Help with new B&W home theater setup
I'm new to this forum and was hoping for some advice with my 7.2 build (50/50 music and movies) for my basement. It's a pretty big room, perhaps 1400 (carpeted) sqft with 9' ceilings. I've listened to a decent variety of speakers and have chosen thus far the B&W CM10 towers with the CMC2 center. The questions I've got:
1. Should I stick with B&W for the 4 surround speakers? The basic option is the M1's at $250 each it seems. Someone suggested to me to get the M1's on the rear and the DS3's on the side (which I'm not sure I understand why I would need/want DS3's on a 7.2 setup...). Alternatives or a push to stick with B&M here?
2. Power - I'm liking the Pioneer Elite SC79 9.2 channel (bi-amp to the CM10's with the extra 2 channels for close to thier rated 300w) as a Receiver option I can get for $1769 on Amazon. I know I should be going with a preamp and seperate amp(s), but that seems to be a minium of ~$4k to get the same basic power/features the SC79 receiver offers. Is is really ill-advised to go with the SC79,or any receiver for that matter with this setup?.
3. Subs - I enjoy rich sound and plentiful bass, especially with movies, and was planning on 2 subs for this system. I almost went with the Triton Goldenear towers due to how well they do bass with thier active subs, but the soundstaging and mid/upper ranges could not quite compete with the CM10's in my honest opinion so I've decided to fill the low end with 2 subs with the CM10's. I'm pretty much open to all suggestions on subs, but was not looking to spend more than ~$1200 or so total on subs. I'm open to the idea of a single sub, but like the idea of 2 for more balanced bass, especially as I'll be playing pool or sitting in the bar at opposite corners in the basement.
Your help and suggestions are much appreciated. I don't have a particular budget I'm trying to stick to, but I am also looking for noticeable value differences, or perhaps the sweet spot in this "mid range" speaker setup. Thanks in advance.
I will take a stab at it.
1) if you like b&w then stick with them. Personally I would go
With the M1's for all 4 surrounds.
2) first thing I will tell you is that bi-amping doesn't work the way
You think. You are not going to get 300 watts for your mains,not
Even 150. When you run 7 speakers off of that Pioneer you will be
Getting 60 to 70 watts. If you want proper power to your CM10's
You need external amps!
My suggestion is to get the Denon X4000. It has all the features of
The Pioneer and WAY better room correction. Big advantage over the
Pioneer. Add an external amp for the mains or the front 3.
Emotiva 3 channel amp =$800. This will also free up more power
From the AVR to other speakers. BUT, my standard advice to ANYONE
Is buy the AVR of your choice,get it set up and Listen! You MAY not need
3) Subs are important!!!! You will need 2 for that size room. You may need
To up your budget a bit. Don't buy B&W subs...go ID brands instead.
I'm partial to Rythmik and SVS subs myself. With a couple of good subs
And proper use of your AVR's bass mgmt you may not need external amps
For your Main speakers. For that size room you may need to budget $1000
Per sub. Head over to the "subwoofer" section and ask for suggestions.
Beware that they are bass heads over there and tell them your budget
And it is FIRM. Give them an inch and you will be taking a 2nd mortgage
On your house.
Hope that helps!
Do the surrounds really draw that much power to detract from the mains?
I plead ignorance to all things Home Theatre (if it involves counting higher than 2.0)
There is really 3 camps.
1) Those who have AVR's and like having all the wiz-bang features.
They have stuff like the Pioneer Elite SC79 etc
2) Those who enjoy separates, via processors and external amps.
They often make up in sound quality what they lack in wiz-bang features.
They have something like this:
3) The hardcore 2-channel folks that rarely need any wiz-bang features, and are willing to sacrifice it all to gain perfect 2-channel reproduction.
You will often see these people owning the following gear (or something resembling it):
$2200 plus some amps
and some uber amps https://emotiva.com/products/amplifiers/xpa-1
and a high-end turntable etc
This type of gear holds it values almost forever.
I fit into # 3.
I won't part with my XSP-1 and Oppo 105 until I die.
It has flawless SQ. You can pry it from my cold dead fingers.
I've done all 3, and that's where I ended up, so you can short-circuit the whole mess and go directly to level 3. (If you are a SQ audio fanatic like me.)
I'm not a big fan of AVR's, they are internally filled with a hoarders nest of cheap china circuits and many cut corners to fit it all in one small box.
It usually comes down to:
How may wiz-bang features are you willing to lose to gain maximum SQ?
