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  1. #1

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    Default Advice on HT project appreciated

    Thanks for taking the time to help me out with advice.

    I've recently bought a Sony Bravia KDL-52W5500 and have now started looking at the audio part of my HT. Previously I've owned a Sony entry level 5.1 system that's been ok but I'm now looking to improve in that department.

    Currently I'm leaning towards buying a Sony STR-DA3400ES receiver, Emotiva XPA-5 and Polk LSi15, LSiC and LSiF/X. This combination is stretching my budget and I'll probably be buying it in steps starting with the receiver.

    The reasoning is that I've read a lot of good things about the Sony STR-DA5400SE (best in class according to What HiFi among others) and it's cheaper sibling seems to contains the same stuff except a weaker amplifier.

    This is where the XPA-5 comes in since I'll need an external amp to power the LSi line anyways.

    Now some parts I haven't worked out:

    - Is anyone aware if there are any other differences between the 3400 and 5400 receivers except power?

    - I have three options for setup (I think):
    1. Use the XPA-5 to bi-amp the LSi15's and single amp the LSiC with the receiver handling the surrounds.
    2. Have the XPA-5 power each speaker.
    3. Go for the XPA-3 instead and only single amp the fronts and center channel once again letting the AVR handle the backs.

    I've read the manuals for the receivers and I think it's possible to bi-amp using the pre-outs (it is possible using the speaker outputs) but it's not entirely clear so if anyone can confirm or deny that I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts/questions and any feedback is appreciated.
    Last edited by Zeatrix; 05-24-2009 at 05:14 AM.

  2. #2

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    Welcome to Club Polk Zeatrix!!!

    Buy the cheapest Receiver you can get that has Pre-Outs because eventually you will want to add more amps.
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL's
    With new Exotic wood, Sonicaps, Mills & RDO198's - Born on 4-24-1989 and Signed by Matthew Polk!!!!


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  3. #3

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    Option 2 is by far your best bet. Let the amp take care of all the channels. Don't worry about bi-amping for now and don't connect your Sony AVR directly to the speakers. (in my opinion)

    Welcome the Club Polk.

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
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    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the input so far, please keep 'em coming :)

  5. #5

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    There is a 4th option. There are some true 4 ohm stable receivers out there if you want to go that route.

    Although I think the best economic way to go is a mid-fi AVR with pre outs and an amp.

    http://nadelectronics.com/products/av-receivers

    http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,fmj,...ers,AVR600.htm

    http://www.rotel.com/NA/products/index.htm?cat=24

  6. #6

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    Hi and welcome to the club!

    One quick question. Are you doing 5.1 or 7.1 surround? If you are considering 5.1, you can find really good used pre-amp/surround processors like Outlaw Audio's 950 or 990 series to connect to your external amp. You may find some savings that way which would allow you to put more bucks towards the external amp section.

    I've found that my Sony ES AVR tends to make my Polks sound a bit on the bright side but I don't have the LSi's so I'm not sure if that would hold true with a Sony/LSI combination.

    With regard to bi-amping, I highly recommend that you bi-amp the built-in subs on the LSi15's using the pre-outs from your AVR. I noticed a significant improvement in the clarity of the bass when connecting the subs on my RT mains that way vs connecting them with the speaker outs from the amp. In my setup, I use "Y" cables at the external amp connection to split the signal for the L/R mains to achieve this.

    Good luck with the setup!
    __________________________________________________ __________
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  7. #7

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    BTW, go for the 5 channel amp vs the 3. Power all of your speakers with the external amp if possible. The change in dynamics and power is significant.
    __________________________________________________ __________
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by apphd View Post
    There is a 4th option. There are some true 4 ohm stable receivers out there if you want to go that route.

    Although I think the best economic way to go is a mid-fi AVR with pre outs and an amp.

    http://nadelectronics.com/products/av-receivers

    http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,fmj,...ers,AVR600.htm

    http://www.rotel.com/NA/products/index.htm?cat=24
    Yes, I would very much prefer an integrated solution, and the ones you suggested are great, but way over my budget (and what I'm willing to pay for a receiver). The Arcam isn't even sold in Sweden (yes I'm a foreigner).

