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How much power do I need?

 

davis
Unregistered guest
I'm trying to buy an av receiver for HT. Have Vandersteen speakers (2Ce's - 86 dB sensitive - in the front, VLR's for rear, V2W sub and their center channel). The room is 21 x 28, and is half sun room and half family room, each 21 x 14. HT will be in the family room. Movies to music ratio is about 50/50. I've read some other threads indicating the power numbers of certain manufacturers is about as reliable a campaign promise in New Hampshire these days. I have looked and listened to Rotel, both the 1055 (70 watts) and 1065 (100 watts). Local dealers also sell Arcam, Integra, Pioneer Elite, Yamaha and Denon. There is no NAD dealer in my area for comparison and, buying one from an outside dealer would be a problem if warranty service were ever needed. I'm willing to spend up to $2000 if necessary. I'm hoping this will be the last receiver I buy and therefore would like it to be as flexible as possible so that adding an HD TV or HD DVD in the future won't be a problem. Any thoughts on the best receivers for my situation and how much power I'll need would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 121
Registered: 12-2003
Davis: Nice main speakers! You are going to need to give them power though. You won't want a whimpy receiver at all. Especially since they are 86dB efficient (probably echoic), they need more power to drive than more efficient speakers (they're more like bookshelf-type efficiency). The efficiency in no way says they're bad spekaers... nor cheap!

So, most of the line you write about in your message are true (mostly) to their power ratings. You are probably going to want an amplifier that's rated as leest 100W/channel (continuous with all channels driven). I'm just guessing though. This is because of your room size and speaker efficiency. I also don't know how loud you want to get.

Of your selection, this means the Rotel 1065, Probably the Elite 47txi (if you could, get the 59txi, but it's $3K). H/K 7200, Integra 7.4/8.4, Yamaha, Denon 4802... so many to chose from. Of course, the NAD 773 is also one of those that may do nice.

I haven't heard the Vandersteens so I don't know about their matching with any of the receivers mentioned. If I had that speaker setup, I'd may be looking at separates... but I can't afford separates until I mortgage the house! :-) Man Vandersteen and Parasound (Halo) would go nicely in my home.
 

New member
Username: Unicronwmd

Post Number: 51
Registered: 12-2003
Here is my opinion, I say get the Yamaha RX-V1400 but try to get it from a dealer near you for about $700. Then I say shop around for a SOLID 5 channel amp for $1,300 or 7 channel amp if you can afford it.

If you get the 5 channel amp, you can use Yamaha's pre-outs for the 5 front channels and let the Yamaha's amp power the 4 rear surround speakers.

The reason I say 5 front speakers is because Yamaha has 2 front surround speakers for their "enhanced" sound modes. If you have a wife, this might be a bad idea. 9.1 speakers in one room might be too much for her or even you.

Anyways, good luck and let us know what you do.
WMD
 

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 122
Registered: 12-2003
wmd: I didn't think of that... I hinted at separates, but, you're right. A nice amplifier (wich descent power) is going to be a better match... just get a cheap processor (surround sound receiver) as the pre-amp.
 

davis
Unregistered guest
To clarify, I have just 2 rear speakers. Also, I'm a techno-idiot so I'm not sure going with components would be my first choice. That would be a tough sell to the Mrs. anyway. If my set up requires a full 100 watts per channel continuous, I'm going to have to spend some serious money as I have learned that more watts means more bucks. Do the receiver manufacturers list the continuous power per channel so I can compare apples to apples wattage-wise? If not, how do I get that information?

I see where Rotel and Denon recently announced new models. The Rotel 1056 ($1300) will have 75 watts and 1067 ($2200) will have 100 watts and the Denon 3805 ($1300) will have 120 watts per channel altho I don't know if any of those are continuous.


 

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 123
Registered: 12-2003
Davis: understood. We were trying to convey that you need a receiver/amplifier that REALLY delivers 100W per channel. There are a handful of manufacturers which inflate their numbers, so we were warning you (i.e. the Sony STR-DE995 is listed as 110W x 7... it barely does 50W x 7).

