2.1 System setup

hamdib

Standard Member
I have a basic reciever, looking to buy 2.1 speakers setup (to create stereo imaging right now). You can see specs of the reciever below. (look at the picture) (This 2.1 setup which I could use as a part of my future cinema 5.1 set up)

My options are:

Dali Zensor 1 + Dali Sub E12 F

Q acoustics 2010i + Q acoustics 2070i Active Subwoofer

OR any other 2.1 set up options.

Thanks,

Andy
 

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KenM10759

Active Member
Not sure what receiver that is for which you've posted the specs, but I don't think I see any reference to a line-level subwoofer output. Without that, it's a simple 2 channel stereo.
 

hamdib

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply. However it has a pre-out (single) subwoofer input (see photo)
 

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dogfonos

Well-known Member
I think I see where the confusion comes from. This Onkyo is a CD player, FM radio and 2-channel amplifier. In the old days, amplifiers with in-built FM radios were called 'receivers'. Nowdays, the word 'receiver' is usually reserved for Audio-Visual (AV) receivers with multiple audio output channels.

I can't see how you'll be able to make use of this Onkyo product in any future 5.1 multi-channel setup but any connected passive speakers that you purchase could certainly be redeployed on the end of a multi-channel AV receiver.

From your pics, and looking at Onkyo's specs, I can see the line level subwoofer output, so yes, connection of a subwoofer is possible.

This product is very, very low powered (20W/channel into 4 Ohm speakers and, I'd imagine, about 15W/channel into 8 Ohm speakers) - that's almost mini-amp/Class-T amp territory - so try to buy efficient/sensitive speakers if you can, otherwise distortion may be evident on bass-heavy or loud passages even if you play at moderate volumes.

There's really no need to purchase main speakers and subwoofer from the same manufacturer. It's fairly rare that one manufacturer produces both the best subwoofer and the best main speakers for a given budget. And your budget appears to be around £700? I'm afraid any 2.1 speaker setup at that price will likely greatly outclass the poor old Onkyo which will struggle to drive any half decent main speaker in the £200 - £300 range. If you intended to replace the Onkyo with something of greater quality/power quite soon, then I guess this could be an acceptable stop-gap solution but, financially and probably sonically too, it would be an unbalanced system.

From specs I've seen, both the Dali and Q Acoustic main speakers you mention are of middling sensitivity and 6 Ohm load so may be just about OK (though not for playing loud). Note however the manufacturer's minimum recommended amplifier power for driving these speakers is either above, or at the limit of, your Onkyo 'receiver'. I suspect this will be the situation for most small speakers. Not good because an amplifier with too little power can inadvertently cause speaker damage.
 

hamdib

Standard Member
Does this mean, I should look for 4 ohm loudspeakers ?




I think I see where the confusion comes from. This Onkyo is a CD player, FM radio and 2-channel amplifier. In the old days, amplifiers with in-built FM radios were called 'receivers'. Nowdays, the word 'receiver' is usually reserved for Audio-Visual (AV) receivers with multiple audio output channels.

I can't see how you'll be able to make use of this Onkyo product in any future 5.1 multi-channel setup but any connected passive speakers that you purchase could certainly be redeployed on the end of a multi-channel AV receiver.

From your pics, and looking at Onkyo's specs, I can see the line level subwoofer output, so yes, connection of a subwoofer is possible.

This product is very, very low powered (20W/channel into 4 Ohm speakers and, I'd imagine, about 15W/channel into 8 Ohm speakers) - that's almost mini-amp/Class-T amp territory - so try to buy efficient/sensitive speakers if you can, otherwise distortion may be evident on bass-heavy or loud passages even if you play at moderate volumes.

There's really no need to purchase main speakers and subwoofer from the same manufacturer. It's fairly rare that one manufacturer produces both the best subwoofer and the best main speakers for a given budget. And your budget appears to be around £700? I'm afraid any 2.1 speaker setup at that price will likely greatly outclass the poor old Onkyo which will struggle to drive any half decent main speaker in the £200 - £300 range. If you intended to replace the Onkyo with something of greater quality/power quite soon, then I guess this could be an acceptable stop-gap solution but, financially and probably sonically too, it would be an unbalanced system.

From specs I've seen, both the Dali and Q Acoustic main speakers you mention are of middling sensitivity and 6 Ohm load so may be just about OK (though not for playing loud). Note however the manufacturer's minimum recommended amplifier power for driving these speakers is either above, or at the limit of, your Onkyo 'receiver'. I suspect this will be the situation for most small speakers. Not good because an amplifier with too little power can inadvertently cause speaker damage.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Does this mean, I should look for 4 ohm loudspeakers ?

Ideally, yes. Speakers with a 4 Ohm nominal impedance will draw more power from the amplifier than an 8 Ohm speaker thus make the most of the limited amplifier power available - but speaker sensitivity/efficiency is a different issue.

