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Quick Q: Powering ML with Receiver??

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Thai

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Hey all,

I am a proud new owner of ML stuff!!:rocker: Now, i am waiting for it to be delivered to my house.:( The Sony LCD is on backorder till early December.

I have a Denon AVR-4306 receiver which has 7 separate little amps inside it, all making equal power (no shifting with load) to each channel (130W x 7 at 8-ohms) according to Denon. The only problem is that it is stable at 8- and 6-ohms. According to one detailed review (http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/Denon-AVR-4306.php), this Denon receiver does make 240 W at 4-ohm and does OK at this impedence. The power transformer is around 960VA (8.0A x 120V). My speakers are ML Vantage (4-ohm) and Stage center channel (also 4-ohm). The surrounds are Vignettes (6-ohms). My main concerns are the Vantage and Stage, both of which are 4-ohm most of the time and can dip lower. My room is about 16 x 11'.

Q: Do you think that my Denon Receiver can power these speakers without overheating?? I am short on cash at this point to invest in a separate amp...maybe in the future. I am hoping that the Vantage (with it's powered sub) will not be too draining on my receiver.

Thanks a lot in advance.
 
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Craig

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Don't play them at very loud volumes and they should be fine. The Vantages and Summits are less demanding on power requirements than non woofer powered MLs even though they do drop down in impedance at high frequencies.

Seperates or the addition of a dedicated amp would be a nice upgrade later. You can always use your reciever as a preamp.
 

twich54

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I basically agree with Craig but must add that once your funds allow ditch the Denon receiver for it does not do your system justice. Depending on your listening tastes, room size, etc you will be much better of with seperates once your pocket book allows. The Denon will serve you fine for multi-channel processor work and you can always use it's pre-outs into a good two channel amp as well. The panels of your Vantage's do have a low swing in the impedence curve (although at that freq level musical content is minimal) and your Denon I suspect is not at it's best when it see's such a load.
 

Thai

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What do you guys think of Anthem amplifiers?? I was thinking of Anthem MCA 50, which is a 5-channel amp with 180 W x 5 (at 8 ohms) and is stable to go down to 2-ohm. Here is a review of it: http://www.hometheatersound.com/equipment/anthem_mca50.htm

It has very good S/N ratio along with good power output and two transformers to provide power. Price is around $1999 (MSRP).

Or should i get the MCA 30 (3-channel amp) to power my Vantage & Stage center channel and letting my Denon receiver power the surrounds only. Will this work out smoothly?? I think that the MCA30 is around $1300-1500.

Again, thanks for all the input...much appreciated!
 

TomDac

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For under 2K you can get something nice on the used market.... Sunfire Cinema Signature for example.
 

Tube60

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IMHO the actual headroom of the amplifiers means as much as their rated power output. Seven amps stuffed into a receiver casing, plus all the other attendant electronics for everything else, probably means there will not be an inductor in the power supply, which I consider to be essential to driving electrostats, no matter how big the filter caps are in value. It's been my experience that an inductor will keep the power supply's output current steadier during big impedance swings that MLs and other 'stats are well known to present to the amplifier.
But in a nutshell, I agree with Craig. Keep the volume down until your budget allows for some beefy amps! Preferably tube amps!:rocker:
Regards,
Ross
 

edwinr

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Stick with your Denon at the moment. As long as you don't push it to ear bleeding levels it'll work fine. I would keep this receiver and use it as a processor or to power your rears at a later stage. For a while I ran my Summits and my Vignette rears with my Cambridge Audio 540R v2. This worked surprisingly well. But when I plugged my ARC preamp and Classe power back into the system - wow!

The new range of ML's are surprisngly easy to drive with less well endowed amplifiers. So don't stress.

BTW don't take any notice of Denon's or any other manufacturer's specs. There is no way in the world that any moderately priced receiver could possibly punch out 130 watts per channel ALL channels driven at the same time. The power supply wouldn't be able to keep up.
 

