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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll start by thanking anyone in advance for the help. Let me give an idea of what I am working with and the reasons I really can't or don't want to change it. My avr is a Sony str-dn1050. I have a polks csi a6 center, rti12 front l/r, rti10 surround l/r. Rti150 surround back l/r, and 2 klipsch rs12 subs. I love the way my setup sounds but I really feel like I am underpowering everything but my subs and center channel. Therefore I want to investigate external amps for all channels and big amping everything. The one problem is that my sony does not have pre amp out so I would need to do line level conversions. I cannot change from sony (wife's orders) because of the pure convenience of bravia sync, which makes her life so much easier. I also really like the 1050 minus it not having pre outs. I have never done external amplification so I am unsure at which direction to go, but I know I want to because everything I have read says these polks are underwhelming unless you give them a fair amount of power. Is there any amps that you all can recommend to me that will allow me to do my own frequency management for bi amping, or am I wasting my time bi amping and should just let the internal crossover do all the work? I'm also trying to stay away from filing bankruptcy because of huge amp prices, so try and take it easy on me. Thanks a lot.
 

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In my opinion, unless your AVR has preouts you should
not bother with external amps. too much trouble. you
would have to buy line level converters and this
would possibly introduce "noise" into the system.

What are your crossover set for your speakers?
It is possible that by raising the xover on the speakers
in question they could play cleaner and louder.
 

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I'll start by thanking anyone in advance for the help. Let me give an idea of what I am working with and the reasons I really can't or don't want to change it. My avr is a Sony str-dn1050. I have a polks csi a6 center, rti12 front l/r, rti10 surround l/r. Rti150 surround back l/r, and 2 klipsch rs12 subs. I love the way my setup sounds but I really feel like I am underpowering everything but my subs and center channel. Therefore I want to investigate external amps for all channels and big amping everything. The one problem is that my sony does not have pre amp out so I would need to do line level conversions. I cannot change from sony (wife's orders) because of the pure convenience of bravia sync, which makes her life so much easier. I also really like the 1050 minus it not having pre outs. I have never done external amplification so I am unsure at which direction to go, but I know I want to because everything I have read says these polks are underwhelming unless you give them a fair amount of power. Is there any amps that you all can recommend to me that will allow me to do my own frequency management for bi amping, or am I wasting my time bi amping and should just let the internal crossover do all the work? I'm also trying to stay away from filing bankruptcy because of huge amp prices, so try and take it easy on me. Thanks a lot.
Given your requirements, one inuke dsp amp per channel (either the inuke NU6000DSP, NU3000DSP or the NU1000DSP, depending on how much power you want) should fit the bill perfectly. You'll need to buy line level converters as well.
 

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People also say that my (former) magnepans, which are at least a bit harder to drive, generally, only sound good with lots of power. They were nuts. The speaker gets however loud the incoming voltage tells it to get. More voltage = louder. Also = more power. Conversely, less loud (like during silences or when people are whispering, = even less power. SO a lot depends on how loudly you listen. Technically what happens when you run out of power is the amp starts to distort, which will, oddly enough, make it sound more "full" at low distortion levels, and may even give the impression of more bass. If distortion isn't audible with your current power, more power will only serve (assuming the amp is otherwise accurate and not unduly noisy) to make the inaudible distortion even more inaudibler. Meaning no real difference to you.

Now. I've owned more and less powerful standalone amps, and certainly would not tell you that your world is going to end, or the sun is going to go supernova if you acquire additional power that you don't need. It might even improve your listening experience simply by removing a potential source of worry. But power per se, if not used, won't make a real difference.

Numbers of folk will jump on here to espouse the view I used to hold, that somehow the unused headroom changes what the speaker does, as if the speaker has a "potential power sensing" organ and can just tell that, if it needed it, amp B could supply more power than amp A. Ohm's law dictates that the power delivered at any given voltage gain is exactly the same, assuming sufficiently low levels of distortion and otherwise appropriate amplifier design. And you can certainly ride that train if you want to.

IMO, if people really hear a difference between amps based purely on power it's either because the lesser powered amp has some level of detectable distortion, even if you don't think it's sounding distorted, or because (this is kind of a different way of saying the same thing) they can play higher levels, cleaner. Then, it's the higher level that sounds different, because (a) loud sounds different (simplest example being equal loudness curves making the bass more louder) and (b) once you push the speaker hard enough it will compress dynamically, which people might find pleasant even though it's inaccurate, and/or the speaker may distort quite audibly (10 times higher distortion in speakers than amps is pretty much par for the course) and the speakers' distortion may sound pretty good, too, even though it is inaccurate. Certainly guitar players the world over have enjoyed the nice sounding combination of amplifier distortion plus speaker distortion since before rock and roll was invented . . . so say the 1940s or maybe a bit before . . . .

