Better Power =Better Sound???


New member
Username: Calzapper

Post Number: 1
Registered: May-05
I've decided on the Yamaha RX-V Series for my reciever, but the sales person says that half of the quality, particularly in Yamaha products lies not in the features, but in the amp and power supply. He states the RXV 657 "sounds like crap" compared to the RXV 1500. He also says the THX rating of the RXV1500 is due in large part to the "cleaner" amp/power. Am I being upsold or does this make sense?

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 490
Registered: Oct-04
I would agree with that assessment, with many makers of receivers the difference in quality is quite disparant between the lower end models compared to the higher end models by the same manufacturer. The RXV1500 is quite a good bargain for the price, especially when compared to many other receivers at the same price point. The two receivers have quite a similar feature set, the 1500 does have better build quality and components.

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3749
Registered: May-04

I never could understand why a salesperson would want to call a product crap in front of a customer. Particularly if the salesperson is selling that product. (I know Yamaha's policy about merchandising requires the dealer carry all receivers.) Most particularly if the customer (or someone within earshot) is considering that product. It insults the client's taste to disaparage a product they consider good quality. And it implies the salesperson is the only one who can determine what is good quality. That's a lousy way to sell audio products.

That said - Power supply is 95% of what will make an audio product sound good and hopefully have some longevity. If the manufacturer cares enough about the power supply to design and build it well, then the chance they have done the same with the rest of the product is pretty good. Why? Because most people don't understand the power supply and it is very difficult to demonstrate or show the client what a good power supply amounts to. If it utilizes a unique transformer design such as a toroidal transformer or a dual power supply split between the channels that is an indication of the cost the designer implied to the design. If there is better shielding around the transformer or larger (or more) power supply storage capacitors there is an indication of quality. More stages of regulation would be ideal for a "better" power supply. But most of those features of a power supply come along with the additional power the receiver can deliver, so don't be swayed by a simply "look-see".

All this means don't let the salesperson talk you into something that can't be demonstrated to your ears. Saying a power supply is better is easy, proving it is quite difficult. If the salesperson knows what a good power supply is, then there should be indicators that can be pointed out to the client. The salesperson should not be allowed to just say the power supply is better. And, besides, better than what?

You would hope the more expensive amplifier would have a better power supply; that is a large portion of what you are paying for in an audio product. It would be ideal if a 50 watt amplifier had the power supply required of a 150 watt amplifier. But that won't happen in the cost competitive world of HT receivers. The question is; what is required to do the job to your satisfaction? A large, well built power supply will handle large peaks in volume and complexity with more aplumb than a lousy power supply. That doesn't matter too much to the person listening to chamber music at low volume or with very efficient speakers. If you listen to loud complex music, then that is important to you. If your speakers demand a large voltage and current drive from the amplifier, the power supply is very important to you.

The more expensive amplifier very well might have a better power supply, but it also has more features that you may never use. This is particularly true when discussing Japanese manufacturer's lines and most particularly true of a Yamaha. Yamaha has always loaded their top receivers with lots of features that you are going to pay for. If they are of use to you, that is one thing. If they are useless to you, that is another matter. At one time (many, many years ago) the virtue of a Yamaha product was they were built to a sound standard not a cost standard. At that time, any Yamaha receiver from the lowest priced to the top of the line had the same Yamaha sound. That isn't true today and hasn't been for quite a while.

Still, the lower priced receiver may be all you really need. And the power supply on the lower priced product may be more than sufficient for the receiver it is powering. That should be the question you need to determine for yourself. If the salesperson is so certain the lower priced receiver sounds like crap, let the salesperson demonstrate the quality of the higher priced receiver to your satisfaction. Take in a few CD's you know well and possibly the speakers you use (or pick something that will show the difference in the store). Call the salesperson and make an appointment to spend some time listening. Have the two receivers where they can be switched easily in a quiet room, not the large sales floor. Spend the time you need to make the decision based on what you hear. If you can't determine the difference, then buy what suits your budget and save some money for another product or some music. Even if you walk out with the lower priced receiver and decide after a week that you made a mistake, the store should allow an exchange without penalizing you. If the salesperson won't allow this demonstration or the exchange privilege, and wants you to simply take the higher priced product based on a recommendation, then you should shop at another store. Maybe you won't end up with a Yamaha receiver, but you will probably end up with a product better suited to your needs.

If the lower p

Silver Member
Username: Claudermilk

Post Number: 126
Registered: Sep-04
Wow, that was a nice complete explanation Jan. Thanks for the education. I definitely agree with your last statements--if the salesman/store won't work with you, walk.

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3750
Registered: May-04

Several threads have touched on the THX certification and how or why it may be useful or may just be marketing on the part of the manufacturer and retailer. To be fair, THX cert is a useful tool when constructing a dedicated home theater. Manufacturers pay a chunk of money to get their products THX certified. This cost is passed on to the consumer and should be seen as a surcharge if the actual THX requirements are not that important to you in your system. On the other hand they should be seen as a guarantee of absolute performance if you are constructing a dedicated THX home theater. But THX cert by itself will not mean the product is necessarily better for any one individual's needs if they are not seeking a full THX system. Here are the THX requirements in short form for an audio product:



* Mid-band reverberant field pink noise <+/-4dBC between any two seating positions
* No audible distortion playing program material at 115dBC
* Background noise <=NC22
* At least four surround speakers, two side and two back


The most important requirement for most systems is the SPL requirement at 115 dB on a constant basis. This of course can be achieved with little wattage if the speakers are very efficient. However, most THX certified speakers are not that efficient. This implies large amounts of voltage and current that can be delivered to the speakers uninterrupted for long periods of time. Not just peak power level but on a near constant basis. Not many people will actually require that SPL for that amount of time. Here's a chart which will give you an idea of how loud is loud:

THX certification can mean a lot of things, but it does not always mean there isn't another product which will easily suit your needs. In the regard to which this thread is addressed, the SPL requiements of THX cert will definitely mean a well built power supply. on/


New member
Username: Calzapper

Post Number: 2
Registered: May-05
Thanks to all for the excellent feedback. Perhaps I should have provided a bit more information on my original post. This system will be powering a 7.1 setup with Ascend Acoustics 340's as fronts and center; 4 Ascend 170's for surround, and an Energy 12.3 sub. The system will get 1 1/2 hours use on MTV every afternoon, followed by cartoons, then later in the evening a sitcom and news shows like Dateline etc. Probably 2 CD's and 2 DVD's tops a week. The room is extremely bright with big windows, large openings, a hardwood floor, and high ceilings. Based on the feedback so far, I think its best to spend the extra $200 bucks on the RX-V1500 and have no regrets.
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