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MantisToboggan

Advice on AVR that will primarily be for music

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Check out the Rotel one I linked to. Did you see how the power rating REMAINED fairly consistent despite increasing the number of channels?

That was my earlier point. ICEpower amps are an exception.

It's unlike most other brands of AVRs where the small transformer/power supply is a choking point especially when the number of channels are increased.

From what I read elsewhere, the new Pioneers have dropped ICEpower modules for something else of their own concoction.

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Check out the Rotel one I linked to. Did you see how the power rating REMAINED fairly consistent despite increasing the number of channels?

That was my earlier point. ICEpower amps are an exception.

It's unlike most other brands of AVRs where the small transformer/power supply is a choking point especially when the number of channels are increased.

From what I read elsewhere, the new Pioneers have dropped ICEpower modules for something else of their own concoction.

power supplies are power supplies whether switch mode or conventional transformer. Dont get that confused with the power supply and class of amplifier itself.

I do believe originally pioneer used a type of class D amp that was developed in collaboration with B&O

have a read of this about ice amps and their clones

http://www.audioholics.com/education/amplifier-technology/clone-amplifiers

The only criticisms I have are that these amplifiers cannot deliver anywhere near their rated power at full bandwidth continuously (or even for a 1 second duration) due to limitations in the design including the zobel network, output filter coils and power supply (see page 14 of the linked ICE Module data sheet). They also don’t exhibit linear phase response out to 20kHz. As a true audiophile who expects the very best performance from his amplifiers, I don’t believe it’s too much to ask that an amplifier that deliver its rated power at full bandwidth - especially at these prices

and this is reason I have criticism of home theatre magazines measurement methods, you'll see they dont actually ever measure full bandwidth. and they dont indicate the duration any amp can supply quoted power. thats a bit silly. it generally gives benefit to amps which rely on capacitors in their power stages but dont necessarily have a rated power supply to actually sustain such outputs in real world conditions. so yeah its why I woudnt get too carried away in their measurements or read too much into them.

Edited by :) al

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Have a listen to the cambridge audio 650R. Quite nice sound, fits your budget easily, has a two channel mode.

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The key point is that under the same test conditions, the ICEpowered devices can deliver 99% of the power that they deliver in 2 channels in both 5 and 7 channels simultaneously driven. That's just downright amazing. And it's the case for the cheaper Rotel too.

The transformer PSU design AVR drops to around 70 and 65% respectively for the same tests. That's the limitation of the transformer bottleneck.

Some Class D modules use linear power supplies, unlike ICEpower which draw straight from the AC rails. Those linear PSU Class D may exhibit some of the choking we see but the effect may be ameliorated because Class D modules are more efficient and have less waste going to heat.

If you've seen the insides of something like the ICEpowered Bel Canto REF1000s you'll see the AC rails from the IEC connector go straight to the amp module. That's the architecture.

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The key point is that under the same test conditions, the ICEpowered devices can deliver 99% of the power that they deliver in 2 channels in both 5 and 7 channels simultaneously driven. That's just downright amazing. And it's the case for the cheaper Rotel too.

The transformer PSU design AVR drops to around 70 and 65% respectively for the same tests. That's the limitation of the transformer bottleneck.

Some Class D modules use linear power supplies, unlike ICEpower which draw straight from the AC rails. Those linear PSU Class D may exhibit some of the choking we see but the effect may be ameliorated because Class D modules are more efficient and have less waste going to heat.

If you've seen the insides of something like the ICEpowered Bel Canto REF1000s you'll see the AC rails from the IEC connector go straight to the amp module. That's the architecture.

Not going to get into discussing those measurements anymore as dont pay a lot of credence to home theatre magazines test conditions. Also with this discussion think a lot comes back to the configuration of the amp itself DH, is it an internal mono bloc design with its own dedicated supply or separate tap from a huge supply. have seen these even in class A/AB designs where individual power output per channel will have nothing to do with number of channels driven. can think of plenty of examples in these. comes down to the implmentation used in particular amp or avr. class D ice amps arent unique in this aspect.

for me in anycase while interested always in the tech am more than aware its the implentation that determines end result. hearing the wyred amp back to back to the belcanto ref 1000 mono blocs proved that to me especially since both share the same ice modules ! so real world performance tends to take my interest more than say base tech or specs etc. so will leave it there, I think my points have been made :)

Edited by :) al

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No doubt the ICE power can deliver power efficiently, but you still have to like the sound produced by them for 2 channel listening. I know many here are fans and that's great, but I'm not sure you could compare an AVR with a Bel Canto power amp.