IWalker

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I'd agree...prioritize based on budget. If you ditch the denon, you have to go out and replace 5 channels of amplification plus a preamp...while it will do just fine in the short-medium term as a surround amp and processor. If you listen to a lot of music...I'd say focus on your 2ch amp first, while if you're more home theater oriented, your front 3 channels should likely share the priority for amplification. Down the road, replace the receiver with a decent 5ch (I wouldn't personally pay more than about a grand for a surround amp, but my priorities are in music) amp, and a nice preamp/processor at the same time...and then you've got the best of both worlds. Or, if you have the budget for it, go for it now!
Honestly, I wouldn't run a 5.1 HT off of a 5ch amp...cause you're overpaying for what you need for your surround/backs, or underpowering your fronts/center. It gives you a good reason to go 7.1 or 9.1 though!!! Just my 2c!!!

If you give us a budget, we can recommend things for you (though all my recommendations are from reviews I've read...since I have limited personal experience). We LOVE spending other peoples' money! The deal is, though...you have to tell us what you end up buying. Keeping secrets *cough* Joey *cough* doesn't do anyone any good! :)
 

kwr

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In the meantime you can utilise all seven channels of your Denon receiver. In the audioholics article their is a detailed explanation effectively biamping the main speakers utilising the spare two channels of amplification not used with a 5.l setup. Give it a whirl but do not expect too much out of the receiver - it will definitely run out of puff at high volumes - the manufacturers specs are a nonsense. You need all channels driven continuous at a certain (preferably 4 Ohm) resistance to tell anything.

Kevin
 

Thai

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Take a look at the last page from the review above: http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/Denon-AVR-4306p8.php

"As is typical, we measured CONTINUOUS unclipped power in these tests. Estimated THD at these measurements was between 0.5 - 1% (max) and tests were done with an 8-ohm test load for one and two-channels as well as a 1 channel test with a 4-ohm load. The results were above average to say the least. This 130wpc amplifier scored well above that value (around an average of 150W) when driving 2 channels into an 8-ohm test load. When pushing a 4-ohm load the power jumped to around 240watts. One thing that became abundantly clear (and showed through in our listening tests) was that the AVR-4306 has a healthy power reserve to be used wherever it was needed during multi-channel playback.

We tested the preamp section of the Denon AVR-4306 and were able to drive over 6.25Vrms before the receiver capped the output – this is an exorbitant amount of preamplifier output and will drive ANY power amplifier we are aware of to its maximum potential without introducing any distortion or clipping – even at maximum volume settings on the receiver (we had it up to +18 in our tests)."


What do you guys think of these results??

As for my current plans, i am gonna hold off on the amp at this time until more funds come through to allow me to get a nice amp. I am thinking either Sunfire or Anthem A5 amps.

Thanks again for the insights!:cheers:
 

edwinr

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Definitely a good result in that test, Thai. But when you ask that receiver to run 5 or more channels at the same time, power output goes out the window. The Denon will still not run 130 watt per channel into 5 channels at the same time.
 

twich54

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Take a look at the last page from the review above: http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/Denon-AVR-4306p8.php

"As is typical, we measured CONTINUOUS unclipped power in these tests. Estimated THD at these measurements was between 0.5 - 1% (max) and tests were done with an 8-ohm test load for one and two-channels as well as a 1 channel test with a 4-ohm load.

What do you guys think of these results??

QUOTE]

Had to chuckle a bit for it reminded me of the good 'ole "Hirsch-Houck" days gone buy (Stereo Review Labs, for those of you too young to remember) Keep in mind this is the same trick that Bob Carver played on us twenty five years ago with his "cube" amp, correct me if I wrong engineers out there but driving into a 4 ohm resistive load does not compare to driving into a 4 ohm reactive one ( ie. - what are Martin Logan speakers represent) Many an amp has "looked" impressive with this bench test but did not sound as impressive come listening time !!

Anyway, I think your doing the right thing by biding your time till your pocketbook recovers, which in the meantime gives you plenty of opportunities to audtion amplifiers, etc !!
 
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Thai

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The Denon will still not run 130 watt per channel into 5 channels at the same time.
Now, i know...i am too much into the advertising, and not into reality!:eek: I am new at this home theater stuff.

According to Denon website, the receiver has "7-ch EQUAL POWER" feature. This means: "DENON's A/V amplifiers and receivers are endowed with power amplifiers that deliver equal power and response to all channels , ensuring utter fidelity to a wide range of high-quality sound sources , from 2-channel stereo to advanced DVD-Audio , Super Audio CD , and Multi channel A/V sources such as Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES . This all-channel equal circuit gives you the same quality sound in any format and in all channels . The power sections of DENON's A/V amplifiers and receivers use large transformers , high-capacity block capacitors , and other parts specially selected for their high-quality sonic characteristics to give you a robust yet wonderfully detailed sound."

