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Amp Advice

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by bradalax, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Hello again,

    I need some advice/suggestions on a cheap Home cinema amp (not particularly bothered about a tuner/receiver)

    My exisitng surround system is wired up and mounted to the walls and wires are hidden. I'm looking for an Amp that can utilise my exisiting speakers. I really like the look of the YAMAHA RXV450, and it has Binding posts to accept my exisiting speaker wire (bare ends).

    My problem is the sub-woofer, my existing sub woofer also has just standard speaker wire, no power or amp built in (so presumanly not very good) I'm looking to do this as cheap as possible, Is there an amp anyone knows of that will accomodate my exisiting speakers? Buying a new sub-woofer just takes me over my budget! :(
     
  2. Kier

    Kier
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    The Yamaha RXV450 will serve you very well, and as you can see from the ads currently running on this site, Superfi are doing it for £150 right now.

    Unfortunately, your subwoofer is going to present a problem for just about every A/V receiver I can think of, as they are (almost?) all built with a pre-out for a subwoofer, rather than speaker level outputs.

    As I see it, you have a few options.

    1) Yamaha amps have the ability to send the LFE channel to the front speaker terminals. You could take the L/R speaker outputs from the amp into your subwoofer, set the crossover to 50/80Hz (whatever is most suitable) and then use the speaker level outputs on the sub to connect your actual left and right speakers... this is assuming that your sub has a speaker level pass through?

    2) You could buy a cheap single channel power amplifier and connect from the Yamaha's subwoofer pre-out to this, then use the speaker terminals on the power amp to connect the subwoofer.

    3) You could buy a new active subwoofer and connect it directly to the Yamaha's subwoofer pre-out.

    Of these solutions, 1 is the cheapest, but it won't get you a dedicated LFE channel (though the LFE channel sound WILL be output), whereas the other two solutions will get you a dedicated channel for LFE.

    My recommendation would be to wire up with solution 1 until you can afford to buy a new subwoofer in the fullness of time.

    Just out of interest, could you take a picture of the back of your subwoofer (with all the connections on it) or find a web link so that we can take a look at what connection options you have?
     
  3. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Thanks for that Kier.

    Looks like I may have to jiggle my budget!

    I can tell you straight away - my sub-woofer has no connections, plugs switches or anything on the back. just the speaker wire coming from it! :(

    It's part of an all in 1 system i got a couple of years ago. The Panasonic Panasonic DVD Home Theatre System SA-DM3, so it's pretty much just a basic speaker.

    I know I have to upgrade the speakers, but was hoping to be able to wait a bit before I had to go that way.
     
  4. Kier

    Kier
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    If the only connections on your sub are a bit of speaker wire coming out of the back then your only option is going to be either to go with option 2 (a dedicated power amp for it) or to bite the bullet and get a new sub.

    I have to say that the subs supplied with lots of all in one systems are pretty dismal compared to even a relatively cheap dedicated unit, so I would forget trying to connect your Panasonic sub and wait for the time when you can afford to put in something more suitable.

    Richer sounds have a good selection of relatively decent subs for very little money - take a look at the Gale Storm 8 or Storm 10 for something that will do a much better job than your Panasonic unit ever could and not break the bank.

    http://ws4.richersounds.com/productlist.php?cda=productlist&sgroup=SUBWOOFERS&sort=price
     
  5. Kier

    Kier
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  6. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Replacing all my speakers just now is not something I can afford to do unfortunately, but that gale force 8 Sub-woofer could be accomadated with not too much problem.

    I bought a 42" rear projection TV that gets delivered on Sunday. It's HD ready, so I started to have a look round to see what good DVD players are out there, then I found myself being drawn inexorably into the Home cinema world, looking at Amps and speakers! ;)

    I'm going to go and find the cheapest prices for the following

    Yamaha 450 amp (superfi is the cheapest I've seen it)
    Pioneer 575 DVD player
    and the Gale force 8 sub-woofer

    Off the top of my head should come to around £300ish, p&p on top of that as well, then theres the cabling!!!!

    What have I got myself into?? ;)
     
  7. Kier

    Kier
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    Cabling needn't be a huge expense really. Head for audiovisualonline.co.uk and grab yourself the connections you need from their budget / bulk packed selection - I use these for a lot of my components and nobody can see or hear any quality difference between those and the really expensive stuff.
     
  8. lee789

    lee789
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    Another option may be going for the Pioneer 814 (instead of 514 which you have mentioned elsewhere) which is what I have.

    This amp has the ability to run a passive amplifier off the rear surround connection (i.e. the 6 of 6.1). This is exactly what I have done with mine and it works fine.

    You may want to check if this can be done with other 6.1 amps.
     
  9. Kier

    Kier
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    That's an interesting idea, and may well be worth investigating. I'll take a look to see if the Yamaha can do that too.

    I wasn't aware that any of the Pioneer range could do that... my D2011 and AX5Ai don't have that feature... I'll look into it :)
     
  10. lee789

    lee789
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    Its not an advertised feature, I found out by chance having bought one. On set up you change the rear channel from RS to SW and it sends the subwoofer channel to the rear speaker terminals.

