A 2x100 watt Yamaha AS 801 amplifier, with both optical and usb inputs, will be a more than good enough amplifier for these speakers. See here for a test of the AS 700, its predecessor without digital inputs: http://www.avhub.com.au/product-reviews/hi-fi/yamaha-a-s700-integrated-amplifier-393552
If you want to save some money, you can get an AS 701 (the same but without usb), but you will need a converter to convert one optical signal to coaxial digital. I would get the AS 801 for the extra digital input, so you can also add a Chromecast Audio streamer’s digital output if you ever decide to go that route (as I am sure you will one day do).
I am not sure I would go the two main speaker route. The resulting low joint impedance does put a bit of strain on the amplifier. Why not sell the A5’s?
A subwoofer is always a good idea, but needs some attention. At the very least I would use an Antimode 8033 room eq for much cleaner bass. I am very pleased with mine. See: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/dspeaker-anti-mode-8033-dsp-subwoofer-equalizer-tas-204/
Low frequency response gets even better (smoother and cleaner) with a second sub: http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/20101029using-multiple-subwoofers-to-improve-bass-the-welti-devanti...
If you want to get an amplifier for a more ambitious system (particularly in that largest of the two rooms) and that still does not break the bank, think of a Pioneer U-05 pre-amplifier/DAC combined with a pro audio power amplifier like the recently discontinued 2x250 watt Yamaha P2500S or 2x350 watt P3500S pro audio power amplifiers. The Pioneer and the Yamaha both have professional style balanced connections for a lower noise floor. See here for a very favourable and rigorously scientific test of the latter model: http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/amplificateurs-de-puissance-haute-fidelite/mesures-ampli-yamaha-p...
This is what I would do, as it will have more digital inputs, and the power to drive any high quality low sensitivity speakers that you may want to buy later, i.e. you would be ready for great speakers like the Harbeth Super HL5+.
In my experience, and from my limited understanding of all things audio, the "smooth, sweet, soft, silky treble" you are looking for doesn't come cheap.
I would add shimmery, airy cymbals as another goal, at least for me. I'm not convinced that you are going to be satisfied with the quality of sound that can be obtained with ANY audio video receiver. Quality treble is probably the weakest aspect of the sound from receivers. Before sinking too much money into this quest, I'd recommend visiting more quality audio shops and perhaps attend some audio shows, so as to be able to find out what "good" sounds like, and the electronics that can produce it.
Also, I fear that you may now be moving from a situation in which the room is too small for the speakers to a situation in which the speakers are too small for the room. The rooms you're now looking at are pretty large, especially the 25X40 foot room -- that is huge.
For a very sweet top end, Harbeth is probably the brand to go for. They are expensive, but fortunately not fussy about amplification. Their designer Alan Shaw argues that any properly designed and powerful enough mainstream amplifier will do, and for the forthcoming Bristol Audio show he intends to demonstrate their P3ESR mini monitor with a Yamaha AS 701. For his bigger speakers in a big room he recommends a lot more power (at the lowest price per watt).
Honestly, I think bi-amping speakers like those Polk is a total waste. I've got a friend with a pile of RTi stuff and it's nowhere near refined enough to warrant bi-amping. He comes over and drools on my Focals and FW F5 just dreaming his stuff sounded half that good. New speakers first and foremost.
I know you liked the sound previously with two front speakers. Once you get your system set up, please try using only the large towers with a compatible amp.
A speaker is designed to stand alone with air on all sides. With a 2nd speaker next to it, the resonance of the cabinet and the function of the port is affected. Also, there will be phase and timing differences in the dispersion and arrival times of sound waves in the room.
Multiple speaker stacks are used in PA systems, not when you are seeking realistic high quality imaging.
Something like the Peachtree Audio Nova 220 SE integrated amp would fill the bill. There are 2 for sale on this site right now and you should be able to buy it for your $1K budget. You are going to need a lot of power to drive those speakers in either of those rooms (IMO, the bigger room is WAY too big for anything other than a megabuck amp AND more sensitive speakers...speaker output, i.e., apparent volume, drops off exponentially with distance) even if you do use subs to take the low frequency load off the main amp. Which I strongly recommend. It has multiple digital inputs, one analog input, pre-amp out to drive a sub, 220 wpc and pretty highly reviewed by the audiophile press. There is also a Belles integrated available at the same cost but it has 1/2 the power and I believe it has only analog inputs (not sure about that last bit). No relation to either seller.
One room is 18 feet x 22 feet with a tile floor, floor to ceiling windows on back wall and 8 foot ceiling. The front wall has a book case.
This is a very good size for a dedicated music room. An integrated amp would be a good choice to pair with your floorstanders.
Whichever room you choose, you will need to invest in room treatments. Curtains or vertical blinds for the windows on the back wall, throw rugs or an oriental on the floor. Depending on the style of bookcase, it may offer some diffusion. And then some acoustic panels on the walls at the reflection points (many of us make our own absorption panels).
