Behringer A800 and BK Gemini sub

Nico72

Active Member
I have just bought a second hand BK Gemini mk1 to complement neat iotas in a small bedroom.
My dac does not have pre outs or a sub out, so I am planning to connect the sub via the high level output to the power amp (behringer A800) with the cable supplied by BK. However the Gemini manual mentions that this may not be possible when using class D amps like mine.
I could not find info in the A800 manual about powering a sub as well as stereo speakers.
Does anyone have experience of doing this with the A 800?
Thanks.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
You can run a ”y” splitter off the DAC output to both sub and power amp if you are worried about using the high level speaker outs. I prefer the cable splitters to the little blocks as it puts less strain on the preamp/DAC output sockets but you may feel different. The only issue is that you will have to balance the sub with a fairly low crossover frequency as there is no attenuation on the main speakers, I usually start about 10hz above the f3 figure for the main speakers, I’d try 55hz for a start with the iotas. Then raise the volume of the sub so you can just hear it and the back it off very slightly, that seemed to work for me.

Amazon product
Amazon product
 
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Nico72

Active Member
Thanks that is probably the safest option. I have ordered two splitters so I can run both channels to the sub low level inputs. I'll set it up by ear as you suggested when I get the cables. Hopefully it will fill up the low end a bit without sounding bloated.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Hey Nico72,

I'm wondering how you are getting on with the A800? Any opinion about sound and build quality?
 

Nico72

Active Member
Hey Nico72,

I'm wondering how you are getting on with the A800? Any opinion about sound and build quality?
I would define the build quality of the A800 as "solid". It's pro kit and i suspect in can handle a little abuse. The finish is decent, but the A800 is not a looker, with the two large volume knobs and the coloured level LEDs flashing up when it goes loud. Hi-Fi kit is definitely better looking. The LEDs in particulr can be annoying in an AV setup, but that is not an issue for me.

Initailly I was looking at a half width amp with digital inputs for my bedroom, and I was considering Quad Vena, Audiolab M One and Yamaha WXA-50 (the latter is also class D). However I was a bit concerned of pairing these amps with low efficiency speakers like the Neat Iotas (84 dB and 6 ohm). Also the Iotas come to life when they go a bit loud, and they are not the most involving at low volume.
An AVForums member recommended plugging the variable output of my DAC in the A800 instead.
The A800 is full width but half the depth of normal hi-fi kit. It is also very light at 3.2 kg and runs cool, so i was able to hide it away on top of a wardrobe. The two volume knobs (one per channel) go all the way down to silent, so they can be used to control the volume, but that is impractical. I keep them in a fixed position, and i find them handy for fine-tuning the balance, as my DAC cannot do that.
The A800 is a class D amp and it has power on tap: the more you need, the more it gives. I know some people don't like the sound of class D amps, and some claim that class D watts are not the same of class AB watts. Based on my experience with the A800, I have no idea what they are talking about. The A800 sounds powerful and it controls the Iotas with authority. I can recommend the A800 in a hi-fi setup. In terms of watts per pound, it is hard to beat it.
Having said that, I suspect a less powerful class AB amp like the ones mentiond above would have been fine powering the Iotas in my small bedroom 99% of the time.

There is a review of the A800 on ASR, and it mesured decent. There are also a few treads on here from people using pro amps like the A800 and Crown for AV and hi-fi.

What speakers are you thinking of pairing it with?
 

FootHealer

Active Member
I would define the build quality of the A800 as "solid". It's pro kit and i suspect in can handle a little abuse. The finish is decent, but the A800 is not a looker, with the two large volume knobs and the coloured level LEDs flashing up when it goes loud. Hi-Fi kit is definitely better looking. The LEDs in particulr can be annoying in an AV setup, but that is not an issue for me.

