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Adding Amplifier with AV Onkyo receiver

Home Theatre Systems

Subbiya

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Hi,

I did audition with many speakers like polk rti a7, KEFQ500, 550tx, T50, Elac FS78, Tannoy Mercury v7.4, Dali 5. I'm not satisfied, the reason is my onkyo 828 receiver doesn't play it well when connected with these speaker. I'm more interested in stereo amplifier because they sounded super. even with 70% and above volume, I could not feel any excitement while playing with my receiver.

So I have planned to use integrated amplifier with my onkyo receiver only for front 2 channels using pre out.

So, shall I use the integrate amplier using the pre out from my receiver for 2 channels (music) and other channels from receiver for movies.

Please suggest me a nice, low cost 2 channel integrated amplifier(min. 100w RMS). but I dont want to spend lot of amount in amplifier, since I already own my receiver. Just to amplify 2 channels from my receiver.

Thanks,
Subbiya
 

MaSh

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Hi,

I did audition with many speakers like polk rti a7, KEFQ500, 550tx, T50, Elac FS78, Tannoy Mercury v7.4, Dali 5. I'm not satisfied, the reason is my onkyo 828 receiver doesn't play it well when connected with these speaker. I'm more interested in stereo amplifier because they sounded super. even with 70% and above volume, I could not feel any excitement while playing with my receiver.

So I have planned to use integrated amplifier with my onkyo receiver only for front 2 channels using pre out.

So, shall I use the integrate amplier using the pre out from my receiver for 2 channels (music) and other channels from receiver for movies.

Please suggest me a nice, low cost 2 channel integrated amplifier(min. 100w RMS). but I dont want to spend lot of amount in amplifier, since I already own my receiver. Just to amplify 2 channels from my receiver.

Thanks,
Subbiya

Hi,

How about keeping it simple and getting a receiver from Marantz or similar brand which are known to be good at music too? I am not sure, how good Onkyo would be even if you connect a stereo amp to it. You'll have to check that out yourself.

Also, you would have to search for an amp which has separate Pre and Main amp sections. This had become a major bottle neck for me when I wanted to add a stereo amp to my receiver. Could not find many.

PS: A single thread documenting all your purchase decisions would prove more beneficial in my opinion.

MaSh
 

Subbiya

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I found these are the integrated amplifier can be connected to the AVR pre-out.

Stereo Amplifiers with Unity Gain/AV Pass Through/Home Theatre Direct Input

Below is a list of stereo amplifiers that have a unity gain feature. Well worth looking out for, as it saves the hassle of constantly changing the volume to 12 OClock when listing to surround sound sources. All the amps below, can be switched into unity gain mode, to act like a power amp. Excluded from this list are amps the merely have an external loop at the rear connecting pre and power amp sections (e.g. Nad C326). Although these amps can act as a power amplifier, cables need unplugging and swapping to switch between normal stereo mode and power amp mode, making them impractical for this use.

Arcam A18, A28 and A38 (called processor mode)
Arcam A75+, A80, A85, A90
Audiolab 8000S
Cambridge Audio 740A, 840A integrated amps and 840E preamp (each input can be configured to be fixed gain)
Cyrus 6a, 8a (by naming an inpput Cyrus AV or AV Direct)
Denon PMA 1500AE, 1510AE, 2000AE, 2010AE (called power amp direct mode)
Harman Kardon 3490, HK990 (called Processor mode)
Lector ZOE tube line preamplifier
Leema Tucana II
Naim Nait 5i
Naim NAC 252 (pre amp)
Marantz PM-7003, PM-8003
Marantz PM-KI Pearl Lite
Musical Fidelity A3.5
Musical Fidelity A5
Primare A10 (manual switch on rear)

Improving Stereo Performance of a Surround Sound Setup – Part 2 | Hi-Fi Hunter - Second hand & ex-demo hi-fi search engine

Thanks,
Subbiya
 

elangoas

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How did you manage to audition so many floor standers with Onkyo 828 :)

I own Onkyo TX NR 818 for close to 3 yrs time.. The power section of 818 and 828 are almost identical and can easily pump more than 100W RMS continuously in 8 Ohms in stereo mode.

