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Sony STR-DH590 quotes 145W per channel - what do you think?

jitl

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Hello, I'm looking to put together a minimal, TV-driven 2.0 setup, with the possibility to upgrade towards 3.1 if budget and desire allow. My primary factor is that I want to control my speaker volume with my Apple TV remote -- and I'd like to drive speakers like the Kef R3, which want power. I came across this Sony AVR: Sony STR-DH590 ($349 at Best Buy) which looks to be a few years old at this point - it has ARC, but no eARC, but does seem to have some DSP features, basic EQ, "night mode", etc. Still, as a stereo receiver it could do nicely?

The thing I'm most curious about is that this unit claims to provide 145W per channel -- which is higher than I see from other AVRs or even streaming amps in my price range, and seems quite excellent at ~$350 from Best Buy. It seems like, on the manufacturer's word, this could be the budget all-in-one amp I'm looking for. What do you think?
 

JR449

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That is too cheap receiver to partner with Kef R3. Most members would consider at least something like Denon X3700H / Yamaha RX-A4A. Perhaps the new Onkyo RZ-50 or the model below it too.

The numbers you wrote are for 1channel driven, 1kHz test and for high THD % meaning you need to be carefull to compare same specs. Few brands will sadly show these meaningless figures for marketing purposes. 145w sticker on the unit sells more than 80w! Other site lists power output for 6ohm with lower distortion. This unit is typical uber cheap ~80w for 2ch 8ohm and very likely isn´t going to be happy with low impedance loads. If you going to buy Kef R3 steer away from this toy!
  • 90 watts per channel into 6 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD, with 2 channel driven


 
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jitl

jitl

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Thanks, that's very helpful. I had a suspicion that was the case, but I wanted some confirmation before I decided to go upmarket.
 

fieldcar

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Since the KEF's are 87dB sensitivity, you wont get much of an upgrade in power/SPL going from the Sony to the X3700H. I'd look at a speaker with a bit more sensitivity if you can't afford some hypex amps or similar. Though, I also feel that audyssey XT32 room correction is just incredible, and any speaker that is competently designed for directivity and resonances can match or exceed the KEF's with room correction. Amir even said in his R3 review that something was lacking, and I'm sure it was the low sensitivity compared to the revel's he had by their side. I say you grab the X3700H and some JBL studio 590's(93dB sensitivity) like me or look into some revel's.

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jitl

jitl

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This unit is typical uber cheap ~80w for 2ch 8ohm and very likely isn´t going to be happy with low impedance loads. If you going to buy Kef R3 steer away from this toy!
I'd look at a speaker with a bit more sensitivity if you can't afford some hypex amps or similar.
This is an interesting take. I see elsewhere on the site people suggesting that >$600 on amps and such is quickly hitting diminishing returns. I'd say my budget is about $3000 all-in, which I was trying to spend the most on speakers (kef R3), with enough left over to get a reasonable DAC & AMP with HDMI-CEC control.

@fieldcar When you say "some hypex amps or similar", what watt range are you imagining I would need to drive the R3 comfortably?

In another thread, @alex-z shared a different viewpoint that the overall wattage might not matter as much:
The idea of expensive speakers requiring more power, or premium amps in general is a myth perpetuated by subjective reviewers, and amp manufacturers.

If you look at the impedance curve, the KEF R3 definitely presents a 4 Ohm load at low frequencies. So you need an amp rated for 4 Ohm load, which is common these days.

Next you need to determine how much power is required for your listening level. Lets say for example, you sit at 12ft. A single KEF R3 is producing 74.7dB with 1 watt, not including any room gain. Moving up to 40 watts, that is 90.8dB, already louder than most people listen. In actual usage, you can expect 6-9dB more output, because the second speaker and the room will be adding output.
 

tecnogadget

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Just read the back panel power consumption rating of that Sony…only 200W.

That means when listening 5.1 channels you will get 40w at best…zero headroom and under powered.

This metod for AVR all channel driven power estimation never fails
 

fieldcar

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@fieldcar When you say "some hypex amps or similar", what watt range are you imagining I would need to drive the R3 comfortably?

In another thread, @alex-z shared a different viewpoint that the overall wattage might not matter as much:
Most of my music listening is done at a pretty moderate level of ~85dB, but I love the headroom(insurance) the efficient speakers provide. I'm more than satisfied with how the 590's can get to ~110dB nearing the limit that the X3700H can provide given the speaker efficiency. So if you wanted to guarantee that same sort of headroom, you should aim for [email protected] for the Kef R3's. That puts the NC252MP (look into buckeye) as a good fit. I recall something about hypex products craving a bit more voltage from a DAC to get enough gain for higher levels, so that is something to keep in mind. You would also gain a ton by pairing the R3's with a good subwoofer and crossing the R3's over as the bass usually strains the amp the most. EDIT: I forgot to mention, that the Sony probably only outputs around 60-80W, whereas the hypex is actually ~150W

Wattage doesn't matter until the top end of listening levels or during a very dynamic point in an audio track. It's so hard to know exactly what your preferences are, but I'm just trying to help you get an idea that things could get disappointing if you don't feed these inefficient speakers properly. Bass hits will cause distortion earlier and the woofers will seem uncontrolled if you try to get beyond 90dB, especially if you skip a subwoofer to help with the heavy lifting.