FWIW, if I had a ton of money I'd likely get Bryston amps, just because they measure astoundingly. But they're relatively expensive . . . I did love my Bryston, though, for reasons I suspect were more psychological than aural given my relatively low listening levels (my peaks probably don't consume 20 watts per channel, so big power is not really a big deal to me). Even a little louder (3 dB) pushes you to possibly 40 watts per channel, which can start to be challenging for some receivers when everything's really cooking on peaks (these last way way less than half a second in normal movies, but they might occur often). And with my system listening at reference level (a) is impossible because my speakers will be compressing at those levels and (b) might legitimately call for over 100 watts per channel, perhaps as much as 200 (that's 10 dB louder, about twice as loud compared to my maybe-20 watt peaks . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In my opinion, unless your AVR has preouts you should
not bother with external amps. too much trouble. you
would have to buy line level converters and this
would possibly introduce "noise" into the system.

What are your crossover set for your speakers?
It is possible that by raising the xover on the speakers
in question they could play cleaner and louder.
Well, FWIW, this is the line level converter I was looking into. http://www.crutchfield.com/p_161LC8IWH/AudioControl-LC8i-White.html?tp=2001&awkw=75642057625&awat=pla&awnw=g&awcr=47663534065&awdv=cI have read many reviews stating it wont introduce noise, but we all know that may not be the case. Frankly the speakers sound fine, but in my situation, I just moved into a new house. The room where my theater was before had tile floors and smaller. Now I have it in a room that is much larger, with vaulted ceilings, and carpet. So, to my ears, it sounds far better but I have to push it MUCH MUCH harder to get to the listening level that I am used to. Which also concerns me that I am pushing my AVR way to hard. It would also be of note to mention that in my old home I was using a STR-DN1030 but I popped it shortly after moving to my new place.


Given your requirements, one inuke dsp amp per channel (either the inuke NU6000DSP, NU3000DSP or the NU1000DSP, depending on how much power you want) should fit the bill perfectly. You'll need to buy line level converters as well.
I looked at the 6000 and 3000, and if I am bi-amping i think that they may be a bit overkill, while the 1000 may fit the bill. Or again should I not bother bi-amping? I would also ask another question. If I picked up a NU amp and bi-amped any of my speakers, how would I know where to set the crossover on the amp? Polk has manuals but frankly they are crap and I could not find any frequency suggestions as to where I should crossover the frequency from low to high.


People also say that my (former) magnepans, which are at least a bit harder to drive, generally, only sound good with lots of power. They were nuts. The speaker gets however loud the incoming voltage tells it to get. More voltage = louder. Also = more power. Conversely, less loud (like during silences or when people are whispering, = even less power. SO a lot depends on how loudly you listen. Technically what happens when you run out of power is the amp starts to distort, which will, oddly enough, make it sound more "full" at low distortion levels, and may even give the impression of more bass. If distortion isn't audible with your current power, more power will only serve (assuming the amp is otherwise accurate and not unduly noisy) to make the inaudible distortion even more inaudibler. Meaning no real difference to you.

Now. I've owned more and less powerful standalone amps, and certainly would not tell you that your world is going to end, or the sun is going to go supernova if you acquire additional power that you don't need. It might even improve your listening experience simply by removing a potential source of worry. But power per se, if not used, won't make a real difference.

Numbers of folk will jump on here to espouse the view I used to hold, that somehow the unused headroom changes what the speaker does, as if the speaker has a "potential power sensing" organ and can just tell that, if it needed it, amp B could supply more power than amp A. Ohm's law dictates that the power delivered at any given voltage gain is exactly the same, assuming sufficiently low levels of distortion and otherwise appropriate amplifier design. And you can certainly ride that train if you want to.

IMO, if people really hear a difference between amps based purely on power it's either because the lesser powered amp has some level of detectable distortion, even if you don't think it's sounding distorted, or because (this is kind of a different way of saying the same thing) they can play higher levels, cleaner. Then, it's the higher level that sounds different, because (a) loud sounds different (simplest example being equal loudness curves making the bass more louder) and (b) once you push the speaker hard enough it will compress dynamically, which people might find pleasant even though it's inaccurate, and/or the speaker may distort quite audibly (10 times higher distortion in speakers than amps is pretty much par for the course) and the speakers' distortion may sound pretty good, too, even though it is inaccurate. Certainly guitar players the world over have enjoyed the nice sounding combination of amplifier distortion plus speaker distortion since before rock and roll was invented . . . so say the 1940s or maybe a bit before . . . .

