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post #1 of 99 Old 11-22-2012, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I seen pro audio amps like QSC,Crown etc being recommended for home.

But what would be an optimally priced preamp to go along with them for home purpose ? I found home hifi preamps with remote (and with balanced outputs) tend to be relatively costly. One can get a DAC like XDA-2, which has volume control, but it has no analogue in. Dac-pre (with analogue in) are costly too.

Any suggestions from those who use pro audio amps for home stereo ?

Also any fanless pro amps other than Behringer A500 ?

Thanks,
Hifisound

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post #2 of 99 Old 11-22-2012, 09:24 PM
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If you are going to use a DAC with a preamp then the XDA-1 should suffice - the only difference I know of is the analog volume on the -2 ---- the -1 has digital volume which cuts into sound quality at low volume. I've owned one previously and have experienced that.

The Emotiva USP-1 is an inexpensive preamp. With the debut of their XSP-1 used USP-1s should be cropping up here ebay and the Lounge for $300 or so. I've been using the USP-1 for a couple of months now - it works well and takes orders from my Harmony 1100. With an XDA-1 on the way doing the digital decoding it all sounds very good. This will be my second XDA-1 as I mentioned above.

The A500 is the only fan-less pro amp worth considering that I know of. There may be others. Pyramid and others make clones or just crap. You can replace the fan in most of the high powered pro amps. Do a google search for 'behringer fan mod'. I've done this to one EP1500 - it went from nearly unbearable to so quiet I had to stick my ear to the exhaust vent to hear it - I mostly felt it. Never did overheat.

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post #3 of 99 Old 11-23-2012, 07:17 PM
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I think the XDA-1 has been discontinued. The XDA-2 is now available and is on sale (ships 11/26) at Emotiva. I imagine it would be possible to find an XDA-1 used however.

"Guns for show, knives for a pro..."
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post #4 of 99 Old 11-24-2012, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions.

Any half rack unit/mini preamp (I nowadays find mini size preferrable for all components except maybe amp) ?
There is one Nuforce HAP-100 (http://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=307:hap-100&Itemid=380) , but any cheaper alternative ?

If not pre+power, while buying a two channel system one can go two ways :
1) Integrated amp + CD (with digital in) + HTPC
2) Stereo receiver (with digital in) + some cheap dvd player + HTPC

I guess there won't be any sonic advantages with either, but are there any practical advantages of one over other ?

Just wanted to know from experiences of others

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post #5 of 99 Old 11-24-2012, 01:10 PM
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You haven't mentioned anything about a multichannel setup - BUT - if you will be using the 2 channel in the same room as a multi-channel setup you can do like I'm doing. I have a 5.0 Emotiva speaker setup - ERT 8.3s L/R - 6.3 center - ERD-1s surrounds. The L/R speakers are driven by a pair of Emotiva UPA-1 mono block amps fed by a USP-1 analog preamp. It has a home theater bypass which makes the USP-1 a straight wire thru when I'm playing movies in multi-channel. When I want multi-channel comes on - the USP-1 goes into HT bypass and the UMC-1 shoots the L/R signal directly through the USP-1 and to the UPA-1 amps. The center and surrounds are handled by an Acurus A200x3 three channel amp. Whats nice about this is the USP-1/UPA-1x2/ERTs make a great two channel setup - for HT the only thing that isn't used for multi channel listening is the UPS-1. When I play 2 channel the big Acurus and the UMC-1 are both off. So its a 'true' two channel solution.

I hope I've made that clear - the music certainly is!

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post #6 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 09:58 AM
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QSC, Crown, etc. are low-quality public-address system amplifiers that are not suitable for home use if you want decent sound quality.

Are you saying that you want balanced connections (they certainly are preferable)? that gets expensive in a hurry. I use an Audio Research preamp. They are the very best, but they are quite expensive

You might want to look at the Music Hall A70.2 integrated amplifier. It has excellent sound quality and quite a bit of power. For $1499, it is a very good deal.
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post #7 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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QSC, Crown, etc. are low-quality public-address system amplifiers that are not suitable for home use if you want decent sound quality.

