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Discussion Starter #1
Is it possible to use a receiver's ZONE 2 preout section in order to add a stereo power amp to it, in order to power large front speakers (mains)? My Onkyo 605 has ZONE 2 connections, and I was wondering if I could simply buy a good two-channel monster amp to power the Polk RTi12 mains in my system, bypassing the receiver's amp, but use the receiver for the rest of the channels? Is this possible?

On the subject, is it normally recommended to go with a full-out multichannel amp to power all speakers in a system when "upgrading" from a receiver, or is it "okay" to get, say, a three-channel (or two-channel) model from a maker like Emotiva, to power the front two or three channels which are most important, while letting the AVR power the surrounds? Which is best, if you'd have to say or guess?

I think this had been answered before but I can't recall; is there any "speaker level converter device" that can be connected to a receiver that doesn't have preouts, like my 605, so it can be connected to an external amp?
 

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It would not be possible to use the Zone 2 within the same set up as all it will pass is a separate 2 channel signal but you will not be able to incorporate it into your main 5.1 set up.

With ref to power amps, I would keep the front 3 speakers powered by the same power amp if possible and then you could use the Onkyo to power the rears.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It would not be possible to use the Zone 2 within the same set up as all it will pass is a separate 2 channel signal but you will not be able to incorporate it into your main 5.1 set up.
Thanks recruit.

But if all I want to do is power, say, my RTi12 mains with a 2-channel amp and let the 605 power the rest, Zone 2 still won't work? Is this because, as you say, it can't integrate with the 5.1 setup?

With ref to power amps, I would keep the front 3 speakers powered by the same power amp if possible and then you could use the Onkyo to power the rears.
Thank you for your input and opinion here.

What about going with a full multi-channel amp setup (for example, a 5 or 7 channel model) as opposed to just powering the front three channels? And what about monoblocks for each channel -- for most rooms, is this a bit of overkill do you think?
 

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Thanks recruit.

But if all I want to do is power, say, my RTi12 mains with a 2-channel amp and let the 605 power the rest, Zone 2 still won't work? Is this because, as you say, it can't integrate with the 5.1 set up?
Yes I believe that to be the case.


Thank you for your input and opinion here.

What about going with a full multi-channel amp set up (for example, a 5 or 7 channel model) as opposed to just powering the front three channels? And what about mono blocks for each channel -- for most rooms, is this a bit of overkill do you think?
Anything is possible when it comes to power amps and configurations, I use a Rotel 1575 5 channel power amp and it outputs 250 watts into 8ohms and 500 watts into 4ohms and is more than enough for my system, I suppose it all depends on your requirements...the Emotiva range of power amps seem to be excellent VFM and very popular offering more performance for not too much outlay and offer different configurations ie 3 channel / 2 channel and even 5 if required.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes I believe that to be the case.
Okay. I'll see if anyone else chimes in with any additional insight with regard to Zone 2 and how it works...

Anything is possible when it comes to power amps and configurations, I use a Rotel 1575 5 channel power amp and it outputs 250 watts into 8ohms and 500 watts into 4ohms and is more than enough for my system, I suppose it all depends on your requirements...the Emotiva range of power amps seem to be excellent VFM and very popular offering more performance for not too much outlay and offer different configurations ie 3 channel / 2 channel and even 5 if required.
Indeed; thanks. I am just trying to determine if I need a three-channel for the front three speakers or a multi-channel model to power all of them (a monoblock setup seems a bit overkill for my needs though), or if one is considered "better" than another (in terms of ways and setups)...I have heard that three channel is all one really needs, as these are the channels that need the most current, for the most part, and that a receiver can easily power the surround channels...
 

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Using separate power amps gives better channel separation and more power (depending on what you opt for) and therefore a better quality sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Using separate power amps gives better channel separation and more power (depending on what you opt for) and therefore a better quality sound.
This makes sense; but are you referring to monoblock setups?
 

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Mono Blocks are the best solution and then 2,3,5 channel power amps will all make for a better overall sound, I ran a HiFi system bi-amping and then Mono Blocks and by far they increased the performance, but it was a dedicated set up in a separate room and that is now occupied by my daughter so I only have the one system but boy do I miss that system, although saying that I am enjoying my current one which is good for both movies and music.

