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External amp to upgrade a Denon AVR?

Head_Unit

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So on result of the AVR-X3600H thread we ordered one and were lucky enough to actually get it-yay! Seems great. However we still feel a bit "amp curious."
- Supposing you wanted to upgrade the front L/R or maybe LCR, what amp would you use?
- System is 5.1 Focal (936, CC900, SR900) plus an SVS SB-2000 Pro
- We would want to upgrade the power, which to me means [email protected]Ω. 2Ω rated would be nice, since certainly the 936 are a bit of a tough load. This kicks out some nice-seeming stuff like the Starkrimson. (The Denon doesn't seem to be running out of headroom now, but who knows? It's not so trivial to check. When I did blast some metal through this setup there was some mild distortion, whether amp or speakers who knows.)
- Would definitely want a lower noise floor than the X3600H. Not SINAD, that's a different thing, the raw noise floor. Even if the Denon is already supposedly inaudible, hey, that's part of the hypothesis testing.
- We're definitely interested in newer Class D developments, though this is not mandatory. But as there is only one wall circuit and it is not upgradeable practically, efficiency is of interest.
- Budget, well not $10k. Probably not $5k but could be.
 
OP
H

Head_Unit

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bump...I'd think there would be a lot of opinions about this?!?
 

reformedalpineskier

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Hey Head_Unit, your plea for information provoked me to move from forum lurker to joiner. Like you, I have Denon AVR (a X4500H) and a pair of Focal 936. Unlike you, the rest of my 5.2.2 system consists of Klipsch RP speakers. My use of the living room system is about 50/50 between music and TV. I purchased the Focals because when I get the run of my house (not often enough!) I like to listen to music pretty loud and the Klispch RP-260s didn't quite make the grade. Hence the Focals for the L/R in the living room system.

My primary intent for a power amp was to save my Denon AVR from potential heat stroke. Denon states their AVRs are 4-ohm tolerant, but the Focal 936s are not merely 4-ohm speakers. Knowing the really low impedance (as low as 2 ohm, if factoring phase angle) of the Focals below about 900 Hz, I researched external amps to power them soon after I made the Focal purchase last fall.

To cut to my bottom line, I picked up an ELAC Alchemy DPA-2. It is not state of the art among Class D amps, but it does the job I've asked it to in keeping with the real world aspirations I have for my living room system. Amir hasn't measured the DPA-2, but he has estimated the SINAD to be about 90 db based on the amp's specs. For me, that was good enough. Key things I was looking for in an external amp: 1.) runs cool; 2.) cooling vents at the rearmost top of the case allow my Sony DVD player to stack on it w/o impeding cooling; 3.) incorporates thermal and current overload protection; 4.) no thump on and off; and 5.) switchable gain up to 29 db.

Even at sticker price the DPA-2 is only $1500. I was contemplating a NAD C298, but its large size and some reported niggles with the trigger held me back. I found an open box DPA-2 with warranty from a dealer for $1k. A dirtbag telemark skier just cannot say no to a discount on gear...

I hope this helps you some. Good luck!
 

TomekNet

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I have X3700H in 7.2.4 layout with those power amps in use:
  • NAD C298 (Purifi based) for fronts
  • Audiophonics MPA-M400ET mono Purifi amp for central
  • Audiophonics MPA-S250NC stereo Ncore amp (1x NC252MP) for surrounds
  • Buckeye Amps 6-channel Ncore amp (3x NC252MP) for backs and four atmos speakers
And two SVS SB-2000 Pro's - like you.
Works fine for me. I will probably upgrade @Buckeye Amps case to 8-channel in the future and get rid of MPA-S250NC to limit number of devices. There was no 8-channel 17" case on the date I was ordering and I like the new one very much.
External amplification for surrounds and atmos/heights might be an overkill, but Denon is known to perform better in full pre-amp mode.
External power amps for all channels also make upgrade to AV processor in the future easy.
 
