Question 2 channel amp for either Atmos rear heights or front stereo

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
Hi everyone

I'm after a 2 channel amp to power either Atmos rear heights or front stereo speakers.

I have a Denon x3600 and running 7.1.4 currently with a Denon pma720 that is running a pair of Dali Alteco rear heights.

I'm wondering should I get a more powerful amp to run my front left and right floorstanders Dali Oberon 5 and let the x3600 run the rears.

I currently use the phono out for a turntable and heos for tidal playback but main use is home cinema.

I think the 720 is running at 85watts per channel and the Denon at 135 watts, would the avr be better at powering the fronts?

Do I need to upgrade or would I just be wasting money?

I've spent a significant amount of money over the last few weeks on upgrading my av kit so don't want to skimp out at the last stage but if I don't need to that would be good. If I do, any recommendations as cheap as possible I'm a bit skint now.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
3600 is 108w for two channels driven.cant find all channels driven, probably 60w or so.
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
Really, this is what confusses me, bits I've read and even the avforums review said 135 watts per channel. Is that just a single channel then? Bit misleading.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Denon themselves specify the power figure on the 3600 to be:

Power Output (8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% 2ch Drive) 105 W

That means that if running two 8 ohm speakers at 0.08% distortion, power output will be 105 watts.

The 3400 was measured by Sound and Vision and shows how the power output drops, the more channels you are running simultaneously.


If looking for a great value 2 channel power amp, have a look at the Behringer A800. Reviewed by Z Reviews on You Tube and measured by Amir on Audio Science Review. Under £200 for around 2 X 140 watts into 8 ohms.
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
cheers, i was hoping to get one around that sort of money, maybe even cheaper with a ht bypass so i dont have to mess about too much
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
cheers, i was hoping to get one around that sort of money, maybe even cheaper with a ht bypass so i dont have to mess about too much
You don't need HT bypass for a power amp. A power amp is a dumb device that you connect to the pre-outs of the AVR and it just increases (hopefully!) the power that goes to those speakers, over what the AVR can provide on it's own. Most power amps are plug and play, the Behringer has adjustable gain dials, so you have to set them once, when you are installing it, then never touch them again.

HT bypass is a feature on stereo integrated amps, that enable them to be used as power amps, when used in conjunction with an AVR.
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
Thanks again, this is an area i know nothing about.

So if i got that A800 i would replace the 720 with that, into the pre out for the fronts on the AVR and still be able to use the AVR phono stage and internet music and it would, in stereo output play the music. Then when i want to go to AVR (id mark when volume matched) put the volume back to that level for 7.1.4?

Would the Behringer be better for the music?
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Hi, hang on, I'm getting confused :)

You could use the A800, or any power amp, to power any of the speakers that your AVR has pre-outs for.

With the Behringer's adjustable gain, you would set that level once, then never touch it, whether you are playing music or watching movies. You set it so that the speakers that it is powering are at the same volume as the speakers that the AVR is powering, using test tones.

This will give you more power / headroom for the speakers that are connected to that power amp. Best to use it for very hard to drive speakers (low sensitivity or resistance) or for additional speakers over what the AVR can power on its own.

If you use it for your front left and right speakers, it will enable you to play stereo soundtracks louder. But multichannel soundtracks will still be held back by the power available to the other speakers.

A power amp won't make music sound more musical, it will just make it possible to play it louder.

If you want music to sound better at all volume levels, you need to add a stereo integrated amp, so that you can cut out the AVR completely when listening to music.
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
Sorry, im confused myself. My main aim is to enable the AVR to output all 11 channels in a 7.1.4 config. It can only power 9 channels so i need an amp to power either the Front Left & Right or the rear heights. I was going to take the opportunity to do the fronts to take some of the load off the AVR and also improve stereo music at the same time.

if im not mistaken and i could be, the Denon PMA720 AE is a stereo integrated amp, its what i used to have my old set up connected too when i had a dedicated stereo system, i now use the AVR phono out and HEOS app.. Ive just changed the setup so that is now powering the Fronts.

Ive got music playing via the HEOS app on my phone through the AVR.

The AVR master volume still controls the volume of the fronts, ive set the 720 at the volume matched level and using AVR remote for volume. Is that correct or should i be using the 720 as volume control?

Tested it on both from AVR in stereo and on the 720 and it does sound better from the AVR so either the 720 cant drive the speakers properly that way or im doing something wrong, or the 720 isnt that good?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
A-ha, now I understand!

Right, to get the benefit from the 720 for music, you need to switch the AVR off and just use it as a standalone amp. Input all of your music sources to it directly, turn the volume down first, listen to music.

When you want to use the AVR you need to return the volume knob on the 720 back to where it was set to balance the levels with the speakers connected to the AVR. With a HT bypass amp, you don't need to keep changing the volume as the bypass input is a set volume.
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
Thanks again, i think im getting there, use the stereo amp as my music and only turn it up / avr on when watching movies.

