Last week I ordered a Bryston 4BSST2 as the first step in upgrading my home theatre system. My long term plan was within two years to buy a quality pre-amp to match the amplifier.

My question is about the Denon’s preamp input sensitivity and max output I can expect without clipping. From the spec sheet I believe the input sensitivity is 1.2V for teh Denon 3808.

Using the equation Gain = 20 Log (Vout / V in) I have played with some numbers and come up with a max Vout of 33.72v or 142 watts based on setting the amplifier gain to 29 dB (assuming 8 ohm load). Now I just paid nearly 6 grand for the amp, new cables and shipping so needless to say the fact that I will be clipping the output of my 3808 at 142W from the Bryston is not all that exciting news, and things get worse if I assume the 6 ohm load of the M80’s.

So looking at it the other way to cleanly drive the amp to its max power without clipping will require an input sensitivity of 1.74V at 8 ohms and 1.94v at 6 ohms.

In terms of real world performance this may not even be an issue, but I feel like I jumped the gun by buying the amp and not looking at it and assuming the denon would be sufficient for the next year or two. The other reason this may be an issue for me is I may watch movies loud but my wife blasts music. She has managed to shut my Denon down a quite a few times now by putting it into thermal overload protection mode over the last few years. Hence the new amp.

So do I have the input sensitivity of the denon correct at 1.2v?

It looks as if a new pre-amp may be on the way sooner then expected. Any decent pre-amps you can recommend 3k and below with at least 2v of input sensitivity?

Epic 80 - 500 system in 7.1
Denon 3808CI