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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,


I just got some hand-me-down BOSE 501 series ii speakers. They're in great condition, but they need a new receiver. The sticker on the back says 100 watts rms and 4 ohm. I am on a shoestring budget and frankly I have no idea what I'm doing. PLEASE HELP!


I am trying to buy the cheapest used receiver I can get away with--something in the $50 range--and then maybe upgrade the receiver and/or speakers in a few years. Nothing I can afford is rated for 4 ohm speakers so I am looking to minimize the risk of damaging anything. I will be using the speakers for music and movies in a small room at a moderate volume, and the receiver will only have to power these two speakers (i.e., no surround sound). It would be nice if I could crank the volume up every now and then, but if I can't that's ok. The main issue is not damaging the speakers, and the next issue is *hopefully* not having the setup sound like crap. If I run a small/moderate risk of frying a $50 receiver, that's not as big of a deal, although obviously I'd like to avoid it.


Most of my content will stream through my apple tv, which only outputs in hdmi and optical audio. So either the receiver or the tv will have to convert that to an analog signal.


There are two setups I have been considering (and I'd be very open to other suggestions):


Option 1: A lower-end receiver that is under 10 years old, such as an Onkyo TX-SR505 (just for example). The receivers I have seen in this category accept the optical audio input and in some cases hdmi, so I would then have the receiver convert the digital signal to analog.


Option 2: A better quality receiver that is maybe 20-30 years old, such as a Sony STR-D911 (which from what I can tell is a higher-end Sony from the early 1990's). From what I've seen these receivers only accept rca input, so what I'd do is have the tv convert the digital signal and then output to the receiver. (My tv is a lower-end Samsung hdtv from about 5 years ago.)


I have two main questions for you guys...


1) Do you think either of these setups will work without a serious risk of damaging the speakers? Is one better than the other?


2) I know neither setup will sound great, but do you think one would be likely to sound better than the other?


Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
 

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Speakers are damaged by too much power. If you don't abuse your speakers, they will almost certainly suffer no damage.


The problem would be playing the system too loudly, and having it shut down due to overload (the good scenario.) In the bad scenario, the receiver would fail.


So I guess my question would be, how loud do you plan on playing your system?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! That's what I thought based on poking around on the internet but I wanted to check with someone who knew what they were talking about.


I think I'm going to get the Onkyo HT-R500. I think it should be able to handle the speakers at a moderate volume, since it's better than other systems that advertise 4 ohms. And it will convert the digital signal so I don't have to run it through the tv.


Thanks again.
 

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If the receiver isn't OK with a 4 ohm load then at moderate to high volumes you may cause damage to the receiver. Even if the receiver is "better" than others that claim they can handle 4 ohms.


I would suggest one of three routes:


1. get an AVR that can definitely handle 4 ohms; or a receiver with pre-outs and an amp


2. if you can't afford #1, then save until you can, or


3. sell the 901s and use the money to buy a receiver and some other 8 ohm speakers
 

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Go for option #2 but look at a stereo amp or 2 channel integrated amplifer. If you only have 2 speakers why pay for 5 channels of amplification? NAD and Yamaha have made these (as well as many other companies) and you should be able to find one for a reasonable price. $50 bucks for an amp is not really a reasonable price even for a used amp IMO, more like $100 -$150.


Mark
 

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You can live with 4 ohm speakers at moderate volumes. As many people have. One person on this forum thinks any receiver can handle 4 ohm speakers. But some people have reported having their receiver shut down. And some people may have managed to damage their receiver.


But 4 ohm speakers are inherently dangerous. I think movies may be mostly safe because the receiver has much time to cool down. Cranking music at high volumes is not suggested, IMO.


I personally would not buy 4 ohm speakers, just because I think most receivers were not really designed for them. But that does not mean you can't use them with common sense, I think.
 

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Onkyo TX-8211

http://filedepot.onkyousa.com/Files/...24e19305735253


When I was in film school 10 years ago and sold part time in the audio department at Circuit City, I frequently recommended the Onkyo 8211 stereo receiver to those who wanted to drive 4 Ω speakers (or run two 8 Ω pairs in parallel). As the manual will attest, the 8211 is equipped to drive low impedance loads. And, best of all, you can find it on eBay right now in your price range.


