When buying a new amp and you have a 5.1 system should you only buy a 5.1 capable amp?

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Just curious really. The 11.2 and 13.2 amps are the flagship amps but what happens it terms of quality if you buy a lower range model that just caters for your setup? Cheers.
 
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What for example would be the difference in terms of a 5.1 setup for both these amps in terms of quality:



The entry amp here has 150 watts per channel and the flagship Denon has 205 watts per channel what difference will that make here in terms of quality and power?
 
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I think this has answered my power question in terms of watts:


And with the quality of the sound I suppose both amps get 5 stars by WHF, so both will sound great, but to be honest I am of the opinion the more you spend on a amp the better the sound quality will be.
 
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nopiano

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About a decade ago I went to the old Teddington studio location of WHF for one of their reader panels. We heard several AV receivers ranging from a modest Sony costing about £400 to top Marantz and Yamahas costing several grand. The costlier ones were dramatically superior on clarity, dynamics, location of effects, and musical realism.
 
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About a decade ago I went to the old Teddington studio location of WHF for one of their reader panels. We heard several AV receivers ranging from a modest Sony costing about £400 to top Marantz and Yamahas costing several grand. The costlier ones were dramatically superior on clarity, dynamics, location of effects, and musical realism.
I remember reading about that, but I couldn’t remember the results. Thanks! :)
 
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But within the same brand and range, you're only paying for extra channels without necessarily paying for quality. Anthem MRX 540 for example.
The only problem for me with an Anthem amp is that it’s not so easy to setup unlike the Denon’s where I am sure quality does come into the equation.
 
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I am quite tempted by this amp then:


What do you think?
 
As far as I’m concerned, all home theatre amplifiers/receivers should be compared on their basic performance, meaning they should either be compared as a 5.1 setup, or in a stereo situation, with the latter telling you far more of the quality capabilities. The more channels you add in to an audition/comparison, the harder it is to assess. Atmos is Atmos, but with a large number of speakers around the room, it’s harder to hear how well an amplifier can steer surround effects, or its ability to make all the channels sound like they’re working together. A 5.1 setup has a bare number of speakers for surround sound, and because they’re spaced out more, getting them to gel together is harder - the closer they are together, the easier it is.

By all means listen to a full setup, but comparisons are easier with less speakers.

A more expensive receiver provides better connectivity, a little more power, more channels, and usually some extra superfluous bits and bobs, but a £2000+ receiver from mainstream brands will usually have different DACs to a £600 one, which will likely be where much of the sound difference lies. Some may be the same, as BB mentions above.

But it’s all relative to the speaker package being used. In my opinion, £600 receivers are fine for small 5.1 packages, and maybe for entry level speaker ranges like MA Bronze or KEF Q, although these packages do tend to sound much better with better receivers. I’ve always been of the opinion that 5.1 speakers packages around the £1,000-1,500 mark should really be used with better receivers than entry level ones, even if it’s for a bit of extra power that could make the difference between an average sounding system and a good one.
 
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As far as I’m concerned, all home theatre amplifiers/receivers should be compared on their basic performance, meaning they should either be compared as a 5.1 setup, or in a stereo situation, with the latter telling you far more of the quality capabilities. The more channels you add in to an audition/comparison, the harder it is to assess. Atmos is Atmos, but with a large number of speakers around the room, it’s harder to hear how well an amplifier can steer surround effects, or its ability to make all the channels sound like they’re working together. A 5.1 setup has a bare number of speakers for surround sound, and because they’re spaced out more, getting them to gel together is harder - the closer they are together, the easier it is.

By all means listen to a full setup, but comparisons are easier with less speakers.

A more expensive receiver provides better connectivity, a little more power, more channels, and usually some extra superfluous bits and bobs, but a £2000+ receiver from mainstream brands will usually have different DACs to a £600 one, which will likely be where much of the sound difference lies. Some may be the same, as BB mentions above.

But it’s all relative to the speaker package being used. In my opinion, £600 receivers are fine for small 5.1 packages, and maybe for entry level speaker ranges like MA Bronze or KEF Q, although these packages do tend to sound much better with better receivers. I’ve always been of the opinion that 5.1 speakers packages around the £1,000-1,500 mark should really be used with better receivers than entry level ones, even if it’s for a bit of extra power that could make the difference between an average sounding system and a good one.
This amp is a few years before the Denon 2700 and WHF use their reference system around £10,000 (I think), to test and use this amp and they say it sounds amazing though:


Amazing is good enough for me personally.
 