Initailly I was looking at a half width amp with digital inputs for my bedroom, and I was considering Quad Vena, Audiolab M One and Yamaha WXA-50 (the latter is also class D). However I was a bit concerned of pairing these amps with low efficiency speakers like the Neat Iotas (84 dB and 6 ohm). Also the Iotas come to life when they go a bit loud, and they are not the most involving at low volume.
An AVForums member recommended plugging the variable output of my DAC in the A800 instead.
The A800 is full width but half the depth of normal hi-fi kit. It is also very light at 3.2 kg and runs cool, so i was able to hide it away on top of a wardrobe. The two volume knobs (one per channel) go all the way down to silent, so they can be used to control the volume, but that is impractical. I keep them in a fixed position, and i find them handy for fine-tuning the balance, as my DAC cannot do that.
The A800 is a class D amp and it has power on tap: the more you need, the more it gives. I know some people don't like the sound of class D amps, and some claim that class D watts are not the same of class AB watts. Based on my experience with the A800, I have no idea what they are talking about. The A800 sounds powerful and it controls the Iotas with authority. I can recommend the A800 in a hi-fi setup. In terms of watts per pound, it is hard to beat it.
Having said that, I suspect a less powerful class AB amp like the ones mentiond above would have been fine powering the Iotas in my small bedroom 99% of the time.

There is a review of the A800 on ASR, and it mesured decent. There are also a few treads on here from people using pro amps like the A800 and Crown for AV and hi-fi.

What speakers are you thinking of pairing it with?
Hi, and thanks for the detailed reply. I was considering getting a warm analogue preamp, or even a tube amp, connected to a power amp, MA Silver 200 speakers and a Project turntable. Power amps can get pretty pricey, and I was considering looking at NAD Class D poweramps. I have read a few reviews of NAD class D amps and people say they sound warm, not bright or clinical, much like my NAD D3020v2 (also class D). But, again, they can get pricey. Then I remembered you mentioning your amp in one of your posts and looked into this option. Apparently it has a moderate to low SINAD rating, which concerned me (I read the ASR review). Was wondering what your experience was. Am always a bit wary of an amp that boasts about huge watts for what in HiFi terms is very little money. Would prefer to pay more and get something decent over saving money on a box full of distortion and bad sound.
 

gava

Active Member
I have just bought a second hand BK Gemini mk1 to complement neat iotas in a small bedroom.
My dac does not have pre outs or a sub out, so I am planning to connect the sub via the high level output to the power amp (behringer A800) with the cable supplied by BK. However the Gemini manual mentions that this may not be possible when using class D amps like mine.
I could not find info in the A800 manual about powering a sub as well as stereo speakers.
Does anyone have experience of doing this with the A 800?
Thanks.

That sounds like a really bad idea. Most subs warn not to do this with Class D amps.

How are you connecting to the A800?

Note that the A800 does not have volume controls as such - they are gain controls. I use mine set to 75% so that I don't blow my speakers even if I turn up my volume to max as the A800 can probably deliver slightly more power than my speakers should really be given and the volume setting on the DDRC24 is not visible - so it is possible (in theory) for someone to set it up to max and then cause damage when switching on the system.
 

gava

Active Member
Hi, and thanks for the detailed reply. I was considering getting a warm analogue preamp, or even a tube amp, connected to a power amp, MA Silver 200 speakers and a Project turntable. Power amps can get pretty pricey, and I was considering looking at NAD Class D poweramps. I have read a few reviews of NAD class D amps and people say they sound warm, not bright or clinical, much like my NAD D3020v2 (also class D). But, again, they can get pricey. Then I remembered you mentioning your amp in one of your posts and looked into this option. Apparently it has a moderate to low SINAD rating, which concerned me (I read the ASR review). Was wondering what your experience was. Am always a bit wary of an amp that boasts about huge watts for what in HiFi terms is very little money. Would prefer to pay more and get something decent over saving money on a box full of distortion and bad sound.

It certainly doesn't sound bad - it's clean and neutral. As you would expect from a pro amp it doesn't really have a sound character of its own, it's not warm or bright or vivid or with extra sound stage or anything like that.

It just takes the signal and makes it as loud as you want.

Compared to my (much lower powered) Marantz it's much closer to the Marantz "Source Direct" mode than the standard mode which sounds a bit warmer.

