Getting back to AV

UTT

Standard Member
Thanks! Looking forward to it.

I've got dangerously sidetracked onto stereo amps now... It's a slippery slope!

Currently thinking I'll aim for a pre/power setup, with the Yamaha and stereo pre-amp switched at the power amp input. Easy enough to do in stages.

I'll start out by running it into the Rotel's aux input, but I'm expecting the Rotel to struggle driving the Q55.2s in this room anyway - and even allowing that Rotel's power figures are likely a good deal more conservative than Yamaha's there's going to be a significant mismatch between 30W on the front channels and 70/80W on the surrounds.
 

martin 39

Well-known Member
Not sure if this helps but i have ran a arcam avr 400 for yrs now. No 4k atmos etc but has hdmi switching dts ma and true hd and sounds great for music and film. I got rid of my separate roksan and denon system for this and still happy now they can be picked up at a good price now a great amp for the money
 

UTT

Standard Member
Well, got caught looking at amps on eBay earlier... and still slightly shocked that I've been given the green light to upgrade the stereo amp. So, Rotel pre and power amps on the way. Nothing that's going to get anyone on here hugely excited, but it should be a significant step up from what I currently have.

The power amp is six channel, so I've got a few options there - I could just use two of then for the front channels, bridge two pairs, or bi-amp them. Then I can either leave the Yamaha running the centre channel it run that through the Rotel with the same options. Playtime! 🙂

I've only catered for a single channel to each speaker when I ran the wires, but I left the front overhead channels long enough to reach the front in case I ever installed up firing ATMOS speakers. So I could use them to bi-amp. Not sure if I can manage a second channel for the centre without joining wires in the loft - not ideal, but not the end of the world either.

The more I look at the shape of the ceiling in this room the more dubious I am that ATMOS would work in it anyway - pretty certain four overhead channels in the right places is a no go, not sure if two would work - and as I've allowed for 7.x.4 even if I use three of the channels I ran for potential future ATMOS use I'd still have enough for either 7.x or 5.x.2.

Think I need to post some diagrams of the room and figure out what would and wouldn't work.
 

UTT

Standard Member
So, long story short, when the Rotel amps arrived (some time back now), the power amp had taken a bit of a battering in transit - dented case (looked worse than the photo, but straightened out reasonably well) and more seriously the binding posts pushed in and cracked:
IMG_20210210_164025.jpg

IMG_20210210_164005.jpg

IMG_20210210_174144.jpg


After straightening things out enough that the binding posts weren't in contact with anything they shouldn't be, I tested the amp and it still worked fine, so negotiated a partial refund with the eBay vendor and opted to keep it.

The original binding posts are nothing special, and as far as I can tell aren't available as a spare part (this amp is about 20 years old), so I purchased some generic binding posts off Amazon - broken original on the right, replacements on the left:
IMG_20210319_212952.jpg

The original posts are screwed to the terminals and poke through holes in the back plate, which they are then screwed to after the back plate is in place. I couldn't find anything which was going to quite work in the same way or was large enough to secure in the holes in the back panel, so the thinking here was that paired posts would clamp onto the back panel bridging two of the post holes. They'd need to be fixed to the panel first and then the terminals once the panel was in place, which was going to be a bit fiddly, but looked workable.

The new posts stuck out further internally, so first thing was a trial fit to make sure they didn't foul anything. Looked okay on that front, but revealed something I'd missed:
IMG_20210319_211947.jpg

IMG_20210319_211525.jpg

Yup, the terminals don't have round holes - they have flats, as do the original binding posts, which stop everything rotating when you're doing them up. Nice design, but doesn't play nicely with the standard round replacements...

I considered drilling out the terminals, but I'd have had to do it in-situ and I didn't fancy my chances of keeping swarf out of the amp. I also had concerns about breaching the gold plating.

