XLR/RCA dilemma


With 5-series Ayre components, the idea of running balanced from disc player through preamp to amp is appealing, but it doesn't provide for bass management.  At the cost of interrupting that balanced link, I can add a bass manager that high-passes to a pair of KEF LS50s, a move claimed to improve their sound.  Is that likely to be a worthwhile tradeoff?

db

dbphd
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Sounds like all you would need to do is invest in or borrow a cheap set of RCA cables to test it out. Let us know what you discover!
Thanks for the advice, Bob.  I have a Velodyne SMS-1 and I have the Jensen transformers for going through a KEF 107/2 KUBE that are sitting unused.  It makes a kluge to do that.  I'll see if I might find a used Bryston or or JL Audio unit.  I use a Bryston SP3 in my main setup.

yakbob, I'm a bit over a week from successful spinal surgery, so my efforts are limited to planning for a while.

db
Given my favorable experience with my Bryston SP3, I think I've found a 10B for about a $K that I'll add to my setup.  Bob, what crossover do you recommend for the LS50s?

db
Spinal surgery---Ouch!
I hope you feel better, soon.
Bob
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Personally I would retain the Ayre purity using balanced connections and finding a better way.  I have an all Ayre system balanced from cartridge/CD player through amp and am very satisfied. 
I had two or three days of discomfort after the surgery, but no discomfort since.  Residual challenge has been tapering from the opiate, Narco, but I'm in the second week of a four week plan and it seems to be going well.

I'm conceptually committed to using balanced connections for the Ayre setup.  Charles Hanson seems to place considerable value in doing so.

db

Can't you use a REL sub that has the Neutrik connector with speaker-level connectors to your amp? That is what I have always used when I have had Ayre + sub in my system. 
I just bought a used Bryston 10B with XLR.  My only complaint with the LS50s has been what seems a bit of bass boom that I didn't notice before I installed the preamp and went full range to them.

db

Bob,

I think it's a Bryston 10B.  I paid $1K for it.  The interaction with the seller has been very nice.  Got a note from Charles Hansen telling me he prefers to avoid electronic processing of signals above 100 Hz.  I'll try the crossover at 100 Hz.  

db
"With 5-series Ayre components, the idea of running balanced from disc player through preamp to amp is appealing, but it doesn't provide for bass management."

If you are looking to take extremely high quality, near state of the art gear, and turn it into an aspiring mid fi system, this is exactly how you do it. All I can say is that if you are looking for advice like you're getting now, just go to Best Buy. Charles is not going to get too involved and take part in an argument like this. I can't speak for him, but I'm pretty sure he's tired of getting into debates like this. If I were in your position, I would be more inclined to seek info from people that own and use the same type of gear you have.

"Personally I would retain the Ayre purity using balanced connections and finding a better way. I have an all Ayre system balanced from cartridge/CD player through amp and am very satisfied."

I agree. Bass management is for HT systems. There's a reason that no one with the level of gear you have uses it. For best results, you need to do it yourself.
When we developed the MP-1 back in the late 1980s, there was still a lot of single-ended stuff around, so we set it up with SE recording outputs and SE monitor inputs, despite the preamp being otherwise fully differential and balanced from input to output (and was the first such preamp).

We've often run into a similar issue with owners of Merlin loudspeakers. The Merlin uses the BAM, which an external bass EQ unit. We usually have the customer run the BAM on one of the Monitor loops and that seems to work quite well.

With a preamp such as this you could run balanced from all your sources and balanced to the power amplifiers and simply hook up the existing BMC.
stringreen & small, I have tried to consult the Ayre community, and I realize the strong feelings about staying balanced all the way, just didn't know it had to be Ayre balanced.  The problem is with what I hear below 100 Hz using the LS50s.  I'd like to remove those frequencies from their duty.  And to do that seems to require intervention between the preamp and amp.

The LS50s are racing reds, and my wife is adamant about not replacing them with Reference 1s -- my solution.  She loves their appearance.

db
Following the suggestion of Charles Hansen to go around the Ayre link and integrate the sub separately, I could fully bung the LS50s and use the unbalanced outputs from the preamp to the bass manager that would low-pass at 100 Hz to the subs.  I inserted the outer bungs in the LS50s a few days ago and that helped.  Next step would be including the inner bungs.