Don't forget that you can easily add an AVR to a well thought out "level 3" system to get all of those wiz-bang features back.
Digital effects processors and disc players change faster than dirty underwear. That's technology for ya.
Where as a good amp will last forever.
The small top box in that picture, for example, is a 3D processor. That's the power of separates, you add only what you need, and nothing you don't.
In Q4 2014, UHD Bluray's with Dolby Atmos and 4K are expected to be released, so I wouldn't spend any money on ANY AVR that will be obsolete within 3 months from now. LOL
All I have to do is get one and plop in it, the rest of my system stays the same (i.e. uber SQ).
I have a separate stream for the nasty 13.2 AVR noises to flow through, without effecting the 2-channel stream!
NEVER CROSS THE STREAMS! (haha ;))
This guy pitted a Marantz 7005 against the XSP-1 for SQ, the Marantz lost.
You can read his comments here:
The XSP-1 is a $1000 analog volume-knob, of course it is going to win. (It better for that price and feature set!)
If he had connected his 105 directly to the XSP-1 it would have been even better yet. (Not sure why he didn't.)
And using bass mgmt. Really lightens the load off the AVR.
IMHO too many people advocated power amps when they
Aren't needed. The only time that surrounds May tax an
AVR amp section is when playing music loudly thru all
5/7 channels constantly. Movie surround tracks don't put
Near the demand on surrounds as music.
That said, B&W's mids are surprisingly power hungry, I've seen them draw up to 200watts for brief periods of time when you have it cranked to 11 without damage.
That doesn't even factor in the bass woofers, which draw even more power. I've seen those draw another 500watts per side.
(At least on my 803's, that is.)
But that's only when you have them cranked to 11.
Like on bass thumps like this.
The sound remains clean and unclipped. Even though the B&W's are drawing 1400watts and the walls are about to break in half!
I had to upgrade to bigger speakers not because the B&W's sounded bad, it's just that I like to thump bass-music loudly; and they could no longer keep up, not even with 1400+ watts going into them.
Thanks for the posts guys.
I was not necessarily planning on playing music in anything but stereo with the subs, so the AVR's entire power (and bi-amps) will be able to focus on the 2 CM10's for music. With movie surround use only minimally loading the AVR on all channels (temporarily per scene) I was not thinking it'd really affect the total bi-amp power to the CM10's for movies either. That said, I was originally looking at the Denon X4000 and only started looking at the Pioneer Elite SC79 due to it's higher power ratings and built in 9 channel amps (plus had heard the SC79 had better home theater sound, although not as good of calibration software). I know the Denon can add an external amp (which can be as powerful as I want) and be a 9.2 AVR with the external amp, so that might be the way to go Denon X4000 (at $1300) + 2 channel external amp for 175wx2 to the CM10's biamp to get to the 300w (125+175). grasshoppers, you mentioned a 3 channel external amp with the X4000 to biamp the center CMC2; I'd love to do this, but I don't think X4000 can support 3 externally amp'd channels like this, just 2???
To the other comments, I think I'm more in the AVR "wiz-bang" feature camp, and less in the "sit in an armchair and only listen to music" (at least at this stage in my life). I realize keeping up with technology is a relentless pursuit, and there is nothing to be done about that past upgrade when you feel the added value is there and sell/move down the old stuff. I'm using a 1080p 65'' Panasonic Viera plasma TV which I'm not getting rid of until I can afford something bigger in OLED or if they start making plasma again ;). I'm not all that concerned about going to 4k, nor am I convinced any of the AVR's 4k upscaling is going to make a noticeable difference to me over 1080p.
ETA: Or there is the Denon AVR-4520CI which is 9.2 and 150w each for $2k for the direct biamp without having at add an external amp to the x4000. I'm not sure what other features the 4520ci offers over the x4000 yet...
Like I said previously, you need to get the bi-amp
Thing out of your head. If you want more power to
Your speakers get an external amp. I am going to copy
A post I made previously on the subject.
Originally Posted by Exist_To_Resist
I disagree, bi-amping allows you to get a little more power out of your front speakers allowing you to power the lower range a little more and giving you better performance out of a stereo signal like music and such.
For instance if bi-amped on a system such as the VSX-1123-K. you can potentially get about 150W out of each channel vs 75W. That extra 75W can give you a lot more low frequency performance out of a pair of speaker towers.
That's a very common misconception . When you remove the jumpers from the speakers you
Are for the sake of simplicity splitting the speaker in to halves. The tweeter and midrange on the
Upper terminals ( or just the tweeter alone) and the woofers on the bottom terminals.
