• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

Help choosing an amplifier for PC to passive floor speakers

Wharfedale Diamond 11.1 & 11.2 Speakers

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
Greetings! I want to buy a pair of passive floor-standing speakers (currently hesitating between Pioneer SP-FS52, Yamaha NS-50 and Wharfedale Atlantic AT-400). I need an amplifier for them, but I am confused about a few things:

1) Important: I read here that continuous and program (same as RMS) power level are two different things and that continuous < program. I also read that I should run the speakers at a level that's in between those two (so definitely below program or RMS). I'm confused... everywhere else I've read, they say continuous and program are the same (and I should have an amp that can give more than that). when reading specs about passive speakers they all say "recommended amp. power, e.g. 20-150W", so is 150W the maximum program or continuous power? should I use an amplifier that's around 180-200W for these to avoid clipping or around 100-120W to avoid burning the speakers?

2) Apart from power (and impedance) is there anything else I need to consider? I read somewhere that with passive speakers the "phase matching" may affect sound quality or dynamics, but I'm not sure what this refers to.

3) I also read that some speakers lack a crossover, so would need a different amplifier input for each driver, so I would need an amplifier that is bi- or tri-amp. How can I tell from the specs of the speakers--some of the ones I looked at list crossover frequencies, so these definitely need a single input, but what about speakers that don't list anything related to crossover?

4) Important: If I later want to add a passive subwoofer (and I have a stereo amplifier), can I do that? Just to check if I understand the connections correctly: can I in principle connect both speakers in parallel on the same channel (adjusting the "volume" so they don't get too much power) and connect the subwoofer to the other channel? That would of course mean I lose one of the channels and would need to mix any content to mono on my OS before sending it out to the amp.

Finally, I really do not want to (cannot) spend a lot of money on the amplifier as well, so could I get a few suggestions on amps that will work reliably but are cheap (on the AU eBay)? Note, I am connecting a PC sound card to the amp, so (if my understanding is correct), I don't need a DAC/pre-amp or an integrated amplifier, just a simple power amplifier, correct?

P.S. And, umh..., a dumb question but (I've never used an amplifier, so) I'm guessing I adjust the power sent to the speakers (and thus the volume level) from the amplifier (possibly with a remote), correct? Will the amplifier display the power output in Watts, so I know if it's safe (and don't have to rely on my judging, I don't know how overpowered speakers sound)? Also, is it better to keep the amp at a set power and adjust the audio from the OS (the sound card output I'll be using is analog, I guess not many amps out there with an optical input), or vice versa?
 

efernand1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
5,359
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
Hi

The key is to audition and decide which speakers you want to own....based on their specs..in terms or power ratings in RMS and impedance, select an appropriate stereo amplifier....there are a few high end stereo amplifiers where you can add a sub (powered one) later....

Adding a passive sub to one channel (either left or right) will not do any justice...since the speakers are towers...there may not be a requirement to add a sub. Most towers are able to deliver low bass frequencies upto 40hz which is decent bass....if you are into movies then obviously you need to add a good sub which can go as low as 24hz.....

Rather than going for a stereo amp, why not go for an AVR which will allow you to connect all your digital sources (HDMI / Optical) easily? You can use the AVR in stereo mode and later if required ad a powered sub which can run more lower bass frequencies than the tower speakers you select....

You can refer to audioholics website for detailed info about subs, stereo amps, AVRs etc...

Listen, review and decide....obviously if you are a bit low on budget, you can look at pre owned stuff being sold online over ebay etc.
 

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
Hi
there are a few high end stereo amplifiers where you can add a sub (powered one) later....

