Can i do this? x3600 into Naim

sparkymarky

Active Member
I want to use my Naim power amp (not an integrated) for music. No preamp so I want to use the x3600 as a pre.
- However I don't want to have the naim on all the time as i am 90% av, 10 % music, so only on when I listen to music - thus i don't want to integrate the Naim fully driving my L & R for av duties. The denon will still drive the front L & R for av.

Can i leave the AVR doing its 5.1 as at present, but connect the Naim to L & R preouts using rca and leave the Naim amp OFF until i listen to music?
(Obviously i would need a speaker switch - the speaker outs from the denon and the speaker outs from the Naim would go into the switch and i would switch for either music or av).

Overall question is: What are the implications of leaving the Naim connected but turned off to the L&R preouts all the time when the Naim (music) is not in use (i believe the pre outs are live all the time).

Thankyou
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Yes. you can connect the power amp to the AV receiver's pre outs, but you'd need to use it all the time regardless of wherher you are portraying stereo sources or multichannel sound.

There's no reason why you'd not want to use the NAIM power amp for both. Simply use the front left and right pre outs and then use the NAIM power amp to power your front speakers with.

Why don't you want to use the NAIM while portraying anything but stereo music sources? Ypu'd just be over complicating things if insisting that the power amp is only utilised when wanting to portray stereo music.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Yes. you can connect the power amp to the AV receiver's pre outs, but you'd need to use it all the time regardless of wherher you are portraying stereo sources or multichannel sound.

There's no reason why you'd not want to use the NAIM power amp for both. Simply use the front left and right pre outs and then use the NAIM power amp to power your front speakers with.

Why don't you want to use the NAIM while portraying anything but stereo music sources? Ypu'd just be over complicating things if insisting that the power amp is only utilised when wanting to portray stereo music.
Thanks for the reply.

The reasons for not wanting to use the Naim are that as I only listen to music maybe once a fortnight/three weeks for a couple of hours, I didnt want a second amp running all the time unnecesarily. Seems a waste of energy and 'using up' the Naims life of service when not needed.

I understand what you are saying, if i listened to music more frequently i would likely do the usual method as you state.

Also the naim is in a cupboard with a manual power on power off with no 12v trigger neither which the other half wont remember to get up and turn uo all the time she wants to watch tv and will wonder there is no l and r sound
 

gibbsy

Moderator
With what you describe for usage your only option would be to physically put the RCA into the Denon when you want to use the Naim. It may be worth it power wise if you want to listen at insane levels but actual stereo music quality is still going to be determined by the Denon's mediocre (at best) performance through it's pre-amp.

It's up to you if it's worth the hassle.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Understood re: the Denon's pre amp being the limiting factor in terms of SQ. And to expand on that I want a Naim pre amp, problem is budget so awaiting a second hand naim172-xs to come up for sale somewhere, but that may be a while!

As an aside, for 2 ch. music, I am currently using the Naim with an old mid to high end pioneer avr as a pre-amp for it (so totally standalone from the denon but using same b&w speakers) and it sounds better then the Denon does on its own for music into the same speakers, so perhaps (or perhaps not) there is something to be gained using the Denon into the Naim rather than using the Denons Power amp (class a or a/b Naim rather than the class d (?) of the Denon?).
I think its worth at least trying the Denon as a preamp to the Naim for a while at least anyway, given that it has circa 15 year newer dac than the pioneer and so may (or may not!) be better than the old pioneers dac.

So, if you're saying that leaving the Naim permanently connected (even if unused) to the Denon L & R preouts whilst using the denons internal amps for 5.1 duties is not possible then:

1. In order to achieve the aim of leaving the Naim connected to the Denon for music via rca, could i use the Zone 2 preouts to connect to the naim permanently? Then when i want music i just switch the denon to Zone 2 to use it as a preamp- no plugging or unplugging of rcas that way?

2. If that is possible, then how would that affect me also adding x4 atmos speakers to then denon in terms of available channels? I already have 5.1 connected to the Denon. Will the Denon have enough channels?
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
1. In order to achieve the aim of leaving the Naim connected to the Denon for music via rca, could i use the Zone 2 preouts to connect to the naim permanently? Then when i want music i just switch the denon to Zone 2 to use it as a preamp- no plugging or unplugging of rcas that way?

