I have one and it works quite well. I have an Onkyo 875 receiver and a Cayin A88T tube amp connected to it. The switching is automatic upon powering up the Onkyo. No degradation in sound whatsoever. I use the Cayin for 2 channel listening and the Onkyo for home theater. Solved my problem of sharing the mains between the two amps.
Yes, any device you insert in the signal line will degrade the sound. The degree of degradation and your tolerance for it is unpredictable.
If switched accidentally while the tube amp may have even a little high voltage stored up may blow the output transformers.A poor connection in the switch may do the same.
Russound 2.2 AB is also a shelf mount unit like the Niles. The Russound is rated at 150wpc however. There is also a wall mount unit (1.2)
10 yr. warranty
14 AWG spkr jacks
Niles rated for 100wpc
those are the only two I've found.
I'd be curious to see if any load is applied to the unused amp.... and/or if either or both amps can be left on when not under load/use.
The power capacity of the Niles concerns me... and the speaker taps of the Russound bug me.
Thanks for your responses.
Catama: Your setup is similar to what I was looking to do. What kind of speaker cables are you using, and at what length(s)?
Stanwal: I'm sure you're right, and as you said it's all a matter of degree. Which is why I'm wondering if anyone who has actually used it could hear an audible difference, regardless how slight.
Hifitime: My understanding is that the DPS-1 only has one button, therefore it's not an a/b scenario. Not sure whether this solves the problem you refer to though (save for the device being faulty). Here's a link to the device:
Regrettably there's not much detail offered, and the manual states even less. If you (or anyone else) has any additional thoughts, I'd like to hear them.
That's the first I've heard of the Russound. I'll definitely look into it. As for the Niles, their website says it's rated for 350wpc (see my link). Can you point me to where you read otherwise? Thanks!
As an update, it looks like your fears regarding the Russound are correct- I found some complaints about the connectors on AVS.
HiFiTime posting is correct and a buddy had that 'accident' blow out his amp.
You wont have any degradation, they are good for using in two amp systems. You can use the stereo system and switch to 7.1 sound without any problem.
I saw the 100wpc on the Niles at a reseller's website. it's obviously in error according to your note on the Niles website saying otherwise.
I probably will try to pick up a Niles as well for I have a similar situation of joining 2 rigs onto one pair of mains.
I posted on this several months back and got far fewer results. google wasn't any help either.
Hopefully the Niles unit is good stuff... now which speaker cables to use and where to put it.
The main issue I have is a tube amp must have a speaker load on its outputs anytime it is on.If your listening to music and decide to watch tv and switch over from the tube amp to your SS amp without shutting the tube amp down first way in advance is an accident waiting to happen.If a show comes on and you jump the gun on switching the speakers from the tube amp,there is a good risk of blowing you tube amp output transformers by taking the speaker load off of the tube amp.Also speaker switches sometimes make poor connections.Some tube gear in the 50's and 60's had speaker switches and once in a while they would make a poor connection and fry the outputs.It looks like a A/B switch to me.I just don't want you to damage your tube amp.LINK[http://www.nilesaudio.com/images/PDF/DPS-1_Cutsheet.pdf]
I sure do appreciate the concern, I must say I've some reservations... with my mono blocks at least.
My butler TDB 5150 apparently has some built in safeguards so that amps which are energized yet not connected to a speaker load are safe.... well so far anyhow. I use it as a 3 ch amp for HT and use the other two ch as a 'change of pace' amp for stereo listening with a better preamp being attached to it. In each case though, Ive got to move two pair of spkr wires from either the Butler to the Dodds or vice versa
and its pretty tight back in behind that rach and gear.
As all the electronics I use are in an adjacent room, save for the speakers, sub and projector & screen, Id have to go into that room to push the button to make the switch over from one set of amps to another set
so theres that
I suspect if prior to that procedure I energize the Dodds I could be in trouble
so Id wait
push the Niles button and THEN energize the Dodds.
The obvious concern then, is the switching mechanism inside the Niles box of course, and if theres any chance at all of some shorting or feeding back, taking place.
Sounds like the safe approach is as Blindjim suggests. Blindjim - if you do decide to get the Niles, please post an update with your thoughts.
I'll make a note of doing just that. But some back ground researching first with both niles and my tube amp maker.
The default path for no possible issues would be of course to shut down or have alrady shut down each amp being switched. That way poses me no problems and I'd feel safer doing just that.... shut down the in use amp, make the shift on the Niles, and then start up the other amp (s)... as I'd suspect in most cases the Niles box would be in close proximity to the amps anyhow..
The only short coming then is the warm up time for the then chosen amps to rise up properly for playing, which could be forgone if the Niles box is foolproof with it's switching mechanism with any amp topology attached to it.
