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Connecting an av and stereo amp

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by stevie_mc, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. stevie_mc

    stevie_mc
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    Having discussed the poor stereo quality of my av system in previous posts, i decided that i would purchase a dedicated integrated stereo amp. I aquired the cambridge audio A5 at £120 and although its pretty cheap in comparison to some of the monliths on the market, i'm sure it'll blow the ass of my current av amp in stereo!!

    The trouble is I have no idea how to connect everything so that the same fronts are used for both stereo music and multichannel move soundtracks but driven by different ampd dependant on the source (cd or dvd).

    Being a complete newbie (although i am learning about this kind of thing all the time) i'd appreciate as detailed a solution as possible, mainly so i dont have to bug you with additional posts for more advice.

    Cheers!!
     
  2. stevie_mc

    stevie_mc
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    I've realised another couple of questions that i forget to ask in my previous post:

    A friend has his speakers wired so that the cable runs through both sets of terminals, with the connecting plate between them removed. Hes says that this improves performance, is this true?

    Also, will setting up my system with the two amps as i mentioned above have any detrimental effect on multichannel performance. I understand i wont be able to use the DSP effects which isnt an issue because i usually just listen to moves with straight decode but i dont want it to have an effect on general 5.1/6.1 performance
     
  3. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    AFAIK, the Yamaha RXV440RDS does have pre-outs for all the main channels.

    In order to make use of your Stereo amp (and avoid having to swap over speaker cable betwee the two amps all the time). You'll need to run a set of phono cables from the pre-outs of the RXV440RDS to an input on the A5 (aux or processor etc. would make sense as an input).

    Having done this, you need to wire your main speakers to the A5 amplifier.

    You then need to select the input on the A5 which corresponds with the output of the Yamaha. It's then a case of choosing a volume on the A5 that you're likely to listen to your movie soundtracks at (most people simply turn the volume knob to the 12 O'Clock position). If you're willing to do so try placing a sticker of some sort onto the fascia of the amp above the volume control knob with some sort of mark on it so you can remember how far to turn the volume knob in the future.

    It's then a case of playing the test tone sequence on your Yamaha amp and balancing up the volume levels on the Yamaha between speaker channels.

    By doing this the Cambridge Audio will be driving your front L/R speakers at all times. You should connect none-av sources (i.e. CD and Tape & Turntable ETC) directly to the Cambridge Audio amp for the best analogue sound quality. All AV sources should be connected to the Yamaha.

    It's then simply a case of turning the volume control of the A5 to the 'mark' you prepared (or the 12 O'Clock position) whenever you want to listen to a movie soundtrack, and then using the master volume control on the Yamaha.

    In response to your second question. The speaker wiring method your friend is employing is known as Biwiring.

    This involves using specialist biwire cable (with four strands), connecting two strands to each positive & negative speaker output of your amp, and one of each to the four corresponding binding posts of your speakers, whilst removing the bridging clips you mentioned.

    Theoretically this offers certain benefits over Single-Wired connections in that it bypasses the speaker's internal crossover circuitry and separate electrical supplies drive the tweeter and midrange drivers simultaneously.

    In practise the benefits vary between speakers.
     
  4. bobbypunk

    bobbypunk
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    no pre-outs on RXV-440 so a speaker sharing box is the only option i know of!
     
  5. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    Heh, then you're buggered.

    I'd avoid speaker-sharing boxes like the plague.
     
  6. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    you need to get an AV Amp with preouts on it otherwise it's not worth the bother. Oh and it's also worth looking for an integrated stereo amp that has an AV bypass option so it can be used as a power amp easily. Something like the Arcam A80 or A90 or the Musical Fidelity A308 which is what I use at the moment.
     
  7. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    A bit overkill for a £200 surround amp and a £120 stereo amp.

    Were I you I'd sell both of them and buy a receiver in Marantz's range or Harman Kardon's, as both of these are likely to outperform the A5 in stereo.
     
  8. stevie_mc

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    Cheers for the help and advice guys.

    I'm pretty angry with guys at richers now. They knew exactly the kit i had and how i wanted to set it up but forget to mention that it would not be possible as the rxv440 doesnt have pre-outs. Now I'm back to square one - an excellent home cinema with por stereo performance. Selling the yamaha is not an option as i only bought it around a month ago but richers are pretty decent about things like this so they may still take it back and exchange it for a better amp.

    I'm still not sure if its the speakers or the amp that are the source of the problem, the treble just seems too bright, as if its being forced. At the moment I've borrowed my friends Arcam cd72 and I'm just about to hook it up to the A5 and see how that sounds through my fronts. If it sounds fine then the amp is the problem and i'll consider upgrading to a better model if richers take it back. If that does turn out to be tha case, i'll be willing to spend up to £500 on a new av amp. What models would you recommend at that price range that would offer good (i'm not looking for brilliant) stereo performance?
     
  9. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    Marantz's SR7400. A Second Hand Denon AVR-3803. Should both come in within your budget.
     
  10. stevie_mc

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    In response to bi-wiring, my friends speakers aren't bi-wired, he's using two strand cable but has run one strand through both black terminals and one strand throughhh both red terminals. Will this make any difference to sound?
     
  11. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    Haha.

    sounds like an extremely pointless proposition your friend is using. I wouldn't say it makes any difference to the sound, but whatever makes him happy :D.
     
  12. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Actually many people do this, usually by taking a small piece of their speaker cable and connecting the terminals.

    The supplied connecting strips aren't usually of great quality and some would argue that they're the cause of the improvements heard when biwiring (as they're replaced by speaker cable).

    I'd certainly recommend it if you've got a few inches of cable spare as at the very least it looks more impressive! I wouldn't bother with the hassle of stripping a single cable to enable this though.
     
  13. stevie_mc

    stevie_mc
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    This is definitely the last post I'm making on this subject, this systems been more trouble than its worth and its starting to do my head in.

    I've just listened to the Arcam cd72 into the A5 and through the Gale fronts and it sounds so much better, night and day in fact, compred to the toshiba sd900 into the yamaha rvx440. I'm at pains to spend any more money after splashing out over £1000 already so is there no way that the speakers can be connected to the two different amps? Would it be possible to connect one amp to one set of terminals and the other amp to the other terminals, or am i just showing my lack of experience and knowledge here? What about connecting both amps to the same set of terminals on the speakers? You can connect two sets of wires into one set of terminals on an amp when bi-wiring so maybe you can do the same at the speaker end.

    Once again, these are just ideas off the top of my head without any real research so forgive me if they sound completely laughable and totally implausible.

    Please help before i throw myself off a cliff
     

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