FWIW, if I had a ton of money I'd likely get Bryston amps, just because they measure astoundingly. But they're relatively expensive . . . I did love my Bryston, though, for reasons I suspect were more psychological than aural given my relatively low listening levels (my peaks probably don't consume 20 watts per channel, so big power is not really a big deal to me). Even a little louder (3 dB) pushes you to possibly 40 watts per channel, which can start to be challenging for some receivers when everything's really cooking on peaks (these last way way less than half a second in normal movies, but they might occur often). And with my system listening at reference level (a) is impossible because my speakers will be compressing at those levels and (b) might legitimately call for over 100 watts per channel, perhaps as much as 200 (that's 10 dB louder, about twice as loud compared to my maybe-20 watt peaks . . . .
I understand what you are saying, and while I can agree, I just feel like when I am watching movies, or even listening to music and I turn my AVR to 3/4 of its max volume to get what I want, I do hear a little distortion, not enough to make me unhappy, but it is enough to make me worry I am pushing the AVR to hard. Is there a way I can gauge how much per channel I am outputting with a Multimeter? I apologize If I seem noobish but I have never really dug this deep into any of my setups because I was content with them. Now I find myself wanting more and more out of my HT setup.
 

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FWIW the line level converter you linked from
Crutchfield is meant for CAR audio. Not sure if
it will work in a home audio set up. You should
check on that.

Still would like you to let us know what the
x-overs you are using for your speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
FWIW the line level converter you linked from
Crutchfield is meant for CAR audio. Not sure if
it will work in a home audio set up. You should
check on that.

Still would like you to let us know what the
x-overs you are using for your speakers.

I understand it is made for car audio, but the general principal of line level converters is the same and it should not make a difference weather the application is car or home. But I could be wrong, if anyone has any experience with this I would love the input.


I apologize I failed to mention I have my speakers crossed at 50hz, which should be easily within their range. I would be open to crossing them higher but I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like they should be able to handle 50hz just fine. Again, I could be wrong. :)
 

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I understand it is made for car audio, but the general principal of line level converters is the same and it should not make a difference weather the application is car or home. But I could be wrong, if anyone has any experience with this I would love the input.


I apologize I failed to mention I have my speakers crossed at 50hz, which should be easily within their range. I would be open to crossing them higher but I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like they should be able to handle 50hz just fine. Again, I could be wrong. :)
If i were you I would raise the xovers on my speakers
to 80hz. Speakers that play content below 80 hz
can use a lot of an AVR's power. Its the bass notes
and woofers that suck up this power. You have 2 good
subs that will play the content below 80hz cleaner,
louder and with less distortion than your Polks.
This is what they were designed to do.

The benefit is your Polks will be able to play louder
while actually using LESS power.

Give it a try! Bass Mgmt baby!
 

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I'd forget about bi-amping if I were you : there's almost nothing to gain by bi-amping passive speakers.

If I were you, I'd try the bass management suggestion grasshopper gave and, if you still think you need more power, use a single inuke 3000 (without the dsp) to power both your left and right speakers.

One more thing : the car line level converters work just fine on a receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, on my receiver I have to set the speakers to small in order to activate the crossover. Do I lose anything when setting my large speakers to a small setting?
 

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I thought you already had them set to small? You said they were crossed at 50hz.....?

No, you don't lose anything by setting them to small. However you gain a LOT as outlined by grasshoppers previously.
 

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i have the polk rti12 fronts and the cs6 center as well. you're right, you are missing out in terms of what they're capable of. they need power to sound optimal. i recently hooked up to a denon 7200 which promises 150watts at 2 channels driven. they sounded really nice. but when i later hooked my fronts to a crown drive core xls1500 (delivering 300 wpc) the difference was immediately noticeable. i know you have limitations with respect to your pre-outs but FWIW you rti12s would really sound better with more power.
 

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So, on my receiver I have to set the speakers to small in order to activate the crossover. Do I lose anything when setting my large speakers to a small setting?
"Large"= Don't use bass mgmt

"small"=Use bass mgmt with the xover (80hz) and send
everything below 80hz to my dual subs.


the 'size' of your speakers has nothing to do with it.
AVR companies have been doing it this way for over 12 years..
all it does it confuse the consumer.

Wish they'd change it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I thought you already had them set to small? You said they were crossed at 50hz.....?

No, you don't lose anything by setting them to small. However you gain a LOT as outlined by grasshoppers previously.

I did at one point in time, I guess with all my tweaking lately to make them sound better I set everything to Large. I now have them set at 80hz, and have adjusted my subs crossover accordingly I am testing them. Initial reaction is they do sound brighter but still slightly unimpressive for what I believed they are. I have always loved Polk Audio, and I know that Polk is looked down upon by many Audiophiles. Maybe I have finally outgrown Polk and it may be time to move on to something bigger. Or maybe I just need to be happy with my setup and quit griping about it.
 
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