Help! Lousy electricity - is a Class D amp the answer? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

Thanks for taking a look, got a puzzler here and looking for opinions....

We just rented a house about an hour outside NYC to see if we liked country living. It's a lovely place, except for a lot of things smile.gif

One of them is the electricity. I have a big-butt 5-ch Rotel RMB-1095 power amp and an Integra DHC-80.1 as the pre-pro. They're overkill for this application, as this system is now being used for 2-channel only, driving a pair of NHT 3.3s (which I love to death but need juice), with a disc player and turntable as the only sources (so far).

The electricity on the floor with this audio system is theoretically up to date (I didn't say good), robust enough to run a pellet stove 24/7, which is the only source of heat on the floor.

Problem is, there seems to be only one circuit -- certainly only one AC outlet within reach of the audio gear -- and when I turn on music to audible levels, the power amp immediately goes into protect mode and cuts out. Communication from Rotel tells me that with a big amp like the RMB-1095 there are potential issues with not enough AC on the line as it tends to draw "quite a bit of current" and if there are several other devices on the same AC line, the amp becomes starved for current and is shutting down. Certainly seems to be the case.

I'm considering replacing the amp with a Class D amp, which in theory should draw only a fraction of the same current. Audio purity aside, does this sound like a solution that would work?

Any thoughts appreciated -- we'll be here a year at least and I'd hate to be without hi fi....

Thanks much!
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:59 PM
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I don't think a Class D amp is the answer. Sure, it should have higher efficiency but I think the difference isn't so much to be make or break here. Its not like you're running a big Class A amp that's drawing a ton of power all the time then going to Class D type of power consumption.

I'd be tempted to get an outlet tester and be sure things are wired correctly, run a good extension cord to a different circuit for test, etc. to see if there is a difference.

The other thing is that since you just moved I'd be suspect of a bad connection, for example a stray strand of wire shorting out across a speaker terminal or amp terminal, etc. that could be the problem.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:09 PM
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A class D amp is more efficient, but class AB amps are fully "on" until you exceed a predetermined volume level then switch to class B'ish. If the amp goes into protect mode immediately or at low to moderate volume levels a class D amp might not help. That said, you don't need a 5-channel amp for stereo, so you might consider an inexpensive 2-ch amp like the little Emotiva for now. Still, you may be pretty close to the limit of the wiring if you are having issues like that. There may be other things on that circuit.

A pellet stove does not normally require a lot of power, just enough to run the fan. It does still emit fumes that could cause build-up on your electronics.

I would see if the landlord is willing to have another line run, and/or offer to pay for said line, run an extension cord to another circuit (chancy), or put the system someplace else.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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