I also hung a tapestry on the wall and it improved the sound dramatically.
It might be worthwhile to set up a basic system in this room to find the problem areas and approximate your listening position. You can use blankets and pillows, then position the furniture to help dampen the room.
mtrot: "I would add shimmery, airy cymbals as another goal." Yes! :-)
willemj: "Yamaha AS 801 amplifier... Yamaha P3500S amplifier... " Thanks for those recommendations.
willemj: "For a very sweet top end, Harbeth is probably the brand to go for. ... M30.1, the smallest that I think you might use comfortably..." Those speakers appear to be close to $6000 for a pair. That's above my current budget. It's not that couldn't buy them, it's that I don't have enough experience to justify spending that much on speakers. I only recently started listening to music seriously -- like a week ago! You guys have all been doing this for a long time. You can appreciate quality. I need time to get there. I've been involved in sports and hobbies before where some new guy comes in and buys all the best gear, but is still obviously imcompetent. I'd rather be incompetent with $600 speakers than with $6000 speakers.
willemj: "Low frequency response gets even better (smoother and cleaner) with a second sub." Thanks. Noted.
"Pioneer U-05 pre-amplifier/DAC combined with a pro audio power amplifier like the recently discontinued 2x250 watt Yamaha P2500S or 2x350 watt P3500S pro audio power amplifiers." I'll check prices.
lowrider57: "A speaker is designed to stand alone with air on all sides." Noted. Thanks. I will drop the idea of dual front speakers.
swampwalker: "Something like the Peachtree Audio Nova 220 SE integrated amp would fill the bill." Thanks for the recommendation.
"You are going to need a lot of power to drive those speakers in either of those rooms (IMO, the bigger room is WAY too big for anything other than a megabuck amp AND more sensitive speakers." What if I set up the music listening area in 1/4 of 1/3 (or 1/2) of the room? I do not require that the sound achieve a certain level all the way in the back of the room, for example. The room will be open, but I can establish my listening position closer to the speakers if needed. Will that work?
lowrider57: "It might be worthwhile to set up a basic system in this room to find the problem areas and approximate your listening position."
That is exactly what I will do! To me, a "basic" system would consist of my Polk RTi A7's and a good integrated amplifier (or preamp + amp). Is that reasonable?
At the moment, I have gotten recommendations for these:
Pioneer U-05 pre-amplifier/DAC combined with Yamaha P3500S
Yamaha AS 701
Yamaha AS 801
Peachtree Audio Nova 220 SE integrated amp
Marantz (no specific product recommended)
Did I miss anything?
For a power amp, I'd suggest for consideration a nice used McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe if you can find one in great condition. Sometimes they can be had for ~$700. 150 watts per channel.
A great and versatile pre-amp(which I'm very interested in) is the Parasound Halo P5, which does pretty much everything and has home theater bypass. They run about $1000 new, but I've seen some here on Agon for $700 and up.
To me, a "basic" system would consist of my Polk RTi A7’s and a good integrated amplifier (or preamp + amp). Is that reasonable?
An integrated amp may be the best way to go since it takes experience to match separates such as a preamp and power amp. An integrated with a built-in DAC would make sense; an all in one solution. I’m not up on the latest amps, but you will need adequate power to drive your Polks or whichever speakers you choose.
What will your source be...CDP, streaming, computer files?
OK, you seem to have reached a satisfactory solution for the small room and HT, using, as I uderstand it, the two smallest Polk speakers.
That leaves the music room question. The thing you and only you can decide is in which room you will wantto listen to music. Both are suitable, but the bigger of the two potential music rooms will allow even deeper bass to be reproduced without too much degradation. But in essence this is a lifestyle issue.
I can understand that you do not (yet) want to splash out on expensive speakers (I did not quite realize the Harbeth speakes are so expensive in the US, and I did not know exactly how much you could get back if you returned the bigger Polk speakers).
So, I assume you will want to keep one of the two pairs of Polk floor standing speaker pairs. In the bigger room I would opt for the biggest of them, in the mid size room I would try what you prefer.
And those speakers will need an amplifier. My advice would be to buy something that is not too expensive, but good enough to be used completely succesfully when you decide to upgrade the speakers. Fortunately, and contrary to what some here believe, good electronics do not need to be expensive.
For the mid size room I would recommend the Yamaha AS 801. It performs flawlessly (see the test results of their AS 700 that I posted earlier - essentially the same amplifier but wthout the modern digital inputs) and 2x100 watt will be enough to drive almost any good speaker in this mid size room. Harbeth’s Alan Shaw bought the almost identical AS701 for a demo room at the forthcoming Bristol show. Having seen the test results he did not even open the box and will not do so until the day of the show. So much for burning in or long listening tests to establish ’synergy’. He will not use fancy cables either. He is one of this world’s most respected speaker designers.