Speaker sensitivity is how loud the speaker will play for a given power input. Best go for a speaker with as high an efficiency figure as possible but this may not always be the best speaker for your circumstances (i.e. audio tastes, room size, partnering equipment etc). Ironically, some really huge speakers tend to be very efficient but small, high efficiency speakers are uncommon. The only one I know of is this one:

JBL CONTROL 1Black Speakers Per Pair

It's not 4 Ohms unfortunately but it is sensitive/efficient and will play to reasonable levels with the Onkyo. I can't comment on whether the JBL will match your audio quality preferences though.

One reason why the JBL Control 1 is efficient is because it does not have an extended bass but then that shouldn't be an issue for you as you intend to purchase a sub anyway. In terms of subwoofers, BK Electronics' products are very popular on this forum. They have a range to suit room sizes, budget and personal preferences.

I'm afraid your current Onkyo receiver is forcing you to purchase a certain type of speaker that may not be the best one should you upgrade in the future. I think you know what I'm getting at here.
 

hamdib

Standard Member
I found this

Pro-Ject Audio Speaker Box 4




Ideally, yes. Speakers with a 4 Ohm nominal impedance will draw more power from the amplifier than an 8 Ohm speaker thus make the most of the limited amplifier power available - but speaker sensitivity/efficiency is a different issue.

Speaker sensitivity is how loud the speaker will play for a given power input. Best go for a speaker with as high an efficiency figure as possible but this may not always be the best speaker for your circumstances (i.e. audio tastes, room size, partnering equipment etc). Ironically, some really huge speakers tend to be very efficient but small, high efficiency speakers are uncommon. The only one I know of is this one:

JBL CONTROL 1Black Speakers Per Pair

It's not 4 Ohms unfortunately but it is sensitive/efficient and will play to reasonable levels with the Onkyo. I can't comment on whether the JBL will match your audio quality preferences though.

One reason why the JBL Control 1 is efficient is because it does not have an extended bass but then that shouldn't be an issue for you as you intend to purchase a sub anyway. In terms of subwoofers, BK Electronics' products are very popular on this forum. They have a range to suit room sizes, budget and personal preferences.

I'm afraid your current Onkyo receiver is forcing you to purchase a certain type of speaker that may not be the best one should you upgrade in the future. I think you know what I'm getting at here.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
The Pro-Ject speakers are certainly quoted as 4 Ohms impedance but they're also quite insensitive/inefficient. High sensitivity trumps a 4 Ohm impedance. The sensitivity figure quoted for the Pro-Ject speakers is 84dB/W @ 1 metre - this is low and probably an honest figure. Sensitivity figures quoted by manufacturers are sometimes wrong. Other quoted specifications can be wrong too, or at best misleading. Speaker bass extension and amplifier power output figures are sometimes exaggerated.

A true sensitivity/efficiency figure higher than, say 88dB/W @ 1 metre would be good (the higher the sensitivity the better in terms of maximum volume) - and even better if coupled with a 4 Ohm nominal impedance. But who's to say any manufacturer's quoted figure is true? I saw a professional review of a Klipsch speaker (Klipsch seem to pride themselves on their high sensitivity designs) where the reviewer found the real-world sensitivity to be significantly less than the figure quoted by Klipsch.

A couple of bookshelf speakers with high(ish) quoted sensitivity:

Polk TSX110B 2-Way 100W Bookshelf Speakers - Pair

Klipsch B20 Bookshelf Speakers Black Pair

High sensitivity doesn't necessarily equate to great audio quality.

You appear determined to hang onto to the Onkyo 'receiver', can I ask why? The Onkyo would probably be out of it's depth even in an ultra-budget setup? Unless you have a specialist application (and there's no suggestion from your posts that you do) then a minimum amplifier power recommended for hifi applications is typically, IMO, about 40W into 8 Ohms. It's quite cheap to buy quality power these days - look at the budget Yamaha amps. Such power gives you flexibility to choose any speaker that sounds nice to your ears rather than limiting yourself to a very short list of efficient designs that you may not actually like the sound of.

You would achieve better audio quality by buying, for example, a £300 amp, £100 disc player and £300 floorstanding speakers (assuming you have sufficient room space). NB These figures are just a guide.
 

Bosee

Novice Member
OK, this is a bit of a different answer... I have a pair of RCF Monitor 33t speakers that sound brill... they are 4ohm and have high sensitivity... not to mention they are rated as 40w...
If you got those you probably would be happy with the bass but if not, you could leave buying the subwoofer to a later date or get this (it's wicked) Q ACOUSTICS Q7000SGloss Blk Subwoofer
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Does this mean, I should look for 4 ohm loudspeakers ?

