1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

2 channel or multi?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by gavp, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. gavp

    gavp
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    274
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Preston
    Ratings:
    +8
    Got into the hi-fi/AV game due to several mates showing off newly aquired systems and being wowed by surround sound from dvd's, so went out and bought myself a sony dvd player and receiver and Acoustic Energys Evo 5.1 system coupled with a 42 rear projection sony tv.
    And for a while all was well, my own (beginners) home cinema and a good music source... my receiver then had some probs went back to shop, so I borrowed a 1980's Rotel amp from a mate and hooked it up the Evo 3's, oh my god!! this thing sounds so much better than my receiver in music, thinking it was the lack of power from from my receiver I aquired a Rotel RMB1075 to use as the amp and yes a hell of a lot better than the sony in detail power, you name it, but music lacking (tried in multi, 2 channel and DSP's galore!)
    As an experiment I found a reasonably priced Rotel RC1070 pre amp and paired it with the 1075 and WOW! epiphany/nirvana etc, the music filled the room, the bass you could feel, I can truly say it was the first time I really 'heard' my system, earlier i'd demod an arcam a90 with a pair of B&W 603's and I can say the Rotel and Acoustic Energy actually sounds better for less. I've now realised as i'm spending more time listening to music I want some advice from those who maybe originally had stereo and introduced an AV system, i'm thinking of maybe downgrading the 1075 to a 2 channel power amp and adding a decent cd player whilst keeping the sony receiver for movie usage, the next problem is how do I connect the speakers to a receiver and a stereo amp, are there any devices, I know there are speaker switches but they are for two sets of speakers. Can I simply wire cable to both amps and never turn them on together... I'm concerned about the damage factor though any advice from you guys would be most appreciated. :)
     
  2. juniper

    juniper
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,780
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +55
    Hi :hiya: You should be able (not sure which Sony model you have) to use your Sony receiver's pre-outs to to the Rotel for front L/R (i.e. cable your front L?R from there). You'll need then to set the gain on the Rotel to about 50%, and then recalibrate, and therefore the Sony will drive centre and surrounds when you are watching DVDs, and the Rotel can handle stereo sources (which you still route through the Sony's inputs).
     
  3. Astaroth

    Astaroth
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,241
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +95
    Amps do what they are designed for best. Buy a stereo amp and it will be better at stereo than an AV amp as that was the sole purpose it was designed for.

    There are AV amps out there which are better at stereo than others you will almost always be able to best it by spending 50% of its cost on a stereo amp.

    I personally went for 2 seperate systems as soon as I had room to do so (plus I really dont like TVs/plasma screens etc and wanted a lounge/sitting room without one).

    As juniper said a lot of people will use an AV amp and have all the multi channel sources going into this and then a seperate stereo amp with all the stereo sources going into it. The front L/R speakers connect to the stereo amp and the other speakers connect to the AV amp. Finally you connect the pre-out from the av amp for the front L/R to one of the inputs on stereo amp.

    This will give you the better sound on stereo and also for the front speakers. The only 2 problems with doing this is that setting the volume levels can be a little tricky initially but once it is done it shouldnt be a problem. The only other issue that I have ever known is that the front L/R (as powered by the stereo amp when listening to multi channel sources) does not match the sound from the centre due to the different amp - most report that they sound better but the overall effect can be reduced if the sound difference is too great when sounds pan from L->C->R for example.
     
  4. Dfour

    Dfour
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,992
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Bracknell
    Ratings:
    +85
  5. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,501
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Central London
    Ratings:
    +17
    Gavp,

    I had more-or-less the same experience as you. Loved my pride & joy 5.1 set-up but felt it was lacking musically (especially as I was using sub & sat). I experimented with two channel and have never looked back. IMO the more channels you have, the more thinly-spread your equipment budget has to be.

    OK, so you might get a better "spread" of sound, but its a false economy; overall you'll probably experience a drop in fidelity/sound quality. £2k won't get you much in 5.1 terms, but it will buy you a fantastic stereo.

    Also, people seem to forget that 2-channels are very capable of throwing effects around a room. Also, most dvd players have an SRS option, which is pretty good at creating a wrap-around effects from stereo set-ups.

    You can get decent bass from large floorstanders. Anyway, subs are a pain to integrate and most chuff life a steam train (unless you spend mega-bucks). Bearing in mind the fact that you will be using much higher quality amplification in a 2-channel set-up, bass should sound better and be a hell of a lot faster.

    Drawbacks? Well, very few dvds have a dedicated stereo soundtrack. This usually means that the 5.1 track will be "folded-down" to 2.0 using pre-set algorithms. Depending on the quality of your dvdp's processing, this usually results in disaster - the dialogue channel which is seperated and clear in 5.1 becomes a muddled mess in 2.0. (well, my 565 makes a pig's ear of it ;) )

    Of course, 2.0 will never be able to create the same outright ambient sound field that 5.1 can create, but poorly calibrated 5.1 sounds awful - directional, distracting and an un-integrated mess.

