7 Channel Speaker amps
Jun 5, 2015 at 9:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

EthanHarte

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Posts
36
Likes
11
I have a decent sound system that has been passed down from my father. Its a set of the Klipsch Reference RB-81. Its the bookshelfs along with the center, two surrounds, and a Velodyne subwoofer. I am powering them with a Pioneer Elite VSX-40 A/V Receiver via Digital Optical from my Asus Xonar Essence STX soundcard.
I have had these for a few years now and would like to upgrade. My best guess is to upgrade the receiver. I heard that it is better to get an amp that is meant for just audio instead of getting an A/V receiver because you will get more for your money if you do not plan to use the video part.
The main problem I have is I do not know where to look for an amp. Any good forums like this one but for speakers? Any recommendations?
I would like to note that I do have a record player and would like to be able to hook that up to the amp as well. I guess that could limit my options?
 
I look forward to seeing what you recommend,
Ethan Harte
 
Jun 5, 2015 at 10:18 PM Post #2 of 6

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,240
Likes
3,050
Location
Manila
Originally Posted by EthanHarte /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 

7 Channel Speaker amps

I have a decent sound system that has been passed down from my father. Its a set of the Klipsch Reference RB-81. Its the bookshelfs along with the center, two surrounds, and a Velodyne subwoofer. I am powering them with a Pioneer Elite VSX-40 A/V Receiver via Digital Optical from my Asus Xonar Essence STX soundcard.
I have had these for a few years now and would like to upgrade. My best guess is to upgrade the receiver. I heard that it is better to get an amp that is meant for just audio instead of getting an A/V receiver because you will get more for your money if you do not plan to use the video part.

 
 
OK, first: why seven channels? You said it has the following:
 
bookshelf speakers, which I assume to be the mains: 2 speakers
center : 1 speaker
two surrounds : 2 speakers       
Total : 5 speakers
 
Did you mean it has two pairs of surround speakers?
 
 
Second...you can't just upgrade that receiver to a seven channel amplifier by replacing it. Why? Seven channel amplifiers are pure power amplifiers - no preamplifier stage, no processor. These are meant for serious home theater applications where for example your room is just too large that you get to audible distortion if not clip the amplifier inside the A/V receiver (if not outright clip the output), so you just use separates. Note that in many cases you can still get to undistorted output levels and it would still be loud enough to be heard from outside, especially with efficient speakers like Klipsch. Some A/V receivers  have analog outputs from the processor section that bypasses its own internal amplifier but still passes through its preamp that allows you to control the volume; and while you could for example use the 5.1/7.1ch line outputs from a soundcard, but that also means that changing the volume level means pressing on the keyboard or clicking at the icon on the corner then moving the slider with the mouse. Not a very convenient solution.
 
As for the A/V receiver vs integrated amplifier quality, that depends. HT receivers used to have really crappy amplifier stages designed for and specs listed for a wider audience with less understanding of audio. They would quote for example "165watts, 7channels" but in the fine print it was "165watts, one channel driven," so with all five or seven channels running the actual output is around 40wpc. Add to that how, back in those days, the cheap A/V receivers would be around $450, while integrated amps can be had for the same money and they probably have a power supply the same size. These days however you can get HT receivers with more realistic power ratings and amplifiers with discrete channels - meaning separate circuits for all of them, and possibly each has its own set of power capacitors, for around $299, and $199 some time after next year's model is about to be replaced by the next one. Integrated amps by contrast only got smaller, or if they got new features, it would be things like network access (they can access content on an NAS and use a tablet as a remote just like the HT receivers, negating the need for CDPs and DACs or a nearby computer as transport); sure, the amplifier circuit is likely still a lot better, but in some cases you might not drive the HT receiver loud enough to get too much distortion. And then there' the processor - anyone who wants to use a subwoofer would benefit from an HT receiver since they run the signal through their DSP chips, and then shave off the frequencies too low for the mains and those too high for the subwoofer, depending on how low your mains can go.
 