However my speakers much prefer a powerful amplifier and for my purposes it's not even a close contest I will take the neutral extra power over the supposed refinement of the Marantz which struggles to really bring my speakers to life at loud volumes.

As to build quality - well it's pro kit. Will comfortably handle being bashed around, it's not heavy so not as good a weapon for bashing people with as a Class A/B, but it is more likely to keep working after a fight. :) It's not furniture pretty though. The level meter lights are either very nice or very gauche depending on your taste.
 
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FootHealer

Active Member
It certainly doesn't sound bad - it's clean and neutral. As you would expect from a pro amp it doesn't really have a sound character of its own, it's not warm or bright or vivid or with extra sound stage or anything like that.

It just takes the signal and makes it as loud as you want.

Compared to my (much lower powered) Marantz it's much closer to the Marantz "Source Direct" mode than the standard mode which sounds a bit warmer.

However my speakers much prefer a powerful amplifier and for my purposes it's not even a close contest I will take the neutral extra power over the supposed refinement of the Marantz which struggles to really bring my speakers to life at loud volumes.
Thanks. That's really helpful. I am rather hoping for a warm sound, so may end up going for the NAD, sadly at 4 times the price.
 

gava

Active Member
Thanks. That's really helpful. I am rather hoping for a warm sound, so may end up going for the NAD, sadly at 4 times the price.

I'm not convinced you are going to get anything warmer from modern NAD amps. Class D's job is to be neutral and clean.

Better quality Class D amps will give a blacker and cleaner background if you have the right conditions to hear it, good quality recording or mastering, good enough speakers, good room acoustics, young ears, etc. They might also have better dynamics, particularly at the limits of the power envelope of the A800, but for normal hifi speakers the A800 is going to be operating very much within its comfort zone.

Depending on where you are based (and when I get my new amp) you might be able to borrow mine or pop by for a listen.
 

Nico72

Active Member
That sounds like a really bad idea. Most subs warn not to do this with Class D amps.

How are you connecting to the A800?

Note that the A800 does not have volume controls as such - they are gain controls. I use mine set to 75% so that I don't blow my speakers even if I turn up my volume to max as the A800 can probably deliver slightly more power than my speakers should really be given and the volume setting on the DDRC24 is not visible - so it is possible (in theory) for someone to set it up to max and then cause damage when switching on the system.
I have my gain controls at ~9AM on the A800. That gives me lots of range to control volume with the DAC.
The DAC is connected via unbalanced. I have ordered Y splitters to connect the DAC to the low level inputs on the sub, which is the safest option
 

gava

Active Member
I have my gain controls at ~9AM on the A800. That gives me lots of range to control volume with the DAC.
The DAC is connected via unbalanced. I have ordered Y splitters to connect the DAC to the low level inputs on the sub, which is the safest option

With the gain only at 9 you have a lot of power to spare there. :)
 

FootHealer

Active Member
So, are you guys recommending the A800 as being on par with more expensive Class D power amps? (Not AB or A class)

Am very tempted at a cheap power upgrade.

EDIT: feel like I am hijacking this thread. Will perhaps post a seperate post after giving this some thought. Thanks guys.
 
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Nico72

Active Member
So, are you guys recommending the A800 as being on par with more expensive Class D power amps? (Not AB or A class)

Am very tempted at a cheap power upgrade.

EDIT: feel like I am hijacking this thread. Will perhaps post a seperate post after giving this some thought. Thanks guys.

No worries.
I remember your tread about listening fatigue with the MA silver 200?
How are you getting on with that issue? Are the MA improving with time?
I seem to remember you have Rotel pre / power. I would expect the rotels to be higher spec that the A800, though maybe not quite as powerful.
I agree with gava on the A800. It provides clean power and it is neutral, so unlikely to give you a warm sound on its own. It definitely does not sound bad. Also note that power amps are unlikely to sound very different from each other when they work within their capabilities. Speakers will make a huge difference compared to power amps, particularly in how they interact with your room.
I have not heard expensive class D amps so I cannot comment on how the A800 compares.
Why do you feel the need for more power than you have? Rotel amps are usually praised for their driving capabilities and they are well made.
 

gava

Active Member
So, are you guys recommending the A800 as being on par with more expensive Class D power amps? (Not AB or A class)

Am very tempted at a cheap power upgrade.