Hi and thanks for replying! I did have quite a lot of read since I posted and things are a bit clearer (especially on the bi- and tri--amping part as opposed to bi- tri-wiring, and passive vs active crossovers). I still don't understand how I could add a sub to a stereo amplifier, you say some amps support this (do they have a third channel for this? ) I think I will not be adding a sub though, since even though I am into movies, the bass that the towers provide will be enough for me (I'm not a bass freak and I also don't live by myself, so I will rarely have opportunities to play loud bass). So for now I need the cheapest stereo amplifier that can give at least 150W continuous. The problem is, I couldn't find any below $200 (I didn't look above that price). I am trying to gather a list of specific brands+models that I could search for second-hand, but I haven't been very successful. Can you suggest a strategy for digging this information? Maybe a list of brands I could go through looking for models that will work for me?
 

devilwearsprada

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
283
Points
43
Location
Rock Am Ring '09
Hi and thanks for replying! I did have quite a lot of read since I posted and things are a bit clearer (especially on the bi- and tri--amping part as opposed to bi- tri-wiring, and passive vs active crossovers). I still don't understand how I could add a sub to a stereo amplifier, you say some amps support this (do they have a third channel for this? ) I think I will not be adding a sub though, since even though I am into movies, the bass that the towers provide will be enough for me (I'm not a bass freak and I also don't live by myself, so I will rarely have opportunities to play loud bass). So for now I need the cheapest stereo amplifier that can give at least 150W continuous. The problem is, I couldn't find any below $200 (I didn't look above that price). I am trying to gather a list of specific brands+models that I could search for second-hand, but I haven't been very successful. Can you suggest a strategy for digging this information? Maybe a list of brands I could go through looking for models that will work for me?

Hi, I was in the same boat a couple of months back.
It all matters on the room size eventually. For a smaller room you won't be looking at anything above 40-50 watts, you can pretty much go for a 40-50w preowned Marantz? Maybe.
It will give you the kick and the good sound.
 

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
Hi, I was in the same boat a couple of months back.
It all matters on the room size eventually. For a smaller room you won't be looking at anything above 40-50 watts, you can pretty much go for a 40-50w preowned Marantz? Maybe.
It will give you the kick and the good sound.

Hi, the room is large ( 5m x 8m ), this is the reason I went for floorstanding speakers. But I didn't want to risk buying a 100W amp for 150W speakers, since even if I don't plan to turn it up, I thought it's safer to overdrive speakers than overdrive the amp (and start clipping). So I decided to go with the Yamaha NS-50, which are rated for 80W RMS or 240W peak, and I was very lucky to come across a used Marantz SR7400 (7.1 receiver), which can give 105W RMS. Such a receiver is an overkill, but I got a great deal on it, so... I should have all the gear by next week, so I can test it.
 

afj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2008
Messages
2,107
Points
83
Location
hyderabad
Greetings! I want to buy a pair of passive floor-standing speakers (currently hesitating between Pioneer SP-FS52, Yamaha NS-50 and Wharfedale Atlantic AT-400). I need an amplifier for them, but I am confused about a few things:

1) Important: I read here that continuous and program (same as RMS) power level are two different things and that continuous < program. I also read that I should run the speakers at a level that's in between those two (so definitely below program or RMS). I'm confused... everywhere else I've read, they say continuous and program are the same (and I should have an amp that can give more than that). when reading specs about passive speakers they all say "recommended amp. power, e.g. 20-150W", so is 150W the maximum program or continuous power? should I use an amplifier that's around 180-200W for these to avoid clipping or around 100-120W to avoid burning the speakers?

2) Apart from power (and impedance) is there anything else I need to consider? I read somewhere that with passive speakers the "phase matching" may affect sound quality or dynamics, but I'm not sure what this refers to.

3) I also read that some speakers lack a crossover, so would need a different amplifier input for each driver, so I would need an amplifier that is bi- or tri-amp. How can I tell from the specs of the speakers--some of the ones I looked at list crossover frequencies, so these definitely need a single input, but what about speakers that don't list anything related to crossover?

4) Important: If I later want to add a passive subwoofer (and I have a stereo amplifier), can I do that? Just to check if I understand the connections correctly: can I in principle connect both speakers in parallel on the same channel (adjusting the "volume" so they don't get too much power) and connect the subwoofer to the other channel? That would of course mean I lose one of the channels and would need to mix any content to mono on my OS before sending it out to the amp.

