Need Help Upgrading Receiver

I'm looking for a new receiver. I currently have a sony str-dh510, and 2 energy fronts (cf-70's) so far. As soon as they go on sale, I'll buy an energy center and 2 energy rear speakers (and a sub), for 5.1. I'm leaning towards denon, because I like their look as well as audyssey calibration. I also could use more power (or sensitivity?).

I'm currently looking at the denon avr-591 and the avr-1611. I've found both for about the same price (~$250, the 1611 is on sale). My absolute limit is $400, although if that extra $150 doesn't make a significant difference in quality, I probably won't go for it. 

It may also be helpful to know I have only 2 hdmi inputs, and one optical input, and I probably won't go 7.1 anytime soon.

Any suggestions or insight would be much appreciated.


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Last updated July 4, 2018 Views 7 Applies to:

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I really would not worry about the power too much. When talking about watts per channel, you're not going to see (hear) much, if any difference at all. Just as a quick FYI, doubling the wattage (going from a 100 watts per channel amp to a 200 watts per channel amp) DOES NOT give you double the volume. Doubling the wattage only yields a 3db increase. That is pretty much the smallest increase a human can perceive. So the difference between 80 watt, 100 watt, 150 watt & even 200 watt per channel receivers will be almost inaudible. If you want double the volume, you have to increase the wattage 10X (100 watts to 1,000 watts per channel). Also, look for power that's rated as being high current. It is much cleaner sounding & more dynamic. If you have a choice between 100 watts of "normal" power or 75 watts of high current power, go with the 75 high current watts. Right now I'm running an 80 high current watts per channel Marantz that blows away my older, higher powered receivers.


As far as brands go, Denon is a great brand (the same company that makes my Marantz). I would be more concerned with features as far as future proofing is concerned than name. In today's digital world, there isn't much room for brands to have their own "sound" anymore. I would equate the name more with reliability than sound, as far as receivers go. In all honesty, if you want bang for your buck, go with something like a Pioneer, Yamaha or even Sony (though I'm not a fan of Sony gear). I would look for inputs. The higher the count (especially HDMI), the better. You should buy the best, most future proof you can.... It's better to have a little overkill now than to kick yourself a year from now because you need to upgrade.

Sorry for the douible post, but you should check out this Onkyo...

It just seems like my energy cf 70's would require more juice to not sound strained at higher volumes. They are 300 watts max, and have two sets of inputs on each speaker. I'm wondering if I could get a 7.1 receiver and just use the extra 2 channels to help power my huge fronts.

I checked the CF-70's specs... They only require 20 watts to run properly and max out at 300. They do run at 4 ohms though. If the sound is currently strained, it probably has more to do with ohms than wattage. I would check the receiver you're currently running to see if it is rated to 4 ohms. Unless you're running a higher end Sony, I would guess it's only rated for 8 ohms. If that's the case, the receiver will end up having to work harder (running hotter) to power the CF-70s. That's where the strained sound would be coming from. A high current amp will help a lot as well.


If it were me, I would jump on that Onkyo. In fact, I'm thinking about replacing my Marantz with the next Onkyo up from the one I linked to.

Again, sorry for the double post...


I checked the Sony's specs. It is (as I suspected) only rated to 8 ohms. Don't pay much attention to wattage in your receiver search, because (as I said above) the difference in power between an 80 watt amp & a 200 watt amp is damn near meaningless. Your speakers are rated to work properly with 20 watts of power. More importantly, they are also rated to work with a 4 ohm receiver/amp, not an 8 ohm unit. Look for a 4 ohm rating (2 would be even better) and high current power.

Okay so I'm wondering if I would be fine going with the denon avr-1912. I'm not really finding any receivers that meet my price range and needs. The 1912 is rated at 8 ohms and 6 ohms, but I can't find anything about 4 ohms. When I bought the speakers all I saw was 4 ohm min/ 8 ohm nominal and I just kind of focused on the 8 ohm part so I thought I'd be fine. The 1912 says "low impedance drive capability, but I'm not entirely sure what that means.

I bought the denon avr-791 yesterday and hooked it up to the 2 speakers. It sounded pretty good but I just realized it's not rated for 4 ohms. I will probably return it today.

I just don't want to constantly be overheating the receiver. I've had the 2 speakers hooked up to my 8 ohm sony receiver for like 3 weeks now and the receiver has been fine but I'm guessing it might *** the bed when I hook up more speakers. I'm hoping the denon wouldn't.

I would suggest that you pay close attention to the quality of the amp section and the reputation of the brand rather than looking for things like high current, 4 ohms, and watts. Truth is, none of that really matters in my opinion. Any receiver worth your money is high current, nearly all modern speakers are rated at 6-8 ohms which nearly all receivers are compatible with (CF-70s are 8 ohms, not 4). As the previous poster said, wattage does not matter. I've heard the 40wpc NAD T 747 sound infinitely more powerful than big box stores receivers like a Yamaha HTR-6295, which are about the same price, only the one is rated for over 120wpc.

Sorry for sounding ignorant, I still have much to learn and I realize there are a lot of ill-informed consumers (probably me) out there and I appreciate your help.

Are you sure they are 8 ohms? I went to the energy website and it said 4 ohm minimum/ 8 ohm nominal. Of course, I didn't know what any of that meant when I bought them, I just paid attention to the 8 ohm and thought it would be fine. Do you think that impedance would constantly be overworking/ overheating the receiver?

That is one of the main thing when ppl buy a receiver with a pre out , to ad a external amp to feed the speakers . You may like some brand but if you want to do yourself a favor to run the energy`s buy something with pre-out`s .

Sorry, Silent Paradigm is correct in that the CF-70s are rated from 4-8 ohms (I failed to read beyond the 4 ohm minimum rating). That being the case, an amp rated at a strict 8 ohms will be fine. As for the high current, Silent Paradigm is also correct in that any receiver worth your money will be a high current design. The problem is that you say you're not willing to go above the $400 price point. You may have a tough time finding a high quality amplifier section at that price. Admittedly, it has been a while since I was in the market for a receiver, so prices may have fallen to the point where you can get a high current amp for that money.


As I said, equate the brand name with reliability, which is pretty much what Silent Paradigm said. When talking about the quality of the amp section, I also agree that this is important. The problem is that quality is hard to see, especially at lower price points. The specs I gave you to look at (high current & ohm rating) are good, simple indicators. Most specs are pretty meaningless, so you need to judge by listening. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to audition receivers using your speakers in your sound environment. Stick with a good brand, and (considering your $400 limit) check for things like high current, ohm rating, THD & number of inputs.


Again, the Onkyo I linked to would be a great choice.

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