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Denon & power amp

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Epoman, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Hi all

    If I use external power for some of the channels on my Denon 3802, does this mean that the amp can devote more power to the remaining channels and that because there will be less strain on the Denon, sound quality will be improved? What I do know is that adding a Naim NAP250 to the front channels has vastly improved the front soundstage, detail and dynamics.

    The NAP250 is only a temporary arrangement. Does anybody have any experience of the Denon POA T10 power amp as a replacement? Is it a useful upgrade to the 3802? It seems to be a suggested upgrade path for the higher end Denon amps. It’s available for a good price now (£299).

    Although I intend to experiment, can anybody say which channels benefit most from external power? Most references I have seen are to the fronts. Would the centre dialogue channel not benefit as greatly? If so, how do I connect a stereo power amp given (1) that there is only one phono connection on the Denon pre out, two on a stereo power amps and (2) that there are 2 speaker terminals on the power amp, left and right channel? Or do I need a mono amp?

    Regards
    Imran
     
  2. AOD

    AOD
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    Don't know about the other channels actually "gaining" any extra power, rather depends on whether you can tell the unit to devote more of its "muscle" to the channels without external amplification.

    I would imagine that "all" channels would benefit from being driven via external amplification. However you're probably more likely to notice the difference across the front soundstage (Left, Centre, Right).

    As far as how you amplify the centre channel, you could either:

    1. Drive one half of a stereo power amp and leave the other doing nowt.
    2. Use a stereo power amp that can be bridged to mono and connect accordingly (EG I have a couple of stereo Rotel power amps, one is bridged to mono for my centre channel).
    3. Buy a mono-power amp and use that.
     
  3. Epoman

    Epoman
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    How would I bridge to mono? The Denon has one phono for the centre channel but the power amp will have two? :confused:

    It seems logical to me :confused: that the Denon should share the total available power evenly between the speakers that are connected to it so that those without external amplification would benefit. Am I wrong?

    Any views n the Denon POA T10?
     
  4. AOD

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    Sorry, should have explained myself a little better.

    The expression "bridge to mono" means that on a stereo power amp, there may be a method of converting it to a mono amp, typically by using a switch of some sort. There is then a corresponding increase in power available. Example, my Rotel offers 60W per channel in stereo, when I switch it to bridged mono the power rises to 180W.

    Not all power amps offer this facility.

    The fact that your Denon has one phono for the centre channel is not in itself a problem. You could run a single connection from Denon's centre channel phono out to *one* channel of your stereo power amp, lets say the left channel for the sake of argument.

    You would then connect your centre channel speaker to the left channel of your power amp and away you go.

    I don't have any experience with the Denon power amp you mentioned, it may be worth having a look around for reviews to see what others think.

    As ever, the advice would have to be listen to it first before parting with cold hard cash.

    I can't comment on the power sharing abilities of the Denon depending on how many channels are actually being driven. Any 3802 experts out there that can help in this respect??
     
  5. Reiner

    Reiner
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    The POA-T10 is mainly intended to be used with the AVC-10SE which is a "7.1" amp but lacks two of the amplifiers (i.e. it has 5 internal amps only). I don't think it's intended to be used as an upgrade e.g. with the AVC-1SE.

    Anyhow, usually you will use an external (2-channel) power amp to drive the fronts, usually increasing sound quality in stereo mode and reducing stress to the AV amp or rather it's power supply.

    As for the center AOD has given the correct and complete answers. I just can add that the POA-T10 cannot be bridged and that ideally you should use the same type of amplification for all channels.

    If the POA-T10 is a worthy replacement for the NAD I can't say, perhaps you need to try this out yourself. Alternatively consider adding a 5-channel power amp or a mono block for each channel.
     
  6. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thanks for the replies. The POA T10 doen't seem suitable then.

    The various Rotel power amps look interesting and I might do a bit of research about them.

    Rgds
    Imran
     
  7. greeny

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    Why is the NAP250 only a temporary arrangement if it gives good results?. The POA T10 is not in the same Ball park as the NAP250, similarly don't expect the Rotels to provide the same sound quality.

    HAving said that, I would expect the POA T10 to provide you with improvements over the standard inbuilt amps, and has the added advantage of being compatable (tonally etc) with the 3802.
     
  8. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Greeny,

    The 250 is left over from my hi fi system which I sold off last year and I thought I would try it with the Denon (the Denon wasn't broke, so I thought I'd have a go at fixing it;)

    I will be rebuilding the hi fi around the 250 shortly. I will be buying a replacement Naim pre amp and could hook that up to the Denon. Don't you have to go through a 'balancing' process :confused:. If this is easy enough I could go this route and pick up another Naim power amp to power the rears.