I tend to play music at low to moderate levels, and I favor chamber music, especially baroque and jazz. 

db
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You didn't do anything wrong. You asked for opinions from the Ayre community and got responses from others as well. Ayre is designed so that best results are gotten from a system that is time and phase correct. Most people think that's an issue for speakers, and it is. However, its important that the signal reaches the speakers as "untouched", as possible. That's why Ayre, starting from the source, uses balanced connections and 0 feedback all the way too, and including the amp. When you start in with xovers, phase is altered, There may be other adverse effects, but that will depend on what you are putting in the system. With most brands, you probably won't hear anything out of the ordinary, but Ayre is very detailed and sensitive to these types of distortions. I can't speak for anyone else, but anytime I've experimented with different typs of components and designs, I can clearly hear the differences.

"The problem is with what I hear below 100 Hz using the LS50s.  I'd like to remove those frequencies from their duty.  And to do that seems to require intervention between the preamp and amp."

That's why you should use full range speakers with subs. Regardless, there's a better way to do it. You may have noticed that some subs have speaker cable terminals. Use those instead. You run speaker cables from the back of the power amp to the input on the subs. This type of connection has no effect on your amp because you are using the speaker cable at IC's. No real power goes through them. If you are looking for a music solution, connecting a sub this way is prefered. For something crude like HT, it doesn't really matter. For music, if you don't get it exactly right, you won't be able to listen to it. After a few days you'll just unplug the subs and go without.

In my listening room, I have 2 Ayre V-5's and 2 subs connected in the above manner. I wouldn't tell you to do anything that I wouldn't do in my own system. I would ask, though, that you not take my word for this. Call Ayre and ask him if this setup is a better option. That way you have the piece of mind that comes from Ayres approval, and not go by what some stranger on the internet told you to do.
sfall,

I've pretty much decided to follow Charles Hansen's recommendation to stay out of the Ayre balanced link.  I'll fully bung the LS50s, and use the Bryston 10B only to send 100 Hz and below to the subs.


Bob,

What effect do the full bungs have on have on LF distortion?  Presumably it adds back pressure to the diaphragm.

I appreciate all the help I'm receiving.

db
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Bob, your point about connecting the RCA outputs from the preamp directly to the subs and using their crossovers is well taken.  They're Velodyne HGS-10s that I've had for years and always used with an SMS-1 that does room correction, so I hadn't thought about using the internal crossover.  OTOH, the unused SMS-1 is sitting in the cabinet and entirely adequate for providing below 100 Hz to the subs.  I'll see if I find a use for the 10B or I try to sell it.

db


"I've pretty much decided to follow Charles Hansen's recommendation to stay out of the Ayre balanced link.  I'll fully bung the LS50s, and use the Bryston 10B only to send 100 Hz and below to the subs."

Sorry if you didn't understand my post, but my comments went beyond balancing. I looked at my post again, and I definately wasn't clear. Balancing is only one problem. What I should have also included was that given what your current system is, and your current solution for a sub, won't work. You can get sound out of it, but it will never integrate properly. There's just too many things working against it. Your electronics are capable of a tremendous amount of deail and speed. I don't really care for the LS50 myself, but they are detailed and fast also. Unless you don't care about the quality of bass you're getting, there's just no way the sub is going to be able to keep up with the rest of the system. The Bass will almost certainly be detached, boomy and definately, very slow. There's just too big a gap.

The only people integrating a sub into a system like yours, are using a 2 of them, and are specificly made for stereo only, and have first order xovers. And you would wire them up using the speaker cable method I touched on in my last post. And even given all that, its not easy. You may think you have it, but it won't last. It will annoy the hell out of you, and you'll end up disconnecting it. 

This is Bobs statement from above.

"db, I assume your subs have low pass filters, so I don't see the point of using the 10B at all. Or I'm not understanding how you plan on connecting things."

On that, I have to agree. The sub should have whatever you need built into it. The Bryston xover is really meant for an all Bryston system, or matched with components that sound similar. Ayre and Bryston are completely different sounding.

"My understanding is that a ported cabinet has a 4th order roll off in the bass. That appears to be the case looking at Fig 3 of Stereophile's measurements. Sealed cabinets have a 2nd order roll off. So the roll off is slower, but will start sooner. Assuming that's true, then even though the woofer is distorting the level is being attenuated earlier. I think the net effect is that the distorted sound will be at a lower level. Since the LS50's woofer starts distorting so early, attenuating its output earlier seems like a good idea."