Finally, I really do not want to (cannot) spend a lot of money on the amplifier as well, so could I get a few suggestions on amps that will work reliably but are cheap (on the AU eBay)? Note, I am connecting a PC sound card to the amp, so (if my understanding is correct), I don't need a DAC/pre-amp or an integrated amplifier, just a simple power amplifier, correct?

P.S. And, umh..., a dumb question but (I've never used an amplifier, so) I'm guessing I adjust the power sent to the speakers (and thus the volume level) from the amplifier (possibly with a remote), correct? Will the amplifier display the power output in Watts, so I know if it's safe (and don't have to rely on my judging, I don't know how overpowered speakers sound)? Also, is it better to keep the amp at a set power and adjust the audio from the OS (the sound card output I'll be using is analog, I guess not many amps out there with an optical input), or vice versa?

as for the power of the amp - if youre going purely by specs, i normally would go with a more powerful amp, than a less powerful one. so if speaker says 50-150 watts continuous (the key word being continuous and not maximum), i would go with around 150w because once the amp starts reaching above 80% of its power, it loses control and results in slight sound distortion. in saying that im not sure about the specs of your speakers, but 150w is a lot of power. depending on your room size, i doubt you'll be playing anything close to max power. even a 100w amp will be really good.

thats about the specs. but dont go only by specs. specs is only a starting point. its also about the sound quality of the amp, and its ability to pair well with speakers. its always best to audition. amps that you can check are norge and yamaha (esp for the wharfedales). if youre going with pioneer or yamaha speakers, then you can go with the same brand of recommended amp to ensure synergy

speakers come with their own crossover inbuilt.

most stereo amps will not come with a amp section for a sub. if you really feel the need to add a sub, get a powered sub. though i doubt you will require one for floorstanders. and also make sure the stereo amp is a 2.1 channel - the .1 indicates that it gives a signal out for the sub, but doesnt power it

if you have a good sound card on your pc then you do not need a dac. its pretty much one and the same. in all probability you will need an integrated amp (which is a pre amp + power amp all in one)

again, do not make the mistake of going purely by specs. theres a WHOLE lot of difference between a good amp and a bad amp at the same specs
 

krell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
455
Points
63
Location
india
do not make the mistake of going purely by specs. theres a WHOLE lot of difference between a good amp and a bad amp at the same specs
well said.
 

devilwearsprada

Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
283
Points
43
Location
Rock Am Ring '09
Hi, the room is large ( 5m x 8m ), this is the reason I went for floorstanding speakers. But I didn't want to risk buying a 100W amp for 150W speakers, since even if I don't plan to turn it up, I thought it's safer to overdrive speakers than overdrive the amp (and start clipping). So I decided to go with the Yamaha NS-50, which are rated for 80W RMS or 240W peak, and I was very lucky to come across a used Marantz SR7400 (7.1 receiver), which can give 105W RMS. Such a receiver is an overkill, but I got a great deal on it, so... I should have all the gear by next week, so I can test it.

The SR7400 is no way a good amp for music from PC to FS.
Go for a stereo amp. Also if you play the amp at full, it won't clip because it would still give out lower than the rated for speakers.
The speakers have higher chance of blowing up.
 

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
The SR7400 is no way a good amp for music from PC to FS.
Go for a stereo amp. Also if you play the amp at full, it won't clip because it would still give out lower than the rated for speakers.
The speakers have higher chance of blowing up.

Well I already bought it, there was not much choice when it came to fully working cheap second hand amps on eBay. And as for the other users' suggestions to audition the speakers--I could not find a local store that had them, so that was not a possibility either.
In any case, I just hooked them up and started playing. I can't judge the sound yet due to 1) break-in period is not over and b) there is pouring rain that is louder than I'm willing to play music at the moment :lol:

EDIT: I've been playing music at a moderate level for half an hour now and the receiver just switched itself off for a second or two before turning on again! I checked if it's hot and it is warm on top, but I wouldn't say hot! What could be happening... The speakers are 6 ohms, 80W RMS, the receiver is rated for 105W RMS into 8 ohms or 130W RMS into 6 ohms...
 