...yet, you often find QSC and Crown amps in broadcast, post production and recording facilities...sounds like someone isn't familiar with industry standards wink.gif
Quote:
Are you saying that you want balanced connections (they certainly are preferable)? that gets expensive in a hurry.

Balanced connections need not be expensive, and on pro equipment they don't inflate the price...only audiophiles believe balanced inputs need to be expensive.
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post #8 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

QSC, Crown, etc. are low-quality public-address system amplifiers that are not suitable for home use if you want decent sound quality.

You are basically saying that every home audio power amp is vastly superior to QSC and Crown amps for the purpose of sound reproduction.

It is a well known fact that any audible problem that a power amp many have is measurable, given the appropriate measurements and test signals.

Please point out one or more measurements and test signals that support your claim, and are handled more cleanly by every high end amplifier that there is.
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Are you saying that you want balanced connections (they certainly are preferable)? that gets expensive in a hurry. I use an Audio Research preamp. They are the very best, but they are quite expensive

It is well known that balanced connections are a superset of unbalanced connections and that relatively inexpensive cables and adapters can match just any unbalanced input or output to a balanced input or output.

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You might want to look at the Music Hall A70.2 integrated amplifier. It has excellent sound quality and quite a bit of power. For $1499, it is a very good deal.

Why should someone pay $1499 for a 125 wpc integrated amp when one can obtain equal power and performance for far less. For example the Behringer A500 puts out the same amount of power very cleanly, has both balanced and unbalanced inputs, and costs about $200.
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post #9 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

Hi,

I seen pro audio amps like QSC,Crown etc being recommended for home.

But what would be an optimally priced preamp to go along with them for home purpose ? I found home hifi preamps with remote (and with balanced outputs) tend to be relatively costly. One can get a DAC like XDA-2, which has volume control, but it has no analogue in. Dac-pre (with analogue in) are costly too.

Any preamp can drive the inputs of a pro amp with at most an inexpensive adapter cable or plug.
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Also any fanless pro amps other than Behringer A500 ?

Fans aren't an issue if they don't make any noise. A lot of the pro amps I've worked with never run their fans when producing the relatively small amounts of power that are typical for home use.

There are also a number of fanless pro amps, however doing your homework for you isn't a real attractive option for me right now.

BTW you should be aware that a number of AVRs have fans.
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post #10 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the replies.

--
Hi Arny,

Any specific recommendation for a simple no-nonsense preamp with remote ?
Also then I guess no need to bother for a balanced pre for home .
I was just keen for balanced as I felt those connectors lock well.

And I will also try and find a fanless amp similar to A500 (no transfer of homework smile.gif ) but had asked just incase someone in the forum already knew.

--

I personally have a NAD C372 + NAD C542 + Dynaudio Contour 1.8mkii (bought way back in 2004)
But one of my friend wanted some suggestions for a new 2 channel setup.
Based on my reading on this forum I am suggesting him a receiver (2 channel/5.1 channel) or pro-amp with some pre.
So that he may need to spend less than what I spent on electronics.

Thanks again all of you!

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post #11 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Another thought which occurred to me earlier (as a reason for why people might be hearing differences between electronic components of different price range) is that maybe some manufacturers might be making their top end models with obvious simple reference designs and then maybe altering/changing/coloring the sound a bit slightly in the lower models.

Though I guess this many not be true as else otherwise the blind tests done by some of the forum members here will have revealed that.

Also I never experienced it myself. I bought the NAD C372 because I heard no difference wrt Krells, NAD silverline etc which the dealer demoed me and the 372 was the cheapest "powerful enough" to drive the contours. Maybe looking back even lowered powered amp may have worked. Anyways...
Only amp I heard sound differently ever was Primare integrated (not sure why)

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post #12 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

Another thought which occurred to me earlier (as a reason for why people might be hearing differences between electronic components of different price range) is that maybe some manufacturers might be making their top end models with obvious simple reference designs and then maybe altering/changing/coloring the sound a bit slightly in the lower models.

If this is happening, they are managing to keep people from doing technical tests on the equipment that they color this way, and publishing the results. I see a ton of equpment tests with flat frequency response and low distortion.
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Though I guess this many not be true as else otherwise the blind tests done by some of the forum members here will have revealed that.

