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Multi-channel power amp >125W/Channel Advice


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Hi all - I'm trying to find a decent power amp for my front sound stage, preferably second hand to save a few $$$. 

 

I'm currently running a brand new Denon AVR-X4500H for my 5.1.4 system. My front sound stage is made up of 2xWhatmough Performance Series P31s, plus the matching P06 Centre. 

None of these seem to be getting the required power from the receiver, which is sounding slightly harsh and almost distorted as I crank the volume. Stereo-only mode sounds fine. 

 

I love the look of the Elektra HD2 series power amps - either 3 or 7 channels (if 7 I'd bi-amp each of the 3 speakers, leaving 1 channel spare), however, when new, the 3 channel is over $2500.

 

Is anyone looking to offload a similarly-powered 3 channel, or would you have any alternative recommendations?

 

Apart from that, I'm based in Marrickville (Sydney). Can anyone recommend a decent professional audio calibrator? I'm not happy with my Audyssey results (using the iPhone app) and would love some professional help. 

 

Cheers!

whatmough.jpg

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I have P30's and several years ago bought an Emotiva XPA-5 directly from USA.

This is 200W / Channel and was the biggest improvement in sound I have ever had,

apart from buying the speakers. Actually listen at lower sound level than before.

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The denons real output is 75w per channel x 2. How many speakers are connected?

Your main speakers are too close to the wall, they should be at least 30.cms out and slightly further apart.

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16 minutes ago, Hifiplus said:

The denons real output is 75w per channel x 2. How many speakers are connected?

Your main speakers are too close to the wall, they should be at least 30.cms out and slightly further apart.

Thanks - in total it’s powering 9 speakers. I can shift the L/R out from the wall a little, but the width is constrained by the dimensions of the room (staircase in the way etc)

 

 

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I have a Rotel RMB 1066 which can be bridged to run 3 channels at 150W each. I was intending to put it up for sale here but COVID and Melbourne restrictions got in the way.

 

Plenty of reviews online. It is quite slim an doesnt take up too much room.

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callanS,

 

Had the same speaker front end as you back in the day.

Used an older Elektra 6 x 150W to good effect but................

 

...............as long as you are using that front end layout in that room you are really compromising SQ.

Hifiplus is spot on...........can you possibly swing everything around 180 degrees?

 

Is there another room you could use?

 

If no to all the above then a set of stand mounts will probably work better in there.

Same Whatmough Model as your rears maybe????

 

I don't think more power is the answer here as the P31's are pretty easy to drive and the specs of your Denon AVR seem up to it.................of course HelloYellowVolvo's Rotel probably wouldn't hurt!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by JohnL
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58 minutes ago, JohnL said:

callanS,

 

Had the same speaker front end as you back in the day.

Used an older Elektra 6 x 150W to good effect but................

 

...............as long as you are using that front end layout in that room you are really compromising SQ.

Hifiplus is spot on...........can you possibly swing everything around 180 degrees?

 

Is there another room you could use?

 

If no to all the above then a set of stand mounts will probably work better in there.

Same Whatmough Model as your rears maybe????

 

I don't think more power is the answer here as the P31's are pretty easy to drive and the specs of your Denon AVR seem up to it.................of course HelloYellowVolvo's Rotel probably wouldn't hurt!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting - no unfortunately the room and layout are the only choices. I know it’s not perfect - lots of hard surfaces. But I don’t own it unfortunately. I used to have the room laid out differently before wall mounting the tv and only used the P31s in stereo; it sounded better (but stereo always does). 
 

As for your point about stand mounts - now that’s funny you should say. I actually picked up the P11s off gumtree recently. Couldn’t let them pass me by. They’re in storage right now but perhaps I could give them a trial run? Seems a shame not to use the P31s if I’ve got them, but worth a try. 

Edited by CallanS
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52 minutes ago, HelloYellowVolvo said:

I have a Rotel RMB 1066 which can be bridged to run 3 channels at 150W each. I was intending to put it up for sale here but COVID and Melbourne restrictions got in the way.

 

Plenty of reviews online. It is quite slim an doesnt take up too much room.

I’ll buy! That would be ideal! How much would you want for it? Happy to ship to Sydney?

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Power amp would help clean up the sound for sure, but as mentioned speaker placement isn't ideal.

 

I recently got hold of Nad M25 amp for my setup, 160x7. It really cleaned up the sound, greater definition and power. Was running 9 channels of a Marantz avr.

