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tube amp... and 5.1 horns setup?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Here is my setup.

Yaqin MC10l tube amp
Klipsch KG4 horn speakers
BBE 882i sonic maximizer
Infocus IN72 projector
Homemade screen (108 diag)
PS3 and MediaCentre PC.

I am moving house this month and in the new place will use ikea expedit shelves to build a floor to ceiling bookcase. The project will sit in (or on) this bookcase and throw to the screen on the far wall. The pc, ps3 and 882i will sit alongside the projector in the bookcase. The amp underneath the screen, between the two speakers.

Now I have just read this thread with interest a thread on here of a guy using expedit shelving in new setup and it led me to wondering....

Is there any way I can use my existing amp to create a surround sound environment?

As I understand it I am best pairing horn speakers with a tube amp for greatest benefit. The amp only has one set of outputs, which to me suggests it can only drive one set of stereo speakers. If I was to run this output into a another box and then run a set of surround sound speakers from that I am guessing I'll lose that tube/horn tone?

So what are my options here? I like the setup I currently have, and would like to add to it rather than replace it.

Is the answer buy another amp and somehow run the two at the same time?

Many thanks in advance,
John
post #2 of 11
Dolby digital surround sound is a true discrete 5 channel plus 1 low frequency effects (LFE) channel audio codex. It needs to be decoded by the DVD player or the a/v receiver or preamp.

I think the only way you can get a DD5.1 setup using most of your existing equipment is to get an a/v receiver (or stand alone preamp + additional amplifiers) with separate channel pre-outs to feed the L-R front channels to your tube amp and use the internal remaining 3 amps in the a/v receiver to feed the center, surrounds, and LFE powered subwoofer.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply.

So I am with you on needing an av receiver to do the logical processing and to route the speakers appropriately.

I *really* like the idea of having the internal amp of the avr unit running the center, surrounds, and LFE powered subwoofer.

But... would mixing tube and solid state cause phase issues?

If not (or they are so small to be unnoticeable) then excellent and could anyone please recommend an avr unit please? Perhaps I would be better of getting a bundle of avr and speakers and then putting the front L+R speakers in a cupboard.

Thanks again
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
so just an update for y'all

I am currently investigating the following routes

creative DDTS-100 Decoder and a creative speaker bundle

or

pairing a t-amp with each speaker and somehow connecting them all together.
post #5 of 11
there is a lot of semi-mystical hysteria about tube vs. solid state - but using a tube amp for the front 2 speakers and the receiver for the other 3 +1 will be fine. Balancing the levels up will be a challenge, but very do-able.

best I can tell on the DDTS unit, be prepared to make up some custom 3.5mm stereo plug to separate RCA male cables - or find some premade and label each of the 2 channels coming out on each 3.5mm stereo jack. Those individual RCA cables would feed the stand alone amps (tube amp + 3 others) and the powered subwoofer input
post #6 of 11
John,
Just to note--your avr amp would be running center and surrounds only--the powered subwoofer has its own amp.
I have a tube amp with quality front LR speakers for 2-channel listening, and use the AVR for rear surrounds.
You don't mention that you have purchased center or surround speakers yet. I think you might find a center speaker, powered by the AVR amp, to sound somewhat different from the tube-powered LR horns. The speakers are the main thing--if you get an identical speaker in the center you might be OK. But otherwise you might lose the smooth front soundstage that you want for movies. I chose to leave out the center (phantom center) and got better results in my system. With a good stereo amp and front speakers you should have a very smooth soundstage up front and not need a center IMO. Generally I think the farther off to the side you sit (the greater the viewing angle is off the perpendicular, the more you would notice the lack of a real center.
If you skip buying a center you can spend more on better surrounds, that more closely match your current speakers. However, again IMO, for movies the matching of surrounds to fronts is not as key as getting center and front LR to match. For multi-channel music it's a whole different thing--I won't discuss that here.
My AVR only powers the two rear surrounds currently. It's useful for that, although I am considering an outboard amp for those as well.

Just make sure you get an AVR with preamp-outs. The less-expensive ones often don't have those.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sharpnine,

I dont have any other speakers yet. My plan was to pick up more cheap klipsch speakers off ebay and go with them. I have very briefly looked at parts express and thought about building my own, but dont have the wood working tools. I take your point on board with regards to a center speaker. Hmm..... there is certainly lots to consider.

I guess I am trying to be too awkward here in combining tube and SS, and the penalty of that appears to be the required equipment (an AVR with pre amp outputs) are beyond my budget.

And at the end of the day any system I put together has to be wife friendly. Another box with an on/off button and its own volume control could take some time for her to master.

So maybe it is time to sell the tube amp, and get a Home Theater bundle. I have never heard the KG4s through a solid state amp, so time to borrow one and try that out.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well I have it narrowed down to three different HK AVR's ... all around the same price from HK's ebay outlet.

Harman Kardon AVR 146 5.1
Harman Kardon AVR 235 7.1
Harman Kardon AVR 154 5.1

The 7.1 box is the only which has FL and FR pre-outs, but it also has no HDMI in or outs.

So the budget is around 150 - low I know, but I am very poor having just bought my dream bike........ and I still need to get additional speakers as well.

Any kits recommendations HUGELY appreciated.

As always, many thanks in advance,
John
post #9 of 11
if you just really "need" some speakers as fillers until the budget builds back up, consider these 2 pair http://www.mcmelectronics.com/produc...-9085-/50-9085 and a center http://www.mcmelectronics.com/produc...=prodCrossSell

These are inexpensive, but decent units, reviewed here http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/s...m-audio-50-908
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the links. Much appreciated.

So for the AVR I went for the 235. It was a really touch call. It doesnt have hdmi and only YpBpR component in and out. Which is a big negative. But it does have pre-outs for FL and FR. It can also power 7.1. Which is probably a gimmick but means I can get a 5.1 speaker pack and use it to complement my current speakers rather than replace them.

The theory is...

The AVR will feed into the tube amp for FL AND FR horn speakers.

The AVR will connect directly to an "Energy Take 5" 5.1 speaker pack for the rest of the setup.

I am curious to see if the tube amp really is any good here, so this setup should allow me to swap out the tube amp and run FL and FR directly for comparative tests.

I hope all this rambling is of some interest and help to others considering the same.

Many thanks again for all the advice and links.

When the AVR comes is in I'll do some comparative tests between it and the tube amp and post them here.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
long story short - the tube amp sounded better, but not by much. running the two of them at the same time gave no noticeable benefit. at least to my ears
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