View Full Version : sound quality-low watts vs. higher watts

string theory
08-22-2006, 06:09 AM
Hi, I'm new to this Pioneer stuff. Just got a sx750. $46 Very impressive. I've been pretty much just a Marantz person but this sx750 kinda blew me away with the detail. I'm a musician so I know how a lot of these instruments sound up close and this Pioneer really makes you think there's somebody in the speaker playing. Anyway, I had a Marantz 2325 for a short time. Sent it back as it had problems. It didn't seem to sound as "musical" as my lower powered 2238b, 2230, 2285b, or 2275. Local owner of high end store said there may have been compromises in sound quality for increases in wattage. I'm considering a sx-1050 or sx-1250 but am concerned that the increase in power may surrender some musicality. Anybody notice anything like that? Another question: How does this old vintage stuff compare with some high end stuff like Audio Research, Bryston, Krell, etc? I've heard Krell in a store. Thought it was cold, metallic.

08-22-2006, 06:43 AM
It's all in the hearing. . . Don't worry. . .a proper operating 1050/1250 sounds great too. . .Depending on your room size, speakers etc. the extra power may or may not be helpful. . .

Any sacrifices are more likely in the lower powered cheaper models trying to reach a price point. . . Typically the higher up the food chain the better the componets. . .hence the better the sound. . . if you can hear the difference.

It's not unusual for every model in the line to sound very similiar when operating within their capicity. . .

08-22-2006, 06:49 AM
I have an SX-1050 & SX-1250 and they sound great :thmbsp: into my power hungry Infinity 4 Q3's and 2 Q5 speakers. A little heavy but so what I say. My $.02

08-22-2006, 06:53 AM
Great question, I have a SA 9100 with a pair of OHM Walsh -2's, And I think the walsh speakers need a bit more power. I have always wanted a 1250 but the speakers are rated at 125 WPC, which would be perfect for a 1050. . My question would be for the difference in price would I hear a difference between a 1250 and a 1050?

08-22-2006, 07:02 AM
Welcome! You ask some very good questions. I'll be interested to hear what other say, but here's my version. I think that all things being "equal" a lower powered amp will sound as good as a higher powered amp. But better features and circuits trickle up the product line. Hey... They want you to buy the most expensive (TOTL) item out there.

But there is something to be said for a good mid-powered amp, like your 750. The transformer is smaller, injecting less noise in the line. Bigger amps have to do things (more $) to reduce the noise the larger transformers produce.

As far as Krell, etc... It's great equipment. But you get into a divide here. Krell is audiophile stuff. It does a great job at accurate reproduction with very low distortion. But to my ears, the sound runs a bit clinical. The likes of a vintage Pioneer probably does inject a "sound" to the music. We're discussing the debate of accuracy vs. niceness. Personally I go for niceness. And I think your ears should make your decision.

Hope that helps.

08-22-2006, 07:29 AM
I use to sell Krell, Audio Research gear years back when I was in college in NJ. I always felt they were over-built, over-priced, cold sounding audiophile gear that 'straight-wire with gain' sound. Not my kind of sound..

I have TOTL Conrad Johnson amp/pre amp combo that sit in a closet as my Nikko/Sansui gear (NA 690/ TU 3900) rocks my listening room. Go figure.

Anyway I like the Sx 750 and the 1050/1250 are excellent units. The SX 1050 can handle any speaker load and sound is IMO great. I have one on loan form a friend who wants me to align the FM section and I don't want to give it back! Pioneer SX receives from the era are gems.


08-22-2006, 08:13 AM
Since I found and fell in love with my My sx-1050 ,I have wanted to buy the a sx1250 or the sx1980 but the more i read the more i find I should be happy with what I have. The sx-1250 has more power, the 1280 has lots more power and less distortion . for the money the SX 750,850 ,950 and the 1050 are real deals. after that it just gets silly in price range

string theory
08-22-2006, 03:13 PM
Interesting to hear the different views. Thanks! My speakers are Dahlquist DQ10s. I always thought they were 4 ohm speakers but I just looked at the back and they say 8 ohms. So I guess something like the sx1250 would not be overkill after all, right? It was very interesting to hear the opinions on the high end stuff also. It just made me think that all this stereo stuff is so illusionary anyhow. What comes out of a speaker can never really be the same sound as live. I've seen where a ride cymbal that in real life sounded like a discordant clangorous mess sounds like heavenly magic on tape after it's been run through a vintage Neumann M49 and who knows what after that. Pianos, too. Everybody's ears are a little different. Rooms are different. Maybe the magic of something like the Pioneer is that it APPARENTLY is creating something that sounds near real. Or a very musical hyper reality. If all the recording equipment is a musical instrument, then I guess the playback equipment is also, eh? Oh well, thanks again.

