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  1. #1

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    Default Sound Advice for New System

    So I just ordered a set of Polk Audio RtiA series speakers (RtiA5, RtiA3, CsiA6). They will be replacing my Klipsch Icon Wood series when they arrive. My current power is an Emotiva UMC-200 pre/pro and an Emotiva LPA-1 amp. I have $1200 left in budget for this build and I am torn between getting more power (amps) or going for a nice sub to replace my Synergy Sub 12. I have been tagging along in another thread here but it is more of a hang-out than subject focused thread so started my own. Sorry to those that have answered some of my questions but I am still on the fence over some thoughts.

    My plans are to use the LPA-1 for the RtiA5 and RtiA3 configured with 2 channels of 125 watts going to the left and right. I'm confused on whether this is the proper or beneficial way to provide power to the speakers. After all my reading I've ended up very confused as to bi-amping and bi-wiring. If I'm using a single multi-channel amp and run 1 channel of 125 watts to the highs and 1 channel of 125 watts to the lows of the RtiA5, does this supply 125 watts to the speaker or does it supply 250 watts shared to the speaker? I'm head set on the fact that the RtiA5 are rated for "20-250 watts per channel" on Polk's website. So I will not sleep if they are not getting the recommended power supplied to them. I figure if the speaker is rated for up to 250 watts and I split the highs and lows by removing the bridge on the dual binding posts, provide 125 watts to one set of binding posts and 125 watts to the second set of binding posts, I essentially have provided 250 watts (125+125) to the speaker. Problem is this is my thinking and I know nothing about Ohms and Impedance and the such. Some clarity on this would be more than appreciated.

    Note: I understand many of you have stated that Emotiva amps increase brightness in Polk speakers. I will determine whether or not to replace my amps after I have had my own experience with Polk. Thanks for the heads up!

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    125 watts of power amp per channel should be sufficient for that set of speakers into 5 separate channels. Forget about biamping, etc.

    If you want you can get a better sub but you really don't need to buy a $1200 sub. Can probably get a very nice sub under 1000.

    The question is: Are you satisfied with HOW your set up sounds now? If not, then yeah, you could try some other five channel amp, move up in power and so on! Sounds like you're doing your best to confuse yourself above.

    cnh
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
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    Thanks and the way I see it is if the power is at hand, why not use it? I have 125 watts x6 channels plus a dedicated 250 watts x1. I suppose I could just not use the available channels. But with a little thought and research, results may be revealed.

    As far as being happy with my system now, I would not have new speakers in the mail to replace my current setup if I was satisfied. I have no idea how the Polk will sound but aim to get the most out of my purchase. I purposely bought speakers with very similar components/drivers to assure proper timbre' and intend on picking up the slack in low-end with a worthy sub made exactly for the purpose. My only point in this thread is to determine whether my logic as far as using the channels of my amp are correct or have mistaken.
    Last edited by incloud; 12-29-2013 at 02:03 PM.

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    The problem is that biamping from the same amp unless one bridges that amp, does NOT double your power. It remains the same. And bridging on many amps, often degrades the sound quality.

    It is better to bi-amp using two distinct amps of a similar kind in separate cases.

    If you want to increase power, you would need to do that to the front THREE channels because you really won't use that much power in the surrounds--although some people do that here--there's not a whole lot of info coming from them.

    cnh
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    My UMC-200 has a Bi-Amping feature which essentially duplicates the 2 front channels to the rears. So if I run the output from the rears on the UMC to 2 channels of 125 watts, I will have 4 channels available for the front speakers of 125 watts each. This leads me to believe that having independent 125 watt power to the highs and lows of each RtiA5 would be beneficial. Though of course, not as beneficial as having a dedicated amp for each speaker. In my case, I'm trying to get the most out of what I have before purchasing pointless equipment.

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    I must admit that I am not sure how your Emotiva amp is wired. What your Pre can do is irrelevant! Amplification is conditional on the AMPLIFIER.

    And the usual definition of bi-wiring vs TRUE BIAMPING is that you need TWO different amps to split your power (in the way you describe) in order to send equal amounts of power to both sets of speaker terminals, not two different channels in the same amp on the same power supply. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try what you are suggesting, just that it may result in no difference whatsoever.

