Question Denon X4200 vs Focal Domes - Limits

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Duke, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Duke

    Duke
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    Hello All,

    Sorry about this one if a) it's a stupid question and I'm missing the obvious, and/or b) it's been covered in one way or other before.

    For one or both of the above I apologise.

    I have a Denon X4200 paired with Focal Domes sub/sat in a 7.1 configuration. The Denon is rated at 120 watts (125 watts depending on which specs you read) per channel. The Focals, though I can't find a maximum WPC rating, recommend a 25 - 100 watt amp/receiver.

    Taking into account the fact that the receiver rating is based on 2 channels being driven (I'm running all 7 remember) and therefore would be outputting rather less, would the diminutive sats that make up my front/centre/back/sides be up to running anywhere near "reference" levels (eg 0db)?

    The reason I ask is that having only gotten my system up and running after several weeks without a sub and just bought the Denon, I played a few films at around -3db to -4db without issue (SW Force Awakens and MM Fury Road - absolutely amazing sound) but when I tried the opening, apocalyptic, explosive, dino killing event in Transformers AOE I got a pronounced crackling at times through my speakers at anything above -7db.

    Any ideas? - and please don't tell me the solution is "don't watch Transformers...". That's just too obvious:D

    Thanks for any help you can give, Cheers everyone.
     
  2. gibbsy

    gibbsy
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    The Denon should have no trouble is driving the system safely, your ears would probably cry 'enough' long before the speakers do. Have you correctly set the system up via Audyssey and set the speakers to small? Make sure all connections are clean and tight. If you've had no problems with other titles other than Transformers then it could just be the copy. I often wonder who actually bought it. Now I know.:)
     
  3. citywalker

    citywalker
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    Focal Dome 5.1 set is not reference level capable. Period. Turn volume little-bit down.
    Real reference level speakers with X4200 moves things around the coffe table + it hurts ears too.
    I'm using system like this and 0dB is ear bleeding level, sound is clean and powerful, but little-bit too loud.
    This Transformers bluray has quite bass intensive sounds and little speakers like domes will crackle if pushing too loud.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  4. Duke

    Duke
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    OK, OK, I know. But in my defence I was drunk, and it was the first of my Blu-rays that I remembered had a genuine Dolby Atmos mix. I wanted to "compare and contrast" between a True HD and Atmos soundtrack. It was all in the name of research you see...:D

    In answer to the other question about Audyssey, I had set it up the week before (after reconnecting the sub' naturally) and checked all levels/distances etc and found it to be spot on. And what it does to my home cinema experience is nothing short of astounding. How did I ever live without it?

    But back to the point of my initial post - I wasn't worried so much about the receiver and its abilities, I was more concerned about the limitations of the Domes. Can't afford to be fragging speakers so soon after upgrading the receiver.

    But the Denon has made a huge difference to my cinema sessions. That and getting the sub working properly...

    Cheers for the input.
     
  5. Duke

    Duke
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    I'm not expecting THX reference sound pressure levels, but being as the sats sit no more than around 3 metres from my ears at their furthest (and therefore the calibration position) I expect "reference" would be relative. I'm not trying to fill an auditorium with sound - just an 18msq sitting room. Even the Domes should manage that with ease.

    But thanks for the advice. I did think the AOE soundtrack may have been mixed at higher levels or something. Other films have been OK.

    Cheers.
     
  6. citywalker

    citywalker
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    I know, what you mean and I was thinking exactly the same thing many years. But understanding how wrong my thinking was came after that, when I bought THX Ultra speakers...
     
  7. Duke

    Duke
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    My missus has promised that the next (and final) house we move to will have a space in which I can construct a dedicated cinema room. Every iteration of my home cinema so far has been a compromise with size, appearance, placement etc. But in her defence the other half has been very accommodating with regards to my "hobby" so far.

    So have the neighbours for that matter. Mind you I did spend serious AV upgrade money trying to soundproof the party wall. It must work - I can't hear next door shouting "TURN IT DOWN!!!" when I'm enjoying my Friday afternoon film session. Result:D
     
  8. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    There are several ways to damage a speaker. One of those is excess excursion, meaning you physically push the speaker too far.

    You can NOT expect bass and impact of the same caliber as what you get from a larger speaker or a Subwoofer. Now, I recently listened to several X-Men movies using Q Acoustic Concept 20 bookshelf speakers, and the results were thrilling, but I did have to have them a bit louder than my larger floorstanding speakers, and reasonably I could not expect intense bass or impact.

    The Concept 20 are bookshelf that are intended to stand on their own. The Focal Dome are speakers that are specifically intended to be part of a multi-way system, meaning they are meant to be used with a Sub.

    When you implement a Sub into the system, all the low bass will be diverted from the Front speakers and sent to the Sub, making the job of the Front speakers much easier.

    Next, the Focal Dome Satellites are 4 OHMS, though most likely they do not sustain a 4 ohms load. More likely they just hit 4 ohms or a bit below at a couple of frequencies, and these low impedance frequencies are almost always on the low end. Using a Sub would also isolate the system from those low impedance areas of the spectrum.

    In short - Get a Subwoofer.

    Though if you are serious, you will not get the Focal Dome Sub. It is debatable whether it can even be technically called a Sub given that it only does down to 42hz. Many bookshelf speakers will go that low. Sub-Woofer means below the woofer, or reproducing frequencies below what a common Woofer is able to reproduce. As pointed out, Bookshelf speakers can go down to 42hz, so the Dome Sub does not qualify as a Sub-Woofer. Though that is true for many tiny Satellite Lifestyle systems.

    For me, to qualify as a Subwoofer, a Sub would have to respond well below 30hz.

    But back on topic. Reference level is calibrated at about 85db, which is loud but not crazy loud. For music, that would be a loud, but comfortably loud level. However, the dynamics of a Movie are a lot wider than that of music. The difference between the softest sound in a movie and the loudest sound can be huge, and they can come one right after the other - whisper followed by a Death Star blowing up. So, for a movie, a volume setting of 0db can seem pretty loud, and the peaks at 0db can really be loud.

    As long as you are not using a Sub, you are putting these small speakers in danger, though how much is next to impossible to say with any accuracy.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  9. Duke

    Duke
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    Thanks for the input Steve. Probably didn't make it clear, but I am running a sub (the one that came with the Dome package mainly because it was cheap enough, not unattractive, and it's geometry is such that it allowed for discrete installation in my rather less than ideally shaped/sized lounge.

    I let the Audyssey system calibrate everything and it has done a wonderful job IMHO. I have tried the crossover at the 120hz as set by Audyssey and 150hz to let the sub take more of the strain. The higher cutover does allow the volume to go up another couple of notches but it sacrifices something in the transition.

    I asked the initial question as I didn't know what to expect from the combination of the Denon and the Domes. The scale and detail was there but I just didn't feel I was getting the db levels I had grown used to. I had previously run the speakers with a Yamaha RX-V773 and had gotten used to the character of this pairing. But I wanted to experience some of the new 3D sound formats (still waiting to install the ceiling speakers a month or so later) and the Denon was very good value. So far it seems to bring much to the party. Except maybe huge amounts of volume.

    Thanks for all the advice of the past few days/weeks. Gonna spend more of my time watching films and finding my way around my new receiver and far less time asking questions. And trying not to blow my speakers in the process.

    Cheers.
     

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