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Why get higher model amp?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by nheather, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. nheather

    nheather
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    I'm planning a system which will be used mostly for 5.1 Home Cinema but I would probably play the odd CD now and again.

    I'm looking at the more capable end of lifestyle speakers - I haven't made my final decision but contenders include

    Canton CD50 all round
    Monitor Audio RA225 up front, RA90 at rear
    B&W M-1 all round
    Kef KHT5005

    For the amp/receiver I'm considering the Denon 1906.

    Now to me, this seems like an ideal piece of kit - well reviewed, reasonable power match to intended speakers.

    However, certain HiFi stores seem very keen for me to change my mind and go for Denon 2106 (or higher) or the Yamaha 757.

    They made comparisions of a Ford Escort with a 1400 engine rather than 2000!

    Are they just trying to get me to spend more money or is this genuine comment? If it is genuine the why and what difference will I hear?

    Please feel free to be technical - I don't need the Escort engine stuff.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  2. Dfour

    Dfour
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    The higher up models will have extra power (better poweramps as well which are always good to keep up with the power demands when all speakers are driven), more conections and may include upconversion (not sure about the 1906). It may also include better componants internally so the processing may be better and faster for when the action go's wild and better DACS for sound quality.

    I always go for the best I can afford :devil: so that I cant have any regrets and 'upgraditus' doesnt set in to quickly:nono:. I think the best way is also to set a budget and not to bust it.:eek:
     
  3. Weidass

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    the best thing you could do is have a demo of a low end amp and a high end amp in your local seevenoaks or something.
    Then you will hear the difference.
    (as long as the speakers are fairly decent)
     
  4. Ekko Star

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    Bit of a coarse analogy but there is a point there.

    Both cars will do 80 mph, but the 1400 will have more difficulty getting there ie acceleration and the engine will have to work harder.

    In amps power ratings are important and the speakers that they are going to be driving. Lots of people are fed misnoma's that more power ratings mean louder sound. In actual fact there are very few times when the power delivered by the amp approach anywhere near what they are capable of. But when it needs to a good amp can deliver it in abundance and in a robust fashion. In other words and real world terms at high levels the amp will not distort sound. It will be a clean sound curve most of the way through.

    Obviously speed of processor, transformers, connectivity also play there part in building up the price.

    Very little and slow changes occur in the fundamental amplification world compared to other facets of AV. I would say you generally get what you pay for upto about £1500 and then the law of diminishing returns begins to set in.
     
  5. Cable Monkey

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    I would imagine the thinking is that your chosen speakers, in particular the Kefs and B&W's are normally mated to more powerful and more expensive amplification. One suggestion is to demo your prefered speaker choice(s) with your suggested amp and perhaps the other 2 suggested and see for yourself if you think any difference is worthwhile.
     
  6. nheather

    nheather
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    Thankls for the info. My difficulty is that if I compare the Denon range, the power rating is

    1706 -- 110W -- £220
    1906 -- 115W -- £290
    2106 -- 125W -- £400
    2805 -- 135W -- £550
    3805 -- 160W -- £850

    my next two steps up are an extra £110 and £260 without massive power increases - I suppose that an extra 10W probably makes a lot more difference then it sounds.

    What I can't tell, not really being particularly clued up in this area is what improvements in processing or quality will I see.

    How can I be sure where that extra money goes - if I do spend extra I want it to be on quality not fancy functions that I won't ever use or can do without.

    To my laymans ears what difference could I expect.

    I can't imagine auditioning will be too successful - on my last attempt the guy had enough trouble setting one amp up and getting it to work.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  7. Mark F

    Mark F
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    Go and demo, it's the only way you'll find out if the extra money is well spent. But, make sure you find yourself a decent dealer - stear clear of any dealer that doesn't have a dedicated demo room and certainly don't go to a shop that can't even set up an amp. I can personally vouch for Audio-T as a good starting point.

    Take along some of your favourite CDs/DVDs and you'll be in for an afternoon of fun :thumbsup: .
     
  8. Ekko Star

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    The difference between a £200 amp and a £800 one is quite easy, and is also quite a visible physical difference including weight. Some of the top quality amps can easily weigh > 20kg :eek:

    As you correctly say every 10W increment is significant. The amp has to beef up the power and the quality of the transformers and PSU has to go up significantly every time. You can't just tweak the performance to up the power you have to up the components. Manufacturers tend to produce in familys of products, where they will share things like power supplies. However when you go further up there range then things will generally change wholesale inside.

    A top quality amp will be well within itself dealing with high levels whereas an underated one will be struggling. Also a low rated amp driving demanding speakers at 4ohm impedances or high volumes will likely trip and eventually blow.

    Most amps can go loud....but it's not all about loud. It's about the ability of retaining the quality and purity of the sound at higher levels.

    Of course the more you spend the more bells and whistles you will get. Some people like to feed their video through the amp and so things like upconversion also become important as well as switching abilities etc etc
     
  9. nheather

    nheather
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    Of this, I have no doubt. But as far as my budget is concerned they are apples and oranges.

    I'll refer to the Denon again because its the range I'm most familiar with ....

    My budget gets me a Denon 1906.

    I could be persuaded to push this to a Denon 2106 but that is the limit.

    So I need to compare a £300 amp with a £400 amp. Will I notice the difference?