    Give it a try and tell us what you hear?



    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 12-29-2013 at 02:37 PM.
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

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    Will do, Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    I must admit that I am not sure how your Emotiva amp is wired. What your Pre can do is irrelevant! Amplification is conditional on the AMPLIFIER.

    And the usual definition of bi-wiring vs TRUE BIAMPING is that you need TWO different amps to split your power (in the way you describe) in order to send equal amounts of power to both sets of speaker terminals, not two different channels in the same amp on the same power supply. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try what you are suggesting, just that it may result in no difference whatsoever.

    Give it a try and tell us what you hear?



    cnh
    On the issue of passive biamping as the OP has intended to do, no there won't be a difference and will be a waste of time. The crossover will just dissipate the extra power by heat. If you want to biamp effectively, you would need an active crossover, bipass the internal crossover and use two amps to benefit from biamping.
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    As for what to do with the leftover 1200$, buy a nice sub and spend the rest of room treatments, calibration equipment to get the most out of your setup.
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    Seeing it's "a waste of time" would I be better off just running 125 watts to each front and each surround and not use the remaining 3 channels at all? My main concern then would be if 125 watts is plenty of power for the RtiA5's to deliver to their potential. Comes down to me buying another amp and letting my 7-channel go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    Seeing it's "a waste of time" would I be better off just running 125 watts to each front and each surround and not use the remaining 3 channels at all? My main concern then would be if 125 watts is plenty of power for the RtiA5's to deliver to their potential. Comes down to me buying another amp and letting my 7-channel go.
    The point is that you're not better off in either case. You can try it but you'd save yourself the time if you didn't.

    Remember, most power required is to drive the bass frequencies, and since you're going to be crossing your speakers with the sub, you'd need even less power. Also, to get a 3db increase, you'd have to double the power. So if you buy yourself a 250 watt amp, you'd only get a 3db increase. The current 125 watts should be plenty to drive your speakers which are quite efficient in the first place.
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    It's obvious I need a better understanding of how speakers work. I just see they are rated for 20-250 watts and figure they will sound their best if powered by 250 watts. Sorry for being a newb but I love the hobby and it is far from my field of expertise. Appreciate your feedback!

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    It's obvious I need a better understanding of how speakers work. I just see they are rated for 20-250 watts and figure they will sound their best if powered by 250 watts. Sorry for being a newb but I love the hobby and it is far from my field of expertise. Appreciate your feedback!
    More watts doesn't mean better sounding speaker, it'll mean higher SPL. I'm running a low wattage amp myself 30watt/ch on a speaker rated for much more and other guys are doing the same with their SS or tube amps. They're rated to 250 watts because of their power handling. Feeding more wattage than recommended might fry the speaker, but the caveat is that it's better to feed it more power than to feed it less power as clipping is worse for the speaker than overpowering it.

    But do not relate quality to quantity. Quantity will just give you ear bleeding SPL, and you might as well go with pro amps at that point if you just want SPL. At 125 watts you'll be pushing ~100db+ and your hearing will go before the speakers or the amp. I rather have a quality 100watt amp than a junk 200 watt one any day.
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    What's your opinion of Emotiva? Some here swear by them and some at them. For me the dynamics are better between my AVR amp and the Emotiva. I'm using an LPA-1 and have an XPA-100 coming for my CsiA6.

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    What's your opinion of Emotiva? Some here swear by them and some at them. For me the dynamics are better between my AVR amp and the Emotiva. I'm using an LPA-1 and have an XPA-100 coming for my CsiA6.
    I picked up the UPA-5 which is the successor to your current amp and hooked it up with some Infinity Kappa speakers and thought it sounded fine. My opinion of Emotiva amps is that they're made well, they seem to be reliable and they can drive pretty much any speaker you throw at it. For HT use, they seem to be great amps with a lot of power, great for dynamics as you stated. Any outboard amp is going to be better than your receiver as it has its own power supply instead of trying to tax the receiver for everything.

