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Just bought a power amp to hook my intergrated amp - how do I wire it??

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Steve237, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Steve237

    Steve237
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    Yes, I'm clearly an idiot!

    I already had a NAD C372 Integrated amp (http://www.nadelectronics.com/hifi_amplifiers/C372_framset.htm), wired up to a pair of floor standing Mordaunt short 906's (http://www.mordauntshort.com/products/avant906.html).

    Just bought a NAD C272 Power Amp (http://www.nadelectronics.com/hifi_amplifiers/C272_framset.htm) and another set of Mordaunt Short 912 loudspeakers (http://www.mordauntshort.com/products/912.html) and not quite sure how to rig the whole lot up!

    Both sets of speakers have two sets of terminals so are bi-wirable, and both amps have two sets of terminals so are bi-ampable.

    Please help me get these sons of bitches hooked up!!

    I'd really appreciate any help for the idiot with a beer in his hand scratching his head :thumbsup:

    Here's some pics (just piled it all up to give a good view):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. dmurfet

    dmurfet
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    I'm posting because I feel for the guy fixing things with a beer in his hand - me too - yes I'm typing one handed with a beer in my hand. (Bear this in mind before doing anything I suggest!)

    Remove the links between pre-out (1) and main in on the integrated amp.

    Attach interconnects (I'm assuming you have some!) from the pre out (1) to fixed in on the power amp.

    It would appear (from what I can see) that whilst you can use the other circuits to power either the same speakers (bi-amp) or a second set of speakers (but with the same sound) there is no way for you to get four channels of independent sound out of your power amp.

    However attaching speakers to the B channel of the integrated may give you something!

    Hope this helps - cheers! :beer:
     
  3. Steve237

    Steve237
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    Thanks for the reply!

    Do you think I should have one set of speakers wired into the "Speakers A" on the power amp and the other pair of speakers wired to the "Speakers B" on the power amp, or should I have one set of speakers on each of the amps?

    If I want to bi-wire and bi-amp, how should I go about this?
     
  4. reservoir51

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    I'll give it a go at figuring this out!

    Steve, are all your speakers in the same room, or separate? If they're part of an AV setup (e.g. 5.1), then it makes sense if they're in the same room. Assuming that they're in separate rooms, then you should be able to use both A and B channels (either from the power amp or integrated). Looking at your power amp, I think both channels ought to be able to power 2 sets of speakers (i.e. 4 speakers in total) simultaneously.

    Bi-wiring and bi-amping are separate issues altogether. Using both A and B channels of the same amplifier to drive a set of speakers isn't strictly speaking 'bi-amping' - merely bi-wiring and the advantages of doing this are still controversial. In order to bi-amp (passively only though since your speakers will have a fixed crossover), you'll need to drive each set of speakers using both amplifiers. Once you've connected the pre-out of your integrated amp to your power amp (fixed or variable input is up to you, but I'd recommend fixed), then use channel A from each amp to drive one speaker set and channel B to drive the other set. For instance, use channel A from your integrated amp to drive the high frequency unit of your MS 906 (left and right) speakers and channel A from your power amp to drive the low frequency unit of the same speakers. The same applies for your other set of speakers (i.e. MS 912), but of course, use channel B from each amp. If you've got this setup, then there's no need to bi-wire the system.

    Hope that helps. Let us know how you get on!

    reservoir51
     
  5. Steve237

    Steve237
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    reservoir51 - thank you for posting :smashin:

    A couple of things to note:

    1 - All four speakers are in the same room (I know this isn't going to help me get the perfect stereo sound, but I need volume as this is a DJ set-up - see next point)

    2 - Regarding the fixed/variable inputs - I am going to be using a DJ mixer unit which is where I control the bass/treble/volume...which setting do you think is best?


    Now you know exactly what I am trying to acheive, please give me the idiots guide I need to get this kit pumping the walls down with deep soulful house beats!!

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Steve237

    Steve237
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    Just done exactly this as a test run (didn't wire up the MS912's), turned the integrated amplifier volume right down, pressed play on the cd player and turned the amp volume up a tiny amount - huge clipping/crackle/bang noise emmitted so I quickly turned the volume to zero and switched off the amp!

    Any suggestions??

