumer is impressed with a larger power rating. Other manufacturers will give a peak power rating per channel, which means the maximum power each channel can provide separately, which obviously does not correspond to the continuous power available with all channels driven. In some cases, the manufacturer will provide the peak power with all channels driven, not the continuous power. Most of the better companies will provide the continuous power with all channels driven into 8 ohms from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Still, the power ratings provided on paper might not be observed in reality.

    So, take power ratings with a grain of salt, especially when comparing receivers from different manufacturers. Within a given manufacturer's product line, a receiver with a higher power rating on paper probably offers more power than a receiver with a lower rating on paper. However, the actual power observed for both receivers again might not match what is given on paper. For example, I am sure the Onkyo TX-DS696 offers more power than the TX-DS494. However, it could be that neither will measure out to the power ratings on paper. Both could measure out lower, higher, one could be lower, one could be higher, etc.

    As for THD, one thing to look for is a rating
     
  3. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Don't worry about watts unless you are driving very inefficient speakers (86db or so)...anything around 89db or higher and you should be fine with either receiver.

    Go with the unit that has the lower THD rating as the sound should sound "cleaner".

    I have a Harman Kardon receiver that is rated at only 45 watts per channel..however, it's a high current design so it sounds better and plays louder than comparable Sony products rated at 100 watts per channel or more.

    The difference in 20 watts is so negligable, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Because to increase sound volume only 3db, you have to have TWICE the power. Having 20% more power means nothing.

    Manufacturers vary on power measurements greatly. I take those measurements with a grain of salt.

    Basically, try to listen to both side by side and take the one thats most musical to your ears.
     
  4. Matt Lando

    Matt Lando Agent

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    Thanks guys.

    Evan, actually I do plan on driving speakers with an 86db sensitivity rating. Is the Yamaha's 80watts enough for this?
     
  5. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    What's the size of your room? How loud do you like to play? Is the 80W spec. for full frequency, all channels driven?
     
  6. Matt Lando

    Matt Lando Agent

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    My room is about 16x11 x 8ft high. The 80w/ch. spec is for full frequency 20-20khz.
     
  7. Matt Lando

    Matt Lando Agent

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    Sorry. I forgot to say that I like to play at below reference levels. Anywhere from lower volumes (nighttime) to medium volumes. However there will be times during the day where I want to play it louder. Sorry I can't be more specific.

    Just curious. What kind of wattage is good for low volume listening?
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Honestly, about 2-4 watts.
     
  9. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Matt, you should still be OK even at 86db efficiency at least for low to mid volume ranges. At higher volumes, you might hear some distortion but that would be due to the reciever straining to drive the speakers, not the other way around. If you aren't planning to play music at loud volumes for long periods of time, you should be fine even with 80 watts. If you are going to blast it, I would suggest going with the higher wattage just to limit strain on the receiver. But you won't here a noticable difference in volume from 80 to 100 watts.
     
  10. Matt Lando

    Matt Lando Agent

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    Evan,

    I forgot to mention that I will be using a powered subwoofer with my speakers which as per the Yamaha will take all frequencies below 90hz. Because this takes a lot of stress off of my other speakers, I should be able to play the system loud without distortion correct?
     
  11. Nicholas A. Gallegos

    Nicholas A. Gallegos Stunt Coordinator

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    Well first of all, you're comparing an apple to an orange.

    The Onkyo TS-DX696 is a 5.1-channel receiver, while the new Yamaha HTR-5490 is a 6.1-channel receiver that is capable of decoding DTS-ES Discrete. Both models in question are capable of Pro Logic II, but the Yamaha can also do Neo6 (DTS's version of PLII). From a features standpoint, the Yamaha wins hands-down. But as far as power is concerned, the Onkyo might hold a slight edge.

     
  12. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    See what the return policy is and that there is no restock fee. Then, try one of the two out. If you don't like it, return it for the other. I just don't think this will be the case. You'll probably find each to be a very nice receiver, especially given your listening habits and room size. Beware though that the Onkyo's master volume control is a different beast than some others in that it increases the volume more and more per unit increment as you move up to higher volumes. One more suggestion: You might wish to also consider the on-line only Outlaw receiver, which, although it is only rated at something like 60 watts per channel, receives much personal testimony that it outpowers many receivers having much higher power ratings.
     
  13. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  14. Matt Lando

    Matt Lando Agent

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    It doesn't seem to say on Yamaha's website if it is for all channels driven or not. I even looked in the online manual and it doesn't seem to be there either. I'm taking a pass on the 696 because I read in another thread here that test results in Sound & Vision magazine showed it put out low wattage. Sound & Vision still picked it as one of their favorite receivers for the year so I know it's probably a great receiver, but the low wattage test results bother me. Yamaha hasn't been reviewed yet but I think it's a better choice for the money since it has 6.1 capability. I'd like to thank everyone for their input here. If you have any other comments, please feel free.
     
  15. Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    A little clarification is needed...

    THD means bascially nothing. It can be lowered by increasing negative feedback. You achieve WAY lower THD by increasing neg. feedback..getting it down to 0.0001 or less..

    Problem with negative feedback is it is generally considered to sound like crap..

    THD is considered inaudible until you go well into the single figure THD levels (like 2-3+%).

    You speakers will produced hundreds of time more distortion than your amp..assuming its not clipping.

    Power also means little..as the others said. The difference in "loudness" between 80 and 100W is nothing...BUT the 100W MAY sound a little more "easy" (less strained) at loud SPL's.

    The best way is to listen.
     

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