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  1. #1
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    Looking for a reciever/amplifier.

    Hey people, I'm one of the new guys here, so I'll start off by explaining my situation. I recently started getting more into speaker systems, ect, and just had a few noobie questions.

    I just recently got some decent size Sony speakers, and now need to get my hands on a reciever/amplifier. Here are some of the stats for the speakers that I have.

    Rated Impedance - 8 ohms
    Maximum Input Power - 180 watts
    Sensetivity Level - 89 dB (1 W, 1m)
    Frequency Range - 40 Hz - 50,000 Hz

    There's just a few stats from the manual. I didn't know what all you needed, so let me know if you need some other kind of info as well.

    So my main question is, I'm looking for a reciever/amplifier that'll power these things fairly nicely. And would it be possible to stay in the $150 or below range? If not, then maybe some $200 models?

    Thanks in advance for your patience with my noobish-ness, haha. Looking forward to learning more about sound equipment, ect.

    --Kapow

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    RGA
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  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Consider this Onkyo 2ch receiver if all you are looking for is 2ch-

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    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I would also suggest looking on ebay ro audiogon for used Yamaha receivers since they loose their resale value very quickly when new models come out you might be able to land yourself a good Yamaha home theater receiver that cost $500 when bough a couple years ago for about the money you are looking to spend on one. RGA is right if your speakers are somewhat easy to drive and you won't use the extra dynamic capability of the 2 channel receiver then I would look at home theater receivers if you have any thought at all that home theater will interest you in the future otherwise I would just look for the best deal.

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  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the quick help so far guys. I looked over all the suggestions, and have two questions about the...

    Amazon.com: Yamaha HTR-6030BL 5.1-Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver (Black): Electronics

    I noticed it says 500 watts of total output power. Does that mean I can control how much wattage is delivered to my speakers, since it can only take 180 watts? Wouldn't want to blow my speakers or nothin'.

    Also, my other question was, once I get my speakers hooked up to it, then could it be possible to hook my PC up to it, so I can play my iTunes through it?

  6. #6
    Oldest join date recoveryone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kapow87 View Post

    I noticed it says 500 watts of total output power. Does that mean I can control how much wattage is delivered to my speakers, since it can only take 180 watts? Wouldn't want to blow my speakers or nothin'.

    Also, my other question was, once I get my speakers hooked up to it, then could it be possible to hook my PC up to it, so I can play my iTunes through it?
    Power output is rated at a peak point, not continous power, so no real need to worry about blowing your speakers and common sense will tell you in most cases that it is loud enough. Having the extra power leaves room for the dynamic passages in your music or movies. As for you computer there are several ways to connect it to a system.
    1, A straight patch cord 1/8 mini to RCA (hope you have a very good sound card)

    2, Coaxl/toslink cable if your sound card supports those outputs

    3, Bluetooth, (I know the Pioneer can support it)

    4, Turn your PC into a Media Server and stream music or videos via several different devices on the market (Sonos, Squeezebox, popcorn.........) for video its best to have a video card that supports HDMI output.
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  7. #7
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    Ok cool, well it looks like the straight patch cord 1/8 mini to RCA might be the best option for me. 'Cause as far as PC parts/soundcards and what not goes, I'm usually always updating my PC, so shouldn't be "too" much of a problem.

    Is there any way to tell if the Amazon.com: Yamaha HTR-6030BL 5.1-Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver (Black): Electronics can take that kind of cord? Or is it a pretty standard cord used for most/all recievers?

    And if someone could link one of those cords from Amazon, that'd be great. Not for sure if what I found was the right thing or not. Thanks guys.

    --Kapow

  8. #8
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Every piece of audio gear I'm aware of supports using interconnects (IC's) with male RCA connectors. Using an IC with a male 1/8" plug on one end and a pair of male RCA's on the other would work fine.
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  9. #9
    RGA
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    You can buy the adapter cords at Radio Shack (The Source).

    Watts are marketing tools that bare no real relation to sound quality or volume level. They just like to sell numbers because people know numbers and they figure more is better - kind of like mega pixels in a camera - sometimes they have relevance to quality but usually not.