AJ
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by beboram /forum/post/19520464


Look at the Harman Kardon Line. One of those would work just fine.

The OP will not find an HK stereo receiver in the $50 price range unless it is a positively ancient model.


AJ
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for all the help. Getting these speakers to work has become a "bonding experience" with my fiancee's father, who gave me the speakers because he didn't want to worry about his 4 ohm speakers anymore. So now I definitely have to get these speakers working, even if I risk destroying a cheap amp in the process. (Otherwise I'd just sell them on ebay or store them until I can afford a better amp.)


Mark and AJ,


Thanks for the recommendations. Just to make sure I was clear, my reservation was that my (lower-end samsung from 2005) hdtv would have to convert the digital to analog rather than the receiver doing it. (Everything I have found which accepts a digital signal also has dolby 5.1--there doesn't seem to be much of a market for one without the other.) I don't have a good sense for how important the digital to analog converter is for sound quality, compared to the quality of the amp/receiver. Sounds like you are saying the amp is more important, right?


Actually, there is a TX-8511 available for local pickup near me, which also says it can handle 4 ohm speakers in the instruction manual. I'm guessing TX-8511 > TX-8211 because 5 is greater than 2, right?


So the setup I will use the most will be:


1) apple tv connects to cheap samsung hdtv via hdmi

2) cheap samsung connects to onkyo TX-8511 via rca cables

3) TX-8511 connects to a pair of 4 ohm speakers


Should I call the guy and take it? The main alternative at this point is to have the apple tv connect to an Onkyo HT-R500 via optical audio, and bypass the tv entirely for audio. The HT-R500 does not say it can handle 4 ohm speaks in the manual, but I'm not sure whether that really means anything.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by djb281 /forum/post/19520868


Yeah, I thought about just selling them but I think that would be rude, since I am getting these speakers from my fiancee's father, who is replacing them with 8 ohm speakers. He's definitely going to ask what amp/receiver I got at Thanksgiving dinner next week...

Well, at $50 you are pretty much talking used, unless you get a Gizmo (which can deal with 4 ohms).


If you go used, where are you and what is available on your local craigslist?
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 /forum/post/0



Well, at $50 you are pretty much talking used, unless you get a Gizmo (which can deal with 4 ohms).


If you go used, where are you and what is available on your local craigslist?

Yeah, I'm looking mostly on eBay and craigslist. I just found a ONKYO TX-8511 on craigslist that I think I'll get. My only remaining issue is that it will need the tv to convert the digital to analog, and I'm wondering if that will harm the sound quality. The tv is a lower end samsung HDTV, about 5 years old, if that's any indication.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by djb281 /forum/post/19521512


My only remaining issue is that it will need the tv to convert the digital to analog, and I'm wondering if that will harm the sound quality.

You do not have room w/in your very limited budget to be greatly concerned about sound quality.


AJ
 

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As mentioned by Wi.... Since you are on a limited budget you cannot expect the best in sound quality. Too be honest I am not sure exactly how the samsung will sound when performing the D to A conversion. I have a Samsung Plasma but have never used it to connect an audio device in that fashion. I recommended a stereo amplifier since you needed more power and were only using 2 fairly difficult to drive speakers. 2 channel amps come in handy even if you do upgrade your main HT room to a 5 or 7 channel system. You could use the stereo amp for a den, bedroom, family room etc...


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everybody, I'm going to get the Onkyo TX-8511 from craigslist, which is a 2-channel analog receiver that is supposed to drive 4-ohm speakers pretty well. If it sounds bad running the digital signal through the tv then I can always look into some sort of iPod dock which will do it.


I should have phrased things more carefully when I asked about "sound quality". We are speaking in relative terms here. The best speakers I own are some $100 klipsch computer speakers, so that is my standard for comparison. When I tested the 4 ohm speakers to see if they still worked, I hooked them up to the amp in the subwoofer of these computer speakers and THAT sounded great by my standards. Thankfully my subwoofer seems ok--I didn't realize the risk to the subwoofer when I used it to test the speakers, and I turned it off when I could feel the subwoofer heating up.
 
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