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Receiver or PA for Loud Outcome from Floor Standers?

swind0wn

Novice Member
Firstly I would like to let you know that I am still a newbie in this forum.

I have been wanting to get a sound system for my room and having read a lot of forums I have stopped my attention to Wharfedale Xarus 5000. I believe the speakers are great considering I am not an audiophile therefore crisp ends etc. don't bother me as long as I can hear fine the music; on the other hand they are "loud party speakers" which is what I am really after.

What worries me now is whether to get an amplifier/receiver or PA amplifier? I know their amplifier power output recommended varies from 20 to 250 Watts and considering my aim - for them to be loud - I think it is good to be looking for an amplifier which is able to provide the best power output for the speakers (around 250 watts).

As far as I am concerned PA amplifiers are being used mostly for big parties, gigs - away from home however looking at the AV receivers the highest output I have yet seen is 130 watts per 6 ohms (far from 250). I know home receivers are famous for better quality which is something I will consider but what I don't want to happen is to be compromising on volume.

I have the Eltax Atomic 10.2 subwoofer which I would want to plug into my system and I have heard that plugging it through the High Level Input is much worse than connecting it to a normal RCA cable. Therefore a home amplifier/receiver would be a better option with regards to this matter. Unlike the fact that as far as I'm concerned I have to "calibrate" the speakers if I was to buy a receiver with a SPL meter which I believe would be quite hard and an unnecessary expense, especially considering I will only be using 2 main speakers and 1 sub - no center/rears etc.

My budget is up to £150 (new) and a receiver that my eyes caught earlier is this Pioneer VSX527; if I was to buy a PA amplifier - anything up to £100 (used).

I will be using my system for 100% music and I play it from my laptop through the usual 3.5mm cable (my laptop has HDMI port can I use it instead if I was to choose a receiver?). My room is small - 160sq.ft and I hardly listen to loud music however I do like to being able to. On the other hand my friend sometimes has parties in his garden with around 30-50 people invited so I can imagine bringing my speakers so we can listen to louder music (from 2.1 PC system 2x20 watts and 40watts sub).

Feel free to share any comments, pieces of advice and opinions. Thanks
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
I've owned that amp in the past and used it with my pcs. I got rid of it within six weeks since it had too many issues, including weak to non existent bass. Search the forum and others report the same.

Clearly the sort of PA Amps you are talking about are not designed for use in a small room and won't have the quality in sound of a receiver or stereo amplifier. Most multichannel amps, above the very basic, will have their own room correction software. Bear in mind that some AV receivers can go very loud but aren't that easy to transport.

I think you need to decide which is more important, an amplifier for your room or solution for gigs, and then decide accordingly. A lorry and a Ferrari both have their uses but there is no hybrid version.
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
A true 250W amp in that size room would just be silly. 130W will be more than enough to get to hearing damaging levels. Look at the sensitivity of the speaker and this tells you the db value 1W of power will give at 1m from speaker. This is most likely over 85db and this is the level that hearing protection is mandatory in industry. So very loud levels can be achieved with relatively small amounts of power. I would also doubt any claim of 250W amp for your budget. That much real power costs a lot of money.
 

swind0wn

Novice Member
"I have heard that plugging it through the High Level Input is much worse than connecting it via a normal RCA cable." Is this true?
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"As far as I'm concerned I have to "calibrate" the speakers if I was to buy a receiver with a SPL meter which I believe would be quite hard and an unnecessary expense, especially considering I will only be using 2 main speakers and 1 sub - no center/rears etc."

Would it be okay if I only use 2 channels and the sub? Or should I try to find a 2.1 receiver?
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My laptop has an HDMI port, can I use it instead if I was to choose a receiver for better sound quality or does it not make a difference just using 3.5mm cable?
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When the set of speakers say "Recommended Amplification Power 25-250 Watts" as in the case with Xarus 5000 is this output power or RMS power?
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Would the 100 - 130 Watts receiver be able to supply loud enough music for 30-50 people? Knowing that the speakers have efficiency of 90 dB per 1 W at 1m, how can I calculate how many dB will be delivered for whatever power output?
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I think you need to decide which is more important, an amplifier for your room or solution for gigs, and then decide accordingly. A lorry and a Ferrari both have their uses but there is no hybrid version.
^ I want an amplifier for my room only if it is able to be loud enough for 30 people in a party/rave atmosphere. You are saying that AV receivers are harder to transport - do you mean this from handling point of view or setting it up in a different place (the room correction software you went on about)? Is the software easy to setup/adjust because at the end of the day I don't want to spend hours doing it, would rather plug and play?
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
If you intend to use them in a party/rave environment I would advise against AVR. Knowing what they're like you or others will easily push the AVR into clipping thereby likely damaging both the speakers and the AVR. Get a decent pa amp with plenty of power on tap.

Btw, eltax sub, lol forget about it, it'll contribute nothing above and over what the wharfedales produce.
 

swind0wn

Novice Member
Thank you for your reply.

However I would still want to know the answers to my questions as my knowledge towards Audio is really limited :D
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Thank you for your reply.

However I would still want to know the answers to my questions as my knowledge towards Audio is really limited :D

Really? Okay then..

"I have heard that plugging it through the High Level Input is much worse than connecting it via a normal RCA cable." Is this true? False. Much depends on application.
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"As far as I'm concerned I have to "calibrate" the speakers if I was to buy a receiver with a SPL meter which I believe would be quite hard and an unnecessary expense, especially considering I will only be using 2 main speakers and 1 sub - no center/rears etc." Why would you need an SPL meter. Many things in an AVR are unnecessary. For your proposed use apply the old KISS principle.