To illustrate the under engineering of AVR's, I have a couple of units that bear comparison:

First is the Denon AVCA1HDA - This was Denon's top flight receiver a few years ago with an RRP of around $12K in Australia ( I bought mine in HK). It is a massive unit - it has 10 assignable power amps of 200 watts per channel and a 1.2 KVA transformer. However, it cannot not drive inefficient speakers with any authority and when any speaker's impedance temporarily drops below 6 ohms ( as many do), the protection circuits would operate and shut the channels down. I had to have it on very low levels until I bought special external transformers to present a higher speaker load to the amplifier.

I replaced that unit in my main system with pre and power amps and the differences are remarkable. But one thing I still can't figure out is that my pre-amp - Denon AVP-A1HD has 7 individual power transformers totalling 3 KVA - only for the preamp. Clearly the manufacturers know the benefit of capable power supplies but with the AVR's that's the first corner they cut, even on their very best models, and 2 channel audio suffers as a result. So does multichannel audio, but for some it seems it doesn't matter for movies.

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dont have to spend mega bucks on power amps either. have seen the locally made elektra T7 go for as low as $1200 the other day ! ok something like $1700-$1800 is more typical but 2.2kw massive power supply, 7 descrete power amps, massive heat sinks have seen it running 1 ohm loads nothing any avr will ever come close too ! Partner with a $1500 processor and think a better bet than spending on $3k and over avrs.

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To suggest that a modest AVR would be inadequate for powering the OP's speakers (which is what this thread was about) to the point of hearing damage is, unless he lives in an aircraft hangar, simply untrue. Any mainstream midrange AVR will happily handle anything he throws at it without breaking a sweat (clipping). A Pre/Power combo in this case is completely unnecessary.

If he has a very large room, replaces his Dalis with speakers that are low sensitivity and difficult to drive, and still wants to achieve reference volume levels with headroom to spare (85db baseline, 105db peaks), then a separate power amp capable of meeting those needs makes sense.

If you're just listening to music, even at a very loud level, your amp is probably putting out no more than a few watts per channel. Your power requirements will drop off even more if you're crossing over to a sub for LFE.

This is simplistic, but it's still useful as a guide: http://www.hometheat...spl-calculator/

There's a post from a user at audioholics that covers power needs pretty well:

http://forums.audioh...993-post26.html

First is the Denon AVCA1HDA - This was Denon's top flight receiver a few years ago with an RRP of around $12K in Australia ( I bought mine in HK). It is a massive unit - it has 10 assignable power amps of 200 watts per channel and a 1.2 KVA transformer. However, it cannot not drive inefficient speakers with any authority and when any speaker's impedance temporarily drops below 6 ohms ( as many do), the protection circuits would operate and shut the channels down. I had to have it on very low levels until I bought special external transformers to present a higher speaker load to the amplifier.

If your AVCA1HDA was dropping into protect mode with a six ohm load, it was almost certainly defective.

Edited by adamp

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If your AVCA1HDA was dropping into protect mode with a six ohm load, it was almost certainly defective.

No it isn't and I said it happened when the impedance drops below 6 OHMs. I don't know if it has changed recently but if you review the fine print of some of the AVR manuals, you will notice that the specs state 6 OHMS is the lowest impedance load they can drive.

But you are missing the point about the power supply and other characteristics. Firstly its not an issue of whether the AVR will just drive the speakers, it is whether it will drive them well and sound good. It doesn't have to clip to sound awful. Their inherent grainy sound combined with reduced dynamics ( due to insufficient power for transients) puts AVR's at the bottom of the pile when it comes to audio sound quality.

It would be great to have the perfect audio solution in one box but it simply is not there. It is good marketing by the manufacturers for a one box solution ( less cables etc) but it's pitched at the lowest common denominator of public expectation for an AVR to maximise sales, not to people who want the best quality sound.

But if you think they sound as good as decent stereo amps, that is great, you can save a lot of money by not noticing the differences in sound quality that other people do.

Edited by Tasso

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To suggest that a modest AVR would be inadequate for powering the OP's speakers (which is what this thread was about) to the point of hearing damage is, unless he lives in an aircraft hangar, simply untrue. Any mainstream midrange AVR will happily handle anything he throws at it without breaking a sweat (clipping). A Pre/Power combo in this case is completely unnecessary.

~

I don't think I'm suggesting he has to have a pre power setup. Infact quite the opposite. Check my posts in response to the op and will see suggestion of quite modest avr eg the nad 757 in my initial post.

