• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Newbie question. I bought an AVR but I'm not impressed by the sound. If I get a preamp then could I use my AVR solely as a power amp?

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
Hey everyone, second post here.

I bought a used Denon S540H along with two KEF Q150 speakers, and while the sound is pretty great there is a lot of static noise that is coming through at medium-to-high volumes. I also feel like the sound could be a lot better. Aside from that, I hate the Heos app for streaming music. So I decided I would get a Raspberry Pi 4 and install Volumio onto it, and then get a DAC / Preamp for it.

After doing a lot of research I ended up getting the Topping D10s USB DAC, and now I'm looking at preamps (side note if anyone has any preamp suggestions for not-extremely-expensive [under a few hundred] that's also appreciated). Now I'm wondering, if I were to get a nice preamp would I be able to hook that up with my current setup and still use the AVR as a power amp? I'm not sure if this would be the preferred way to do things or if I should just go ahead and get an integrated amp. I figured I would be able to get more value for money by getting a standalone preamp.

Also, does the quality of the power amp make a difference? I imagine that as long as the power amp has enough power for the speakers, it wouldn't effect the sound quality at all if I got a better power amp. I might be wrong here though.

Thanks in advance!

Edit:
Someone asked for an audio clip of the noise and I posted it in a reply but I'll post it here as well so it's not burried.
https://voca.ro/1mMOQVyxDpc6
 
Last edited:

SMc

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
171
Likes
144
Your receiver doesn't have an "amplifier in" input so any way you use to hook up your DAC will use its internal preamp. An integrated amp is the simplest way to replace the receiver.

I'd try to figure out what's wrong with Denon.
 

escape2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
644
Likes
590
Location
USA
Hey everyone, second post here.

I bought a used Denon S540H along with two KEF Q150 speakers, and while the sound is pretty great there is a lot of static noise that is coming through at medium-to-high volumes.
A lot of static noise sounds like something is not connected correctly or broken. Does it happen with all sources and all inputs (analog and digital) on the AVR? What sources/content are you feeding it?

FYI, I have an S740H and there is no static noise at all.


I also feel like the sound could be a lot better.
Can you be more specific? What is wrong with the sound?


After doing a lot of research I ended up getting the Topping D10s USB DAC,
So, when you connect the D10s to your AVR, do you still hear that static noise?

FYI, the built-in AKM DAC in this AVR isn't bad, but maybe the D10s has better SINAD so I don't blame you for trying.
 

JayGilb

Active Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
108
Likes
144
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
Sounds like it may be a loose/broken connection that is being vibrated at higher volumes. Can you see if it can be recreated at lower volumes by moving wires or maybe slightly jarring the receiver ?
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
Your receiver doesn't have an "amplifier in" input so any way you use to hook up your DAC will use its internal preamp. An integrated amp is the simplest way to replace the receiver.



I'd try to figure out what's wrong with Denon.

You mean to say that there's no way to hook up the preamp to the AVR? I was thinking I could just hook it up through RCA or something, but I didn't think about it too much haha.

A lot of static noise sounds like something is not connected correctly or broken. Does it happen with all sources and all inputs (analog and digital) on the AVR? What sources/content are you feeding it?

FYI, I have an S740H and there is no static noise at all.


Can you be more specific? What is wrong with the sound?



So, when you connect the D10s to your AVR, do you still hear that static noise?

FYI, the built-in AKM DAC in this AVR isn't bad, but maybe the D10s has better SINAD so I don't blame you for trying.
I was trying to figure out what DAC the AVR had but I couldn't find anything online about it. I heard the budget AVRs don't have great components though so I assumed that the DAC wasn't the best.

I haven't gotten the D10s yet but it comes in tomorrow.

It's just a little bit staticy, it's not horrible. Kind of like a radio staticy that gets worse with worse signal (not near as intense). The sound quality is still good but you can hear a little bit of static. At levels under 40-50 I have to put my head close to the speaker to hear it, but if I do that I can hear static at pretty low volumes. That might be normal though. At levels 60 and up it sounds like there is a white noise machine on quiet. It only seems to go up to volume 81. I might have my expectations too high, the sound isn't horrible and anyone who was visiting probably wouldn't notice anything.

I don't have any anologue sources. I probably should've gotten an aux to RCA cable and tested it with my MacBook Pro before getting a new DAC, I believe the MacBook Pros have a good DAC. The sources I've tried are the Heos source with Amazon HD music as well as HDMI from the TV. With Heos the static is constant, even if the music is stopped. With HDMI the static will only come in when some audio is being played

Sounds like it may be a loose/broken connection that is being vibrated at higher volumes. Can you see if it can be recreated at lower volumes by moving wires or maybe slightly jarring the receiver ?

I tried messing with the speaker cord as well as the power cable, and tried shaking it, and I didn't notice any changes.
 

JayGilb

Active Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
108
Likes
144
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
Another test would be try and see if you can hear the static when playing a FM station and making sure you have nothing but your speakers connected to the Denon. That would eliminate any ground loop noise being introduced via a digital input.
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
The input is Heos which is built into the Denon, controlled from my phone. I don't have any other cable than the speaker cable and power cable into the AVR. I didn't put in the antennas, it came with an AM antenna but not an FM.

Wouldn't FM add the possibility of static because of poor signal?
 

escape2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
644
Likes
590
Location
USA
With Heos the static is constant, even if the music is stopped.
Something is definitely wrong if you are able to hear static on Heos, even when music is not playing. The only way I can hear any kind of static is if I turn to volume all the way up and put my ear right up against the tweeter. From a foot away or more, I don't hear anything.