Normally I don't agree with Bob, but he's right on this too. If you read between the lines, you'll see were both saying that there will be some big compromises made here. We're taking a different path, but we end up in the same place.

"Will this yield as clean a system as high passing the LS50? I don't see how, but I can understand that signal purists would be happier."

On this, its not about making me, or anyone else happy, with the exception of the OP. I understand why you would use the term "signal purist". Its not the worst way to put it, but I would say its a general compatability issue, along the lines of what we've been talking about. The way I personally woud describe it, is that the sub, and its related products, are undoing some of what the Ayre has done.

Maybe you have a friend that can lend you some gear to try before you commit to an expensive purchase.  

sfall, you've given me a lot to think about, and I thank you for it.

Not sure I buy the speed issue with the sub.  My post doc work was in binaural processing.  Wavelengths at 100 Hz are long, and detection of phase is generally a complex issue and I haven't followed the psychoacoustic literature for decades.  But I think I understand your point about using speaker leads to subs, if you have to have subs.  I haven't addressed the issue of subs for a couple of decades.

I don't use subs for music in my other setup comprised of a Parasound JC 3 phono stage, JC 2 preamp, and JC 1 monoblocks that drive a pair of KEF Reference 107/2s, but the 107/2s extend to 20 Hz nicely.  I like the sound of the LS50s, but I don't love it like I do that of the 107/2s.

A friend who does setup for manufactures at shows tells me he uses a Beveridge RM-3, high-passing to ESL 57s, low-passing at 100 Hz to woofers.  If I choose to go that way, he can help.

db 


Sfall - is completely correct. I’m using Vandersteen 5A’s with Ayre, and the 5A’s have amplified subs built in. Ayre can install any needed circuitry in your Ayre if desired.
"Not sure I buy the speed issue with the sub.  My post doc work was in binaural processing.  Wavelengths at 100 Hz are long, and detection of phase is generally a complex issue and I haven't followed the psychoacoustic literature for decades.  But I think I understand your point about using speaker leads to subs, if you have to have subs."

Unfortunately, my post doc work wasn't done in binaural processing. I couldn't even go because I was busy making huge, expensive mistakes in audio.

As far as the speed and matching issue goes, you just have to try it. One of the more difficult things about this hobby is that we sometimes respond to different aspects of a system. Success usually comes to those who are willing to get their hands dirty. All that means is that you compliment the learned portion of audio with experimentation and experinace. Hopefull, you'll have something that sounds good in the end.

Also, I have to admitt that I haven't been myself these last couple of weeks. Its an issue that's not audio related. Not long ago, I had some free time and I happened to stumble across the flat earth movement. Personally, I find it to be the most disturbing thing I've seen in my entire life. And I don't scare easily. These flat earther's make an audiophile with a handfull of expensive cables appear sane. Sorry to go off topic.
I'm on the second week of taper from the opiate, Norco follow spinal surgery a couple of weeks ago.

Would a pair of JL Audio E110s be a substantial step up form the Velodyne HGS-10s I've had for years?  I see they can accept speaker lead input.

db

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I would Scrap the Velodyne and get a REL 10". I have 2 Velodynes on other systems in the house still, and the REL hooked directly to the speaker terminals with their proprietary direct speaker wire connections to the terminals not in use from my McIntosh Mc452 is so much better in every way makes me hate any Velodyne, EXCEPT the Mini V 8 inch, that thing is not bad at all. Just check out a REL, it's out of this world! https://rel.net/shop/subwoofers/serie-ti/t9i/  Get one for a deal in a day with overnight shipping here: at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/REL-Acoustics-T-9i-Subwoofer-Lightweight/dp/B01ICA01U8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electroni... for the money, you cannot beat IMHO. 
Sorry, I haven't read thru this thread, but (unless there's something in there I don't know), I'd go single ended into the SMS-1 and single ended out into your amp.  The SMS is a PITA to optimize, but it's really, really good.  The improvement in overall SQ is tremendous - it's amazing what happens when you get the bottom two or three octaves right.   I'd imagine it's even more dramatic with little guys like your Kefs serving as the mains.

As to signal integrity purists, the SMS involves ADC, signal processing in the digital domain, and DAC.  Why sweat the balanced "philosophical" issue?

caveat:. If you have noise issues and/or long cable runs, you might have a decision to make.  Otherwise, I'd just go with RCAs.