I hope this helps a bit. Maybe seek out a KEF dealer from their site to hear them in person. I may do that just out of curiosity, but I'm sure any place that has them will be all about pushing overpriced garbage as a necessity, and they'd be harsh about running an affordable AVR/amp.
 
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Prana Ferox

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Just read the back panel power consumption rating of that Sony…only 200W.

That means when listening 5.1 channels you will get 40w at best…zero headroom and under powered.

This metod for AVR all channel driven power estimation never fails

This pops up in a bunch of threads and this is not what these numbers mean.

The number on the back is for regulatory purposes, essentially describing the heat rejection capacity of the unit. 200W/120VAC = about 1.6 amps, it should be able to draw 1.6ish amps on average from the wall forever and remain within certain thermal limits, and also not shut down.

These numbers are based on a duty cycle. Essentially, for music, you have more peaky parts and less peaky parts, and you assume the average is some proportion of the actual full scale signal. That proportion is the duty cycle. Vendors don't list the duty cycle they use to get advertised output - it is, after all, just a marketing number - but a common retail amplifier 'duty cycle' used is 1/8, meaning the average output over time is 1/8 of maximum. Let's say this Sony amp is 80% efficient. Then, (145w *2) * (1/8) * (1/0.80) would be 45w average, far under 200w. Even if this box can put out 145w *5, that's only 113w total average, leaving headroom for powering any other circuits.

This is why when testers push sine waves through amps for long periods of time, it is not unusual to see the amplifier go into protection at or below advertised power output (or a pleasant surprise when it doesn't.) This is also why people who use kill-a-watt style meters are sometimes surprised to see their amps pull far more current momentarily than they expect - short term current draw can be well in excess of the back panel wattage divided by voltage, and for big amps can even exceed the ratings of the cord and receptacle.
 

tecnogadget

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Prana Ferox Nice in depth clarification on the matter.

I just want to point out I never said my method was spot on precision, and did use the word “estimation”. Why ? Because the method happens to coincide with most all channels driven measurements out there (Audioholics usually provides this measurements) some watts up or down give it or take. There are lots of AVR’s that can put more power at 1% THD 2 channels driven than what the specs says. But my fast method is specially useful for those not very well versed into AVR, that way they can understand a cheap unit won’t be pulling 180watts per channel in 5.1 or 7.1 configuration as the marketing label says. The only instances when benchmarked AVR provides high power with 7 channels, the unit back panel consumption goes from 1000w to 1500w…
 

Miker 1102

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I think the Sony products test pretty well. What I would warn about is using expensive speakers as part of surround array becaue of the potential of underpowering them. I use Sony adh790 (which I love!) but I ended up clipping a pair of Kefs and cracking a wwoofer. Partially a known design flaw but I definitely think a separate for two channel music is important. The other thing wirh the Sony is unless it's on direct the dsp limits the sample rate to 48hz. Whether you can hear the difference is not a conversation I engage in.
 

soberego

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Funny how the world works...

In March 2020, after contemplating being in lockdown for a bit and having a credit card statement so low I figured I could upgrade my home cinema setup. Additionally, my Yamaha soundbar crossover issue was playing with my nerves.
I went on to purchase the Basic Polk 5.1 (T50s, T30, etc) and a DH590.

I was very happy with it until I grew tired of the dialogue issue, as I live in a 1 bedroom apartment in NY, I do not have the luxury to listen to movies at the reference level and dialogue can get whimsical at lower that ref levels.

A few months back, my wife offered me a turntable and so I decided to upgrade my sound setup and I went on to buy a pair of Kef R3 along with the same line's central channel (R2C, I believe).

While my budget suffers from unfortunate limitations, I am contemplating purchasing a new AVR. Definitely with a better calibration tool that the DH590 has to offer and I believe the RZ50 or the X3700H will fit the bill.

Long story short, I can tell you that the R3s are a great purchase (my wife thought that good old Nat King Cole was actually in the room with us). However the DH590 is a tad short when it comes to AVRs feature (e.g. calibration, power, etc.). I really expect a considerable upgrade with the X3700H Dynamic Volume and XT32.

If you are absolutely certain that this is the appropriate use case for you and if your budget has some wiggle room, I can only encourage you to get an item a tad stronger/better than what you are contemplating.

