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Arcam AVR300 Output Power

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by TimHiFi, Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. TimHiFi

    TimHiFi
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    Hi All,

    I have just upgraded to an AVR300, and its my first venture into multichannel home cinema. Previously I was using an AudioLab 8000A in stereo.

    After having installed my system (BTW my speakers are Mission Volare V63s, V6C centre, M5DS Rear) I note that you really have to have the volume up quite loud to get a decent sound level from it.

    I was just wondering if this is normal for the Arcam ?

    It seems that any volume setting below 50db (indicated) on any input is barely audible.

    I have tried DVD (through digital coax), freeview box (through digital coax), and CD (analogue).

    The DVDs I have tried need to be up at 80db before they sound loud, the CD input a bit lower at say 70db.

    The range only goes to 100db, so it looks like I am turning it up 'really' loud.

    The AVR300 is listed at 100W/channel, but the AudioLab sounded louder at 1/3 volume and 50wpc ?

    The Missions are 8 Ohms, and I've set the switch on the rear of the unit, so I think I've got it right.

    So, other AVR300 users ..... what levels are you listening at ?

    At the moment I'm glad I didn't buy the AVR250 at 75wpc, otherwise I'd be listening at 95db !

    Comments invited

    Tim
     
  2. ihan

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    This is normal. I listen to CDs and films in the 55-80dB mark.

    Remember, decibels are a logarithmic scale. A drop of 3dB corresponds to halving the power. Likewise an increase of 3dB corresponds to doubling the power. Believe it or not, 60dB is 1% of the power output of 80dB, which is 1% of the power output of 100dB.

    You may find it strange, but I can assure you it is all true.

    Regards,
    Ian
     
  3. Crustyloafer

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    I concur, when watching TV it is normally at between 65 and 75 and for movies I run it at 84. Wattage ratings are not entirely related to volume either so the AVR250 would not be significantly quieter than the AVR300 unless you had very demanding speakers.
     
  4. TimHiFi

    TimHiFi
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    Thanks Guys,

    Yep ... its all about dBs I guess. I should know this, I'm an Electronic Engineer :0)

    Don't get me wrong the sound from the AVR300 is loud enough, I was obviously unaware of where the volume was (in dBs) on the old AudioLab, after all it was an analogue dial :0)

    It just seemed high thats all. Thanks for letting me know what levels you set the amp at, makes me feel happier that I have connected it up right.

    The AVR300 came out of the box set to 4 Ohms .... but I had to set it to 8 Ohms, as the Missions are 8 Ohms.

    I'm being careful with my £1.3K Amp :0)

    Regards

    Tim
     
  5. SteveBradley

    SteveBradley
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    I've been off line for a few days and missed the start of this thread. I too had the same "problem" after swopping my 10 yr old Kenwood (@50W/ch) for an AVR 300, id did not go half as loud.

    The problem I believe is in the input sensitivity trim (advanced menu) which is factory set at 2.0V for all inputs. I checked with the instruction book for my old amp and found the input to be 0.5V.

    Changing the setting to 0.5V sorted it.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards
     
  6. Designer

    Designer
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    Setting the input sensitivity to 0.5V will indeed make sources louder for a given AVR300 volume setting.

    If the source you have connected has a maximum output level in the region of 0.5V (rms), then you have chosen the correct setting for that input on the AVR300. I guess tape decks and external tuners may sometimes have output levels in the region of 0.5 to 1V.

    A word of warning though. If you set your CD / DVD etc inputs to 0.5V sensitivity, there is a very strong possibility that you will overload the input stage of the preamp section. Typical maximum CD / DVD player analogue outputs are in the region of 2V (rms). The correct AVR300 setting for these inputs would normally be 2V. If you set it to 1V or 0.5V, there is a good possibility that you will distort / clip the signal, especially if you use the internal Analogue to Digital converter to use surround modes such as PL etc etc from analogue sources. (You MIGHT get away with it if you are using Stereo Direct mode, but it is obviously not ideal).

    The input trim settings are intended as a way of roughly level matching different analogue sources and maximising noise performance without clipping the ADC.

    Hope that helps.
    Cheers, Mark.
     