It's just what happens in typical forum threads where things go way off tangent when in this case we go off talking about big monster grand daddy Avrs. which I agree are not really appropriate or necessary and why I suggested if spending over $3k it makes more sense to go separates and qualified that by saying that for many just an avr might do.

And I myself ran a $2k harman kardon avr for a decade quite happily on a 5.1 setup with mix of 4 & 6 ohm speakers. Then a $2k harman again for a 7.1 for few years hence. The $2k harmans had big power supplies the second one with 1kw of consumption hinting at its grunty supply within. I still got gains separating the load for 2 ch and adding a multich power amp. Also got gains adding a grunty sub and switching to a processor as tasso did. All suggestions people have made in this thread.

One thing in this hobby I know there's no right or wrong, just different approaches. And what someone might find for themselves might not apply to someone else in a different context. And why when sometime a year ago a friend was asking for suggestion to upgrade with an avr I suggested to him a denon 3311. He's been happy as Larry. Not looking or considering anything else very content with his choice.

And that's the thing, op just finding what's right for them. Good chance done that already, good chance left the building after reading 4-6 posts here leaving the thread to take on life of its own hehe...such are forums :D

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[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349661296' post='775158]

In denons I'd shy away from the 3313. and would go 4311 at minimum. will find that around traps.

Is there any reason you suggest that? I'm looking at the 3313 and that looks like it would provide plenty of power, while already offering plenty of features above and beyond what I need right now. What does the 4311 have over the 3313?

Any reasonable receiver would have no problems at all driving your dalis. They are not a particularly difficult load for an amplifier, and are quite sensitive speakers.

The denon 3313 would do a fine job. As would the outgoing model, the 3312, which you might still be able to pick up for ~$1k.

Independent measurements of the 3312 (US Model, but the amp is the same) can be found here:

http://www.hometheat...t-labs-measures

I'd question the cost:benefit of a pre/power combo, or a seperate 2ch pre/integrated for your particular usage needs, especially if your intent is to move to a 5.1 setup in the future.

Yeah, that's my thoughts. I guess that given I am likely to add the extra channels in the not-too-distant, I don't want to be in a position where I have to replace the receiver again.

[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349869049' post='776508]

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and thats one of the big daddy avrs I was talking about. theres other serious avrs like the denon avc that have decent power stages too. But I hardly think the op is talking stuff in that terrritory with a budget of $2k.

I also have some serious issues with home theatre magazines measurements. You can check with pioneer, the AVR in question has a max consumption of 550w. thats it. and given the size of the class D amp in it, I've not sure if you have seen it, but I've seen the amp apart. and the power amp lies in the section below, is completely separate it is exactly the same size of one of the small form factor rotel class D amps using the same ice modules. Personally I would still get a separate pre power than get a combined unit such as that. unless stuck for space or need a one box solution. amps like your wyred for sound are in another league.

[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349989527' post='777200]

And that's the thing, op just finding what's right for them. Good chance done that already, good chance left the building after reading 4-6 posts here leaving the thread to take on life of its own hehe...such are forums :D

Haha, you are pretty on the money there. This thread got away from me a bit, and started talking over my head about products well out of my range. The more I think about it, I'm back to thinking that a midrange AVR is going to do the job. Not going to rush it though.

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Is there any reason you suggest that? I'm looking at the 3313 and that looks like it would provide plenty of power, while already offering plenty of features above and beyond what I need right now. What does the 4311 have over the 3313?

Yeah, that's my thoughts. I guess that given I am likely to add the extra channels in the not-too-distant, I don't want to be in a position where I have to replace the receiver again.

~

the thing with the 3 series is denon actually took their 2 series rebadged it the 3 series. It wouldnt be my first choice for music duties. the 4311 brings better eq ability, better dacs/processing and most importantly better power stage. pretty much half the avr is just power amp :)

But all that said the 33 series avrs arent bad as such, just perhaps may not give you gains your looking for. keep in mind you can pick up 4311 either second hand or on run out very cheap. pretty much same price I'd say or cheaper than a brand new 3312/3313 just released :)

~

Haha, you are pretty on the money there. This thread got away from me a bit, and started talking over my head about products well out of my range. The more I think about it, I'm back to thinking that a midrange AVR is going to do the job. Not going to rush it though.

hehe as I thought ! lets try keep it on topic for you then :) mid range avrs around $2k mark I do believe something can take you through a lot of years.

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Does anyone have much experience with the new Yamahas like the RX a-1020 or a-2020. I suspect they are going to offer pretty good dollar value, but I don't know what they are going to be like when it comes to music performance.

