adding separate stereo amp for better stereo sound? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-03-2005, 07:59 AM
hi, i own a Marantz SR5500 receiver and what i really want to do is to upgrade with pure stereo music listening. can i buy a separate stereo amp and hook it up with the existing marantz receiver to go inbetween my marantz and the MS502 THX front speakers? would this improve the musicality and sound quality reproduction while i am listening to stereo music through my front speakers only? pls advise..

if so, would there be any suggested stereo amp to go with it? coz im thinking of buying one with the same brand (marantz) to go with it and the MS front speakers.

12-04-2005, 07:19 PM
It's not an answer with a categorical yes or no. There are limits to how much you can stuff in to a reciever and the power amplifier is the part that has most resisted physical down-scaling. Still, the quality of the power section of modern recievers it pretty good.

However, if for any reason you need more than the "typical" cuurent or voltage receivers can gracefully provide an external amp can be helpful. Large rooms, preference for playing louder than typical, relatively inefficient, low sensativity, low impedance loudspeakers -- or a combination of the above are all contributing factors. You may also benefit by putting less demand on the reciever (i'e., it doesn't get as hot) heat shortenes the life of virtually all electronics.

To what extent all this translates in to characteristics you can hear depends on the peculiarities of you and the eqiupment. Anyway I have done just as you propose and think I am getting better listening results. In fact the last reciever I bought was bought on the basis of the signal processing and preamp functions. This let me chpoose a less expensive model since most of the additional costs of the higher price model related to power output. Quite a few people have bought recievers to use as economical pre-pro units with no intent of ever using the ampifier functipon. To bad no manufacturers (as far as I know) offer the capability to disable the power section.

12-04-2005, 08:06 PM
That is exactly what I did a year ago.

On the advice of several of the folks here, I got a receiver with pre-outs for every channel (Yamaha RXV650). From the start, I continued to use my old Carver amp. It drove the Vandersteens (inefficient) well as it handled high current loads. The Yamaha couldn't get any sound out of them. Now I am using a pair of DIY monitors, but still use the Carver. It cranks.

My latest thing is a "musical" subwoofer. Two of them, actually. I am glad I have all the pre-outs. I wanted to be able to hook up stereo subs to support the monitors and have them integrate seamlessly, the monitors fall off at mid-bass. I will be running the pre-outs for "Main L and R" to each subwoofer. My subs allow for a pass through, which I run back to the Carver. Thus, the receiver controls all the preamps, and the power amps for center and rears. The Carver powers the mains. The dual subs are each self powered. They pick up the full L or R signal, filtering at 85 Hz. Thus they are stereo. I am glad I had such flexibility. One sub is up and running, the effect is fantactic. The other is work in progress.


12-06-2005, 09:57 PM
To answer your question in very general terms, separates are usually advised to provide a cleaner sound to your speakers.


Well, as you crank up the decibel level, you are placing a larger and large demand on your amplifier. To keep distortion to a minimum, you want to use only a relatively small portion of that power so that you are staying in a range that is fairly linear in distortion and very low. The harder you work an amp, the more distortion you will introduce, especially at its higher limits.

Again, a VERY general explanation to your question.

If you have to turn your receiver up past half way most of the time you are listening to music or tv, you may very well benefit from a cleaner sound provided by a more powerful amp. Again, this is a very general guideline. Some receivers provide a VERY clean signal and plenty of power for some speaker designs that are very efficient and have high sensitivity levels.

I hope this answers your question.

P.S. I am not familiar with your receiver but if it has pre outs, it should support a separate amp. You should find this info in your manual.