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#154401 - 12/25/06 09:27 AM Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sound?
ravi_singh Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1351
Loc: Montreal
Hi everyone,

I'm currently driving my M80's with a Denon 1602 (about 5 years old, paid $600CAD for it, gives about 70wpc into 8ohms x 5, or 90wpc into 6 ohm x 5).

I am considering upgrading my receiver this year, but am wondering if it is really worth it.

In your experience(s), will I actually get better sound by upgrading to a better amp? I don't listen too loud, and my listening room is small (about 20 by 12).

Thanks for the advice, and happy holidays!

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#154402 - 12/25/06 03:07 PM Re: Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sound? [Re: ravi_singh]
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3191
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Hey Ravi,

It kind of depends on whether you just run your M80s in stereo only, no subwoofer, and, if you do that, how loud you run them. If the latter scenario, do you currently hear any sounds of strain or congestion using your Denon at loud playback levels?

If not, I doubt very much whether you'd hear any difference at all with a larger 2-channel power amp (using your Denon's pre-outs for the M80s) or even a larger AV receiver.

If, in stereo, your current Denon sounds a bit flabby in the low bass, a larger power amp might yield "tighter" bass, but in your smallish room, I doubt it.

Of course, if you're inclined to experiment with a vacuum-tube amplifier, you might hear quite pronounced differences. What differences you'll hear are quite unpredictable because of the impedance interaction of the M80's impedance curve with the output impedance of the tube amplifier, which is never flat. And whether you'd like or dislike those differences, you'd only find out by trying it. Plus there is the aspect of agreeable musical "clipping" of a tube amplifier, which some listeners like and others do not.

Other aspects of tube amplification that are less agreeable include sometimes audible background hiss and hum, frequency response anomalies that you may like (or find annoying), and deteriorating and changing performance as the tubes age.

Best wishes for the new year. . .

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#154403 - 12/25/06 07:53 PM Re: Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sou [Re: alan]
ravi_singh Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1351
Loc: Montreal
Alan, what are you doing responding to me on xmas day! You work too hard, mate

But thanks for replying.

I use the M80's without a sub. I sometimes feel the bass is... not flabby, but maybe a tad weak. Also, at loud volumes, I find a certain lack of effortlessness that I hear in other speakers (Dynaudio and Totem Acoustics, namely), and I'm not sure if it's the amp or the speakers.

I also have the potential to sell my integrated Denon to a family member for $300, and purchase a used, much higher end for about $800, so I figured a $500 expense for improved sound and dynamic headroom would definitely be worth it, but wanted others' feedback first.

Yours has definitely helped and I will keep this in mind.

Thanks again, and happy holidays!

Ravi.

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#154404 - 12/25/06 10:07 PM Re: Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sou [Re: ravi_singh]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13341
Loc: Iowa
These other speakers you are referring to, are you listening to them in the same position in your home as your Axioms, driven by the same receiver? Or, are you listening to them in a different environment? Room acoustics/environment can play a big difference in sound outcome. So if your not doing AB tests using the same criteria, you will experience different results.
_________________________
M80s-VP180-QS8s-EP600-2xEP350 Denon3808 Outlaw7700
M22-OWM22-VP100-Denon2805
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#154405 - 12/26/06 08:53 AM Re: Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sou [Re: SirQuack]
ravi_singh Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1351
Loc: Montreal
Unfortunately I am not listening in my room with my electronics. I would very much like to, however, as I am aware of these very valid points you have made.

I am considering looking for a Totem dealer here in Montreal that will let me take a pair or two home, just out of curiosity.

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#154406 - 12/26/06 08:17 PM Re: Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sou [Re: ravi_singh]
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3191
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Ravi,

I might well ask what are you doing on Christmas day posting questions about amplifers, Totems, Dynaudios and the like?

You know how these festive occasions go: I've checked out new gifts, consumed too much food, been brought up to date on relatives, and the boards are always a diversion.. .

More dynamic headroom is always worthwhile, and the elusive "effortless" quality you heard in other auditions might well be attributable to those systems being driven by much larger cleaner amplifiers.

Of course, I can't help but comment on the psychological expectation any of us have when we audition new speakers or equipment. We expect to hear something different, and it's very easy to convince ourselves that we are hearing something different or "effortless", especially if we know the price or brand names of the products being auditioned. Totem and Dynaudio speakers are generally well designed and much more expensive than Axioms, so the expectation is there. . .

It would be interesting to put the M80s and the Totems or Dynaudios you heard in the same room driven by the same amplifier, and use a switcher labeled A and B and then see if you could easily distinguish between the two sets (it would be great to conceal them behind an acoustically transparent curtain) and see if one pair seemed more effortless than the other.

My Boxing Day comments. . .

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#154407 - 12/26/06 08:42 PM Re: Driving M80's with a stronger amp - better sou [Re: alan]
ravi_singh Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1351
Loc: Montreal
Alan,

I definitely do want to audition these speakers in my living room, to see if I can actually hear a difference in my room, on my electronics. I have to admit, the Axioms I heard were on 10k of electronics, and the Dynaudio's were probably on something close to $5k-$6k, and both in different rooms.

My main reason for asking was that I heard both these speakers within a week, and was rather pleased with what I heard. It may just be psychological, it may be the room, it may be the electronics (I did hear the exact same songs on them), but, I always have to wonder, it may be that the speakers just have a certain sound that pleased me.

I am also considering asking these stores if they are interested in having my M80's in their store to go up against these more expensive speakers using THEIR expensive equipment and listening rooms, and then seeing the result

Happy holidays, and happy listening!

Ravi.

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