  7. glimball

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    Quite right! I get quite severe clipping at 0.5 but inadequate volume at 2! What to do? 1 is OK but doesn't move me as I expected. What would be the effect on volume if front left and right speakers biamped?

    Designer, is there any problem (over-working, over-heating) in running the AVR300 at 95dB on a regular basis?

    Also ...... why can't I get the sub-woofer to work when playing CD in stereo mode?
     
  8. Designer

    Designer
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    Glimball,
    Sadly Bi-Amping doesn't work in the way you hope - it won't make it any louder.

    Running with volume at 95, a couple of things:
    1) For movies, I would've thought this was reasonable as the audio levels on DVD are generally much lower than music CDs etc to allow room for the big bangs and crashes.
    2) If you have to run at 95 for music then, from my own experience, I would say that should be pretty loud!! Especially so if your CD player has a standard-ish 2V output, or you are using the digital out from the CD to the AVR300.

    If you do have to run music at 95 to get the level you want (and your CD player is "normal" as in point 2 above) then I would say you are running the power amps pretty hard (e.g. due to less efficient speakers). This shouldn't be a problem as there are protection circuits and there's always the fan if things get really hot. Worst case it should shut down to protect itself.

    However, if you did choose to Bi-Amp the fronts, you would be spreading the work over 4 amps rather than 2. Any heat generated would be spread across the heatsinks better, reducing the chances of the fan kicking in anyway. There should also be audible benefits as each of the amps is having to work a little less hard overall.

    On the matter of no Sub from CD in stereo mode - do you mean in "Stereo Direct" mode? If so, then the AVR300 is working correctly. Crossovers (for subwoofer), tone controls, delays etc are all done digitally. Direct mode is there to bypass all the digital stuff (ADCs, DSPs, DACs) giving the shortest, cleanest path between analogue in and out (speakers or line level). If you need the Sub for CD then you can:
    a) Disable Direct mode, so go analogue-in through the AVR300's ADC-DSP-DAC path, or
    b) Go digital into the AVR300. This may be better (certainly different!) to the above as it doesn't require the ADC path.
    Either of a) or b) will let you have the Sub with CD.

    Hope that helps,
    Mark
     
  9. glimball

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    Thanks Designer,

    I am going to use the unused rear channels of the AVR300 to biamp - so I guess there won't be any reduction in the heat produced by / within the amp.

    Still digesting the rest of your comprehensive reply - I am pretty sure that I was not in stereo direct when the sub-woof was not present. Could the problem be a function of the DV79 settings (I think I've got them correct) or the sub itself? The sub (Monitor Audio FB210) certainly kicks in with DVD sources. I have the crossover set at 80 kHz right now.

    The main and centre speakers are Monitor Audio Gold - not too insensitive I would have thought (?) 89dB I think - but don't have data in front of me.

    Anyway - I'll recheck all settings, cables, etc later!

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Andy_61

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    I too have the no-sub problem on my REL Stampede, except in DVD mode, unless I switch the cabling from the sub-output on the AVR300 to lfe input on the sub to the REL-supplied high level cable which extracts a signal from the front speaker posts, but gives you sub-bass with EVERYTHING. I'm not sure of the advisability of attaching both cables (but will be happy to hear from anyone with any advice on this - can/should it be done, and what are the implications), but I DO know that option a), suggested by Designer above, doesn't seem to work on the Stampede/AVR300 set-up. I've yet to try the second option, which would also seem to involve switching cables, this time between the digital CD & DVD inputs on the receiver, no?

    Can anyone help?
     
  11. Designer

    Designer
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    Glimball and Andy_61
    I've just looked through the menus of the AVR300 to remind myself how the thing works...
    Check your subwoofer settings in the set-up menus (Press and hold MENU):
    I assume you've already set the Subwoofer to Present in the speaker sizes page.
    Go to the 3.Subwoofer (Settings) page. There you will find a line "Stereo Mode:". I think the default is 'Large'. Change this to Large+Sub or Sat+Sub to taste as required. You should hopefully now find that your sub is rumbling away merrily to itself in time with the music. Or to put another way: working.
    Naturally, more info on this is in the manual ;) under "Subwoofer settings" surprisingly! Page E-13 in the manual I have to hand.
    Hopefully that's cracked it this time.
    Mark
     
  12. glimball

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    Thanks Mark.

