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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I am looking for receiver recommendations for a 2.0 setup consisting of Energy RC-70s. I plan on adding a subwoofer in the future. My receiver budget is $400 (in case some $900 receiver is on sale for $400). I'd like to keep it at $250-$300 though.

Since I am a noob, I have a few questions:

1) Max amp 250W for the system. Does this mean a receiver should be able to send 125W to the system? (assuming RMS is calculated the same way for both)

2) What would cause a speaker setup to be damaged? If an amp sends 140W per channel and the max amp is 250W, would that be damaging?

3) Does a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver seem fine for a 2.1 setup?

Thanks
 

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1) Max amp 250W for the system. Does this mean a receiver should be able to send 125W to the system? (assuming RMS is calculated the same way for both)
Yes. From what I can see, those speakers are rated 250W RMS (which is continual power not max power), they should be able to handle shorts bursts above 250W. The speakers should handle 125W RMS (continual power) without problem unless the amp is clipping.
In case you didn't know, a 500W amp is not always sending 500W to the speakers. At lower volume levels the amp uses lower power (i.e. 5W), at higher volumes the amp uses higher power (i.e. 500W).
The speakers may be rated for 250W RMS (continual power) but that doesn't mean they need a 250W amp to sound proper. An amp rated at 40W RMS may be all you need if you listen at lower volume levels. But if you use an amp rated for 40W RMS and you continually crank the volume knob up above the 3/4 mark to get the volume you desire, then you may be pushing the amp too hard causing it to clip (distortion). In that case you would probably do well with a more powerful amp (i.e. 100W RMS).


2) What would cause a speaker setup to be damaged? If an amp sends 140W per channel and the max amp is 250W, would that be damaging?
Yes, an underpowered amp and an overpowered amp can cause damage.
Generally there are 2 types of speaker damage.
Thermal overheating & Mechanical failure. These can be caused by sending too much power to the speakers. At lower volume levels, using an amp that is rated much more powerful than the speakers will not cause speaker damage. But turning the volume up on the amp increases it's power output, so if you turn the volume up too high, then it can send too much power and the speakers can overheat (and again, turning the volume up too high may cause the amp to distort sending a clipped signal to the speaker which is also bad).
If pushed too hard, you should be able to hear distortion in the speaker and you can turn down the volume before permanent damage occurs.

3) Does a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver seem fine for a 2.1 setup?
Yes, 5.1 and 7.1 AVRs do well for a 2.1 setup. Usually 5.1 and 7.1 AVRs are less expensive and more flexible than 2.0 and 2.1 AVRs. I just bought my mom a Denon x1100W 7.2 AVR for her 2.0 setup. She can use the extra amps in the AVR to power speakers in another room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes. From what I can see, those speakers are rated 250W RMS (which is continual power not max power), they should be able to handle shorts bursts above 250W. The speakers should handle 125W RMS (continual power) without problem unless the amp is clipping.
In case you didn't know, a 500W amp is not always sending 500W to the speakers. At lower volume levels the amp uses lower power (i.e. 5W), at higher volumes the amp uses higher power (i.e. 500W).
The speakers may be rated for 250W RMS (continual power) but that doesn't mean they need a 250W amp to sound proper. An amp rated at 40W RMS may be all you need if you listen at lower volume levels. But if you use an amp rated for 40W RMS and you continually crank the volume knob up above the 3/4 mark to get the volume you desire, then you may be pushing the amp too hard causing it to clip (distortion). In that case you would probably do well with a more powerful amp (i.e. 100W RMS).



Yes, an underpowered amp and an overpowered amp can cause damage.
Generally there are 2 types of speaker damage.
Thermal overheating & Mechanical failure. These can be caused by sending too much power to the speakers. At lower volume levels, using an amp that is rated much more powerful than the speakers will not cause speaker damage. But turning the volume up on the amp increases it's power output, so if you turn the volume up too high, then it can send too much power and the speakers can overheat (and again, turning the volume up too high may cause the amp to distort sending a clipped signal to the speaker which is also bad).
If pushed too hard, you should be able to hear distortion in the speaker and you can turn down the volume before permanent damage occurs.


