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Help buying Amp and Speaker and Wiring Options

by bp007 / March 21, 2007 11:07 AM PDT

I want to purchase an amp mainly for the stereo option of playing music

I want to run 6 speakers - 4 Indoor and 2 Outdoor on the 1 amp.

I dont want to spend too much on a multizone amp and I dont want to buy 3 pairs of speakers.

Is it better for me to buy a Surround AMP such as 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 amp and then break up a surround speaker set. If I do this can I wire the 4 Indoor Speakers on Output A of the Amp and the remaining 2 Outdoor Speakers on Output B of the AMP to play the same music in stereo mode ?

Or is it better for me to get a purely stereo amp ?

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by ..ben / March 22, 2007 4:52 AM PDT

Sorry, I'm a little confused how you run 6 speakers without buying 3 pairs of speakers, but I'll try to address the rest...

Unless you have direct line of sight of the audio components, you'll probably need to purchase 2 IR relays/repeaters so that you can control your gear from any of the three listening areas. I'm not sure how much those would cost. Or an RF-capable universal remote which (hopefully) would include a converter that you place near the gear.

Then you'll need a 7.1 receiver ($200 min) which will run on "7-channel Stereo" mode. Using the front, surround, and back surround channels should provide you 3 sets of 2-channel audio; the center channel usually mixes both L and R together, which is why a 6.1 receiver won't work for this application. Since you want all the speakers playing the same source, you don't need a multi-zone receiver.

Then you'll need speaker wire, possibly a couple hundred feet depending on where the speakers are going. Luckily, this is the cheapest part of your project. Go to http://www.monoprice.com for top-notch stuff at dirt cheap prices. The site looks shady, but they are highly reputable. Because of the long distances, you'll need 12-gauge (thick) speaker wire. 200 feet will cost about $55.

Then, you'll need speakers. Do you have speakers already? Need suggestions? Are you looking for boxes that make noise, or are you looking for knock-your-socks-off sound? If the latter, expect to add at least $100 per speaker for the indoor, more for outdoor. But this may be more speaker than you're looking for...

Hope this helps a bit.

Best,
Ben

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6 Speakers and Amp in Stereo Mode
by bp007 / March 22, 2007 1:24 PM PDT
In reply to: --

Ben

I am thinking of buying a surround speaker set and breaking it up into 4 speakers for indoor and also buying 2 separate outdoor speakers.

In terms of your answer for the AMP rather than me buy a 7.1 amp can I buy a 5.1 AMP with an Output A and an Output B.

On the A output which makes up the 5.1 Channel Can I run
4 speakers - 2 Speakers on Front Left and Right,
- 2 Speakers on Surround Left and Right

And on the B output which is a separate channel Can I run
2 Speakers on Front Left and Right.

Please let me know if the wiring above will work on the amp for music from CD/DVD player with the amp in stereo mode ?

Brian

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by ..ben / March 23, 2007 12:43 AM PDT

Hey Brian,

This is a long post, so get comfy. Happy


Regarding the indoor speakers, consider the following:

$400 divided into 5 or 6 satellites plus a subwoofer
------- versus --------
$400 divided into 4 speakers

Even under the very best conditions, say... the sub does not contribute to the total cost (which is ridiculous), there is no possible way that the quality per speaker is comparable, because there are more speakers in the "package". Now, back in the REAL world, no one gives anything away for free, particularly electronics retailers. So even if you found a package for $400, there is no way that it's going to sound better than 4 entry-level speakers from a high-end manufacturer, even if the package were made by that same high-end company. There's just no way, it doesn't make sense from a business standpoint. Some of my colleagues here I'm sure are waiting for me to drop the P-word (Paradigm), but I'm not going to. Yet. Because what I'm driving at goes beyond "my X is better than your Y". It's about stretching your dollar as far as it'll frickin' go. And whether you want to spend $500 or $5000 on audio gear, we all have asked the question "what's the best stuff to get that I can afford?". We've all been there. And we all ended up buying different stuff.

So what's my point? My point is that I wish someone had told me a LONG time ago that good speakers aren't cheap, but they will last years, even decades. Because the amount of money it would have saved me in the long run could have paid for speakers that I can only dream about now. Some people will say it's insane to spend $1000 on a pair of speakers. Others will say "no, $3000 is insane". Others will say "no, $6000". And some people just want noise to come out of a box and are happy with those speakers that they picked on sale at Best Buy. I'm telling you that for under $500 (I think), you can get yourself FOUR speakers that you'll NEVER regret buying. Well, probably. I used to be in the business of making promises to people....didn't work out very well.... Happy

So, anyway, yes, you've wondered into a forum full of speaker snobs. Well, this covers most of the people who feel comfortable giving others advice. But none of us are rich! And the odd thing is, that whether we spent $1000 or $10000 on our respective "home theaters", we all seem to be able to agree on what sounds good for a given price. So, can I recommend to you that getting a home-theater-in-a-box and splitting it up as you described? I'm sorry, I can't; you're paying for things you won't use, the satellites in the room without the subwoofer will sound like crap because under the best conditions they are DESIGNED to work with the sub, and because dollar for dollar there is a very short list of speaker manufacturers that I consider to be high-value in terms of raw performance/price, and the speakers that come in the HTiBs at Best Buy don't make the cut. But I can only speak for myself.


