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SJB

Onkyo has reached output limit

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Hi,

Newbie here that would appreciate any feedback.

I have a Onkyo TX-DS575x AV receiver connected to a set of Richter Wizards MK1 as front speakers in a 7m x 6m cinema room lined with heavy drapes. My other speakers are CAVs including a 100w subbie.

Recently I've found that even pumping up the Onkyo to max volume, its still not loud enough for me in some cases (no I'm not partially deaf - yet). I mainly listen to music DVDs / CDs / TV shows in surround sound rather than thunderous movies.

Now even though the Onkyo is quoted as 100watts RMS, I'm wondering:

- do I need to upgrade my AV amp to a higher power?

- do I need to change my brand of amp to better suit the Wizards?

- do I need to upgrade my front speakers?

Thanks heaps for any advise...

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well if max volume is not loud enough then yes you will need a better amplifier. does the onkyo have pre outs? if so you can keep it and buy a separate 2 channel amp for the fronts

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Max volume should be blasting you out of the room. How does it perform in just two channel mode? The sub is self powered, yes?

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Two options... more efficient speakers, or much more powerful amps. You will need to double your amplifier power to see any meaningful increase in volume levels (assuming that the Onkyo is a genuine 100W per channel with all channels driven... many home theatre amps cheat with their specifications).

Emotiva make relatively cheap power amps that would do the job quite well :)

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I think we should diagnose the problem before buying new amps or speakers as pete_mac suggests above. What are the specs on your rear and center speakers, and what gauge is your speaker wire, if the wire is too thin and the speakers are inefficient then your amp will have to work very hard to get the power required to the speakers to up the volume. The more info you can give us to work with mate, the better.

And where are my manners, welcome to the boards!

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Yep, not a bad idea Cafad. There may be something else afoot here.

Also, note that the user manual for this model indicates that the power output is 2 x 70WRMS, 2 channels driven, 20hz to 20khz, 0.08% THD. When running a surround setup with 5 speakers simultaneously, you'll be delivering much less than 70W to each speaker as the limitations of the power supply comes into play. The 100W figure is bogus.

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So is this a recent problem, has it been able to go louder before? You haven't stuffed up speaker levels in the setup ot sumfin?

Hold on, found a user review that states ".....Another drawback is it's max volume. It's not very loud. However, at 70/watts per channel in surround mode, it's not too bad."

Edited by Grainy

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Yep, not a bad idea Cafad. There may be something else afoot here.

Also, note that the user manual for this model indicates that the power output is 2 x 70WRMS, 2 channels driven, 20hz to 20khz, 0.08% THD. When running a surround setup with 5 speakers simultaneously, you'll be delivering much less than 70W to each speaker as the limitations of the power supply comes into play. The 100W figure is bogus.

Yeah, I was very disapointed to find out that Onkyo quote their outputs as "one channel driven". I had a TX-NR901 receiver that was rated at 130W and while it sounded just fine it was not the powerhouse that all the reviews seemed to indicate, it drove a pair of wizard Mk3s very well and worked just fine in an all Richter surround set up but I doubt very much if it would have handled a dynaudio or maggie set up without some help in the power department.

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I'd easily put it down to the receiver running out of puff. I "once" had a new receiver that was rated at 140wpc, and i was driving a pair of 99db sensitivity speakers rated at 40w. Even in 2ch mode, i could get the receiver to full volume, and there was no distortion or cone break up ect. Yes it was still loud though.

Get a BIG AMP !! :)

Edited by Bus_Boy

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impedance of the speaker matters alot for av receiver, but at the end of the day, if its really not loud enough, you need to get separate amps.

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Hold on, found a user review that states ".....Another drawback is it's max volume. It's not very loud. However, at 70/watts per channel in surround mode, it's not too bad."

I reckon that reviewer has misread the specs. The manual states a maximum output of 70WPC into 2 channels in stereo mode, not surround mode.

Onkyo don't provide any proper specs into 5 channels, but based upon the power consumption of the unit and allowing a generous 60% Class AB efficiency level, you're looking at 195W maximum output (ie. about 40W per channel, 5 channels driven).

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Hang off with the upgrading the amp. There must be something else going on here.

Do you have a volume control on your BD or DVD player? If so check it is at maximum.

Even doubling the power of the amp is only going to add a small increase in volume. You would be better off getting more efficient speakers if you need more volume.

The Wizards are 90dB for 1W at 1m so should be able to produce heaps of volume from 70W.

There's no way I could get my Onkyo anywhere near full volume without pain.

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Onkyo AVR are nasty boxes when it comes to output power, I feel your pain OP as I've had 2 Onkyo AVRs so far.

The newest one I have is an NR609, even though its loud but nothing compared to what they rate the power to be.

My 15W Leben will kill eat and digest the Onkyo anyday in 2 channel mode.

These so call Powerhouse AVRs are a joke!

I would recommend getting something a little more audiophile known like the Emotiva or something.

Would have done the same if I knew earlier.

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Onkyo AVR are nasty boxes when it comes to output power, I feel your pain OP as I've had 2 Onkyo AVRs so far.