    Also (very important to consider this) - stereo is a MATURE technology. You can buy a quality stereo amp safe in the knowledge that it won't be out-of-date in 2 years! Multi-channel amps and digital codecs are changing/developing very very quickly. Those spending £££ on DTS & DD amps today might need to upgrade in 2 years when superior codecs are indtroduced and their AV amp becomes redundant.

    Whereas a Leak Stereo 20 bought 40 years ago will still be useful as a 2.0 amp in 40 years time!

    Regards,
    DT
     
  6. gavp

    gavp
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    274
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Preston
    Ratings:
    +8
    Excellent responses guys! RE:juniper and Astaroth I have heard of using the receiver for the rears and centre and stereo for the fronts, however this poses another couple of questions, 1). I use a dvd player for both film and music duties with an ixos digital lead in the back of the receiver and som van den hul analogue interconnects in the back of the RC1070, I have not yet had the receiver and amp on at the same time as i'm not sure whether it will cause a problem with two different leads being fed out of the back of the dvd to two different amps! any ideas on this one?
    2). the lead out of the pre out of the receiver currently goes into the back of the RMB1075, this bypasses the RC1070 pre amp, so do i put the pre out leads into the preamp then another set into the power amp? (i'm sure this would be simpler if I had an integrated amp!)
    I think Dfour the 1068 would be a good option but only if it was excellent ie as good as the system sounds now in stereo, obviously an audition would confirm this but from reading these forums sometething like a Meridian av processor at around £1500+(generous!) 2nd hand is an excellent stereo and movie option though interested to hear any 1068 or even 1066 owners thoughts...
    dynamic turtle, agree totally I think people are wowed into the world of receivers with relentless advertising and the fact that AV has taken over What Hi Fi? mag (more money to throw at them maybe?) i mean if you had a £1000 would a Denon 3805 do as good a job as a Roksan Kandy mk111or a Rotel RA-1062 and a decent £500 receiver, same cash more boxes but better stereo sound and still the ability to have sounds coming from behind and or side of you when watching a DVD, one box might be prettier to see but not to hear IMHO...
     
  7. digisocialist

    digisocialist
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    477
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +2
    I am in this dilemma at the moment. Having only had the carpet in my cinema room laid today, it is ready to go. I am now in a position to order kit and after months of patience, this weekend could be the big shop. However, I am getting the jitters, nerves, doubts about committing so much dosh.... My current preferred AV set-up is 3805/2910 pairing with Castle Compacts + SP4805.

    I now doubt my decision (despite months of research). Should I downgrade the AV side and look at a good 2ch stereo investment and balance things out? A friend of mine has paired a Creek amp with a pair of B&W 700s and it sounded mighty fine (this panders to my analogue obsession too....).

    I'm very aware that there is much uncertainty surrounding DVD players (especially Denon's) and spending £500 on a player now may not be a wise investment. That said, I also recognise the source has to be good and as I don't have a CD player, I need something which would be good musically. On the flip side, were I to invest £800 in a 3805 would it really do justice to the stereo output of a £500 - £600 DVD player (the Arcam DV89 is £599)....

    With the Castles, I have to say I love em - both looks and sonically. Again however, for 2ch stereo should I be looking at floor standers/book shelf speakers??

    I digress...

    The bottom line is, what is my best upgrade path? If I opt for the 3805/2910/Castle pairing, I could stick a 2ch amp into the equation later and a pair of bookshelf speakers...though I hear Denon amps aren't designed for this kind of configuration....

    I'm sweating with excitement and fear... I'm even starting to wonder whether the trend for ‘all-in-one’ AV's is just that and will be a passing one. O.K. I can't really afford to be buying separate processors for the Video side...

    I'm about to part with 2K for the AV/DVD + Speakers ...PJ is coming later... any thoughts on what I'm about to do before I commit?
     
  8. gavp

    gavp
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    274
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Preston
    Ratings:
    +8
    Your first sentence suggests that home cinema is your choice, I reckoned i was 50/50 music and films at first but realised its more 70/30 in favour of music hence my constant tinkering...
    All i can say is the gear you have outlined all get good reviews if you have a local superfi/sevenoaks/practical hi fi/local dealer have an audition if you haven't done so, i find if there isn't a noticable difference with a familiar cd or dvd between lower and upper models then it does't justify a 200 quid price increase IMHO
    At the end of the day its about gettin pretty much what you want out of it and enjoyin it, then catchin the ubgrade bug usually sooner rather than later!
     
  9. digisocialist

    digisocialist
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    477
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +2
    This is still doing my head in. I have a NAD 302 Amp (may only be 75wpc) but would this be better than pure direct from a 3805? Should I downgrade to the 2805 and purchase a stereo amp for the £300 I would have spare (Arcam A65+?) ? Would people view this as a better option if I want to get good stereo, or would a £300 stereo amp... be rubbish anyway?...besides, would this be too much of an all round compromise?
     