That too.
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Also I never experienced it myself. I bought the NAD C372 because I heard no difference wrt Krells, NAD silverline etc which the dealer demoed me and the 372 was the cheapest "powerful enough" to drive the contours. Maybe looking back even lowered powered amp may have worked. Anyways... Only amp I heard sound differently ever was Primare integrated (not sure why)

Most of the time audible differences among good equipment is due to problems with the listening evaluation,
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post #13 of 99 Old 11-27-2012, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

Thanks all for the replies.
--
Hi Arny,
Any specific recommendation for a simple no-nonsense preamp with remote ?
Also then I guess no need to bother for a balanced pre for home .
I was just keen for balanced as I felt those connectors lock well.
And I will also try and find a fanless amp similar to A500 (no transfer of homework smile.gif ) but had asked just incase someone in the forum already knew.
--
Thanks again all of you!


For my two channel setup I use an Emotiva USP-1 preamp. You can find them on ebay and the Emotiva Lounge in the Emporium section used for around $300. It works very well and comes with a 5 year fully transferable warranty. It has RCA out only - balanced cables aren't needed in the average home audio setup unless you have cable runs of 10-15' or longer. The reason pro audio has the balanced cables is to eliminate interference in those long runs - otherwise they'd opt for the cheaper and lighter RCA cables. One USP-1 recently sold there for $260 shipped. Since Emotiva is now selling the 'next best preamp' - the XSP-1 the guys that have bought one are selling the USP-1. Usually drives the price right into the dirt too.

And for those who believe pro amps can't possibly sound as good as the more expensive amps designed for private home use check this out. Yep - thats a Behringer A500 on the 'cheap' side of things - and holding its own.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #14 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi KnuckleHead90,

Thanks for the Emotiva suggestions, Had seen your earlier post about it. I guess that must be the cheapest full fledged 2 channel analogue preamp

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post #15 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

Hi KnuckleHead90,

Thanks for the Emotiva suggestions, Had seen your earlier post about it. I guess that must be the cheapest full fledged 2 channel analogue preamp

Not at all!

This product beats it by nearly an order of magnitude:

http://www.amazon.com/TC-754-BLACK-Phono-Preamplifier-Switchable/dp/B000ZZINTK



http://www.amazon.com/Pyramid-PR2500-SEA2500-Professional-Pre-Amplifier/dp/B0007V43M8



http://www.midtownsounds.com/pre550silver.html

(note balanced outputs!)

...and then there is your favorite AVR with its speaker outputs converted into line outputs using one or more of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Systems-Level-Converter-B65N/dp/B000LP4RMQ



No comment about quality for all but the AVR option - lack of technical tests and all that. The AVR + line level converter option works far better than you might imagine both on the bench and also in actual use.

Other alternatives here: http://www.phonopreamps.com/
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post #16 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thats lot of options . Thanks Arny
But I guess it will have to be last option to have a remote as well. Or a great deal on AVR with pre out

How are Pyle audio products .eg. http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-P2002ABTI-Receiver-Pre-Amplifier-Bluetooth/dp/B002UL5WB4/

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post #17 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

Thats lot of options . Thanks Arny
But I guess it will have to be last option to have a remote as well. Or a great deal on AVR with pre out

How are Pyle audio products .eg. http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-P2002ABTI-Receiver-Pre-Amplifier-Bluetooth/dp/B002UL5WB4/

Pyle is probably a sub-mid-fi brand. Better known in car audio.
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post #18 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Pyle is probably a sub-mid-fi brand. Better known in car audio.
If their home audio stuff is as good as their car audio speakers I'd pass on anything they make.

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post #19 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 04:14 PM
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I have had an FCC commercial (radio/TV station engineer's) license for a number of years; do you have one?? Do you think you could pass the FCC exam? Perhaps not.

wink.gif

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Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

...yet, you often find QSC and Crown amps in broadcast, post production and recording facilities...sounds like someone isn't familiar with industry standards wink.gif
Balanced connections need not be expensive, and on pro equipment they don't inflate the price...only audiophiles believe balanced inputs need to be expensive.
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post #20 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I have had an FCC commercial (radio/TV station engineer's) license for a number of years; do you have one?? Do you think you could pass the FCC exam? Perhaps not.

