Multi-channel amp to drive 12 speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-06-2013, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for suggestions on an amp to drive 6 Boston Acoustics RK8T2 speakers. I'm assuming that the 12 channel Speakercraft, Niles, Sonance amps would all be fine to do this. Should the 30w/channel versions be sufficient for this? The speakers are all outside, and are connected via 50-100ft 12gauge cable.

(I was doing this in a different way in a previous thread, but have taken the advice offered there are rethought this. smile.gif )

Thanks!!
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-06-2013, 11:23 AM
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May I suggest the Amplifier Technologies AT6012? It's rated at 60W RMS x 12 at 8 ohms and 90W RMS x 12 at 4 ohms. Audio quality is also superb. In fact, Sigfried Linkwitz recommends the 6012 for use with his ground-breaking Orion audiophile quality speakers.

Jeff

For full disclosure, I work for ATI.
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-06-2013, 12:29 PM
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I fully recommend ATI amplifiers, I run a ATI AT 2007 and ATI AT2004 and they are superb units hand down

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post #4 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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They look good, but I was hoping to stay in the $1000-ish range...I think that is maybe double that?
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 07:01 AM
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I would strongly recommend that you hit up eBay for this purchase. You can often pick up any of the brands you listed for well under $1,000. eBay buyer protection will cover your shipping if there is something that is not working properly. I've picked up numerous amplifiers over the years that I use on installation jobs from eBay at fantastic value.

So, while you can pick up the Niles SI-1230 right now for $470 (shipped)...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Niles-SI-1230-12-Channel-Power-Amplifier-/271199567065?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3f24c0fcd9

If you really do have more budget, then you can go with something more like the Sonance 1250...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SONANCE-1250MKII-12-CHANNEL-AMP-/261210525838?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item3cd15c508e

While there are a number of people that say 'AS-IS' or 'NO-WARRANTY', if they don't list the product as 'FOR PARTS', then they are required to provide you with a fully working 'used' item. eBay will protect you even if the original seller claims that they 'said it was as-is'. I've had similar occur, and eBay protected me when the seller was being a tool. I should say, this happens exceedingly rarely to me and I've been buying from eBay for ages.

Now, what I really would recommend...
Get a 1230 or 1235 amplifier that has a 'BUS-IN' connection so that you aren't splitting your inputs, but use a common feed to all.
Next, make sure that the channels can all be bridged.
Now, just get one! If you go outside and find that you are yearning for a bit more power, go out and pick up a SECOND 1230/1235 amplifier. Set all of the channels to 'bridge' mode, and you should be pushing 60+ watts out to all the speakers.
This solution costs you the least right now and gives you the opportunity to upgrade down the road if you want more power outdoors.

This listing is similar to the Niles 1230, and would probably be about where I would start:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Used-SpeakerCraft-BB1235-12-Channel-Home-Theater-Distribution-Power-Amplifier-/130903317772?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item1e7a721d0c

It is bridgeable and has bus-in and bus-out connections for multiple amps to share a source. It even provides a second bus (aux) which allows for a second source if necessary.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks for the thorough reply! I had actually been perusing those same eBay listings last night, I was leaning towards the Sonance 1250 just to be safe. I hadn't considered the idea of being able to bridge/double later if I need more power - that's a great point! smile.gif I have an IR source switcher, and will feed all the various sources into that, then out into the bus inputs of the amp.

On eBay, the 30 versions all seem to be similarly priced between the three, and then the Sonance 50 seems to be only marginally more expensive. Do you feel like there is any reason to go with one brand over the other? Given that the '50 Sonance fits my budget fine, would you just go with that one, or do you still feel like the '30 Niles or Speakercraft is a better starting point?

Thanks!!
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 10:40 AM
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I think, if it were me, I would get the BB1235 and then start looking for a good deal on a second one with some intent to upgrade later. Realistically, I think that will give you the most power for your money as well as a great deal of redundancy.

Redundancy?

Well, unfortunately, there are times when people run equipment hard and a channel MAY fail over time. If you have a single channel go out, then with all your channels bridged, it gives you the chance to go back and split a channel to give you two channels should you ever need it. This isn't something which may ever happen, but it is nice to have that capability I would think.