So i like the sound out of my AVR but the 720 never captured me thats why i no longer use it and dismantled my stereo set up. Could you recommend anything that will be decent for around £200-250 for Stereo? Or am i dreaming a bit here?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Thanks again, i think im getting there, use the stereo amp as my music and only turn it up / avr on when watching movies.

So i like the sound out of my AVR but the 720 never captured me thats why i no longer use it and dismantled my stereo set up. Could you recommend anything that will be decent for around £200-250 for Stereo? Or am i dreaming a bit here?
Stereo integrated amps with HT bypass start at around £600.

But, are you saying that when listening to music, you prefer how you're AVR sounds than to how your 720 stereo amp sounds? Is this with the same sources and DACs?

Is it because the sub plays when listening to the AVR but not when listening to the 720?
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
im not too fussed on the ht bypass, i dont think its the sub either, when i demoed the speakers on an Onkyo TX-nr696 avr i played a track and it was just awesome i could really feel it, the deepness of the notes and warmth of it i wanted to try and replicate that but wasnt in the market for an AVR at the time and lots of reviews said the x3600 was really good and even the guys at richersounds said this Denon x3600 was much better.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Okay - are you saying that you think your Denon AVR-x3600 and your Denon PMA720 AE sound equally bad for music, and you prefer your previous Onkyo TX-NR696?

Do you still have that Onkyo? You could put it in the system in place of the Denon 720.

Before you spend more money on electronics though, has anything else in your system changed, that could be explaining the drop in musicality? I am thinking speakers, sources, placement, something in the room, like glass or objects causing nasty reflections?

Also, if you input an analogue stereo signal into the Denon 3600, say from a CD player, and put the 3600 in pure direct mode, does it sound equally bad?
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
Basically everything is new. Speaker Dali Oberon 5, Vokal Center and spektor 1 as rears with ALteco Front & Rear heights, along with the Denon 3600

the music out of the 3600 is ok but ive heard better, the onkyo was when i was demoing the speakers in Richer sounds so it could have been the demo room i suppose. Im still playing with placement but i think ive got most of it.

I have not tried pure direct mode, i did put the tunrtable into the 720 and it sounded better than i remember (new better speakers) it just didnt have the depth or warmth im looking for, the oberons have about 150 hours on them.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Right! Hard to know where to start then!

I think, let's try and figure out what works and what doesn't, before spending any more money.

The turntable into the the 720 is promising, because that is a nice clean signal path with no digital to analog conversions, so you can use that as a benchmark.

Be good to know if you put your turntable into the Denon 3600, and have the Denon 3600 in pure direct mode, whether you think it sounds better / worse or the same. Then we know if you need to persist with using a separate amp for music.

A lack of low end, can be fixed with a subwoofer. What sub(s) do you have?
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
if we take the AVR out of the equation and just look at a good stereo amp that has a phono stage and ideally bluetooth or even better music apps (these are not essential) as long as it has at least a spare input i can connect the avr pre-outs to like im doing now ill get the best of both worlds.

Im looking at a Yamaha A-S201, Ive read Yamaha do well with Rock & Metal music. Maybe a Marantz 6006

With regards HT-Bypass, does it do anything else apart from remove the volume change?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
It's up to you, of course, but I think randomly choosing a different amp at that level, could be a waste of time, money and effort, as there is no reason why it would sound any better than what you have now.

Have you read the ASR review of the Denon 3600:


It measures remarkably well via it's analogue inputs, so what might help is if you get a decent external DAC / CD player / streamer, so you always input your music in via analogue, and see how that sounds.

Also, your Denon PMA720 was £700 ish when new and the amps you are looking to replace it with, are a tier or so lower.

You are correct, all the HT bypass does, is give one input on the integrated amp that bypass the stereo amps pre-amp and volume control, and goes direct to the power amp section, which is where you connect the AVR pre-outs.
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
So i just tested and i think do prefer the sound, the sub does help a bit, its a BK Gemini 2. Its not massivle though, maybe its the Denon sound? I like the AV music is different

Its not as good as the demo i did with the speakers but perhaps there was something else going on as i actually felt the music, goosebumps on my arms it was that good, maybe ive gotton used to the oberons and how they sound and it was just that first impression and upgrade from what i had before.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Your prefer which sound?

Good that you have a BK sub - me too. They allow high level and low level connection simultaneously, which gives you a few options.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Ah well, that's good in a way, that the AVR doesn't sound significantly more awful than the stereo amp. Is that using your turntable into the AVR, and the AVR in direct mode?
 

michaelgordon

Well-known Member
yes it was into avr and direct, pure direct & normal stereo.

I remember at the demo the speakers were just a bit faster more attack and punch to them, against Monitor Audio Silver 200. There wasnt much in it in terms of AV, couldnt really tell much of a difference. Maybe im looking to recreate something that never really existed properly outside a demo room on better speakers than i had been used too.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Well, there certainly are better stereo amps that would give you improvements for music, with and without HT bypass, but they cost more than £200 to £300 I'm afraid.

Minimum starting point would be something like a Cyrus One / HD or Musical Fidelity M2si - do you want to spend £600?

Also, you really need to secure a home trial or sale or return with the seller, just in case it doesn't sound how you hope!
 

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