Here is a link to your receiver capabilities Onkyo TX-NR828 A/V Receiver Test Bench | Sound & Vision

2 Channels Continuously Driven, 8 ohm loads - 147 watts

2 Channels Continuously Driven, 4 ohm loads - 204.4 watts

Which i think is more than enough to drive any of the floor standers you have listed..

In your audition, what source did you use ? What music preset was used? What was the connectivity between sources?
 

Subbiya

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May 2, 2014
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Location
Chennai, India.
Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

In cressida av zone, we used the CD player(I forgot the brand name). connected to Tannoy Mercury V7.4, first thing, When played @70% volume, it looks like why should I buy this speakers at this cost for this sound. But when connected with Stereo amplifier, i really feel the huge difference. I understood, I cannot get the same quality of amplifier in my receiver, but It looks like playing in normal speakers, I did't feel the bass of Tannoy Mercury v7.4 which has 32hz which I felt when playing through amplifier. I didn't hear it atleast 50% of the sound from my receiver. There is no warm sound, no excitement.

Later we connected from laptop.

I even connected Elac FS 78, the same thing happens there. But actually the mid was not clear in that speaker, but highs & lows were clear when heard it with amplifier.

In surroundswar, Receiver is connected with XTZ 95.44 Tower speakers, nice speaker, I can able to hear very clear highs, clean mids, bass was equal to dali's 7 when connected to amplifier. With my receiver, I kept the volume @73% even we did that audyssey microphone setup, but the sound was not warm, sounded very muddy.

Here we actually connected to blu-ray players, but the guy in surrondswar doesn't accept to play mp3 songs. He played the CD's which he had.


Thanks,
Subbiya
 

raghupb

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@Subbiya
From what you are describing, you need a 2-ch Power Amp in your set up to independently drive L/R channels. There is no point in buying an IA and using only its power amp stage.
If you are happy with AVR's performance for movies (with whatever speakers) you have or plan to buy, then adding a power amp to the system may be the solution.
One more approach is to isolate your movie (AVR) and music (IA) chains and use a "box" that will select between AVR and IA power amp stage. This box needs to support high current flow to speakers.

This is a typical music chain
Content --> Source --> (DAC) --> pre amp --> power amp --> speakers
The speakers are the most important as they are the direct interface to your ears. Choose them to your liking.
Next comes content; even though a speaker is capable of rendering say 40Hz bass freq, if your content does not have it, don't expect to hear it.
Badly recorded or highly compressed digital content will sound awful on a good chain.
After this it is Source/DAC/Amp etc that can provide incremental improvement towards overall SQ.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

elangoas

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Try using the Onkyo AVR in Pure Audio mode.. It works best for stereo.. During demo, by mistake the person could have turned on any audio preset on the AVR which can screw the listening...

Try if you can, to demo again in Pure audio mode and if you are still not satisfied with AVR's output, consider adding a USB DAC / DAC to your source and use the AVR's analogue inputs.. Should offer you much better performance than taking the power amplifier route..
 

Vinod.R

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Try B&W speakers. They usually sound amazing with Onkyo AVRs.

I am telling this from a ex sales guy - dealer perspective.
 

Subbiya

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Hi,

One important thing I need to get it clarified, I brought this receiver around 2 years back, I haven't used them till march of this year. I kept it almost 2 years idle, whether this cause any issues here. ?

Apart from that, I have listed my options here

1. Listen to other floor standing speaker and get it confirmed. if the issue is from my receiver.
2. Look for DAC to be connected from the input source.(If above doesn't work well)
3. 2 channel PowerAmp for F L/R Speakers. (If the pricing of the suitable DAC is costlier)

Thanks,
Subbiya
 
Last edited:

shibashis

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One set of speakers for both HT and stereo is often not the most practical solution, especially the way you plan to use it.
Bite the bullet if you will and have two separate setups if possible. I tried and very soon realised two different systems is the way forward.
For most it is not possible to pay same attention to both systems and one has to prioritise. I will advocate a separate stereo setup even if you have to wait a while that is the way to go.
 

