(Denon AVR-X3700H) Getting conflicting advice, needing help!

Shroddy9

Novice Member
Hi folks,

New to AVforums - Long time reader, first time writer!

I've been getting some conflicting advice from home theatre stores locally in Australia, and I'm really hoping all of the experts in here can lend some guidance to help clear up the confusion I'm currently working through.

For my new house build, I'm wanting to put 6 x 8 inch speakers in the living room ceiling, and then 2 x 8 inch speakers in the Alfresco area, and ideally have them hooked up to the same AV Receiver with multi-room/multi-zone functionality between both areas.

I've been told by one store here that by going with Denon for the AV-Receiver (AVR-X3700H) using their HEOS multi-zone feature it'll capably handle all 8 speakers since it's a 9ch unit.

The speakers I've been recommended to go for (by the same store) are these bad boys:
Bowers & Wilkins CCM382 8-Inch In-Ceiling Loudspeakers Pair | Humidity Resistance

Now, when speaking to another local home theatre store about the desired setup, the guy immediately said "no way, that won't work, you'll fry the inputs on the AV Receiver by running all 8 speakers into the same unit, due to the impedance of all 8 speakers" so he recommended potentially splitting up the 8 speakers in total (6 in Living Room and 2 in Alfresco) into groups of 4, for one group to be handled by the Denon AVR-X3700H, and the other 4 to be handled by a dedicated Power Amp.

Today, when I went back into the store I was originally talking to and mentioned the potential risk of "frying" the AV Receiver due to the impedance of the speakers, he said "Nope, no chance, won't happen - because the AVR-X3700H has individual power rails available for each individual channel, so that would stop the overheating or potential damage to the Receiver".

I just don't know who to believe here, and I haven't been able to find enough easy-to-understand advice online to put this one to bed and make a definitive decision on which way to go.

Can anyone in here share some thoughts/experience on which way to go?

Thanks all so much in advance!
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
You can easilly power 8 speakers using the AVCX3700. It is a nine channel AVR and is intentionally designed and built to power 9 speakers simultaneously.

The AVR will power most speakers and would only experience difficulties with a few speakers that are harder to drive than normal.

One issue I have with your proposed setup. I'd suggest you not locate all the speakers on the ceiling in your main room. Surround sound relies upon the speakers being at your seated head height. I'd maybe suggest you actually go with a 5.1.2 (7 channel) setup on your main room with just 2 of the speakers n the ceiling and a 2 channel stereo setup in the second zone. A 5.1.2 setup would give you both surround sound as well as allow you to portray Atmos soundtracks.

by default 2021-06-26 at 14.52.19.png


The ceiling speakers you've chosen aren't that hard to drive and haven;t an inpedance that would cause the AVR any major issues to drive. They've an impedance of 8ohms and a sensitivety of 88db which is not abnormal.

The guy in the second store is either an idiot or trying to sell you an extra power amp.

After saying this, how big is the main room? More power would be useful if that room is inordinately large?

Anyway, it is practically impossibly to "fry" the AVR. It has integral protection circuitry that would automatically cut in and power the unit down into standby if you were to put too much demand upon its amplification and force it to start to overheat.




As I've suggested, seriously reconsider the speaker layout in the main room. You don't really want all the speakers on your ceiling!
 
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Shroddy9

Novice Member
You can easilly power 8 speakers using the AVCX3700. AS you were told, it is a nine channel AVR and is inyentionally built to power 9 speakers simultaneously.

THe AVR will power most speakers and would only experience difficulties with a few speakers that are harder to drive than normal.

One issue I have with your proposed setup. I'd suggest you not locate all the speakers on the ceiling in your main room. Surround sound relies upon the speakers being at your seated head height. I'd maybe suggest you actually go with a 5.1.2 (7 channel) setup on your main room and a 2 channel stereo setup in the second zone.

