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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I've bought last week a Denon 1910. I'm satisfied with the quality of the sound in general, the problem is the power. My room is 12x14 and the speakers are Paradigm Monitor series.

To have sufficient sound I need to drive the amp between 70 and 75% of the capacity.

So I think I need more power. My budget would be 1500$. Is it better to buy a new receiver or go with a separate amp and receiver with preouts.

What would you suggest? Would I see a difference in power between my 1910 and a Denon 3310 per example.
 

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So I think I need more power. My budget would be 1500$. Is it better to buy a new receiver or go with a separate amp and receiver with preouts.

What would you suggest? Would I see a difference in power between my 1910 and a Denon 3310 per example.
1910 to 3310 is a small increase in power, you might want to go to the 4310 or 4810 for a significant increase in power.
I recently went fron a pioneer vsx1018 to an SC-27. Very significant, better sound. And, if you're NOT looking for hdmi 1.4 for 3D, last years models dropped in price. SC-27 was down to 1530, list was 2499. the store i bought at, said older denons came down in price, but i didn't even look.
 

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So I think I need more power. My budget would be 1500$. Is it better to buy a new receiver or go with a separate amp and receiver with preouts.
If you can find a receiver for ~$800 that has pre-outs as well as the processing and other capabilities you want/need, buy it and pair it with an Emotiva UPA-5 power amplifier. I think you'll find that to be a satisfying combination. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well the 4310 is more expensive than 1500$ I think. I'm really disapointed for the power it's giving me. At the store it was plenty loud but then again maybe the volume was on the floor.

Other suggestions. I may check the emotiva option but I think with the other receiver to buy, I will be over my 1500 budget.

Would a Cambridge or Nad be a better solution? It's around the same watts, but maybe a better sound.
 

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audio resolution. the processing is what makes you want to keep turning the volume up. i would think these monitors are reasonable efficient ( i have'nt checked)

enable analogue bypass. or whatever denon calls it (direct mode) .. run the video direct to the LCD.

adapt, setup as to your devices (PCM'cing over HDMI in your case maybe i don't think the 1910 has multi channel in ??) .. give that a try first (experiment)


the 1910 is a respected AVR
 

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To have sufficient sound I need to drive the amp between 70 and 75% of the capacity.
How do you know this? What number comes up on the front display at these "high" volumes.

Also, under Audyssey settings, what are the offsets (speaker settings) for the LF & RF speakers - for example +3 dB, -6, etc.

Sometimes, if people have their subwoofer set too high during Audyssey, then the AVR compensates by lowering the other speakers. It's good to set the sub so that it's at roughly the same volume (offset) as the other speakers. You may need to run Audyssey again. A typical "normal" setting for the sub is around 12 o'clock for volume.

I have more than enough volume (sound level) with my AVR and my room has twice the volume (cu. ft. assuming 8' ceiling). I usually listen to movies at about -15 dB Volume and I usually listen to normal TV at about -20 to -30, depending on the channel. I've cranked it, but never beyond zero with any of my sources because that's simply too loud for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have redone my home work. Setup the speakers at large in the front, instead of small, reduce the volume of the sub. That's seems to help. But I listen to movies around -15 to -5db. It's around 75% at that volume. Would a 3311 from Denon sound better in the quality of a the sound then my 1910.

Would you suggest to stay with receiver or a receiver and a power amp. Probably it would be over my budget.

I notice that at around -5db the sound begin to feel like thin. I don't know how I should call it but it's definitly doesn't sound as good when I compare to -35db
 

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The front panel indication doesn't mean that much by itself. Some discs are recorded at low levels, especially BDs and many older TV DVDs it seems. Like I may run the Denon at -6 for some BDs, yet it sounds as loud as some others at -15.

Another thing: since most of movie sound comes out of the center speaker, a lame center can really ruin the whole audio experience, and you may keep turning up the overall volume (or just the center level) to compensate. The center speaker is a big deal, and IMO better to not have one (audio gets sent to front L/R instead) if not done well. So that is something else you can try: tell the Denon setup you don't have a center and see if it sounds more "balanced".

When listening to movies, it is rare you would want the front speakers to be "large". If they truly are capable of handling audio down to sub frequencies, then OK, but I doubt anybody uses those with AVR amps. Usually though, "small" with the lowest redirection frequency perhaps (40Hz??) is the better idea than "large" and is close to it. For one thing it offloads the PS-draining low frequencies from your AVR amps to the sub amp, which is better suited for them. I can tell you that low freqs cripple the typical AVR power supply, they just aren't built for them, so try to get as much low freq to your sub as seems/sounds reasonable. Some compromise here, may have to redirect to the sub at a higher freq than desired if the amps start to sound tapped out. (I don't know if your model allows a separate stereo setup, but if so you might want "large" there so you can avoid any processing in some modes, if you use them.)