2. If that is possible, then how would that affect me also adding x4 atmos speakers to then denon in terms of available channels? I already have 5.1 connected to the Denon. Will the Denon have enough channels?
Without wishing to use the Naim as a power amp for the front speakers in a surround sound and using other speakers connected to the Naim for stereo music then using the Zone 2 pre-outs would allow for this. That would be a maximum of nine channels in Zone 1, I take it 5.1.4 for Atmos. The X3600 has 11 channels of processing so Zone 2 would take up the remaining processing power.

All you have to basically do is configure for 11.1 initially and then set up the speaker configuration as normal.

Speaker configuration and “Amp Assign” settings​

This unit has a built-in 9-channel power amplifier. In addition to the basic 5.1-channel system, a variety of speaker systems can be configured by changing the “Amp Assign” settings to suit the application, such as 7.1-channel systems, bi-amp connections and 2-channel systems for multi-zone playback. link
Perform “Amp Assign” settings to suit the number of rooms and speaker configuration to be installed. link
Playback speaker in each zone“Amp Assign” settings
Connection page​
MAIN ZONE​
ZONE2​
5.1-channel playback
2-channel (Pre-out)​
Can be set in all “Amp Assign” modes.
link
7.1-channel playback7.1ch + ZONE2 (Default)
link
9.1-channel playback9.1ch
link
11.1-channel playback11.1ch
link
7.1-channel playback (bi-amp connection of front speakers)7.1ch (Bi-Amp)
link
Second front speakers7.1ch + Front B
link
7.1-channel playback
2-channel
(Speaker out)​
7.1ch + ZONE2 (Default)
link
5.1-channel playback (bi-amp connection of front speakers)
2-channel
(Speaker out)​
5.1ch (Bi-Amp) + ZONE2
link
The sound mode that can be selected varies according to the speaker configuration. See “Sound modes and channel output” link for the sound modes that are supported.
The following pages provide basic connection examples.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Perfect, thankyou gibbsy for your time and effort, much appreciated :)
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
Just as a note, you won't have EQ (Audyssey) for the Zone 2 output.

Also, worth noting, the x3600 (and in fact all of the 2019-2021 Denon AVR-X model range) is class AB topology amplification.

As I believe Gibbsy has mentioned, the main SQ influence for music is likely to be the pre-amplification, the DAC and power amplification would be expected to have less effect.

And, whilst I'm sure the Naim is a wonderful power amp, its specs say 110w per channel into 4 Ohms, which means it's quite likely it may not be as powerful as running the x3600 in two channel and the x3600 has quite remarkable SINAD for its internal amps too. So, with using the Naim as a power amp, it will be interesting to hear your findings.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
All good points, i'll give it a try over the weekend and see what happens.
 

sparkymarky

Active Member
Update.

This morning i've done some testing, but not in relation to the above yet.
Comparison of the 2 existing systems:

1. Denon x3600 performing 2 ch stereo.
2. Pioneer avr as pre and Naim power
amp doing 2 ch. Stereo.

1. Denon using spotify connect.
Selected to stereo and experimented with full audyssey xt32 eq on (Auto) then direct and pure direct modes.
Result: Sounded best in direct. But, in comparison with system 2, somewhat flat and compressed and less width to the soundstage. Rhythm and attack lacking. Ok but not inspiring. I havent had time to play with eq/filters to see if i can better tune.

2. Pioneer avr as pre into Naim power.
Source: spotify via chromecast audio into pioneer.
Setting: Stereo and experimented with Auto (full mcacc eq with standing wave off though) then direct (mcacc still active) and then Pure Direct (no eq).
Best in Stereo, Direct (So with eq). I had to fine tune distances and levels with spl meter as centre imaging was slightly off to one speaker side.
But, once done, rhythm and attack that was missing from the Denon was now clearly present. Substantial improvement in delivery and enjoyment and inspiring that toe tapping to sunbconsciously start and the desire to ,without realising i noticed, put the remote control down and stop fiddling about also made a welcome appearance.
Bass was bolder (as the b&w's are known for and sometimes criticised for), but very well controlled by the Naim i felt (and i can and did adjust bass down using tone control (crime to use tone for the purists i know :) ) in the pioneers quick menu.

So system 2 surpasses denon alone (subject to playing with denons eq more in depth) which i guess is mostly down to them being different preamps and dacs. I saw the pioneers schematic and it was a very short path/circuit when in 2 channel mode.

Will plug the naim into the Denon's zone 2 at the weekend (SWMBO is back home tonight) and see what that brings to the equation.
 
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sparkymarky

Active Member
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