NO ... low impedance speakers simply consume more current, and as a result CONSUME more power. They don't give your more power and they don't necessarily give you more output. They simply make your amp run hotter.

Steve/bluewizard
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
NO ... low impedance speakers simply consume more current, and as a result CONSUME more power. They don't give your more power and they don't necessarily give you more output. They simply make your amp run hotter.

Steve/bluewizard

Just for the record, I can't agree with BlueWizard's assertion.

Yes, lower impedance speakers will draw more current from the amp than higher impedance speakers. And that's precisely the objective. The Onkyo specs quote power output into a 4 Ohm load so, unless the speaker is a real pig to drive (some 8 Ohm nominal impedance speakers can be pigs to drive too) then the Onkyo should be fine to power 4 Ohm speakers. Yes, the amp will likely run hotter as a consequence of delivering greater power into a 4 Ohm load but, according to Onkyo specs, it's designed to do this.

Without delving into the finer points (unnecessary here, I think), sensitivity/efficiency of a passive speaker is normally measured as sound output (dB) for a given power input (W). Units are typically dB/W. Other measurement conditions can be attached, such as microphone distance from speaker (usually one metre, where stated). The higher the power input into a particular speaker, the louder it will play (those who have used amplifier volume controls will be familiar with this principle!). All else being equal therefore, a high sensitivity speaker of 4 Ohm nominal impedance will play louder than an 8 Ohm speaker of the same sensitivity because the 4 Ohm speaker will allow the amplifier to deliver more power. Although Onkyo don't state power delivery into 8 Ohms, I'd guess it will deliver somewhere in the region of 50% more power into 4 Ohm speakers compared with 8 Ohm speakers (some really good amplifiers can deliver close to 100% more power). I know we're not talking about vast volume differences here but, in this instance, every little helps.

I could try to explain the mathematical relationship between power input, sensitivity and maximum volume but I fear I'll either:
  • Come across as a complete arse, and/or
  • Tie myself in knots, and/or
  • Loose the will to live (and with Christmas coming up, that just wouldn't be convenient).
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
The RCF speakers Bosee refers to look interesting. I'm only familiar with their active speakers but this passive design looks to have a filter to remove bass below 150Hz - I suppose it's intended for use with a subwoofer? I have to say though that the RCF specs I've seen give it an 88dB/W sensitivity which, if true, is OK but not great, especially considering it's lack of bass extension. However, I'm aware that specs don't give the complete picture.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Just for the record, I can't agree with BlueWizard's assertion.

Yes, lower impedance speakers will draw more current from the amp than higher impedance speakers. And that's precisely the objective. The Onkyo specs quote power output into a 4 Ohm load so, ...

You missed the point. The OP specifically asked if he should seek out 4 ohm speakers to use with his amp that is rated at 20w/ch at 4 ohms at 1khz DIN, and the answer is NO.

"Does this mean, I should look for 4 ohm loudspeakers?"

That is a very weak power rating, but it implies it will handle 4 ohms speakers, but that is a completely different matter relative to whether he should specifically seek out 4 ohm and only 4 ohms speakers.

Running at 4 ohms increases the heat inside the amp dramatically. And with a small amp indicated in the original post, that would not be a good idea, or at least it certainly would not be preferred.

Now, if he wants to get a bigger better amp, then yes certainly 4 ohms speaker are an option, but you don't limit your search to that for misguided reasons.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Bosee

Novice Member
The RCF speakers Bosee refers to look interesting. I'm only familiar with their active speakers but this passive design looks to have a filter to remove bass below 150Hz - I suppose it's intended for use with a subwoofer? I have to say though that the RCF specs I've seen give it an 88dB/W sensitivity which, if true, is OK but not great, especially considering it's lack of bass extension. However, I'm aware that specs don't give the complete picture.
At first they look as though they'd be tough to drive but I tried them through my little 20w per channel topping amp and I could push them stupidly loud without any negative affects on the sound... They really do push out a lot of bass and they can be picked up 2nd hand on amazon for about £40 a pair :)
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
"Does this mean, I should look for 4 ohm loudspeakers?"

To clarify - my answer to the above question, as stated in post#6, is 'Ideally, yes'.
Use of the word 'ideally' implies that a 4 Ohm speaker would be a better option (in this instance) than an 8 Ohm speaker but does not rule out 8 Ohm speakers. Had the OP worded the question as: 'Should I look specifically (i.e. exclusively) for 4 Ohm speakers', I would have answered 'No, but...'.

Indeed, as I mentioned in post#8, 'High sensitivity is more important than a 4 Ohm impedance', thereby suggesting that a high sensitivity 8 Ohm speaker would be a better option that a low sensitivity 4 Ohm speaker (as a general rule and without going into the maths of speaker SPL vs. amp power input).

Other than that, BW, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on the merits, or otherwise, of low impedance speakers in this instance.
 

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