Question Low volume reciver->integrated

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Dvir, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. Dvir

    Dvir
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    Hi all,
    I just connected my Yamaha 2070 receiver front pre-out to the integrated amp esoteric F-05.
    The sound coming out is very low.. I have to run my receiver up to -20db to start hearing sound on the esotreic at about -45db. When i connect a network player directly to the integrated sound volume is much higher, similarly when the speakers are connect directly to the receiver.

    What can it be that is causing such low volume when going through the receiver pre-outs to the integrated?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rambles

    Rambles
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    It is probably due to a mis-match of a low pre-out voltage on the Yamaha and a higher input sensitivity on the Esoteric.

    Are you wanting to use the Esoteric as a power amp?

    If not, and you just want to share the front speakers with both amps, a speaker switch is an alternative option.

    BERESFORD ELECTRONICS
     
  3. Dvir

    Dvir
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    The esoteric is on on-trial, so is there anything to do in this state or should I rule out this combination?

    I have sopra 3 speakers and would like to use them for both stereo and home theater. The plan was to use the amp to power up the front speakers and the receiver to power up all other speakers.
     
  4. Dvir

    Dvir
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    Also - any recommendation for a high end speaker switch to fit this gear?

    Thanks
     
  5. Rambles

    Rambles
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    It is better to use an integrated amp with HT bypass for that purpose. The HT bypass input on the integrated cuts out the pre-amp and connects directly to the power amp section at a fixed volume.

    If you use the Esoteric it seems that you will have to have the volume up very high on the input that you have the AVR connected to. The two risks with that are that if you forget to lower it when you switch to another input, you might damage your speakers by sending them excessively loud audio. Also you may not be getting maximum power output from the Esoteric on the input that you are using from the AVR if the voltage and impedance is way below what the Esoteric needs.

    There are some voltage boosters that you could get that sit between the two devices, known as line drivers. Or an active Direct Injection box might do it.
     
  6. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Not many on the market, the Beresford one I linked to above is highly regarded. I've used it myself and no issues, apart from a lot of cabling required to hook it all up.
     
  7. Dvir

    Dvir
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    Originally that is exactly what I wanted but I was given the esoteric as a sample to try out.
    I was wondering whether it is the Yamah to be blamed, but from what you're saying any receiver used would be susceptible to this and I should just opt for an amp that supports HT bypass?

    Thanks
     
  8. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Not necessarily. Ideally, yes, as an integrated amp with HT bypass makes operation a lot easier, but it is possible to use one without.

    The problem you are having, i think, is because the Yamaha AVR has low(ish) pre-out voltage, and the integrated amp has high(ish) input sensitivity, so it is just a mis-match.

    An AVR with higher pre-out voltages would make it easier to match to an amp. Denon and Marantz AVR's have good pre-out voltages, Yamaha's, similar to my Arcam, are a bit on the low side. A dedicated processor would have a higher pre-out voltage.

    If you can match an AVR with a low pre-out voltage to an integrated amp with a low input sensitivity, that would be better.
     
  9. dante01

    dante01
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    Volume is relative if the setup is calibrate. The receiver's internal amplification and the external amp will result in the exact same volume levels relative to the volume scale. Neither will result in audio being louder or quieter at the same master volume level. Any level expressed using the relative scale is a known amount post calibration and -20db is minus 20db irrespective of the amp being used to power the speakers. The external amp results in minus 20 db and isn't quieter than the internal amplification at that volume level.

    If you are getting differing volume levels then you've not correctly calibrated your setup. It is impossible to get louder volume at the same relative volume level simply by using another amp to power the speakers.


    Your initial issue or what you perceived to be an issue is more than liely just the result of not recalibrating the AV receiver with the external amp powering the front speakers. The AV receiver's levels were set in association with the calibration done using the receiver's own integral amplification so the pre out signal will not have been adjusted in order to level the speakers while the external amp is powring them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  10. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Although calibration, is of course, essential, the problem if there is a pre out voltage / input sensitivity mis-match is that the integrated amp could have to be set at a massively high volume in relation to the volume required of the other inputs, in order for the levels to match within the AVR master levels minimum and maximum levels. Having the integrated amp at such a high level, as well as risking sending overly loud audio to the speakers when switching inputs, should the volume level not be adjusted down, is that the noise floor of the amp could become audible, and the maximum output power of the integrated amp may not be accessible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  11. dante01

    dante01
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    There are trim adjustments for all sources onboard the Yamaha receiver. Invoke the OPTION menu and then go into the INPUT SETTINGS. You'll find an INPUT TRIM setting that allow for a -6 to +6db adjustment for each and every source connected to the receiver.
     
  12. Rambles

    Rambles
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    There is not a problem with the Yamaha's inputs. The problem is with the pre-out voltage being too low to drive the connected integrated amp at an acceptable volume level.
     
  13. dante01

    dante01
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    Calibrate the receiver and it will adjust the signal level accordingly. The OP hasn't calibrated the receiver so the levels in association with the external amp setup will not be correct. If he does calibrate the setup and then still has issues then fair enough, but he should do this prior to assuming there's an issue at all.

    He needs to recalibrate the AV receiver while employing the external amp.

    Yes, Yamaha have a reputation for low level line voltage, but while this may be contributing to the results prior to recalibration, there's nothing as yet to suggest that the issue would remain post recalibration. The volume level associated with listening to sources connected directly to the integrated amp are neither here nor there because the sources aren't connected to that amp and the receiver is the pre amp that controls the volume. If not loud enough then simply turn the receiver's volume up. I'm also at a loss as to how he's able to know the decibel level relative to the AV receiver's volume when playing sources via the integrated amp directly? You'd have no indication of what the relative to the AV receiver's calibrated volume actually is in such instances????How does the OP know that the integrated amps volume is at -45dbs the AV receiver's relative reference point if the AV receiver isn't even being utilised?