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Descartes

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So on result of the AVR-X3600H thread we ordered one and were lucky enough to actually get it-yay! Seems great. However we still feel a bit "amp curious."
- Supposing you wanted to upgrade the front L/R or maybe LCR, what amp would you use?
- System is 5.1 Focal (936, CC900, SR900) plus an SVS SB-2000 Pro
- We would want to upgrade the power, which to me means [email protected]Ω. 2Ω rated would be nice, since certainly the 936 are a bit of a tough load. This kicks out some nice-seeming stuff like the Starkrimson. (The Denon doesn't seem to be running out of headroom now, but who knows? It's not so trivial to check. When I did blast some metal through this setup there was some mild distortion, whether amp or speakers who knows.)
- Would definitely want a lower noise floor than the X3600H. Not SINAD, that's a different thing, the raw noise floor. Even if the Denon is already supposedly inaudible, hey, that's part of the hypothesis testing.
- We're definitely interested in newer Class D developments, though this is not mandatory. But as there is only one wall circuit and it is not upgradeable practically, efficiency is of interest.
- Budget, well not $10k. Probably not $5k but could be.

NAD Master M28
 

Chrispy

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Do you really need an external amp at your distance/listening levels? :) Someone had to ask.....personally I'd get some Crown XLS and save some buck (and they're 2 ohm rated). Maybe a Monolith 5 if you wanted something fancier.
 

amper42

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So on result of the AVR-X3600H thread we ordered one and were lucky enough to actually get it-yay! Seems great. However we still feel a bit "amp curious."
- Supposing you wanted to upgrade the front L/R or maybe LCR, what amp would you use?
- System is 5.1 Focal (936, CC900, SR900) plus an SVS SB-2000 Pro
- We would want to upgrade the power, which to me means [email protected]Ω. 2Ω rated would be nice, since certainly the 936 are a bit of a tough load. This kicks out some nice-seeming stuff like the Starkrimson. (The Denon doesn't seem to be running out of headroom now, but who knows? It's not so trivial to check. When I did blast some metal through this setup there was some mild distortion, whether amp or speakers who knows.)
- Would definitely want a lower noise floor than the X3600H. Not SINAD, that's a different thing, the raw noise floor. Even if the Denon is already supposedly inaudible, hey, that's part of the hypothesis testing.
- We're definitely interested in newer Class D developments, though this is not mandatory. But as there is only one wall circuit and it is not upgradeable practically, efficiency is of interest.
- Budget, well not $10k. Probably not $5k but could be.


Monolith 3x200
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=15594
300W into 4 ohms, quiet turn on, stays quiet and the speakers are crisp and clear at all volume levels. No hum at all on mine. Gain matches well with Denon internal amps.

Other models offer 5 channel and 7 channel.
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=15593
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=14566
 

Matias

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Astrozombie

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Nominal impedance: 8 Ohms
Minimum impedance: 2.8 Ohms
Recommended amplifier power: 50 - 300W

I'd think 300x2 @8. Thing is sometimes an Amp can you give you more juice than stated, or less...........so to be safe maybe 350W? That's going to get expensive though.
 

Golfx

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I use Anthem’s MCA 325 for LCR. I had NAD’s class d for surrounds and heights but they kept popping randomly. So switched to another class AB instead.
 

raistlin65

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I have a Parasound NewClassic 2125v2 I use with my X4700H. Works great.

But if I were to do it all over again, I would spend a little more for a Class D amp. I like the idea of encouraging growth in the Class D market so that the prices on them continue to get cheaper with economies of scale.

It makes sense to me to encourage the industry to move towards more energy efficient amplifier technology, much like it has in other home electronics and appliance industries.
 

David Harper

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I was driving magnepan speakers with a Yammy Aventage RX-A 780 AVR (90wpc) but it kept shutting down due to thermal overload. I bought a Schiit Vidar amp and it's been working well using the AVR as a pre. I think the issue with the Yammy was current, not wpc. For some reason AVR's don't seem to do well with low impedance speakers. The Vidar is rated 100wpc @8ohms and [email protected] 4ohms. So it's 8ohm power is almost the same as the Yammy but the Vidar kick's the Yammy's butt when driving maggies.
 
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