I personally don't have a FCC license but I have close friends who do. All of them know enough about audio to treat broadcast technology as being a separate technological area from quality home, studio or live sound audio.

For example, why don't you give us the legally required technical specs for the highest quality of electronics used in the kinds of audio links that are part of your licensing? I'm not talking about manufacturer specs, but the FCC specs that you are supposed to enforce.

If they look like good specs for a home audio or studio or live sound system, then we'll give you creds, and if they don't you'll make my point for me. ;-)
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post #21 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Pyle is probably a sub-mid-fi brand. Better known in car audio.
If their home audio stuff is as good as their car audio speakers I'd pass on anything they make.

Agreed. I thought about holding my nose and following up one exactly the equipment just mentioned a while back when my receiver died, and decided to stick with a quality home audio brand: Yamaha.
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post #22 of 99 Old 11-28-2012, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I may deviate a bit from the main topic, but how much will I benefit from subwoofer for my speakers (Dynaudio Contours 1.8 mkII) ?
If yes, what would be optimal size and price range ?
The living room size is 26' x 14' and it opens on rear half to kitchen, other room etc.

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post #23 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 12:44 AM
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Those speakers play lower than some subwoofers according the Dynaudio's specs. Since you'll be using this setup for music you should have plenty of bass. I'd only be concerned about enough bass if you were using a receiver since they often don't have the power to allow the bass side of the speakers shine. Takes lots of power to make decent bass. What they don't give you in the specs is the rolloff numbers. For instance I have Emotiva ERT speakers with sealed dual 8" woofers in each tower - Emotiva specs them to 45hz + or - 2db. My own measurements show them to be good to 34hz at -6db. I've had to double check that the subs were off when I'm playing music some times. I have plenty of power going to them - 350wpc mono-block amps.

Here's the specs on your speakers:

Sensitivity (2.83 V/1 m) 86 dB

IEC Long Term Power Handling 250 W

Impedance 4 Ohms

Frequency Response 28 Hz - 30 kHz

Weight 19 kg

Dimensions (W x H x D) 204 x 935 x 294 mm

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post #24 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 05:48 AM
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Those speakers play lower than some subwoofers according the Dynaudio's specs.

In another post I recently said that no DAC manufacturer with a brain lies about his products because all the of his customers (manufacturers of audio gear containing DAC chips) have equipment to confirm those claims, and if he lies he will be outed quite quickly. What I didn't say is that the technical performance of a DAC chip can be reduced to a fairly small tidy set of numbers.

The situation with loudspeakers is exactly the opposite. Not only don't almost all of the customers (audiophiles) lack the equipment to objectively verify loudspeaker manufacturer claims, the performance of a full-range loudspeaker resists all attempts to date to reduce their performance to a small tidy set of numbers.

In this case Dynaudio doesn't seem to be even trying.

Subwoofers can have their performance reduced to a fairly small tidy set of numbers perhaps the most important of which is undistorted (say 10% THD which is not exactly undistorted but we have to generous with speakers) SPL at 1 meter in the free (or other specified) field at the frequency of the lowest claimed bass extension at peak operable level. A reasonable spec would be something like "120 dB SPL @20 Hz in a half space with less than 10% THD.". BTW there probably is no mainstream commercial subwoofer that meets that spec. ;-(

The punch line is that this spec is basically dependent on subwoofer driver linear cone displacement or Xmax times SD. As a rule Dynaudio lacks the drivers with enough linear cone displacement to even play let alone compete.

And for those for whom the above is alphabet soup because they don't have the meanings of common Thiel Small parameters rolling around in their heads early in the morning, here's a key to my map:

http://www.the12volt.com/caraudio/thiele.asp

So yes there is probably some subwoofer with a 6 1/2" cone that Dynaudio's largest system can outperform at its lowest specified operational frequency, but really now folks! ;-)
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post #25 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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And whats the best way to connect ?