    I've connected 'pre-out 1' on the integrated amp to 'fixed in' on the power amp, and have the switch on 'fixed' mode. Oh, and where the headphones are covering the switch - it says 'Vacation' and was switched to on.

    Hope someone can help me here.
     
  7. reservoir51

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    Hi Steve. I'm not familiar with DJ equipment but I would have thought the same principles would apply i.e. if you use fixed gain on your power amp, your integrated should serve as the 'control' amp including volume control, bass and treble control, pure direct switches, etc. Since both amps are from the same manufacturer, they should both be compatible and have similar gain - you can confirm this via the manuals and specifications. Using a fixed input makes it more convenient since you don't have to fiddle with the settings on your power amp (eg. with an SPL meter, etc.), but I guess this is a matter of personal preference.

    As for the clipping/crackle noises, you can isolate the problem by switching off the power amp and letting your integrated amp drive the speakers first. If your integrated is driving the high frequency, then you should only get high frequency sounds. If this is ok, then try swtiching off the channel on your integrated driving the high frequency (the amp should have a knob or switch which allows you to turn channel A and B on and off) and turning the volume down. Then turn on your power amp and make sure you've switched on the correct channel wired to the speakers (i.e. either A or B but not both). You should only get low frequency sounds (or vice versa). Also have a read through the manuals on both amps and make sure all instructions are followed eg. in terms of connections and which amp should be switched on or off first, etc. With the fixed gain, your integrated amp controls the volume so make sure it is turned right down before switching on both. As always, make sure the speakers are wired in phase, etc. And to make things as simple as possible, turn off the headphone function, and make sure all volume levels are turned down.

    Hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.

    Regards,
    reservoir51
     
  8. Steve237

    Steve237
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    Thanks for the reply - I'll check all this out...
     
  9. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    If you're still not getting any joy, then I suggest simplifying things for now in order to investigate the problem ie. forget about bi-amping or bi-wiring. Just use one channel (either A or B but not both) from your power amp to drive the speakers. Make sure you reconnect the shorting links at the back of your speakers for this. If you then subsequently bi-amp or bi-wire, make sure the shorting links are disconnected from the speaker terminals, otherwise your speakers can be damaged. Refer to your speaker manual for further details.

    reservoir51
     
  10. add

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    I have a similar question to this thread, Steve I hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread. Your photos got me thinking....

    I'm using a c272 power amp for my fronts in a 5 channel setup, using the pre-outs from my av amp into the power amp.

    Currently my fronts are bi-wired, but the speaker cables are not truly biwired, each speakers dual cable run is into one pair of terminals at the power amp, while at the speaker end the joining links are removed and the cables are into the each of the inputs, tweeter/mid, low end woofer.

    Should I run each of the tweets/mid using speaker A outs of the power amp and the low end woofer of the fronts using speaker B outs of the power amp?
    Obviously chopping off my current cable terminals and splitting the cables accordingly.

    Or option 2, can I safely run the tweet/mid of each speaker from the regualr front speaker outs of my av amp, and the low end woofer of each speaker from the speaker A terminals of the power amp? Again chopping off my current cable terminals and splitting the cables accordingly.

    Pictures, just to clarify, confuse the point further, click for big versions.
    Current setup
    [​IMG]
    http://www.adamlloyd.net/amp/current.jpg

    Possible 1? - FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND THIS IS Bi-wiring
    http://www.adamlloyd.net/amp/suggestion1.jpg
    [​IMG]

    Possible 2? - FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND THIS IS Bi-amping (ignore the "black" make believe speaker cables)
    http://www.adamlloyd.net/amp/suggestion2.jpg
    [​IMG]

    Just to rub salt in the wounds there are also "speaker B" terminals on my av amp, but I'm not thinking about those right now this is too much for a friday afternoon as it is.
     
  11. reservoir51

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    Add, I'll try to simplify things for you.