With Audyssey, the appropriate sub input level is probably the first thing you need to determine. So you may have to run the first measurement and calculate to see what level it wants to set the sub at, then adjust the sub level and try it again. Usually they say you want the sub between +6 and -6, with between +3 and -3 better if possible. Target would be zero, but don't sweat it. (There are circumstances where this wouldn't work well, like probably with those little plastic speakers and a big honking sub, but it usually works well when all the speakers are in the performance ballpark of each other.) Audyssey is worth playing around with, it can dramatically change your system sound even with all the same gear depending how you have Audyssey set up. Worth spending several hours (days!) with, run a setup and listen for that evening, then try something else the next day. It can sound quite bad when not done properly; I mean it's not a run once and "it's done properly" thing unless you're extremely lucky or experienced with it.
 

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cfraser is correct on his "large" speaker comments. Firstly, very few people have true large speakers and it's correct that these will then draw a lot of power from the AVR. Most people with true large speakers run separates.

I believe though that it doesn't matter if you set the speakers to large. Once you run Audyssey (and invoke Audyssey), the initial speaker settings will be overridden and most times the speakers will be then set to small by Audyssey. You can confirm this by viewing the Audyssey settings.

The other point is also valid regarding center speakers. It is the most important speaker in your system and it can compromize your listening pleasure if it's not up to snuff.

If you're listening at levels less than zero, then, although the volume is pretty high, you're not really pushing the amp too much since, I belive they usually top out at about +15dB, which is 1.5 orders of magnitude higher in terms of Watts than at zero.

You may wish to try running without Audyssey at the high volume levels...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have tried without the Audyssey the movie Bangkok dangerous on Blu ray. To get sufficient volume, I need to go at -5 or 0db. That's high.

And at that level it's not ear bleeding. Maybe I'm asking to much of my Denon 1910.

It's a good receiver for the money, but maybe I need something more powerful or with a better sound quality.

What you suggest me? Also I have run the settings without the Audyssey and speakers at small. It helps a bit.
 

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It is very hard for us to suggest something to you without knowing you and what your taste is, plus hearing your system. I mean, we could suggest something that is so far over the top that it's bound to be loud enough and of high enough quality...$$$.

Try to put a finger on what your specific issue is. Is it strictly average volume, is it volume on peaks, is it mostly quality, or is it that the quality drastically deteriorates when the average volume goes up, etc. ? Be sure you don't have any dynamic range compression (DRC) features enabled in the Denon setup menu (sorry, not familiar with your model's features). Including Audyssey Dynamic Volume if you have that, Night Mode, etc. You might have to check your BD player too, depending how you're sending signal to your AVR (some BDs have a DRC flag, and you have to disable it at the player and/or the AVR depending...). This DRC thing can be enabled by various means, you have to be vigilant in your setup to make sure you've disabled them all (in your case), and manifests itself most obviously by the volume not changing much when you think it should be getting a lot louder i.e. an explosion that sounds not much louder than the dialogue, say. I am of course inferring that it's possible that somehow DRC may be taking place (wow, talk about a weasel-word sentence :)).
 

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Cfraser mentioned adjusting the center speaker level only. Cranking just the center 1 or 2 dB can often make a huge difference to the overall quality. I realize this is redundant but I thought it worth mentioning in case the intent was not fully understood.
Do you have or can borrow a SPL?

Also what is the model of the sub?
 

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It might also be worthwhile to see if you can find out the actual measured output power of the 1910. As opposed to what it's specced at. Denon is usually reasonably accurate (some brands use what appear to be totally made-up numbers LOL). It's possible this model is actually a lot lower than what you're used to, I don't know...

Also try the AVR in a stereo mode, one with as little processing as possible, perhaps with a CD. Then crank it and see if the SQ and volume seem noticeably better. What I'm getting at is it could be a matter of driving a bunch of channels simultaneously overwhelms the power supply, during an action movie. This is not uncommon, AVR amps are often designed (specced) assuming not all channels are driven hard at the same time. You put on a BD that has a lot of sonic action and dynamic range and the amp PS sort of collapses.

The difference between a 90W amp and a 130W amp is not really that much. All other things being equal (they never are...). Some people would say that if you have a 90W amp, the next largest you should get (strictly power-wise) to make a worthwhile performance diff is a 180W. About 130W (~50% more) is the smallest you might get some sonic benefit from. Bear in mind the max power rating is what you have available to use for the peaks, usually an amp is putting out less than a few watts continuously even when it's quite loud.