    But, would the Denon not then become the wealest link :eek: ??

    Rgds
    Im
     
  9. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Or 'weakest' even
     
  10. greeny

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    Yes the DEnon would be the weakest link, but it depends where your priorities are, you could:

    Get a Naim Preamp and connet this to your 250, For music (CD, Tuner etc) you would not touch your Denon, simply use the Naim Gear driving your front speakers.
    For Movies the Denon would do the decoding and amplify the Rear/Centre channels and then use the Main Front Pre-Outs from the Denon ito your Naim Preamp Aux (or whatever) input, i.e. the Naim gear still amplifies the front channels even for Movies.

    This arrangement gives you the best possible quality for standard Stereo music sources.

    One of the newer Naim preamps (the 112 I think but I could be wrong) even provides a straight through facility exactly for the purpose of connecting an input from another AV amp (as per above). However even without the new amp all you need to do when doing movies is set your Naim preamp volume to a particular position (I use the nine o'clock position) then balance the channel outputs using the Denon (a 1 time process).


    I use a similar arrangement with a 3802 NAC82/NAP135's and get pretty good results.


    Obviously your overall Movie sound will not quite match your Music replay, but if you want that you would have to go for big expense (Lexicon/Tag/Naim processor + Power amps.
     
  11. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thanks Greeny

    That sounds like the way to go. Don’t think I can justify Lexicon/Tag type expense given my AV set up.

    I’ll check out the new Naim range for AV compatibility. I think I might try to source a cheap NAP140 for use with the rears. Could always sell it if it dosn't work.

    Can you describe the balancing process? I have read a thread about this before, but can’t find it now :confused:.

    What front speakers and sub are you using and how have do you find they integrate for music? I have Epos ES11’s at the moment, which I will relegate to rear back duties when I source a reasonably priced pair of SBL’s. I have 2 subs, a Rel Q150E and a Q100E, but will probably sell the latter to finance my hi fi.

    Cheers
    Im
     
  12. greeny

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    I have SBL's as fronts, I don't use a SUb for music just straightforward LP12/NAC82/NAP135's/SBLs. I have a Q400 for movies/TV etc.

    For me the priority is music, and I am more than happy with the setup above.

    For Movies the 3802 obviously is not the last word in processors/amps but it's not bad and more than capable of driving your rear and centre speakers, I currently use 2 sets of rears for surround L/R and Rear L/R so the Denon is actually driving 5 speakers. I have a spare NAP110 and am considering bridging this and using for the centre speaker, but for the time being I'm quite happy.

    The balancing process is quite easy:
    1, Connect Denon's Main Pre-outs to a spare i/p on your Naim preamp (you will need a Stereo Phono to Din convertion cable for this, I'm sure you will have encountered this problem before being a Naim owner)
    2, Select this channel on the Naim and set volume low.
    3, On the 3802 go into the channel level setup menu.
    4, Select the Centre channel and listen to how loud (ish) the Pink noise is from the centre.
    5, Select the Main front L or R channel on the Denon setup menu, Increase the volume on your Naim preamp until the volume is about the same as the volume you heard from the centre. Also Importantly you will need to 'remember' this volume position, I use the 9 o'clock position, it's best if it isn't much higher than this or else you can envisage some loud blasts when you suddenly change to CD replay without changing the volume down.
    6, Once 5 is Done, use the Denon Channel Level setup menu to balance all your speakers (using Sound Pressure Meter or ears)

    Now when you listen to Movies using the Denon you need to select the correct i/p and the 'remembered' volume on the Naim.


    Note: If you had the Naim preamp with the straight through facility you wouldn't need to do this, you could just balance the channels using the Denon without touching the Naim preamp.

    This may sound more complicated than it actually Is.

    Of course the problem If you have Naim front speakers is what you use as a centre, I'm using a Cheapish Mission to get me going, anyone got any suggestions as to a good match to Naim fronts?.

    You may have the same problem matching ES11's, They should make very capable rears though (good speakers).
     
  13. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Hi Greeny

    The balancing procedure sounds complicated, but I'm sure will fall into place when I try it. Thanks. Sold my 82 last year so I'll have to replace it. Don't like the look of the 112, but 102 might be worth a look. Will need a hicap though.

    Wish I never gave away all those Chord din/phono cables now :( .

