Denon or Emotiva to power my L/R ?

HAL2016

Active Member
I Have a Denon 3600h receiver and have just bought a emotive basx A-700 power amp as I am planning on going from a 5.1.4 to a full on 7.1.4 setup so i need a power amp for the extra 2 channels, So i thought why no go all out and power the base layer with a power amp and leave the denon to just run the hight channels

At the moment i have not set up this system as i have just moved house and not had time to get round to it as of yet, in the mean time i have been thinking and planning what is the best way to use the emotiva's 7 channels of power at 80watts

MY quesion Is do i let the emo power the base layer and the denon just the atmos or could i try leaving the denon to power the L/R and the side's surround and the emo the rest, what has got me thinking is that the denon has a high watts rating with just two channels driven than the emo

I no it would not be just to channels driven but even if i get it to power 4 channels instead of the 9 it can do would that not be better than leaving it to the emo to power

I know someone is going to say why not just try it and that is a fair point and i am sure i will, I was just hoping somebody with more knowledge and experience in the subject will have some insight that will help me make a more informed decision

T.I.A

O just thought it mite help to know my speakers are m&k's all at a 4 ohm load
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
I'd probably let the EMO power the LCRs and the 4 height channels.

Either way, I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this as I may face a similar situation in the near future.
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
I just checked the A-700 specs and the power is 110W per channel with two channels driven so in practice it would more than hold its own against the Denon when powering the front three channels. The reason I’d power the heights with the EMO also is because they should use the least power which would maximise your LCR performance. Not powering your LCRs should allow the AVR to run much cooler.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
I'd probably let the EMO power the LCRs and the 4 height channels.

Either way, I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this as I may face a similar situation in the near future.
+1 for this configuration. For ease of use/set-up.

For reference the BASX 700's Watts Per Channel is rated as follows:

Power Output (two channels driven) 110 watts RMS per channel; 20 Hz - 20 kHz; THD < 0.1%; into 8 Ohms
210 watts RMS per channel; 1 kHz; THD < 1%; into 4 Ohms

This does drop to: 80wpc when All channels are used, but will be slightly higher when driving 4ohm speakers as is your case.

Power Output (all channels driven) 80 watts RMS per channel; 20 Hz - 20 kHz; THD < 0.1%; into 8 Ohms

As @Mr Wolf says the height channels won't draw a great deal of power and powering the front 3 (most critical speakers) from the 'Emo' - will let the Denon run cooler!
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
The other option you could try would be:

Surrounds, centre and heights from the Emo, the front L&R from the Denon: Rational for this is the Denon is rated @ 135wpc 2 channel @ 6ohm., so in theory is more than the emo is with all channels driven (80wpc @ 8ohm). Obviously the Denon will be a lot lower than 135wpc when driving more than 2 speakers though. Hence, just powering the front 2 might be beneficial.

L&R - would have at least 135w each
The rest of the speakers 80 watts each (via the emo). Which may be considered the better option - just my random thoughts!
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
The other option you could try would be:

Surrounds, centre and heights from the Emo, the front L&R from the Denon: Rational for this is the Denon is rated @ 135wpc 2 channel @ 6ohm., so in theory is more than the emo is with all channels driven (80wpc @ 8ohm). Obviously the Denon will be a lot lower than 135wpc when driving more than 2 speakers though. Hence, just powering the front 2 might be beneficial.

L&R - would have at least 135w each
The rest of the speakers 80 watts each (via the emo). Which may be considered the better option - just my random thoughts!
What I really like about this option is that the front soundstage would shared between the two amps and their two power supplies.

Most people don't realise that the front channels have to cope with 3dB higher dynamic peaks (20dB vs 17dB) compared to the surround channels. Factor in the normally greater distance between the MLP and the front channels and they can easily require >3x the amp power.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
What I really like about this option is that the front soundstage would shared between the two amps and their two power supplies.
Precisely my thinking. Not only that but the speakers powered by the "emo" will have a guaranteed 80 Watts each (probably more if using 4ohm speakers), which is most likely more than they're currently getting with the 3600h powering all 9 speakers! So it's a "win win" in my book! 👌🙂
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
thx for the replys guys

The proplem as i see it is that I will be going 7.1.4 so there is 11 speakers to power that being the case the Denon has to handle at least 4 channels or i do not have enough channels

