My Journey Into Hi(er)-Fi, Getting New Speakers, & Is This "Safe?"
Hi all. I am glad to have joined your site after much lurking and have pulled the trigger on some new speakers. I currently have a Klipsch set up 7.1 with big RF-3 towers, a RC-25 center, and RM-10's surrounding. I just got a Yamaha Aventage reciever (replaced an old cheapo Sony POS) and an SVS PB-10 subwoofer (replaced some POS 100W 10" from Circuit City).
The receiver has changed my life! I can't believe how much cleaner and clearer the sounds are --especially MUSIC in pure direct mode! The SVS is amazing and really shakes the house and having the nice AVR and nice sub made me notice what I had been missing! I routinely like to just sit and blast may favorite songs in PD mode and began to notice my Klipsches are too harsh on the ears in the treble/highs dept. I love them for movies, but I do enjoy a lot of music. They have plenty of bass and sound okay, but I could tell something was missing and it could be drastically better... I had previously always thought of them as very good speakers, now I was finding they were merely "okay."
I went out and listened to some better ones. Wow! Let me tell you that the only way to know if you'll be blown away by a speaker is to demo it yourself against others. I wanted something that could reproduce at least as much sound as my Klipsches (they go down to 37hz) since Pure Direct is really the only way to listen to music! There is a noticeable difference between Direct and PD and PD is just that much better IMO. PD does NOT use a sub since it only puts out what it takes in --2.0 channels.
After contemplating lots of ID companies (SVS, Ascend, etc...), I decided to only buy what I could hear. It's worth noting I got my SVS sub at Best Buy where I heard it first. I went to Magnolia to hear some new towers... HMMM No one really seemed to believe that I wanted real full range towers! I was told that smallish speakers and a sub is superior, no one really makes towers any more, manufacturers stopped because of cabinet resonance and host or other silly reasons! I heard the Martin Logan 60's and they were really nice, but I needed to hear more. I knew I didn't want anything with a built in amp/sub because of the complexity and additional sound processing. All the Bower's and Wilkins seemed to lack bass and flat to me. All the Martin Logans were very clean/clear and immersive. None of them were what I wanted, though. So I found possibly the last local premium audio brick-and-mortar store near me and gave them a visit. Without missing a beat, they suggested the KEF Q-Series/Paradigm Monitor Series.
I listened to the KEF Q700 and was blown away by the sound stage and clarity over the klipsches. I really enjoyed the Paradigm Monitors and let me tell you that you can't simply base a speakers low-end performance from the frequency response hertz figures. The Monitors had great low-end for a "42hz" response. Deeper sounding that my 37hz Klipsch. I was between these Q's and Monitors. I said I'll have to think about it and before I left he demo'd the R500 (more than I wanted to spend), but what an amazing speaker! I instantly could hear so much more from songs with which I was familiar. These had the broadest soundstage of all the speakers I've ever heard and they were so clear, crisp, and natural sounding. They even had decent bass from a 5" woofer! Astounding. I left. I should point out that the best speakers in the store --hands down-- were the KEF Blades, but at $30,000/pair, ummm... no.
I researched & decided to increase my budget because this KEF Uni-Q thing was so immersive and clear. I needed more bass, so I landed on the R700 (6.5" woofers).
I went back armed with lossless files of my own music to hear/buy the R700's. He said I should hear the Paradigm Prestige as well. I heard them and I thought they were too bright, and wasn't wowed by the soundstage. Not bad though! I sat and listened to the R700. Finally all my research and reading-of-reviews would come to fruition... NOT!! It didn't wow me like the R500's had!! They have the same mid/tweet Uni-Q, but different woofers/cabinets and crossovers. They make a difference.
I listened to the Q700, R700, Monitor 11, Studio 60, Prestige 85F, some B&W's which had a decent sound, and one more brand I don't remember. I asked him to fire up the R500 again and I instantly knew that was the sound I loved the most --both when I first heard it for fun and now when I had upped my budget! Again and again, TO ME, these were the best of the bunch regardless of specs or price.
The issue was listening to these in PD mode and getting full range sound. They have some punch and hold their own, but 5" woofers don't make the full sonic spectrum. The solution? The salesman suggested running my L/R pre-amp outs to my SVS sub and then turn sub to "off" and speakers to "large. HMM.... I had never thought of that! That would certainly solve the problem as the L/R Pre-outs still output in pure direct and all the LFE stuff in movies will go to the R500's and the Sub by way of the pre-out! Brilliant. I ended up ordering the R500's and used some of the money saved over a R700 to also get a matching R200c center speaker. They should be in any day now!! I cannot wait to got pick them up!
Now to my question: Is this safe? The R500 will be getting full range signals from music AND LFE signals from movies. Are they smart enough to know they can't play that low and just ignore the super low (and loud!) LFE signals? Does it even matter? I think I'll be alright, but I am far from an expert and I know that many of you are indeed experts. I don't want to damage my new expensive nice KEFs!
Alternatively, what if I wired it like this and kept the speakers as "small" in the AVR:
L --> Sub
R --> Y-cable (2 female, 1 male) ---> R/LFE sub input
LFE out --> Same Y-cable --->R/LFE sub input
This way, in PD mode, the R500's and sub will get full range for music. For movies, the 'small' R500's wouldn't get LFE since they'd be "small," but the LFE out will still make its way to the SVS sub, right? Does it matter that the Y-Cable would still be connected to the Right pre-out, or will the signal ignore that and just go straight to the sub?
Thanks in advance for any information!