The newest one I have is an NR609, even though its loud but nothing compared to what they rate the power to be.

My 15W Leben will kill eat and digest the Onkyo anyday in 2 channel mode.

These so call Powerhouse AVRs are a joke!

I would recommend getting something a little more audiophile known like the Emotiva or something.

Would have done the same if I knew earlier.

It should not come as a surprise that a Leben would kill a low budget design AVR like your Onkyo. I have used a small 300B integrated valve amp in my stereo system that easily kill a multichannel amp costing 4 times as much. We are talking about a solid state beast that weighs around 80kgs and pumping out 400 watts per channel 6 channels. What I found with this amp is it has a strong grip with bass but lacks a bit of detail and lushness in mid and top compare to good valve amp. But the multichannel amp deliver a lot in dynamic in HT set up as it deliver tons of power required for that quick surge of power in action movies with thunderous blasts and explosions. This is where this type of amp really excel as oppose to two channel duties. For OP I believe he should be looking at a replacement power amp as it is pretty clear his current receiver is not delivering the power. Base on Onkyo's spec this AVR I suspect it would not deliver more than 25 watts a channel all channel driven ( 7 channels).

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avrs especially from brands like onkyo, pioneer, sony, denon, yamaha therye all pretty bad in severely overstating their output capability. at end of it with a max power consumption of 325w, keeping in mind bulk of that is going to be lost in heat and inneficiency leaves not much to drive a multichannel setup. Well certianly with not a lot of headroom which is whats needed with av setups.

the 100w sub is probably not doing a lot to take load off the speakers. the wizards are not little tiny tots either.

apart from the sub being quite important in a ht setup. the real thing to remember though is for ht setups its the centre speaker that the bulk of audio goes through. what exactly is the centre ? what are these "CAVs" ? to get an idea of how important the centre is, disconnect the L&R speakers and see just how little an impact they have.

there is a good chance the centre you are using is really inadequate to the task. keeping in mind a 7x 6 m room is not a tiny one either.

to suit your richter wizard mains the original richter unicorn like the one below would be suitable.

http://www.ebay.com....0#ht_527wt_1348

I had one of these and it is quite capable of decent output.

if cant get one of those this later richter unicorn is probably appropriate,

http://www.lenwallis...egend-centre-iv

worth partnering up with a decent power amp, something like this rotel 1075 would be very decent and at a bargain price,

http://www.ebay.com....d#ht_746wt_1348

alternatively if wanting to stick to a one box solution, something like this nad t748 at $699 is a bargain piece and will give you both a pre and power upgrade with something a lot more honestly rated,

http://www.carltonau...=node/view/1574

Edited by :) al

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We can probably rule out cables. Add 1 ohm to an 8 ohm speaker and you lose just 1 db. That isn't much.

As Pete Mac said there is both efficiency and power to get there. It sounds like you need an increase in both. The typical scenario with about 70w and some 85 - 89 db floorstanders does have limits, and if your expectations are for quite a bit more, then you won't get there with a 100w amp.

Speaker power ratings are thermal - they are the level you can feed in before the wire in the voice coils melts in a given period, depending on the standard used. 100w might be a typical rating but you may find that an average level of 10w sounds pretty average! With 87 dB sensitivity and 10w you get about 92 dB at a typical listening distance of 3m. That's quite loud but if you want something that resembles a commercial cinema at full tilt (105 dB) you are a long way off, or a rock concert with 110 db or more, then you are not only a long way off but also a bit crazy!

If loud and clear is your thing, then you want something more like an Emotiva with 200w + and speakers genuinely rated around 95 dB with the ability to also handle power. Some high sensitivity speakers are simply useful non demanding valve amps.

Serious grunt amplification can get you part way there, but if you aren't close with 70w then even with 500w of pro amp grunt you may still be squeezing.

It's not just about the numbers. You can easily pair speakers and amp that will give you far more than you need, but whether you still enjoy it is another matter. Getting loud and clean without strain isn't the easiest thing to achieve, often compromises are made to get there.

And a big unknown is how much oomph you are actually expecting.

I found myself heading towards high sensitivity and horns, because I wanted to not be so limited in listening levels, and found that regular floorstanders tended to sound a bit strained as the level went up. And when the urge hit to go loud, I have an uneasy feeling I was really pushing the limits. I wanted to just sit back and know I had something that was virtually destructable, that retained the sound quality of more conventional hifi speakers, without the SPL limits.

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Wow – thanks for all your responses & thoughts.

To answer some queries raised along the way:

- performance seems to be much the same in either 2 or 5 channel mode

- the sub is self powered

- the Wizards are connected with 65 strand speaker wire

- yes Paul, I don’t want to replicate a commercial cinema or rock concert, just something loud and clean without strain.

I was testing it out more last night and found with some DTS dvds, even though nearing max volume was getting uncomfortable it was also starting to distort, so based on feedback so far I think I’ll upgrade the amp. Plus very occasionally I lose a channel during use.