Amp spk out -> Sub -> Spks

or

Amp spk out -> spks + Amp pre out -> Sub

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post #26 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 02:34 PM
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Can't tell you that until you tell us specifically what you have for gear to connect up. A few 2 channel preamps have subwoofer out RCA jacks - most don't. In that case you'd need to connect from the amp to the speaker level connections on the sub and then to the speakers. And make sure if you need to connect in this way that you have a sub amp that has the speaker level connections.

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post #27 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

And whats the best way to connect ?

Amp spk out -> Sub -> Spks

or

Amp spk out -> spks + Amp pre out -> Sub

Neither.

The best way is:

AVR -> subwoofer line output -> powered subwoofer
AVR -> spkr outputs -> spkrs

Note only 1 AVR
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post #28 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I think, then an AVR/Stereo receiver might be overall a better option.
Power amp may give more power, but not sure if it will be required (depends on speakers my friend buys), but in general may not be.
Lot of cheap preamps but then no remote.
AVR/stereo receiver will provide all except huge amount of power, will have remote, bass management , room correction, will save 1 intermediate cable and will have a DAC so can be connected to dvd/blu ray player via digital in. And overall cheaper and minimal solution.

Last few questions :

If a subwoofer (or 2) is to be used, should one still buy floorstander / 3 way speakers or are bookshelf / 2 way speakers fine ?
Also should one stick pro-audio speakers to be assured of greater neutrality ?
Are pro-audio speakers suitable only for nearfield listening?

Thanks everyone.

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post #29 of 99 Old 11-29-2012, 11:04 PM
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The relationship between sound levels and power levels is logarithmic and not linear. Meaning that extra 100 watts per channel doesn't net you a huge increase in sound levels. Since your speakers are 86db efficient we'll look at power requirements for them. The 86db measurement is taken from 1 meter - thats the standard by the way - and means the speakers will play at 86db with one watt input to them. To get to 89db it takes a doubling of power - 2 watts - for 92db takes another doubling of power - 4 watts - 95db takes 8 watts - 98db takes 16 watts. The progression quickly shows you what an absurd amount of power it takes at some point to net the next 3db. And you won't be listening at 39" (one meter) so factor that in too.

What I'm getting at is you probably won't need an external amp unless you experience clipping of the amp in your next receiver. A decent possibility since you've picked out somewhat inefficient speakers. If you listen at high sound levels then an external amp may be in the cards. Or a pair of 100db efficient Klipsch with horn loaded tweeters.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #30 of 99 Old 11-30-2012, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifisound View Post

If a subwoofer (or 2) is to be used, should one still buy floorstander / 3 way speakers or are bookshelf / 2 way speakers fine ?

Some time ago the answer would be easy, but we are now in the era of floorstanding speakers with 2" woofers! :-(

The actual requirement is not a one-size-fits-all thing.

The main speakers must have enough bass extension so that there is good soundstaging over the audible range and a smooth merge with the sound that comes from the subwoofer(s).

That is the combination of many things with the room's acoustics and layout being a critical component. I can conceive of needing floorstanding speakers to accomplish that, even though it is a goal that can often be met with bookshelf speakers.

I can't even tell you a one-size-fits-all crossover frequency, although 80 Hz works for a lot of people.
Quote:
Also should one stick pro-audio speakers to be assured of greater neutrality ?

In this day and age, with system performance being set by automated adjustment facilities such as Audyssey, speakers that are colored but have smooth response both on and off axis can be brought into congruence electronically.

Again the field of pro audio speakers is a mixed bag because strictly speaking it includes both studio monitors and sound reinforcement (SR) speakers. Just to muddy the waters further, being a SR speaker is not a guarantee of bad design and lots of ugly coloration. Some of them sound good in a home audio setting.
Quote:
Are pro-audio speakers suitable only for nearfield listening?

Not necessarily. One of my favorite pro audio speakers for home use (many sucessful recommendations) is the Behringer B2031A. It has the following built-in adjustments:



Flick a few switches and it transforms itself from a near field speaker to a speaker for use in a large room, even in free space outdoors.
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