Old Speakers - New Home Theater

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Brad-F, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello

    I am a few months away from putting my first home theater together for my new house, due for completion around June.

    With the purchase of the house I have very little money left for home theater gear, so I plan to make do as much a possible with what I have.

    I have two pairs of speakers that I am hoping will do the job for the surround sound. The pairs are...

    JBL L100 Century.
    Yamaha NS-7171.

    I can find lots of stuff on the net about the JBLs. Seemed they were all the rage in the 70s. I got these when my dad passed away about 2 years ago.

    The Yamahas I can't find anywhere on the net. Here is what I know about them..

    Yamaha NS-7171. Input 160 Watts, 8 OHMS. They have three buttons. "Clear", "Natural", "Soft". There are 4 speakers in each. A 12", a 4", and a couple of tweater type things. I bought these in Hong Kong in about 1990.

    If anyone knows anything about these Yamaha's, do let me know.

    Both set of speaker sound good to me, but the JBLs seem a little less 'boomy' then the Yamahas. A little truer perhaps.

    But this is not point of my post.

    I need to buy an amp, a sub woofer and a center speaker.

    Could someone steer me in the right direction for the these last two. What would match the speakers I have?

    With the correct sub woofer and a center speaker do you think that my existing speakers would do the trick?

    Finally, how powerful should the amp be to run all this stuff.

    Forgive my basic questons. This surround stuff is new to me.

    Thanks
     
  2. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    The JBL Centurys will drive very easy with low wattage ( and handle mega watts also) but don't know about the Yams.... I currently use some L100 JBL as mains and although I've tried several "high-end" centers, I keep going back to an old JBL S Center. SVS will be about the best bang for the buck........type and size will be determined by your room size and what you really want out of a sub...........lots of options....

    Personally, I would use the Centurys as mains and build everything else around them.... You'd have to spend some serious bucks to get anything as good..... The Yams, although I don't know anything about them, should do ok as rear surrounds.........

    Welsome to the world of hme theater... but remember... my sig says it all....
     
  3. Mike Strassburg

    Mike Strassburg Second Unit

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    Brad,

    One other thing to consider is how long before you'll be replacing those speakers. If in the near future I'd buy a CC & sub that you can build around later and make do with how they integrate with the current JBL/Yammy speakers.
     
  4. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    I did some research last night and read that the rear speakers need to be a big as the front speakers. Is this correct?

    This reminded me that I have a 3rd set of speakers in storage. These are a set of Acoustic Research boxes. The AR speaker are model number 18LS. These are a nice quality speaker, not a big as the JBLs. They have a 6" speaker and a tweater. Would these do just as good a job as the hefty Yamahas as rear speakers?

    I should also point out the size of the room. It will be about 5.5 meters (18 feet) by 3.5 meters (11 feet).
     
  5. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    There will be some who will say "same speakers all around" but you'll find that most have smaller rears than fronts........... Personally, I use a pair of Energy RVSS as my rear surrounds and a small pair of JBL Sats as rear centers..... Those ARs you have would probably be fine as mounting the rears are one of the problems most face.....

    As Mike pointed out, get a good sub and CC and let'em rip.... your room is a pretty good size so a good sub will be important to ya.
     
  6. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    DonnyD

    When you said "Those ARs you have would probably be fine as mounting the rears are one of the problems most face.....", what did you mean?

    Why to people have problems mounting rear speakers?

    Also, what does 'CC' stand for?
     
  7. Mark gas

    Mark gas Second Unit

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    cc= center channel.
    I would use the jbl's for the front with a JBL cc and what ever u want for the rears.
     
  8. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    Hey Brad-F. guess I need to clarify my post concerning "problems with mounting rear speakers".......it was a little vague.....
    Most of the time, you want your rear surrounds about 6 feet off the floor and slightly to your rear from your sitting position.....If a wall is present in this location, then a wall mount for the speakers will be necessary to secure the ARs..... Guess I was alluding to the fact that some have harder placement issues than some others....but if your room is 18x11, then perhaps your mounting issues will be minimal as you can spread them out a little.......
    Anyway, let us know how things turn out.....
     
  9. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a thought, but could I use the AR 18LS speakers for the 'CC' role? They are nice set of speakers. I can see that CC speakers are usually a single box, so I imagine that there might need to be some special wiring to get them set up right. But is this a feasable solution? I would then use the Yamahas in the back as I had first planned.
     
  10. John S

    John S Producer

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    Well sure.. Get it as setup as possible, and try different combos....


    There really is no wrong answer, it is what works, and what doesn't for you really.

    Of course, the best is to have the same exact speaker all the way around.

    But will other setups work great? just as well? maybe better in some odd cases? You bet!!!
     
  11. Norman L

    Norman L Second Unit

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    Look out For:

    If your old speakers need lots of power be careful. 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 receivers are poorly rated for watts by the manufactures.
    Onyko blew my old B & W's with clipping. With all channels running they give out only 27 watts and were rated 80watts.
    ( Onyko paid me to repair the B & W's)

    Look at Denon, HK, or any other receiver that the all channels running is available.

    This does not matter if the speakers need 10 or 20 watts to run.
     
  12. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Is this information usually written on the speakers?
     
