Amp Question (2 Channel vs. 5 Channel Amp)?

Been close to buying a 2 channel amp but have a couple last min questions:

1) With a 2 channel amp setup for my L/ R. Will the other 3 channels (center, rears) see an improvement in sound quality from AVR because it is being asked to handle less

2) Will my centers and rears benefit from a 5 channel amp? Or will the benefit be worth it?

3) Can u bi-amp with a 5 channel amp?

AVR: Marantz SR 5011
L/ R: Polk Audio 703 LSiM (Bi Amp'd)
C: Polk Audio 255c - LS
R: Def Tech
Sub: PSW 505 (12 inch)
DVD: Oppo UDP 203
TV: 2016 Sony XBR 75X850D


  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,472
    Usung a separate two channel amp will reduce the peak current draw on the receiver. The receiver would have more headroom and therefore sound quality on those speakers may be improved slightly. The greater improvement would be on the main speakers because of the separate amp. Likewise, a five channel amp would improve the system all around if it is of decent quality.

    A five channel separate amp can be used to biamp the front main speakers leaving one channel for the center. I have not found that biamping with a single amp does much good. Better to have a larger two channel amp with more power to see the most improvement.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 2,056
    In general, if you add a 2-channel amp to your system, it will be an overall improvement. As stated above, a lot of the available power your AVR is using for the front two will be free to power the other speakers.

    Having said that, I don't know that you will hear a dramatic improvement in surround preformance, at least with HT. Music yes, but not necessarily HT. I think going from 2-channels to multi-channel amplification will improve the overall front soundstage, but again not necessarily surround preformance, at least for HT.

    If your surround are set up and dialed in properly, and you have a capable AVR, the best you should expect is a slight improvement. You should also keep in mind that all those slight improvements do add up and when combined can be significant.

    Not advocating one over the other, but just pointing out that either way you go, it will improve overall sound quality. Depending on your budget I would go for a higher quality 2-channel amp over a lower quality multi-channel amp. Of course my system in duel purpose, and I don't really care for multi-channel music.

    When I added a 3-channel amp, running 9.1, I heard an overall improvement, and a dramatic improvement to the front sound stage. There was a slight improvement to the surrounds, but it was subtle. That tells me I probably have the surround set up as correctly as I can, and didn't put too many speakers in my room.
  • cfrizzcfrizz Posts: 13,420
    edited November 2017
    All speakers benefit from getting all the power that they need when they need it, including the center and rear speakers. It allows them to operate to their full potential.

    My fronts came alive when I put them on a Parasound 1500A, 2 channel amp. Then I added an Outlaw monoblock for my center channel. I finally just got my Sunfire 5 channel 405wpc amp and was done with upgrading my power.

    Getting separate powerful amplification, remains the single most important improvement that I have ever made to my system, because it showed me what my speakers were/are actually capable of.
    Marantz AV-7705 PrePro, Classé 5 ch. 200wpc Amp, Oppo 103 BluRay, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Sony Bravia KDL-40R510C TV, Polk S60 Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, SVS NSD-12 SB12 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,316
    Boom Cathy lays it down...

    I concur completely
  • Thanks everyone.

    Opinions on Amps? Leaning towards Marantz just cause I have Marantz AVR.

    Thoughts on Rotel... Parasound.... Anthem... Marantz?
    AVR: Marantz SR 5011
    L/ R: Polk Audio 703 LSiM (Bi Amp'd)
    C: Polk Audio 255c - LS
    R: Def Tech
    Sub: PSW 505 (12 inch)
    DVD: Oppo UDP 203
    TV: 2016 Sony XBR 75X850D
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,316
    Kingkwas wrote: »
    Thanks everyone.

    Opinions on Amps? Leaning towards Marantz just cause I have Marantz AVR.

    Thoughts on Rotel... Parasound.... Anthem... Marantz?

    Pick one they're all good
  • I should Mention I want to future proof my amp. They will power my 703s but one day when space allows plan to buy towers for L/R.

    So is the Marantz enough to power say LSiM 707s?
    AVR: Marantz SR 5011
    L/ R: Polk Audio 703 LSiM (Bi Amp'd)
    C: Polk Audio 255c - LS
    R: Def Tech
    Sub: PSW 505 (12 inch)
    DVD: Oppo UDP 203
    TV: 2016 Sony XBR 75X850D
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,316
    Well maybe all those you tossed out have several levels of amps. Maybe be more definitive on which Marantz you are referring to.
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,404
    I don't care for just replacing the fronts with a 2 channel amp. You get a dynamic imbalance.
    Using a 5 channel amp is the way to go my friend. But the truth be told adding a 2 channel amp as stated above will improve everything due to the less current draw on the internal power supply for the main channel speakers.
    Run everything in small anyway and get a boost if anything is in large. Let your subwoofer do the heavy lifting. This always improves the over all sound despite peoples OCD on wanting larger speakers in large.
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • jayman_1975jayman_1975 Posts: 676
    Here’s another question. Does that 2 channel stereo amp do as good of a job at H/T? I’m kind of in a similar position. I have two, 2 channel stereo amps. Both are identical. Well mostly. Same brand, same model, one is just a couple years newer. One lowers my front left and right, and the other my center. My receiver just powers my two surround channels. All in all I find there’s an improvement for sure from strictly running all 5 channels from my H/T receiver, but truth be told, I feel most of the improvements for H/T are coming from having my center channel amped. I have often wondered if I exchanged my two stereo amps, would a H/T amp do every better for H/T? And, would it be able to do just as good of a job as my stereo amp currently running my front left and right for stereo duty is doing. So torn.
    Onkyo TX NR 5008 modified by The Upgrade Company
    Oppo BDP 93 modified by The Upgrade Company
    Arcam CD37
    Monitor Audio Gold GS 60
    Revolver Audio Music 5 towers.(surround)
    Vandersteen V2W
  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 3,345
    I would encourage you to go with a 3 channel amp at a minimum. The center channel is responsible for a lot of information and it's harder to get a good cohesive sound stage with the front three channels having different amplification.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII Upgraded by Rich Brkich Pre
    Butler Audio TBD 2250 Amp
    PS Audio DirectStream DAC and MemoryPlayer Transport
    LSA-1 Statement
    SVS SB4000 & SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

    Backup Gear:
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
  • Geoff4rfcGeoff4rfc Posts: 1,775
    Holy crapola, this post is almost two years old...……..gee, I wonder what became of the big dilemma???
    When I was young, I was Superman but now that old age has gotten the best of me I'm only Batman

    Source: Oppo 103 - Display: Samsung QLED 65F
    Pre/Processor: Marantz 8802A - Amplification: Emotiva XPA-DR3, XPA-2 x 2

    Emotiva: ERC 3 connected via XLR's

    PolkAudio Mains: LSiM707, C-706, SS: 702F/X, RS: RTiA9

    EXPERIENCE: next to nothing, but I sure enjoy audio and video MY OPINION OF THIS HOBBY: I may not be a smart man, but I know what quicksand is
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