I would prefer the one box solution, rather than hooking on a power amp. Would like a box with HDMI connections. The NAD t748 does look good so far, based on your comments that quality is the issue, not necessarily wpc. I take it Emotiva don’t make integrated amps…

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Wow – thanks for all your responses & thoughts.

To answer some queries raised along the way:

- performance seems to be much the same in either 2 or 5 channel mode

- the sub is self powered

- the Wizards are connected with 65 strand speaker wire

- yes Paul, I don’t want to replicate a commercial cinema or rock concert, just something loud and clean without strain.

I was testing it out more last night and found with some DTS dvds, even though nearing max volume was getting uncomfortable it was also starting to distort, so based on feedback so far I think I’ll upgrade the amp. Plus very occasionally I lose a channel during use.

I would prefer the one box solution, rather than hooking on a power amp. Would like a box with HDMI connections. The NAD t748 does look good so far, based on your comments that quality is the issue, not necessarily wpc. I take it Emotiva don’t make integrated amps…

still very unclear what actual speakers your using. richter wizards sure. but what are these "CAVs" exactly and presumably the centre is this too ? its a bit hard to comment re amps and avr if not sure what load they are going to be presented in the speakers.

ps that you are even having to run at max volume is a worry. I would be very carefull as that is when typically amps run out of puff as speakers are drawing more that amp capable of sustaining and you end up with clipping. recipe for disaster for speakers.

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Can you take a pic or two SJB? Just so we know what the set up is like. Also, what setting are you using for your LFE crossover? Increasing that could help, eg from 60Hz to 100Hz.

Oops, typo!

Edited by Cafad

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Before spending anymore money, check the speaker level trim's in the receiver. If they happen to be set at a minus value, especially from the channel to which reference is set from (left front usually), you may be losing headroom.

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Before spending anymore money, check the speaker level trim's in the receiver. If they happen to be set at a minus value, especially from the channel to which reference is set from (left front usually), you may be losing headroom.

+ 1.

What is the nominal speaker rating in Ohms? 4, 6, 8?

Some AV receivers can't support anything below 6 ohms.

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[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1347849388' post='764277]

still very unclear what actual speakers your using. richter wizards sure. but what are these "CAVs" exactly and presumably the centre is this too ? its a bit hard to comment re amps and avr if not sure what load they are going to be presented in the speakers.

ps that you are even having to run at max volume is a worry. I would be very carefull as that is when typically amps run out of puff as speakers are drawing more that amp capable of sustaining and you end up with clipping. recipe for disaster for speakers.

yeah sorry al, forgot to specify earlier… CAV DC-50 centre (80 w), CAV DS-50 rears (80 w), CAV W300 sub (100 w). (photos below). I know my CAVs (Chinese brand) aren’t exactly high-end but they seem to do the job - website: http://www.cav-audio.com/

post-135494-0-67786000-1347924241_thumb.

post-135494-0-26435400-1347924260_thumb.

post-135494-0-62026600-1347924272_thumb.

And thanks for the warning re. clipping.

Also LFE is set to 75 but I'll try increasing. Speaker levels are set to 0 – most of the time. And the receiver supports 6 ohms min.

Edited by SJB

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I'd say there's your problem there. The cav centre can only go down to 100 hz. Not much power handling either. With the sub at 75hz your potentially missing a bit of material 100-75hz. I would seriously suggest consider the richter unicorn centre I pointed to. It would be a quantum up. Seriously I don't think you realise the amount of material in a movie sound track that goes through the centre.

The richter unicorn I pointed to is only $250 as well. Not going to break the bank in an upgrade. You'll then have a decent front stage. I would still look at avr upgrade eg the $699 nad I pointed to at. Coupled with $250 richter your looking under $1k that's going to give you quite a step up.

When budget permits I would look at upgrading your sub under $1k will bring something like the richter Thor. Which capable of lot of output and add huge fun factor for movies. Will take quite a bit of load off your speakers and avr as well as is a decent sub.

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What isn't clear is whether you've pushed your system to the limit and maybe even beyond and found you expect more, or something like Phil suggested isn't quite right and hence you aren't getting what your system is capable of.

If this is simply a matter of expecting more, then it appears to me you want quite a bit more than you have in terms of output. If that's the case, a more powerful integrated receiver won't do it, you'll need a lot more. Doubling the power will give you 3 dB at most and as it sounds like you are pushing the system, then really the most you gain with a modest step is headroom - the same output with a bit more control. If you want significantly more output, the first thing to do is get more efficient speakers and the second is more power. Emotiva separates costs about ~$1.6k and is the best bang for buck option with a substantial SPL increase in mind.

All this based on the assumption that you are pushing the limits and want quite a bit more SPL. This is where it's hard to help via a forum. We don't know if it's a setup issue, or an expectations issue.

To give you an idea. A VAF DCX speaker is about 6 db more efficient than most typical floorstanders, and that is a substantial increase in output. Trying to achieve the same thing with amplification, you need to go from 70w to 280w which no receiver will deliver. Further you will lose some of the extra output to power compression. Listenability will suffer also because many speakers will fall apart with that kind of power.

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