When you bi-amp the uppers wills see 75 watts ,the woofers will see 75 watts. That is not
A 150 watt, you can't "double the power" to the speaker...it is still a 75 watt AVR...not a 150 watt AVR.
The upper terminals will us only a small fraction of the 75watts,the lower woofers will use much more
Power as they are producing the bass notes which use much more power. The bottom terminals are
Still only getting 75 watts!!!
Read up on bi-amping on these forums....you will find that it is generally considered a waste
Of time with little benefit. It's fine if you want to do it but you should refrain from recommending it
It you don't understand it."
For an update on my build: Going with CM8's for the side channels!...
My room has 2 ceiling rear wires already run, but the prior owner did this 10 years ago and I have to find where they are buried with a toner. In order to do 4 ceiling speakers for a 7.2, I've got two labor quotes around $1650-$2k in install/repair work (due to custom ceilings) seems a waste of cash if it can be avoided. My plan is to find the existing ceiling wires for 2 ceiling rear speakers (likely the in wall B&W CCM663 over the M1's for fit/finish) and then the CM10 towers + CMC2 center + CM8's for the side channels (which will be placed wider to not sit in the middle of the floor but also I don't want them so close to the couch. Seems a no brainer to put the cash toward upgrading the sides to CM8's and placing them wide over paying it in labor for 4 ceiling mounted speakers.
I'm still not sure what to do about the 2 subwoofers; the B&W PV1D ($1800 IIRC) is a stylish beast, but I don't think they offer very good value even verse the 500w B&W ASW10CMGB at $1500 each. I'm not stuck on going with B&W for the subs, so if others have recommendations for what to demo, please let me know.
Given the 2 subs and new speaker layouts, I really want a receiver/preamp with Audessey XT32 and SubEQ HT for calibration, especially if I decided to move things around it'll be easier to recalibrate. I still prefer to stick with a receiver, and not a preamp/amp setup. This rules out the Pioneer SC79, and it's down to the Marantz 7008 vs Denon 4250ci. The Marantz seems to get better audio reviews, but the Denon is 9 channels of 150w at 8ohms vs 125w on the Marantz which is a big difference here because with 9 channels, I was going to use the extra 2 to bi-amp the CM10s (rated up to 300w and yes I know biamping from a reciever is not "ideal" but better than not doing it) and then the CM8's on the side are rated at 150w so are good to go on the single line. I'll have to deal with only sending 150w to the 200w center CMC2 for now. That said, both these receivers can support 11.2 with an external 2 channel amp which could more perfectly bi-amp the CM10's if I'm not satisfied with the result (would be an interesting benchmark test regardless).
The other issue with receivers is the Dolby Atmos standards are coming to the new Marantz 7009 available in september, and the Denon X7200W (IIRC) in January. While these new units will have 11 powered channels, they unfortunatelly don't look to get any increase in per channel power ratings, so the Martanz is still only pushing 125w vs 150w on the Denon. I'd like to convert to a atoms setup at some point in the future, and am trying to plan for this as well.
So...what to do on the receiver option and the subwoofers???
My other question is what, if any, type of discount should I be trying for going with all B&W stuff like this. I'm likely getting it from my local Magnolia Best Buy due to extremely helpful employees there + discounts I can get on Best Buy GC's and I'm RZ Elite plus, or alternatively have a local hi end audio shop that sells the whole line of B&W too (and was nice to let me demo the Diamond 800's). I see a lot of crazy figures posting on B&W discounts on this forum, so I'm trying to see what might be a fair discount to try to get to, either with stand/accessory discounts or otherwise (and no I'm not letting Best Buy rip me off on cables and accessories and am getting them to price match things too).
It's good to hear back from you! I always liked the
B&W CM series speakers. I almost got the CM5's awhile
Concerning the subs...I suggest that you take a look
At the following internet direct (ID) brands. The b&w
Subs will not be able to compete with them. Unlike
Speakers subs do not have a "sonic signature". The
Key factors are how loud they can play,how low can they
Go,(important for movies) and can they do so with minimum
Distortion. For your size listening are you will need a couple
I like your choice of AVR's with Audyssey XT32 & SUB EQ HT
I'm still trying to wrap my head around Dolby Atmos so I can't
Comment there. I'm wondering when will we start seeing the
Content on blu-Ray discs??? To me this is more important than
Keep us posted please!
