Something's not right there- and it's not the S300. I drove my Gallos very well with a Cary SLI-80. I'd look upstream.
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I have tried reversing the polarity, but it didn't seem to make improvement at all. Maybe it is just an over expectation on my part, but I thought the Gallos would have bass that you can feel in your chest. I don't get to that until I am -15dbz off max on the pre3.
I wonder how much my room might have to do with it. The floor is carpeted and the room is about 18' x 28'. Maybe too big?
It isn't that they don't get loud...they do, it just seems like I have very little overhead left and I am afraid of getting some distortion and blowing something.
Not sure if this is on point (will be relevant only if this problem is NOT unique to your current set-up), but my Bel Canto integrated has an annoying ergonomic quirk in the operation of the LCD readout on the front panel. Any level below app 50 to 60 is effectively 100% attenuated. As a result, a reading of "50" feels like it should read zero. Further, the thing resets to "50" when you power down/power up, so it deafaults to (effectively) zero output and you have to bump it up again. I usually roll down the volume after listening on my amp anyway, so I feel that this is only a problem if you use a Bel Canto CD Player with it (like I do) as your source, because that unit has variable outputs and does the same thing. In the end, you end up having to bump both volume controls to get the SPLs where you want them for normal (or loud) listening. Bel Canto suggests that you just leave 'em powered up to avoid the bother, but they're in my bedroom and I prefer to keep them dark.
BTW, this has been true even with the very high sensitivity loudspeakers that I've sometimes hung off it, so the attenuation below "50" is virtually complete and not a meaninful function of the speaker you're using. If your issue is that you need to see a readout of "80" or higher to get useful output, that's consistent with my experience and the amp works just fine.
Marty, you should really fix the volume at 100 on your CD-2 so it is outputting its maximum voltage at all times. Turn the CD-2's volume up to 100 then press in the button at the back to fix the volume. That way you're not adjusting two volume controls. If the volume is reduced on the CD-2, then of course your volume will be really low at 50 or 60 on the integrated amp. I would definitely not say that 50 to 60 on a S300i is completely attenuated. The S300i can be completely listenable at 60 with even very inefficient speakers (depending on the output voltage of the source). Volume setting for unity gain is 80.
Ukthunderace, your room is very big and perhaps the Gallo's are just not enough speaker for the room. If you're stuck on the Gallo's, then you may need more power for that size of the room, but typically your preamp/amp combo should drive the Gallo's just fine.
Marty, that is exactly my experience. I have the Transporter set at 100% volume and when the pre-amp comes up at 50, I can barely hear it. By the time the display hits 80, it counds pretty good, but not earth shattering at all. at 95 it sounds very good and has good power, but I believe I am 5dbz away from maxing it out, hence no headroom and possible disaster at any moment. Am I right to be worried about running at that level?
Everest, I really really like the Gallo's and want to hang on to them. I might change the room that they are in, or maybe the amp.
Okay, with the front display reading 95 on a good FLAC (Breathe-Pink Floyd) it sounds very good and is loud...very loud. I am just thinking I shouldn't have to turn it up that far to get the sound...no overhead you see?
My 100W Marshall guitar amp only gets turned up about halfway before it is just too loud...LOADS of overhead.
I don't think the Gallos are really that hard to drive, are they?
My original point was that the volume (or decreasing attenuation) control on the BC amp seems to be a fair bit more "back ended" than other amps I've encountered. I end up with high 80s when listening at normal volume levels - but I don't hear anything that concerns me when I go up from there for those all important "head banging" sessions.
The actual position of the knob isn't necessarily indicative of where you sit relative to full output - it's a variation on the old "it goes to 11" joke from Spinal Tap. Give BC a shout if you're concerned (they're very nice folks), but I don't think it's much of an issue.
I put on some Sabbath, Zep and even some Kraftwerk yesterday...good solid FLAC files. I turned the volume all the way up on the Transporter and slowly went up to 92 on the attenuator of the BC Pre-3. It had very good sound and was loud, but not exactly head banging loud.
So you are saying that if the attenuator is turned to 100 (max setting, that doesn't equate to full power on the S300? How do I know when I am reaching danger levels on my amp then?
I am also guessing since dbz are figured logarithmically, maybe being at 92 attenuation (attenuating 8 dbz) is still far away from max power?
Coffeey, totally agree. The Gallo's should be able to handle a lot more than 150 from everything I have read. My point is that I want to leave some operating headroom. I have always been told that it is wise to leave some margin for resistance fluctuation and such. Never want to play at max. Have I been told wrong?