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US-sourced speakers in the UK?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by cmcg55, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    Hello, newbie here looking for some help!

    I'm currently living in the US, but will be returning home to the UK within the next few months. Unfortunately, that will also mean I'm going to have to do something about the Home Theatre System I bought here in the US.

    What I was hoping someone could provide me with some help with is with an idea of how much I could potentially "salvage" from my system i.e. bring it with me.

    Essentially, to run the TV, DVD Player and HK Receiver I bought over here, it looks like I'm going to have to go through more pain than it's all worth. I know about voltage transformers, but then there's the issue of current frequency (60Hz in the US, 50Hz in the UK), which makes motors, fans, etc. run slower (which I can obviously see having serious effects on the DVD player and likely the receiver's fan as well). Obviously there's also the NTSC vs PAL issue as well. Given these items, I've pretty much written off these components, and am going to try to sell them here before I leave.

    However, I would dearly love to bring my Infinity loudspeaker system with me, but don't know if they will "work" in the UK. Obviously, they draw their power from the receiver (with the exception of the sub which is independently powered and likely will have to be sold also), but will running them from a 240/50 UK Receiver (rather than a 110/60 US unit) affect them adversely in any way?
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Your Infinity speakers will work as well with a UK receiver as with any other but as you say the sub is "self powered" and won't work here without a transformer unless the power supply is dual voltage (unlikely). Transformers with subwoofers will work in theory but in practice they can end up causing problems with hum.
     
  3. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    Thanks Ian... I'm a little curious though... given the speakers currently "expect" a 110/120, 60Hz US supply, how is it that they so easily adapt to a UK supply at different voltage and frequency? Not being outrageously technical (or an electrician!), I can't quite figure that one out. The sub... yes, that part I can understand, given it draws its own power separately directly from the mains. But the other speakers... as I say, can't figure that out. Last thing I want to do is bring the speakers with me and then find I've got a problem.
     
  4. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    The other speakers have no connection to the mains themselves so why would it be relevant to them. :confused:

    They're passive devices and as such need to be powered by a seperate amplifier - which would be affected by the incoming electricity.
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The speakers aren't powered at all and the signal that they receive from the speaker terminals of the Receiver is irrespective of whatever voltage powers the Receiver.
     
  6. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    I think that probably answers the question I just posted. Essentially, the speakers other than the sub "don't care" - they draw whatever they need from the receiver and that's that.

    Thanks for the response.
     
  7. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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  8. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    Seeing as I'm now "on a roll" (and feeling slightly more encouraged about not having to sell the lot!), although this might not be the right forum for it, it's in the same vein so I'll try my luck...

    Were I to bring the HK Receiver with me too (and bought the stepdown transformer to take care of the voltage difference), would the 60Hz (US) vs 50Hz (UK) issue make a noticable difference? I've looked all over the web for this kind of thing, but the information is sparse at best. The general consensus seems to be that it's easier to run a 60Hz appliance at 50Hz (rather than vice versa), so that part is partial good news... the drawback seems to be that some things do run at (literally) 5/6 speed. I can see that would obviously have huge issues for a turntable (or DVD player), but for a receiver... just your opinions, would I "get away with it"? The one thing that perhaps makes me wonder is that the receiver I have is an HK AVR-325, which as most people know, runs a bit hot occasionally and relies a good bit on its fan.

    I know this is really veering a bit away from the AV arena and more into electronics 101, but as I said, I'll try my luck one more time :)
     
  9. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Your best option would be to contact the relevant manufacturers themselves and see what they think. Much equipment these days can actually run on either power supply with just the flick of a switch or swapping the fuse container around or something.

    You're right that from US frequency to European frequency shouldn't cause any trouble (whilst going the other way may well induce nasty hum). Obviously this doesn't cater for the wildly different voltage ratings. :)
     
  10. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    Out of interest, which step down transformer did you buy
     
  11. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    Londondecca - not sure if you're addressing question to me or to evilmike2, but I haven't actually bought a transformer as of yet. Was waiting to see what I needed to do with everything else first.

    eviljohn/Ian - Just FYI follow-up guys, I called H-K today (who also own Infinity, so two birds/one stone) and spoke with their technical support department. Thankfully, the guy I got wasn't a "hmmm... haaa... maybe"-type - he was adamant that I would have no problems with either the H-K Receiver or the Infinity Sub provided I had the transformer, although he did also say that H-K make products specifically for individual regional markets, and as such, no, there wasn't any internal switch to be flicked that would magically transform the voltage requirements.

    I also asked him about the current frequency issue, and he said it's not an issue for these kinds of component, only with components that rely on an analogue motor that takes its timing from the frequency (turntables are the most common in this area). Interestingly enough, he also said DVD players shouldn't be affected by the current frequency either - they run on a digital motor, not analogue, and the current frequency is irrelevant, so again, provided the transformer is where it should be.

    I looked around at transformers, and have found 1000w units with two sockets for around $US 80.00. That's not bad at all, and I would have no problem paying that. My receiver is rated at a maximum (7 channels driven) output of around 850w (not that I would ever ramp it up that high), so the 1000w unit is more than enough. I could even run a second component off the second socket if need be (although probably not the sub which should really have it's own transformer... a 500w unit for it would cost around $US 50.00.

    To conclude on the speakers thing then... I'm feeling rather more encouraged than I was yesterday. I'm going to take the lot with me, figuring worst-case scenario I might need a new sub (and the old one will, at least, make a decent coffee table!). I'll take my chances with the receiver as well and see what happens.
     
  12. Ian J

    Ian J
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    You shouldn't have a problem with the DVD player anyway. I was an early adopter and my first DVD player was a US import that ran very well using a transformer.

    The main problem I had was with connectivity as a US player won't have scart sockets and therefore won't have RGB so you will be limited to component and/or s-video connections.
     
  13. cmcg55

    cmcg55
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    I was kinda expecting that anyway. There's no SCART over here, component is currently as good as it gets. A little weird that... I mean, before I left the UK (nearly 6 years ago), my last TV had SCART input. Yet here I am 6 years later, and the US still doesn't have it.

    I'm happy enough with the component connections though... is it relatively easy to find a UK TV that has those inputs though? Also, in terms of the NTSC/PAL difference... how does it handle the conversion from the higher frequency but lesser number of lines in NTSC? I know Region 1 vs Region 2 isn't the same thing as NTSC vs PAL, but they tend to go hand in hand I suppose.

    [Sorry, I know this is the "Speakers" forum...]
     
  14. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The US will never have Scart is it is a peculiarly European device but it may be worth bearing in mind that you can buy a pretty decent DVD player for less than £200 over here and it may be less trouble to sell your existing one and buy again when you get home.

    I'm not a techie but my 7 year old imported Pioneer DVD player had no problems replaying NTSC discs on my television. I used an s-video to scart cable and I think that the conversion may be done via the TV's scart socket
     
  15. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Practically every modern TV can decode an NTSC signal and many DVD players can convert to a PAL output anyway - at least UK models can - I can't see the US having quite the same need for it.

    Ian's suggestion of perhaps just replacing the DVD player is certainly worth considering IMMO. :)
     

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