I could go with the F/L and side surround leaven the emo to handle the center and the rest, but if the denon is having to handle those channels i have a feeling it will not coupe as well as the emo would

Its my understanding that one of the resons you get inproved sound quality adding a amp to a avr is it is freed up to just worry about the decoding and is not in anyway strained, hence why i was thinking i should just leave it the front and rear hights to power which will be crossed over at around a 100hz or so
But then on the flip side am i leaving juice in the tank of the denon that could be put to better use

really not sure, I guess it would be good to know what the denon truly puts out all channels driven
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
really not sure, I guess it would be good to know what the denon truly puts out all channels driven
I'd estimate no more than around 20-25 watts per channel. Based on my very (non scientific calculation as follows):

2 channels driven @ 8ohms is 105wpc. 210÷9=23 approximately. But its likely to be a little more if running @ 4ohms....

but This figure does not include the power used for things like the display etc, so will likely be lower still. Another way to calculate is take the 180w power supply and devide that number by the 9 channels = 20wpc...

The proplem as i see it is that I will be going 7.1.4 so there is 11 speakers to power that being the case the Denon has to handle at least 4 channels or i do not have enough channels

The 3600H has 9 channels of amplification + 2 subs (9.2), but can process 11 channels + 2 subs (11.2) - with the addition of a power amp for at (least) the extra 2 channels. So you're fine to run your 7.1.4 setup (using the BASX 700 for (at minimum) the 2 extra channels. But as you know you can run 7 of the 11 from the Emo.

I could go with the F/L and side surround leaven the emo to handle the center and the rest, but if the denon is having to handle those channels i have a feeling it will not coupe as well as the emo would

The Denon has a full set of pre-outs so you can choose any 7 of the 11 channels of amplification you need to use with the emo....

Even running 4 channels from the Denon would give you a watts per channel.rating of approx 45wpc (180÷4=45)....

Based off this another configuration could be:

4x height channels via the Denon @45wpc - heights draw the least power

All other speakers via the "Emo" - which is guaranteed 80wpc all channels driven. So you now have 3 options.

Its my understanding that one of the resons you get inproved sound quality adding a amp to a avr is it is freed up to just worry about the decoding and is not in anyway strained, hence why i was thinking i should just leave it the front and rear hights to power which will be crossed over at around a 100hz or so
But then on the flip side am i leaving juice in the tank of the denon that could be put to better use

My advice - Try them all. See if there's any discernable difference in audio quality between them. Choose whichever sounds best to your ears!
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
I could use just two channels of the emo to get a 11 channels but that would be some what of a waste If i want to max out the emo i need the denon to handle at least 4 channels other wise i am not going to get 7.1.4

It makes little sence to me not to get the emo to do as much of the heavy lifting as possable

One thought I did have is i could try using the denon to power the F/L and two of the hight channels leaving the emo to do the rest as it has the high power for the fronts and the hights are the least used, also as i said before i will be crossing my hights off at 100-120 hz

I am not going to get 135watts but even with the 2 hights it should not be two far off

I think there is going to be a lot of sucking and see involed in what ever set up i end up with :)
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
I could use just two channels of the emo to get a 11 channels but that would be some what of a waste If i want to max out the emo i need the denon to handle at least 4 channels other wise i am not going to get 7.1.4

It makes little sence to me not to get the emo to do as much of the heavy lifting as possable

One thought I did have is i could try using the denon to power the F/L and two of the hight channels leaving the emo to do the rest as it has the high power for the fronts and the hights are the least used, also as i said before i will be crossing my hights off at 100-120 hz

I am not going to get 135watts but even with the 2 hights it should not be two far off

I think there is going to be a lot of sucking and see involed in what ever set up i end up with :)
Agreed. But it'll be fun doing it! :)
 
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DaveWillo

Member
How about the Denon powering your 4 height speakers and the tweeters of your L & R, using 6 of it's available channels.

The Emotiva then powers your L&R woofers, centre and surround/back speakers, using all of its 7 channels.
You'll then have actively bi-amped mains.
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
really not sure, I guess it would be good to know what the denon truly puts out all channels driven
For some time D&M have guaranteed that all their AVRs are capable of outputting at least 70% of their 2CH rated power figure on a 5-channels driven basis. When Audioholics have tested this claim it has to my knowledge always found to be true and frequently conservative. In the case of the X3600, it looks like it's been tested as 81.9 Watts.

