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which amp for dummies (me)

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by leeboy, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. leeboy

    leeboy
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    I want to build a system that will drive :
    dab radio,
    sky + system,
    take an output from my pc,
    32" lcd tv,
    surround sound
    dvd / video combi.
    All to be linked .The catch is i want to put 3 sets of speakers in other rooms. I have a small 2 bedroom victorian sandstone flat and would like to put speakers in my two bed roms and kitchen. I also wnt to have surround sound in my front room.
    Having visited audio shops in Glasgow NOT ONE retailer gave me the same advice. One told me an audio amp would drive all 11 speakers and to use a swich box for the room speakers and it would be ok. another told me i needed an av amp for surround sound and a second source on the amp would drive my room speakers. Another told me to get a panasonic scht05 home cinema system and an azure540 would drive the room speakers>
    Questions:
    Which amp(S) will drive the speakers (with surround in front room)?
    what is the difference paying £200 for a home cinema system or £200 for an av amp
    can you recommend a good : dap seperate for £150
    : set of ceiling mounted speakers for£50 (approx)
    :possibility of a dvd/video combi

    As you can probablly tell i need a lot of guidance, and thats before i try to wire up the speakers! :confused:
     
  2. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    If you buy an AV amp that can do stereo sound well, you should be fine running your bedroom etc. speakers off the AV amp when listening in stereo (though of course you'll pay more for an AV amp than you would for a stereo one of equivalent quality). Just buy a 4-way speaker switch box (QED among others do switch boxes that limit the load on your amp to 4ohms and therefore greatly reduce the odds of blowing the amp - important if running 4 pairs of speakers off the one amp. You might want to get your switch box off ebay or the classified ads here - they're cheaper, and aren't the kind of thing that's likely to break down) and run the stereo/front speaker outputs of your amp through this. Bear in mind, though, that unless you get a v powerful amp you won't be able to run 4 pairs of speakers particularly loud... And you will want to be careful not to overload your amp...

    I don't think this'd work well on bedroom etc. speakers when you were listening in one room in 5.1; but presumably you wouldn't want to do both at the same time?

    HTH,

    Jon
     
  3. leeboy

    leeboy
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    thanks for the reply jon,

    your right i dont want 5.1 in the other rooms, but do you think i could get a good enough av amp to drive all these speakers? and would it be a double source like running 5.1 on one sorce and the other for the other rooms. do you think my money would be better spent on a £450 av amp compared to £250 audio amp (azur 640?) and a £200 av (also cambridge audio azur 540) amp. which would you reccomend?

    cheers leeboy...
     
  4. jon_mendel

    jon_mendel
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    Leeboy,

    I know v little about AV amps, so can't really say how they compare pound for pound in terms of quality. So far as I know, though, they will just play from one source at a time - if you'll be wanting to play from 2 sources you'll probably want two amps and it'd *seem* to make sense to get one AV and one stereo amp... That said, though, this makes it a bit more complicated in terms of connecting things up - suggest you post on the forums here to get advice from someone who knows more about this than I do ;)

    In terms of stereo sound, I've got a Cambridge a500 amp (similar spec to the azur 640 iirc, and the same power rating). This will drive 2 pairs of 8ohm speakers pretty happily, unless you crank up the volume *loud*; it will drive 3 pairs speakers but sounds less good as you start to turn the volume up and I'd be reluctant to leave it running at much more than quiet background music levels for long; I'd be reluctant to run 4 pairs of speakers off it. Of course, the problem's only if you'd want several pairs of speakers running at the same time...

    If you'd wanting all the speakers running loud at once, I'd look at getting a more powerful amp and/or more than one amp. For example, the Marantz 7200 would be worth a listen as it's more powerful than the Cambridge, in the same kind-of price range, and lots of people seem to like it. You could also run more than one amp, connecting amps in other rooms (which you would run the speakers there off) via an interconnect cable to your main amp (assuming this has a suitable output). This would have the advantage of giving you more power...

    Have you thought of buying secondhand? For example, Richer Sounds often get old cambridge amps in for £50ish....

    HTH,

    Jon
     

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