Aanuj

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A home theater amp or an AV receiver that's costs Rs 2.5 lakh might sound as good as a Stereo amp which costs Rs 1 lac, rule of thumb. Most entry level or mid tier AV receivers have their work cut out ie to drive satellite or bookshelf's or moderate flrs with the bass part entirely outsourced to a Subwoofer hence the sterile playback quality in two channel. They are never meant to drive the flrs like a Stereo amp.
 

regeHA

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An AVR is never going to sound as good as the likes of a stereo receiver, integrated amp, pre + power combo, etc. Not even in direct, pure modes, etc. I know as I've a couple from Yamaha and Onkyo and integrated amps even from the likes of Marantz walk all over them.

You really need to decide what you want to focus on. If its music then spend the max you can on a pair of BS or FS, a quality DAC and a stereo amp. You can spend a small/decent amount on a mid-fi HTIB that will suffice for movies and TV. If its movies then spend the most on a quality AVR and either FS or a satellite + sub combo that will do very well for movies, and will do about 50-60% for music (in comparison to a dedicated stereo setup). You are never going to get the best of both worlds from a common setup, either music will be lacking or true surround sound 5.1 FX will be lacking.

Of course if funds are unlimited then get the best of both and have 2 setups including a home theater room, but for most folks budget and space is always a premium or a constraint.
 

krell

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Not all avrs are bad for music.some avrs walk the stereo receivers,like yamaha z9,onkyo tx nr1000.it depends on the implementation.op can use preout of two channels to conna power amp if he need more power.
 

Subbiya

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But power amp are usally costlier than integrated amplifier. I'm not able to find any of the power amp <40k. Also I spoke to one the dealer, he said not all the stereo amplifier can be used using preout from receiver, watts should be greater than receiver power.
 

Vinod.R

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Try an old Onkyo AVR 3300, it can beat many so called stereo amplifiers for power and imaging. A real balls to walls AVR with genuine power! Trust me I have heard it. Only 5 channels but what build and power!

So a stereo amplifier will beat an AVR is not always true. What about Rishi guru's famous AVR thread. He states very clearly that his Yamaha Z9 can beat many dedicated stereo amps in stereo listening.
 

Subbiya

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booked another demo on prodigi india for phase technology tower speakers(V626). let me check the sound quality. the dealer highly suggest this speakers to pair with onkyo receiver.
 

raghupb

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@Subbiya
When an amp is set to 60-70% volume, it may be entering into distortion zone.
It is not able to supply current to the demand of low resistance of speakers on certain content.
So the output may be weak, muddy, noisy, etc.

The basics of an amp-speaker combo goes like this:
  • Pre amp input to a separate power amp or to the AVR's power amp stage is a voltage
  • This is amplified to a larger voltage depending on the gain of the amp
  • When this voltage is presented to the speaker, it presents a resistance
  • When resistance dips low, to maintain the output voltage, the power supply section of the amp must be robust enough to sustain the current (clipping occurs when it cannot)
  • I = V/R is the formula to use as a general guideline
  • Many AVRs lose the plot because they do not have a beefy power supply section
  • Max Watts of an amp is not a measure of what it can do; you need to calculate the instantaneous current it can supply
  • An amp rated say 80W at 4 Ohms has a power supply section that can source 20A of current
  • Speakers generally need about 15-30 W to come alive and perform; this is based on sensitivity
All this said, you may still find speakers that will pair well with your AVR and you can throw all the above gyaan out the window :D

Happy hunting!
Cheers,
Raghu
 

Subbiya

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Hi, Thanks all for your valuable inputs.

I have planned to listen some other speakers too, but as of now what I learned is, AVR cannot produce the sound quality of IA.
I guess, these AVR are normally good for 5.1 channel setup.

My thought is to buy single pair of speakers for both music/movies (for Front L/R channels) and include surrounds, center & sub later. For this front speakers alone, I can connect it through pre-out from AVR to IA using RCA cables and rest of the speakers will be connected with AVR for 5.1 setup. All source inputs(such as CD/BD/DVD, USB) are also will be connected in AVR itself.

so, is this is the right setup. ?

PowerAmp are too costlier than IA. I'm also interesed in Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20 & Tannoy Mercury V7.4 speakers.

so, instead of creating two seperate setup, Can I go for this ?

Thanks,
Subbiya
 

raghupb

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CA Topaz SR20 does not have pre-in. It only has line level input.
Its power amp section cannot be used independently.
If you connect the pre-out from AVR to line in of SR20, you will fry it.
Cheers,
Raghu
 
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