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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was curious to know what people think about using a single five/seven channel amp versus a two and a three (five channels) or two twos and a three for seven channels. When using multiple amps, is there a rule of thumb for the power level of the amps. For example, the rear power amp should be at least 70% or 80% of the front power amp. Also, how strongly would it be suggested that the amps are the same brand? The reason that I'm asking is because it seems to me that it would be cheaper to get a really good two or three channel amp for the fronts/mid and then something a little less powerful for the surrounds versus a really good five or seven channel amp that has a lot of power to all the channels.
Am I wrong about this? Is it just better to get everything in one amp?

Thanks.

Bob
 

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I don't think it would matter too much, providing you have a preamp to control to level of the individual speakers. Different brands shouldn't present a problem. Might be easier having just one amp tho
 

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I think you're more likely to get a fully balanced sound if your amp(s) are identical, bought at the same time (as production variances may exist) as well as identical speakers all the way around.
 

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Jim’s probably spot-on, if you want guaranteed uniformity all the way around (although you’d have to make sure that amps bought at the same time were part of the same production run – you can’t automatically assume they would be).

If you’re not terribly concerned about that, I think your idea to save some money getting lighter-duty rear amps has some merit. The reason is that since these are outboard amps, you can be reasonably assured that you’re getting the full rated power output any time it’s needed, unlike with many receivers (which often they suffer a certain amount of power sag when there’s high demand on all channels simultaneously).

As long as your rear speakers are not inefficient, amplification in the 100-watt range should be more than adequate.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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I think the arrangement of amps would depend on the front speakers. If you have massive mains with large woofers to drive, then splitting the front 2 channels out of the mix of the center/rears would make some sense. Personally I drive all of my speakers (5.1) with a single onkyo reciever, but on my mains, which can be bi-amped, only the top midrange and tweeter section is driven by the onkyo. I have a seperate amp driving the bottom end of the mains. In the end though, it really boils down to the kind of speakers you are using and their power requirements. Also, if you have everything in one device (presumably an avr), it would be much easier to calibrate and change settings for all speakers at the same time. Either way, you are going to need some sort of preamp to manage dd/dts/pcm decoding, am/fm, cd, upmixing, equalization, etc...
 

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In my system, I use a 2 channel amp for the F L/R speakers and a 5 channel for the center and 4 surrounds. All of my amps are Parasound, and all IMHO sound awesome. I am a huge believer in "high current is everything" in regards to sound and especially dynamics. My 2 channel HCA 2200 II has 90 ampere peaks per channel, and my HCA 2205A has 60 ampere peaks per channel. In terms of wattage, they're both 220wpc into 8 ohms and 385wpc into 4. Another reason I have the 2 channel amp is that I still prefer music (red book CDs anyway) listening in stereo. I also use a Parasound New Classic 7100 THX Ultra2 pre/pro as it sounds great, has all the features and inputs I require, and has excellent quality chips, parts and build quality as well. For more info and if you have any questions; refer to my system in my profile and then ask or comment away.
Cheers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Konky,

I was pleased to see your comments about Parasound. I was looking at those for my next upgrade.

Thanks for all the responses.

Bob
 
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In my system, I use a 2 channel amp for the F L/R speakers and a 5 channel for the center and 4 surrounds. All of my amps are Parasound, and all IMHO sound awesome. I am a huge believer in "high current is everything" in regards to sound and especially dynamics. My 2 channel HCA 2200 II has 90 ampere peaks per channel, and my HCA 2205A has 60 ampere peaks per channel. In terms of wattage, they're both 220wpc into 8 ohms and 385wpc into 4. Another reason I have the 2 channel amp is that I still prefer music (red book CDs anyway) listening in stereo. I also use a Parasound New Classic 7100 THX Ultra2 pre/pro as it sounds great, has all the features and inputs I require, and has excellent quality chips, parts and build quality as well. For more info and if you have any questions; refer to my system in my profile and then ask or comment away.
Cheers...
I do precisely the same with different products:
I use the Rotel RB-1080 2 channel (200wpc) for Klipsch RF-7 front LR speakers.
I use the Rotel RMB-1075 5 channel (120wpc) for center, surrounds, and one center back channel. Both are high current. Mixing products wouldn't bother me much because I think it's really all about level matching and proper set up as long as the pre-pro can handle it.
I like having a separate amp for two channel (bypass) listening. Also, you can tailor output characteristics to the speakers. My fronts are harder to drive than the rest and also, the front two-channels in most multi-channel recordings demand more from the system.
It may not matter a whole lot unless you're using full-range speakers all around as I am. It matters a lot if you really like music reproduction and are not just using an HT system to hear car, plane, and bus crashes at terrifying dB levels.
 
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