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Help out a total idiot nOOb

 

Unregistered guest
I just bought a RCA 300W 5.1 surround speaker set because it was incredibly cheap. Now I'm looking for a sub-$200 receiver for it. Most receivers I've looked at are 100W per channel. Would one of those receivers be too much for my speaker set to handle? I'm completely new to this HT thing and there's a good chance I would upgrade to better speakers in the future.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 140
Registered: Oct-04
All receivers are rated at 100W, it's a marketing gimmick. Testing methods vary and a lot of receivers inflate their ratings.

Any receiver you can buy for less than $200 new won't overload the speakers.
 

Unregistered guest
Ok, that's good...I guess. So if they're not *really* 100W receivers, what are they? How can you tell how good they are (just by looking at specs anyway)?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 141
Registered: Oct-04
Normally a good receiver will have a rating of:
100W @ 0.07% THD, 20Hz -- 20kHz into 8 ohms

A good surround receiver will rate this across all channels driven. 100W per channel is the power at which the signal starts to distort.

First trick used is to adjust the testing tone, meausuring the power with a 1Khz tone. Lower frequencies require more amplifier power to reproduce.

2nd trick is to measure one channel at a time. Large debate around this one since actual use rarely drives all channels to their limit at once. IMO an all channels driven spec definitely shows the quality of the power supply and heat sinks.

3rd trick is to rate the receiver at a higher distortion rating like Sony. Sony measures their regular receivers at 3% THD and their ES line at 0.15%.

Finally, the way the actual data is read can play a part in the power rating. Harman Kardon for example measures their power reference level as soon as the line starts to curve, lowering their rating further than any other receiver.
 

Unregistered guest
Ok, thanks for explaining that to me, Kano. Let me ask one more thing. Given my speaker setup, what under-$200 receivers would you recommend?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sinkdrain

Post Number: 86
Registered: Aug-04
For around $200 I don't think you can do much better than a Panasonic SA-HE100

http://pcworld.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=600751
 

Unregistered guest
Can I use a 6.1 surround receiver with a 5.1 set of surround speakers?

The Panasonic looks nice, but it's a little more than what I was planning to spend. Any more suggestions in the $150-200 range?
 

Unregistered guest
I should also mention that my subwoofer is unpowered, just speaker wire inputs. Is that going to affect my choice of receiver?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 143
Registered: Oct-04
You can do 5.1 with a 6.1 receiver, just disable the rear centre in the receiver's speaker control.

Unpowered subs - I'm not sure which receivers do them justice, you're better off running a pre-out to a monoblock amp if you see yourself keeping the sub, either way I wouldn't let that steer the direction you go in receiver choice.

The sub will sound like garbage with a $200 receiver hooked up to it, since I picture you getting around 30-40W per channel.
 

Unregistered guest
The top ones I've been looking at are the Sony STR-DE597 and the Pioneer VSX-D514-S. I'm also considering the Panasonic above. What is your opinion on these, given my setup?
Thanks again for all the help!
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 144
Registered: Oct-04
I'd take the Pioneer for the sound, but the Sony may be a bit more powerful in Stereo mode.
 

Unregistered guest
One more thing-
From looking at pictures of the back panels on those receivers, they don't appear to have speaker wire hookups for the subwoofer. Is there some trick to hooking up an unpowered subwoofer to these or do I need to be looking at other models?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Shantao

Post Number: 71
Registered: Apr-04
bhoops;

the unpowered sub... does it have 2 wires coming out of it, or, does it have a line in and line out (in from the receiver and out to the speakers?

My suspicion is that it has 2 simple thin wires that go to the receiver, as many inexpensive HT sets use, and in that case, I do not know what you can find that will do that.
 

Unregistered guest
It just has a + and - labeled "input."

The speakers were part of a HT in a box, but minus the combo receiver/dvd/vcr, because of a factory screw up. That's why they were really cheap.

So, does this mean I'll have to buy a new sub, or does anyone know of anything that will work with this?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 147
Registered: Oct-04
https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/111427.html

It's possible to hook it up to the receiver, but all-in-one sound systems have a seperate amp for the subwoofer for a reason, it usually outputs more power than to all the speakers combined.

I'd leave it out for now, it will sound terrible sharing a channel on a low end receiver.
 

Unregistered guest
Well I'm thinking I'm just going to start over and sell these speakers on eBay, and then look for a nice HT in a box. I now feel like I know what to look for, so thanks for all the help.
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