Nice suggestions. I agree there is little reason to stick with B&W for subs save for appearance itself. $1500 for thier 10'' 500w matching CM sub is a lot to pay compared to that 13'' SB13-Ulltra rated at 1,000 watts. I'm not sure yet if I want to get 2 subs, or stick with one, partially b/c of Dolby Atmos (see below), and partially b/c I'm not sure where I can feasibly put the second sub -- ie having them both up front on the leff and right of the CM10's seems kinda a waste of dual subs, does it not?
Does anyone know if Dolby Atmos can support 2 subs? Every potential layout for it I see is x.1.x where it lists only 1 sub as supported. My plan, if I get the Marantz 7009 in September, would be to go for 7.2.4 with seven floor speakers, and four ceiling (the 2 I supposedly have already wired for and then to more heights above the TV wall which avoids most labor costs). However, if Dolby Atmos isn't going to support 2 subs (even if your receiver supports 2), then I'm likely to get one monster sub as opposed to 2.
Finally, I've been told a couple times that Denon is a little over-ratish with thier power ratings, and Marantz is a little under, and that the 125w 7008 is pretty close in power to the 150w 4250ci and given this I should go with Marantz which has a better audio quality to most over Denon. I don't care about price difference on the two models, just trying to choose what is best right now (and also may very well return one of them to Best Buy ~60 days later and upgrade to the 7009 when it comes out given Elite Plus status and the Magnolia guys suggested doing this too, in which case it's really 4250ci vs 7009 Marantz for atmos --- the Denon atmos is not due out until January and that's too long to wait).
ETA: blu ray's coming later this year supporting atmos: http://www.twice.com/news/blu-raydvd...due-year/45750
Don't worry about Dolby Atmos supporting 2 subs,
That's not how it works.
Even on current dvd's there is only 1 sub channel. (LFE)
What you do is split the 1 sub signal coming out of the
AVR so it is sending the same signal to 2 (or more!) subs.
Ideally you would not want both subs up front, maybe 1 in
The front and one in the back so you can have a smooth response
Thru the whole room.
Your size room is going to need 2 subs, even one monster sub
Won't cut it!
I've been trying to learn a little more about passive bi-amping from the receiver. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but for example with the Marantz 7008 (or 7009), with 125w per channel at 8ohms, a biamp configuration is likely net gaining ~50 watts at most overall, which would be comparible to a single 175w channel...
By this, I mean the mid/tweeter will get a 125w channel (which they will never use more than 50w of at non-eardrum blowing levels) and the 3 power hungry woofers in the CM10 will get a 125w channel all to themselves (as opposed to sharing 125w with the mid and tweeter). The woofers is where the power is actually used, so the benefit in biamping is that they always get thier own 125w regardless of what the mid/tweeters are getting. Thus, the benefit is listening at loud levels, where the mid and tweeters are drawing ~50w on thier 125w channel, the subs are still getting/limited to using 125w max (still a nice benefit over 75 available with a single channel in this example).
Presuming I'm understanding this correctly, then wow is there a lot of mis-information running around the "showcase floor rooms"...
OTHO, I've also read that anything over 100W will get 95%+ perfection out of the CM10's, and I shouldn't be stressing so much about the Marantz's 125w vs Denon 4520ci's 150w ratings wrt to "optimizing the CM10's best sound potential," especially with the partial added benefit of still biamping the CM10's with either receiver.
Yes, there is a lot of mis-information circulating out there!
There are a couple of things I would like to point out to you.
1) when you remove the jumper straps off of the crossover on
The back of the CM10 you state that the split is the 3 woofers
On the bottom post and the top post would have the
Mid-woofer and tweeter. (That would be ideal)
Recently I was involved in a discussion on the Paradigm speaker
Forum about bi-amping the Studio 100's which have the same
Driver configuration as the CM10. After some research it was
Determined that the "split" on the 100's was the tweeter on
The top post (only) and ALL other speakers on the bottom
Post! (Not ideal) The tweeter may only use 20 watts max!
No real benefit with bi-amping there.
2) the more channels you use the lower the watts to each channel.
Remember it's only ONE power supply. Take a look at the
Bench tests for the 2 AVR's you are considering. Notice how
The more channels you have "engaged" the lower the "power"
To each channel. For example: you bi-amp the CM-10's engaging
All channels. Now you are no longer getting the 125 watts to
The bottom posts! Also your center is no longer getting 125
One important thing to remember is that you will RARELY
Have full power going to all speakers at the same time!