For the large room something more powerful would be required once you move up to more ambitious speakers (with your current quite sensitive Polks the AS 801 may still be just OK). But a room like this does indeed require big power, and that does not often come in integrateds. Hence my suggestion for something like that 2x350 watt Yamaha pro audio amplifier with either the Pioneer U-05 or the Oppo 205 as a front end, depending on whether you want to play discs or not. Both have balanced XLR connections for lower noise. One of these big powered combinations should be more than good enough to drive any high quality speaker (up to Harbeth’s top of the line M40.2) in a big room. I bought the 2x250 watt P2500S for my son’s birthday as he is planning to buy a pair of Harbeth M30.1s by next summer, and the resulting sound with the current speakers is as clean and precise/neutral as you could wish for. If you want to be absolutely sure, you can even go one size up from the P3500S, to the 2x500 watt P5000S. Harbeth recently demonstrated their big speaker in the Netherlands, and the power meter on the amplifier that they used indicated that at times it produced more than 500 watt on peaks of dynamic music. I just saw a P5000S on Amazon for $650. These excellent pro audio amplifiers can be so cheap because unlike audiophile stuff they are produced in huge numbers. Audiophiles do not want to know, and the cottage industry works hard to persuade everyone that somehow pro audio is no good, but proper tests show otherwise. Use these big amps with your Polks for now and you do have to be a bit careful, but pro audio amps have their own gain control and on the Yamaha’s you can set that behind a screw-on lid to prevent visitors (like my son’s friends) from destroying your gear. Similarly, they have adjustable high pass filters to keep the very lowest frequencies from wrecking your speakers.
I have been following both your threads and you have been given much great advice. I agree with the path you have taken towards a solution by separating the video and audio rooms and using a single pair of speakers for audio.
Your sources are a disk spinner and your computer. Lots of ways to improve on these, however as you are considering a basic setup for now, and one that you will use to 'tune the room' via treatments, you need not concern your self with that now.
The next step is to purchase amplification for your speakers. With your budget I would encourage you to purchase a integrated amplifier. There are many within your budget that are quite good. Based on what others have said in previous posts it seems that your speakers are demanding of power. The previously mentioned Yamaha 801s delivers 100wpc into 8ohms and 200wpc into 4 ohms. It has onboard digital (PCM and DSD) via USB, optical, and coax, and be found new under your $1000 budget. It is not the only choice, however one that I am familiar with (not owned) and may meet your needs.
"What will your source be...CDP, streaming, computer files?"
Some kind of CD player and computer files played directly from the computer (via USB or HDMI or optical digital audio out on the computer), or I could pass the computer's audio out through a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6.
agree with the Yamaha recommendations...if you don't need the DAC the previous Yamaha A-s500 is quite good, and under your budget...
I just purchased the Yamaha P5000S from Amazon that willemj mentioned.
mesch - "With your budget I would encourage you to purchase a integrated amplifier."
Yes, this is very sensible advice and I intended to go this route -- up until the moment I saw the Yamaha P5000S on Amazon...
So now that I have opened that can of worms, what shall I pair the P5000S with? I hope I didn't make a mistake here because I do not yet see the preamp that seems to meet my needs / budget.
willemj mentioned either the Pioneer U-05 or the Oppo 205 as a front end. I like the Oppo 205, but not right now and probably not for this room / system. And the Pioneer U-05 appears to ship from Japan. My strategy right now is to purchase things I can easily return (given that I still don't really know what I'm doing).
The Yamaha P5000S sold by Amazon can be returned, no questions asked. But assuming I made a good choice there, what else can I pair it with? Anything at $500 or less? The Pioneer U-05 is $842 (free shipping on Amazon) but it is only sold by 3rd party sellers and in that case sometimes returns are a problem. I'll spend up to that price range of $800 if absolutely necessary.
However, the Yamaha A-S801BL is $899 on Amazon right now and if I can't find a suitable front end for the P5000S, I will cancel that order (or return it) and go for the Yamaha A-S801BL instead. I saw multiple people recommend the 801 and I tend to think it would be a good choice as well.
BTW, I submitted a return for the Polk RTi A5's (the smaller of my two floorstanding speakers). So I will be using only the A7's in this system.
you can also find a factory refurbished 801 for $699 and 701 for $549 - just to make it more complicated...
What if I set up the music listening area in 1/4 of 1/3 (or 1/2) of the
room? Ido not require that the sound achieve a certain level all the
way in the back of the room, for example. The room will be open, but I
can establish my listening position closer to the speakers if needed.
Will that work?
If you set up the speakers part way back in a very large room, it will help with volume issues, but will alter the balance of direct vs. reflected. It's not ideal to do it that way but lots of folks have to overcome/work with room limitations.
The sound you are hearing is a combination of direct radiation from the
drivers in the speakers and reflected sound from all of the various
surfaces in the room.