Last edited:

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
Ok, this is terrible... The only thing I have connected to the receiver are the two RCA inputs and the two speakers. The speakers are rated for 80W at 6 ohms and the amplifier can handle 130W into 6 ohms. I haven't tried playing music and having the amp on without the speakers connected, because I don't know if it's bad for the amp---should I try? But having it on, connected to the PC, but not playing does not seem to cause a problem. It's only when I start playing music that it swicthes off---sometimes after a minute, sometimes after 20 minutes. Things I've checked:
- The volume is very low;
- There are no damaged wires;
- There are no loose wire ends touching the chasis or each other that can cause a short circuit; I reconnected them once more to make sure;
- The receiver feels warm but not hot, I'd think it's a normal temperature;
- The receiver is sitting on a table well away from any walls;
On Wednesday I can also test it with a pair of headphones but I'm not overly optimistic.

EDIT: Nope... the speakers were disconnected from the receiver, so only the PC was connected, no music playing, and it just rebooted itself again... Now I will disconnect the PC as well and try the bare amplifier running on its own.

EDIT 2: Yup, just did it a minute after turning it on. Will have to return it and the search for an amplifier continues.
 
Last edited:

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
I need some advice: I can get

NAD T760, used, for $200
or Yamaha A-S201, new with warranty, for $400
or Yamaha AX1050, used, for $250

How do these two compare, especially for my speakers? Obviously NAD is better, but is it worth the risk of buying a used one, or will the Yamaha do just fine? What about sound quality/clarity? Here are the specs:

NAD T760:
power/ch (RMS): stereo mode: 110 W @ 8 ohms, 160 W @ 4 ohms
surround mode: 60W @ 8 ohms
power/ch (dynamic): ?
freq response: 5 Hz--20 kHz
SNR: 66 dB
THD: 0.08%

Yamaha A-S201:
power/ch (RMS): 100 W @ 8 ohms
power/ch (dynamic): 125 W @ 8 ohms, 150 W @ 6 ohms
freq response: 10 Hz--100 kHz
SNR: 100 dB
THD: 0.2%

Yamaha AX-1050:
power/ch (RMS): 145 W @ 8 ohms
power/ch (dynamic): ?
freq response: 20 Hz--20 kHz
SNR: > 75 dB
THD: 0.01%
 
Last edited:

afj

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2008
Messages
2,107
Points
83
Location
hyderabad
I need some advice: I can get

NAD T760, used, for $200
or Yamaha A-S201, new with warranty, for $400
or Yamaha AX1050, used, for $250

How do these two compare, especially for my speakers? Obviously NAD is better, but is it worth the risk of buying a used one, or will the Yamaha do just fine? What about sound quality/clarity? Here are the specs:

NAD T760:
power/ch (RMS): stereo mode: 110 W @ 8 ohms, 160 W @ 4 ohms
surround mode: 60W @ 8 ohms
power/ch (dynamic): ?
freq response: 5 Hz--20 kHz
SNR: 66 dB
THD: 0.08%

Yamaha A-S201:
power/ch (RMS): 100 W @ 8 ohms
power/ch (dynamic): 125 W @ 8 ohms, 150 W @ 6 ohms
freq response: 10 Hz--100 kHz
SNR: 100 dB
THD: 0.2%

Yamaha AX-1050:
power/ch (RMS): 145 W @ 8 ohms
power/ch (dynamic): ?
freq response: 20 Hz--20 kHz
SNR: > 75 dB
THD: 0.01%

how old is the nad
 

AaylaSecura

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
12
Points
0
Location
Australia
how old is the nad

I don't know, but I'm leaning towards the Yamaha amplifier, since I don't need a receiver (so why would I pay for features I don't need). I read good reviews for it and it's the same brand as the speakers, so it should be a good match in principle.
 
Top