(Except during a very intense and prolonged action scene)
( Listening to music utilizing ALL of your speakers)
You are correct in assuming that you will probably never use
More than 100 watts per channel to get you to very loud
Listening levels. If you configure your bass management
Correctly on your AVR and let the powered subs take over
Playing the low bass notes that may be sent to the speakers
You will use even less power and your speakers will play cleaner
And louder too!
Here is a fun calculator to see how much power you actually
Use to get LOUD. The sensitivity of the CM10=90.
Example: using the CM10 sensitivity of 90, sitting 15
Feet away from the front 3 and using 7 speakers
With ONLY 10 watts you can hit 98db's!!! Very Loud!
More updates: I'm now planning to do four CM8's for the floor rear's and sides to compliment the CM10's and CMC2 (it works much better routing cables under the carpet or around the room rather than tearing up the ceiling as well). I THINK I've found the ceiling wires (actually appear to be 3 of them, kinda wierd placement but it'll work) which I intend to use 2 of them for the rear heights which make sense for in ceiling B&W speakers and then I can mount 2 front heights on the wall above the left and right sides of the TV.
The amp will be Marantz 7008 and will be swapping to 7009 when it's released in Sept for the 11.2.4 atmos setup. I'll likely get an integrated amp as well for the CM10's with the 7009 (it pisses me off that Marantz amp's are so damn expensive for just 2 amplified channels).
I'm down to 3 sub options for the 2 subs (all three will cost me about the same at $1200 or so): B&W ASW10CM, SVS PB12Plus, or Def Tech Supercube 8000's. The B&W is a beautiful matching sub, but at 10'' and 500w I'm not sure how well it compares to the SVS and Def Tech at 800w/12'' and 1500w/11'', respectively. I am most interested in the super deep rumble for movies wrt to the subs, and less so thinking I'll need more bass for music with this setup, so need to research how these three options perform at the 20hz level regardless of thier paper ratings...
Why do you want to get an integrated amp?
If you need external amplification for another
2 channels (11.2?) there are much more cost effective
The purchase is done, and I threw in a Sony XBR79X900B TV apparently too... I was getting 10% base discount on everything at Best Buy for the Audio to match a local B&W dealer, and they offered 15% off on everything with the TV so it seemed the way to go as I was partially interested in a TV upgrade over my 65'' plasma (going to bedroom) as well. I also had BB price match the items I could (like receiver and counsel) and I paid with BB gift cards and their credit card 10% (12.5% for elite plus) promo and RZ certs. More or less, I got around 33% off MSRP prices which I'm happy with and think it makes this purchase on par cost wise as ID brands as well. I need to comparison shop for cables and the accessories, see below, as I know BB's reputation for cable prices, and can return/PM later as needed too. Don't worry, I'll be scraping best buy's margins as thin as I absolutely can...
The setup: B&W CM10s, CMC2, 4 CM8's for floor rears and sides, 4 CM1's for wall mounted front and rear heights, 2 Def Tech Supercube 8000 subs, Marantz 7008 (will be swapping for 7009 in Sept for 11.2 powered atmos channels and 13.2 pre), Salamander Synergy counsel, Audioquest Carbon wires, Harmony remote (not sure if I want/need), and Panamax M5400.
I also got the Marantz 6005 amp in this order but I'm not planning to keep it. I'm confused why it is $700 for 45w at 8ohms, not just in comparison to Emotiva or Outlaw options, but also in comparison to Marantz's power levels in their receiver amps. My intention with the extra amp is to bi-amp the CM10's, which are rated at 300w (well so is the CMC2 at 300w, the CM8's are only 150w) when I get the Marantz 7009 receiver and use all it's 11 x 125w channels to power the 11 spearkers in Atmos configuration. Is there any concern to having a different brand amp for bi-amping? Alternatively, I could use it to power a 2nd zone patio speakers, but can use other options to do that like Sonos. I'm interested in a real life test to see what bi-amping the CM10s actually does wrt to what I can notice. I realize the ideal way to go is with a pre amp and multiple seperate amps for all this, but the price differential covers the price I paid for the TV...