There is software that allows you to simulate influence of the room by
inputting speaker location, listening location, room dimensions and even
furniture. With most speakers, it is useful to have them set up a fair to moderate distance from the walls behind them and to the sides (feet vs. inches).
Some kind of CD player and computer files played directly from thecomputer (via USB or HDMI or optical digital audio out on the computer),
or I could pass the computer's audio out through a Focusrite Scarlett
That's why I recommended the Peachtree or similar integrated with a built in DAC and multiple digital inputs that accept coax (aka SPDIF), USB and toslink connections. The DAC in the Peachtree integrated, or even a modest stand-alone DACs like the myDAC will be superior to the one in most computers.
swampwalker - I'm a little confused by the different Peachtree models and some comments I have seen in reviews. I don't see the Peachtree Audio Nova 220 SE integrated amp listed at the places I need to shop right now. Also, it seems to be a bit pricey.
Some reviews have mentioned these things:
* no LFE out for subwoofer
* USB input is limited to 16-bit/48kHz, even though the DAC itself is fully capable of 24-bit, 96kHz signal processing.
* The DAC is limited to 24-bit, 96kHz, which should be more than adequate (CDs and iTunes downloads are 16-bit, 44.1 kHz) for most people, but if you have invested in 192 kHz-sampled music, you probably should consider a different alternative.
I"m not sure if all that is accurate, but it simply means that I would need to spend more hours learning about Peachtree products before I could decide to purchase.
With multiple people recommending the Yamaha amps, that seemed like an easier decision... but what do I know?
Honestly, I feel like I probably should not buy anything until I understand the products better, but in spite of that hesitation I am going to forge ahead and buy *something* just so I can continue experimenting and learning.
So far the Yamaha AS 801, or the Yamaha P5000S with some as-yet-undetermined front end, seem like simple choices for me to take a next step.
What would be a good front end for the Yamaha P5000S power amp?
Or, If I'm going in the wrong direction, what else should I consider?
Keep in mind that my speakers are $600/pr. Until some future date when I invest more in speakers, does it really make sense to spend $2500 on a Peachtree integrated amp? That doesn't seem smart to me. From what I have read, I feel like I should invest the most money in my speakers.
Since I'm already not exactly following that guideline, I set an approximate budget of $1000 for whatever equipment I'm going to use to power these speakers.
If I could get a front end for the Yamaha P5000S ($650) for $500 to $600 that would be closer to my $1000 target. I can go over that budget if doing so is a smart decision, but with my limited knowledge it is more likely that I will NOT make a smart decision. I'd rather keep my mistakes limited to smaller amounts of money.
I also have the choice of the Yamaha AS 801 for under $900. That one was recommended multiple times. Maybe I should cancel the Yamaha P5000S and get the 801... I probably still have time to do that.
I'm open to any other suggestions of course. I appreciate all the opinions and every comment has been helpful. I know I'm not exactly going about this the ideal way, but I also have time constraints and other factors that limit some of my options (as I suppose everyone does).
" even a modest stand-alone DACs like the myDAC will be superior to the one in most computers. "
How does the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 compare to myDAC?https://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-6i6
I already own the 6i6. It's designed for a different purpose, but it seems to work really well as a DAC.
Ah, you already own a decent usb etc DAC, at least that is what I understand the Focusrite to be (amongst a lot of other things)? Is that what I think it is? That makes it a lot cheaper, because all you perhaps need is an additional volume control in between the DAC and your great power amp (but from what I can see the Focusrite also has a volume control). With your beefy power amp I would suggest perhaps a basic analogue volume control as well, or for now perhaps some inline attenuators (plus a low setting of the gain controls on the power amp to avoid damage to your speakers): http://www.tcelectronic.com/level-pilot/
The only snag I can see is that your DAC has an rca output and the Level Pilot and the power amp have balanced xlr inputs. But there are cables to deal with that, and they are not even expensive (my son needed one too). Don’t get suckered into expensive cables.
All in all and for now I would not buy an extra DAC. I think you are done.
If you stay with the Yamaha P5000S, you’ll have a monster of an amp that you can keep while making future upgrades to your system. But be aware that since it is a pro audio component and uses balanced XLR and 1/4" connections, you may need to use adapters depending on what other components you buy.
I think using your Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is a good move for now; this will save you some money. Once again, this unit uses XLR and 1/4" connections.
Analog Outputs: 4 x 1/4" (line out)... not typical in a home audio setup.
So now that I have opened that can of worms, what shall I pair the P5000S with? I hope I didn’t make a mistake here because I do not yet see the preamp that seems to meet my needs / budget.
There’s the rub. You should be looking for a balanced preamp with XLR in/out plus RCA for flexibility. You will need to use 1/4" to XLR adapters to hook up your DAC to the preamp. I don’t think you should go with a pro audio preamp since this is the component that acts as the controller for the entire system. It should be able to accept different types of components; i.e., your next DAC or streamer may only use RCA outputs.
