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ATC SCM7 with Yamaha AVR - Upgrade amp or speakers?

fullybob

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#1
Hi

First a little about my setup: I currently own some ATC SCM7 speakers paired with a budget Yamaha AVR (V483). I'm also running dual 10" sealed subs from BK Electronics to handle the low end.

The system runs double duty for music + films. For films I like the sound signature, very clear and precise. For music, they sound a bit dry which I try to mitigate with EQ.

The speakers are quite inefficient - listed at 84db but independently measured at 82db. https://www.stereophile.com/content/atv-scm7-v3-loudspeaker-measurements

The Yamaha is listed at 2 x 80w 8ohms.

I feel like I've got more speaker than amp right now.

So..

I've been flirting with the idea of changing the AVR to a model with pre outs (either a Marantz slimline model, a Denon x3300 or another Yamaha but a few models up) and pairing with a power amp with more grunt.

This forum got me interested in the idea of cheap wattage like the Behringer A800 and the Crown XLS 1502.

And if that didn't work out I could probably demo a class AB amp to see if that gives a more pleasing quality to the detail.

My questions:

Do you think more Class D power will sound any different, or just allow me to play louder? (I'm quite a skeptic when it comes to amps and sound quality... but don't have enough personal experience with different setups.)

Will a class AB amp give me a sweeter sound for music? (I'm sure I demoed them with a high end AB amp when purchased 3 years ago)

OR am I just better off looking at a new speaker entirely and keeping the Yamaha v483 :) ? The buchardt s400, Elac Debut Reference + Revel M16 interest me - I just wonder if I'll have the same issue of feeling like I might have more speaker than amp.

Appreciate any insights from the more experienced listeners out there
 

AnalogSteph

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#2
The SCM7s manage about 81 dB / W at 6 ohms. That means your existing 2x 80 W / 6 ohm amplifier is good for up to 100 dB SPL @ 1m each. If you're not a particularly loud listener that's probably OK, but it is below the typically recommended 103 dB (let alone 106 or even 110).

Now you've got sub support that could be crossed over a bit higher if need be no doubt, so this isn't necessarily that much of a problem. If you to want to upgrade, you want something like 2x 160 W @ 6 ohms for it to be worthwhile.

How many of the SCM7s do you have? These little Yamahas tend to be decent enough in stereo, but in multichannel their power supplies really tend to sag badly. You might be getting something like 5x20-25 W @ 6 ohms out of yours, which really isn't all that awe-inspiring.

If you say you are using EQ, what is it and how have you set it up? Yamaha's YPAO does not really have a great reputation. You may want to take your own measurements if you haven't already.
 
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fullybob

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Thread Starter #3
Thanks for your reply! I don't listen incredibly loudly. Occasionally for a film it might be cranked to -8db. For music I usually listen with the dial set to -18db or less.

My sub crossover is set to 80hz. I have played a little with 100hz... it just feels tighter to me at 80.

I only have 2 scm7s... it's actually a 4.2 setup as I run no centre channel and the surrounds are tiny little things, Monitor Audio Radius 45... so would be surprised if these are sucking too much power from the AVR. Although it is films where it does feel like I'm running low on gas sometimes!

EQ I've tried a few things. I've done YPAO but don't use it... ended up putting all the speaker distances in manually and set the volume level of the rears with test tone by ear. I've done REW measurements and used Equaliser APO from an HTPC. Then more recently I'm using those REW measurements but making adjustments with the built in GEQ on the amp itself.

Do you think with my listening levels a more powerful amp would improve the sound in anyway?

It's something I hear reviewer's say constantly about any speaker that are low sensitivity like the ATC. "They like more power"

But like with so many audiophile reviews I'm just left a little skeptical as I'm not running the amp full blast (although I am often in the 80-90% range), and I don't hear distortion or clipping that I know of. And it's not pure volume that I'm after.

Is there really a good reason why a speaker like this sounds better with a more powerful amp?
 
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