    I'm prettry familiar with the settings menus and had everything set correctly but I have found a kind of solution - but it seems strange to me. It might work for Andy-61 as well.

    In the speaker settings I had front left and right as 'large' and also had the centre speaker set as 'large'. I have just discovered that if I change the centre speaker setting to 'small' the sub immediately comes on! But why?

    The sub works fine with DVD, TV and satelite music with centre speaker set to large. My centre speaker is a Monitor Audio Gold LCR which I would have categorised as large - but, even if I had it wrong, why would that setting prevnet my sub working on CD mode only?

    Anyway, I now have full sub-woofer - will now check that the sound coming from the cnetre speaker is OK on this setting and that the sub still works with other inputs to the AVR300.

    I'd be fascinated to know if the same thing does work for Andy_61 as well!
     
  13. Designer

    Designer
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    Ugh! Nice piece of detective work there glimball.
    OK, help me to understand your settings....
    For TV and Sat input (analogue in) are you in Stereo mode (ie not PL or Neo:6 etc decoding)? With your speakers set to Large and sub present, you get stuff from the sub...
    But with CD input (analogue), in stereo decode mode (ie no surrounds or centre operating) and with Subwoofer menu settings: Stereo mode= Large+sub nothing comes from the sub?
    Sounds odd to me unless I've missed something.
    PM me if necessary if I haven't understood your settings.
    Cheers, Mark
     
  14. Designer

    Designer
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    OK, we've just set up a rig here:
    CD input (analogue or digital)
    Decode mode = Stereo
    Speakers All large, sub present
    Sub setting: Stereo mode = Large+Sub
    We get sound through the sub in this setup. Tried setting the surrounds to small, but it's the same, sub still works!
    Mark
     
  15. ScubaPro1

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    I run mine around 60db for Sky and 70db for DVD's

    I have quite a large room and this is plenty loud enough
     
  16. glimball

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    What was that phrase - RTFM. My only excuse is that I've been travelling a lot and thought I'd covered everything - but missed the obvious. Decode mode not set to stereo - can you believe it - apologies.

    But .....

    Reading through manual showed why setting centre to small 'worked' ... DV79 manual ,,, If 'small' is set then 'low frequency information is re-routed from 'small' speakers to 'large' speakers or to subwoofer (depending on the speaker configuration'. I guess that the reason that the 'large' setting worked with SAT and TV is that the mode was set such that the AVR was trying to create a surround environment as noted on page E-25.

    However ... it is confusing to read in AVR300 manual on E13, 3 - subwoofer settings under LARGE 'Use this setting if you have large front speakers' Is Arcam recommending that we don't use a sub with stereo sound and large speakers? I know this is the audiofile purists view.

    It's also interesting that the 3 preset configurations for speakers (E13 sectrion 2) ALL have the centre speaker as 'small'.

    Anyway ... I'm getting there - they say that unless we make mistakes we on't learn! Mark, thanks for your patience ... your comments meant I looked more closely at how the boxes work and spent a happy (?) hour reading much of the two manuals more closely.

    Last question ..... if there is a conflict between settings that can be set in both DV79 and AVR300 menus (crossover freq, speaker size and so on) am I right to assume that it is always the AVR300 settings that will take precedence?
     
  17. Designer

    Designer
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    Hi Glimball.

    Glad you've managed to sort things out.

    My take on this is that if you have full-range speakers (defined as 'Large') and also have a subwoofer running, then technically you could have a range of frequencies that are being produced by the main speakers AND the subwoofer. The overall result of this would be a "hump" in the frequency response where the speakers overlap in frequecy. If the crossover frequency is set so that the sub only fills in the frequencies below which the main (Large) speakers effectively have stopped working, then all should be well. This is a fairly tricky thing to do correctly, though you should be able to tweak things til you get a pleasent effect without going "lumpy".

    If the main speakers are defined (as far as the AVR300 is concerned) as 'Small', then the AVR300 tightly controls the bottom-end roll-off. This could be at a frequency well above the actual roll-off of the main speaker itself. All information below the crossover frequency is then redirected at a controlled level to the Sub. All you then have to worry about is setting the absolute level of the sub up for a lump-free frequency response.