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpowell View Post
    With regard to bi-amping, I highly recommend that you bi-amp the built-in subs on the LSi15's using the pre-outs from your AVR. I noticed a significant improvement in the clarity of the bass when connecting the subs on my RT mains that way vs connecting them with the speaker outs from the amp. In my setup, I use "Y" cables at the external amp connection to split the signal for the L/R mains to achieve this.
    Thx for the response dpowell. I'm doing a 5.1 setup.

    Also, the quote above wasn't entirely clear to me. Could you maybe try to explain it differently to a foreigner like me :)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpowell View Post
    BTW, go for the 5 channel amp vs the 3. Power all of your speakers with the external amp if possible. The change in dynamics and power is significant.

    I like to use 3 channel amp for my surrounds and center then I can keep upgrading the amp or amps that power my left & right front speakers.

    This is what I am doing and it's a really good way to start, eventually I will get rid of the HT receiver and buy a dedicated 2 Channel Pre-Amp, but for the time being the performance has been very good.

    You can see some of the performance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHHLKERU0wo

    If you did get a 5 channel amp you could use it for the center and all 4 surrounds in a 7.1 system

    Las
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL's
    With new Exotic wood, Sonicaps, Mills & RDO198's - Born on 4-24-1989 and Signed by Matthew Polk!!!!


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    Part Deux: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath3

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    Yes, I would very much prefer an integrated solution, and the ones you suggested are great, but way over my budget (and what I'm willing to pay for a receiver). The Arcam isn't even sold in Sweden (yes I'm a foreigner).
    I hear you, 4 ohm stable receivers come at a cost. What is your budget? Amps are usually pretty heavy, so don't forget shipping charges and tax if you are looking at something not avail. locally for you. Do you have anything in Sweden like Craigs List? Have you purchased the LSi's yet or have you considered some 8 ohm speakers? The LSi's would probably make you very happy, I just have no idea what the cost for powering them might be for you.
    Do you have some gears avail. to you there that we may not be familiar with here?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by apphd View Post
    I hear you, 4 ohm stable receivers come at a cost. What is your budget? Amps are usually pretty heavy, so don't forget shipping charges and tax if you are looking at something not avail. locally for you. Do you have anything in Sweden like Craigs List? Have you purchased the LSi's yet or have you considered some 8 ohm speakers? The LSi's would probably make you very happy, I just have no idea what the cost for powering them might be for you.
    Do you have some gears avail. to you there that we may not be familiar with here?
    My budget on pre/pro+amp is around $2000 but I'd love to come in below that. That's why I'm considering the Emotiva XPA-5 since it seems to be really good value even though I have to add tax and shipping ($799 + 25% tax + shipping).

    We have similar things to craigs list (there is even a Swedish subsection of craigs list :p) but the selection is rather poor.

    I have not purchased the LSi's yet, I did consider the RTiA9 but they didn't look as cool and demanded heaps of power. And I was under the impression the LSi's was the top range which is what I'm looking for ;)

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    From my understanding the LSi's take a lot more to power then the A9's, I have the A9's, and i am using the XPA-3 to power them. and by the way they look very cool :) , and sound fantastic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    My budget on pre/pro+amp is around $2000 but I'd love to come in below that. That's why I'm considering the Emotiva XPA-5 since it seems to be really good value even though I have to add tax and shipping ($799 + 25% tax + shipping).

    We have similar things to craigs list (there is even a Swedish subsection of craigs list :p) but the selection is rather poor.

    I have not purchased the LSi's yet, I did consider the RTiA9 but they didn't look as cool and demanded heaps of power. And I was under the impression the LSi's was the top range which is what I'm looking for ;)
    Got ya. Does Emo ship to Sweden? What is your input power in Sweden? Sorry for my ignorance of your country, I've been lucky to spend some time in other lands but unfortunately Sweden was not one.

    As TOOL said the LSi is at the top of the current Polk line up, they not only require lots of power but current as well. The RTi A9 while needing some pretty good power to sound their best, @ 8 ohms do not need the current of the LSi's and many possible AVR's can drive them sufficiently.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    Thx for the response dpowell. I'm doing a 5.1 setup.

