To Poweramp or not to Poweramp (Denon AVR-2310 vs Dali 8008)

sharza

Member
Hi

After long hours of reading, I have come to the conclusion I must admit defeat, in my endeavour to attempt to establish wether I need a power amp, or I can do something to actually make do with what I have.... hence I reach out to the experts :)

Long story short, I have a 5.1 setup, with a Denon AVR-2310 (Aged - yes I know, but it has served me well), 2 x Dali 8008 fronts (same), a newly purchased SVS SB16 Ultra sub, and some not so interesting surround/center speakers.

Basicly what Im focusing on here is not surround, rather 2.1 Stereo. In the past I was the volume 11+ guy, and recently refound my love for _loud_ music in the rock and techno genre (nope - the missus is still there :) )

Im no audiophile by any means - I can't distinguish the fine tones, however what I want is to crumble the wall with high tones and heavy bass.

Sadly it seems the Denon isn't quite up to the task, and cuts out overheating way before the Dali's even start sweating... Now the Denon is specced mainly at 6/8 Ohm's, and the Dali's are 4 Ohm.

Crossover freq. is currently set at default - because I quite frankly don't know how to deal sensibly with that.

I am looking at getting bass from both the sub and the Dali's, however I realize it puts further strain on the amp (as far as I've read), as opposed to if I submit all LFE to the sub, keeping the fronts at a "Small" speaker setting - and besides, Im not even sure its such a great idea, but my thinking is something along the lines of utilizing those extra 8"'s = more umph.

So the key question - to which I seek advice would be - taking the above into consideration, is there anything I can reconfigure or tweak in the above setup, to make my amp cope, or am I simply out of power (and luck :) ) here, and need a power amp to drive those Dali's (which I like, and aim to keep)??

Any feedback and advice will be highly appreciated - many thanks in advance for taking the time to read all this.

And please forgive any technical inaccuracies - I am by no means (far from) an export.

Best Regards.
 

shug4476

Active Member
If you are triggering circuit protection then you are reaching the limit of what the amp can give.

Add on an external power amplifier. Rotels and NADs are particularly good for clean, plentiful power.

Watts are misleading in a sense. You don't need many to reach head banging levels.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
If your av amp lacks pre outs you're stuck.

Or you could buy ATI 6007 and wire them up to your speakers...and then ponder the meaning of life as your adjust the Denon volume,.your speakers are silent with no cables between the Denon and ATI heh
 

sharza

Member
I kinda expected I was out of power...

Gotta say those ATI's seems impressive, however thei're not in my immediate budget range should I go for a new amp...

Now I don't know much in what to look for, as I haven't ever been looking at a power amp before... My old Sony receiver actually could do what I wanted even though it was considerately less powerful in terms of Watts back then, than the Denon is (I know it ain't alll about the Watts, but that's the measuring scale back then - at least as far as I go :) ).

I'm not exactly terribly budget limited, but that being said, should I go after buying a new amp, I'd aim for something in the sub $1000 range if possible, able to push a good deal of extra power into those 2 speakers in a bi amp configuration...

Now - am I completely unrealistic here, or is it doable (taking into consideration I'm no audiophile)?
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Your Denon (probably) lacks pre outs if so you can add poweramps
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
That's ok then if it has full set of pres, last 2xxx range of Denon lacked them.

I'd probably look.for.a.three channel
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Personally I'd ditch a avr and get a stereo pre amp,.avr are generally poor for stereo.

Three channel if you have a home cinema, or a two channel for stereo.

I'd look into a stereo dac, stereo analogue pre amp, and power amplifier.

I use a av pre, stereo analogue pre, a dac, and poweramp rather than using a avr or av pre amp.for.evrrythjng
 

sharza

Member
It's part of a surround system, so I have to take that into account as well. I need something which can do both, and won't occupy a majority of my living room ;)

I figure that since I run stereo with sub when playing music, I can boost the output with a power amp between avr and speakers, and then reach a fair compromise, as its really only when playing music loud I have issues.

Any recommendations for a (if possible) sub $1000 power amp that'll fit the bill?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
How about a Behringer A800? Very low cost, and will give you the chance to see what a power amp will do for your system.

However, if you are in the US, I believe Emotiva offer a free home trial for their power amps.
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
First thing to check is your crossover setting.

If your crossover is too low it will strain the avr massivly.

you’ve got a really good sub, so set your xo to 90hz or even 100hz and listen to how it sounds, the sub will take the majority of the power which it will easily handle, taking less strain off the avr.

But if you are a music listener, as others have said, the denon avr isn’t the best in this regard, you’d be better off getting a dedicated stereo dac.
 

sharza

Member
@mb3195:
xo is default - for the fronts I believe its 40 actually. All others speakers are configured small, and xo is 80 I think. I would like to also have the fronts participate in delivering the bass picture, although I realize it may be straining the avr, and may try the other configuration. I am ready to fork out for a power amp to avoid that tho.