My fail safe method does at least alieviate the need for switching around speaker cables and in my case that would be really nice all by itself. Once I get past having to buy more speaker cables of course!
I use Audioquest Slate speaker cables in my setup. The Niles is triggered by a 12v switch that you hook up to one of the amplifiers. When that amp is powered up, the switch is triggered and the load goes from that amp to the speakers. If you don't power it up, the load from the other amp goes to the speakers. I have it hooked up so that turning on the Onkyo triggers the switch. When I want to listen to 2-channel sound, I power up the Cayin and leave the Onkyo off. When I want to watch a movie, I turn the Cayin off (if it is on) and power up the Onkyo. It works quite well after you set it up and I did not notice any degradation in the sound from either amp.
Once I forgot to turn the Cayin off and powered up the Onkyo. The only thing that happened was that I lost the sound coming from the Cayin. When I realized what I had done, I powered off the Cayin. No sweat. Nothing exploded and nothing was damaged. I suggest you do the same. Have the SS amp be the amp that gets switched and the tube amp be the one that is the default.
Thanks for the info Catama. Sounds likes the Niles is the way to go..
Ok. Which Niles unit are you using?
Goign to Niles audio and selecting PRODUCTS>SWITCHING DEVICES>AUTOMATED SWITCHES... there are a number of switching mechanisms on that page.
Selecting any of them reveals a page where the pdf owners manual is located.
I called them a bit ago and told them my setup and what I would like to do briefly. The tech suggested I look at the Niles SPK-1.
This unit sounds like the one you are using perhaps.
The SPK-1 has electronic switching BUT also has standard 5 way binding posts which will accept standard (for us) banana or spade terminated speaker cables, where some of the other Niles units only barely accept #14 AWG bare wire.
The tech said tube amps were indeed at risk if no load is on them when they are energized.
He said with the SPK1 to set the tube amps to the A side and the non tube amps to the B side.
The Butler TDB 5150 uses bipolar output devices, not tubes so in essence it acts like an SS amp in it's output stage.
The switching of the SPK1 will occur when the 200ma trigger ckt is energized, sending the signals then to the B side
. Or in my own case Id set the B side to the Onkyo/Butler HT config.
Additionally, and prior to turning on the Onkyo/Butler setup Id have to ensure the Tube amps were off before turning on the HT setup.
Simple. Id do that anyhow.
Given the larger binding posts on the SPK1 and the not much more price ($100 appox), and 600wpc abilities I feel this unit a better choice.
It also could be modded and one could then swap out the binding posts to Cardas or the like thereafter.
The unit comes with a 2 yr. warranty and can be either shelf mounted or by removing the 4 small cover screws and its covering, attached to a wall with two drywall screws or such, then it's covering remounted.
It does not come with a 12vdc trigger
he said Id have to get one of those at Rat Shak.
So this item appears better in a few areas than does the DPS 1.
HIGHER POWER HANDLING OF 600WPC
BETTER SPEAKER INTERFACES VIA 5 WAY BINDING POSTS
TWO SHORT SET OF SPEAKER CABLES ARE REQUIRED IN ADDITION AS WELL AS ACQUIRING A 12VDC 200 MA TRIGGER DEVICE FOR THE AUTO SWITCHING FUNCTION.
this unit suits me... as of the two sets of spkr cables still needed I'll not have to go off on high dollar ones for each system... just the 2 ch side.
Mounting the little goober will be some task though.
Sorry, you are right! I am using the SPK-1 (with automatic switching and the larger binding posts). Didn't mean to confuse everyone. I did not pay close attention to the mdel designation in the original post and assumed you were asking about the SPK-1.
I use banana plugs to connect to the speakers, the Niles and the amps. The unit sits on the floor behind may cabinet, but you can wall mount it, if you want. I got mine from OneCall and got the 12v DC trigger from them when I got the unit. I've been using this set up for over a year w/o any issues.
If you are concerned about the tube amp, just make sure you turn it off before switching. You would do that anyway, so it's not that much of a hassle.
Can you halp me out with what kind of 12v trigger you used? A bit of a newbie question, but looking at the manual, it appears I need a y cable with a +/- connection. Before looking I assumed it was just a 3.5mm plug.
I'm thinking about using a Niles Audio DPS-1 to switch between amps. When anyone has employed the DPS-1 did you use the same speaker wires all around or did you use different speaker wires for each amp as well as for the speakers?
I'm being forced to remove one of my speaker pairs and now have to use a switcher to select which amp I'm going to use. Previously I had different speaker wires from each amp to each set of speakers. Now with this consolidation I'm confused as to what to do wire wise.