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post #1 of 15 Old 10-19-2019, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Speaker Switch Box Needed

I'm tired of using two sets of speaker cables. One set comes from my AVR. The other, from my MC2205. Easy enough to unplug/plug cables into my Motion 40's. I want one less thing to do when I listen to my 2 channel set up. I've decided that a selector box is in order. I'd like one that would work with my Harmony 650 Remote. Quality RCA In/Outs on the back too. Machined, not stamped would be nice. That way when I select Music on my 650. It will turn off the avr and whatever else was connected to it at the time. And switch the speakers to another Input. I def won't do Pass-Through with my avr. My budget is $300.
PS: I'd like it to not have Volume control. Unnecessary signal path, etc.

Any/All Mac owners, please chime in.

AVR: Yamaha TSR-7850
Cables: Homemade, Great connectors/cable. Self satisfaction!
Speakers: Martin Logan Motion 40's
Pre-Amp: Mac C-34V
Amp: Mac MC 2205
Sources: Technics SL-1200 MK5, MacBook Pro
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-19-2019, 03:32 PM
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A search here will pull up several threads on the topic. As I recall, nobody has found a remote-controlled switchbox that switches between two amplifiers. In fact, manual high-quality units are rare and often are discontinued models. Here is part of a post I wrote recently:

"I bought the Niles DPS-1 switchbox mentioned earlier and used it for a few years [in our theater room]. The DPS-1 is housed in a steel box and can handle 350 watts/channel. Niles told me it utilizes a very high quality switch. It feels military grade when you press it. Pins fit nicely into the DPS-1, as will bare wire up to 14 gauge. Niles discontinued the unit several years ago but perhaps you could find a good used one.

"Niles also once offered automated switchboxes, some of which may still be available. They are the ABS-1, SAS-1, and SPK-1. I [replaced the DPS-1 and now] use the relay-switching SAS-1 in our theater room to switch between a Yamaha AVR's front left and right power amps for routine TV shows and an Adcom power amp for Blu-ray and DVD films or music on CD."

The Niles SAS-1 is very convenient to use because it allows you to select a default amplifier that it feeds to your speakers, then automatically switches to a different amp when the latter is powered up.

If you find a switchbox that meets all your stated requirements, please post it here.

There is an alternative suggested to me by a McIntosh representative about 15 years ago. If you do not mind using your Mac preamp and power amp for video purposes, you can connect your Yamaha's front two-channel preamp outputs to an input on your C34V and use the MC2205 to power your front mains. You then set the Mac preamp's volume knob to a repeatable setting, such as straight up. Then recalibrate all the other speakers, which will be driven by the Yamaha. I did this for awhile with our McIntosh integrated amp and a Denon AVP-8000 AV preamp while our theater room was under construction. It worked nicely.

Also note this thread:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...witch-box.html
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-19-2019, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
A search here will pull up several threads on the topic. As I recall, nobody has found a remote-controlled switchbox that switches between two amplifiers. In fact, manual high-quality units are rare and often are discontinued models. Here is part of a post I wrote recently:

"I bought the Niles DPS-1 switchbox mentioned earlier and used it for a few years [in our theater room]. The DPS-1 is housed in a steel box and can handle 350 watts/channel. Niles told me it utilizes a very high quality switch. It feels military grade when you press it. Pins fit nicely into the DPS-1, as will bare wire up to 14 gauge. Niles discontinued the unit several years ago but perhaps you could find a good used one.

"Niles also once offered automated switchboxes, some of which may still be available. They are the ABS-1, SAS-1, and SPK-1. I [replaced the DPS-1 and now] use the relay-switching SAS-1 in our theater room to switch between a Yamaha AVR's front left and right power amps for routine TV shows and an Adcom power amp for Blu-ray and DVD films or music on CD."

The Niles SAS-1 is very convenient to use because it allows you to select a default amplifier that it feeds to your speakers, then automatically switches to a different amp when the latter is powered up.

If you find a switchbox that meets all your stated requirements, please post it here.

There is an alternative suggested to me by a McIntosh representative about 15 years ago. If you do not mind using your Mac preamp and power amp for video purposes, you can connect your Yamaha's front two-channel preamp outputs to an input on your C34V and use the MC2205 to power your front mains. You then set the Mac preamp's volume knob to a repeatable setting, such as straight up. Then recalibrate all the other speakers, which will be driven by the Yamaha. I did this for awhile with our McIntosh integrated amp and a Denon AVP-8000 AV preamp while our theater room was under construction. It worked nicely.