Audioholics' AVR-X3600 Review

Here's an extract.

"In the case of the AVR-X3600H, Denon has it listed as featuring discrete high-current amplifiers on all channels delivering 105W per channel (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, THD: 0.08%, 2 Ch. driven). In fact, Denon claims their latest AVR line-up also meets the 70% power guarantee found on Marantz AV receivers. In this case, the AVR-X3600H is guaranteed to deliver 73.5 watts/channel with 5CH driven. Denon engineering supplied us with their test data for the AVR-X3600H showing it was able to deliver 81.9 watts/channel with 5CH driven into 8 ohm loads. How's that for exceeding ones specs?"

IMO, an AVR's 5-channel driven rating is by far the most useful rating for conservative power output assessments as in practice no more than the equivalent of 5-channels being driven fully are ever used at a time, even in 13.1 channel AVR. If you would like explanation of why this is the case I can give you one.

What you really need to estimate here is the respective maximum peak power demands of each of your systems' speakers. A while ago I created a spreadsheet model that does exactly this for systems up to 13 channels. If you provide me with the a list of each your speakers' sensitivity ratings, their distances to the MLP and your maximum listening level relative to reference (e.g. -10dB) I can quickly model it for you.
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
If you provide me with the a list of each your speakers' sensitivity ratings, their distances to the MLP and your maximum listening level relative to reference (e.g. -10dB) I can quickly model it for you.
I would take him up on this offer! @HAL2016 😁
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
That would be great, thanks
I will gather the figures and post them here as o have a feeling a few people may well be interested

Read what was tested at audioholic it may well be a good idea to use the Denon to power the F/R and a pair of Atmos speakers and leave the emo to handle the rest that also has the advantage of splitting the load to the front stage between the two amps
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
Unless you listen close to reference level (most people don't) and/or have a huge room, when I model your system you'll probably be surprised by the low amount of power actually required to drive each speaker.
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
Right here we go with the info, distance ar a little bit iffy as i have not set up in the room yet but woint be far off

LCR 90db, max watts 150 center 5ft L/R 6ft
4 surrounds 85db, max watts 150 sides 5ft rears 5.5ft
atmos 90db max watt 150 fronts 7ft, rears 6ft


And yes it is a small room but ist all have to play with in this house, it will be used by just the me and the wife so hopfully i can make it work with plenty of sound treatment in the room

I tend to listen at about -15/-10db or -5db when the wife is out :)
O and thx's for doing this
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
Thanks for the info. I've modelled your system under the following assumptions:

1. AVR is calibrated to 0dB volume being 85dB reference (some may not be by Audyssey)
2. Source material is mastered at 85dB reference (many are not, Netflix is as low as 79dB)
3. Volume setting of -5dB
4. Speaker sensitivity specs quoted are at 2.83V input
5. M&K overrate their sensitivity specs by 1dB (a guess to be conservative)
6. In-room dispersion sensitivity loss of 4dB per doubling of distance (conservative in-room level vs. 6dB free-air/anechoic)
7. Maximum dynamic peaks of 20dB in LCR and 17dB in surround/Atmos channels (Dolby Mastering standards)
8. The total summed SPL output of surround/Atmos channels cannot at any point exceed the peak SPL of a LCR channel (Dolby mastering standards)
9. The Denon X3600 AVR powers the front L/R and rear Atmos channels only and the Emotiva amp is used to power the remaining 7 channels
10. Headroom analysis assumes 3dB mandatory headroom requirement in all amplifier channels to avoid stress/excessive compression (i.e. it's not free headroom because it's needed, also 3dB headroom is the Dolby commercial cinema spec.)

Anyway, this what the model shows:

1622450712938.png


The yellow boxes are the inputs and the model calculates the rest automatically.

The blue highlighted area shows total power split between the two amps when each are under under maximum possible stress.

The green highlighted area shows utilisation of available power by LCR channels (the lower the better).

A key observation is that -5dB volume is right on the limit of what this system should be driven to given the potential 99% utilisation of power available for surround back channels before risk of compression.

I'm sure you'll have some questions but hopefully the logic makes sense.
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
Thanks for this very interesting. I belive i understand it but would not swear to it :)

like i say i normal list at abot -10 to -15 db so if i read things right i should not run into compression problems ?

1 question i have is this to me seems to sujest this is the best ways to split the denon and emo ?