    Even if the OP has to set the receiver's master volume higher than he's previously assumed he's been setting his integrated amp's volume, it isn't an issue unless he's putting additional strain upon the amp and experiencing excessive headroom dostortion or clipping. If he isn't then there's no problem with setting the AV receiver's volume higher in order to attain the listening level you want to listen at.


    I'd suggest that the Esoteric F-05 is perfectly able to drive most speakers to levels that would or could cause hearing damage well in advance of clipping or distortion becoming apparent. This is even if dealing with the lower voltage line level output of the Yamaha receiver. THe only exception to this would be is the distance you are from the speakers is further than you'd ordinarilly expect it to be and if the amp is having to work particularly hard in order to attain listening levels relative to your location sat away from the speakers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  14. Rambles

    Rambles
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    The OP hasn't given us that information, but it is a good guess, and if true, does need doing. However, they have stated that they want to use the Esoteric integrated amp to power the front speakers whilst using the AVR to power all of the other speakers.

    I am guessing that when adding the Esoteric, it means that the master levels of the front left and right speakers on the AVR have to be so high in comparison to the other speakers that it goes beyond the minimum and maximum levels.

    Added to that the high volume setting required on the Esoteric and the danger of that volume being dangerously high if not adjusted before switching inputs on the Esoteric, it may be that this combination of amplifiers is not workable in the manner that the OP is trying to use them. The speaker switch that I suggested, would be a viable workaround, but then there would not be the added benefit of having a 2 channel power amp in the mix when using the AVR.

    It would be inaccurate to suggest that, unless you know what the pre-out voltage and impedance of the Yamaha pre-amp is, as well as the input sensitivity and impedance of the Esoteric amp is. And, of course, also how to interpret that data.

    This article goes into some more detail about this:

    Amplifier Voltage Gain Explained – Matching Amp to Preamp
     
  15. Dvir

    Dvir
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    It's true that I haven't re-calibrated after connecting the esoteric. I can go ahead and do that, just one question - at what volume level do I put the esoteric during the calibration?

    When I calibrate the Yamaha, it controls the level of the calibration sound ignoring whatever volume level is currently set when calibration is being performed. Once I add the esoteric it looks to me like adding another complexity level to the equation, so in order to correctly perform the calibration at what volume level should i put the esoteric during it?

    Thanks
     
  16. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Well, this is the problem. Usual advice would be to set the level on the Esoteric so that the speakers match the same volume as the other speakers that are connected to the AVR when all of the master levels are set to zero.

    However from what you are saying, that would mean that the Esoteric would be set at an overly high volume for the other inputs, so there is a risk that if the volume isn't changed before switching inputs, you could send overly loud audio to the speakers. It is up to you to decide whether that is too risky or not.

    So, the other method would be to set the volume on the Esoteric to one that is more firendly with the other inputs, and then set the master levels on those front speakers a lot higher than the levels of the other speakers. This would be a bit of trial and error, so you would need an SPL meter or app to get it in the right general area. Once you have found something that works, than run YPAO and it will fine tune everything. Hopefully it can do that without exceeding the minimum and maximum trim levels.

    Everytime you use the AVR, you need to switch the Esoteric to the input that the AVR is connected to, and re-set the volume to the one that is calibrated to the AVR.
     
  17. dante01

    dante01
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    If using an integrated amp lacking HT bypass as a power amp in conjunction with an AV receiver then it is usually suggested that the intergrate amplifier's volume be set to about midway during the calibration. The intergrated amp's volume should always thereafter be set to this same position whenever using that amp in direct conjunction with the AV receiver. Care should be especially taken not to exceed the volume level on the intergrated amp used while calibrating it or you could potentially damage your speakers.

    It is far easier to use an intergrated amp that included HT bypass. Such a feature would bypass the intergrated amplifier's pre amp stage and effectively turn it into a power amp. I don't think youramp has this though.
     
  18. dante01

    dante01
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    Connecting The AV receivers Front Pre-Outs to the Integrated Amp
    Some stereo integrated amplifiers have a special input, called ‘unity gain’, ‘AV passthrough’ or ‘home theatre (HT) direct’. This input will bypass the integrated amplifiers volume control, effectively using the amp as a power amp only. Just plug the AV receivers front left/right pre-outs to this special input. All other stereo inputs will continue to use the stereo amps volume as normal. This is a great feature, as it saves having to adjust the volume on the integrated amp whenever we wish to listen surround sources.

    Note: some amps have this feature as a switchable option on one input.

    However if your integrated amp doesn’t have this unity gain feature, all is not lost. Connect the AV receivers front left/right pre-outs to any input on the stereo integrated amp (avoiding any phono /turntable inputs!). Right now, you’ll find the volume too quiet on the front channels for surround material, so crank the integrated amps volume up to 12 O’Clock, then calibrate the speaker levels on the AV receiver. The integrated amp is now applying little volume attenuation, so is acting like a dedicated power amp. When playing stereo material, its important you turn down the volume, as it will likely be too loud and may damage your speakers and/or ears!

    volume-12oclock.png

    12 O’Clock is chosen, purely as a memorable point on the volume gauge that can be returned to easily when playing surround sound material. However almost any point on the volume control will suffice. Some people apply stickers to mark the point. So long as you consistently return to the same volume, that the AV receiver was calibrated against, the levels will be correct.

    Improving Stereo Performance of a Surround Sound Setup – Part 2
     

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