Did you check your speaker connections to make sure there is no stray wire strands anywhere?

Can you try hooking up a different set of speakers?

Since the AVR is used, it's possibly broken.
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
3,107
Likes
4,087
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
I've got a set-up with the Topping E/L30 feeding a Yamaha RX-V461 I'm using in a 2.1 configuration. There's no noise when I play via headphones. There's occasional low level pops via speakers. There's a distinct possibility the problem is at the power amp level.* The Yamaha is about 14 years old, plenty of time for caps and such to degrade. It might be that you have a lemon. In any case, it's easy to hook up the Topping D10s to you AVR. Doubtless the Denon has an analog aux in, probably RCA jacks. If you hear noise then, it's probably the amp.

*It doesn't happen often, I usually use my Drop 6XX 'phones, consider it a first world problem.
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
Did you check your speaker connections to make sure there is no stray wire strands anywhere?
I checked that, the speaker wire was sticking out of the back screw thing (post?) a tiny bit but it wasn't touching anything. I have the stripped wire just screwed into the back. I adjusted those and made sure they were connected well. It didn't change anything about the sound.

Can you try hooking up a different set of speakers?

I don't have any other speakers unfortunately. This is my first pair.

Since the AVR is used, it's possibly broken.

That might be it. It was only a few months old and was in great condition, original box with all the original packaging, everything still in the bag, etc... (just missing the FM antenna but that must have been an oversight). The seller said that they recently got some new Klipsch speakers from a recent sale and they needed to upgrade to a 7.1 AVR. Maybe they had just heard the static though.

Post an audio recording of this static your hearing. That will help identifying the possible cause.

Here is a link to the sound.
https://voca.ro/1mMOQVyxDpc6

First few seconds is with the volume down and nothing playing. There's a little bit of static noise there but that's just background noise from using a low quality phone. That can be used for reference.

I played music for a some time and then paused it, and then at 24 seconds I turned the volume almost all the way up. At 29 seconds I turned the volume all the way (I think it only went up to 81). I think the phone was about 6 inches from the speaker at that point.

If the volume only goes up to 81 does that mean it doesn't have enough power to go higher?
 

escape2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
644
Likes
590
Location
USA
If the volume only goes up to 81 does that mean it doesn't have enough power to go higher?
Did you reset it after you bought it? The previous owner may have configured Audyssey or made other changes to settings that could affect max volume.

This thread has instructions on "Microprocessor reset":
https://www.avsforum.com/threads/of...rs-thread-faq-posts-1-8.2973392/post-56087612

Just understand, this will erase all your settings so you'll need to configure it from scratch.
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
Did you reset it after you bought it? The previous owner may have configured Audyssey or made other changes to settings that could affect max volume.

This thread has instructions on "Microprocessor reset":
https://www.avsforum.com/threads/of...rs-thread-faq-posts-1-8.2973392/post-56087612

Just understand, this will erase all your settings so you'll need to configure it from scratch.

I hadn't thought of that. I did do the Audyssey setup but I didn't explicitly do any reset. That wouldn't be causing the static though would it?
 

JayGilb

Active Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
108
Likes
144
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
Yea, I can hear the static and some popping noises on your recording. Can you switch from bluetooth/Heos mode to another input mode (CD) and turn up the volume to and check for the static noise ? Don't connect a CD player to it, just want to hear if it's caused by the bluetooth/Heos.
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
I don't believe Heos uses Bluetooth but actually wifi. I just use my phone as a remote over wifi and the AVR downloads the music directly.

Switching it to DVD or Phono (there's no CD) there's no static noise on high volumes.

When I have it on TV audio which is plugged into the Monitor HDMI slot, into an ARC 2-way HDMI slot on my TV, it doesn't make the static noise while no audio is playing. I put the volume up pretty high and didn't hear anything when there was no noise. I moved the select thing over on the smart TV which gave a quick audible feedback, and while that noise was playing (as well as for another half of a second after while there was no other noise coming out of the speakers) the static noise was coming out the same way/volume it was with Heos.
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
So I just got the DAC now. I don't have RCA cables yet but I'm about to get them.

I'm not sure exactly how this works, I assume I would have to connect my computer to the DAC via USB, then DAC to AVR using RCA cables. What I'm worried about is whether that will cause the AVR to convert the audio to digital to and then back to audio again using its own DAC after doing all of it's Odyssey / room correction processing.

It would seem that using direct mode wouldn't do that, but I'm not sure of that because you can still use direct mode with Heos which uses the DAC.

Anyone have any insight on how I can make sure to bypass the AVR's DAC?
 

Chrispy

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
2,435
Likes
1,881
Location
PNW
That model of Denon doesn't have what they refer to as "multi-ch in" that some of their higher level avrs had (to assist in the unit acting only as amp, bypassing processing).
 
OP
A

Alesana95

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
14
Likes
0
That model of Denon doesn't have what they refer to as "multi-ch in" that some of their higher level avrs had (to assist in the unit acting only as amp, bypassing processing).
Ah I see, so I would need to get a preamp and power amp (or integrated) to use the DAC at all then it seems. I guess that answers multiple questions of mine
 

Steve Dallas

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
465
Likes
834
Location
A Whole Other Country
On that model, you would plug your DAC into the Aux input. If you are using Audyssey, the AVR will use its internal ADC / DAC to convert the signal to digital for processing and back to analog for playback.

You may be able to bypass that by turning on PureDirect if the AVR has it.
 

escape2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
644
Likes
590
Location
USA
Also, while it's unlikely it will cure your noise issue, make sure you update the AVR to the latest firmware, if you haven't already.
 
Top Bottom