Answered Power Amp to go with Denon AVR

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by craig808, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. craig808

    craig808
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    Hi guys

    Some of you may have seen my previous posts with regard to my new Denon AVR and how to set it up correctly.

    In a nutshell, although I have been a life long lover of listening to music and playing guitar my knowledge of hifi and ht equipment is minimal.

    I bought a Denon AVR X2400H along with some MA Bronze 5 floor standers and MA W10 sub. Over the last month i have been trying countless set ups, tweaking here and there, moving speakers in lots of different positions and even changing my whole lounge around several times and going through the whole process again and again.

    I would say I listen to music 70% and movies 30%. When listening to movies and playing games using Gamely streaming from my TV I am very impressed with the sound. Obviously as I'm only using 2.1 I'm not getting the full surround experience but it's still in my opinion very good - i can also add speakers at a later date when needed.

    My main concern is when listening to music. Basically I'm not getting the sound that I'd like at all. As I've mentioned above, I really have exhausted all possibilities of what I think the avr is capable of and I have come to the conclusion that it's the best I'm going to get from the 2400H.

    Listening to slower tracks such as Better Things by Massive Attack or most Portishead it's fairly good. But there isn't much to go wrong with those tracks, slow and steady beat with some singing. Don't get me wrong, the vocals could have more clarity but overall it's ok...a good ok but still just ok. Same for something along the lines of Norah Jones, her voice is slightly boxy and has a slight echo but it sounds fairly good.

    Increase the tempo with something like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or The Strokes and it's a different story altogether. The sound just becomes weak. There's no separation between the instruments or vocals and the highs are too much. If I set the EQ as I want it as soon as the volume increases the once acceptable highs become a bit screachy.

    I listen to all genres of music and the above are just a few examples. Basically slow and steady isn't too bad but as soon as the tempo increases or the track becomes more complex the avr struggles.

    Reading on various forums etc it's looking like I could do with adding a power amp to my set up to power the front left and right channel. I may be wrong but below are a selection of some of the advantages of adding a power amp (what I've read):
    1. No longer sharing power supply with rest of AV receiver, thus no longer compromising the performance of the front two channels.
    2. Isolation from the rest of the AV receiver, thus preventing interference, be it air born radio frequency interference or electrical from shared power supply.
    3. A £600 Power amp is £300 per channel where as the value of an AVR is spread across all the many different components of the 'do it all system.
    I'd like to know if any of you have had the same issues and if adding a power amp helped. Ideally I'd like to hear if anyone has added specifically to the X2400H and which amp you chose. I would say I like a fairly balanced sound (not too warm and not too bright) with a tendency to increase the treble slightly. I like to hear the cymbals and the highs in a voice but not over powering. I'm thinking maybe a Marantz paired to my Denon would sound good.

    Apologies for the overly long ramblings...i just want to get this right as currently my system is starting to annoy me.

    Thanks in advance
    Craig
     
  2. Best Answer:
    Post #17 by RRRuss, Oct 12, 2017 (1 points)
  3. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    Hi Craig,

    If you want to add a power amplifier to an AV Receiver, it needs to have 'Pre Outs' for the front left and right channels. I don't know the 2400 very well, but I've had a quick look on Google, and it appears that the 2400 doesn't have these pre outs available, so unfortunately you'll be unable to add a power amp to your set up

    I have a similar problem to you - I got the Marantz SR7011 with the Bronze 5 AV Package and can share some thoughts I had - the Marantz is supposed to be 'decent' with music too, but I've never felt it's been that great.

    I tried a used, older Rotel RA-03 in place of the Marantz, driving the Bronze 5's and that made a huge difference to the 'musicality' of the system. I think adding a power amp will give you more 'headroom' which should lead to better dynamics, but ultimately a large part comes down to using an AVR as a 'pre amp', so the 'more musical' solution would be to use a hifi amp (with an AV bypass ideally) to run the music side of things, then (if you had pre outs) use it in 'av mode' when watching a film, which essentially bypasses the volume control and turns the hifi amp into a power amp, when watching movies. Then, you connect all of your hifi/music sources to the hifi amp directly, and the video/surround sources to the AV Amp - best of both worlds.