    Your current setup isn't really bi-wired. In fact, I've never seen it done like that before. I'm not sure if there are any benefits to what you're doing right now.
    Here's what you could do (in my humble opinion) :

    1.) Your best bet would be to bi-amp your front speakers using both your AV amp and power amp. This results in the best possible sound improvement (although active bi-amping would be even better, but we don't need to concern ourselves with that here). This is a lot simpler than it sounds. All you need to do is to decide which amp is going to drive the low and high/mid frequencies. The usual advice is to use the power amp to drive the low frequency and AV amp to drive the mid/high, but you could always try and change things around to see which suits you better. Let's say you decide to use your power amp to drive the low frequency. In order to bi-amp, connect speaker terminal A on your power amp (i.e. 4 cables in total - positive and negative for each side equals 4) to the low frequency terminals of your speakers (i.e. positive and negative terminals on each speaker). Make sure the shorting links on your speakers have been removed. Next, connect speaker terminal A on your AV amp (again, 4 separate cables) to the high/low frequency terminals of the same speakers. Make sure you select channel A on both amps and if you've used fixed input gain on your power amp (as opposed to variable gain) then you're ready to go. Note that your AV amp will control the volume and treble/bass/pure direct modes. If you're not satisfied with the results, try swapping the speaker driving - i.e. use your AV amp to drive the low frequency and power amp to drive the high/mid frequency.

    2.) Your other option is to bi-wire the setup. Note that some (if not most!) audiophiles would argue that bi-wiring is a complete waste of time, as long as you're using good quality speaker cables. In any case, the sound quality would clearly be inferior to a bi-amped system (as long as the bi-amping setup has been performed correctly, using amps which are compatible and of a similar gain and quality). In addition, most people would argue that if you've got two amps, why not bi-amp using both amps, rather than merely bi-wiring using one amp (usually the power amp). Anyway, if you want to bi-wire, here's how. Since you're using the power amp, by default, you'll need to use it to bi-wire the speakers. Connect speaker terminal A on your power amp (4 cables as above) to the low frequency terminals on the speakers (positive and negative on each side equals 4). Next, connect speaker terminal B on the power amp to the high/mid frequency terminals on the same speakers, and you're ready to go. As above, make sure that the shorting links on the speaker terminals have been removed, and remember to switch on both channels A and B on the power amp (switch shoud be in front of the amp). You should be good to go then.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on. I hope Steve is ok. In particular, I hope he hasn't blown his speakers or his amp!

    Regards,
    reservoir51
     
  12. add

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    Reservoir, great news, thanks for taking the time to ingest my ramblings and write a comprehensible response.

    The way I read your recommended answer is to do this...
    Possible 2?
    http://www.adamlloyd.net/amp/suggestion2.jpg

    I'll give it a bash this week as I'm moving everything around in my listening room currently.
     
  13. reservoir51

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    Add, looks like you've got it sorted. A couple of points though :

    1) Make sure the input selector on the power amp is switched onto 'fixed'.

    2) Since you're not using the Speaker B channel on the power amp, why are there cables (i.e. black ones in the excellent diagram that you posted) coming out of it? You'll only need to use channel B if you're intending to drive another set of speakers (for instance, a different set of speakers in another room), or if you're intending to bi-wire, but since you're already bi-amping, you don't need to bi-wire.

    3) I would change all your other speaker channels on your AV amp (i.e. centre, rears, etc.) to single cables rather than dual ones, as I don't think this is bi-wiring and it won't add anything to the system. But, you're the boss!

    Good luck and here's to good sound! :hiya:

    Cheers,
    reservoir51

    Ps: Steve if you're reading this, please let us know how you got on. If I've given bad advice, I (and everyone else I'm sure!) would like to know about it!
     
  14. add

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    Reservoir, the black cables coming out of the power amp B speaker terminals, aren't really there :) i just got lazy with my mspaint artistry, and just changed the pink to black. There are no cables from power amp speaker set B.

    As for the doubling of cables, its a long running thing to remind me to spend more money and get more amps so I can biamp all-round eventually> I got a deal on the cable I couldn't refuse (give away price) so for the time being the cable is my perma-reminder to get it sorted. You are right it doesn't add anything to the setup, well certainly nothing I can hear, But it makes a nice talking point when discussing bi-wire vs bi-amp :)

    <edit>
    Oh forgot to say, yes my power amp is set to fixed, and I have the gain on it set to about 2 o'clock, I let myself tweak it to 4 if its been a hard day at the office :)
     
  15. anotherdavid

    anotherdavid
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    add, I'll be interested to see how you go

    I am running a Denon 2805 into a Nad C272 wired as per your Diagram #1 (with good results!)

    Reservoir51, why do think add's diagram #2 is the best option? Is it because it means he is sharing the load better running out of 2 amps?