Also note this thread:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...witch-box.html
@Alex F. The Niles SPK-1 is close to what I want. Someone else sent me the same link. And that seem like it's what I want. As it can be built to order. I need a 2 source, 1 Out control box. as for having it work by remote. I really don't need that now that I think about it. As I STILL have to get up off the couch to turn on the Mac gear and TT or MacBook Pro. I'm going to keep looking. BTW, that Luxman AS-55 seems nice too. Thanks for the input.

McIntosh C34V, MC2205, Martin Logan Motion 40's, SVS PB-1000, Technics SL-1200MK5 w/Nagoka MP-200, Topping D50, Magni 3, Macbook Pro w/Music in ALAC
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-19-2019, 05:39 PM
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You are welcome.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-20-2019, 07:49 AM
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Funny this topic comes up now. I've been looking for a safe manual 4-to-1 switcher for quite a while. I've never seen a remote switcher of any size. I've seen quite a few relatively cheap switchers. I've seen plans on how to build one, but I'm no electrical engineer. I don't want to risk frying my vintage components, although a 2-to-1 looks relatively easy to build with a 4PDT switch. Anyway yesterday I sent off an email to http://www.mfspdesigns.com/index.php/en/ about whether their 4-to-1 switcher would be safe with 4 amplifiers as input. They have remote preamps, but no switchers. Maybe they could build one for you, although I imagine it would be more than $300.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-20-2019, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmittyJS View Post
Funny this topic comes up now. I've been looking for a safe manual 4-to-1 switcher for quite a while. I've never seen a remote switcher of any size. I've seen quite a few relatively cheap switchers. I've seen plans on how to build one, but I'm no electrical engineer. I don't want to risk frying my vintage components, although a 2-to-1 looks relatively easy to build with a 4PDT switch. Anyway yesterday I sent off an email to http://www.mfspdesigns.com/index.php/en/ about whether their 4-to-1 switcher would be safe with 4 amplifiers as input. They have remote preamps, but no switchers. Maybe they could build one for you, although I imagine it would be more than $300.
Someone sent me the link for MFS Designs. I realize that I don't need it to do IR. As I still have to get up and actually turn on my Mac Amp and Pre. Not to mention my TT or MacBook Pro for 2-Channel listening. So, a 2 Source Input, 1 Output Active Switch Box is what I need.

McIntosh C34V, MC2205, Martin Logan Motion 40's, SVS PB-1000, Technics SL-1200MK5 w/Nagoka MP-200, Topping D50, Magni 3, Macbook Pro w/Music in ALAC

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post #7 of 15 Old 10-21-2019, 04:52 PM
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I have a bunch of these sorts of switchers.

I like how this affordable one (I have never seen in person) has beefy 5-way binding posts and I think the spacing will accept dual banana jacks (which I find useful). Keeping the L and R as separate switches in theory increases channel separation but I highly doubt it would be detectable by ear alone.

https://www.amazon.com/Amplifier-Rec.../dp/B0796KGVXT
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-21-2019, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I have a bunch of these sorts of switchers.

I like how this affordable one (I have never seen in person) has beefy 5-way binding posts and I think the spacing will accept dual banana jacks (which I find useful). Keeping the L and R as separate switches in theory increases channel separation but I highly doubt it would be detectable by ear alone.



I have this same one (SP-71 Switch) in my office setup and really like it. I have a tube amp and a Marantz HD-AMP-1 connected to it. Recently, however, I turned on the Marantz to stream something from Tidal and the left speaker was crackling and popping. After some debugging and cable shuffling I realized it was the left channel of the Marantz as the turntable via tube amp still sounded fine.

Anyone ever have an issue like this *and* using a speaker switch? I always took the precaution to never have the two on concurrently - even with the switch in place.


Could be unrelated, so not trying to imply that the switch is to blame, but definitely has me apprehensive. The Marantz is off being repaired, so will see what becomes of that.
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-23-2019, 07:28 AM
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I have often jerry-rigged speaker switch boxes using consumer-grade switches from the local hardware store. Sometimes I use pairs (or more) of SPDT switches (known as "3-way"). Or simply put each speaker on its own on-off switch. The only concern I have is that you may be briefly disconnecting the amp from any speaker and that could be bad for the amp, especially if you're pumping many Amps through the switches. FYI, 100 watts into a 4-ohm load is only 5 Amps and I use 20 Amp switches.

I just reread my post and noted a possible confusion: amp is short for amplifier, and Amp is short for Ampere. Remember, any unit based on a person's name is capitalized (Amp, Volt, Ohm, Farad, etc.)!