Would it be okay if I only use 2 channels and the sub? Or should I try to find a 2.1 receiver? Good luck finding a 2.1 receiver. No really, the .1 is unnecessary for reason I said above.
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My laptop has an HDMI port, can I use it instead if I was to choose a receiver for better sound quality or does it not make a difference just using 3.5mm cable? Any perceived difference in better sound quality between HDMI and 3.5mm will be negated by noise and distractions of party environment. HDMI may appear slightly louder with a bit more sparkle, if you want that from 3.5mm simply up the volume and apply a Eq curve on your laptop software.
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When the set of speakers say "Recommended Amplification Power 25-250 Watts" as in the case with Xarus 5000 is this output power or RMS power? It isn't output power necessarily, it's a rough guideline as to what sort of amplification is required to drive them. User discretion is advised, if you hear distortion put the volume down. it's better to have more amplifier power than less.
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Would the 100 - 130 Watts receiver be able to supply loud enough music for 30-50 people? Knowing that the speakers have efficiency of 90 dB per 1 W at 1m, how can I calculate how many dB will be delivered for whatever power output? Depends what you define as loud enough. I'll leave your calculation for others to answer.
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^ I want an amplifier for my room only if it is able to be loud enough for 30 people in a party/rave atmosphere. You are saying that AV receivers are harder to transport - do you mean this from handling point of view or setting it up in a different place (the room correction software you went on about)? Is the software easy to setup/adjust because at the end of the day I don't want to spend hours doing it, would rather plug and play?
Room Eq generally applies to a single or select few points so in your rave environment it's unnecessary.
 

swind0wn

Novice Member
Could you please say more about how the sub will be extra? I think the more bass the better unless it is too much, obviously. Are you basically saying that the Xarus 5000 will be producing enough bass and anything extra will probably have a negative impact e.g. too much bass?

What do you mean by: "No really, the .1 is unnecessary for reason I said above."
I meant if it is fine using only using 2 of the 5 channels out of the 5.1 receiver. The .1 stands for a subwoofer, right? So 5.1 stands for 5 speakers (2 fronts, center, 2 surrounds) and 1 sub.

By "Recommended Amplification Power XX-XXX Watts" do they mean output power or RMS power with regards to the amplifier? So in theoretically should I be looking at amp that delivers 250 RMS WPC at 6 ohms (KAM KXR600) or 250 WPC Output Power (KAM KXR300 V2 - for some reason called Program Power this time)?
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
What i mean is the wharfedales should be more than capable of producing lots of bass, enough that i suspect they will totaly drown out the eltax sub. So basically you wouldnt even know its on. Of course you have them so you can see/test for yourself right?
 

swind0wn

Novice Member
I don't have them just yet but I am thinking of getting a pair relatively soon.

As from above, am I right with regards to 5.1 meaning?

Also when it says "Recommended Amplification" on the speakers' details - do they mean RMS or Output Power?
 

MI55ION

Distinguished Member
Yes it seems you understand 5.1.

They mean the RMS but in all honesty you shouldn't get hung up on it. Its a common mistake people unfamiliar with audio make to take power figures too literally. There are many ways manufacturers manipulate power figures to mislead.

In the interest of keeping it simple i would suggest you aim for something like a behringer a500 or ep2000.
 

swind0wn

Novice Member
Thanks for your recommendation. I really like the ep2000 as it delivers frequency response of 5hz - 50kHZ and 350WPC at 8 ohms.

I looked at the a500 however on the specification it says it can only deliver 125 WPC at 8 ohms and also has a frequency response of 20 hz - 20 kHZ, meaning I will be losing out not being able to hear the 20 khz - 24 khz the Xarus 5000 could otherwise deliver (correct me if I'm wrong). Should I be really looking at a wider frequency range in order to get the 24 kHZ covered or is a normal 20 hz - 20 kHZ just as good, hardly noticeable difference? Also when looking at an amplifier's specifications should I look at Signal-To-Noise figures and what do they mean?

Another amplifier I really liked is the KAM KXR1000 V2 (KAM KXR1000 V2 4000WATT POWER AMPLIFIER WITH LIFETIME WARRANTY | eBay , besides the lifetime warranty I believe the amplifier has been built in Britain. It offers frequency range from 10 hz - 50 kHZ and delivers 500 watts at 4 ohms so I believe it should deliver 300+ at 8 which is more than enough.

I would appreciate it lots if you give me an idea which from the 2 is a better option considering warranty etc.?

P.S. What is the Signal to Noise Ratio and why are sometimes frequency responses different for the same amplifier e.g. at 10 db below rated output power - one range of frequency response, and then -3 dB a much wider one?
 
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Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Signal to noise ratio is a measure of quality. In your application of "volume above all" at limited budget, it is the factor you will have to trade out. It's also of little consequence, since with all this rave / partying, unless you're using ear plugs you will soon be as deaf as post, and if you are using ear plugs, quality doesn't matter as you obviously can't hear it through the ear protection.

The means of quoting (-10dB, -3dB etc) is a means of creatively adjusting the figures, since with distortion increasing with power output, it looks a lot better to quote it at a lesser load. At -10dB the performance looks much better than when you drive it flat out. But again, it's all irrelevant in an "I want to go deaf" application. (PA systems are designed for large physical spaces, not domestic lounges).
 

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