Edit: just found a picture of it they were running Wilson Benesch Discovery's.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Very Nice...:T

I am running a two-channel system in a dedicated "loft" room as well, simply for music listening and recording projects, but the gear isn't nearly as esoteric as yours -- I recently added a new Onkyo TX-8555 stereo receiver to power the system, and it sounds absolutely fantastic driving my Polk bookshelves; honest, this thing sounds like a good two-channel power amp, not a sub-$500 receiver...

But anyway, I think monoblocking would be a bit overkill for my needs; I think a good multi-channel setup will work if the next Onkyo AVR I purchase doesn't cut it in the power department. But I am wondering if it should be a full-blown five or seven-channel model, or just a three-channel to power the front soundstage and leave the rears to the AVR...

Are you sure Zone 2 can't be used to feed a 2-channel amp?
 

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I would really check the manual about Zone 2 but I am sure it will not work in the way you want it to, that is what pre-outs are for on AVR's.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I would really check the manual about Zone 2 but I am sure it will not work in the way you want it to, that is what pre-outs are for on AVR's.
I think you may be right -- I believe it's simply to feed an amp for speakers in another room, in stereo...but I figured it was worth a shot of asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay,

So can anyone confirm if using ZONE 2 of an AVR like the Onkyo 605 can be used to feed an external stereo amp for powering the main channels, or can this not work?

And what of anyone else's thoughts regarding going with a full-blown multi-channel amp (5 or 7) as opposed to just getting a three-channel model to power the more vital front soundstage? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
 

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Hi Osage, If i had the option i'd go full blown 5 channel amp then a seperate 2 channel of the same class for 7.1 otherwise i'd stick to the 3 channel for the fronts and let the AVR's internal amp deliver to the rest of the system, i'm not familiar with Onkyo so i can't give any advice on it but i'm almost positive my Denon is the same way if i'm understanding everything correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Osage, If i had the option i'd go full blown 5 channel amp then a seperate 2 channel of the same class for 7.1 otherwise i'd stick to the 3 channel for the fronts and let the AVR's internal amp deliver to the rest of the system, i'm not familiar with Onkyo so i can't give any advice on it but i'm almost positive my Denon is the same way if i'm understanding everything correctly.
Indeed, thank you for your opinions, Bambino! :wave:
 

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And what of anyone else's thoughts regarding going with a full-blown multi-channel amp (5 or 7) as opposed to just getting a three-channel model to power the more vital front sound stage? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
I suppose this depends on the quality of the amps you go for but with the likes of Emotiva offering nearly all configurations of power amps, it may work out cheaper and best if you go for a 5 channel power amp to start and then maybe add a 2 channel for either the mains or the rears for a 7.1 config, they seem to have a very good rep when it comes to VFM the same like Onkyo...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I suppose this depends on the quality of the amps you go for but with the likes of Emotiva offering nearly all configurations of power amps, it may work out cheaper and best if you go for a 5 channel power amp to start and then maybe add a 2 channel for either the mains or the rears for a 7.1 config, they seem to have a very good rep when it comes to VFM the same like Onkyo...
Thanks John.

Would you be able to recommend an alternative amp other than Emotiva? Just asking for options...

As for the amp configuration, do you not think a, say, XPA-3 could be good enough just for the front stage and let the next Onkyo AVR handle the rears?
 

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I do not see a problem powering your front 3 with the Emotiva and then letting the AVR power the rears, once calibrated to 75db then all should be balanced out, the only problem I see is if you want more power amps it will mean more boxes that need accommodating.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I do not see a problem powering your front 3 with the Emotiva and then letting the AVR power the rears, once calibrated to 75db then all should be balanced out, the only problem I see is if you want more power amps it will mean more boxes that need accommodating.
Indeed; well, that's one reason I wouldn't be going the monoblock route, for all those amps...but I don't think adding another single chassis for a multichannel amp would be a big deal; I have space in a lower cabinet of my wall unit where everything sits anyway to accommodate one.
 

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In my set up I have ran out of room and cannot fit any more amps unless I have a major change around and I honestly could not be bothered, plus it sounds good enough as it is, so best left well a lone, if it ain't broke don't fix it, if you know what I mean ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Indeed, John.

BTW, in your profile pic, I noticed that your wife (I am assuming) looks very much like mine; except mine wears glasses sometimes. How long have you been in the UK? Are you originally from there? I visited London once and loved it; looking to go back at some point.

Do you have any pics of your system and setup?
 
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