    I have Epos 3 ES11's, 2 front, 1 centre (and 1 dead). I've just bought another pair for the rear. Brill small speaker but they need to be on their stands and they love space. This causes difficulty siting the centre speaker, but I can live with it under my TV mounted vertically.

    I read somewhere on the Naim forum about someone who was looking for a centre to match his SBL's. he was recommended to the Proac's, and from memory I think he bought one. I'll try to find the thread and post it here.

    Cheers
    Im
     
  14. Epoman

    Epoman
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  15. greeny

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    Thanks Im

    I didn't know about that forum.
     
  16. Epoman

    Epoman
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    One good deed deserves another:D
     
  17. mikenruth

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    Assuming your centre speaker is biwireable, here's something else to try when using a POA-T10 and a 3802. Send your centre pre out from your 3802 into the left input on a POA-T10, then take the left loop out and connect it back into the right input (POA-T10). Then use the left channel to drive the bass and the right channel to drive the treble on your centre speaker, thus bi-amping it.
     
  18. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Mickenruth

    Now, I like that idea :cool: my Epos are biwireable.

    Presumably this will work with any 2 channel amp, not just the Denon??

    I might try this with my NAP 250 first to see how it works
    :)

    Cheers
    Im
     
  19. greeny

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    Careful what you are doing here.

    I think what mikenruth is saying is the same signal is being put to both L and R i/ps.

    Don't take the left channel o/p and connect it to the right channel i/p!!. (Sorry if this sounds condescending, better that than you wrecking your nice NAP250)
     
  20. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Now you've done it. I'm totally :confused: !!

    Centre pre out from the 3802 to the left input on the power amp I understand, but from there I'm lost.

    What exactly do I connect to the right input?:confused:

    Once I get past this stage I presume I just connect left one channel of the power amp to the bass inputs on the speakers and the other to the treble.

    This is assuming that we're talking about the POA T10 as we're then talking RCA connections. The Naim NAP250 makes things a little more complicated by using an XLR connection, so a lead will need to be made up especially.

    Greeny:

    Don't worry, I've got broad shoulders:) . I wouldn't be a happy chappy if I fried my power amp :eek: I'm always grateful for help.

    Rgds
    Im
     
  21. mikenruth

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    As long as you have a pre amp loop through on your chosen stereo power amp (usually 2 phono sockets in addition to the 2 inputs, but forgive me, I can't remember if the POA T10 has them now:confused: ), then, assuming you use the left input on the power amp first, loop the left pre amp (NOT speaker terminal) out from the power amp back into the right input (again, phono socket, on the power amp) this effectively sends the signal back into the right channel of your power amp, allowing you to run them both together, thus biamping your centre speaker.

    Although this sounds similar to connecting 2 phono plugs into 1 from your 3802, the above suggestion doesn't load the pre amp stage of the 3802 as heavily.

    I wouldn't suggest using your Naim amp for this, as their 5 pin DIN sockets will make this very difficult, and I don't think they offer a loop through facility, anyway.
     
  22. greeny

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    Your NAP250 does not have this loop through facility.

    What you would need is a Phono to DIN cable making up that connected the centre channel o/p from your 3802 to both the left and rights channel I/P on the 250.

    But as said above, this may load the Preamp o/p of the Denon too much, I don't know if this is an issue or not.
     
  23. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thanks for your input (no pun intended) chaps.

    I'll play at the weekend (without putting my equipment at risk!).

    Greeny: Check out the Naim forum for news of the new naim centre speaker - to retail at above £1k. Bit too rich for my liking.

    Cheers
    Im
     
  24. greeny

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    Yes, talk of the Naim centre is that it will be about £2000!!.

    Gulp!!

    I will not be looking at this sort of price!


    There is also talk that the Naim TV stand will be £1000-2000 . Double Gulp!!
     
  25. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Won't be getting my trade then!! :( .

    Unless I win the lottery of course!!

    How possibly can they justify £2,000 for ONE speaker??

    Would be better to find an old pair of SBL's or even IBL's and use one for the centre and the other for the rear-back. Would look a bit of a pig but I think I could accomodate an IBL if I took a hacksaw to my current AV stand. Saw a pair in Loot the other day for £299ish.

    Have to go and play with my new (to me anyway) LP12/Ekos/Troika now :D . Collected it at the weekend and can't get it sounding right through that Denon and a Videotone phono head amp (sounds god awful in fact :( . Might have to put my hand in my pocket for a preamp sooner than I thought :( ).

    Im
     

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