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RF-7 "come alive" with HK Signature amp ?


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"RF-7's are great but really need quite a bit of power for them to come alive and reach their full potential."

I'm always seeing comments like this and wonder if I'm hearing my RF-7's the way I should be with my HK Signature 2.1. Any thoughts if this amp (specs below) is fine or should I be looking at an XPA-3 or XPA-5?

Harman Kardon Signature Series 2.1

Power Output: 5 x 100 watts @ 8 ohms 20Hz – 20kHz, <0.03% THD, All Channels Driven

High-Current Capability: ± 100 Amps

Frequency Response: <1Hz – 170kHz ± 3dB

Power Bandwidth: <1Hz – >100kHz

THD/IMD: <0.03% at rated output

Crosstalk: < –87dBr between any two channels at maximum output

Negative Feedback: <25dB

Input Impedance: 33K ohms

Input Sensitivity: 1 volt for rated output

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I think it's something you really just need to try out and see if you notice a difference. If you can do it with no risk (e.g. able to return), why not?

I was driving my Forte's with a Denon AVR that did about 100wpc in 2-channel mode. It sounded great. Then I put an Acurus 200x3 in to drive them (which bench tests at about 325wpc IIRC) and they indeed did "come alive." Everything, especially the bass, was just more authoritative.

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Well, they'll play loud pretty easily. If you want them to both play loud and sound good at loud volumes then you need some quality watts behind them. RF-7s are a very demanding speaker, their ohm rating drops to 2.8 ohms at a few places in their frequency range. That's a load that most receivers aren't able to handle easily. Very generally speaking, an external amp will be able to deal better with a speaker such as an RF-7 than the power supplies crammed inside a receiver can.

{edit} I noticed a large difference in bass output when I added my Emotiva external amp and the sound quality of my Fortes stays very clear and detailed at very, very high volumes.

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I know with my RF-83's (which are super sensitive too), when I hooked up a 265 watt/ch amp to them, they became more dynamic in the bass (even at low volumes) and when you crank them, they don't even hint at distortion or having the vocals begin to break up (like my HK receiver used to do being 55 watts/ch).

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