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TheMoose 02-14-2008 03:39 PM

Amps for dummies
How about some of you Amp guys help out some of us receiver guys.
At what point $ wise is it time to change from receivers to separates?

For example the Denon 4308ci is $2500 & the next step up in the Denon line the 5808ci is $7200, at what price point will I get better performance for the money by going from a high end receiver to low end 7.1 separates?

kennyt 02-14-2008 05:05 PM

Re: Amps for dummies
A really tough question Moose. High end receivers have come a long way, but that said if you run power hungry speakers, you'll generally be better off with separates as you can get much more powerful amps. Separates also allow for more ease of upgrades.

There are downsides as well, more cabling adds further cost, multiple components that can cause more potential headaches, high end pre/pros are notoriously behind receivers in features and often times ease of use as well. Added rack space need to be factored in as well.

I personally run both in two different systems for good reason.

My bedroom system is receiver based as it is a relatively simple system, and it is not my all out assault on HT. That said, I use separates in the main rig, and am really happy with it, except for when I have to tear it down and redo it (last time it took an entire day to break it all down and rebuild from scratch with new racks).

I think most all of us started out with receivers, I know I initially added amps to a receiver then finally got a pre/pro, this allows you to work up the path to nirvana without having to buy all new amps and processors.

I guess what I am saying is it depends on you, your room, rest of system, want/needs and cash flow to name a few. Is the Denon 5308 worth three times the price of the 4308? again that depends on you, the 5308 offers a lot more capabilities (more HDMI/digital ins/outs) far better power supplies and the like. If you don't need all those, then sonically I would suspect the additional power supplies to help a lot but haven't had one to try yet.....

I think the grey zone is ~ $4,000-$5,000 where you can start to get pretty decent separates vs a receiver, but that figure is only a guess, and certainly there are companies like Outlaw and Emotiva making quality separates for much less than that.

Sorry Moose, I don't think I answered the question very well!

TheMoose 02-14-2008 08:49 PM

Re: Amps for dummies

Originally Posted by kennyt (Post 11326)
Sorry Moose, I don't think I answered the question very well!

Well it wasn't exactly an easy question to answer!!

What do you mean by power hungry speakers?
Any speaker with low sensitivity numbers or certain styles of speakers like Horns, electrostats or Magnepans?

I intend on using speakers in the style of the Paradigm Studios in my dedicated Home Theater I'm planning & they look to be in the 90/91 sensitivity range.

I have the 3808ci now & was thinking about upgrading to the 4308ci for the theater but your idea of adding a amp to my receiver sounds interesting.
I would still have all the features of my receiver but better power if I'm understanding you right.

kennyt 02-14-2008 09:06 PM

Re: Amps for dummies
Correct Moose, the Paradigms are pretty efficient, that said they sounded better with more power to my ears..... BUT let me say I've always kind of subscribed to the never have too much power thing!

Power hungry speakers.. Yes, low efficiency, difficult loads (some speakers offer a pretty stable resistance, while others drop low, some really low and that can be difficult for a receiver to do as they get current limited.

I know you just bought that receiver, and it is quite current so yes adding an amp, for the fronts, or all speakers would offer you an upgrade path.

TheMoose 02-14-2008 10:06 PM

Re: Amps for dummies

Originally Posted by kennyt (Post 11337)
BUT let me say I've always kind of subscribed to the never have too much power thing!

For some reason that doesn't surprise me at all!!

rlpiii 02-15-2008 09:21 AM

Re: Amps for dummies
What got me out of buying receivers was not money, but amps. High end amps have a much better sound than I have heard in any receivers. I tried the adding amps to a receiver thing too, but then did not like the hums and ground noise that single-ended connections made. Eventhough, ground noise and hums can be very, very low in some setups, when I tried pairing mac amps with a yamaha, it just did not work out so well. I do have an adcom that worked fine with it, but I am not crazy about the adcom as I was about macs. Eventually, when you learn how great balanced connections are and you have fallen in love with the sound from of a particular amp, you will then realize you no longer are interested in your main system being driven by a receiver. I also subscribe to the more power is always better idea. You really don't want to have an amp that is constantly straining to eek out every watt possible just to drive your speakers to a good listening level for you.

Hopefully this helps you, as Ken said, it can be hard to explain, and not everyone does things for the same reasons.

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