Originally Posted by dknightd
I'm not sure what you are saying here - as I understand it his speakers have no amps.
Right, his onkyo receiver houses his origional amplifiers.
And I've never heard of an amp forgetting how to drive speakers.
I was speaking figuratively. However it happens -various parts failures can make a power amp sound OK driving a high impedance load, but not do well driving a low impedance load. For this to happen to all of the amplifiers in a multichannel receiver would be pretty remarkable, but not impossible.
Lets give the OP the benefit of the doubt for now.
I was. If I wanted to be mean I could say that his ears are broken! ;-)
It is possible that the little amps he bought sound better to him than the built in onkyo amps.
I wouldn't expect them to sound any different. However, we could have a case of "Constructor's ear" where his personal involvement with the little amps or at least the idea of using them is dominating his perceptions. But, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and not going there very seriously at this time.
He does not say what Onkyo he has. But I suspect based on the description is it a cheap HTIB type of receiver. Does it have a model number?
Good question, but even a HTIB receiver should be able to drive speakers.
Sure, the way he is using these little amps doesn't seem to make a lot of sense - he is after all passing the signal through the Onkyo amps, then through a cheap speaker to line level adapter (probably just a couple of resistors), then to his little amps.
I'm not worried about the line level adaptor - I've designed and built my own version of them (I'm a degreed and experienced engineer, also very experienced with hands-on electronics and when I built my own - two resistors per channel!)
The mind-bending part is where the Onkyo amps are still in the signal path. Not that I am worried about them causing problems if in good operating condition, but because of all the potential failures that are excluded by their presence in a presumably good signal path.
But it is quite possible the cheap Onkyo amps are happier driving a high impedance load (which is what the adapters provide).
Just any good power amp measures better when driving a high impedance load. However, just about any good modern power amp measures very well, as long as it is not overloaded.
So maybe, just maybe, he really is getting better sound than before. Who knows, it is possible. . . maybe. . . Heck, a low end Onkyo probably doesn't have much money invested in output gain stages, and maybe they are not very good.
Not very good by modern power amp standards is still pretty good in the cosmic scheme of things. Remember tubes? ;-) I do! :-(
Output transistors can die, and maybe not making them work so hard results in better sound?
Usually a bad output transistor has pretty catastrophic effects.
On the other hand, he is paying $50 for two channels of amplification, plus the cost of the adapters, plus the cost of the receiver. He might be better off selling everything he owns and putting that money toward a more capable receiver.
I bought one of those little Tripath amps a few years back. It sounded OK driving NHT super Zeroes, but it stank on the test bench.
This could turn out to be a useful learning experience for him. Learning is always a good thing. You should have seen some of the crazy things I've tried over the years - learning by doing can be a very powerful method.
Been there, done that.
I used to believe what I read in The Absolute Sound - I was a charter subscriber of both it and Stereophile.
Or, he could be building and trying to sell these little amps and this is one of his attempts at marketing.
Well, he picked a pretty tough house to play to, if that is his plan. BS does not do well here, I note.