*deep breath*

So, enough about speakers. I'm sorry if I've totally turned you off.

Regarding the receiver, IF you had an amp fit your description, then it is possible. I'd need a model number to tell you for sure, though. Some entry-level receivers may have a setup as you've described but may not be designed to drive all 7 channels at the same time (it may be restricted to safely driving 2 channels in Zone A and 2 in Zone B). It depends on the receiver though. With a 7.1 receiver, you wouldn't have to worry about this because it's designed to handle driving all 7 channels all the time. And the one I'm thinking about (Onkyo TX-SR504) is like $220. Delivered. I'd be very skeptical of any receiver claiming to drive 7 channels for much less. If you have one in mind, I can certainly tell you if it'll work, though.

Anyway, that's my advice. Maybe it sucks. Let me know what you think.

Best,
Ben

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TOO EXHAUSTED TO TELL YOU WHAT I THINK......................
by Riverledge / March 23, 2007 12:08 PM PDT
In reply to: --

river032307.

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Amplifier and Speakers
by bp007 / March 25, 2007 10:14 AM PDT
In reply to: --

Ben,

Thanks for the long reply I appreciate it. In terms of budget and costs etc I am planning to spend most of the money for the Home Theatre room and hence saving on low end stuff for the outer rooms just for music.

Futhermore the Surround Speaker Sets I have looked at all come with a Subwoofer so this wont be a problem when I break the speakers up for the music.

The only question I have left is whether or not the AMP in FULL Stereo Mode (6 Channel or 7 Channel Stereo)will play all 4 Indoor speakers on the A output and the 2 outdoor speakers on the B output. Some models that shops are telling me will do this are the
Pioneer USX816. Please let me know if this is possible on this AMP ?

Brian

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by ..ben / March 25, 2007 12:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Amplifier and Speakers

Yes, the Pioneer VSX-816 will work as desired in 7-channel stereo, driving 3 pairs of speakers. Considering this application, you could get away with the VSX-516 as well. It appears that it can be delivered in the $150-170 range. May be worth checking out.

My concern about splitting up the HTiB is that the sub may only be able to serve in one of the two indoor areas, thus leaving the other area (the one with only the satellites) sounding bass-less. That's not to say that it will or won't; it's just a concern, since I don't have any idea of the listening areas relate to each other. However, unless the areas are adjacent and open to each other, this concern could become reality. If you can go to the store and ask a salesman to unplug the sub, it might be worthwhile to hear the satellites on their own before you take the plunge.

Good luck!

Best,
Ben

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Amp and Speakers
by bp007 / March 25, 2007 12:39 PM PDT
In reply to: --

Ben thanks for your reply.

Going to get the store to hook up the 6 speakers to the Pioneer 816 Amp and actually listen to see if this works before I take the plunge !!

Do I need 7 channel-stereo for the 6 speakers or will 5 or 6 channel be enough ?

Brian

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by ..ben / March 25, 2007 11:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Amp and Speakers

The Pioneers allow the Back Surround channels to be used as:
- Back Surround channels in a 7.1 config (duh) Happy
- L and R channels in a Zone B config
- Bi-ampliflication of the L and R channels in a 5.1 config

I wish my receiver did this. Happy

If all the speakers are set to run in a 7.1 config, then you'll need 7-channel stereo; remember that the center channel mixes the L and R channels together, and thus can't be used if you want to have stereo separation. If the Back Surround channels are set to work as Zone B, it ought to do the same thing (provided that Zone B plays the same source as Zone A). The Pioneer web site wouldn't let me download the 516's manual without creating an account, so I didn't actually look at it. However, according to the specs, it'll work. If it's fancy and allows Zone B to play a different source, just tell it to play the SAME source.

Short version: it'll work.

Happy shopping!

Best,
Ben

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WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS SO COMPLEX MY GOD INSANE
by stewart norrie / March 26, 2007 4:13 AM PDT
In reply to: --

Its sooooooo simple . SET UP YOUR SWEET 5.1. audio system. Then buy a used 2 channel amp and some outdoor speakers. I cant believe why you want to make this project so complex steweee

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MORE ON YOUR COMPLEX SET UP
by stewart norrie / March 26, 2007 6:13 AM PDT

Another thing to consider, WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR POOL PARTY. and the music blasting outside what happens when someone wants to injoy your home theater I like simple computor in the bedroom where it belongs, stereo sound for inside and outside and home theater for home theater use WHY DO YOU WANT SUCH A HORRIBLE COMPLEX SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE? steweeee

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Complex Set Up
by bp007 / March 26, 2007 12:15 PM PDT

Stew,

It might sound a complex set up for you but its quite practical and simple for me to separate my Stereo Sound for music and parties in one area of the house from the Home Theatre which has a dedicated Room and will have dedicated Surround Sound Equipment.

In relation to your pool party we have severe water restrictions in Australia and there wont be a pool to begin with.

Simply put i am setting up one area for purely to listen to music and the other area independenlty for Movies etc.....

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by ..ben / March 28, 2007 1:07 AM PDT

Stew, I believe he wants 3 pairs of speakers (each with 2-channel audio) in addition to his home theater setup...

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