AV Receiver Underpowered?

I am questioning my AV Receiver as being underpowered.

I have the following Boston Acoustics speakers
VR-MX (2)
VR-M60 (2)
VR-M50 (2) - Currently setup for zone 2

I have a Denon AV 1908. I used to have a cheap Onkyo that I liked better, but switched to the Denon to get the HDMI inputs awhile ago. I haven't really been happy with the Denon and assume it is underpowered.

I did see there was some complicated math but really just need a stupid simple method for figuring out the right AV Receiver.

Is my Denon Av 1908 underpowered? If so what is the proper Marantz/Denon model to run these?
In a situation like yours, the easiest way is to listen. Its not hard to hear if an amp is straining. Reading through your post, it most likely is. Since you already have the Denon, maybe keep it and use it as a preamp. It should have preouts for all of the channels. Instead just get a good multichannel amp like Emotiva, or something similar. You'll get a lot more for your money that way and have a better upgrade path if you ever choose to do so.
I did this same thing just a few days ago...added Emotiva multichannel amp and now use my Marantz as a preamp. VERY noticeable change and wish I would have done this a long time ago.
I did something similar with my Denon *BUT*, I also had to upgrade to a Denon that had pre-out (don't buy an amp and be disappointed you can actually hook it up). I had to go up to a 3313 to get pre-out (nothing lower had pre-out) and bought an Emotiva amp. I had my earlier Denon hooked up with bi-amp, which does push some more power to the speakers (at least for stereo). Switching to Emotiva xpa-5 to power the surround system made a HUGE difference (no longer bi-amped though).
Unfortunately I don't have the pre-outs with the AVR 1908. I don't think I am able to add to this am I? I was assuming I had to replace, just not sure if I need power or it is the "sound" of denon I am missing. It just has always sounded somewhat muted compared to my old onkyo.

I checked out the Emotiva site and saw they partnered with Sherbourn. They have a Sherbourn PT-7020A on sale. It has the pre-outs so I could "add" an amplifier later.

Anyone have experience with the Sherbourn? Would it be a decent upgrade to what I have or should I look to buy something just being released. (I think it's the 1.3hdmi, not sure what 1.4 brings to the table.)
Look at the rear of your AV1908. Look for the word caution inside a box. Above the work Caution there are 2 triangles. Once you locate that box with the 2 triangles, look to the left. Those are your preouts.
"I checked out the Emotiva site and saw they partnered with Sherbourn. They have a Sherbourn PT-7020A on sale. It has the pre-outs so I could "add" an amplifier later."


The Sherbourn PT-7020A is a preamp/processor so you would have to "add" an amp at the same time. No onboard amplifiers. But with the discounted price of $399.00, adding a quality mid-fi 5 or 7 channel amp like the Emotiva XPA-5 V2, could be possible for the budget minded.

Hi Kriskdf - I spent some time reviewing the manual and searching. I confirmed the EXT IN. ports are not pre-outs on my AVR 1908. I need to replace it.

All -

I don't mind doing separate pre and amp. But am stupid about a comparison between it and an av receiver. Or an amplifier of other order. I would like to spend around $1k.. which is yes budget minded.

any drawbacks with this setup
UMC-200 600.00
UPA-700 80X7 500.00

an XP-5 is another 500.00 and less two channels. It has more watts, but I am quite clueless on the numbers. I am not sure if the 80watts would be sufficient for my application or not.

I like the idea of the separate amplifier as the standards have changed fairly quick in the last five years.