    It's never quite that simple, but that's the theory. :D

    If you are using the digital connection between the DV79 and the AVR300, the crossover frequency settings etc on the DV79 info will make no difference since the digital stream is not changed. The DV79 crossover etc settings only refer to the DV79 analogue outputs. If you are using the multichannel analogue outputs from the DV79 you must set these correctly for your system as the AVR300 analogue multichannel inputs do not pass through the AVR300 bass manager. A good place to start would be to have the AVR300 and DV79 have the same crossover etc settings. If you use the DV79 analogue outs only for DVD-A, then you might want to experiment for a music-optimal speaker setting on the DV79 which may be slightly different.

    Hope that makes sense!
    Cheers, Mark
     
  18. davehk

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    Surely the AVR300 crossover setting does what it says on the tin - that is it progressively rolls off the lower frequencies to the mains and rolls in the lower frequencies to the sub. The crossover frequency should be the point at which the signal level sent to both mains and sub is -6dB (or -3dB in SPL terms), resulting in an overall flat response providing that the slopes of the crossover are symmetrical.

    So you should not get a hump. REL recommend connecting both high and low level inputs - this is what I do and it is fine. The REL high level inputs can be carefully controlled so that the REL rolls in as the main speakers roll off. This enables the RELs to effectively extend the response of the main speakers.

    In addition, if you connect the REL this way there is no need to use any of the DSP in the AVR when listening to CDs. Set the AVR to direct mode and there will be no signal sent to the sub directly from the AVR. The high level inputs on the REL then work as designed.
     
  19. Designer

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    Yes, providing the setting is Subwoofer: Stereo Mode = Small + Sub. However there is also the option (for stereo only!) of Subwoofer: Stereo Mode = Large + Sub in which case the full range signal is sent to the fronts, but in addition the sub fills in the bottom end, as set by the crossover frequecy, hence why you have to be a little careful!

    Absolutley! ...and i should well imagine this is the better option if you have a decent analogue-out CD player but want to make use of the sub in stereo.
     
  20. davehk

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    Ah - so, in theory at least, if you can identify the -3dB SPL frequency of your main speakers in your room and then set the AVR crossover to that frequency, you should then be able to adjust the sub level to integrate with the mains and get an extended flat response (which is basically how you set up the REL high level inputs).
     
  21. Andy_61

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    Hi,Mark!

    First off, apologies for the prolonged absence - it was my wife's birthday weekend, and we went away for a long chill.

    The sub settings in my DV79 are Front & Centre speakers = Large, Surround = small, sub = present, Stereo + Sub = crossover, crossover frequency = 130Hz (a bit high, I know).

    The sub settings on the AVR300 are Menu 2) Front & Centre speakers = Large, Surround = small, Surround Backs = small, sub = present, 5.1 Rears = surround backs

    and Menu 3) Mode = Large + Sub, crossover frequency = 130Hz again, Sub-stereo = 0db, DTS lfe Gain = 0db, DVD-A gain = +10db

    Processing mode is stereo, not neo 6, stereo direct or anything else that might get in the way of the signal getting to the sub.

    To get anything at all out of the REL, I have to set the LFE gain up to (presumably +) 85db, at which point instead of the subtle reinforcement I expect, I start getting power hum, which surely can't be right? If I disconnect the lfe input and connect the hi-level input tied to the speakers at about +70db, I get bass with the CD analogue stereo, bass with the DVD digital input, bass with AM, bass with FM, bass with chips!

    BUT . . . no power hum.

    From the foregoing, can you identify anything wrong with the Arcam settings? If not, I'll have to go to REL, and God alone knows what they're going to say. I talked to my supplier (actually on my wife's birthday - there's still a bit of an east wind blowing!) whose somewhat dubious response was "I THINK you can hook them both up at the same time - try it and see".

    If I do, do you think I can claim for feedback damage to the REL? Or, come to that , the Arcam kit?

    Please help - it seems to be all or nothing!

    Regards,

    ANDY

    BTW - how does one PM someone else? I told you I was new at this . . . . !

    "whose somewhat dubious response was "I THINK you can hook them both up at the same time - try it and see". OK, scrap the comments about possible damage, as I have now managed to read davhk's response.

    I'm still concerned about the power hum, though.
     

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