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    Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

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    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:56 pm

    I am in the process of building my first tube amp, the ST-120 by Bob, and am trying to figure out how I am going to set it up once complete.

    I just moved to a new apt in NYC with a living room (22x13ft) and a 2nd br/den (13x12ft) where I intend to play music. The living room has our main television, which I intend to hook up to my Onkyo amp, into which I will connect my DVD player, BoxeeBox, Cable Box, Computer, etc. Then the Onkyo will be hooked up to front right and left, back right and left, and center single Orb speakers and the Orb subwoofer in the living room.

    In addition, I have 2 Orb speakers in the den that will be hooked into the Onkyo on the 2nd channel so when playing music it can be to both rooms. The rear 2 speakers in the living room and the 2 speakers in the den are all wired through the plaster walls so no re-wiring is possible on those.

    Now I am building the ST-120 and about to purchase a new turntable, likely either Rega RP1 or Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (suggestions?), and need to figure out how I am going to integrate this into the setup. Was thinking of hooking the front R and front L as well as rear R and rear L speakers into some sort of amp switch which I could switch between the Onkyo and Dynaco when playing music (Dynaco) and TV (Onkyo), however then I would lose 5.1 surround with the Onkyo.

    Any suggestions for the hookup would be truly appreciated!

    -DrZ

    corndog71

    Posts : 454
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:42 pm

    Not sure if this will work out the way you want it to.  What model Onkyo do you have?

    What might be better is if you dedicate the den equipment to the den.  Power the 2 speakers in the den with the ST120.  If you plan on having the turntable in the den then you will need a phono preamp to connect to your ST120.  I hope you got the attenuator upgrade or else you will need a full preamp with volume controls.  Roy sell nice Preamps with built in phono stages.

    Looking at Orb speakers it seems you won't have much bass in the den unless you have a subwoofer in there.

    Lots to think about.  Not a lot of choices without compromising somewhere.


    Last edited by corndog71 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:01 am; edited 1 time in total

    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:39 pm

    corndog71 wrote:Not sure if this will work out the way you want it to.  What model Onkyo do you have?

    What might be better is if you dedicate the den equipment to the den.  Power the 2 speakers in the den with the ST120.  If you plan on having the turntable in the den then you will need a phono preamp to connect to your ST120.  I hope you got the attenuator upgrade or else you will need a full preamp with volume controls.  Roy sell nice Preamps with built in phono stages.

    If you want to play anything from the living room to the den then you will need to switch the speaker connections from the ST120 to the wall connections(Onkyo).  You can get a speaker switchbox that could do this at the push of a button.  Looking at Orb speakers it seems you won't have much bass in the den unless you have a subwoofer in there.

    Lots to think about.  Not a lot of choices without compromising somewhere.

    Detailed response is much appreciated Corn! Not a bad idea. The 2 speakers in the den are routed to the Living Room wall unit so I could put the turntable there and then just listen in the den and have a switcher for when I want to pump music to both rooms for a party, etc. I do have a basic pre-amp which, if I enjoy this build and like the system, will upgrade to one by Roy. Also I do have the attenuator kit for the St-120.

    As far as the bass, a subwoofer can't be connected to the ST-120, so do you mean the speakers in general? Also, would it help to have two double Orbs instead of two singles in the den?

    Any suggestions for the switcher?

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1313
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by sKiZo on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:23 pm

    The compromise part comes to mind.

    Twere me, I'd just set them up as separate systems. In a true dedicated audio room, you can concentrate on tweaking the environment to a point you wouldn't necessarily go in a home theater.

    What I've done here is basically that ... I have the audio room and the home theater setup for video. I can play music on the home theater, but it's just way better on a dedicated system. I did compromise and ran an interconnect between the multi channel audio amp in the home theater to a tape loop on the audio system so I can add that room to the mix.

    In any case, it makes sense to tune a specific system to a specific usage. Sure, I can do video on the audio system courtesy of the 24" monitor on the HTPC music server, and I can do audio on the 7.1 A/V receiver in the video room, but just as video and THX surround is much more dramatic on a big screen, pure music audio is loads more dynamic and compelling in a room dedicated to stereo sound.

    corndog71

    Posts : 454
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    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:27 pm

    What I mean is that you may want to keep the rooms separate for the best performance in the den.  You can then add a powered sub to the den via a dedicated preamp.  Otherwise whichever Orb speaker you use will only be limited down to 110Hz.  Another option to consider is get better speakers for your den and leave the orbs in the living room.

    Not sure how else you would integrate the ST120 unless your Onkyo has 2nd room preamp outputs.  But that means running interconnects to the den which would bypass the in wall speaker cables.

    There may be options involving networking and more technical details that could accomplish this better but the whole point of using a tube amp is to simplfy the signal path.

    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:40 pm

    sKiZo wrote:The compromise part comes to mind.

    Twere me, I'd just set them up as separate systems. In a true dedicated audio room, you can concentrate on tweaking the environment to a point you wouldn't necessarily go in a home theater.

    What I've done here is basically that ... I have the audio room and the home theater setup for video. I can play music on the home theater, but it's just way better on a dedicated system. I did compromise and ran an interconnect between the multi channel audio amp in the home theater to a tape loop on the audio system so I can add that room to the mix.

    In any case, it makes sense to tune a specific system to a specific usage. Sure, I can do video on the audio system courtesy of the 24" monitor on the HTPC music server, and I can do audio on the 7.1 A/V receiver in the video room, but just as video and THX surround is much more dramatic on a big screen, pure music audio is loads more dynamic and compelling in a room dedicated to stereo sound.

