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Friday
Jul192019

Podcast #905 


As we add more speakers to our home theaters our current AVRs may not have enough amplifiers to drive the system. A solution to this problem is a seperate amplifier. Power amplifiers have minimal functionality beyond driving speakers but they have quite a bit in the way of design to provide a clean signal to get the most out of your speakers.

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Power Amplifiers for the Rest of Us

As we add more speakers to our home theaters our current AVRs may not have enough amplifiers to drive the system. A solution to this problem is a seperate amplifier. Power amplifiers have minimal functionality beyond driving speakers but they have quite a bit in the way of design to provide a clean signal to get the most out of your speakers.

So why go with a seperate amp? There are a few reasons. First is power. Seperate amps typically have more power and can drive low impedance speakers more easily than low to mid range receivers. Of course high end AVRs can do this as well so why not just buy a high end receiver? That brings us to our second reason. More channels. If you want to run a 7.2.4 Atmos system you need 11 amps. Sure there are AVRs that have 11 amplifiers but they really cost a pretty penny. An alternative is buying a mid range AVR that can support an Atmos 7.2.4 system via pre-outs and augment it with and external amp. The last reason we will discuss, although there are a few more, is the quality of the power. Since amplifiers do one thing they can maximize the design for that one thing. AVRs have to do a lot and it all has to packed into an enclosure that is about the same size as a seven channel amplifier.

There are plenty of amplifiers and some cost more than our entire home theater! We provide you with a couple “entry” options to consider. 

Emotiva A-500 $530 Best Bang for the Buck!

 

We start out with a five channel amp from Emotiva. You absolutely can not go wrong with this amp! Ara uses the seven channel version of it in his media room and loves it! You’ll want to power your front speakers with this and use the remaining two channels for your surround. Then you can use the amplifiers in your receiver for the remaining channels, Atmos and rear surrounds. If your receiver does not allow you to assign amps to channels then route any channel (probably your Atmos) that does not have an amplifier to this amp and use the AVR to power what’s left.  

From the Emotiva Website: 

The BasX A-500 is a five channel power amplifier that offers true audiophile sound quality at an affordable price. The BasX A-500 includes a carefully chosen set of important features, including a heavy-duty power supply, high-quality Class A/B amplification, transparent audiophile-quality fault protection, a trigger input and output, and industry standard unbalanced audio inputs. Modern manufacturing techniques, and careful design and parts selection, have enabled us to deliver all of this performance and great sound quality in the BasX A-500 at a far lower price than you might imagine.

Monolith by Monoprice $1600 Hey it's Monoprice

We have always been fans of Monoprice for their high quality cables at low prices. But they are much more than that today selling all kinds of electronics from home theater to home automation. Ara has a pair of their Planar Headphones that sound like headphones costing three times more. We don’t have direct experience with this amp but it's five star customer rating and positive review from Audioholics (4½ star) make it something you should really consider for your home theater.

From the Monoprice Website:

The Monolith 7X is a state-of-the-art, high-performance, audiophile-grade multichannel home theater amplifier. Rated at a full 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 300 watts per channel into 4 ohms, the Monolith 7X is capable of driving the most demanding home theater systems and reproducing the most dynamic soundtracks, while also articulating all the subtle sonic details found in music. Supercharge your existing receiver or create the foundation of a no compromise home theater system with the Monolith 7X.

 

 

Download Episode #905

Reader Comments (1)

One thing to keep in mind when considering separate amp for home theater is that there are very few AVRs under $1000 that have preouts for separate amps. That is one of the trade offs when going with a budget or entry level avr. If you choose to go with a pre/pro I can’t think of any under $1000 that have Dolby vision and/or atmos. For example a marantz 7 channel pre/pro will run over $2000 while a marantz 9 channel avr with preouts for up to 11 channels will run about $1500. Yamaha does make a 7-channel avr under $1000 with preouts but only for the front mains.

July 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterR g orange

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