    It doesn't take a genius or even a PhD in engineering to make a good amp. I met plenty of EE's who built their own amps that bench test great and sound just fine. Emotiva makes good amps at very affordable prices and I personally think that's great. If you're satisfied with what you have, then Emotiva will work fine, but as soon as you start getting curious you'd better wary of the extreme pricing out there. A price tag can really change someone's opinion of an amp and you can get a whole lot less for a whole lot more money, so be wary.
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    Thanks a lot for the insight and I am happy with Emotiva. Not that I know any different, lol, that's all I've ever had. I'll stick with what I have and get a good sub and maybe if I run into a great deal I'll upgrade. Looking at the SVS SB12-NSD for a sub, do you have any experience with SVS or suggest another brand?

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    Thanks a lot for the insight and I am happy with Emotiva. Not that I know any different, lol, that's all I've ever had. I'll stick with what I have and get a good sub and maybe if I run into a great deal I'll upgrade. Looking at the SVS SB12-NSD for a sub, do you have any experience with SVS or suggest another brand?
    Be wary of "deals" as well. For the money or for any money, I'd have a ATI amp for HT even for music. They OEM for the big boys (Theta, ML, Lexicon), made in socal, very sturdy construction, warm, musical, plenty of power, made by guys who have been in the business a long time. I'm a ATI fan boy for HT, that's for sure, so you can take it with a grain of salt. I shorted an amp once. Popped in a new fuse and it was like new. I've owned 6 ATI amps and they're solid after years of service, in fact I still own and use one. They're sleepers in the crowd as they're mostly geared toward CI so audiophiles don't really pick them up but better for me, I can get awesome amps on the cheap without the audiophile markup.

    As for the good sub, as I mentioned in the other thread, any sub is probably going to be fine. But for HT, get a ported, the sealed won't sound tighter in a HT config. You said you're not gonna crank it so it makes little difference which sub you get as long as it's a quality sub. I've owned maybe 4 SVS subs, and 4 Hsu subs among many others. Any manufacturer that's touted nowadays makes good stuff. I strongly recommend SVS because they let you try it out in your room and setup. PSA makes good stuff and gets good press at AVS but they're relatively new so I haven't tried them but they offer a risk free trial http://www.powersoundaudio.com/pages...e-trial-period. Try it in your room because that's where it's going to be. The sub will not sound the same in my room, I assure you of that.

    My recommendation isn't so much a sub but as spend time into setting up the sub. I own a 4k MSRP sub and it sounded like trash when i just plopped it on the floor wherever I thought it looked best. Invest the time into setting up the subwoofer and learning how to properly set it up and you'll be rewarded with better sound. A properly set up sub with EQ will sound LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than XXk$ subwoofer not properly setup. A subwoofer is critical for any system if set up properly. If I ran floorstanders, I'd still run a sub and it'd sound better.
    Last edited by aboroth00; 12-29-2013 at 07:55 PM.
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    Would you mind giving me a short explanation as to why a ported sub would be your preference over a sealed. Again, I've been researching endlessly trying to learn as much as possible and what I've gathered is that sealed has tighter bass. That said, at the same time it is always geared toward music and not HT. So what is it that makes a ported sub better suited for HT?

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    Would you mind giving me a short explanation as to why a ported sub would be your preference over a sealed. Again, I've been researching endlessly trying to learn as much as possible and what I've gathered is that sealed has tighter bass. That said, at the same time it is always geared toward music and not HT. So what is it that makes a ported sub better suited for HT?
    The sealed sub sounds tighter due to less group delay (lower Q) among other things. However, in the pass band we're concerned (60-80hz), we want slam and impact for movies (explosions, loud booms) to give you the chest thump. Sure a bass guitar or a cello might not sound as tight with a sealed sub at higher volumes, but that isn't our concern. For the same $$$, a ported sub has more headroom, less distortion, and lower extension. So it does everything better in regards to HT for the $$$. That withstanding, a sealed sub can sound good and have the same extension and SPL, but it'll require more money and power. Whether or not you'll even hear the difference between the two is dubious in the first place, so I recommend getting the ported sub as its more flexible (more power, more extension, less distortion, higher max SPL, more headroom). You can seal a ported sub as well.