    When I did my set-up I considered doing it that way, but figured the difference in overall "sound" beteween the Denon & the NAD might make things a bit weird.

    I also felt the main reason for getting the power amp was to give the power supply of the Denon a bit more breathing space for the surround channels - The NAD power amp has a pretty massive toroidal power supply
     
  16. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    steve237

    You seem to be a glutton for wiring complexity :)

    I'm not sure with a DJ system I'd be overly worried about Bi Wiring - I doubt you'll 'hear' much benefit; and BI amping will probably have minimal beneficial affect too.

    01. Sources - all your source kit should be wired to your ECLER mixer.

    02. Mixer Output - there are two independent Outputs on your Mixer. Out 01 is balanced Out 02 in unbalanced and Out 01 and Out 02 have individual volume controls.

    As your two amplifiers are both unbalanced probably the simplest thing to do is to use a pair of 1RCA to 2RCA 'splitter' cables from Out 02 on the Mixer to the 'Variable' Line In on the Power Amp and the 'Pre In' on the HiFi Amp.

    I'd then connect one pair of speakers to the A terminals on the Power Amp and your second set of speakers to the A terminal on the HiFi Amp.

    The Output level of the HIFI Amp will be set by Master 2 volume control on the mixer as will the Output level of the Power amp - though you can use the trim pot on the power amp to achieve a 'balance' between the two amplifier output levels.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS And get more space between your two amps - they will overheat if they are too closely stacked.
     
  17. reservoir51

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    Well, yes. By using separate amps, you're driving the speakers with up to double the power, resulting in up to 3dB more headroom. This may result in an improved bass response, dynamics, and overall fidelity. Another benefit is by providing electrical isolation between the highs and lows of the speaker system since they are independently connected to separate amplifiers. This may reduce crosstalk and mutual inductance. However, having said all that, there a several caveats. First is that if the crossover network of the speaker system is passive, the benefits would be less dramatic and clear-cut. Secondly, ideally one should use identical amps to bi-amp, or at least amps which are compatible and with similar characteristics. If not done properly, then obviously bi-amping can result in poorer sound.

    However, in the context of this discussion, if one is unlikely to gain benefit from bi-amping, then bi-wiring is equally unlikely (if not more unlikely) to improve sonic performance, unless there's a massive difference in the performance of the two amps in question. For instance, if you're bi-amping with a cheap, terrible amp and an extremely expensive high quality amp, and bi-wiring using the high quality amp, then obviously the latter may be superior to the former.

    There's no harm in trying things out and hearing for yourself. Let yourself be the judge.

    reservoir51
     
  18. anotherdavid

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    thanks for the reply reservoir51...

    i think i "probably" have the best set-up for my situation, taking into account the potential mis-match in sound between the Denon & the NAD, and the drain on the Denon's Power Supply running 5+ channels...

    plenty of power in the NAD too!

    david
     
  19. add

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    Should I run the Pre-out from my AV amp into my Power Amp's Fixed or Variable input?
    <edit>
    re-reading, it seems fixed is the input to use on the power amp.
    </edit>

    I imagine fixed means the Power amp receives a signal from the AV amp that is fixed at some default level and as I turn the volume up and down on the AV amp, the Power amps output doesn't change.

    Meanwhile

    I imagine variable means the Power amp receives a variable signal from the AV amp and as I turn the volume up and down on the AV amp, the Power amp's output matches the output increase/decrease as I turn the AV amp up and down?
     
  20. reservoir51

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    Add, I think you should use fixed input on your power amp when used in conjunction with the AV amp's front pre-outs.

    Fixed input refers to a fixed gain for the control amp - meaning that the gain remains the same for the power amp, and hence your AV amp will essentially do all the controlling in terms of volume control, bass and treble controls, and so on.

    Variable gain is useful if you're using a direct connection between your CD player and power amp, effectively bypassing the pre-amp stage of the system. The gain can be varied using the variable gain knob. Alternatively, if you've got two power amps in a bi-amped system, then obviously one of the power amps will need to serve as a control amp, and this can only be achieved via a variable gain amp while the other is usually a fixed gain power amp. It would indeed be very odd using two variable gain power amps under such circumstances.

    Since your AV amp is already serving as a control amp (by virtue of having its pre-outs amplified by the power amp), I think there's little point in varying the gain of the power amp as it complicates things further.