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I can’t seem to find this Denon amp available to buy! I think that goes for most things coming out of Japan currently.
 
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There also seems to be issues with HDMI 2.1 connecting to the Xbox but the PS5 seems fine. Perhaps I will wait for the newer ones to come out.
 
This amp is a few years before the Denon 2700 and WHF use their reference system around £10,000 (I think), to test and use this amp and they say it sounds amazing though:


Amazing is good enough for me personally.
Using a £700 receiver (so I notice on their website) with a £10k speaker package really isn’t a pairing. In the past, I’ve never really found any AV receiver to be good at handling 4ohm loads (not in the last 10 years or so anyway). A sub £1k receiver really needs to be used with a suitable speaker system, something rated 6 or 8ohms nominal. Using high crossover points to the sub will help (although you don’t want to go above 80Hz ideally unless you’re using very good subwoofers), shifting some of the heavy load to the sub and ease the load on the receiver, but you’re still limited by the dynamics the receiver is capable of - there’s a limit to everything, and that’s set in stone.

I’ve used the later Twenty5.23 with a Cyrus One (just to see how a sub £1k amp would cope with the £3k speaker), and I chose the Cyrus as it’s probably the most capable under £1k as far as power output is concerned. It actually did a decent job, but a similarly priced AV receiver won’t have the stability or dynamics of the Cyrus One. Even this combo sounded a tad rough in the top end, lacking some refinement.
 
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Using a £700 receiver (so I notice on their website) with a £10k speaker package really isn’t a pairing. In the past, I’ve never really found any AV receiver to be good at handling 4ohm loads (not in the last 10 years or so anyway). A sub £1k receiver really needs to be used with a suitable speaker system, something rated 6 or 8ohms nominal. Using high crossover points to the sub will help (although you don’t want to go above 80Hz ideally unless you’re using very good subwoofers), shifting some of the heavy load to the sub and ease the load on the receiver, but you’re still limited by the dynamics the receiver is capable of - there’s a limit to everything, and that’s set in stone.

I’ve used the later Twenty5.23 with a Cyrus One (just to see how a sub £1k amp would cope with the £3k speaker), and I chose the Cyrus as it’s probably the most capable under £1k as far as power output is concerned. It actually did a decent job, but a similarly priced AV receiver won’t have the stability or dynamics of the Cyrus One. Even this combo sounded a tad rough in the top end, lacking some refinement.
Does your shop do setups and installations for the Anthem amp?
 
Does your shop do setups and installations for the Anthem amp?
I’ll be looking into installations more when I get to move premises, but I’m not sure how that’s going to logistically work out for me, as I currently work alone. I’d need to find a team to be able to do that for me really. Most people replacing a subwoofer or an AV receiver in an existing system are usually quite competent to do that themselves. It’s those looking for their first system and know nothing about it that really need installation. I’m hoping to promote set packages which will make this sort of thing easier for people - and I’m not talking about bundles like online places, which are just bundled together to make money.
 
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I’ll be looking into installations more when I get to move premises, but I’m not sure how that’s going to logistically work out for me, as I currently work alone. I’d need to find a team to be able to do that for me really. Most people replacing a subwoofer or an AV receiver in an existing system are usually quite competent to do that themselves. It’s those looking for their first system and know nothing about it that really need installation. I’m hoping to promote set packages which will make this sort of thing easier for people - and I’m not talking about bundles like online places, which are just bundled together to make money.
Ok, cool. Thanks!
 

gel

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I am quite tempted by this amp then:


What do you think?
Still tempted by this amp.
 

Arron

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Still tempted by this amp.
I bought a 3600 blind 18 months ago on the basis of the WHF and user reviews. It was awful. Really biased sound -- what some people call "smile" but I call "rictus" where all the focus is on the bass and treble leaving the mid range empty. And the treble was ridiculously fatiguing -- I couldn't even sit through a whole album.

I thought it was maybe my amp. So I took the two hour trip to Richer Sounds to have a listen to one of theirs. Same problem.

Ended up sending it back and spending double the price on a refurb Yamaha 3080. Which is a peach. Very neutral and if it errs, it errs on the polite side.

Long story short: spend as much on your amp as you did on your speakers and make sure you can try it for 30 days.
 