    The receivers that claim 500 watts are spread over 5 channels and usually rated at 1 frequency.

    Think of the speaker as a bucket and the amplifier as a well. The bucket(speaker) is the device that requests water (power) from the well (amplifier). Speakers typically don't need more than about 10 watts. I had a demo done with speakers that were rattling the walls and the amp never had the meter go past 12 watts. And this was very very loud. Speakers were not easy to drive either.

    Volume capability is largely about two numbers - the sensitivity rating on the speaker (the 89db figure you posted). What that number means is that with 1 watt of amp power you will get 89 decibels (loudness) at 1 meter away from the speaker. 90db is considered loud.

    For every 3decibals above the 89db you will need to draw(take from the well) double the amps power.

    So it looks like this:

    89db 1 watt
    92db 2 watts
    95db 4 watts
    98db 8 watts
    101db 16 watts
    104 db 32watts
    107 db 64 watts
    110 db 128watts
    113db 256 watts (The Sony speaker says it can handle 180 watts so the max db level has been met)
    116db 512 watts
    119db 1024watts

    Other factors are at play such as listening distance - the further away you are the more power will be needed to get the level to your seat. But this is a simple way to see things clearly. 90db is loud. Most of your listening will likely be in the 65db to 85db realm which means you are not even using 1 watt of amplifier power for most of your listening.

    This is why SET amplifiers are very popular with audiophiles because the sound quality is much better but they do not have very much power - as little as 1 watt. So to play loud they buy higher sensitive speakers. My amp is 10 watts.

    They might purchases a 110db sensitive speaker

    110db - 1watt
    113db - 2 watt
    116db - 4 watt
    119db 8 watts

    With this speaker I will get the same volume level 119db with my 8 watts than some guy with the 89db speaker will get with his 1024 watt amplifier.

    In fact I will likely be able to play louder since in order for him to get the 119db level - his speaker needs to have a power handling ability of 1024 watts - and the vast majority of speakers handle less than 200 watts. So the 10 watt amp and 110db sensitive speakers will play considerably louder.

  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    ...
    For every 3decibals above the 89db you will need to draw(take from the well) double the amps power.

    So it looks like this:

    89db 1 watt
    92db 2 watts
    95db 4 watts
    98db 8 watts
    101db 16 watts
    104 db 32watts
    107 db 64 watts
    110 db 128watts
    113db 256 watts (The Sony speaker says it can handle 180 watts so the max db level has been met)
    116db 512 watts
    119db 1024watts

    Other factors are at play such as listening distance - the further away you are the more power will be needed to get the level to your seat. But this is a simple way to see things clearly. 90db is loud. Most of your listening will likely be in the 65db to 85db realm which means you are not even using 1 watt of amplifier power for most of your listening.
    ....
    Yes, this is how it works in principle. On the other hand, my speakers, which are rated at 86 dB/watt, and to which I almost never listen to at typical levels over 75 dB where peaks might be 89 dB, cannot be driven by a 1 watt amp.

  11. #11
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    If you want two channel sound this t-amp will sound better than any receivers in your price range and has plenty of power for 89db speakers.

    Dayton Audio DTA-100a Class-T Digital Amplifier 50 WPC Provides Power To Computer Speakers, Bookshelf Speakers, Headphones, And More! 300-383

  12. #12
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    Feanor,

    I drove some 83 db Aerials with a 2.5 watt SET. It was pretty good in a bedroom. The first watt contains more than 10 times the dynamic range of the second watt.

  13. #13
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Yes, this is how it works in principle. On the other hand, my speakers, which are rated at 86 dB/watt, and to which I almost never listen to at typical levels over 75 dB where peaks might be 89 dB, cannot be driven by a 1 watt amp.
    Sure it could - if the amp had a good power transformer. Just because an amp says 50 watts don't mean it's created equal - and that goes for tube amps. Granted 1 watt is pushing it I would say 5-10 is better

    And the AN Soro at 18 watts did a much better job than Bryston 7B amps at over 200 Watts on your speakers - well not your speakers but the 1.7s which is close enough. Did better than what I heard at CES too and those were the 28B jobbies

    And the Soro I never pushed beyond 1/4 of it's capability and it had more than enough power even with heavier techno trance music.