    Previously I had a Yamaha amp which I connected to my passive sub via the B speaker terminals. Then set the speaker size to large so that the low frequencies were sent to this speaker. Whilst it wasn't truly 5.1 it did the job.
     
  11. Kier

    Kier
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    Okay, I've had a look at the manual for the Pioneer 814 and the Yamaha 450 and the Pioneer 814 certainly does have the ability to drive a passive subwoofer using the surround back speaker terminals. However, the Yamaha can not do this.

    The cheapest I've seen the Pioneer 814 selling for is £198 at Pixmania.co.uk

    The Pioneer 814 will give you a true LFE channel with your existing speakers (though in time you'll certainly want to replace them with more capable ones).
     
  12. Kier

    Kier
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    I also ought to point out the the Pioneer 814 has Pioneer's Auto MCACC automatic speaker setup system, which is worth the price over the Yamaha any day of the week...
     
  13. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Wow!

    So your saying that using the Pioneer 814 I can run my passive subwoofer? this balances out the £60 I was going to spend on a new subwoofer!

    So is the Pioneer a better system than the Yamaha?

    and I've heard some funny things about ordering from Pixmania!
     
  14. lee789

    lee789
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    Spec wise there doesn't seem to be a lot in it they both have the same surround formats, the 814 has a bit more channel power 100w compared to 80w, the 814 has the auto set up and the option for rear channel running.

    I've got the 814 and like it, but I've not heard the Yamaha, but I did likle my last yamaha amp. I would suggest getting a listen or if thats not possible read a few reviews on each. I would agree with most of what I have read about the 814 which generally say good for movies but aveage for music.

    Also prcdirect.com have it at £204 (I got from prc who were fine) and empiredirect.com at £199.
     
  15. bradalax

    bradalax
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    To be honest I'm not interested in playing music through it, I have an old B&O system for that! ;)

    But getting the stuff from pixmania and the cables from audioviuals bring the whole lot to around £350ish which is great!!

    I can't thank you guys enough. Although I may be back on when it comes to configuring the subwoofer! ;)
     
  16. Kier

    Kier
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    I would say go for the 814 - it will accomodate your current speakers, has Pioneer's awesome auto-setup system and still gives you the ability to plug in better speakers if and when you get some :)
     
  17. bradalax

    bradalax
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    well I've had a look round and decided to get the Pioneer 814 amp and Pioneer 575 dvd from Pixmania. I've found loads of good reviews for them so I'm not too worried.

    I connecting the dvd to the TV via component, and to the amp via digital optical cable, both of which I will buy from audiovisualonline.

    Thanks a lot for all the advice guys, I'll let you know how I get on. I'll be ordering the stuff on Monday so it should arrive by mid week hopefully!

    Thanks for all the help, if you can think of anything I may have missed let me know - I am a n00b after all! ;)
     
  18. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Me again guys.

    Well my TV arrive and the picture quality is great even through scart!

    However My Pioneer 575 DVD player and Pioneer 814 Amp should be arriving in the next 2 days so I'm waiting for even better quality.

    I have been looking for manuals or documentantion for the amp and I found this quote which is worrying me

    "Weaknesses: Heat. You're supposed to have 8" vertical clearance for ventilation."

    Has anyone had any problems regarding this? I was expecting the amp to push out some heat, but I'm not sure I can have 8" of clearance for it!
     
  19. Kier

    Kier
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    My AX5 has about 3" of space above it and nothing to the sides - it runs quite warm but not roasting hot. You will need to leave a few inches on top of the 814, though 8" might be a bit extreme...
     
  20. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Thanks again, Kier. I just downloaded the manual for this and it doesn't say anything about clearance. However the unit will be on its own on the bottom shelf of my TV stand (Which is 42" so the stand is pretty big) so should have plenty of ventilation.

    One more quick question. I am going to connect the kit up with component from DVD to TV and digital optical from DVD to amp. Will this be OK?

    The manual talks about plugging the DVD component into the amp as well. Is this necessary or will my set-up work ok as well?
     
  21. lee789

    lee789
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    Plugging the dvd into the amp won't be necessary. The amp has two component inputs and one output - so you can output two sources to your tv (which has one component input). Its for convenience really. So going direct is fine - it also saves on buying two component leads.
     
  22. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Thanks Lee, thats what I thought.

    Saving money on cables was my primary concern!! ;)
     
  23. bradalax

    bradalax
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    Well guys, I'm all hooked up! :D

    Samsung 42" HDTV Rear Projection TV
    Pioneer 575 DVD player connected with Component
    Pioneer 814 Receiver connected to the DVD via Digital Optical.

    WOW. It looks fantastic, and the sound is amazing. The only weak point are my speakers (Small satellite ones and a passive subwoofer from my previous all in one kit)

    A great big Thanks to all who chipped in with advice and help.

    :smashin:
     
  24. Kier

    Kier
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    Glad to hear you're all set up and running :)
     

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