    Also, I quite quickly changed my W10 sub for a BK XXLS400 and this made a HUGE difference. The MA sub is decent, but easily out performed by a similarly priced BK model.

    This game is a slippery slope..
     
  4. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Hi, yes, unfortunately without the necessary pre-outs you cannot use a power amp with the Denon AVR X2400H. A power amp may not necessarily bring about the improvements that you are looking for though, as the pre-amp section is equally as important as the power amps when it comes to sound quality.

    If you want to keep that AVR, you could use a separate integrated amp for music, and use a speaker switch. The Beresford TC 7220 is a good one, but is not inexpensive at approx £100.

    I had a Denon 6300 for a while and found that to be very 'unmusical', although it sounded great for movies. I now have a Marantz SR7011, which is much better for music, but even then, I have added an integrated amp via the pre-outs and HT bypass to further improve music sound quality.

    So, if you are happy with how movies sound with your AVR, you may be better off keeping that as it is and adding a speaker switch and a more 'musical' amplifier for music.
     
  5. craig808

    craig808
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    RRRuss and Puntilio

    Thanks for your comments.

    So by the sound of it all is not lost, I need to purchase an amp and also the speaker switch. Can any of you recommend a good amp that's maybe a couple of years old, funds are a bit low (new house and baby on the way) so ideally could do with buying 2nd hand.

    Somebody also mentioned using an amp connected to Zone 2 could be an option. To be honest I'm a little lost with all of this new and learning as I go along so please forgive my lack of knowledge!!

    Cheers
    Craig
     
  6. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    What’s your budget please?
     
  7. craig808

    craig808
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    Ideally I'd like to spend up to £500. I realise that this wouldn't get me much brand new hence thinking about going down the 2nd hand route.
     
  8. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Yes, you could use the zone 2 pre-out into an integrated amp and use the Denon AVR as a source (eg for digital music). You would have to try it and see how it sounds, as the pre-amp of the Denon would still have an effect.

    Generally you would connect your music sources directly to the integrated amp to get the best possible sound quality.
     
  9. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    That’ll get you a great amp! In fact Marantz have a PM8005 on offer at most places for £550 down from £1000, which would work well

    Punctilio managed to get a MF M3i for just over budget too by making an offer on eBay to a reseller which was accepted. Both great amps and a huge leap forward musically from a 2400
     
  10. craig808

    craig808
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    Great stuff

    I was just looking at the 6006 but if your saying the 8005 is going for that price it's definitely worth looking at. Will there be a big difference between the 2?

    I'll be so glad to hear my music how id like to hear it. At the moment it's just annoying me every time I listen to music, which is nearly every day!
     
  11. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Ha, was just going to say the same!

    I've tried quite a few AVR's, integrated amps, power amps and DAC's to get a good sound for both movies and music. For music I am now using the Musical Fidelity M3i together with the Musical Fidelity V90 DAC. That combination finally hit the sweet spot for me.

    I did audition the Marantz PM8005 also, and that was a close second.
     
  12. craig808

    craig808
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    So I'm guessing that the pre amp in something like the 8005 or MF M3i would be better than the pre amp in the X2400
     
  13. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Hold on, I've just read the original post again and realised that you are running a 2.1 system rather than a multi channel system.

    This means that I am not sure that you need the Denon AVR or the speaker switch at all? Just a good integrated musical amp with a sub pre-out.
     
  14. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Yes, exactly. How you described your issues with listening to music, is exactly what I had been experiencing. But, it took a while to find a right combination of components that sounded good.
     
  15. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    I think he wants to add the other speakers at a later date though.

    I’d maybe consider selling the 2400
    Now whilst it’s new, get a decent hifi amp and get that bit running right, then add in a receiver with pre outs later down the line, removing the need for the speaker switch (they’re always a faff) and buy when you’re ready to add in the extra speakers too perhaps?

    A used Denon 3300 or Marantz SR6010 or similar at the appropriate time would make more sense and also provide better amplification for your additional channels

    How old is the 2400? Could you exchange it perhaps?
     