    Thanks for the reply sKiZo. Unfortunately as a poor NYer living in an apt, I can't really dedicate a room to the system (hopefully one day in a house I can!). Was thinking as Corn suggested of maybe hooking up the 2 Orbs in the den to the St-120 through an amp switcher so I can also play general music through them when I have a party or something. This shouldn't be too much of a compromise as it basically is how I would hook up the system now but with the switcher in the middle.

    I just hope the Orbs can perform. In the future I can always upgrade speakers and pre-amp as needed once I get more into the game...

    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:42 pm

    corndog71 wrote:What I mean is that you may want to keep the rooms separate for the best performance in the den.  You can then add a powered sub to the den via a dedicated preamp.  Otherwise whichever Orb speaker you use will only be limited down to 110Hz.  Another option to consider is get better speakers for your den and leave the orbs in the living room.

    Not sure how else you would integrate the ST120 unless your Onkyo has 2nd room preamp outputs.  But that means running interconnects to the den which would bypass the in wall speaker cables.

    There may be options involving networking and more technical details that could accomplish this better but the whole point of using a tube amp is to simplfy the signal path.

    Def want to keep it simple as this is my first delve into hi-fi and tubes and don't want to sell the farm too soon! Eventually if I am into it I could definitely upgrade the speakers in the den and move the extra Orbs into the living room. But don't want to spend the extra $$ yet!

    corndog71

    Posts : 454
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by corndog71 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:48 am

    DrZ123 wrote:
    Def want to keep it simple as this is my first delve into hi-fi and tubes and don't want to sell the farm too soon!  Eventually if I am into it I could definitely upgrade the speakers in the den and move the extra Orbs into the living room.  But don't want to spend the extra $$ yet!

    You shouldn't need a lot of money. There are relatively inexpensive bookshelf speakers out there for just a few hundred bucks that will easily outperform the orbs AND have better bass. Think PSB, NHT, Paradigm, Polk, etc. You can always add a full preamp and sub later.

    The ST120 is just an amp. The added volume control helps. All you need is a source and speakers. Simple stereo. It's gonna sound amazing.


    sKiZo

    Posts : 1313
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by sKiZo on Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:29 am

    Keep an eye on the local Craig's List too ... you can find some amazing deals on there sometimes ...

    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:22 am

    The Orbs actually have pretty nice sounds considering their tiny size! Agreed that some better speakers are a good idea, and those are in the future, but not yet! I haven even built the thing yet!

    peterh

    Posts : 681
    Join date : 2012-12-25
    Location : gothenburg, sweden

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by peterh on Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:15 am

    DrZ123 wrote:

    Detailed response is much appreciated Corn!  Not a bad idea.  The 2 speakers in the den are routed to the Living Room wall unit so I could put the turntable there and then just listen in the den and have a switcher for when I want to pump music to both rooms for a party, etc.  I do have a basic pre-amp which, if I enjoy this build and like the system, will upgrade to one by Roy.  Also I do have the attenuator kit for the St-120.

    As far as the bass, a subwoofer can't be connected to the ST-120, so do you mean the speakers in general?  Also, would it help to have two double Orbs instead of two singles in the den?  

    Any suggestions for the switcher?
    Yes. Tube amps does not like to be unloaded, not even for a fraction of a second.
    There is a good solution, install a 150ohm 5w resistor on the 8Ohm taps ( before any speaker switches), this way the amp will always have some loading, enough to keep voltages to a safe level, but the resistor is large enough that you don't loose any power.

    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:06 pm

    peterh wrote:
    DrZ123 wrote:

    Detailed response is much appreciated Corn!  Not a bad idea.  The 2 speakers in the den are routed to the Living Room wall unit so I could put the turntable there and then just listen in the den and have a switcher for when I want to pump music to both rooms for a party, etc.  I do have a basic pre-amp which, if I enjoy this build and like the system, will upgrade to one by Roy.  Also I do have the attenuator kit for the St-120.

    As far as the bass, a subwoofer can't be connected to the ST-120, so do you mean the speakers in general?  Also, would it help to have two double Orbs instead of two singles in the den?  

    Any suggestions for the switcher?
    Yes. Tube amps does not like to be unloaded, not even for a fraction of a second.
    There is a good solution, install a 150ohm 5w resistor on the 8Ohm taps ( before any speaker switches), this way the amp will always have some loading, enough to keep voltages to a safe level, but the resistor is large enough that you don't loose any power.

    What I would most likely do, since I would use the 2 systems completely separately is turn of the amp, then switch the speakers to the other amp (Onkyo), and only turn the Dynaco back on once the speakers are switched back to it.

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1313
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by sKiZo on Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:55 pm

    Just to regurgitate, and leave absolutely no uncertainty ...

    It is NEVER safe to hot switch speakers on a tube amp. For that matter, a majority of SS amps will object strenuously to the practice.

    So ... don't ... just don't!

    If you don't mind spending a few bucks, I've got a Niles DPS-1 ... and even that doesn't allow hot switching.



    DrZ123

    Posts : 29
    Join date : 2014-01-03

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by DrZ123 on Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:14 am

    So my onkyo amp as mentioned has a "zone 2 line out" rca connection.

    Could I hook up turntable --> pre-amp-->Onkyo-->Dynaco (via zone 2 out) --> den orbs?

    peterh

    Posts : 681
    Join date : 2012-12-25
    Location : gothenburg, sweden

    Re: Speaker/Theater Set-Up Question

    Post by peterh on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:51 am

    DrZ123 wrote:So my onkyo amp as mentioned has a "zone 2 line out" rca connection.

    Could I hook up turntable --> pre-amp-->Onkyo-->Dynaco (via zone 2 out) --> den orbs?
    Yes.
    It might not be optimal but you won't damage anything.

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