    The issue comes down to the quality of transformers - in SETs parts matter. SS maybe not so much since it seems most of them sound the same when listeners are blind - but the SS makers tend to buy the same off the shelf parts as their competiors and if the parts are the same - the sound will be the same - slapping a different logo on the front doesn't change that.

    With the planars at the listening position with low sensitivity and 4 ohm loads 1 watt isn't going to fly. The 1 watt amp (if it's a SET) often halve their output with half the impedance - which is the opposite of high current amplifiers.

    For instance - even the Sugden A21a while rated at 25 watts per channel only outputs 12-13 watts at 4 ohms.

    As UHF noted the industry got by for 40 years where most home amplifiers were between 10-20 watts and 35 was considered to be a beast. Then the bigger watt receivers came out at 125 the sound was crap and has been ever since.

    I have real problems with Magnepan owners who claim they need lots and lots and lots of power - the bloody manufacturer uses a 40 watt RECEIVER for Pete sake and receivers rarely get anywhere near their power rating. They don't seem to be under the impression you need 400 watt monoblocks like the guys on the planar forums. The reason they keep spending more on high power amps is because something about the sound quality is lousy to their ear and they believe more power will fix it - they're wrong. They need to isolate the problem which may be the room, or it may be the speakers.

    The turn it up to sound good phenomenon is pervasive with many speakers - and part of that occurs with solid state amps and LE speakers. Next time you're at an audio show - and San Francisco might be nice for you in August - go listen to a 3 watt amp and Teresonic Ingenium speakers or maybe a Silbatone if they go.

    Back to reality - the OP is never going to buy a 1 watt amp or a 3 watt amp - but 10 - 20 is more than most good speakers need - The amps I suggested all have more than enough power. SQ is another issue but at $150 there is only so much one can do.

  14. #14
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    Wow, thanks for all the great information guys! I've learned a bunch from this thread in the past day or two. And thanks RGA for breaking things down and really explaining how things work. And Poultrygeist, that two channel t-amp looks very tempting as well. Seems like a really nice unit for a cheaper price. I'll definately keep it in mind.

    Now that I know a little more on what I'm doing and getting into, I'll now be able to purchase an amp/reciever, and go from there. I'm looking forward to continuing further into the world of speakers. Thanks again for making that process a more understandable one, haha.

    --Kapow

  15. #15
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    Stay with Sony

    I have two Sony Home/Theater AVs (STR-DH710) and they are fantastic and I am a Denon lover/fan. They are discountinued models at Sony.com but you still can find them brand new in your price range. Very nice and sweet sounding with more than enough power to drive everything you have.
    I would add one Sony 100 watt active subwoofer (SA-W2500) to your speakers and I gauranteed you will be in heaven.,, $100 bucks new.

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    ...
    I have real problems with Magnepan owners who claim they need lots and lots and lots of power - the bloody manufacturer uses a 40 watt RECEIVER for Pete sake and receivers rarely get anywhere near their power rating. They don't seem to be under the impression you need 400 watt monoblocks like the guys on the planar forums. The reason they keep spending more on high power amps is because something about the sound quality is lousy to their ear and they believe more power will fix it - they're wrong. They need to isolate the problem which may be the room, or it may be the speakers.....
    I agree that kilowatt amps aren't necessary to drive Magneplanars at reasonable levels in mid-sized rooms. On the other hand I think the nominal power requirement as you listed are simplistic and understated in actual usage.

    In any case clean high-power is available for cheap, e.g.

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    Feanor,

    I drove some 83 db Aerials with a 2.5 watt SET. It was pretty good in a bedroom. The first watt contains more than 10 times the dynamic range of the second watt.
    Of course I believe you, PG. But bedroom systems are usually undemanding.