I may be confused here, since I dont neccessarily understand how to put all those things together in one system. Isnt a DAC simply a digital - to - analog converter? And if I'd go for a dedicated Stereo DAC/Amplifier/Something else, how'd that work with with the existing surround receiver, and the same pair of speakers?

I am also a music listener, but im not into the finer arts of it, more the boom crumble the wall type, doing mostly rock/heavy and techno. So the clearest sound is not my mission - the highest dB, and heaviest umph! on the other hand is.

Probably many questions, to which the answers are obvious for all of you, however I've only ever had a "single package" in terms of one receiver/amplifier doing it all, so much of this is unknown territory for me :) Will do my best to read up on most of it though.

@Rambles:
A800 Seem like a good choice $$ wise. Im in Europe, and can pick those up for around $200, with the possibility of testing them and returning if not what I want, so thats something to try.

Thanks for all your feedback so far!
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
A800 Seem like a good choice $$ wise. Im in Europe, and can pick those up for around $200, with the possibility of testing them and returning if not what I want, so thats something to try.
Yes, they are great for that. I did the same, but kept mine and am now using it on my atmos speakers, as I bought a more powerful AVR.

If you need a trigger with it - these are good:

 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Cd player into dac
Dac into stereo analogue pre amp
Stereo pre amp pre outs into power amp

Avr or av pre amp left and right pre out into stereo analogue pre amp
Avr or av pre amp remaining channels into poweramps

For stereo mode, avr is switched off. Av pre amp in cd input or disable Hy bypass mode

For av mode, stereo pre amp and av is on. Stereo pre amp set to av input and set to pre l determined volume, or in HT input mode.

I have the above layout and it works well, best of both worlds good stereo and av, and not too difficult to change input and set level
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
@mb3195:
xo is default - for the fronts I believe its 40 actually. All others speakers are configured small, and xo is 80 I think. I would like to also have the fronts participate in delivering the bass picture, although I realize it may be straining the avr, and may try the other configuration. I am ready to fork out for a power amp to avoid that tho.

I may be confused here, since I dont neccessarily understand how to put all those things together in one system. Isnt a DAC simply a digital - to - analog converter? And if I'd go for a dedicated Stereo DAC/Amplifier/Something else, how'd that work with with the existing surround receiver, and the same pair of speakers?

I am also a music listener, but im not into the finer arts of it, more the boom crumble the wall type, doing mostly rock/heavy and techno. So the clearest sound is not my mission - the highest dB, and heaviest umph! on the other hand is.

Probably many questions, to which the answers are obvious for all of you, however I've only ever had a "single package" in terms of one receiver/amplifier doing it all, so much of this is unknown territory for me :) Will do my best to read up on most of it though.

@Rambles:
A800 Seem like a good choice $$ wise. Im in Europe, and can pick those up for around $200, with the possibility of testing them and returning if not what I want, so thats something to try.

Thanks for all your feedback so far!
Before doing anything else, try changing your fronts to 80hz and then report back.

Your subs will do a better job with bass than your speakers will.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
True however I do prefer full sound from mains rather than crossed over too high with sub taking over (for two channel hifi) but my amp has a lot of grunt...and seems a shame to have big speakers not to fully utilise bass response.

Try flicking between bass managed setting, with pure mode..

My hifi is full range left and right, no sub, no bass management. Sub not in the loop.
 

sharza

Member
This is sort of embarassing... after some manual studying - seems like I connected the bi-amp incorrectly, to A + B terminals, instead of A + Rear Surround terminals. This is likely more bi-wiring, except the amp has been forced to work twice as hard, according to the manual anyway, as A+B share the same amp, and the impedance is doubled.

I fixed that, and verified the bi-amp settings... which should more or less provide a double up on flat power levels, and in reality probably even more, as the A+B channel aint overworked anymore. I actually get some honorable bass from those speakers, on the level I remember from back when... and the amp maintains way higher volumes, without getting close to overheating.

Sigh... I feel dumb right now, however probably hadn't messed with those things if it wasnt for the suggestions in this thread - at this time I guess messing with the xo aint needed.

So now it seems like I can actually feed the speakers plenty of power, which brings up another question - how to actually know when the speaker starts being pushed too far, without it actually popping.

Right now the sound levels are pretty crazy, and I dont hear any distortion whatsoever, but it does seem like the bass/treble units are on serious work in those Dali's.

Not that I need to go higher right now, but out of curiosity, I would like to know what they can really do, without actually destroying them :) so any pointers there?

Now the sound levels is at my (dis)comfortable max (being close to the speakers) at -9 dB on the amp. Before I wasnt even close to those levels at +15 dB, at which level distortion was slowly kicking in, and the amp overheating in no time.

Btw. I have no physical playing devices - I stream it all, either from digital collection, or various digital streaming networks.

Regardless - huge thanks goes out to all of you - this is just ... im a happy panda and you are the best! :)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Ha ha, good work!

There isn't really any way to measure whether you need more power at home, it requires expensive bench testing equipment. Best way is to get hold of a power amp and see (hear) if it sounds better / worse or the same.