It also seems that my rear surrounds are the limting factor not the fronts stage, is that correct ?

Once again thx's
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
I wouldn't worry because even when you're listening at -5dB on the volume, in reality you're probably still listening no higher than a true -10dB to reference (i.e. 75dB), the difference being due to a mastering level that's >5dB below reference. For example, my own system is calibrated to 85dB at 0dB volume and in practice the volume setting I have to use to create the same approximate level of loudness is usually somewhere between -18dB and -12dB, the lowest -18dB setting usually being with some Blu-rays.

Also, research has shown that, due to the closer boundaries, psycho-acoustically 75dB in a domestic room feels like 85dB does in a commercial cinema which may explain why most forum members don't seem to listen any higher than -10dB, some much lower.

If we model your system at -10dB listening level things change dramatically and the maximum wattage required for the L/R channels is now just 9 watts during the loudest peaks, the centre needing only 7 watts. This gives circa. 10dB headroom across the LCR channels which is massive. Given this I would revert to my original advice that you use the Emotiva for the LCRs and the Atmos channels for three reasons.

Firstly, the LCRs are pretty much running all the time and over 90% of what your hear comes from them. Using the EMO to power them will reduce the running load on the AVR and should help it run cooler.

Secondly, using an identical power source across the front soundstage would help maintain a consistent sound quality where is matters most.

Thirdly, the AVR and Emotiva have very similar power capabilities and the estimated low peak wattages can be easily handled by either without stress or risk of compression so the benefit of sharing the load of the LCRs is negligible.

This is what that configuration at a -10dB volume setting looks like.
1622538511260.png


To answer your question, yes, the surround back channels are the weakest link in the system from a power headroom perspective but at -10dB volume they're under minimal stress (peak 13 watt requirement) and are not a concern.

Your system highlights how, power-wise, AVRs are normally more than up to the job when paired with relatively sensitive LCR speakers.
 
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Dobbyisfree

Active Member
@Mr Wolf what an amazing tool you have :)

I am planning a total lounge move around that moves some speakers to different channels, introduces new speakers and will have 9 channels to be shared between my AVR and a 2 channel power amp. I am wondering which to channels are best to go the power amp.

Please would you share the spreadsheet (I expect the answer to this is no)? I could send you the data but I think it's a bit unreasonable and you may end up with the whole of AVF asking... it would be great if I could work this out though. It also may show that I need to change spending (mostly not much money and used bits and bobs) and get another used power amp!
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
@Mr Wolf what an amazing tool you have :)

I am planning a total lounge move around that moves some speakers to different channels, introduces new speakers and will have 9 channels to be shared between my AVR and a 2 channel power amp. I am wondering which to channels are best to go the power amp.

Please would you share the spreadsheet (I expect the answer to this is no)? I could send you the data but I think it's a bit unreasonable and you may end up with the whole of AVF asking... it would be great if I could work this out though. It also may show that I need to change spending (mostly not much money and used bits and bobs) and get another used power amp!
Thanks, I'm pleased you like it. For several reasons, at this stage I don't wish to share the spreadsheet but am more than happy to model your system for you as it only takes a me few minutes to populate those yellow boxes with assumptions and post up the result. When you're ready to do it, I suggest you create a similar thread to this one and include the following input assumptions:

1. Max. listening level (to reference)
2. Speaker sensitivity ratings and distances
3. Amplifier power per channel on 2 channel and (if known) 5 channel basis. If the latter's unknown, we'll assume 5-channel = 70% of 2 channel like D&M guarantee
4. Proposed allocation of amps to channels

I'm a former business turnaround consultant where spreadsheet modelling was part of my day job for over 20 years so this stuff isn't tricky for me. In fact, it's where I got my Mr Wolf nickname as I was always telling people what to do if they wanted to get out of the poop.
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
Thx's mister wolf you drive very fast and its hard to keep up, But we all learn some much when we do :)

I will be taking your advise when i get my system set up which should be very soon as i am spending today clearing the room and preaping it for decorating, so hopfully not to long now

Again a big thx's for the advise
 
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Mr Wolf

Active Member
You're welcome. Let us know how you get on and don't be afraid to test other options. There are many variables in play and experimentation is your friend here.
 
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HAL2016

Active Member
O I will be testing many diffrent setups to see which i prefer but as i said at the beginning of the thread i was looking for some more info to help inform my decision making prosses
 
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