Power Amp added to Denon X4400h (Emotiva BasX A3)

logiclee

Well-known Member
I've not posted on the forum for a while and after decades of more or less yearly upgrades I've not done any upgrades for a couple of years.

I suppose you could say I've been happy with my setup with no direct push to upgrade.

But I've had a niggle since I installed the 4 atmos speakers two years ago. As I pushed passed -17db I'd notice a lack of absolute clarity during action sequences and my FL&FR channels would start to dominate.

I've always put this down to the X4400h struggling with up to 9 channels being driven and the imbalance in sensitivity.

Sensitivity wise my FL&FR are 90db, Centre, surrounds and atmos are all 84-86db.

For a while I've been thinking of a Marantz 7055 5 channel power amp but the price is over £1000 and power output is still quoted as 140W with only 2 Channels Driven.

More recently I've been looking at Emotiva's BasX range with excellent reviews for the price point and the A3 seemed perfect for driving the front L,C,R and leave the Denon for Surrounds and atmos. So the search began for one as stock is rare.
Quite a few online retailers were showing 1 in stock so I rang four to confirm stock and non actually had any. Glad I didn't order online.

So shout out to @Yorkshire AV who not only had two in stock as stated on their website but were also knowledgeable, friendly and managed to sort next day delivery with a one hour slot even though I was a few hours past the delivery cut off. And they followed up with communication by phone and email.

So the Emotiva BasX A3 is now installed and calibrated and I can only say wow what a difference.
At any volume I'm hearing more depth and clarity especially where music is present. At -15 to -10db action sequences have really come to life, the dynamic range and clarity are very much improved.

I've still got more testing to do but this relatively cheap (£599) 3 channel power-amp has really made a very noticeable improvement to my system, well worth the money.

So much so I'm now considering an A7 to power my other 6 channels.

Lee
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
@logiclee I have the same 5.2.4 confiuration as you - using a Denon 4500H. (and Monitor Audio speakers, with similar sensitivityto yours.) I've been toying with the idea of adding a Basx amp or amps, since I have seen & read reviews which match your findings regarding improved clarity etc. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing them. I guess I better start saving for those Emo's now!

What size room is your setup in? Is it a dedicated room, or like me a living room?
 
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rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Been saying this for a long time..I'm using 5x 300w 2x 200w 4x 75w.

That marantz poweramp isn't very good.

I went into next room and set it to 00db.. absolutely no sign of degradation in sound quality.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Also Denon are one of the better rated on amplifier channels. I believe your 4xxx range is 76w with 7 channels driven
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
@logiclee I have the same 5.2.4 confiuration as you - using a Denon 4500H. (and Monitor Audio speakers, with similar sensitivityto yours.) I've been toying with the idea of adding a Basx amp or amps, since I have seen & read reviews which match your findings regarding improved clarity etc. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing them. I guess I better start saving for those Emo's now!

What size room is your setup in? Is it a dedicated room, or like me a living room?

Living room approx 20'x15'
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
Also Denon are one of the better rated on amplifier channels. I believe your 4xxx range is 76w with 7 channels driven

I wonder what that is with 9 channels and how well it copes with dynamics.

I never struggled with absolute volume but the clarity and dynamics were lacking at high volume in action scenes.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Hi Lee, IMO you would probably do well to upgrade to 6.5” driver speakers all round if you can.

I know these B&W 600 series speakers very well. The HTM62 is not a great speaker for loud listening levels - I know, I used one for 9 years in my living room system. You really should have got the larger HTM61 to go with the 684s which has matching 6.5” drivers and much higher 90dB sensitivity. The successor HTM61 S2 is also good. I have a similar 6.5” driver B&W LCR600 S3 centre speaker in my HT room and it’s so much better than the HTM62 (and even the much newer HTM6). IMO, B&W’s 5.25” driver speakers are too insensitive and almost sound muffled compared to their larger 6.5” driver siblings.