Yes, 5.1 and 7.1 AVRs do well for a 2.1 setup. Usually 5.1 and 7.1 AVRs are less expensive and more flexible than 2.0 and 2.1 AVRs. I just bought my mom a Denon x1100W 7.2 AVR for her 2.0 setup. She can use the extra amps in the AVR to power speakers in another room.
Thanks for the great and detailed response. Since a subwoofer is usually self-powered (I think!) and I do not plan on expanding the sound system beyond 2.1 for a few years, I suppose something around 100-125 W per channel would be optimal, especially for louder volumes.

Now, given that, any recommendations for a receiver? Any reasons why a particular receiver may be better or worse for a particular speaker?

And still hoping other people chime in with their thoughts/recommendations.

Thanks
 

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Hi Bartlett

1) Max amp 250W for the system. Does this mean a receiver should be able to send 125W to the system? (assuming RMS is calculated the same way for both)

2) What would cause a speaker setup to be damaged? If an amp sends 140W per channel and the max amp is 250W, would that be damaging?
Common sense will go further than any of those largely worthless "specs".
Driving them with an AVR + sensible use of volume control = no chance of damage.

Hey everyone,
3) Does a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver seem fine for a 2.1 setup?
Yes.

I am looking for receiver recommendations for a 2.0 setup consisting of Energy RC-70s. I plan on adding a subwoofer in the future. My receiver budget is $400 (in case some $900 receiver is on sale for $400). I'd like to keep it at $250-$300 though.
As luck would have it, there is good data on your speakers other than "specs".
As such, I would recommend a slightly used mid-upper line AVR, since the speakers impedance does dip to around/slightly below 4 ohms. There are a number of AVRs from Denon, Harman Kardon, Onkyo and Yamaha, etc. that should drive those. Generally, if the AVR has pre-outs, that would be preferred, as it would mean both flexibility and upper tier, where the on board amps are probably capable. Then it comes down to the additional features you want, remote control ergonomics, etc.

cheers
 

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AMP POWER....
In my opinion, a well respected mid level name brand AVR (Onkyo, Denon, Marantz...) with a rating of 70-125W (that has been verified through independent reviewers) should do well in most normal situations.

There are many factors that determine how much amp power you will need. Room size, SPLs expected, number of speakers driven, a big factor is speaker impedance (8 ohm, 6 ohm, 4 ohm, the higher the number the easier it is to run the amp (both nominal & minimum measurement reading)).
Besides amp wattage, a most important factor of an AVR/amp is it's power supply handling. The amp may claim to produce 500W max, but for how long, 1 sec, 5 secs, 10 secs?

Many of these factors are hard to determine through manufacturer posted specs. Find good info through trusted equipment reviewers.
As AJ mentioned many of the specs are of little use to the average Joe. Speaker/amp impedance characteristics is important. Amp power supply quality is important. Common sense is important.

AVR FEATURES...
You need to figure out what features you are interested in. Do you want networking, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zone 2 capabilities, control with a phone/tablet app...? Similar to buying a car, AVRs have basic base models that are cheaper, and they have feature rich deluxe models that are more expensive.
My mom doesn't need an AVR with Zone 2 capability, WiFi, built in Pandora, and built in internet radio, but she will end up being happy that I got them and will end up using them.

EQUIPMENT SALES...
Accessories4less is an online audio video store that sells refurbished equipment at great prices. I have bought several items and I know others highly recommend it.

http://www.accessories4less.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Bartlett


Common sense will go further than any of those largely worthless "specs".
Driving them with an AVR + sensible use of volume control = no chance of damage.


Yes.


As luck would have it, there is good data on your speakers other than "specs".
As such, I would recommend a slightly used mid-upper line AVR, since the speakers impedance does dip to around/slightly below 4 ohms. There are a number of AVRs from Denon, Harman Kardon, Onkyo and Yamaha, etc. that should drive those. Generally, if the AVR has pre-outs, that would be preferred, as it would mean both flexibility and upper tier, where the on board amps are probably capable. Then it comes down to the additional features you want, remote control ergonomics, etc.

cheers
Thanks for the tip. I'm glad it does not take any serious level of discernment to identify if your equipment is being pushed too far power-wise.