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Is there any reason you suggest that? I'm looking at the 3313 and that looks like it would provide plenty of power, while already offering plenty of features above and beyond what I need right now. What does the 4311 have over the 3313?

I think I must have misunderstood your intentions. I initially thought you were asking how to get the best 2 channel sound for your budget, but it seems you are after the best AVR for the price range. In that case if you are going only for a one box solution, then the 4311 will be a better choice because it is more powerful and flexible, and it is the only AVR by Denon that is still made in Japan. But for around the same money you can get a better 2 channel sound with the 3312 and a stereo amp.

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I have used AVRs for the longest time (Denon 3301, Yamaha 1500 then 2700, Onkyo 875 and then Denon 4810) to drive my 5.1 setup without the use of external power amps but then I never really used them much for music.

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I spent $500 on a surround processor, $300 on power amp and I bet it will beat any avr for the same money.

If you really want to listen to music then why bother replacing your avr for another one? Unless of course youre looking at the arcam avr-600.

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Not meaning to hijack this thread but, just for curiosity, I have a Denon 2105 AVR (100W x 7 CH) receiver, and I am wondering how this stacks up for power and quality?

I usually run it in 7CH stereo mode when streaming from my computer.

Sometimes I run it in 'direct' mode, but then I don't get full control of bass and trebble!

Any thoughts? Maybe it could provide some advice in the area of AVRs for others, and me!

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Not meaning to hijack this thread but, just for curiosity, I have a Denon 2105 AVR (100W x 7 CH) receiver, and I am wondering how this stacks up for power and quality?

I usually run it in 7CH stereo mode when streaming from my computer.

Sometimes I run it in 'direct' mode, but then I don't get full control of bass and trebble!

Any thoughts? Maybe it could provide some advice in the area of AVRs for others, and me!

Direct mode is supposed to be the purest 2 channel sound the AVR can make but there are other factors that would make you want to use your tone controls. For example, i don't think the 2105 has the Aydyssey room equalisation software that are in the new models. That can make a substantial difference to fine tuning the sound to your room acoustics which should remove the need for bass and treble controls. Movies sound better too.

But if you sit down in front of the speakers and listen to music regularly, then doing what Hifiplus did above would improve things. significantly.

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Yes, but, and the big BUT, finances come into play!

I use '2 CH' at times and it sounds great,definately more 'pure' but I like the 'wow' factor of the 'surround stereo' most of the time. It gives a 'big' sound when I really want to crank it up!

I am not too concerned with the 'quality' of sound I am getting, given the source, room layout (including speaker placement limitations) etc.

I don't (at the moment) get enough time to sit down and focus on music regularly.

But, for what I listen to it seems to tick all the boxes (for me) at this stage. I wonder if anyone has a similar level receiver and how they 'rate' its performance!

Edited by surfpurple

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I think I must have misunderstood your intentions. I initially thought you were asking how to get the best 2 channel sound for your budget, but it seems you are after the best AVR for the price range. In that case if you are going only for a one box solution, then the 4311 will be a better choice because it is more powerful and flexible, and it is the only AVR by Denon that is still made in Japan. But for around the same money you can get a better 2 channel sound with the 3312 and a stereo amp.

Yeah, I guess that simplicity and cost-benefit is important, so I'm after a AVR that will perform well (but not necessarily perfectly) when pushing two channels. I'm new to all this, so I'm weighing up all the options.

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if you can, have a listen to an Arcam AVR300 or 350 - if ever in Brissie let me know and I'll gladly demo for you.

you may be very surprised at what 500-600 big ones buys you 2nd hand

ALW

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No it isn't and I said it happened when the impedance drops below 6 OHMs. I don't know if it has changed recently but if you review the fine print of some of the AVR manuals, you will notice that the specs state 6 OHMS is the lowest impedance load they can drive.

I don't know the specifics of your scenario, however, quite a significant percentage of loudspeakers, even those rated at a nominal 8 ohms, will dip below 6 ohms at some point across their frequency response. OP's Dalis (well, the MKI versions, anyway) have been measured to dip into 5ohms and below quite a bit. That AVR contains a good amplifier. There is no reason that a dip below 6 should trouble it at all. I'd expect it would be quite happy with most average 4 ohm loads, given decent ventilation, and no nasty phase angles when impedance is low. The warnings in AVR manuals are primarily an attempt to protect their amps from dummies.

http://www.audioholics.com/education/frequently-asked-questions/connecting-4-ohm-speakers-to-an-8-ohm-receiver-or-amplifier

http://www.audioholics.com/education/amplifier-technology/impedance-selector-switch-1

But you are missing the point about the power supply and other characteristics. Firstly its not an issue of whether the AVR will just drive the speakers, it is whether it will drive them well and sound good. It doesn't have to clip to sound awful. Their inherent grainy sound combined with reduced dynamics ( due to insufficient power for transients) puts AVR's at the bottom of the pile when it comes to audio sound quality.