Good plan with the IR controlled source selection. You may even want to consider something which is 'smart' controlled, so you can run it from your iOS/Android device. Not sure what can do that outside of an A/V receiver really, but something may be out there at a fair price. I really like AirPlay since it allows you to run your music collection from your iOS device in your pocket anywhere on your home network. Sure, you need a cheap DAC (Amazon) to take advantage, but you get a ton of options for the money.

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post #8 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Great advice, thanks! The possibility of a blown channel is another thing I hadn't considered. smile.gif I have a couple of keypads outside that, among other functions, can trigger an IR blaster in the equipment rack, which selects sources. (Today it changes inputs on the receivers.) BB1235 it is!

Funny on the AirPlay comment - that's actually where I started, and am ultimately moving away from in favor of Sonos. I have around 10 AirPlay zones currently, and reliability seems to be decreasing as the number of zones increases. So I'm going to limit those to AppleTV devices, where I don't have another good option. (There is also an AppleTV connected to this whole setup, which routes audio to this system and video to an HDMI port out by the pool, which connects to a projector.)
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 11:45 AM
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Sounds like a good setup and you should be good to go. I'm running over 20 audio zones throughout my home system with half a dozen video zones. Everything I feed is with Rotel 40 watt amps, but I don't really need the horsepower associated with an outdoor speaker setup. The real joy will come with the simplicity that the 'BUS' input provides to you. Good luck with the setup, let us know how it goes!

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post #10 of 14 Old 05-16-2013, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I purchased the Speakercraft bb1235 on eBay, and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. smile.gif One more question...I've never used a pure amp (vs an integrated receiver.) Should I feed all the sources into an input selector then directly into the amp, or should I use a receiver with pre-outs as the source selector? I have both an older Onkyo and a Harman/Kardon receiver lying around unused, so I could do so with no expense - just not sure if it really makes any difference either way. In either case, I can control the input via IR, which is my only true requirement.

Also, I assume I will control volume either way via the source outputs? As in, via the controls on Sonos, iTunes, etc?

Thanks again for all the help!
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-16-2013, 10:43 AM
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You can do it either way. Generally you want volume control to be through a pre-amp of some sort, which is why an A/V receiver typically pulls this duty so it can be the volume control for the system.

If all of your sources have volume controls integrated, then they can act as the volume control instead, but this generally is not the case.

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post #12 of 14 Old 05-16-2013, 11:29 AM
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-17-2013, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
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My input sources are: AppleTV, AirPort, Sonos, Bluetooth adapter, and a 3.5mm Aux input (just an alternative to BT, same uses - phones, tablets, etc.) So in my particular case, everything does have a volume control on the source. Is there any advantage to using a receiver? If not, was just thinking it might be a waste of power to have that running as well.

Thanks!
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post #14 of 14 Old 05-30-2013, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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The 1235 is hooked up, and so far so good! I did order a second unit (before I had this one) because it was a great deal on eBay, although honestly I'm not sure it's really even necessary. But given how cheap it was, I figure at minimum I'll keep it around for future expansion.

I ended up getting an Onkyo TX-8050 to use as a preamp, it has a nice combination of inputs and, most importantly, is IP addressable. I like that solution better than using an IP IR blaster, more reliable. So I have the inputs sources and power controls mapped to one of the outdoor keypads, and all is well! Haven't had a party yet to really test things, but I wouldn't anticipate any issues.

With nothing left to tweak at the moment in that setup, I'm starting to poke around subwoofers. Sound is good from the BA speakers, but I'm thinking a bit more in the lower bass would be better. (Maybe I should start a new thread for this...) Haven't been able to find much in terms of opinion. Something like a Boomtomb or the Niles equivalent look great, but I don't really have a good place to bury them without disturbing quite a bit of landscaping. I'm wondering about something like the Polk sub, or one of the rock subs - either from OSD or Earthquake, the Earthquake one being a good bit more expensive. Any thoughts about any of these, or in general if it's even worth it? Also, I was assuming I'd get a dedicated amp for whatever I end up with, but was just thinking...would the Onkyo's amp be sufficient to drive one of these, since it's not doing anything else?

Thanks again for all the help smile.gif
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