  16. craig808

    craig808
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    I am for the time being.

    I'd like to keep the AV as I'll be able to connect more speakers at a later date. I have contemplated just an integrated amp with sub pre out but think I'd miss the option at a later date.

    Still unsure though so that could be an option as well. I suppose at least I'd get some money back for the Denon and be able to put that toward a new amp.


    I
     
  17. craig808

    craig808
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    The Denon is about 1 month old from Richer Sounds. I doubt they'd exchange it now....worth a phone call I suppose
     
  18. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    Best Answer
    I’d sell the Denon and get the music right first, as it sounds like your priority. Sell it whilst it’s a current model and has strong reviews. You’ll get decent money for it still

    Then you can still feed from your TV to the hifi amp using a cheap DAC from Amazon - you’d be surprised how good that can sound with a decent hifi amp and speakers too
     
  19. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    Also, what sources are you using to listen to music please?
     
  20. craig808

    craig808
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    And would that sound as good as it does at the moment....for the movies I mean?
     
  21. craig808

    craig808
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    I use Spotify which is an app on my Samsung TV and also have a Tidal subscription. IMO the music from Tidal sounds better as it's FLAC
     
  22. Rambles

    Rambles
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    The two marantz amps and the MF amp don't have subwoofer pre-outs. But, there will be other amps in the £500 range that do, some will have integrated DAC's so you could just use digital audio out of your tv straight into the amp.

    How they will sound compared to the Denon is another matter, could you maybe ask Richer Sounds for a demo of the ones they have in that price range?
     
  23. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    So you’re feeding an optical from your tv to the Denon?

    How are you getting Tidal into the system?

    Add any used higher tier AV receiver and you’ll see a marked improvement over the 2400. Just make sure it has the functions you require and channels of amplification.

    It may be worth considering a used DAC too and stream to that via a Chromecast Audio or similar
     
  24. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    You could get lucky and get this for your budget...

    Leema Pulse Integrated Amplifier | eBay

    It’s a bit of overkill for your speakers perhaps, but you would then be getting the very best out of them. A top class amp and it will wipe the floor with anything at twice the price new.
     
  25. RRRuss

    RRRuss

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    Look at something like a Yamaha AS801 too perhaps which as advised above, gives you a built in DAC and a subwoofer output

    I’d maybe go demo a few amps and see what you like the sound of but defo try and pick up a used/Ebay bargain or something on a clearance deal
     
  26. craig808

    craig808
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    Wow....

    I'm getting more confused as we go along

    I never knew it could be so complicated to listen to music or a movie. I'm sure that this is not complicated at all for you guys but I'm getting a little lost with it.

    So far we've mentioned:
    • Add an integrated amp with a speaker switch
    • Get rid of AV and buy an amp
    • 3 amps mentioned but don't have sub pre out so need a different one
    • Get a cheap DAC from Argos
    • Get an amp with DAC in it but by the sounds of it it may not sound much better than what I have
    • Get Chromecast Audio
    I never knew there could be so much choice. I am honestly at a complete loss as what to do for the best haha
     
  27. Rambles

    Rambles
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    There are a lot of options that's for sure!

    Maybe take a breath and go and listen to some different amps in some demo rooms?
     
  28. craig808

    craig808
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    I think that is definitely the next thing to do. Although, demo rooms tend to be the perfect room and when you then take the equipment home it doesn't always sound the same. Different room, different acoustics etc
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  29. craig808

    craig808
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    Never heard of these.....interesting
     
  30. Rambles

    Rambles
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    I absolutely agree with that! It can at least be a way to make a comparison between different amps if everything else stays the same. Maybe take the Denon 2400 with you so you can make a direct comparison to that.

    The other option is to find a dealer that will let you have a home demo, but they are rare. Or buy things online then use the distance selling regulations to return if you don't like it. But I always feel bad when I do that, sometimes it's the only way though.
     
  31. craig808

    craig808
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    If I went down this route could I not use the amp as the source by playing digital music through that?
     

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