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post #10 of 15 Old 10-23-2019, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by norphaedrus View Post
Anyone ever have an issue like this *and* using a speaker switch? I always took the precaution to never have the two on concurrently - even with the switch in place.
From many, many years ago I've heard that some amps do not like being turned on without a load (speakers) connected. Unfortunately, I don't have any information about how true that is or about which types of amps are affected. Out of precaution, I try to have speakers connected before turning on an amp, but I've never had an issue in the times when I've violated that "rule". It would be great if someone could share more light on whether on not this is an issue since it's directly related to the switch question.
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post #11 of 15 Old 10-23-2019, 12:30 PM
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On tube amps there can be a danger when turning on an amp without speakers connected. In modern times, using transistors or integated circuits, this shouldn't be an issue.
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post #12 of 15 Old 10-23-2019, 04:50 PM
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Perhaps why the guy at mfspdesigns uses the dummy load for his PSB3-1SCE Speakers Switch


Interestingly enough my tube amp was fine, but the solid state exhibited the problem. Again, could be a different issue altogether but I don't generally believe in coincidences.



Maybe I should play it safe and get an additional set of speakers. That is the kind of logic that wives greatly appreciate.
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post #13 of 15 Old 10-24-2019, 07:04 PM
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A safer solution would be to use an integrated amp with HT-Bypass. With a single click on the integrated amp's remote control, A) bypass its pre-amp when watching movies (receiver's volume control takes over) or B) use its pre-amp for 2 ch sessions (integrated-amp's volume control takes over). In both cases the integrated-amp's amplifier is used to drive the speakers.
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post #14 of 15 Old 10-24-2019, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyroscopics View Post
A safer solution would be to use an integrated amp with HT-Bypass. With a single click on the integrated amp's remote control, A) bypass its pre-amp when watching movies (receiver's volume control takes over) or B) use its pre-amp for 2 ch sessions (integrated-amp's volume control takes over). In both cases the integrated-amp's amplifier is used to drive the speakers.
The OP will be using his McIntosh stereo preamp and power amp. The preamp, last produced in 1992, does not have an HT bypass. Thus, see Post 2 (paragraph 6), which discusses a workaround that provides a bypass method.
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Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
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post #15 of 15 Old 10-25-2019, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Thrill Killer View Post
I'm tired of using two sets of speaker cables. One set comes from my AVR. The other, from my MC2205. Easy enough to unplug/plug cables into my Motion 40's. I want one less thing to do when I listen to my 2 channel set up. I've decided that a selector box is in order. I'd like one that would work with my Harmony 650 Remote. Quality RCA In/Outs on the back too. Machined, not stamped would be nice. That way when I select Music on my 650. It will turn off the avr and whatever else was connected to it at the time. And switch the speakers to another Input. I def won't do Pass-Through with my avr. My budget is $300.
PS: I'd like it to not have Volume control. Unnecessary signal path, etc.

Any/All Mac owners, please chime in.

AVR: Yamaha TSR-7850
Cables: Homemade, Great connectors/cable. Self satisfaction!
Speakers: Martin Logan Motion 40's
Pre-Amp: Mac C-34V
Amp: Mac MC 2205
Sources: Technics SL-1200 MK5, MacBook Pro

You have a decent speakers and amp, you need to be a little careful in buying a speaker switch. I don't know exactly what's in the market as I build my own. You need very heavy duty relays to switch the signal, not just any cheap switch box. My advice is NOT be fancy and want remote, just be thankful if you can find a really really heavy duty 2:1 switch, DON'T get fancy looking for 5:1, remote and all.

I can tell you my experience in building my first relay switch unit that FAILED. I already used big 40A automotive relays with 12 gauge connecting wires AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE. It degraded the sound to the point it's not useable. It's now in the shed.

Now I just designed another one to give it a second try. I use TWO 40A relays together to further beef up the signal path. Total relays count is 8 to make a 2:1 switcher. I actually made a PCB with heavy thick copper to minimize loss. I don't even use connector, instead solder the speaker cable directly onto the pcb to minimize the signal loss. I still have to see whether that's good enough. Just the parts alone is over $80. I do have wired remote. Even with all these, My confidence level is only 50:50, I am not putting a lot of hope, but I do a lot of comparison test, a 2:1 switch with even wired remote will make it convenient to do DBT, so I just give it another try.

I hope this will give you some idea. If you find anything you like, post it here and I can comment a little whether it even look heavy duty enough.

Attached is the picture of my FAILED 2:1 switch. Look at the size of those relay reference to the banana speaker connector, look at the size of the wires. This is the failed one. If you see one with same size or smaller relays, it definitely will NOT perform any better.
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Last edited by alan0354; 10-25-2019 at 01:06 AM.
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