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3 hours ago, CallanS said:

Interesting - no unfortunately the room and layout are the only choices. I know it’s not perfect - lots of hard surfaces. But I don’t own it unfortunately. I used to have the room laid out differently before wall mounting the tv and only used the P31s in stereo; it sounded better (but stereo always does). 
 

As for your point about stand mounts - now that’s funny you should say. I actually picked up the P11s off gumtree recently. Couldn’t let them pass me by. They’re in storage right now but perhaps I could give them a trial run? Seems a shame not to use the P31s if I’ve got them, but worth a try. 

 

Sometimes "horses for courses" is a better way to go.

At least you have a good option in P11's and I admire your open mind and staying positive.

Make sure to get them on decent stands at the right height and you may be surprised.

You could always wire the sub in if you feel bass quantity/depth is lacking but I think bass quality may even improve!!!  

 

 At the end of the day most of us are forced to compromise to some degree.....🙂

 

Good Luck with the Rotel too.

FWIW..........I think it's a better way to go than passive bi amping.

 

 

Edited by JohnL
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11 hours ago, SGS said:

Power amp would help clean up the sound for sure, but as mentioned speaker placement isn't ideal.

 

I recently got hold of Nad M25 amp for my setup, 160x7. It really cleaned up the sound, greater definition and power. Was running 9 channels of a Marantz avr.

The NAD M25 must be amazing. Looks like an absolute behemoth! Did you buy it second-hand?

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19 hours ago, CallanS said:

Hi all - I'm trying to find a decent power amp for my front sound stage, preferably second hand to save a few $$$.

 

One thing I've found is that, although a multi-channel amp can produce it's rated output for one channel, and (almost always) two, it's rare that it can do this for all channels. Unless it has separate power supplies. So I went back to the choosing a single stereo amp for each driver of my main L/R and then using the multi-channel to only drive my rears and centre (and I'm thinking about a new one for the centre).

 

I reckon I could get the same output and real power for about the same price.

 

For example, I was recently looking at an RMB1095 from Rotel - 200W/ch into 8ohms, but it also says power consumption is 800W (doing the math, that's 160W/ch input power, and even with 70% efficiency, that would be about 112W/ch). Whereas you could get 2 RB1070's (which would give you their full 130W/ch) and probably cheaper. Not recommending Rotel (although I use them), but just saying it can pay to look at the non-obvious solution.

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  • Marc changed the title to Multi-channel power amp >125W/Channel Advice
3 hours ago, CallanS said:

The NAD M25 must be amazing. Looks like an absolute behemoth! Did you buy it second-hand?

Yes, second hand from a member here. It is a behemoth weight near 50 kgs.

 

If your able to wait, something will come up here. I wasn't specifically targeting an M25, but it does its job very well. Just running the sr6014 I felt the sound was clean, bit muddy.

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3 hours ago, hopefullguy said:

sorry to rain on your parade but you should not buy the rotel 1066 for use in bridge mode with your speakers.. it can not be bridged for 4 ohm speakers.. sorry

Thanks 😊 That’s ok. They’re 8ohms speakers and I’m going to bi-amp rather than bridge it. 

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May I ask what's the issue with the current sound / setup that makes you want to add a power amp?

IMO, if the room isn't too big, you have subwoofers to take the big bass away, you may not need any power amp at all.

 

Some simple tweaks which don't require a pro calibrator:

- as mentioned, move those speakers out, minimum will be a foot or two.

- toe them in slightly but experiment

- get a bigger screen! I think that will improve your HT experience much more than the amp.. 

- lower the screen - you should mount it such that the centre of the screen is a little below eye level

 

Something to soften the walls, eg diffusers will be useful - but again tell us what's wrong with the sound first. These days, diffusers can be combined into paintings or murals.. 

Good luck

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13 minutes ago, petetherock said:

May I ask what's the issue with the current sound / setup that makes you want to add a power amp?

IMO, if the room isn't too big, you have subwoofers to take the big bass away, you may not need any power amp at all.

 

Some simple tweaks which don't require a pro calibrator:

- as mentioned, move those speakers out, minimum will be a foot or two.

- toe them in slightly but experiment

- get a bigger screen! I think that will improve your HT experience much more than the amp.. 

- lower the screen - you should mount it such that the centre of the screen is a little below eye level

 

Something to soften the walls, eg diffusers will be useful - but again tell us what's wrong with the sound first. These days, diffusers can be combined into paintings or murals.. 