So, after some head scratching, plan B - I discovered I could assemble a combination of bits from the old and new binding posts to finish up with something that clamped the back panel but also fitted the existing terminals. Basically used the centres of the original posts passing through the mountings for the new ones. To get this to work I had to wind the clamps right out exposing the thicker area with the hole for a bare speaker wire, which was the right size to locate in the mountings and left the post long enough internally to reach the terminals. There's no way with this arrangement to clamp the posts securely to the back panel before fitting it, which is...awkward...but once assembled the only real downside is you can no longer use bare wires. No problem, I use banana plugs anyway and they still fit fine.

I had to hold everything together with masking tape to get it in place, and then fit the nuts to the binding posts without easy access:
IMG_20210320_183316.jpg


But ultimately success - it all fits nicely:
IMG_20210320_190757.jpg


You have to look twice at the end result to see it's not standard:
IMG_20210320_192900.jpg


So, I'm happy enough with that. Now I just need to finish running the speaker wire!
 

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UTT

Standard Member
And there's been some progress on the wiring front. After clearing out all the old rodent infested loft insulation - a delightful job, but definitely necessary, because this:
IMG_20210411_143339.jpg

Had been up to this:
IMG_20210414_094604.jpg

I've sorted out the tangle of wires I left in the loft a couple of months ago:
IMG_20210414_193655.jpg

And run them all tidily where they need to go:
IMG_20210416_204627.jpg

The ones that aren't future proofing are now hanging down behind the living room wall ready to be pulled through when I'm allowed (which will be when the spare room and office are finished...).

The loft is reinsulated and partially rat proofed - still got some more work to do there.
 

UTT

Standard Member
Well, the office and spare bedroom have been done for a while, and it is now when the kitchen is done ;)

But, I have got the hi-fi up and running using the rear channels. I bought new racks a while back (the old black steel one didn't have enough shelves, and has never been popular with my wife).

First problem was that the power amp didn't fit once there were plugs in the back. A little surgery later that problem was solved...

IMG_20220121_205633_copy_1500x2000.jpg


... and I got everything connected - with some difficulty, 1m interconnects aren't long enough on this closed rack. I've bought some 2m ones, but not fitted them yet.

At the moment I've got:
Rega Planar 2 with NAD pre-amp.
Denon DRW-650.
Marantz CD52.
Rotel RC-972.
Rotel RB-976.

IMG_20220122_143552_copy_1500x2000.jpg


The Yamaha processor isn't in use yet, as the TV and blueray player are on the other side of the room and I haven't cut patrices into the wall and pulled anything through yet. That's also where the main speakers are, so for now I've a six channel power amp driving a pair of Kef Q85s surround speakers. No bass (they roll off at 120Hz), but they actually sound okay with carefully selected music - and a lot better than nothing!

PhotoPictureResizer_20220129_160348_copy_2000x1500.jpg

I've got a Marantz CD30SE, Technics RS-TR355 and Denon TU-260L sat here as well, but there seems little point experimenting with inputs until I'm running the main speakers. The CD52 isn't likely to be a long term keeper, as the tray clatters in and out, though it works fine once the disk is in. I'm not sure the CD30 has that much life in it either, though.
 

UTT

Standard Member
The other thing to experiment with once the main speakers are connected is running the stereo sources through the Yamaha. If that sounds as good as the Rotel preamp then it simplifies things, so it's worth trying - I'll be surprised if it does, though. Assuming I'm keeping both, I'll ideally need to sort out a switch to select the preamp on the front channels.
 

UTT

Standard Member
So, unsurprisingly the tray on the CD-52 has got steadily worse and is now pretty much unusable. It's a cheap fix, but for now I've dropped the other player in - a Marantz CD-50 SE (not CD-30 as I'd misremembered). Which one I'll keep I really don't know. Over the surround speakers and the headphones I recently added (Sennheiser HDR 120 II, so nothing special) I can't hear any difference. The CD-50 is a more modern looking machine, although it's the older model - the CD-52 has a rather dated and frankly pretty ugly design, and a more cluttered display. Both have the same Phillips CD-4 transport (so I'm likely to have to fix that either way), the CD-52 has a newer generation of DAC, but it's the stock MK1 and the CD-50 is a special edition so I'm not even sure I'll be able to hear a difference when the main speakers are connected... Just going to have to wait and see, I guess!
 

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