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gel

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I bought a 3600 blind 18 months ago on the basis of the WHF and user reviews. It was awful. Really biased sound -- what some people call "smile" but I call "rictus" where all the focus is on the bass and treble leaving the mid range empty. And the treble was ridiculously fatiguing -- I couldn't even sit through a whole album.

I thought it was maybe my amp. So I took the two hour trip to Richer Sounds to have a listen to one of theirs. Same problem.

Ended up sending it back and spending double the price on a refurb Yamaha 3080. Which is a peach. Very neutral and if it errs, it errs on the polite side.

Long story short: spend as much on your amp as you did on your speakers and make sure you can try it for 30 days.
I think you’re right to be honest. Best keep clear or buy a new Yamaha amp. Thanks
 

gel

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Sep 24, 2021
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I bought a 3600 blind 18 months ago on the basis of the WHF and user reviews. It was awful. Really biased sound -- what some people call "smile" but I call "rictus" where all the focus is on the bass and treble leaving the mid range empty. And the treble was ridiculously fatiguing -- I couldn't even sit through a whole album.

I thought it was maybe my amp. So I took the two hour trip to Richer Sounds to have a listen to one of theirs. Same problem.

Ended up sending it back and spending double the price on a refurb Yamaha 3080. Which is a peach. Very neutral and if it errs, it errs on the polite side.

Long story short: spend as much on your amp as you did on your speakers and make sure you can try it for 30 days.
Something like this would now be a good choice:
 
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Arron

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I think you’re right to be honest. Best keep clear or buy a new Yamaha amp. Thanks
Not sure honest is the right word, it's just my opinion/ears I'm talking about. Lots of people love Denon amps so maybe it's me. Like I said, the major thing to do is listen at home with your speakers. Do not give a damn about what anyone else thinks, it's your own ears that need to be satisfied. Reviews and user feedback are a guide at best.

I've had good luck with Yamaha receivers but it might only be luck. And maybe a Yam won't suit your ears. Having complained about the Denon 3600's rictus, lots of people seem to love that sound -- maybe they play mostly chart stuff or something. My tastes are ridiculously varied so I like something neutral.

Also remember that speaker placement and angle make a huge difference. Getting that right with a cheap amp will probably get you a better experience than hooking up an expensive amp without getting that right.

Something like this would now be a good choice:
Maybe. Depends what kind of sound you like and what speakers you have. I've got a mate with a Pioneer receiver. They're pretty famous for being bright but that works well with his speakers -- the speakers tame the brightness. But if you hook it up to some B&W floorstanders you can make every dog in the neighbourhood howl. Despite that, it's a combo some people enjoy. I guess those people don't like dogs :)
 

gel

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Sep 24, 2021
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Not sure honest is the right word, it's just my opinion/ears I'm talking about. Lots of people love Denon amps so maybe it's me. Like I said, the major thing to do is listen at home with your speakers. Do not give a damn about what anyone else thinks, it's your own ears that need to be satisfied. Reviews and user feedback are a guide at best.

I've had good luck with Yamaha receivers but it might only be luck. And maybe a Yam won't suit your ears. Having complained about the Denon 3600's rictus, lots of people seem to love that sound -- maybe they play mostly chart stuff or something. My tastes are ridiculously varied so I like something neutral.

Also remember that speaker placement and angle make a huge difference. Getting that right with a cheap amp will probably get you a better experience than hooking up an expensive amp without getting that right.


Maybe. Depends what kind of sound you like and what speakers you have. I've got a mate with a Pioneer receiver. They're pretty famous for being bright but that works well with his speakers -- the speakers tame the brightness. But if you hook it up to some B&W floorstanders you can make every dog in the neighbourhood howl. Despite that, it's a combo some people enjoy. I guess those people don't like dogs :)
I did once buy a Yamaha 3060 amp and that was really good. Very similar to my current Pioneer amp with my speakers but decided to keep with my Pioneer amp. I also had the Denon 6500 amp but the sound wasn’t very loud and I couldn’t get my sub to work well with it. I suppose if it came down to it I would be happy with either if my Pioneer amp broke. I would prefer the Yamaha based on my experience but I have a really hard time navigating the setup and settings, whereas the Denon was simple to use.
 

gel

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Sep 24, 2021
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What for example would be the difference in terms of a 5.1 setup for both these amps in terms of quality:



The entry amp here has 150 watts per channel and the flagship Denon has 205 watts per channel what difference will that make here in terms of quality and power?
I am thinking looking at these two amps they are not from the same range but the Denon-avc 3700 is with it beginning with AVC not AVR.
 

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