Edit : I however have to disclose that I do not have the same technical understanding that some folks around here have. This is just a small contribution as I happen to possess the very setup you seek
 
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jitl

jitl

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I use Sony adh790 (which I love!) but I ended up clipping a pair of Kefs and cracking a wwoofer. Partially a known design flaw but I definitely think a separate for two channel music is important.
Yeesh! That's a scary story. Were you driving other speakers at the time (the full 5.1?) with the ADH790, or just the KEFs?

If you are absolutely certain that this is the appropriate use case for you and if your budget has some wiggle room, I can only encourage you to get an item a tad stronger/better than what you are contemplating.
Yeah, the STR-DH590 is off of my list, for sure. I'm also new to hifi so the last few weeks have been a rabbit hole of research.

I've been trying to figure out how to build a system that will fit in my shallow 12 1/2" cabinets -- most 7.1+ AVRs these days are like 15" deep which will stick out of my media console! So, I can't just get a X3700H or any of the other similar-level AVRs that seem standard here.

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My current thinking it to build a crazy system out of tiny separates:
  • shArc eARC Audio Converter ($188) to handle ARC audio input & volume control, output to:
  • miniDSP 2x4 HD, or similar ($225) to do EQ, output to:
  • 2 channel NC252MP 2x250w amp from Buckeye Amps, or similar ($529)
  • KEF R3 or KEF LS50 Meta
For $950 it seems a little nuts compared to what you get for $1600 from Denon, but the flexibility has some appeal...
 

soberego

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From what I understood, I would advise to consider putting the AVR on top of the cabinet not in it. Since the placement of the receiver does not matter, by putting it on top of the shelf you ensure that it will cool appropriately as these beasts seem to generate quite a bit of heat.

I cannot advise you on modularity since I did not take that route after some consideration.
 
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jitl

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EDMoser

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Hi. I actually use the DH590 in a small living room and it does great. I only run a 2.2 system though and have not tried it in any surround config. I use a HP filter of 80Hz to the L&R speakers and there seems to be plenty of power to hit 90dB+ where I sit. It sounds very good to me using room correction from a laptop through HDMI.

If you use the HP filter with a sub it should have plenty of power. Try it from Best Buy - you can always return it if it doesn't work out.
 

Putter

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I think the Sony products test pretty well. What I would warn about is using expensive speakers as part of surround array becaue of the potential of underpowering them. I use Sony adh790 (which I love!) but I ended up clipping a pair of Kefs and cracking a wwoofer. Partially a known design flaw but I definitely think a separate for two channel music is important. The other thing wirh the Sony is unless it's on direct the dsp limits the sample rate to 48hz. Whether you can hear the difference is not a conversation I engage in.
Do you listen to compact discs? They're sampled at 44.1 Khz.

Also while it's conceivable that you could burn out a tweeter with an under powered amplifier although it's not due to insufficient power, but rather overdriving the amp causing it to clip. Also note that if the amp is clipping, there will be audible distortion, i.e. it will sound like crap.

The reason that AV recievers work even though they are underpowered relative to the requirements of 5 or 7 speakers (in this case) is simple. First of all not all speakers are playing at the same volume and probably more important is the sub out that transfers most of the power needs to a separate amp and woofer. Most of the power needs are for the bass frequencies. Notwithstanding, the first thing I look for in an AV receiver is preamp outs so that the mains can have adequate power if needed supplied by a power amp. The only problem is that it's an upscale feature so that it only found on AV receivers that may already have adequate amps.
 

Miker 1102

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I had two audible instances where you were right ..I was over driving the amp as opposed to it being underpowered. I belive the effects were from listening at extended high db levels for to long. I also did what you suggested by getting an avr with pre outs. I guess I can run the mains with the sperate amplifier. I have two channel emotiva that has been sitting here a while. As far as the sample rate goes, it's more about the advertising. Why buy an audio file that your amp cannot output accurately? Whether there is an audible benefit or dsp room correction outweighs any high res gain..who knows. I went to school with a guy who runs a very high profile recording studio and he said it's marketing.
 

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Also while it's conceivable that you could burn out a tweeter with an under powered amplifier although it's not due to insufficient power, but rather overdriving the amp causing it to clip.
Yes. What happens with a hypothetical perfect 100W amp is that while a bass note might squarewave to 200W, somewhat of an overload, if cranked up enough one of the rare treble peaks could also try to hit 200W-goodbye tweeter, it's been nice...
 

Head_Unit

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$950 it seems a little nuts compared to what you get for $1600 from Denon
Well not for 2-channel, though you have no room correction and with the small cone area of either KEF R3 or KEF LS50 Meta I would absolutely want a subwoofer. Physics says good bass sound pressure requires moving a lot of air. Also doesn't miniDSP have a Dirac module? That might be simpler unless you want to spend a lot of time EQing. For your amp, we really like an ATI 525NC we got, but it's like $3800 now, don't know much a stereo version is but probably more than the Buckeye.
 
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