    Of course I will try to get a demo, but from my experience I will be surprised to find a hi-fi dealer who prepared to put much effort in for that level of sale.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  10. Ekko Star

    Ekko Star
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    That's for your ears to decide.

    http://www.avland.co.uk/denon/avr2106/topanglelrg.jpg
    http://www.avland.co.uk/denon/avr1906/insidelrg.jpg

    The Yamaha 757 is certainly good and goes for £399 at the moment.

    Although you are looking at Lifestyle speakers the B&W M1's are no joke especially the MT30 package. They can certainly be powered by a better amp than the 1906. £1500 speakers powered by a £300 amp ? I would certainly want to demo that combo.
     
  11. Weidass

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    my previous amp was a denon 2805.
    It sounded good.
    Then it got hit by lightning.
    Now i have a HK 335.
    It says its only 55W per channel.
    It sounds better.
    To quote a guy from sevenoaks, "wattage means nothing. Its all in the design."
    To further my point, i had a celestion s10 sub that had 200 watts under the hood.
    I then bought a storm 5. that also has 200 watts. Is there a difference? There sure as hell is.
    So to reiterate, "wattage means nothing."
     
  12. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    within the same manufacturer/range wattage means a lot, across manufacturers it means very little.
     
  13. Arif

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    "Wattage means nothing".

    This is actually, and frustratingly - true.

    If you get quite deep into amplifier technology and the various platforms and classes of amplification circuitry, etc. - you realise that a Wattage value is meaningless without knowledge of an amp's efficiency.

    I call it 'Rockford Fosgate' syndrome. A lazily-built amp - or one built with design-related restrictions imposed upon it (e.g. sealed, box-subwoofers, over cylinders) - can have a nice and high wattage-rating and output - but this does not necessarily correspond either with overall actual output (SPL - Sound Pressure Level), and certainly not with quality. So you can have a low-wattage amp - 'beating' a higher-wattage amp - on SPL!

    (Even the vacuum cleaner manufacturers have cottoned on to this - a 2000W motor is nothing if the fan and ducting technology then goes on to strip it down to 200 air-Watts of suction. Increasingly, you're seeing vacs citing not only their motor wattage (equivalent of amp power here) - but also the air-suction wattage.)

    So - to be constructive - all that the layperson like you or I would have to go on - is the reputation of respective manufacturers - and professional reviews, etc - and fora such as these!


    And to strip it down completely and be totally biased - Yamaha ROCK!!


    Good luck!!


    Arif
     
  14. Cable Monkey

    Cable Monkey
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    No accounting for taste! :D
     
  15. Arif

    Arif
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    Oy! :)

    Well I did used to own a Raleigh Burner!
     
  16. nheather

    nheather
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    Whilst I can't deny that a demo would be best, realistically speaking I don't expect to find a dealer who is prepared to demo a number of different sub £400 amplifiers for me.

    So I would appreciate some advice. My budget could be stretched to cover the following

    Denon 1906
    Yamaha 757
    Denon 2106

    I know the Yamaha doesn't have a receiver but I don't care about that at all.

    Which would you go for?

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  17. Peppered

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  18. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    The 757 is also well respected, altrhough you'd have to demo them your self tyo see if you can hear a difference.
     
  19. Knyght_byte

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    find the nearest Sevenoaks, they will happily let you try the two denons (i'm pretty sure they keep those models in store), even more so if you tell them you are going to be buying speakers as well.......altho like any business they have by the sound of it a few bad egg staff to be polite about it, in the stores i've been in they have been more than friendly and helpful, not pushy, they let you get on with the demo and dont buzz around you all the time.......i personally can recommend the Swiss Cottage branch, also the Watford branch.......i've bought all my current setup over 2 years from Swiss Cottage, and they've looked after me well....

    If you really cant get to the demo tho, i'd say choose the more 2106 to be safe, at least then you know you have the better version regardless, and just enjoy it ;-)

    (oh, on the speaker front, i'll put in a good word for Monitor Audio as i've heard those...lol.....nice speakers, if you buy them with the amp you should be able to get a discount if you talk things right ;-)
     
  20. nheather

    nheather
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    I live in West Sussex. To get to any reasonably stocked hifi stores I have to travel at least 30 miles and I still have not found one that

    (i) Has the equipment I want to demo available
    (ii) Is prepared to do comparitive and representative demos for me
    (iii) Respect my budget - at worst they look down their nose at me and at best they spend more time trying to get me to spend more than discuss what I want

    My recent experience was with Sevenoaks. I wanted to hear the Kef KHT5005 that I knew they had set up. Because it would be a long journey I checked the evening before - no problem.

    I arrived at the opening time, only to find them dismantling the system. To give them their due, they were quite friendly and did attempt to demo for me.

    Here's what happened

    (a) Asked me what amp I intended to get - Denon 1906 - Okay we'll use the Yamaha 757 that's just arrived today

    (b) Spent 20 minutes trying to get the amp working

    (c) Let me play some CDs briefly before wheeling in a set of Kef Q7s

    (d) Then asked me what plasma I intended getting - Pio 436 - spent rest of the time telling how good their installation service was

    I know I should have been firmer, but I came out of the store with little idea of how the Kef5005 sounded.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  21. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    nheather that sound like poor service, the newcastle branch has always been helpful liked to have a chat about things. Trying to flog you there instalation service is a no no, not what you went there for, also I have no idea why they demoed you the 757 instead of the 1906, as the denon is closer to the 657 really. I would say that you didn't get the service you desersved, and while you should have been abit more forthright, they shouldn't have shown you things without your interest.
     

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