adding external amplification is likely going to be a big sonic step from your foundation, pressently. The amps in those receivers are pretty well compromised, and you'll double the sonic abilities with a better amp! I'd look at used Parasound HCA1205 for those speakers and receiver combo. The Rotel does offer good bang for buck however, but the Parasound is better sonically, and can be had for cheap used, if you look around.
Also, you should be running the speakers as "small".
You can indeed improve your sonics with better speakers, but you're changing your whole foundation here. I like simply adding an amp (necessary anyway, IMO) first. Then, try bringing home some better music/ht speakers (pair) and see what improves. Then, you can change the speakers out later if you like, and sell the B&W's.
Also, with speakers, remember that Dappolitos, horn speakers, and other more "controlled dispersion designs work better in less than very carefully considered and well set up acoustical spaces! Depending on your setup, yes, better HT/music speakers might be in-order for your room - but I don't know your room! (note: typical stereo speakers like your B&W's will not perform so well in rooms with low ceilings, where you sit further back, proportionately). Otherwise, speakers that might be in order for affordable consideration for you would be more music/HT designed NHT M5's, Paradigm Studio Dappolito center/monitors, and similar.
Hope this helps
I found a big difference when I added a multich amp to my HT set up and used my Yamaha Rx1500 as a pre/pro. Big difference in soundstage and dynamics....Just my 2 cents...
I moved to Rotel seperates from an Onkyo A/V receiver . It sounded like I had taken a blanket off of my speakers , which were fairly efficient at 89db. ! I had better clarity , dynamics , definition and extension .
I don't think that you have heard what your speakers are 'really' capable of doing !
Thanks for the advice. The room is in a huge finished basement so I am sure the acoustics are compromised. I sit about 12-14' back from the screen and the ceilings are barely 8' high. The only reason I mentioned Rotel is there seems to be a fair amount of them available offering 120w x 5 for about 500-700 or so.
Give the Emotiva XPA-5 a serious look: 200W/ch. into 8 ohms all 5 channels driven. Price? $799 + shipping. has a 5 year, transferable warranty. It will improve mightily on your Yamaha's amps...BTW, Emotiva customer service is superb - I know from experience.http://www.Emotiva.com
I'm not sure my current speakers could handle 200W/ch. Also, is there really a difference in sound, etc., in these amps? So now I am considering Rotel, Parasound and now Emotiva? Is there a clear winner when comparing these 3 amps and companies? The Emotiva seems like a great deal but would I kill my speakers with 200W/channel?
How does your room look like. Maybe it is time to consider treating the room first before putting more money into the system.
It's in a large finished basement, carpeted floors, drywall on all walls and about an 8' drop ceiling. Leather couch x2 and loveseat are about 12-14' from the speakers/screen. From screen/front speakers to rear wall is 40' and I can't partition the room anymore than it already is...
General rule of thumb in my book, is that speakers yield a much bigger bang for the buck than amplification. But, a good AV receiver or pre/pro with room correction would also be worth considering.
If you want to buy a multichannel amp, then I'd consider ATI. ATI AT1800
For speakers, I'd consider the SVS stand mount MBS-01
If separated amps & pre-amp/ processor are within your budget then stay away from AVRs. I just took the Onkyo 805 home this morning. After playing around with different soundtracks and movies, this baby is going back. I would not buy another receiver again. Besides running hot, it is not a bad receiver but NO DYNAMIC. Saki70 is right on about the blanket over the speakers.
I am trying to decide between the Emotiva xpa5 or the Rotel 1095. The xpa is slightly less $$ but that is not the deciding factor. Any last comments or recommendations on either amp before I flip a coin???
I think that Rotel may have better name recognition and reputation . Important when it comes to resale !
Speakers are more easily damaged from to little power than too much . I wouldn't worry about it .
Good luck .
"General rule of thumb in my book, is that speakers yield a much bigger bang for the buck than amplification." (BobR)
Indeed, I agree with Bob here, BUT, problem is you already have a complete setup speakers and a receiver. I think the EASY step, since you have a foundation already is to simply try seeing what more of a separates approach yields, and do what other here recommended and hinted at - which is to add an amp, yes!
Part of the issue here is that receivers are limited in dynamics and power distribution, mostly. So substituting better speakers (potentially), with maybe the same or even less sensitivity and efficiency - while they may improve many aspects of your sound - will still be left dynamically restricted if you're using the same inept receiver to drive them!! Get my point?