Let's think of your system design from another perspective: what kind of system do you want, exactly? Do you really need the surrounds, or do you want a focused 2ch system? If it's the latter then you can always go with larger speakers to minimize the need for a subwoofer, and given a more focused system,  there are ways to keep the system simple enough to operate (although set-up might not necessarily be in case you use headless audio servers). If you need the surrounds for gaming for example, no need to worry about the sound quality and current delivery - you'd be too focused n other stimuli on the game (dodging, shooting, giving orders, etc) you won't be able to notice that the gunshots don't sound as crisp as in that other system a friend had that used separate Acurus processor and power amplifiers (not to mention your room might not be large enough to warrant such equipment). Look up whatever they have on Amazon right now made by Onkyo, like the NR-535.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jun 5, 2015 at 10:57 PM Post #3 of 6

EthanHarte

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Posts
36
Likes
11
Hey thanks for the reply. I forgot to mention that I have two surround backs as well making it a 7.1ch.
The setup that I want is one that will make listening to music most enjoyable. To me that would mean most realistic (kinda like sitting at a concert). I just love when I am listening to a live album and I feel like I am in the crowd (I dont just listen to live stuff though). That would be a benefit of the surrounds, right? They would widen the soundstage.
With that in mind, would upgrading the receiver be your recommendation or should I be focusing on upgrading some other equipment (soundcard maybe)?
 
Jun 5, 2015 at 11:26 PM Post #4 of 6

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,240
Likes
3,050
Location
Manila

The setup that I want is one that will make listening to music most enjoyable. To me that would mean most realistic (kinda like sitting at a concert). I just love when I am listening to a live album and I feel like I am in the crowd (I dont just listen to live stuff though). That would be a benefit of the surrounds, right? They would widen the soundstage.

 
Actually, soundstage and crowd immersion are two different things. Let's think about this for a moment: if you're in a concert, where are the performers? Think of a small jazz club for example - stage in front, vocalist, sax, piano, double bass are all in front. They don't sit all over the floor, the same way you have two stereo speakers. Even in a huge stadium concert where you have speakers away from the stage they aren't pointed inward at the entire audience, they're aimed at the rear to project the sound towards the poor schmucks who are standing at a safe distance from the mosh pit. The vocalist can dive into the crowd with his mic, but the sound still comes out of the speakers in the same location as they were in before he dived.
 
Soundstage basically is how well the system can present an acoustic "image" in front, in how precisely it can present the location of each sound source relative to the vocals. A really good 2ch system can present the vocals in a way that it feels like it's "popping out" to the front a bit (like how a pop-up book works). Then in terms of depth you can hear the drums are clearly behind the vocals, including the bass drum (too much bass response and this moves to the front, away from the drum set), then the guitars and bass guitar are between them. In terms of width, there has to be a clear spatial separation between both guitars (when using two electric guitars, one is usually imaged as a wide wall of sound, but the lead solos can be to the side; some riffs can be moved to the side as well), with the bass guitar in the middle, and the drums can be easily followed going left to right. For high quality recordings of pianos, you must be able to follow the keys from left to right like you're sitting at the piano.
 
In a proper surround recording of a live concert the only sounds in the surround should be the clapping and cheering from the crowd, because if you listen to a conventional 2ch recording of a live performance, it gets weird that it feels like you have have several rows of blank space away from the crowd since all the clapping and cheering are imaged in front away from you. The problem there is that some surround recordings put too much of the band's sound in the surounds, and even if it was "properly" recorded with mostly just crowd sounds in the extra channels, you just spent a whole lot of money on extra speakers and amplifiers to drive them just to hear people clapping, while your other recordings have nothing on the surround channels. Better to invest in a good 2ch system and just think of yourself in a VIP box at the stadium sipping champagne with the boss who had extra tickets and took his staff with him.
 
That said, it's hard to tell if you would be able to hear a good deal of difference with a better 2ch amplifier since those Klipsch speakers are very easy to drive, you're not likely taking your current receiver too near its performance limits. Maybe you can keep the system as it is for gaming since you'll need surrounds, but save up for an enirely separate 2ch system built around speakers whose sound you prefer, then you get an amp that can drive them plus a source unit that can give you a good deal of convenience at a cost acceptable to you and setting up difficulty that you can manage.
 
Jun 6, 2015 at 1:52 AM Post #6 of 6

cel4145

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Posts
19,499
Likes
2,312
Location
grand rapids, mi
Specs on the VPR-10 sub are 10" driver, 170 watts dynamic, 115 watts RMS. Frequency response: 35 -140 Hz (+/-3 dB). Not very good for HT.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top