There is gain matching to consider, which is whether the voltage out of the pre-amp matches the input sensitivity of the power amp, but Denon AVR's are usually pretty good with pre-out voltage, so you should be okay to match with most power amps.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
I’m going to go a slightly different way for now. As your current amp isn’t the best for anything (nothing wrong with it just not up to what you want) if you just add a power I think you’re going to be disappointed by the relatively pre performance of your Denon.
Depending on whether you need 4k or Atmos etc I’d look at an older top end AVR like a Pioneer LX82. It’ll most likely blow your socks off with that sub and if not you can add a power later, though I doubt you’ll need to.
 

sharza

Member
Maybe I wasnt explaining too well, and my apologies for that...

Actually Im satisfied now after correcting my configuration error on the amp/wiring. I can play loud enough, that Im not sure I dare to go higher with respect to the life of the loadspeakers. I hear zero distortion, have clear sound, and break-the-wall umph! from the combined speaker+sub bass output. So that cant be much better atm.

So for now I dont need more power... maybe just larger speakers :)

My concern now is (purely out of curiosity, not because I need to go higher atm) wether I can somehow establish how high I can go without blowing out the speakers.
 

sharza

Member
Continuing down this rabbit hole... we had a chat at home... and a new idea has formed.

Old Dali's move to another room along with current receiver, as they can now be played to their limit, and after some more high volume listening, Im not sure thats enough - im a bit afraid of blowing them away simply put, but me myself wants more, louder!

Some (many?) years ago - what feels like an eternity now - I had a pair of Cerwin Vega CLS 215's, paird with a Crown something-I-cant-remember, and loved those. I only got rid of the set, because they occupied too much space, and I wanted surround, in my then small apartment. Now I have a fairly large living room, and may get something in that league again.

I took a look at CV XTS 215 as the natural follower, and I just wonder tho', as those are really big speakers still (more than 50% larger than my Dalis), wether there is something not quite as large, that will do almost the same...

The CV's can take just about as much power as one can throw at em, and in the unlikely event it gets too much, they have built in overloadprotection. I like that, as well as the bass they can deliver.

I did take a look at Klipsch RC7-III's, which seems like a good speaker too, not in the same omph! category though, I realize that. Besides that - they are triple the price of CV XTS 215 (if I can source those from anywhere that is).

My question in that regard really is - Im looking for something that will play loud... really loud and devastingly deep, at a level where I would give up on the volume knob before the speaker does. I would prefer some sort of overload protection as well.

I will be looking at a different amp setup, when I know what speakers to go with.

I spent quite a few hours yesterday and today, but its a tremendous task for an amateur like myself it seems.

I want to go and listen to a number of speakers, but Im after narrowing the field down up front.

So once again - I throw a question up the air - any inputs on really heavy duty speakers, that play loud and deep(!), which preferably isnt all the way up the RC7-III's price range - although I may go as high if I find the right set.

I know speaker preferences are highly personal - so I take all the inputs anyone wants to throw at me, as long as it isnt to turn the volume down :)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
In terms of playing deep - you are always going to be better off getting dedicated powered subwoofer(s) for that purpose.

In terms of overall volume on the main speakers - that can be estimated using maths.

Your Dali 8008 are 91db sensitivity, that means they require 1 watt to produce 91db at 1 metre. From that info you can use a calculator like this one to estimate how much power you need to feed them to get the SPL level you require at your listening distance:


How far away from the speakers are you sitting, and what SPL are you wanting to listen at?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sharza

Member
That is a really good question...

First one is easy enough - I usually dont just sit and listen, but move around doing whatever needs doing, so that varies from a few feet to a longer distance outside the room.

The SPL I have no idea about... I have no reference or baseline to apply, so I dont know what a given SPL would mean in terms of "feel"
 

sharza

Member
I played a bit with that calculator... I have a fairly large living room, so I decide on 6 metres distance as a parameter, even tho' its easily more, but just to start somewhere... thats around 20 feet.

Using the high end of the general level for "heavy" on the calculator page, I set the SPL to 110 dB.

I dont change amp headroom.

With 91 dB sensivity and those parameters, the calculator say 5890 watts is needed o_O o_O

So how does that even compute.... Assuming the calc is correct on the maths, does that mean, in order to reach that SPL level at 20 feet, I would need:

a) one or more AMPs able to deliver a total of 5890 watts.
b) speakers with an accumulated wattage rating able to sustain 5890 watts, all placed within 20 feet of my listening position

Or am I completely off here?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
It's 2860 watts - you might have not cleared the headroom required field.

I think it might be worth you getting an SPL meter to take some measurements so that you know what you are really aiming for.

For movies, reference level is 75db with 30db of headroom. That means that the general level of speech is around 75db, but the dynamic peaks, and really loud sections take it to 105db. That would be from a usual 3 metre listening distance. I have listened at that level before, and it is really, really loud, to the point where you jump out of your seat at the explosions. I don't generally listen at that volume anymore because it scares the cats 🙀

If you want to achieve 110db of volume from 6 metres away from the speakers, you would be looking at pro audio equipment, built for music venues and the like.

By the way, you could seriously damage your hearing in the process.
 

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