Finally, without research I ok'd them throwing the $9k Sony XBR79X900B 79'' TV into the order to get the incremental 15% off everything (including the TV), which was of course "good for that day only lol." They applied the discount on random items, and left some, like wires, at full retail, and the with the TV they just knocked off $2k to $7k which was larger than 15% off. There is no obligation I keep it and I've got 45 days after delivery to decide and research and compare, but if anyone has thoughts on this TV, I'm all ears. My goal with the TV is at least ~80'' to notice an increase in size over my beloved 65'' plasma, and VERY good motion -- ie I don't want to get a headach like I get with the 90'' Samsung. I wanted bigger than 79'' to be honest, but the bigger sony 84'' is a whopping $25k. I'm not sure how to compare it to the LG 84LM9600 which is 84'' and I can get it for about $5.5k as an alternative, but it doesn't look to have as nice picture or anti judder technology as the Sony.
Thanks again grasshoppers for your continued posts in this thread!
From above, the Denon 4250ci seems MUCH stronger in the power dept than the Marantz 7008 than their standard 150w vs 125w ratings would lead you to believe. Maybe I made a mistake going with the Marantz over the Denon (albiet Denon's Atmos receiver is not out until January):
Denon AVR-4520CI A/V Receiver Test Bench
Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 172.6 watts
1% distortion at 190.7 watts
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 121.8 watts
1% distortion at 145.3 watts
Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 108.8 watts
1% distortion at 121.7 watts
Marantz SR7008 A/V Receiver Test Bench
2 channels continuously driven, 8 ohms (watts @ 0.1% / 1.0% THD): 122.5 / 148.0
2 channels continuously driven, 4 ohms (watts at 0.1% / 1.0% THD): 195.4 / 216.8
5 channels continuously driven, 8 ohms (watts at 0.1% / 1.0% THD): 101.2 / 111.5
7 channels continuously driven, 8 ohms (watts at 0.1% / 1.0% THD): 68.8 / 82.2
That's going to be a great set-up!
When do you get it installed???
I wouldn't worry about the power difference
Between the Marantz and the Denon.
The 30 watt difference in 7 channel mode equals
About 3DB's louder. This is considered barely audible.
Don't forget that the Marantz has a full set of
Pre-outs. These can be used to hook up any
Combination of external power amps...2,3,5 or
7 channels. Lot of flexibility. Remember your Marantz
Can be used as a pre-amp only if you want.
In my system I run the Outlaw monoblocks to
Power the left/right speakers only. I let the AVR
Power all the rest of the speakers. I don't worry because I have a SOLID 200 watts
Going to each front left/right speaker.
Ok, I was right to be confused before about the "integrated amp" that was $700 for 45w x2 at 8ohms. They called me today and apologized that the put the wrong item on the checkout and it should have been the $800 140w x2 Marantz amp, not the integrated variety. They said it was thier error and would waive the extra $100 charge, not to mention 15% off the $600. I'll definately look into other options and may return this, but it'll be fun to test and it's a solid price for about $440 after the 15% and gift card discounts (I've also got like $2k of reward zone points from thier cc now to use). Regardless, this make me worry less about the power benchmarks between the Denon and Marantz.
I'm confused what you mean by the Marantz has a "full set of preouts" that I can hook any number of external amps to. The 7009 for example is 11 channels at 125w, and then 2 preouts at 0w for up to 13.2 channels with a stereo amplifer added on (what I'm planning on doing). Are you saying I can still add a 3 channel amplier to biamp the CM10's and CMC2 (also at 300w rated, while CM8's are only 150w). By doing this, am I foregoing the receiver's 125w of built in power on the CMC2?
I also like your setup of using amp to power the mains only. In my case would be a solid non fluctuating 140w, which in theory would let me add a second zone of speakers outside while still having 7.2.4 Atmos setup (ie run 9 inside speakers off the Marantz's amp'd channels, run 2 outside speakers of the last 2 Marant's amp'd channels', and run the CM10's off the Marant'z preouts to the 140w external Marantz amp.
Most of the audio stuff arrived to the store this morning, I'm going to pick it up now! The AVR, TV, and counsel is not in yet, but it'll be nice to get the wires run under the carpet and the speakers setup and ready to connect after the holiday weekend.
Yes, the Marantz has a Full set of pre-outs to connect
External amplifiers to. I count 11 channels that you could
Add external power amps. Not including the subwoofers. (2)
By using the external pre-outs with external power amps
You should be able to re-assign the internal amps on the
Marantz. You connect the external amp to the pre-out
Of the Marantz and then connect the speaker to the external amp.
Perhaps Best Buy could explain it a bit better.;)
I have seen seven channel amps but none higher.
I feel that if needed ONLY the front 3 may need more
Power, they have the biggest work load. Left/Center/Right
As I suggested in post #2 .