The ceiling speakers you've chosen aren't that hard to drive and haven;t an inpedance that would cause the AVR any major issues to drive. They've an impedance of 8ohms and a sensitivety of 88db which is not abnormal.

The guy in the second store is either an idiot or trying to sell you an extra power amp.

After saying this, how big is the main room? More power would be useful if that room is inordinately large?

Anyway, it is practically impossibly to "fry" the AVR. It has integral protection circuitry that would automatically cut in and power the unit down into standby is you were to put too much demand upon its amplification and force it to start to overheat.




As I've suggested, seriously reconsider the speaker layout in the main room. You don't really want all the speakers on your ceiling!
Thanks very much for the detailed reply @dante01 you’ve definitely put my mind more at ease! I suspect you’re right, the other guy was pushing for an up-sell of the power amp.

So the living room which these 6 speakers would go into is approx. 10500mm x 8000mm so it’s quite a large space, and they would predominantly be used for background music and playing whatever sound is coming out of the tv above the fireplace in that same living room.

for my dedicated theatre room, I’ll definitely be going for a more appropriate 7.1.2 set up with speakers in the right areas for a proper surround sound experience.

here’s a very rough drawing of what this living room would conceptually look like.

cheers
 

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dante01

Distinguished Member
As long as you are aware of the downsides to having all the speakers on your ceiling then that is a matter for you to decide.

The room size would only really be an issue if wanting to play audio at higher volume levels, at reference for example. Not sure as to whether you'd want this from this room's setup if not intending it to be used as a true home theatre setup?
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
As long as you are aware of the downsides to having all the speakers on your ceiling then that is a matter for you to decide.

The room size would only really be an issue if wanting to play audio at higher volume levels, at reference for example. Not sure as to whether you'd want this from this room's setup if not intending it to be used as a true home theatre setup?
Thanks @dante01 yes correct, we wouldn’t be treating this room as a true home theatre setup anyway, it would be more for playing music wirelessly as mentioned, maybe some background music for gatherings in the living room, and outputting the tv sound via Optical to the AVR-X3700H.

Based on what you know of this proposed setup, including the additional 2 speakers in the alfresco area as the 2nd zone, would the X3700H do the job comfortably? Necessary to go for a bigger Receiver?

Cheers!
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
It will do as you want. I'm also assuming that you'll not be always wanting to simultaneosly output audio via all 8 speakers so the AV receiver will only be powering 6 speakers most of the time?


If you do experience the AV receiver throwing a wobbly and shutting itself down, simply buy a 2 channel external amp for the second zone outputs and use the zone 2 pre outs to send the associated 2 channel signal to that external amp which would then be used to drive the second zone speakers with. You can do this at a later date.


You are already paying a premium for features that aren't really of any use or relevance to you. Buying a larger model such as the X4700 would give you more power but you'd be again paying a premium for other features that don't really appear to be of much relevance to your needs.


Basically, suck it and see. The speakers will not damage the AVR and if the AVR's protection mode does start to kick in then consider adding external power amps. You can try the setup without such external amps without fear of damaging the AVR or the speakers..
 
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Shroddy9

Novice Member
95% of the time it’ll be only the 6 internal speakers running, but maybe on the odd occasion if we have guests over and are using the outdoor alfresco area, we’d like to have the option at least of running all 8 speakers together - that would still work right?

Yeah that’s good advice, I’ll see how I go with just the single X3700H powering the whole setup, and if I notice it starting to struggle I’ll then invest in a dedicated amp to do as you suggested.

If that did play out, are there any separate amps that you’d recommend would do the job well enough without breaking the budget? And would adding another amp off the zone 2 pre-outs add a slight delay to the 2nd zone of playing multi-room all together?

thanks again!
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Yep, no issues with driving all 8 speakers simultaneously. This is what the receiver was designed to do.
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
Great thanks @dante01

Like I said, we'd rarely be pumping out all 8 speakers at once, and even then, we definitely wouldn't be cranking all 8 at the same time anyway!