Fred Longworth
08-23-2006, 04:12 AM
You do not want an underpowered amp driving your speakers. An underpowered amp will often overdrive, generating distortion. And distortion is murder on tweeters.

As long as you don't crank the system "super loud" to annoy your neighbors, a 150 watt/channel amp will treat 100 watt speakers better than a 60 watt/channel amp will.

Fred Longworth

08-23-2006, 08:03 AM
I have found that my Marantz 2235B sounds better through my a/d/s L710s than the larger 2285B.

string theory
08-23-2006, 07:43 PM
I think the lack of vintage audio repair technicians makes a good case for cloning. Somebody could get a hair or skin cell from Fred Longworth, make a clone or several and then install new repair facilities in areas that really need that service. Anyway, I guess I've been under driving my DQ10s with the little SX750. It still sounds great! Am I stressing the different components? Causing wear and tear to a greater degree?
boyonOOs observation regarding the 2235b vs. the 2285b is nearly the same as my own with my 2238b vs. my 2285b. And that's with the 2238b pushing the inefficient DQ10s. Is that coincidental or do the 2285bs just have a particular "sound" that works better in some situations? Or is it just slight unit to unit variations in sound? Or are these 2285bs just in need of a tune up?

08-23-2006, 09:42 PM
You do not want an underpowered amp driving your speakers. An underpowered amp will often overdrive, generating distortion. And distortion is murder on tweeters.

As long as you don't crank the system "super loud" to annoy your neighbors, a 150 watt/channel amp will treat 100 watt speakers better than a 60 watt/channel amp will.

Fred Longworth

Love a little headroom!!! :yes

08-23-2006, 11:26 PM
A pair of DQ-10 are VERY power hungry, and will only "open up" with some serious power, say at least 200 wpc. Someone here runs a Phase Linear system with two PL 400 amps, one for the bass and one for the mids/highs--and he has the Dahlquist subwoofer, too.
I have had the SX-5590 (the black 1250) and an SX-1050. Both units sounded great, with some power to the bottom, yet smooth and clean. Under normal circumstances there was no discerning between them (but the SX-1050 had been re-capped and refurbed when I got it).
I am a TOTL guy, though, and have owned TOTL gear since my second stereo system in 1973 or 74 (fuzzy memory, college daze). I went through an eBay auction phase and bought a bunch of stuff, added to stuff I had acquired over the years. Included were a bunch of TOTL receivers. The big Pioneer was my fave until I got the Concept 16.5--it did everything the Pioneer did, and does it even better. Since I got the 16.5 I've sold off my other TOTL receivers.
But I don't diss the smaller receivers. The second and third in the line(s) are certainly the better values, and are so today. I would, though, recommend at least 85 wpc, so a nice SX-950 would be fine. Rated by the dB scale, the SX-1250 is not quite 3dB bigger than the SX-950.
Again, though, I would suggest looking for a Concept brand receiver. They are excellent and my 16.5 rivals many separates.

string theory
08-24-2006, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the views on Dahlquist DQ10s and using more power. I actually have two pair of DQ10s. One pair is mirror imaged, the other, not. The two pair sound quite different from each other which maybe could be the topic of another thread. That is, two of the same product that should sound exactly the same, but don't. The mirror imaged pair seems like it could use some "opening up". But the non-mirror imaged seem to be relatively open and detailed with even a Marantz 2238b. What's up with that? I have two Marantz 2275s. One seems to sound a hair smoother in the high end than the other. I guess I'd need to do a direct A/B. With the DQ10s the difference is pretty obvious, at least to me.