If you truly think you are going to play with amps, or are a closeted loud freak (maybe you didn't know), or perhaps are getting into cranking it more with BDs because the HD sound seems so much smoother/cleaner: get an AVR with preamp outputs. At least then you have the option of trying other amps. I know quite a few of us kind of get rooked into buying a more expensive AVR than we wanted just to get a model with pre outs (often the lower models have all the same performance features that we actually want, plus enough I/O and flexibility, except for the pre outs).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Cfraser you are the champ. You are so right in your comment.

I think it's because hd surround sound sounds so clean that I want to crank it up and when I do it I find that the sound is less than perfect. So I need to lower down the power to get the quality sound but without the power.

Your last paragraph is really what I'm going tru. I like the quality sound of hd surround so I want to open the volume. When I do the quality diseappear a little bit and I want to go back to reasonnable sound since I want the quality as well.

My sub is Paradigm DSP 3400, 14 inches. So even if I go with a DEnon 3310 or even 4310, I won't get the kick I'm lokking for probably. As I understand you, I need bigger amps than 130 watts.

Also in stereo mode the power is quite sufficient but when I play a bluray I see really a difference in the power I can get from the receiver.

By the way my ps3 is my bluray player. It set in PCM with hdmi.
 

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^ No champ, just thinking about what I do... :) I think many of us tend to crank the volume more when the SQ is good, and we like it, and we have the chance. It's usually the distortion that makes us turn an amp down after a certain volume, even if it's not that loud. So that is a sign of amp (or speaker) limitations for your demands. Very clean sound can be deceptively loud, because generally we're not used to it, and people say it's the loudness that's annoying (I'm talking in your own house, not neighbour's :)) when mostly it's the associated distortion.

I am not actually saying you need bigger amps. Maybe better amps though. 90W is quite a lot if "properly" and conservatively rated. You may find a separate 100W/ch amp to sound much better than the AVR's 90W/ch amps...this would be pretty typical actually, but not universal. OTOH the Pioneer Elite AVRs have very good amps, you would probably like them. I use external amps...just because I do LOL (some of my speakers require them). They are mostly idling. The amps in something like the Denon 4310 are reportedly quite decent, not a lot of complaints re power. I had a 4310 for a while but never used the amps, nor with my current 3808 which are probably similar.

If you like Denon, I would try to get a model with pre outs, even if you don't use the pre outs. Those models seem to be quite solidly built, and I do read the threads and I really don't see complaints about their amps' power (it's kind of pathetic I have no opinion after owning them for years; also weird that their models with pre outs have good enough amps you don't really need the pre outs in many cases). Maybe a used one? Maybe a used Pio Elite? I say used because I think the "appropriate" models are more than $1500 new, though a recently discontinued Pio model and possibly Denon could be had new for around that (as reported).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also you need to know that the unit I bought was a demo. Somebody told me to do a reset of the unit to make sure it's like a brand new one. I've checked with music and it's plenty loud at -15db in optical. But as always when I put a Bluray it's not as plentiful as I would like to.

So would suggest me to check for the 3311 or pass to 4310 or go check a Pionneer SC series?? Other receiver to check.

Would it worth it as a simple solution. Or should I go with separate but it's not the same budget.
 

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I second the suggestion on the Emotiva amp - UPA-5 and their pre-pro UMC-1. I recently upgraded my old pioneer receiver used as pre-pro paired with various amps (Anthem, Emo UPA-7, Emo UPA-1s) to the UMC-1.

I've watched Santana's Supernatural DVD's probably over two dozen times. The last one about two weeks ago with the UMC-1, three UPA-1s (fronts), UPA-7 for rears and I heard new sounds from the instruments used in the concert. Separation of the various instruments was very good.

You just missed the big Emotiva sale but a UPA-5 and UMC-1 combo will be very close to your $1,500 budget. But with these combo, you will probably hardly post in this forum again except to say that your search is over ... for now.:)

I like the Emo products that I have over a dozen of them in the house now. Probably the best value I've come across in a long time.
 

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I second the suggestion on the Emotiva amp ... and their pre-pro UMC-1.
I would recommend against the UMC-1, given its buggy history and the fact that there are still unresolved issues with it. While Emotiva does back its products with an excellent customer service policy, I don't think the potential hassle of problems with the UMC-1 is worth the risk. YMMV, of course.

An $800 to $1,000 receiver from a mainstream brand (Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer) would make a perfectly good processor. A used UPA-5 or LPA-1 or other Emo amp (they periodically come up for sale on CanuckAudioMart.com) would provide copious amounts of power and keep the OP close to or within budget.
 

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It's tough for us to make an exact recommendation for you. But I think you can tell that just about everybody responding already has/had or is suggesting an AVR with mch pre outs. This is your gateway HT audio drug.

Typically AVRs with pre outs start with a brand's better offerings, including amp-wise, so it's not a bad move to select one of them even if you *don't* go to separate amps.
 
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