If you have the space, I would also swap out the 686s for 685s which also have 6.5” drivers and have 88dB sensitivity. Trust me, the 685 is a far, far superior speaker to the 686 in every way - I have used both for many years. These changes would have the effect of more than halving the power drawn by these channels, put the system into balance and massively reducing the power requirement on the AVR.
 
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logiclee

Well-known Member
Hi Lee, IMO you would probably do well to upgrade to 6.5” driver speakers all round if you can.

As always Living Room systems are a compromise and the size of the HTM62 and 686 was the original purchasing reason. I sometimes wish I'd bought the 685's instead of the 684's as they are not ideally positioned for floorstanders.

In the not too distant future I'll be moving into a Bungalow and a loft conversion for dedicated HC is on the cards. I'll be ditching the B&W's entirely then, they have served me well for over a decade.

I'm debating though whether to buy an A7 or another two more A3's and have equal amplification o all channels.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Send the A3 back and buy boulder 3050 monoblocs for all channels.

Of get xpa or tonewinner, Nord,ATI etc
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
Send the A3 back and buy boulder 3050 monoblocs for all channels.

Of get xpa or tonewinner, Nord,ATI etc

Nope, I have other expensive hobbies and investments to fund.

Retiring 12 years early and having a holiday home at the coast is No1 priority.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Not that expensive

 

logiclee

Well-known Member
Not that expensive


110W per channel all channels driven.

For a similar price I could get two Emotiva A3's with 140W per channel.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
110W per channel all channels driven.

For a similar price I could get two Emotiva A3's with 140W per channel.


The bas X is fan cooled. And has tiny heatsinks. The iota is fully passive and has large heatsinks.

Also with buying multiple bas X it may cost more
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
The bas X is fan cooled. And has tiny heatsinks. The iota is fully passive and has large heatsinks.

Also with buying multiple bas X it may cost more

Last night I ran through two movies at a louder demo level than I usually use. My X4400 which sits in free air was hot to touch as usual. The Emotiva A3 felt like it was turned off, barely above ambient.
From all the reviews I've read/seen they run very cool and usually come with 5 year warranty.

I have 9 channels to drive.

The A3 at 140W (All channels) costs £599 and is currently driving the front three.

Which leaves 6 channels to power.
If I stick with Emotiva BasX then I could go with

1x A7 at 7x 90W per channel for £850
2x A3 at 6x140W per channel for £1198
Price if I stick with UK retailers. Cheaper to import direct from Emotiva.

The Iota IVPX1 would be £1150 (Reduced price, usually £1399) for 7x 110W.

If we look across all of AV forum and look at Denon's sales figures the X3*** seems to hit the sweet spot for most HC "Enthusiasts". That's the price point that most can justify (Less than £1k)
I think Emotiva have a real winner with the BasX range. Sure they don't have Balanced inputs but they are not aimed at that price point. I've not seen or heard a bad review.

As an upgrade path for receivers in the X3*** and X4*** price bracket Emotiva have a real winner with the A3 and the availability and stock levels suggest they are selling well enough.
 
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rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
You'll find most cheaper poweramps with XLR are not fully balanced, they just unbalanced over xlr.

Same for pre amps.

For example my tonewinner at-300 has xlr but I'm 99% sure it's not fully balanced. My ATI amplifiers are. Depending on present or future surround speakers you could need the three you have already plus a ten (six height, side, rears)
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
The 4400 doesn't have all channel pre amp mode/eco so the amp stages are always active and powered up.

X700 range do, signal to the power amps get shut off, so unit runs cooler, pre out signal is cleaner and higher voltage if required.

Emotiva have 9ch xpa I think it has lower powered modules for some channels.

Problem I guess with Atmos is wide choice in number of channels so have to think amp channel best options and depending on amp selection means odd or even number that might not be available for the second or third amp ie for me 3+4+4 but in future 3+4+6
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
The 4400 doesn't have all channel pre amp mode/eco so the amp stages are always active and powered up.

X700 range do, signal to the power amps get shut off, so unit runs cooler, pre out signal is cleaner and higher voltage if required.

