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What is a good THX setup?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by garrad, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. garrad

    garrad
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    OK, I've got a Denon 3801 amp, same as the 3802 without the Prologic 2 and I have the KEF hometheater set of speakers 7 in total for 6.1 DTS.

    I was thinking of upgrading to a THX Ultra spec amp, but its a big step. You got to get a amp, speakers and subwoofer. Whats the best way to do this? New amp then get the speakers two at a time or would my Amp not produce a good sound out of these bigger speakers. On the other hand if I upgrade the amp then I have to be careful with the volume and my kefs.... ahhgg this is complicated.

    Another question I have is that you have one piece THX Ultra amps like the Demon A1 (or N1 or what ever) but there are other ways of getting THX. You can buy preamp and then poweramps. Is this good? Another factor is if I get a THX dvd player should I output optical or through analog interconnectors?

    Whats the best options?
     
  2. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    How big a room are you using the stuff in ? I understand that the only difference between Ultra and Select (THX) is the size of the space the system is to be run in.. I would have thought most ppl would not need to use anything above THX select spec (amp wise) and so you may save some dosh here...


    Sorry I know nothing about THX speakers.. how much do they cost on average.. and which makes had you looked at ?

    Matt
     
  3. garrad

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    Well i'm pretty strapped for cash right now thats why I was wondering the best way about upgrading.

    I was looking at the Denon A1 which is 3 times the price of the 380x amps.

    So what I was thinking was upgrading the speakers first bit by bit. My question is really about the amp and type of THX amps.

    Are there any sites out there that are dedicated to THX spec machines?
     
  4. Jase

    Jase
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    You don´t have to have THX speakers running with THX amps or vice versa. You can run anything with them.

    THX certified does mean the equipment reaches a standard of "minimum excellence" whether it be THX Select or THX Ultra.

    Have a look at www.thx.com for more info.
     
  5. garrad

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    Yeah I know, I've followed THX for years, but not really for home hardware.

    But your whole system should be THX from the DVD player to the Amp to the Speakers.

    So what type of amp should I go for?
     
  6. Jase

    Jase
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    What´s your budget?
     
  7. garrad

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    Imagine 0 for now, I want to do it slowly over a few years, the biggest cost probably being the amp. But would a Reciever like the Denon A1 be good or a preamp and power amps be a better choice?
     
  8. Jase

    Jase
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    Tough choice. The Denon A1SE/A1SR are probably the best integrated amps out there but most people aspire to seperate Pre/Power combos.

    You can pick up the older Denon A10SE (excellent!) for around 500 quid 2nd hand. If you want to change slowly another alternative would be to add power amps to your existing 3801.
     
  9. garrad

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    How many channels do power amps run? Are most stereo so for a 7.1 setup I would need 4 power amps or am I just being stupid? Also how would I hook this up to my Denon 3801?
     
  10. Jase

    Jase
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    Power amps come in a variety of configurations. One channel monoblocks, two channel, three channel, four channel, five channel........etc

    You connect them to the Pre-Outs on the rear of your amp. Near where the subwoofer output is, you´ll find the others, Front Left, Centre etc.

    A good place to start would be a three channel power amp for the front three channels leaving the Denon running the surround channels or something like a Rotel RMB1075 (five channel THX Ultra amp) for the five main channels and the Denon running the surround back channel/s.
     
  11. garrad

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    Sounds good. Ok so i'll use that 3 channel power amp and then maybe two 2 channel power amps for the rears...

    What company makes THX spec power amps and are is there much difference between two different THX power amps from different companies?
     
  12. Jase

    Jase
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    You could have a three channel and a pair of two channels amps or a five channel amp and a two channel amp. Plenty of options if you want to play around!

    At the top of my list would be Rotel, Parasound, Bryston. Rotel are the cheaper of the three with Bryston being the most expensive and generally regarded as the best.

    Rotel RMB 1075 amps can be picked up from around 500 quid 2nd hand (800/850 new).Have a look at their site www.rotel.com

    Parasound here www.parasound.com

    Bryston here www.bryston.ca
     
  13. Jase

    Jase
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    Quite a few companies make them such as Rotel, Parasound, Bryston etc.

    Differences will vary between the manufacturers, down to the actual sound characteristics of the amp, internal parts, layout etc. This is where you need to demo the equipment for yourself.
     
  14. garrad

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    Ok say I got for a 3 channel power amp and then later get a two channel power amp would it be better to have the two channel run the two front speakers and have the 3 channel amp to run the rears and center or would this make no difference at all?
     
  15. Jase

    Jase
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    Hmmm. Initially I´d run the three channel amp across the fronts but if you bought another two channel amp then I´d switch it as you´ve suggested.

    In terms of the most active channels (apart from the sub) it goes, centre channel, front left & right, surrounds (& surround backs if used). So you would want to power amp those channels in that order really.

    You can also "Bridge" some power amps to increase their output i.e have a pair of two channel amps at the front but bridge one of them to run the centre channel only. There are quite few options open to you.:)
     
  16. garrad

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    This keeps sound better for me as a way of upgrading.

    Now once I have my two or three power amps is there any reason to get a pre amp? Say I buy a THX DVD player this probably already has processing on board and probably has direct outputs. So what do I do here?
     
  17. Jase

    Jase
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    You can use your existing 3801 as a pre-amp and then make the jump to a processor.

    THX rated dvd players are usually bloody expensive. You´ll still need a pre-amp as the dvd player has no volume controls despite having onboard decoding for Dolby etc. Power amps don´t have volume controls either.
     
  18. Paul Smith

    Paul Smith
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    Hi,
    Personally I would say go for the speakers first,
    they are likely to bring the biggest immediate improvements in Home cinema sound and are the least likely to become outdated.

    When you next have money for an upgrade you may find that processing has moved on (to what I just don't know !) and what you're looking at the moment as a bank breaking expense will be a relative bargain.
    It's just a thought,

    Paul.
     

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