There is no reason that any amplifier should have a 'grainy sound' purely because it is an AVR, or in comparison to an integrated or power amp. I'm not sure as to what you mean by 'grainy', but such a thing would be measurable if it is colouring the sound to the point of audibility. Likewise, if an amplifier can't handle peaks/transients, it will clip. This would indicate that it is not up to the task of driving that particular set of speakers at that output level.

[quote name=:) al' timestamp='1349989527' post='777200]

I don't think I'm suggesting he has to have a pre power setup. Infact quite the opposite. Check my posts in response to the op and will see suggestion of quite modest avr eg the nad 757 in my initial post.

Apologies, wasn't referring to your post specifically, just the rapidly off-topic path the thread took :)

Yeah, I guess that simplicity and cost-benefit is important, so I'm after a AVR that will perform well (but not necessarily perfectly) when pushing two channels. I'm new to all this, so I'm weighing up all the options.

The mainstream guys, Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, Marantz et. al. all offer similar features and amplifier stages for similar money (especially Denon and Marantz, considering they share platforms). Choose based on the features you need at a given price point.

If you're seriously considering the 3313, I'd also take a close look at the Onkyo 818, for around the same cost. If you are concerned about power, choosing an amp with a full set of pre-outs gives you the option to add a power amp in the future, when you expand your system.

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I don't know the specifics of your scenario, however, quite a significant percentage of loudspeakers, even those rated at a nominal 8 ohms, will dip below 6 ohms at some point across their frequency response. OP's Dalis (well, the MKI versions, anyway) have been measured to dip into 5ohms and below quite a bit. That AVR contains a good amplifier. There is no reason that a dip below 6 should trouble it at all. I'd expect it would be quite happy with most average 4 ohm loads, given decent ventilation, and no nasty phase angles when impedance is low. The warnings in AVR manuals are primarily an attempt to protect their amps from dummies.

http://www.audioholi...er-or-amplifier

http://www.audioholi...lector-switch-1

I used a centre speaker with a nominal impedance of 6 ohms ( which can drop to 4 ohms) and a sensitivity of 90 DB/W/M. At high volumes with loud peaks such as explosions etc, the amplifier - Denon's top of the line AVR - would activate a protection circuit on that channel until it was reset. It was checked out by a tech as operating within spec. My solution was to use an external purpose built transformer that showed an 8 ohm load to the amp, but 4ohm to the speaker. The point of this is do not expect AVR's to be able to handle speakers with difficult loads to the same extent as a decent 2 channel stereo amp.

There is no reason that any amplifier should have a 'grainy sound' purely because it is an AVR, or in comparison to an integrated or power amp. I'm not sure as to what you mean by 'grainy', but such a thing would be measurable if it is colouring the sound to the point of audibility. Likewise, if an amplifier can't handle peaks/transients, it will clip. This would indicate that it is not up to the task of driving that particular set of speakers at that output level.

There is every reason why an AVR will sound grainy and much worse than a good stereo amp. I don't even think the manufacturers would disagree with that. AVR's are built to a price point which has been dropping in recent times. They simply cannot build the same circuits and power supplies into them with the same components as they do into stereo or stand alone power amps. If they tried, the cost would be exorbitant for a 7 channel amp and the size and weight would be massive.

I'm not sure if you were serious about the coloration being measurable. I think you know that a standard for measuring coloration does not exist and the only instruments that count IMO ( our own ears) are more than capable of discerning differences. If you are of the opinion that the AVR's sound as good as stereo or separate amps, well you can save a lot of money by just getting an AVR.

Edited by Tasso

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http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtopic=118244

The above a recent post on another forum, and that's adding a multichannel power amp on end of a gutsy 23kg onkyo sr875 avr

And it's quite typical. Experienced the same myself some years ago where added same to grunty hk avr had at the time. Speakers were quite humble richters from the 90s.

It's the clarity, detail soundstage, envelopement even at low volume levels plus theres the great dynamic range. It's often forgotten but its not the quantity but the quality of the watts that's important :)

Edited by :) al

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