Indeed but even with amps on SINAD is good to 1.4V. A3 only requires 1.25V for maximum output so all good.

X4700 can only go full preamp so owners would have to power amp every channel before they can turn off.
But as many reviewers have commented power amping just some of the channels can improve detail, clarity and dynamics significantly.

To be fair I think if I go with all channels I'd not look at the 4700, other options open up when you don't need the amplification power.
 
D

Deleted member 901590

Guest
Hi @logiclee I have an x4400. It has been setup in various configurations of amplification. Just to let you know, the majority of the heat from the unit is the video processing.

In my experience, switching off the video conversion mode reduces the heat more than any addition of outboard amplification.

I don't know if the heat is an issue to you but thought that I'd let you know.
 

logiclee

Well-known Member
Hi @logiclee I have an x4400. It has been setup in various configurations of amplification. Just to let you know, the majority of the heat from the unit is the video processing.

In my experience, switching off the video conversion mode reduces the heat more than any addition of outboard amplification.

I don't know if the heat is an issue to you but thought that I'd let you know.

Hi Dobbyisfree
Thanks for the feedback.

I don't have a problem with heat as such, just an observation. The AVR is on top of my rack in free air so plenty of ventilation.
I also have video processing off.

To be fair although the Denon's I've had run warm I used to have a THX Ultra rated Onkyo and that was a mini furnace.
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
<snip>

More recently I've been looking at Emotiva's BasX range with excellent reviews for the price point and the A3 seemed perfect for driving the front L,C,R and leave the Denon for Surrounds and atmos. So the search began for one as stock is rare.
Quite a few online retailers were showing 1 in stock so I rang four to confirm stock and non actually had any. Glad I didn't order online.

So shout out to @Yorkshire AV who not only had two in stock as stated on their website but were also knowledgeable, friendly and managed to sort next day delivery with a one hour slot even though I was a few hours past the delivery cut off. And they followed up with communication by phone and email.


So much so I'm now considering an A7 to power my other 6 channels.

Hello Lee

Thanks for the shoutout. Appreciated!
Let me know when you're looking for A7's :)

The A3's are now all sold out (though I do have the DR3's in stock :D). A7's are readily available too.

Glad reading your comments that you're finding improvements with the A3 :)
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Hello Lee

Thanks for the shoutout. Appreciated!
Let me know when you're looking for A7's :)

The A3's are now all sold out (though I do have the DR3's in stock :D). A7's are readily available too.

Glad reading your comments that you're finding improvements with the A3 :)


Can you hand deliver 32 of these to my penthouse at berg kahlifa tower? The lift is out of order

 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor

elboogz

Standard Member
Last night I ran through two movies at a louder demo level than I usually use. My X4400 which sits in free air was hot to touch as usual. The Emotiva A3 felt like it was turned off, barely above ambient.
From all the reviews I've read/seen they run very cool and usually come with 5 year warranty.

I have 9 channels to drive.

The A3 at 140W (All channels) costs £599 and is currently driving the front three.

Which leaves 6 channels to power.
If I stick with Emotiva BasX then I could go with

1x A7 at 7x 90W per channel for £850
2x A3 at 6x140W per channel for £1198
Price if I stick with UK retailers. Cheaper to import direct from Emotiva.

The Iota IVPX1 would be £1150 (Reduced price, usually £1399) for 7x 110W.

If we look across all of AV forum and look at Denon's sales figures the X3*** seems to hit the sweet spot for most HC "Enthusiasts". That's the price point that most can justify (Less than £1k)
I think Emotiva have a real winner with the BasX range. Sure they don't have Balanced inputs but they are not aimed at that price point. I've not seen or heard a bad review.

As an upgrade path for receivers in the X3*** and X4*** price bracket Emotiva have a real winner with the A3 and the availability and stock levels suggest they are selling well enough.
Hi Logiclee, out of interest did you go for another A3 in the end? And if so did you choose to import direct from Emotiva?

I'm looking to get the A3 myself if I can't get hold of the discontinued BasX A-5175, and just trying to find out whether importing is cheaper. 🤔
 

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