I see the full set of preouts on the Marantz. I was confused b/c the Marantz 7008 has the 2 extra speaker preouts alread for 11.2, but it also has the full set of preouts for each channel above as well. Not entirely sure the different between the last 2 preouts for speakers vs the full set of RCA preouts?
Using the RCA preouts does not utilize the internal power amps on the AVR (albiet the last 2 speaker preouts doesn't have internal amps on them anyway), so the external ones will be the only power to the speakers used in this manner, but you are correct I can reassign the internal amps on the Marantz (not the first 5 channels for fronts/middle/2rears it looks like, but the rest can be assigned). The Marantz 7009 will have even more flexiblity, so I definately see the possiblity now to bi-amp the front 3 channels. FWIW, I misspoke before when I said the CMC2 center was also 300w like the CM10 towers, but rather it is 200w.
So far, I've hooked up only the CM10s and tested single amp vs bi-amping to them off an assignable internal amp. If there was any question in my mind whether bi-amping does something noticeable or is needed, IT DOES AND IS! Running just the CM10's and listening to streaming spotify, the bi-amp configuration is dramatically deeper, more balanced/clear, and more powerful sounding. In single amp setup, I was actually quite disappointed at how the CM10's sounded in my basement. To get the same (noticeable not measured) loudness as a single amp at 75 on the Volume level I only need to go to about 55 with the bi-amp setup. Also, at 55 with the bi-amp the bass is noticeably better, stronger and deeper and visualy you can see the woofers moving more (even though as far as I can tell, the overall decible loudness is the same).
I'm definately sold on the need to bi-amp the CM10's. This test was done just with the internal amps on the Marantz 7008 rated at 125w base. I am expected to get the external 140w * 2 Marantz amp later this week and will test it next (with the external amp connected to the lower sub connectors on the CM10's and the AVR in to the upper mid/tweeter connectors). I probably paid around $475 after discounts for this $800 MSRP external amp, but it's only 2 channels at 140w and I'm definately going to test out the needs to bi-amp the center channel (needed for movies, not so much for music) and look into the Emotiva 3 channel 200w amp at $800 less thier current 20% promo through end of January. The 3 channel Emotiva would max out the CMC2 center perfectly on it's own at 200w, which would leave a free internal amp for a outside zone patio speaker too.
This is a hell of a fun time...
ETA: OR, the Emotiva XPA-2 is a meaty 300w x2 which would max the CM10's in single amp setup. The problem though is that I dont' think the Marantz 7008 allows for assigning the fronts/center/surround1&2 first first channels, and you can only assign the power on the last 4 channels. This means that using the XPA2 would then leave the 2 front amps (non-assignable on the AVR) pretty much worthless as I can't use them to biamp the center b/c it's be sending the audio signal meant for the front towers to the center on that channel. LMK if I'm missing something, I'm still looking into this.
I am a bit perplexed by the speaker set-up options
On the Marantz. You have 11 speakers, but only 9
Internal amp channels. On the back of the Marantz
There is actually 11 posts to hook speakers up to!
That means that 2 speakers will not receive any power.
(This is totally different than the pre-amp outputs
For Seperate amps)
As near as I can figure out which speakers output sound
Will be totally dependent on surround sound modes selected
And amp assignments. I was thinking how would you power
All 11 speakers at the same time. I now believe that this
Will only be possible with the SR7009. It's like you can't
Have front height,front wide and rear height all at the same
Time. Maybe I worked too hard today. Worse, if I were to
Suggest a separate 2 channel amp to power the above speakers
(FH,FW,SB) I couldn't tell you which pre-out to connect it to.
If you are gonna add zone 2 speakers for your patio you will
Need an external amp...maybe. Even with thr SR7009, running
11 speakers with 11 channels of internal power you would
Have nothing left for a zone 2 patio.
Looking at the diagrams for 11 speakers I am curious as to why
You choose a CM-8 for the front wides...seems like they would be
Under utilized?? IE-not that much content coming thru, my opinion
Wouldn't the CM1's be a bit more practical???
Let me know how things go. FYI- pages 170 & 192 were the source
Of my bewilderment.
Sorry, to be more clear, I'm exchanging the Marantz 7008 for the 7009 in September when it comes out. I'm only running 7.2 setup (with biamp to CM10's) until I get the 7009 AVR, which I'll then run 11.2 channels (well 7.2.4). The 7009 will have 13 posts to hook up speakers, of which only 11 can be powered. You are correct that the 11 of 13 speaker outputs that will be powered is going to depend on my amp assignments, and 2 of the 13 will always be unpowered.
