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Home Theater Planning Advice - 7.2.4 Focal/SVS/Denon/JVC 4k to 7.4.6 8k Separates

Oct 20, 2020
United States
Interested in audio since college 15 years back when I was getting in trouble with a pair of Klipsch SF-3's and a SVS PC12-Plus in a dorm room. Two years ago I upgraded from a 5.1 Klipsch/SVS/Yamaha setup to 7.2.4 Focal Aria/SVS PC-4000/Denon X6400H. I would have went with bigger speakers/subs but have a young family in the house, so I want to aim for upgrading the experience (5.1 to 7.2.4) and audio accuracy (Klipsch to Focal). Only in the last year have I gotten more serious about the hobby where I want to learn as much as I can so I can become a more informed consumer. Very glad to have found ASR and the community during my speaker cable research..now I'm addicted checking the "What's new" section of the forums several times a day.

Looking to make the next incremental upgrade in my system with an aim of moving towards separates and an 8k projector (e-shift ok). It seems to me the most bang for my buck will be to upgrade to separate amplification now, and then upgrade to a 16 channel HDMI 2.1 processor later. 8k projector will have to wait until it is more affordable; could just upgrade the screen now, though figure it may be best to get a screen at the time of the projector.

(See attached files for more details)
Phase 1 - Make use of existing AVR to improve sound quality and take 1st step towards separates with amplification
Deliver higher/cleaner power to all channels. Take first step towards separates. Four channels to power L/R and SBL/SBR will be upgraded to Focal Aria 936's or 948's in Phase 2. Would need a five channel amp to power center channel after Phase 2 as well. Planning to go Purifi for L/C/R and Hypex NC252MP for surround/height. Also going from two SVS PC-4000 to four SVS PC-4000. Need solution for four subwoofers as Denon only has 2 subwoofers out.
*(Q1)* Should I power the center channel with Purifi as well (i.e. 5 channel Purifi - Apollon Forthcoming?) even though max power rating of the center channel is 200W and Purifi puts out 227W/8ohm and Focal Aria 936 are rated to 300W/8ohm and 948 350W/8ohm?
*(Q2)* Any concern with different amplifier modules having different gain?
(Q3) VTV sell an 8 channel NC252MP based amp for a similar price to 2x Audiophonics and would reduce boxes and number of power cords by one. Also Buckeye is offering another 8 channel in this space for cheaper. Thoughts?
(Q4) 20A surge protector recommendations with 2-4 outlets? Don't think Panamax style are worth the price premium, though I like how my 15A version looks...
(Q5) Believe I've read it is better to use XLR to RCA cables rather than RCA cable + RCA to XLR adapter, is it worth the extra cost? With that in mind would assume Emotiva's style XLR to RCA would be best.
(Q6) Also believe only advantage of more expensive RCA cables is the build quality/EMI shielding, so not sure locking RCA from Ghent are worth it?
(Q7) Any other options out there other than miniDSP 2x4 HD for managing 4 subwoofers?
(Q8) Is it worth to get the Dirac upgrade on the miniDSP?

Phase 2 - Upgrade from AVR to higher channel pre/pro with additional speakers
Denon X6400H to 13.1-15.1 channel processor with HDMI 2.1 / HDCP 2.3 and balanced outs. RCA to Balanced to Balanced for higher SINAD/gain. Move from 4 top channels to 6 in Dolby Atmos top middle configuration. Ceiling fan right above listening position limits ability to add "voice of God" as found in Imax Enhanced / DTS:X. Move Focal Aria 936's from Front Left/Right to Surround Back Left/Right and purchase Focal Aria 948's for Front Left/Right; Previous surround Focal Aria 906's to either be used as front wide or with computer setup, though median angle between front left/right speakers and side-surrounds is equal to side-surrounds to rear surrounds and therefore wide speakers likely not needed. For $1000 more Focal Aria 948's only have 10% more driver surface area and lower frequency range 1-2Hz lower.
(Q9) Is it better to have as many matched speakers i.e. L/R/C/SL/SR or the front speakers more powerful (most other speakers are for effects and not as critical)?
*(Q10)* Focal 948's worth the price premium over the 936's?

All advice on how to improve my plan is much appreciated. Thanks


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