What would be some early warning signs if the AV Receiver struggles? Would it necessarily go into protection mode automatically (at which point I'd obviously then notice something's up) or should I be monitoring how hot the AVR might get?

Cheers!
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
Is there a reason to go denon 3700 if only using for music ?

Is a heos or other source feeding a multichannel power amp a cheaper simpler more appropriate approach ?
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
@alebonau not exactly only for music - it would be handling all sound coming from the TV in the living room via Optical (see attached pic) as well an Apple TV and perhaps one or two other inputs. And of course supplying music to the Alfresco area outside.
Home.jpg
This should be achievable to a respectable degree with the Denon AVR, right?

Again, totally agree there could be much better and more capable setups using beefier AVR units, switching to SONOS, dedicated amps, etc......but just wanting to be sure that the advice from one of the stores here to go with the Denon AVR-X3700H would be sufficient...
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Great thanks @dante01

Like I said, we'd rarely be pumping out all 8 speakers at once, and even then, we definitely wouldn't be cranking all 8 at the same time anyway!

What would be some early warning signs if the AV Receiver struggles? Would it necessarily go into protection mode automatically (at which point I'd obviously then notice something's up) or should I be monitoring how hot the AVR might get?

Cheers!


If the audio starts to sound distorted then you'd be advised to reduce the volume. This is a sign of clipping occuring. Clipping is a form of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability. Driving an amplifier into clipping may cause it to output power in excess of its power rating.

If you are overdriving the amp then the AV receiver will start to encroach upon the limits of its operational temperature. If allowed to do this then it could cause serious damage to that amplifier. The AV receiver does however include inbuilt protection circuitry that will cut in to prevent damage occurring. THis is commonly termed a protection mode and will force the AV receiver into standby if it gets too hot to operate safely. It would however help if you keep the unit well ventilated and try not to obscure the vents on the top of the unit.
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
If the audio starts to sound distorted then you'd be advised to reduce the volume. This is a sign of clipping occuring. Clipping is a form of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability. Driving an amplifier into clipping may cause it to output power in excess of its power rating.

If you are overdriving the amp then the AV receiver will start to encroach upon the limits of its operational temperature. If allowed to do this then it could cause serious damage to that amplifier. The AV receiver does however include inbuilt protection circuitry that will cut in to prevent damage occurring. THis is commonly termed a protection mode and will force the AV receiver into standby if it gets too hot to operate safely. It would however help if you keep the unit well ventilated and try not to obscure the vents on the top of the unit.
@dante01 appreciate the detailed explanation!

Cool - as suggested earlier, I'll see how I go with the 3700 until I notice it struggling and then I'll cross that bridge as I come to it.

Again, I can't see us REALLY hammering those speakers (especially not all 8 anyway) in order to abuse the AVR's capacity, but it's definitely assuring to have this info validated! I'm happier to invest in a more beefier/powerful AVR to cover my ass more - but if you reckon the 4700 would be overkill for the additional features I probably wouldn't use, I'll start off with the 3700 first.

Again, thanks very much 👍
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
Sorry just one last question -

If I were to utilise the pre-outs to go with an external amp, what sort of inexpensive 2-4 channel amp would you recommend? I'm assuming going with the 3700 + External Amp would still work out being cheaper than going for the 4700?
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
@alebonau not exactly only for music - it would be handling all sound coming from the TV in the living room via Optical (see attached pic) as well an Apple TV and perhaps one or two other inputs. And of course supplying music to the Alfresco area outside.
hi shroddy sorry for the questions as you see, i can understand why shop quite easily mistook your requirement...eg if its just to spread some sound across two rooms ... same signal.... that request can quite easily be confused with say a pa amp application... and if say running the amps in serial or parallel off same signal it can have some serious implications with impedance...hernce perhaps the suggestion of PA amp ...

thanks for the drawing... to be honest I am a tad confuse by this and need/use of the denon ...