And before you make a purchase, it’s vital that the impedance and gain specs are compatible with the amp. So seek advice first.
willemj - "Focusrite - Is that what I think it is?"
Yes, I think so... I already use
the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 with my computer and a set of powered
speakers (Logitech Z623). Going from that to a power amp with unpowered speakers seems
like it should work, right?
The Focusrite Scarlett does indeed have a volume control.
willemj - "All in all and for now I would not buy an extra DAC. I think you are done."
I will at least try this approach and see how it goes. I'm pretty excited about it. I like the idea of buying one new piece of equipment and seeing what existing equipment I can re-use to come up with something that works. I'll learn from this and then I'll have a better idea what I want to try next.
In summary this is the next step I'll be trying:
A room of about 20 feet x 30 feet with a vaulted ceiling (approx 16+ feet at center) and a lot of open space. (I had the measurements wrong earlier.)
The components list:
First question - the A7 speakers are recommended with up to 300 watts and the Yamaha P5000S puts out more than that. What precautions should I take? Is it as simple as not turning the volume up too high?
Second question - how is the subwoofer connected to the Yamaha P5000S?
Third question - any tips on the settings for the subwoofer?
During a typical listening session your amp will be putting out a very low wattage, maybe 10 wpc. With your large room, it would be higher, but never approaching 300 watts continuously.
The 300 watt spec is for the nominal amount. The speaker can take momentary peaks much higher than the rated 300 watts.
Look at the manual of the Focusrite. From what I can see it has multiple analogue outputs, so you should be able to connect both main speakers and subwoofer to the Focusrite. From what I can see the Focusrite has balanced analogue outputs with TRS Plugs. The Yamaha has both Neutrik and TRS inputs, so you should be fine with a TRS to TRS cable to connect Focusrite to Yamaha. This way you can use the high pass filter on the Yamaha to relieve the main speakers from the very lowest frequencies (the sub will deal with those). Set it at something like 40 Hz, or maybe a bit higher.
Consult Focusrite about how to connect the sub to the Focusrite. At the very least this needs a TRS to rca cable.
You may consider a DSpeaker Antimode 8033 room eq unit to equalize the subwoofer and tame room modes. See here: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/dspeaker-anti-mode-8033-dsp-subwoofer-equalizer-tas-204/
I have been very pleased with mine. In your case the stereo model may be convenient because it takes L and R inputs and has mono outputs (ask the DSpeaker importer for which types of cables you need).
If the Focusrite somehow cannot output signals to both the power amp and the sub, you will have to connect at speaker level, using an attenuation cable from the power amp’s outputs to the sub. But it had better be able to handle the Yamaha’s big power.
Since the Focusrite does not have tone controls (unless hidden somewhere) and for as long as you are only using a computer as your source, install the free Equalizer Apo (plus Peace interface) software on your computer. This is an advanced software equalizer that you can use for basic tone control, but also for more detailed parametric equalization. In fact, if you use the REW software and a UMIK-1 calibrated microphone you can do subwoofer equalization with this as well. But REW is hard work. So to keep it simple, use the Antimode for sub eq and the Equalizer Apo (without REW) as basic tone control. Use the high pass filter on the Antimode to relieve the sub from havng to reproduce the very lowest frequencies (say, below 15 Hz). This is a large room for a modest sub, and lowest frequencies are the hardest work (they need much more energy).
Equalizer Apo claims to be Windows-only, so that leaves me out. But I can try Pulse Audio Equalizer on the computer, if needed.
The cables (TRS or TRS-to-RCA, etc.) don't sound like a problem. But I am confused by something very basic. I thought the connection had to flow in this direction: computer -> Focusrite -> Yamaha -> Speakers, which implies the speakers have to be connected to the Yamaha.
You said, "you should be able to connect both main speakers and subwoofer to the Focusrite."
I can understand connecting the subwoofer before the amp because it has its own internal power amp.
But how would the speakers be powered when connected to the Focusrite without the power running through the Focusrite? If the amp power is run through the Focusrite, isn't that potentially harmful?
Is there a good article somewhere that covers this topic? The articles I have read so far would all indicate that the speakers need to be connected to the Yamaha, not the Focusrite. I'm sure I'm missing some basic understanding.
BTW, the subwoofer is powered and is rated at a claimed 600W. I do have a less powerful Polk subwoofer that has speaker-level connects.
Are you sure about Yamaha P5000S? The Yamaha P5000S appears to be a pro audio amplifier and already has built in gain controls but only supports balanced inputs. Not sure if it's the best option for your specific application.
Sorry for the confusion I created (it was too early in the morning and I was in haste): I meant to write amplifier but I wrote speakers. The output of the Focusrite should obviously go to the Yamaha.
I thought you were using a Windows PC.
The Yamaha is indeed a pro audio amplifier with balanced inputs (both Neutrik and TRS). That is advantageous because the connection will be less noisy if your pre amplifier/DAC has balanced outputs as well (as would seem to be the case). In the case of the subwoofer connection, trs or Neutrik to rca cables are readily available for little money and are unproblematic. The presence of gain controls on the amplifier is similarly nice, because it allows you to tame the amplifier’s pretty massive output.