    Hope that helps. If you want further details on fixed and variable gain amplification especially in engineering terms, here's a link you may find useful : http://www.psaudio.com/newsletters/11-04.asp

    Cheers,
    reservoir51
     
  21. reservoir51

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    But then again, the purpose of bi-amping in your situation is to improve the stereo performance of your system, which means the best results would be felt for purely stereo playback (eg. listening to music on CDs). When you're listening to music, you can reduce the load on your pre-amp (i.e. Denon) by switching it onto stereo only. Obviously, for movie playback, the issue of 'power drain' may be a factor since, as you pointed out, resources on the Denon are stretched. But then again, even under such circumstances (i.e. when your front channel is bi-amped), I think you're unlikely to hear any audible deterioriation in your system's performance from 'power drain'. As it is, differences in pure stereo mode will be quite subtle; in a multi-channel mode, I would think that any difference (whether positive or negative) will be totally inaudible. In other words, I think you should only bi-amp the front channels if you want to improve the musical performance of your system in stereo.

    reservoir51
     
  22. anotherdavid

    anotherdavid
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    thanks again for your thoughts

    I'll give it a try - and report back!
     
  23. add

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    Thanks for your valuable input reservoir, fixed it is.

    I spent a good amount of time last night listening critically, and asking my house mates thoughts as well (a budding "audio appreciator") and we came to the conclusion that the power amp running the low end of my fronts and the av amp the mids/tweeets was a little bass heavy, when compared to the previous non-bi-amped setup. I shall try switching them around this evening (power to av, av to power) and see how that sounds, after listening a little to the current setup first just in case my ears were mistaken last night.

    I'll let ya'll know how it goes.
     
  24. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    Add, looks like you've cracked the technical aspects of tweaking the bi-amping setup. I wonder why Steve wasn't able to do the same. I suspect it's because the shorting links at the back of his speakers weren't removed for the bi-amplification.

    If the setup is too bass heavy, try switching onto 'pure direct stereo' mode on the AV amp (if it has one; most good AV amps should have this function to allow stereo appreciation of music). This should bypass all tone controls. Tone adjustments will degrade the sound in any case, as most audiophiles will claim.

    The other thing is, what do you mean by "...switching them around this evening (power to av, av to power)..."? I take it you mean that you're swapping so that the AV amp will drive the low frequency, and the power amp will drive the mid/high frequencies. I may have misunderstood the above statement but to clarify, there should only be one connection between the AV and power amps - front pre-outs from AV amp to fixed input on power amp, regardless of mono-amplification (as in power amp driving all frequencies on the speakers) or bi-amplification (both amps driving either frequency range, whether one or the other).

    Regards,
    reservoir51
     
  25. anotherdavid

    anotherdavid
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    OK

    Initial tests seem to show good results

    I used the Denon 2805 for the HF and the NAD C272 for the LF (I am running Tannoy Sensys DC2s at the front)

    Playing some (well known) CDs through Pure Direct mode seems to have a definite edge over my previously bi-wired setup

    musically things seem to have opened up a little bit more, although I still feel as though I am over-using the Denon and under-utilising the NAD, but it sounds very good.

    I figured the HF on the Tannoys would be less power hungry than the LF , so let the Denon do that bit....

    more feedback soon!
     
  26. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    Good for you. The mark of a good system is its performance in pure direct stereo mode. Some people think that their systems sound acceptable until they hear it in pure direct mode. I think one of the reasons for that is because with tone adjustments, the signals become bass and/or treble heavy to the extent where other aspects of the sound become concealed and hence ignored. It's only when they hear their system in pure direct mode that the true colours of the system become apparent.

    If you want to be really objective, get a buddy to help you conduct a 'blind test'. Sit yourself with your back facing the system (or blind-folded) while your buddy makes the connections for bi-amping, bi-wiring or neither (i.e. power amp powering speakers with single-run cables). Do it several times, listening to your favourite CDs and at typical listening volumes, and write down which setup ranks first second and third. If you thought that the best was the bi-amped setup, then you'd have confirmed it objectively.

    reservoir51
     
  27. add

    add
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    yup tried this.
    yup thats what I mean, havn't tried yet though got busy with boxes and loft fun last night.
     

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