Question 2/3.1 amp/AVR for TV/movies questions & advice

Quizzical

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Feb 21, 2022
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Hi, I’m after an amp/AVR (budget £500 or less) to replace an old Denon AVR-2312 for TV/movies. Video hardware is an Apple TV 4K and an Xbox One X connected to an LG OLED with audio fed to the AVR via ARC. The room is 4m wide and 7m long. The TV sits in the middle of the 4m wall and we sit 2m or so away.

F/L&R are Kef Q150 and sub is a BK Elec PR12-300SB-PR.

Some background (not sure if at all relevant/useful). My current Denon is 105w @ 2ch, 8 ohm, 20 Hz - 20 kHz. I play films no higher than 70 with the Denon set to display output on a 0-100 scale. 70 is pretty (almost too) loud in that room.

1. Benefit of centre
I’ve read a centre is really important in HT. But can be negated if the speakers aren’t too far apart. My TV is 65” and the L/R are either side just under 3 meters apart. Should I bother with a centre with that separation between L & R? Kind of answering my own question, but I’m very happy with the 2.1 setup.

My plan was to source an addition Q150 laid sideways for the centre. But I honestly don’t think I’ll get the benefit to warrant the cost.

2. Audio formats
As mentioned I really like the sound I get from my 2.1 setup. However there are a plethora of sound formats from DTS, Dolby Digital etc. and in my current setup the amp displays various things on the screen depending on the source. Am I right assuming due to me having only a 2.1 setup the fancy encoding of the audio is kind of a moot point. My AVR will be sending everything to the fronts or sub accordingly as there are no surrounds or height speakers involved. Therefore can I choose a stereo amp over an AVR and not worry about the audio formats supported?

3. Cables
Everywhere I read that ARC/eARC is preferred over optical (format support and bandwidth reasons). But I’m guessing that again doesn’t matter in my use case as I’ve only got 2.1? So TV to amp via optical would be ok?

4. Subwoofer integration
I looked at a few stereo receivers/amps and it appears many don't filter LFE to the front speakers only to the sub.

e.g. the Marantz NR1200 (link to comment):
The subwoofer integration allows you to only filter output to the subwoofer and not the front speakers. Because of this, the full signal is sent to the front speakers. You are not getting the full benefit of having subwoofers TAKE OVER the low bass and more power is being unnecessarily sent to the front speakers.
or the Cambridge Audio AXR85/100 (link to FAQ):
When connecting a subwoofer to the dedicated Subwoofer Output on either the AXR85, AXR100 or AXR100D, the frequency of the connected speakers is not adjusted and they remain at full range.
Think the same applies to Audio Labs 6000a.

I noticed on my current setup when I set my front speakers to 'small' they have less low end and that helps the dialogue sound clearer (with the sub taking over those duties). It's a feature I'd want to keep. Even in the manual for the Denon DRA-800H I couldn't find a way to set the size of the fronts. Does this mean I'd be better off opting for an actual AVR? Something like an AVR-X1700H which allows setting the size of the fronts and crossovers properly.


To conclude
  • Assuming the answer to 1 is stick with a 2.1 setup and 2 is yes get a stereo amp. What would be good amp recommendations?
  • Alternatively if the answer to 4 is yes get an AVR would the AVR-1700H be sufficient?

Thanks in advance.
 
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