    Most of the flabbiness/boominess you'll hear is frequency distortion (dips and peaks) in the frequency domain and ringing of frequencies in the time domain. Ringing in the time domain can be thought of as echoing, but a bass signal that "echoes" sustains in your room and doesn't dissipate, sounds bloated and it smears the sound of higher frequencies. You'll be lucky your sub is +/- 10db from 20-100hz in a regular room. In room, +/- 5db is pretty darn good. Obviously peaks and dips sound bad, and that's what EQ is for and what you should be worried about instead. IMO, subs should be used in pretty much all circumstances. Usually where the speakers are located for ideal imaging is not ideal for bass reproduction. In my room, my mains have 15db peaks and dips in the bass region. This is where the sub comes in to fill in the low frequencies much more effectively in a more effective location. Moral of the story, calibrate your sub with a EQ.
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    Wow, you really know your stuff! Ported it is evidently the way to go and i will certainly take your well described advice. It's too bad the PB12-NSD doesn't come in more than one finish as the images I see online make it look poor aesthetically. Another unfortunate deal with the ported is size but I can find a way to fit one. I'd love to get the PB12 Plus but am sure it would be drastic overkill for my living space. I would probably want Dual PB-1000 and again have limitations for placement. Man this can be daunting to decide on but Thanks for all your help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    Wow, you really know your stuff! Ported it is evidently the way to go and i will certainly take your well described advice. It's too bad the PB12-NSD doesn't come in more than one finish as the images I see online make it look poor aesthetically. Another unfortunate deal with the ported is size but I can find a way to fit one. I'd love to get the PB12 Plus but am sure it would be drastic overkill for my living space. I would probably want Dual PB-1000 and again have limitations for placement. Man this can be daunting to decide on but Thanks for all your help!
    No problem at all. There are plenty of guys out there in the DIY game who know tons more than I do about EQ and subs. I don't mean to poo poo on sealed subs, I use one after all but if you're going to use one of those subs for HT it won't be enough. I actually like the grey matte aesthetic, very utilitarian. If you're concerned about finishes, Hsu has different finish options and outlaw has a more smooth finish as well. Very good options.

    Here's a review on the plus version SB12 and the PB12-NSD with comparisons. He talks about what I talked about for HT use. I bet the SB12 would be killer for music though.

    http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...use-roars.html
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    If you've seen the PB12-NSD, is it actually grey as it appears in images or is it black? Not trying to be anal but I've dumped a ton of money into nice italian furniture and a wall unit from Italy also and want my system to add to the appeal not destroy it. I'm building a major man cave, lol. Just finished a nice HTPC build check it out and tell me what you think. I'm a web developer and own Incloud Design.

    http://inclouddesign.com/watercooled-lian-li/

    Hope I don't get scolded for the link.

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    It's like a grayish black. If you see a picture with flash, it'll look grey. If it's dark, it'll look black. I totally understand about aesthetics, but with SVS you get free returns, so if you have room on that credit card, just keep buying and return what you don't want ;).

    Very cool looking. I've been using laptops for years, but a HTPC seems like a nice buy, one day... Be sure to post pics of the seutp when you get the chance. I've always had a slight itch to get back into HT, but getting all the equipment back into the room is too much of a headache. Subs are so fun to research and buy though...
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    Okay Thanks, I will be sure to post back when everything comes in. Right now I'm in a pretty cramped place and getting ready to move in April to my new loft condo. That's when this will all come together and time will be taken to fine tune the system. Have a nice evening...

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    Okay Thanks, I will be sure to post back when everything comes in. Right now I'm in a pretty cramped place and getting ready to move in April to my new loft condo. That's when this will all come together and time will be taken to fine tune the system. Have a nice evening...
    Remember above all, enjoy! Lugging around a 70lb sub is not gonna be fun in the move.
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    No doubt!

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    Quote Originally Posted by incloud View Post
    No doubt!
    It's probably the hardest thing to do. Stop sweating all the details, upgrading amps/subs/speakers, and just enjoy what you got! Upgraditis is a terrible thing.
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    I can't, lol... I'm going to settle and order soon.

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    Do you think Dual PB-1000 would be a good choice and match for the RtiA5?

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    You need to stop. It's getting out of control. You should just get the PB13-Ultras and call it a day. You really don't need to match a sub to the mains.

    As for duals vs single, buy both and see if you hear the difference? I really can't tell you unless the subs are in your room and you can see measurements. I get good in room response at the LP with one sub, but I can't say the same for you.
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