As is shown in the link that I posted earlier, its smaller sister the P3500S was recently tested and measured exceptionally well. The P2500S that I gave my son for his birthday sounds perfectly fine, and I am sure measures similarly well. These Yamaha amplifiers have variable speed fans (unlike much of the pro audio competition), but they run so cool that under domestic conditions these will never come on.
I would use the bigger of the two subs in that large room. For connections, first investigate the analogue output types of the Focusrite (I could not quickly find the information). What are yo doing with the smaller Polk sub? Will you return it?
I think you are almost there with the music system for the big room.
For some different ideas..
The fact the components need time to break in is true.
I would not change anything for at least a few weeks.
The speakers will ’break in’.
As for the problem with the high frequencies..
Usually it is not a problem with the actual tweeters. it is a problem with crappy high frequency input.
A lot of digital equipment has a poor HF sounding output.
I call this stuff digital grunge.
The cheapest wat to ’control’ HF hash are ferrite clamps on the interconnects. They just dampen the higher frequencies to ’tame’ them some. AudioQuest makes some, so did Radio shack.
Amazon has PLENTY. go to electronic, type in ’ferrite choke’ You want some which will clamp over the cable exactly.. the correct inner diameter of the clamp should be the outer diameter of the cable. Several on each cable may work too.
This is a BAND AIDE fix. (So you can ’see’ if yeah this helps.. or no this does nothing for me) Cheaply.
IF they work, you might consider adding at some point a power conditioner. This kind of device also tames the ’digital grunge’ kind of the way a better power supply does in expensive components.
kalali - "Are you sure about Yamaha P5000S? " I think willemj responded better than I could. I am not sure about anything. I'm just learning. I am, however, buying my equipment new from Amazon right now so that I can return it if I make a decision that doesn't work for me. Later, when I learn more, I'll look for bargains or used equipment, etc. Right now, I realize that I could easily buy something that seems great but just doesn't work for a variety of reasons. I did buy the Yamaha P5000S from Amazon and I can return it if it doesn't work for me.
elizabeth - RE: ferrite chokes: which cables? Should they go on speaker cables? AC power cords? HDMI calbles? Both ends? Thanks.
willemj: what other info would be helpful to know about the analog outputs of the Focusrite? It has 4 balanced analog outputs on 1/4" TRS jacks. (It also has SPDIF in and out with RCA jacks.) It also has two headphone outs using 1/4" TRS jacks. The headphone jacks carry the same signal that is routed to the main outputs.
More of the specs are available here: https://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-6i6/specifications
willemj: "What are yo doing with the smaller Polk sub? Will you return it?" Yes, it is still returnable.
"I think you are almost there with the music system for the big room."
I wish to thank you and everyone on these forums. Everyone has been really helpful. This is one of the best forums I have participated in -- lots of well-thought-out and diverse opinions, lots of knowledgeable people, and a high-level of communication. Thanks so much. I look forward to learning a lot more here.
Ok that is more info on the Focusrite. My only remaining question would be if you can play from two analogue outputs at the same time, but that is easy enough to test with your existing gear.
Continuing on the subwoofer side, I would return the Polk sub. It only creates problems in your small room, and it is not ideal as a second sub in your music system. For that music system I would strongly recommend the Antimode 8033 room eq system. It is cheap and does a great job without any fuss. For even better bass you could buy a second identical Klipsch. A second sub gives more power and a smoother response over a wider listening area.
That big room will almost certainly need some damping of high frequency reflections by curtains, rugs etc. I don’t think bass traps and the like are needed. The room is so big that room modes will be at pretty low frequencies where bass traps would need to be pretty enormous to have any effect. I would first opt for the Antimode 8033, and if you want an even smoother response over a larger area, go for a second sub. For the rationale behind mutiple subs, see here: https://www.google.nl/search?q=welti+geddes+multiple+subs&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firef...
You have the space for what is probably the ultimate solution, the Audiokinses Swarm system: http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audiokinesis-swarm-subwoofer-system/
This too can still be optimised by the Antimode.
"My only remaining question would be if you can play from two analogue outputs at the same time"
Yes, it can. It's pretty flexible.
Regarding connecting speakers... I will be connecting the USB DAC (Scarlett 6i6) to the Yamaha P5000S power amplifier in a very standard manner via two 1/4 inch to XLR cables. I will then connect my speakers to the Yamaha P5000S in the standard manner. No questions there.
When it comes to the powered subwoofer which has L/R RCA line in connections, it seems like I should be able to run two RCA cables from the Scarlett 6i6 to the subwoofer, bypassing the amp. Any problem with that?