If i understand this correctly, then the receiver delivers the same power to each channel all the time. There are apparently 4 power supplies in the receiver, but i am not exactly sure what this means.

This is all very confusing for me...i think that i am also suffering from self-justification on not upgrading right away to separate amp!:p And when i blow my receiver, you guys will know why!:D
 

attyonline

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People on this site will always tell you to drive ML speakers with separate power amps, but the truth is you can drive them quite well with a good receiver in a room of less than 3000 cubic feet at levels approaching but not exceeding reference, assuming you cross over to sub for the bass frequencies. You will realize an improvement when you go to a separate power amp but the difference in sound quality is subjective and will range from no change to a slight improvement at higher sound levels. I would go ahead and buy the speakers and at a later date try out a two channel power amp for the mains to see if it makes a real improvement for you. It might, but do not expect a night/day difference if you get a good receiver.
 
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Jeff Zaret

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Thai,
attyonline is correct. Yes you can drive ML's with a receiver. It is not the best but it can be done with "satisfactory" results. The older ML's are a bit more "trying" but can be done also just at lower volumes

Take a deep breath, stand back and wait until YOU are ready to make changes/improvements on your system.

I think we just get excited helping others and it is so easy to spend someone else's money. We are come from different backgrounds and have many shared experiences. You will get to where you want to be in your own timeframe. We are here to help and make suggestions and there is not absolute. We all hear differently, have different rooms, different equipment, priorities and "significant others" that add in to the overall equation.

I would be as bold to say we all have limits whether it is money, houses, children, etc.

My advice is ask a ton of questions, take your time, consider used if money is tight- there is no shame in buying used, we all have done it- me included and as my good friend Roberto has always said "trust your ears!!"

Jeff:musicnote:
 

twich54

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Now, i know...i am too much into the advertising, and not into reality!:eek: I am new at this home theater stuff.

This is all very confusing for me...i think that i am also suffering from self-justification on not upgrading right away to separate amp!:p And when i blow my receiver, you guys will know why!:D
Thai, again we all think you will be fine to start, afterall you have created a benchmark for yourself that when the time comes and you do make changes you will know "yeah or neah" if it was for the better ! Besides if HT is your main / primary objective then your Denon may very well prove to be a more than capable componet. Also Jeff makes a good point the upgrade path via the used market is a VERY viable avenue to follow, for I too have traveled that road !!
 

Thai

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Main concern is HT...10% or so for music.
 

MingoMania

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(With credit to Roberto) trust your ears.

And you've positioned yourself well (at least until upgraditis sets in ;)

If you're playing 90% HT and 10% music, then (with biamping the mains and a good self-powered sub) the 4306 is plenty capable. I'm doing that with a 5805, and it's not breaking a sweat... plenty of top-end yet, though music does require more oomph. As many of the other folks note, receivers won't tolerate much high-volume work, but if kept to a reasonable level, the surrounds don't draw much current, and the 4306 can handle the load. If you're serious about music, then a good two-channel amp is the next step, but you're OK. (I'm considering a Krell 3250... and I've only had my system up for about a month! :eek: ) Enjoy your MLs!
 

Thai

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Wow...that is the first word out of my mouth after Tweeter hooked up my system. And my speakers are not broken-in yet!:rocker:

My room is about 16 x 11. So far, for initial hearing, i am setting the Vantage 35 Hz knob at +1dB. My Grotto sub is crossed at 55 Hz at level of 6...with +1 dB at 25 Hz. I used Denon's auto EQ to set my room speakers up. I followed ML's recommendations for setting up the Vantage...about 3 feet from backwall and 2 feet from sidewall (remember, i have a small room, so i don't have much room to play with). Vantage is slightly toe-in. The Grotto sub is in a corner behind the listening spot.

Oh yeah, the Stage sounds wonderful...very transparent and spot-on in terms of vocal.

So far, it sounds amazing!! Any other suggestions??

Thanks all for your help!!:cheers:
 
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