1624770085129.png



the speaker plan doesnt seem to match uo to any dolby/dts or other speaker location...and this is confusing. if going to effort of an AVR and all in-ceiling speakers why not use one of the recommended speaker setup guides ? are there going to be any floor main speakers or wall / floor mounted surrounds ?

the alfresco is least of worries its quite standard to have a couple of speakers in an alfresco either zone 2 or just sonos / heos speaker set or something ...

all should be possible but just unsure and confused on the intent...

if not aiming to support speaker layouts and such and its just matter of multiform sound and its all just sources you are feeding the TV ...might be no need of the AVR at all ? just feed a simple amp of the TV ? to run all your in ceiling speakers ? am i missing something ?
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply @alebonau I'll try to clarify further...

Ideally I'd like the Denon AVR-X3700H to allow me to hit two birds with one stone by handling:
  • All 8 ceiling speakers (Living room: 6, Alfresco: 2)
    • Give me multi-room support for either using one room at a time, or party mode altogether
  • Optical from the living room TV
  • HDMI input from likely an Apple TV and perhaps one other input
I'm not really after a "true surround sound experience" for these ceiling speakers in the living room and alfresco - I'll have a dedicated home theatre where I'll invest in a respectable 7.1.2 setup.

I'd like to have good quality speakers with ample power and range for background music, wireless music casting, playing whatever content is on the TV in the living room, and perhaps entertaining guests with either all 8 ceiling speakers together, or perhaps even just the 2 outside for a BBQ or something.

My original question was mainly around whether this X3700H unit would handle all 8 speakers - 95% of the time only the 6 internal speakers would be used, but we'd still like to have the option of playing all 8 in "party mode" altogether maybe every now & then on the odd occasion.

I hope this makes sense!
 

Shroddy9

Novice Member
Sorry to go back again @dante01 , but I just wanted to be absolutely 100% sure about something before I move on from it -

Whether I end up going with the B&W CCM382 or any other speaker, there's no reason why the AVR-X3700H couldn't power (or handle) 4 pairs of stereo speakers, right? I mean - again, not the GREATEST setup since you'd ideally want surround speakers, but it's still technically possible to work, right?

Some other guy on another forum is alluding to this not being possible.

Cheers
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
The lower the impedancethen the higher the risk of issues with the AV receiver overheating. A lower the sensitivety rating is an indication that speakers may and probably will be harder to drive to a required reference level. So you'd not really want to have anything below 6ohms impedance and you'd be best off with speakers with a sensitivety greater than 80 and closer to 90db. Most speakers will be compliant with these ranges anyway. The receiver can actually handle 4ohm loads and is rated for use with 4ohm speaker so even that aspect of the setup would be flexible.

There's no reason why you'd not be able to drive 8 speakers simultaneiusly with the X3700. Many people do this, but in a single room and not for the purposes you appear to be doing it for. I'm not hearing anyway with a 7.1.2 or a 5.1.4 setup moanung about their X3700 exploding :)

The layout in the main room restricts the peocessing modes you'd be able to employ while portraying audio in that room. The layout of the speakers on your ceiling doesn't vaguely resemble where speakers would be located in a surround setup so you'd not be able to use it to portray even the most basic Dolby 5.1 soundtrack xorrectly or close to how it should be heard. You'd always be forced to engage the receiver's multichannel stereo option while using this setup setup as you've illustrated. This is a waste of money in my opinion and you are paying a premium for the propcessing that you'll never benefit from.

Change the arangement of where the ceilings speakers are located in the main room so that they are at least in aproxiomation with where speakers would be located in a more conventional surround sound setup. THis would at least expand upon how you'd be able to use the setup.
 
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dante01

Distinguished Member
If possible, have him at least locate the speakers above where you'd ordinainarilly have had them had you had a conventional surround setup.

You'd at least then be able to use the setup to convey surround sound to some degree and utilise the processing power of the AVR. It would be a waste of that AV receiver's capabilities otherwise.
 

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