I have 2 sets of L/R 1/4 inch analog outputs on the Scarlett 6i6 and I have them set to provide the same output. One set will go to the Yamaha inputs. The other set can go to the subwoofer it would seem. Does all that sound correct?
Yes it does. However, the Focusrite outputs are not rca but TRS (balanced), and they are stereo. So you need a TRS (balanced) to rca (unbalanced) cable. If you are not using an Antimode in between the Focusrite and the sub, that cable should also be in a Y configuration, because you have to end up in one (mono) sub. If you were to use the Antimode 8033 Sii it has stereo rca inputs and mono rca output.
- Thanks again for your help. I seem to almost have this figured out. Please let me know if I’m wrong.
Here are the panels on the amp, Scarlett 6i6 and subwoofer. https://imgur.com/a/6Eh06https://imgur.com/a/lMkPa
(better rear of sw)
The subwoofer only has line level inputs labeled R and L/LFE. My assumption is that I should not use the mono LFE input if the signal isn’t low cut. Instead I am planning to use R & L (with 2 shielded RCA cables) from the Scarlett 6i6.
At the Scarlett I will use 1/4 inch mono to RCA adapters similar to these:https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=104&cp_id=10429&cs_id=1042906&p_id=7176&seq=1...
I assume they should be mono on the 1/4 inch side, correct?
These will plug into analog outputs 3 & 4 on the Scarlett. (3 is L.) These outputs are mapped to be exactly the same as outputs 1 & 2.
On the subwoofer I’ll set the low-pass to 80 Hz. I’m under the impression low-pass on this subwoofer can’t be used when LFE is used, so a mono cable with RCA Y-adapter wouldn’t seem to be the right method (at least without something like the Anticable 8033 Sii).
1/4 inch TRS analog outputs 1 (L) and 2 (R) on the Scarlett will go to inputs A and B on the Yamaha via 1/4 inch TRS to XLR balanced cables wired according to the Yamaha manual (pin 2 to hot tip, which I think is standard).
Regarding the Anticable 8033 S-II, my plan is to try it without that and see what my ears tell me I might need (or want to try) next.
Actually, my next step will be to test the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amp.
I also have this (probably crazy) idea to try a Yamaha P2500S power amp (or smaller) and bi-amp my speakers (together with the P5000S), using the smaller amp on the high frequency inputs. Would that be worth trying?
I’m also inclined to try the Oppo UDP-205 at some point in the near future. Or maybe a more traditional audio USB DAC and see if I can tell any difference from the Scarlett. But I like sticking with just the equipment I have for now. The Yamaha P5000S should be here on Tuesday. I think I have all the cables I’ll need unless the above plan is wrong.
Do you see any other potential problems in regard to the connections?
One last idea I’m thinking about for further down the road is the suggestion by @erik_squires that "many audiophiles should make at least one pair of speakers in their lifetimes." I like the Polk cabinets and I don’t have a wood shop, so I am wondering what I might be able to do starting wtih the Polks as my base -- down the road, of course.
So your sub has L and R inputs. That simplifies it a bit. All you have to do is to run a cable from L out from the Focusrite to L in on the sub. Ditto with R. I am not sure about the plug that you linked to (call Focusrite for advice). See here for more information: https://www.presonus.com/learn/technical-articles/Balanced-Unbalanced
Try the Antimode whenever you feel like it - I think you will love it.
I would cross over rather lower, like 40 Hz for a start, but you can experiment.
The Yamaha AS801 will be a bit easier, but the sound should be virtually the same, with a bit less dynamic headroom in that large room.
Bi-amping is not worth it in your situation, and adds a lot of worries.
An Oppo probably only makes sense if you want to play discs and/or want to connect a TV screen.
Once you have this up and running, stop worrying about the electronics (they will be more than good enough, even with far better speakers). Your three weakest links will be the main speakers (start saving for something like the bigger Harbeths), the room modes generated by the sub (get an Antimode), and the higher frequency reflections because of the hard walls, glass windows etc. (get some curtains, carpets, or whatever).
@willemj "I am not sure about the plug that you linked to (call Focusrite for advice)".
I think the info I need is in the manual. Here's what it says:
"LINE OUTPUTS 1 to 4 – four balanced analogue line outputs on 1⁄4” (6.35 mm) jack sockets; use TRS jacks for a balanced connection or TS jacks for unbalanced. The signals available at all these outputs may be defined in Scarlett MixControl."
I believe RCA is unbalanced by definition (thanks for the balanced/unbalanced article - I'm reading that now).
This leads me to believe that the 1/4 inch to RCA adapters should be mono (TS), which is the style I have.
I can't see how using TRS (stereo) 1/4 inch to RCA adapters with RCA cables would make sense. Is there something I am missing?
(Granted, it will take me some time to get through that whole article you linked. It's a great article, but I don't think I'll understand it prior to the Yamaha arriving on Tuesday. I'll be ready to get things connected and give it a listen!)
If there is more to the connections than what the Scarlett 6i6 manual says, what would I need to ask Focusrite?