The main point is that generally, you only want to be using half your amplifier's rated power because that's where the amplifier is going to have the least amount of distortion (nearly immesurable). When you get closer to the rated operation, then you get to the published distortion percentage (commonly listed as THD). While the numbers are very very low, 1% THD is where your amplifier runs into problems... although YOU can't hear them. :-) Also, when you need to increase the volume or the amplifier/receiver needs to handle a very dynamic sequence of audio, it has the extra power to handle it without problem... this is called head-room.

So, regarding apples-to-apples... because of how the different manufacturers measure their power output, you can't really. You can't compare the H/K AVR-525 (rated 70W x 7) to the Sony STR-DE995 (rated 110W x 7)... the H/K is far superior and actually can put out 70W with all channels driven. The receivers you listed, however, don't have this comparison problem.

I like the Rotel 1067... Rotel doesn't play around with their power specs. You know what... I might wait and see what the price on the Rotel 1065 does. It was originally $1999 (USD/MSRP) and surely can be had for less once it's replacement (1067) arrives... maybe April???
 

davis
Unregistered guest
Wow, great information and in terms I can understand. Are the Denon and Yamaha power ratings per channel continuous for all 5 speakers or do they fall into the suspect category? If they're legit, and I'm kinda doubting it, the new Denon 3805 might be good value for me, assuming the sound is good?
 

New member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 124
Registered: 12-2003
Davis: Denon and Yamaha are, mostly, accurate with their power ratings. Denon rates them okay, but they are not 100%... for example, the Denon 5803 is rated 170W x 7 but testing showed it at 118.2 x 7 (138 x 5) before clipping or THD > 1.0%. Yamaha has similar problems, but the worse offenders has been Sony (not the ES line) and Kenwood.

I forgot to mention earlier. A amp/receiver with 40W/channel is usually adequate for most home theater settings given speaker efficiency and room size. Given YOUR speaker efficiency of 86dB and YOUR room size (21x28) you'll need more power than the "average" HT person. Hence, the suggestion for at least a 100W receiver/amplifier... of course, one which can actually deliver it!
 

New member
Username: Unicronwmd

Post Number: 52
Registered: 12-2003
Yamaha and Denon both produce half of their full wattage in all 7 channels driven. This is why I suggested you buy a powerful amp too. Your low sensitivity speakers need a lot of watts in your big room.

Here are a few to think about. I'd buy the last one if I had that kind of money:-)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3070652139&category=14973

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3072480918&category=14973

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3073169313&category=14973
 

New member
Username: Gdawg

Post Number: 64
Registered: 12-2003
Davis,
Heres a VERY helpful link, and should be a good help to you.

http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Hollow/3401/ratevsac.htm

That is a chart from Sound & Vision magazine showing "True" power per channel.

The Rotel amp Unicron WMD suggested(bottom link), would be an AWSOME choice. You could just use a cheap pre-amp with it like a Kenwood 7070A or simalar receiver. That combo would defintaely do the trick, however, if you did I would have to recomend upgrading the receiver to a good pre-amp later to compliment the Rotel.

If you use ebay, look for a Kenwood Basic M2A, they are powerful. Rated at an honest 220wpc, they would power your speakers nicely.

What receiver/power amp were you using before?

G.DawG
 

davis
Unregistered guest
G.DawG: Great site. Thanx!

I am presently using a Denon AVR2500.

I must admit I don't know what a pre-amp is or how it fits in with an HT system... My objective is to play music and watch movies. We have never done any recording with our VCR. So, I was hoping to buy a receiver to handle everything we need. It sounds like the pre-amp way involves components which apparently make for better sound. I definitely need "HT for Idiots". The Vandersteen dealer told me 100 watts per channel would be sufficient to drive the speakers so I was posting here to see if that was accurate because of the higher price point for a "true" 100 watt receiver.
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