  10. Dfour

    Dfour
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,992
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Bracknell
    Ratings:
    +85
    Digisocialist have you actually demo'd the denon 3805 and 2805 in stereo and against a £300 stereo amp like the arcam A65+ for exam[le.? This is the only way to actually know the answer to your question.
     
  11. digisocialist

    digisocialist
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    477
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +2
    Dfour.. you are right of course but there is a limit to how much demoing I can do...I simply don't get the time I'd like. I have demo'd the 2805 and it was very good to me, so I can only assume the 3805 will be even better. I suppose I'm looking for a general consensus. I'm ready to walk in store right now and purchase the 3805 but wanted opinions on whether people though I'd not loose much on the processing side by downgrading to the 2805 and looking to see if a dedicated stereo amp would beat the pure direct mode... I suppose I'll not know until i try. I hate decisions!
     
  12. Dfour

    Dfour
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,992
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Bracknell
    Ratings:
    +85
    Yeah but my question remains if you demo'd against a stereo amp? You could always try it when your going in to purchase.

    IMHO a stereo amp of half the price will still sound better than the 3805 in direct stereo. I tested my 1400 against an old Arcam Alpha amp and found the 1400 better. It wasnt as good as a Rotel rc850/rb850 pre/power amp but I felt it was seriously under powered vs the yammy. I was going to try the rc850 with my RB981 power but life got in the way.

    You could always ask if you can have a home demo then you can test against your rotel stuff :D
     
  13. gavp

    gavp
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    274
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Preston
    Ratings:
    +8
    digisocialist, if you have a sevenoaks sound and vision near you they usually have a demo room, ask them to specifically set up whatever items interest you then take along a couple of dvds and music cds, they usually leave you alone have a play around, I find that regardless of all processing modes for 5.1 DTS is the best IMHO, it could take you one, maybe two hours, at the end of the day if your gonna stump up two grand of your hard earned money its gotta be right, a good way to tell is if a big idiot grin appears on your face when auditioning a particular product!
    Don't be afraid to walk away or to change your mind, as mentioned I thought my AE Evo 3's weren't that good and thought i'd try a pair of B&W 603's and some wharfedale pacific speakers both priced around £600 compared with my £300 AE's, I had them paired with an Arcam A90 £800 and CD192. This confirmed two things for me, I prefer Rotels sound to Arcams, Rotel being more in your face,Arcam a sounding a little restrained and soft in comparison. The second being that to better my AE's I reckon i'd have to spend over a grand on a pair of speakers to achieve a greater sound, end result left the shop thanking god that I'd listened to them rather than just buying, went on ebay, bought an ixos digital co-ax lead for £40 which improved the 5.1 slightly over an optical lead I was using and bought some van den hul d102 mk111 leads for £30 which I have to say improved the sound of music considerably, especially the bass (cue big idiot grin when playing a cd!)
     
  14. theo cupier

    theo cupier
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    1,649
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Amersham, Bucks
    Ratings:
    +113
    DFour how would you rate the RC850 with RB850?

    did you get as far as mono-blocking with a pair of 850s?

    How would you rate something like this in the general scheme of things or specifically against - for example - an Arcam 8 integrated amp?
     
  15. digisocialist

    digisocialist
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    477
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +2
    Gav - a fair point. I suppose from what I have demod I would be happy with the Denon 2805/Castle Compact pairing...the only reason I was going up to the 3805 was because it seemed better...but I can't make use of Denon Link, don't really need the extra 20Wpc..but would like Pure Direct...and better Burr Brown Dac's would be nice too. If I stepped down to the 2805, I would save nearly £300 to put towards a Stereo amp OR if people thought my NAD 302 could do better stereo duties than the Denon AV.. I could buy an extra pair of Speakers for Stereo duties... oh, I do go on...but now I feel I am back to square one. Damint!
     
  16. Dfour

    Dfour
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,992
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Bracknell
    Ratings:
    +85
    I felt they where very agile with music but lacked a little power and drive

    NO I didnt as I couldnt easily lay my hands on another 850 then i got hte 981:D

    I have only heard a arcam alpha so i cant really judge but I would say thet the rotel was better. It might not be the same v's the alpha 8 or with the 981 or paired 850's. Sorry I can help you more.
     
  17. theo cupier

    theo cupier
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    1,649
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Amersham, Bucks
    Ratings:
    +113
    gavp sorry for part hi-jacking your thread!

    DFour (or anyone else): if one is using several power amps to drive a surround set of speakers how important is it to stick with the same amps, or monoblock as opposed to stereo?

    For example, if I have 2 x rb850 monoblock at the front, do I have to keep with RB850s for the centre and rear to keep it all in balance? Is it important to have this consistency across the 3 front speakers but not the rears?

    Equally, if the fronts are monoblocked, would the rears also need to be monoblocked or could you get away with using both channels of a 2-channel power amp?
     

Share This Page

Loading...