I received the Yamaha P5000S power amp. I'm going to post two follow up messages about it.
First, in this one, I will confirm how I connected it.
It turns out that what I speculated would work, in my post of 7-Jan-2018 and based on help from @willemj
, does indeed work -- with one caveat. The volume knob on the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 only controls analog outputs 1 & 2, not 3 & 4. I have 3 & 4 going to the subwoofer, which has its own volume control. It works, but that's not the most convenient solution. The Scarlett may have software control options for changing this, but I didn't see them yet. There may be other workarounds. (However, at the moment, it is not hindering my listening enjoyment.)
To put all the connection info in one place, here's a recap of my earlier message with the final connections:
Here are the panels on the amp, Scarlett 6i6 and subwoofer. https://imgur.com/a/6Eh06https://imgur.com/a/lMkPa
(better rear of sw)
subwoofer only has line level inputs labeled R and L/LFE. I used R & L (with 2 shielded RCA cables)
from analog outputs 3 & 4 on the Scarlett 6i6.
At the Scarlett I used 1/4 inch mono to RCA adapters similar to these:https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=104&cp_id=10429&cs_id=1042906&p_id=7176&seq=1...
the subwoofer I set the low-pass to 80 Hz.
1/4 inch TRS
analog outputs 1 (L) and 2 (R) on the Scarlett went to inputs A and B
on the Yamaha via 1/4 inch balanced TRS to XLR balanced cables.
The connections do work correctly. It was not hard to connect at all. I had an idea of what I was doing from earlier research, so when the amp arrived I had it connected in no time and I have been listening to music since then.
Follow up #2 - how does it sound?
My system now consists of these components:
- pair of Polk Audio RTi A7 floorstanding speakers (8 ohms) - Sensitivity (1 watt @ 1 meter): 89 dB. Recommended Amp Power Per Channel: 20 watts → 300 watts
- computer with Asus X99 Deluxe II motherboard featuring Crystal Sound 3 audio (https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/X99-DELUXE-II/) (features USB, HDMI or optical S/SPIF output)
- Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 USB audio interface (as DAC) (https://us.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-6i6)
- kSubwoofer 1: Polk Audio PSW125 Subwoofer
- Yamaha P5000S power amp <-- purchased on recommendations in this thread. Thanks!
(Small point - I used the Polk subwoofer instead of the Klipsch. I may swap them later, but for now the Klipsch is in my home theater room.)
This is the best music listening experience I have had in my life (so far). It sounds absolutely fantastic!
The Yamaha P5000S made a big difference. That amp has, to my ears, much better sound than the Sony STR-DN1080. No surprise there, of course. But it also significantly improves upon the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amp.
I realize I don’t have any experience listening to the high end gear most of you guys have listened to, but I immediately did not like the sound of my initial setup with the Sony receiver, as discussed here: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/new-system-has-fatiguing-harsh-high-frequency-sounds-how-to-f...
However, those same speakers, with the Yamaha P5000S sound really good to me. At this moment, I don’t really have any complaints. In fact, I’m overjoyed.
I am still shopping for speakers in the $5000/pair price range. I have been reading a lot of reviews and thinking about distortion, clarity, detail, sound stage, etc. To my (somewhat inexperienced) ears, this setup with the Yamaha power amp and the Polk RTi A7 speakers, lets me experience a very satisfying level of all the things I have been reading about that come with the best speakers and the best components. With my current system, the sound stage is surprisingly expansive. The detail and clarity are amazing. The harshness in the higher frequencies is gone.
I am beyond happy with this amp (and the whole system).
HOWEVER, I have only been listening to it for a couple hours. I assume if I start listening even more critically and look for some music the speakers can’t handle well, I will find problems... maybe.
For now, this is such a huge improvement that I am happy to just enjoy it for a while.
Also, as I noted above, because I do not have a traditional DAC or pre-amp (or receiver), I am limited in my input controls. Fixing that will be next on my list. I am probably going to order the Teac NT-503 and install the Android app for HQPlayer. See thread here
I have the option to use a software DAW with the Scarlett 6i6, but that will only be temporary.
I’m really surprised how much better the Yamaha P5000S sounds compared to the Yamaha A-S801. That’s the biggest surprise so far. The Sony receiver is fine for my home theater setup in my small room. But the Yamaha A-S801 integrated amp is probably going back.
The Yamaha P5000S power amp is a keeper. It absolutely blows me away. Wonderful sound, even with my current speakers. Big surprise. Now I like these speakers too.
In case anyone else considers this amp, it is a lot bigger and heavier than I expected. Because of its depth, it barely fits on my shelf. And it comes with rack-mount tabs on the front, so it’s not the most attractive component... but I can remove the rack-mount tabs. Anyway, I like it and the style / appearance is not a problem for me. I am much more concerned about having beautiful speakers. I’m very picky about how my speakers look. The amp can be put where its not very visible, if needed.