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#310141 - 06/11/10 12:34 PM What to expect from poweramp
DreamTheater Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 92
Loc: East Haven, CT
Since I'm coming out of my 7 year stagnation hiatus and upgrading my equipment again, and the sub is taken care of now, Im thinking about going the power amp/ processor route (XPA5, UMC-1 are candidates) to replace my older (but trusty as hell) Marantz SR7400.

My questions is what can be expected from giving my axioms much more power , doing the equation I found somewhere, my power is about 70 watts all channels driven in 5.1 now (105W x 7 from Marantz) The lower model UPA5 is 125 watts all channels driven (55 watt per channel increase) while the XPA5 is yet 200W all channels. Does this really bring speakers to life, help the dynamics? Besides the obvious of getting higher, distortion free output, I'm curious how I will hear the difference.

Another plus is I can get lossless through HDMI, not the analogs Im using now. Im having some real bass management issues going the uncompressed analog route unfortunately.
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#310142 - 06/11/10 12:44 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: DreamTheater]
CatBrat Offline
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Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 6015
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
I went from a cheap Sony, rated at 100wpc to a Pioneer Elite, rated at 110wpc and the difference was like night and day. So, I don't think the wattage ratting had a lot to do with it. From what I've been seeing so far, perhaps it's the power supply that is more meaningful, but I don't know how those are rated.

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#310154 - 06/11/10 02:24 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: CatBrat]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10415
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
What equation? I would be surprised if the 7400 wasn't capable of 105W/ch all driven. I did find a review that states Marantz rated it with all channels driven:

http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/review/home_entertainment/marantz/sr-7400/221579#cb

I think to see, well....., hear any increase in SQ you would need to go with the XPA5. The minor increase in output from the 7400 to the UPA would yield minimal if any SQ benefits. The XPA5 should yield 1-2 db louder playback and be all that much cleaner/clearer while doing it.
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#310161 - 06/11/10 05:01 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: jakewash]
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1863
i have 2 krell amps and a krell processor powering my living room system, each channel is rated for 250w at 8ohm and 500w at 4 ohm... m60's and a vp150

did it make the system sound "better"? hrm. not really.... but they take balanced inputs from my processor, so there is ABSOLUTELY 0 hiss ever. even if the sound is turned to 0, there is no hiss. i think this is the biggest benefit of having the amps. besides the fact that they can give the speakers more power than they would EVER want. I have a Marantz mm9000 in my bedroom right now, and that amp uses RCA inputs, and i do get some hiss though that amp depending on the source. I use the cable music channels quite a bit, and in the living room with the Krells, there is no hiss, the audio is cleaned up by the processor and then fed to the amps.. in my bed room i have a NAD processor, and with the Marantz amp, i will get some hiss on the exact same channel.


i got my krell gear used, 2k$ for the processor ht 7.1 and about 1500$ each for the amps. the amps i got are the KAV 250a and the KAV 250a/3


i don't know how you feel about buying pre-owned stuff, but both of my amps were recently serviced and had the documentation to show what was done, and how many transistors were replaced.


another options is the Marantz MM9000 it does 160W X5 i've had mine for almost 6 years now, and still use it almost on a daily basis..


hope some of my rambling helps.

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#310164 - 06/11/10 06:03 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: dakkon]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13572
Loc: Iowa
The difference between 105watts and 200 watts is less than 3dB at reference. Will it bring them to life, they aren't already? Help with dynamics, not really. Yeah, you might gain a little headroom.
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#310167 - 06/11/10 06:14 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: SirQuack]
DreamTheater Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 92
Loc: East Haven, CT
So it seems pointless in going this route then I guess, if I want the lossless through HDMI I can get a modern receiver with the same power as my Marantz for cheaper. Or maybe I can do something externally for bass management, because there is a big difference in bass signals when I switch from analog to my fiber optic...even though I balanced the levels of all 6. It does bother me that the bass lacks when Im getting uncompressed, but maybe the whole uncompressed thing is overrated. In most tracks I hear very little difference, which is why I wondered if maybe Im missing something not supplying more power.
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#310171 - 06/11/10 07:00 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: DreamTheater]
DreamTheater Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/03/10
Posts: 92
Loc: East Haven, CT
Jake they actually rate it at 105 w per channel x 7 (8 ohms) 20Hz-20kHz at .08% THD. This is deceiving, because in reality each channel at once, going the same time, gets less. Thats why certain companies rate their receivers (Rotel RSX-1550 for example, 70 Watts/all channels driven) with that stat. That RSX could also write 105w x 5 20hz-20khz at .08% THD. It's different ways of wording it per FCC guidelines, now I remember reading it somewhere, I thought by Alan Loft actually, but I can't seem to find it now. It had ways of figuring out the all channel driven power and vica versa. If I can find it I will post it, its interesting.
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#310181 - 06/11/10 10:40 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: DreamTheater]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10629
Erik, you're not going to be "giving my Axioms much more power" unless you turn the volume up higher, possibly endangering your hearing. The all-channels driven spec is meaningless in real-world use at home, as distinguished from laboratory stress tests. You can be confident that your 7400 is capable of at least 105 watts of output(probably a bit more, since receiver power ratings are typically slightly conservative)if on a rare occasion a brief peak in one or two channels actually called for it. Doubling the maximum power output capability to 210 watts would simply mean that the speakers could play a brief peak 3dB more loudly(e.g., 108dB vs 105dB)and would be meaningless unless you actually turned it up that loud. Unused headroom is simply that: unused. So, you won't hear "the" difference because it's unlikely that there'll be "a" difference.

Getting a new receiver for more up-to-date features(e.g., Audyssey MultEQ room equalization)can be a different matter, but don't waste the money that you saved on the sub purchase by chasing an essentially meaningless power spec.
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#310183 - 06/11/10 11:37 PM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: JohnK]
dakkon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1863
the only "real" benefit to having off board power amps, is that you can just buy a new processor when new technology comes out. the off board power amps will also often have a MUCH more substantial power supply than a receiver will. if i had to guess i would guess that each of my amps weighs about 20-50lbs. somewhere in there, and 80% of that weight is the power transformer...

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#310188 - 06/12/10 08:04 AM Re: What to expect from poweramp [Re: dakkon]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 6015
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
Hmmm. There's that power supply issue I keep hearing about again. That's what got me thinking that maybe the biggest difference is in the quality of the power supply and not in how many watts the receiver is rated at.

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