Thanks for everyone's comments. Ultimately I am looking to move into my new house and would like to finally setup my system with the speakers mounted on the walls, rather than sitting on end tables. Was hoping to move the electronics to the basement. I have little money left over for this project.
My post from before was wrong. I did a search for some images of your amp so I could look at the connections on the back. I didn't realize it but the pic I found was of a different Denon.
What are your speaker level settings. Have you calibrated your system using an spl meter? All of my
Speaker settings are around -4 range to hit 75 on the meter
ESPECIALLY run full range, you're not getting the control and damping through passive speakers, run full range, using ANY av receiver, really! The ONLY way to get adequate results, power-wise, from a receiver running your loudspeakers, is to run them as crossed over with bass management, at approximately 80hz - like THX suggests. Placement becomes very important, so as the crossover freq is well coupled in the room, and from the listenin positions, and for the subwoofer blending.
You really need a dedicated outboard amplifier with much better current delivery to driver typical home audio loudspeakers properly, otherwise as full range signal feed.
The exception would be super high efficiency horn loud speakers (and, even then, crossing over to powered subs for the demanding bass is even MORE potent!), or loudspeakers that have active subs built in, to remove the demanding bass load bellow 200-300hz range.
To many people take their tyipal 87-88 db passive full range loudspeakers, and run them full range from their AV receiver. Results?: bass is week and mushy, dynamics are soft and pathetic, and the drivers will clip with demanding dynamic material, particularly at higher volume levels with Digital movies and heavy percussive music source material..bottom line!
Av receviers offer compromised power delivery, due to all the parts of the receiver that must be driven from the powersupply. Switch most any high quality $1000+ dedicated power amplifier up to the pre-out's of your AV receiver, and watch the soundquality improve throughout, almost every time! The amp sections in your typical Chinese built AV receivers are typically one of the bigger compromised portions of the receiver, and also the signal to noise and cross talk (gotten much much better over the years, though) from digital and preamp interference with the amp sections, basically).
I know there are many out there who would read some AV magazine review, about how some hot new receiver is as good as sparates, and the best thing since sliced bread - a must buy! ...WELL BUYER BEWARE! Cause there's some incentivizing going on with that same glowing review you've just read. I assure you.
Don't get me wrong, I like AV receivers for the tremendous value and incredible amount of resolution, processing power, video switching, and pretty descent overall performance for what you can pay for some of these things (particularly on the used market). The problem is that it's VERY VERY system and setup dependent for super results from these things. Separates amplifiers help GREATLY, and equally so do's good loudspeaker selectivity, bass management, and loudspeaker placement within the room and setup.
Fail in any of these regards, or don't know what you're really doing, and you'll end up with mediocre sound and performance...guaranteed.
I contemplated an XPA 3 instead of XPA 5 when buying my amp since getting more power to the surrounds wasn't a really high priority. I do use the 5.1 for movies and tv a lot, but the surrounds are so close and so small, that they don't really need a whole lot of power. I'm not an expert by any means on what is best for your speakers, but it may not be that big of a deal to go with fewer channels with more power driven by the dedicated amp (and may be better if the fronts can use more power than 80 watts, so maybe even consider xpa-3). But I also would have been using the Denon to power the surrounds and zone 2. If you get the UMC-200, you need an amp for all channels, including your second zone.

I think Emotiva has a 30 day return policy which is nice since they don't have showrooms (as far as I know).
Here's the problem with AV Magazine equipment reviewer's agendas, when it comes to reviewing HT AV receivers -and then also doing comparisons with competing outboard amps and separates processors:

-MUCH MORE OF THE COMPARATIVE MONEY from the manufacturing market is spent on advertising and marketing when it comes to AV receivers! The separates market is a much much smaller niche market, which is made up of smaller companies, typically, with much smaller budgets and distribution channels, comparatively. ALL THE ADVERTISING DOLLARS and coaxing from reviewers is going to be motivated from where the dollars are coming from! - thus directed towards AV receivers, in this case.
I would suppose that AV receivers have historically out sold separates by a WIDE MARGIN!? -perhaps 10/1 maybe!???
That said, it's just logical that all the press and reviewing is going to flow through the all-in-one convenient, and heavily manufactured and distributed receiver market, cause the money's there. And if it's what's in the consumer's faces (Bose), then that's what they are going to be looking for.
Accordingly, because that same market has been so competitive and crowded over the last 20 years, you can expect that all the latest technology, all the bells and whistles, and latest gadgets have been crammed into these things, and the competition has driven the prices very low and competitive, indeed. So the good is that you get a lot for your buck. In fact, you get a supprising amount of high quality processing and features for what you have to spend. And profit margins thusly remain tight - and hard to make a buck.
Going the other way, separates based pieces have gone recently from budget (receiver priced) separates, and covered mid level all the way to the moon with Krell and Theta products! But besides all of that, you get some significant flexibility and realizable benefits from higher quality separates. And, the good news, is that there are now several companies offering pretty nice quality, high level featured separates electronics pieces, for even bellow AV receiver price points! In my book, that makes it a hard choice for someone to want to consider paying even more for a $1500 AV receiver, when you can pay less than $1000 for a likely superior performing Emotiva separates system instead!
Granted, you'll have to add additional cabling to connect up two separate boxes. So that's gotta factor in. That and the convenience people like in the all in one box solution, as a competitive alternative