Good luck

bottom 1/3rd of screen height to be at eye level👍

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3 hours ago, petetherock said:

May I ask what's the issue with the current sound / setup that makes you want to add a power amp?

IMO, if the room isn't too big, you have subwoofers to take the big bass away, you may not need any power amp at all.

 

Some simple tweaks which don't require a pro calibrator:

- as mentioned, move those speakers out, minimum will be a foot or two.

- toe them in slightly but experiment

- get a bigger screen! I think that will improve your HT experience much more than the amp.. 

- lower the screen - you should mount it such that the centre of the screen is a little below eye level

 

Something to soften the walls, eg diffusers will be useful - but again tell us what's wrong with the sound first. These days, diffusers can be combined into paintings or murals.. 

Good luck

Bigger screen is on the wish list but not quite yet 😊

 

The issues I’ve had are a particular harshness in certain frequencies and voices, most noticeable from the centre. I’ve had the centre checked thoroughly by the speaker hospital Sydney and it has a clean bill of health. 

I find this problem somewhat resolves when running stereo only which leads to my theory about power amps.
 

There is otherwise a muddiness to the front sound stage which admittedly could be resolved with more distance from the wall - agreed. The room is a tricky layout and space is limited so I may not be able to adjust quite how I’d like but will experiment. 
 

Adding the subwoofer a few weeks ago has made a positive difference overall by taking out some of the LFE from the centre and allowing it to work slightly less hard. 
 

Overall the receiver sounds like it’s struggling when driving all speakers at once, which is an issue I never had with my previous Denon (was a 3805). 

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Some simple tweaks

- play with MRC - if you haven't downloaded the Audyssey app do it

- you may be better off with a nice stereo amp that has HT bypass - takes enough stress off the Denon, but also gives you a satisfying stereo performance. For the smooth sound that is clean, my own preference is Marantz. For a bit more kick, the Cambridge Audio stereo power amps sound good and give plenty of drive.. 

 

But I would really suggest playing around with the settings in your current setup first. You might save some coin.. 

 

Edited by petetherock
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Also depends on what other sources there are whether an integrated would work.

Better power for your mains will help, and moving all speakers away from the walls including the centre.

A bigger screen is not going to help.

As mentioned ive got a 4 channel arcus amp spare for sale, has multiple ins and outs for biwire or biamp of interested.

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You may want to reach out to @Marc for his JBL synthesis amp, if its still not sold than its a good value being 7 channel amp.

 

 

Personally, I am quite happy with Anthem AVR and their performance both as receiver and built in amp and also very happy with their separate power amps. If you want to stick to one box solution due to space constraints, than I would suggest swapping Denon with Anthem or Arcam AVRs.

 

Other option in amps being Hypex or Purifi based Class D amps for smaller size (Prices are in USD).

https://www.marchaudio.net.au/product-page/p452-stereo-power-amplifier

https://www.marchaudio.net.au/product-page/p502-500-watt-stereo-power-amplifier

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13 hours ago, muriwai said:

bottom 1/3rd of screen height to be at eye level👍

I find not sitting upright helps to adjust the level of the screen. Sometimes the whole screen is below my eye-line!!!

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11 hours ago, CallanS said:

Bigger screen is on the wish list but not quite yet 😊

 

The issues I’ve had are a particular harshness in certain frequencies and voices, most noticeable from the centre. I’ve had the centre checked thoroughly by the speaker hospital Sydney and it has a clean bill of health. 

I find this problem somewhat resolves when running stereo only which leads to my theory about power amps.
 

There is otherwise a muddiness to the front sound stage which admittedly could be resolved with more distance from the wall - agreed. The room is a tricky layout and space is limited so I may not be able to adjust quite how I’d like but will experiment. 
 

Adding the subwoofer a few weeks ago has made a positive difference overall by taking out some of the LFE from the centre and allowing it to work slightly less hard. 
 

Overall the receiver sounds like it’s struggling when driving all speakers at once, which is an issue I never had with my previous Denon (was a 3805). 

Not sure if this is relevant, I run a sr6014. 

 

When watching tv say the news, I watch channel 7. My centre sounds terrible, sound mode is surround. It gives a kind of crackly sound. Changing to stereo cleans it up, but then no center.

 

I've put this down to the transmission is stereo and the sr6014 just can't make a clean sound in surround for voice. My old Yamaha could, find it quite annoying. Any 5.1 sound is fine.

 

Maybe its similar with your Denon.

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