They are certainly not on par in terms of outright performance, but in terms of value they are amazing. Crown and Behringer are widely used in the pro space in mixing and mastering and of course venue playback.

Put it this way - my Marantz PM7000N costs around £1k but that's sitting on my desktop at the moment because, for all that it does sound lovely and looks cool and has a better interface, when it comes to driving my main speakers the Boss Player + DDRC24 + A800 is so much better it's not a fair comparison at all and they cost me £750 together.

I wouldn't recommend the A800 as an end-game amplifier if you can afford better, but if you are on a limited budget and can afford to combine it with a good DAC/Streamer/Preamp it's a fantastic solution for hardly any money and far far far outperforms some significantly more expensive "hifi" solutions.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
No worries.
I remember your tread about listening fatigue with the MA silver 200?
How are you getting on with that issue? Are the MA improving with time?
I seem to remember you have Rotel pre / power. I would expect the rotels to be higher spec that the A800, though maybe not quite as powerful.
I agree with gava on the A800. It provides clean power and it is neutral, so unlikely to give you a warm sound on its own. It definitely does not sound bad. Also note that power amps are unlikely to sound very different from each other when they work within their capabilities. Speakers will make a huge difference compared to power amps, particularly in how they interact with your room.
I have not heard expensive class D amps so I cannot comment on how the A800 compares.
Why do you feel the need for more power than you have? Rotel amps are usually praised for their driving capabilities and they are well made.
Hi,

I swapped the Silver 200s for the Q Acoustics Concept 40s and this sorted out the issue for me. I still have the Silver 200s, and actually like their sound, but perhaps not with the Rotel. Was considering a tube pre-amp and a power amp on a vinyl only setup with the Silvers. The Rotel has plenty of power, but is a bit similar to the Silvers in their sound. Not bright, but clear, detailed, airy, and a little lacking in bass. I think the combination is too much of the same, as I prefer a neutral to slightly warm sound. Was considering a NAD amp or Marantz, but the Silvers seem to like a lot of power, so was considering power amp options that can get up to 150w per channel.
 

Nico72

Active Member
With the gain only at 9 you have a lot of power to spare there. :)
Gain at 9 AM allows me to keep the volume low when I listen in the evenings, but still goes plenty loud when I can crank it up.
The iotas are only 84 db but they are in a small room and in a near field setup after all.
Which is why I believe that possibly a small amp like the quad vena would have managed as well.
 

Nico72

Active Member
Hi,

I swapped the Silver 200s for the Q Acoustics Concept 40s and this sorted out the issue for me. I still have the Silver 200s, and actually like their sound, but perhaps not with the Rotel. Was considering a tube pre-amp and a power amp on a vinyl only setup with the Silvers. The Rotel has plenty of power, but is a bit similar to the Silvers in their sound. Not bright, but clear, detailed, airy, and a little lacking in bass. I think the combination is too much of the same, as I prefer a neutral to slightly warm sound. Was considering a NAD amp or Marantz, but the Silvers seem to like a lot of power, so was considering power amp options that can get up to 150w per channel.
I understand now. Glad the Concept 40 fixed the problem.
If you keep the silver 200 for a vinyl only setup, do give them some space to breathe. I would not put them in a small room.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
I understand now. Glad the Concept 40 fixed the problem.
If you keep the silver 200 for a vinyl only setup, do give them some space to breathe. I would not put them in a small room.
Agreed. Tried that, and it was not great. I am still considering just selling them on, as the Concept 40s, while not as airy or detailed, are much easier to listen to. But, my wife likes the way the Silver 200s look and said she was disappointed to see them go. I think if you find something like this, you'd be best off keeping it ;) Am weighting up some options...
 

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