Will Auto Calibration Work with Outboard Power?

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Q I’m using a Marantz SR5005 AV receiver rated at 100 watts per channel to power a 7.1 speaker system. My surrounds sound like they’re getting enough power, but I’d like to add three external 200-watt monoblock amps to increase output to the front left, center, and right channels. Here’s my question: Will the receiver’s Audyssey MultEQ automated setup calibrate the system in a way that accommodates the added power? In other words, will I still get full power from the front three channels if I use external amps and Audyssey MultEQ? —Todd Hunt / via email

A Yes, you will. Audyssey MultEQ processing doesn’t do anything to restrict an amplifier’s power output; what it does do is apply equalization filtering to the main and subwoofer channels to compensate for room/speaker interactions. By using external 200-watt amps to double the power to the system’s main left /right and center speakers, you will add only 3 decibels more output capability—a relatively small change. The real benefit will be an increase in dynamic headroom across the system’s three front channels. And since the front channels are where most activity in movie soundtracks happens, including music and dialogue, that makes it an ideal place to deploy more powerful amps.

Dysmae's picture

Hi Al. I'm sure I know your answer, but once you hook up your amps, would you run your calibration again? Like this user, I also have three 200 watt monoblock amps for my front three speakers. I'm sure rerunning the calibration after your amps are hooked up is the right thing to do to make sure your system is well balanced, but I have always found that my front towers sound much more dynamic when they are calibrated running off the receiver, then hooking the amps up afterward. I'm sure what I'm hearing is more volume, but they always seem to sound more open and have more punch, especially for 2 channel music.