How's the DENON AVR-X3100W look?

AMP POWER....
In my opinion, a well respected mid level name brand AVR (Onkyo, Denon, Marantz...) with a rating of 70-125W (that has been verified through independent reviewers) should do well in most normal situations.

There are many factors that determine how much amp power you will need. Room size, SPLs expected, number of speakers driven, a big factor is speaker impedance (8 ohm, 6 ohm, 4 ohm, the higher the number the easier it is to run the amp (both nominal & minimum measurement reading)).
Besides amp wattage, a most important factor of an AVR/amp is it's power supply handling. The amp may claim to produce 500W max, but for how long, 1 sec, 5 secs, 10 secs?

Many of these factors are hard to determine through manufacturer posted specs. Find good info through trusted equipment reviewers.
As AJ mentioned many of the specs are of little use to the average Joe. Speaker/amp impedance characteristics is important. Amp power supply quality is important. Common sense is important.

AVR FEATURES...
You need to figure out what features you are interested in. Do you want networking, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zone 2 capabilities, control with a phone/tablet app...? Similar to buying a car, AVRs have basic base models that are cheaper, and they have feature rich deluxe models that are more expensive.
My mom doesn't need an AVR with Zone 2 capability, WiFi, built in Pandora, and built in internet radio, but she will end up being happy that I got them and will end up using them.

EQUIPMENT SALES...
Accessories4less is an online audio video store that sells refurbished equipment at great prices. I have bought several items and I know others highly recommend it.

http://www.accessories4less.com/
Thanks for the detailed response. As you said, all of these features are not necessary. But they are nice, especially for futureproofing. How's the DENON AVR-X3100W fare then?

Reviews seem pretty good and it seems like it would handle the RC-70 well up to loud volumes.

Thanks to you both
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As I mentioned earlier I bought my mom the Denon X110W and I am currently being a dutiful son and 'breaking it in' for her. It has a lot to offer and so far everything works as advertised. The step up X3100W would be even better.

The X3100W is currently $400 on Accessories4less...
http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...w-7.2-receiver-wi-fi/bluetooth/airplay/1.html
Ah I see, I think I might get that receiver then. I just need an AUX cable to connect it to my PC and speaker wire and that's it, right?

Also, what about this one?

http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...-networking-aventage-av-receiver/1.html#!more
 

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WiFi, LAN cable, and audio cable connections can get audio from a computer to the AVR.

FOR NETWORKING WITH A COMPUTER....

Both of the Denons mentioned (X1100W & X3100W) have a built-in WiFi feature. These AVRs can connect to a computer wirelessly. If you don't have a WiFi signal for the AVR, then they can still be hardwired to a computer through a LAN cable.

The Yamaha RX-A2000 Aventage that you linked to does not have a built-in WiFi feature so there is no wireless connection. But this AVR can still be hardwired to a computer through a LAN cable.


FOR COMPUTER AUDIO DISTRIBUTION...

All of these AVRs can receive audio signals through standard audio cables (HDMI, RCA, Optical, Digital Coax...).



Any of these AVRs should prove capable enough to power the speakers. The choice comes down to which features do you want to pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the responses so far. I think I'm going to make a purchase today. I'm choosing between an X3100W for $400, RX-A2000 for $450, 2010 for $550, or 3000 for $550. Not sure which one offers the best value for a 2.1 channel system. I'm leaning toward the sound profile of the Denon, but the other units may use higher quality components since they are almost $500-$700 more expensive. Not to mention the higher W per channel (which I don't think is a selling point for me since RC-70s should do just fine on 105W/ch). Any thoughts?

Thanks
 

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I would probably stick with the Denon 3100 or Yamaha rx-a2000 and save the difference to apply towards a separate amp down the road.
They both appear to have full preouts which is ideal for adding amps as you go.
I'm not implying that you'll absolutely need to add an additional amp for the Energys to sound good but the flexibility to be able to throw the power of an Emotiva, Outlaw Audio or even a Crown Xli/Xls or similar amp at your speakers is upgrade insurance - so to speak.
 
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