    Also, the quote above wasn't entirely clear to me. Could you maybe try to explain it differently to a foreigner like me :)
    Sure! On the back of your AVR are the line level outputs for each speaker. These are the outputs on the the AVR that you run cables from to your power amplifer. In your case, you have Left and Right front speakers plus the center and rears.

    I have the same exact setup at the moment (AVR plus external 5 channel amp). For the center and rear speakers, I have the RCA interconnects going directly from the line level outputs on the AVR to the external amp.

    For the Left and Right main speakers (which have built-in subs and their own line-level inputs), I have a splitter or Y cable which I inserted to split the signal. One end of the Y plugs into the external 5 channel power amp and the other end of the Y runs to the line level input on the Left or Right speaker's subwoofer.

    Essentially what this does is avoid amplifying the signal twice, once at the power amp or AVR and another at the speaker's sub amp.

    I believe that there is a diagram in Polk's speaker manual for powered towers like the LSi's or RT3000's which might help you visualize this. The only thing is that I don't believe they show a setup with an external power amp where the Y cable is required.
    __________________________________________________ __________
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    Pioneer Elite SC-67, Sunfire Signature Cinema Grande 400, Oppo BDP-83[/SIZE]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    My budget on pre/pro+amp is around $2000 but I'd love to come in below that. That's why I'm considering the Emotiva XPA-5 since it seems to be really good value even though I have to add tax and shipping ($799 + 25% tax + shipping).
    If you're not worried about getting the new HD audio formats, you could probably pick up a nice used Outlaw 950 pre for around $250 and that includes some shipping (or get the 990 for a few hundred more). From what I've heard, both are fantastic sounding processors. Not sure what it would cost to ship it overseas. It is a 7.1 processor so you'd be ready for the next step up down the road.
    __________________________________________________ __________
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    Pioneer Elite SC-67, Sunfire Signature Cinema Grande 400, Oppo BDP-83[/SIZE]

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by apphd View Post
    Got ya. Does Emo ship to Sweden? What is your input power in Sweden? Sorry for my ignorance of your country, I've been lucky to spend some time in other lands but unfortunately Sweden was not one.
    Yes, Emo ships to Sweden. Our input is 230V and the Emos support it right out of the box fortunately :) I even found a guy on a Swedish forum who had ordered one and was happy with his purchase...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpowell View Post
    Sure! On the back of your AVR are the line level outputs for each speaker...
    Ok i got you this time!

    What confused me was that your talking about the LSi25 right? I was thinking of the 15 that doesn't have a built in amp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpowell View Post
    If you're not worried about getting the new HD audio formats, you could probably pick up a nice used Outlaw 950 pre for around $250 and that includes some shipping (or get the 990 for a few hundred more). From what I've heard, both are fantastic sounding processors. Not sure what it would cost to ship it overseas. It is a 7.1 processor so you'd be ready for the next step up down the road.
    Thanks for the tips, but I actually want the new HD formats since I've started my own little Blu-Ray collcetion :)

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    No worries. The direction you're headed makes sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    Ok i got you this time!

    What confused me was that your talking about the LSi25 right? I was thinking of the 15 that doesn't have a built in amp.
    I apologize. I've been misleading you this whole time. I thought for sure that both LSi's were powered towers but you are correct, the 15's are not. My bad.
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  22. #22

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    .....and that's the reason you're concerned about having enough power to drive them at 4Ohms.....and to answer one of your original questions, I don't believe you can bi-amp usng the pre-outs unless they run through the separate power amp first.
    Last edited by dpowell; 05-25-2009 at 01:05 PM.
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpowell View Post
    .....and that's the reason you're concerned about having enough power to drive them at 4Ohms.....and to answer one of your original questions, I don't believe you can bi-amp usng the pre-outs unless they run through the separate power amp first.
    Well that's a given since the preouts are unamplified.

    What has me wondering is that many receivers sport the ability to bi-amp with the back surround speaker outputs but none clarify if it's also possible, or impossible for that matter, to do it with the back surround preouts.