I was confused before in thinking for some reason the 2 leftover speaker outputs would be sent to the external amp, but I see now this is done with the preamp outs and an RCA cable, not the speaker out. There is a full set of preouts indeed, and I presume using the preouts does not disable the AVR's internal amp from going to that same channel? Said another way, if I use the front preouts can I still use the front speaker outputs on the AVR as well?
I am looking at two options: Emotiva XPA 2 or XPA 3:
Option 1: XPA 2 : 300w x 2 : Use the front speaker (CM10) preouts to the external amp and power the CM10's with just the external amp (no biamp needed?) as it's a full 300w per channel at 8ohms.
Option 2: XPA 3: 200w x 3: Use the front and center speaker preouts to the external amp to the CM10's and the CMC2 center, as well as bi-amp the front CM10's but not the CMC2. This would result in a bi-amp of the CM10's of 200w from the emotiva amp and up to 125w from the AVR, and then a single amp from Emotiva to the CMC2 (which is rated at 200w only and I presume I should not biamp it with the AVR as well?).
As for the patio, you are right I won't have any internal amps left on the 7009 for a zone 2. I'm guessing I could add another external amp perhaps, but I also have my old AVR and old KLH 300w towers with 15'' woofers that I'm considering putting under my deck and having a monster outdoor system (I have limited neighbors and they blast music too). I presume there is a way to use my second AVR as the second external amp to the Marantz 7009, but my head is starting to get fuzzy with all these connections and for now I'll just have a seperate system outside and worry about multi zone networking after I get the basics done first.
You are correct, when you use the preout, you
Still have power at the regular speaker posts.
Either of your options would work.
Regardless, I may have gotten carried away with the 4 CM8's instead of smaller alternatives in M1 or CM1 (fwiw I got the CM1's for the 4 heights when I get the 7009 AVR), at least as far as movie utilization goes. That said, the symmetry and visual asthetics of the CM8's creating the circle is pretty damn cool and the Multi-Stereo setting for music (full range to all speakers) is nothing short of STUNNING. It's like the entire room is a sweet spot (and I don't even have the subs or external amp yet). Also, while the CM8's are just over 2x the price of the CM1's, I don't have to worry about mounting them or running wires up the wall (small concern but I used it for subjective justification nevertheless).
So far, I've tested stereo with single amp, stereo with bi-amp (huge improvement over single amp with the CM10's) and 7.1 for a movie and multi-stereo setting for music. I really need to get the 2 Supercube 8000's in before I comment about the movie experience b/c they will totally change things compared to my old 100w sub (3000w vs 100w lol), but again I'm absolutely blown away by how amazing multi-stereo setting for music is in 7.1 setup. The hairs on my arms literally stand up.
Finally, I've got a variety of speaker cable types/guages I'm testing. For what it's worth, the Audioquest Type 4 speaker cable (to fronts and center) seems to work fantastic, but I'm guessing is very overpriced. I've got Audioquest X-2 50' wires for the rest of the speakers which seems to my ears to work just as good at a lower price, although I did buy the banana connector add ons too. However, for comparison, I used two older and smaller gugage, little shielded, speaker wires for some of the CM8's and it's incredible how distorted the CM8's connected with the crappy wire gets once volume goes into loud or very loud terrority, while the speakers with the type 4 or x-2 wires remain crystal clear. What are your thoughts on ideal speaker wire?
I got talked into getting Audioquest HDMI carbon level cables as well (a 3 and 2 meter one). I'm going to do similar testing of these, although need at least HDMI 1.4 standard to support 4k video to my new Sony 4k TV.
For the XPA3, I'm thinking 200w from the emotiva to the CM10's bass input and up to 125w from the AVR's front amps will be a pretty solid biamp for the CM10's and I'm not sure if I'll realize any noticeable difference in this setup on the CM10's vs the XPA2's 300w to the CM10's (and not using the AVR's front amps then at all?). 200w also maxes out the CMC2 alone, so the XPA 3 seems the smart way to go here....
Ok, I'm getting the XPA-5 actually. It's $200 more than the XP-3, but has the same 200w per channel and I can use the extra 2 channels for the zone 2 preout for my patio speakers and easily turn zone 2 on/off via the marantz to seemlessly play the same music in the basement as out on the patio.
I've still got the 145w Marantz external amp coming from BB, so it will be fun to test it compared to the Emotiva XPA-5 and see what benefit there is in the extra 55w rating and/or sound characteristics in single and biamping of the CM10's. Will return the looser.
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