So, yes, I like you adding an amp here first. STILL, I'm strongly recommending that you configure your speakers as "small" or 80hz! (key is making sure your speakers and seats are set in the right place so that the speakers and sub are coupling well at 80hz reigion, so there's no "hole in the middle" sound you get with speaker/sub combo's)
Another issue here is, yes, acoustics. You are DEFINITLELY compromising your immaging, detail, soundstage solidity, transient attack, and overall dynamics when you are hearing too many first order reflections from your listening seat. And, with your speakers you're using, and how far back you sit, how low your ceiling is, etc, you are compromising your sound, somewhat. That should be adressed.
More controlled dispersion speakers should be used, ultimately, with multiple mid/bass drivers, possibly multiple tweeters, and more "movie oriented speaker designs", etc - ideally.
Your options right now, which will help greatly, will be to either put some absorption on the reflection point on the ceiling between you and the listening seat, or add diffusion there. your only other options, if you can't change speakers (although turning your speakers up-side-down will help control your ceiling reflection somewhat with your speakers), the technology offered in the Denon, Onkyo, Integra, and Sherwood receivers in the "Audyssey MultEQ" room correction device, helps solve all these type of acoustic problems! For your Yamaha (which only corrects bass modes with it's EQ), this isn't a benefit.
So, all I'm saying is that these sort of things all add up to pull down your sonic experience. That's all.
Also, sitting closer to the speakers helps you heare more "direct sound", increasing sonic quality.
If I were you, I'd try placing some acoustical foam on the ceiling, in the spot(s) where a mirrored reflection on the ceiling can see your speakers from your chair(s), to see what I'm saying. I think you'll find the sound quality change dramatic!
Anyway, i'd try amp first, then tweak a little - maybe try inverting your speakers, also. Infact, I personally would be getting a VERY NECESSARY Radio Shack sound level meter, a test tone disc or two, and finding out what the measured response is from ALL your speakers and sub from the listening possition(s)! This is a basic step from proper system setup. If you don't get rid of the bass humps and holes you and your speakers are place in, and get relatively flat response as a foundation, you can forget about getting high fidelity, accurate sound! - just won't happen.
Anyway, If you don't want to do that kind of stuff, something down the line for you to consider is to upgrade into the Audysssey pre's and receivers! While it won't get you or your speakers out of "holes" in the sound, it will do wonders for acoustical problems. This is ANOTHER LARGE improvement in your systems performance. Research is more and more available in reviews with the Audyssey products.
So, amp first, then some easy tweaks. I'd then look into other speakers, yes, in the near future, as budget allows.
Then, also better preamp technologies and processing will do wonders!
Wow, that you for your advice. Trying to pick up on all of the basics is a bit challenging as every thread or magazine or website I can find the discussion begins with so much already being understood. I do realize at some point it gets crazy with nutty technology, $500 cables, $50,000 speakers ,etc., but I also realize that buying an all in one receiver and hooking it up to 5 entry level B&W speakers leaves me a lot of room for upgrading my system. I'm new to the spl thing and wouldn't even know where to begin with it without some serious instructions and understanding what I am trying to accomplish.
I took the advice and bought an amp, the new Emotiva XPA-5 and will use my Yammy receiver as the pre/processor for now. It should arrive on Tuesday and I will be back at it again. I will also invert my speakers tomorrow, I never even heard of that or even thought of it before.
Again, thanks for the advice and keep it coming!
Forgot to add something. Since I am thinking ahead, what speakers should I consider, say in the $2000 range? I'm partial to B&W but for no reason and would be very open to listening to other brands that would suit my HT setup better. Any feedback on the Klipsch line?
All these variables add up to more ingreadients in the recipe! The more attention you pay to the variables affecting what you hear and how the system performs, the better the end results. That's the bottom line - maximizing your experience with what you can put into it, IMO.
An option in the future, should you want to stay with B&W (I sold the product for years, and they make some nice pieces - although I'm not really into B&W's pressently), is to consider their older THX stuff, or even using their dedicated center channel models for L/C/R's! This would increase sensitivity and efficiency likely (higher efficiency often means potentially more dynamic headroom), and you'd be using their Dappolito designed speakers, which would limit floor to ceiling reflections (if you have the speakers arrayed vertically), and get dual mid/bass woofers (like dedicated movie speakers), which increases dynamic efficiency - as well as frequency reinforcement, and likely stronger imaging. Using their basic stereo speakers (one mid/woof and on tweeter on top), in a passive design, limits dynamic capabilities a bit, softens focus and transient reinforcement (that's why multiple driver speakers tend to let you place them further appart, and still maintain a solid immage, have strong dynamic contrast, help cancel out distortion between partnered drivers, often have higher power handling, etc). Basically, certain designed speakers do better at portraying strong dynamic recordings from digital movie tracks, IME.
Anyway, hope the amp mates well with your Yamie, and the rest of your wires and gear! Let us know what improves - even what turning the speakers upside down (for the moment?) does to your perceived sound.