  24. #24

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    Couldn't tell you on that one. I've never heard of bi-amping using the back surround outputs.
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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    Well that's a given since the preouts are unamplified.

    What has me wondering is that many receivers sport the ability to bi-amp with the back surround speaker outputs but none clarify if it's also possible, or impossible for that matter, to do it with the back surround preouts.
    Can't tell you about the Sony's you are looking at, I use a Yamaha 663 and if the Bi-amp mode is selected the front sp. signal is also directed to the rear surround pre-outs, as well as the rear surround speaker terminals. I think this could vary greatly by manufacture and model so you should read over the manuals for the AVRs you are considering.

    Somebody with more experience should confirm this, (I've never been interested in bi-amping) or download a manual for the amp you are looking at it should be there. But I'm pretty sure you can use a Y splitter on your front L-R pre-outs to bi-amp your front speakers if you are using externals. i.e. split the front R signal and connect the two cables to 2 channels of the amp. The same for the L, so you are using 4 ch. of a multi ch amp, all ch. of 2 stereo amps, or 4 mono blocks what ever way you decide to go with your amp selection.

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    Thanks for your response apphd. I've had a thorough look at the manuals for the amps I'm referring to and they clearly state you can use the rear surround speaker terminals but doesn't clearly state that you can or can not do the same with the preouts.

    The Yamaha being able to do just this makes it likelier that the Sony can too. But of course I'll have to check it out. I'm leaning towards not bi-amping anyways but it would be cool to have the possibility of doing it in the future.

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    Zeatrix, I have a Yamaha rx-v665 receiver I'm using as a preamp for an Emotiva XPA-5 powering LSI-15 fronts, LSIC center and LSIF/X rears.

    This is a similar setup to what your thinking about. I haven't tried BI-amping the LSI-15's yet but The difference between powering the speakers with the receiver or the amplifier is night and day. The LSI's came alive with the Emotiva, with an increase in bass, a significant widening of the sounstage and vocals that are powerfull and clean.

    IMHO I would let the Emotiva power all the speakers and not power the LSIF/x's from the receiver since the FX's need alot of power to reach thier full potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeatrix View Post
    Thanks for your response apphd. I've had a thorough look at the manuals for the amps I'm referring to and they clearly state you can use the rear surround speaker terminals but doesn't clearly state that you can or can not do the same with the preouts.

    The Yamaha being able to do just this makes it likelier that the Sony can too. But of course I'll have to check it out. I'm leaning towards not bi-amping anyways but it would be cool to have the possibility of doing it in the future.
    I think this is saying "yes" to your question. From the STR-DA3400ES manual:
    2nd from the last in the "NOTES" section....."Signals output from the PRE OUT jacks are......

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    Quote Originally Posted by apphd View Post
    I think this is saying "yes" to your question. From the STR-DA3400ES manual:
    2nd from the last in the "NOTES" section....."Signals output from the PRE OUT jacks are......

    Attachment 40524
    Thanks apphd. I had actually read that note (but in the Swedish manual) and I thought it was kind of none saying but if you feel that is a definite yes to my question I'm willing to trust you :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmydep View Post
    Zeatrix, I have a Yamaha rx-v665 receiver I'm using as a preamp for an Emotiva XPA-5 powering LSI-15 fronts, LSIC center and LSIF/X rears.

    This is a similar setup to what your thinking about. I haven't tried BI-amping the LSI-15's yet but The difference between powering the speakers with the receiver or the amplifier is night and day. The LSI's came alive with the Emotiva, with an increase in bass, a significant widening of the sounstage and vocals that are powerfull and clean.

    IMHO I would let the Emotiva power all the speakers and not power the LSIF/x's from the receiver since the FX's need alot of power to reach thier full potential.
    Cheers Jimmy, exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

    Unfortunately I might have to pass on the FX's since my fiancÚ thought they were too big for our living room. I'll continue the negotiations but I might have to settle for the RTiA4 since they're smaller. Not perfect but you can't get everything you want in life :p

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