    Your example illustrate an important thing, and that is that is how loud you play is a huge, but often unmentioned factor in determining power requirements.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    At the level I occasionally listen to music, I will shut down a 40 wpc amp in a hurry with my maggies. I have already shut down an Adcom amp. I find the higher power amps to be more dymamic and effortless. Even low volume dymanics improved with a more powerful amp. I am not saying that you need a 400wpc amp but 200wpc do my 1.6's right. I will say that Maggies love high current though and it may be more important that total wpc. And trust me, the 16 guage wire that I use to use would get hot and scorch the insulation at the binding posts on my MMG's
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  19. #19
    RGA
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    Well the great thing with a no feedback SET - you can't shut them down - no matter what the speaker load is or what the sensitivity of the speaker is.

    The other nice little factoid is the lower powered variety can never blow a loudspeaker.

    If the adcom blew it would have taken the ribbons first because it would have sent high clipping distortions to the speakers - and those speakers are not at all "strong."

    The only reason high power high current would be needed would be if the speaker has sudden large impedance dips - Magnepans don't - the one great thing about them is they have a really nice easy impedance.

    The problem wasn't the power - the problem is Adcom.

    I mean why take Magnepan's word for it - they only DESIGNED the loudspeakers using their 40 watt receiver.

  20. #20
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    Without negative feedback transistors would be exploding inside the Adcom or any other solid state amp.

    Negative feedback is a necessary evil with ss and most push pull tube amps. The downside is time smear and two dimensional sound and it's a huge advantage for triodes which require no negative feedback.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The 226 wpc high current adcom shut down in safe mode on a very dynamic passage. The speakers did fine and have fuses that blow to protect them. RGA, I am not arguing that 40wpc can't drive the Maggies but to get the most out of them, they seem to do better with more power and current, at least in my system. And I doubt that Magnepan currently recommends a 40wpc amp for their MG 20.7's and 3.7's. If you go to their web site they kind of hedge on power requirements. They say that they have a pair of maggies in their lobby driven by a 35wpc receiver. I have been to their factory a few times as I live 20 min away. The speakers are a pair MMG's driven by an old Proton receiver.

    Magnepan also hints at using a high current power supply for their speakers. Something that can double the wpc at 4 ohm from 8 ohm's.
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  22. #22
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    Without negative feedback transistors would be exploding inside the Adcom or any other solid state amp.

    Negative feedback is a necessary evil with ss and most push pull tube amps. The downside is time smear and two dimensional sound and it's a huge advantage for triodes which require no negative feedback.
    Here we go again, eh. Solid state amps are not inevitably time-smeared and two-dimensional. (Mind you, I have owned a couple that were, e.g. my old Phase Linear 400.) I can site class D amplifiers I've owned which delivered stellar transparency.

  23. #23
    jdl
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    I agree with the post in regards to the myth that Magnepans take a lot of power but do understand it is because of there really old line did require some gutt/power to play well in all listening ranges.
    `jdl

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  24. #24
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Here we go again, eh. Solid state amps are not inevitably time-smeared and two-dimensional. (Mind you, I have owned a couple that were, e.g. my old Phase Linear 400.) I can site class D amplifiers I've owned which delivered stellar transparency.
    But they sound 2D compared to a good SET. Yes some SS is better than other SS but that's not pou;trygeist's or my point.

    I like Terry's (soundhounds) view on these things since I agree. "It's quite good" - pause "for solid state."

    Like you note you owned those problematic SS amps - and yes there is better and worse SS. But a "so called" transparent SS amp that is also organic (3D) by SS standards may offer a 20-30% improvement of mediocre middle of the road SS amps. Usually the price to get that marginal improvement is idiotic. When a decent SET waltzes in at two to three times better - or so much better than "you can't go back" And it doesn't cost a dime more to get it. It may be that you have to replace your speakers to get it but...

    To me SS is something you buy if you are unwilling to put up with a SET or you simply must own hard to drive speakers. The former makes sense because they do use up electricity and tubes are a pain - less features are a pain. The latter isn't a good reason since there is no good reason to own a tough to drive loudspeakers.

  25. #25
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovatoj@msn.com View Post
    I agree with the post in regards to the myth that Magnepans take a lot of power but do understand it is because of there really old line did require some gutt/power to play well in all listening ranges.
    I hadn't considered that - further it seems to me that Magnepan is said to be a "it plays better at louder levels" kind of product which means you would have to push the amp harder.

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