  13. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Brad - 'all channels running' is a way of testing the amp. Many manufacturers post specs with only 1 or 2 channels running, so they can say the reciever will do 100 watts/ch. In reality, the power supply will often not be able to do anywhere near 100/watts per channel if all 5 channels are driven. Hence many recievers 'rated' at 100 watts per channel, actually only do 30-60 wpc 'all channels driven'.

    Check out this link:

    http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Holl...1/ratevsac.htm

    for a compilation of Sound and Vision's test results on receivers. Note entries like the Sony STD=DB1070 which is rated at 100watts x6, but only mustered 31 watts x 6 before clipping. There are also noise figures etc, really its quite a useful source for comparing performance, and seeing just how bad the real specs on a lot of this HT stuff is.
     
  14. Norman L

    Norman L Second Unit

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    Receivers are advertised ie: 80W x 6 (80 watts x 6 channels)
    This does not mean that with all 6 channels running they provide 80watts to the speakers. It means with 2 channels running it gives 80 watts to the speakers.
    Sound & Vision magazine when they review receives give the wattage with all channels running.
    This is very important for those with older speakers that might require ie: 50 watts minimum to drive - when the source material in a DVD is very loud - the wattage is needed to drive the speaker back and forth in order to cool the speakers and not blow them.

    That is what happen to my B & W 's, they needed 50 watts to keep them cool with a loud source. Toy Story II with an Onyko Receiver blew a pair of $1800 speakers the I bought in 1984.
    Onkyo admitted that the wattage was not as advertised.

    Denon rates the 2802 at 90W x 6 . With all channels going it only drops to 74W per channel.
     
  15. Norman L

    Norman L Second Unit

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    Thanks, JakubH

    Well said.
     
  16. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    I did and WOW.. That is an amazing and eye opening page.

    How is one to know then if the amp you have your eye on buying is anywhere near as powerful across all channels as its stated power indicates? Can you test that yourself?

    I notice that the newest of the models listed on that page are from 2002 (with exception of a few from 2003). I looked up a few of the models there for purchase but you can't buy them anymore. I wonder if anyone has done a more modern list.

    So, for this 'newbie', this power to all channels thing is the most important consideration for my new, soon to be purchased amp. Or at least something that should be carefully considered. Seems this is essential for the safety of my speakers.
     
  17. Norman L

    Norman L Second Unit

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    Again, it is important for speakers that need lots of power but most new speakers do not.
    However, you should get what you pay for and not inferior power.

    Check sound & vision magazine site for updated since the chart. Buy Denon, Harmen Karden , or Nad as a suggestion.
    Denon has all price points.
     
  18. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Norman is correct Brad, you should try to find out the efficiency of your speakers and the load (ohms, this should be written on the back). A 4 ohm speaker is going to be much harder for a mass market reciever to drive, as will a very insensitive speaker.

    The fact is most small modern HT speakers dont need more than 30-40 watts. But like Norman said, its ridiculous that products rated at 100wpc can't put out 60wpc.

    I was faced with a similar dilemma a year ago when buying a reciever - I have large tower mains that would like a lot of power. I considered buying the better Panasonic recievers which actually put out close to their rated output, and in the case of the SA-200, with very good quality (IMO). However I couldn't bring myself to put a Panasonic reciver in my system (entirely a 'pride' thing on my part).

    So I ended up getting a Pioneer 811s reciever, which has a nice preamp section and all the processing I'll ever need. I made sure it had preamp outs for the mains, so I can send the signal for the mains out to an old Carver stereo reciever which is much more rugged than the Pioneer. This leaves the Pioneer driving only 4 small speakers, which it does very well. I have compared this setup to having the Pioneer driving all 6 speakers, and the dynamics are noticeably better. The difference is not subtle - for example, with the Carver driving the mains, I have to watch the volume so as not to bottom the woofers, whereas the Pioneer is incapable of bottoming them.
     
  19. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    JakubH



    If the Ohms rating is found possibly written somewhere on the speakers, where do I find the 'efficiency' and what type of value am I looking for and what range is accepable?

    Alternativly, like you said, most "most small modern HT speakers dont need more than 30-40 watts". So as long as my amp can do 80 - 100 watts across all 6 channels, I will be fine. Am I on the right track here?

    Tell me, does the channel for the Sub have to output 40+ watts. Most of the subs I am seeing have their own amps built in, thereby reducing the output requirments of your main amplifier. Is that too correct?
     
  20. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    I did a google search for the L100 and found the owner's manual here:

    http://manuals.harman.com/JBL/HOM/Ow...ual/L100om.pdf

    Along with some historical info here:

    http://www.audioheritage.org/html/profiles/jbl/l100.htm

    It looks like they measured the sensitivity a different way that I don't know how to interpret, but it seems they recommended up to 160 watts RMS at the time, which leads me to believe these are power hungry speakers, even if they do work with lower powered amps. The impedance is 8 ohm, which is good news for a mass market reciever, although it does not say what the minimum impedance is (impedance is not a constant, it varies with frequency).

    If you use these with a sub, set them as 'small' on your receiver, you should be ok with most of the recievers out there. Personally, I would put a high priority on getting a reciever that puts out as much true power before clipping as possible - not only will it be good for the safety of the speakers, but it will also bring out the best in these speakers. I've been reading some forum posts and reviews about these, and many people claim they 'come alive' with 100wpc+ amps. Believe me, a 100wpc Pioneer or Marantz reciever from the 70's put out a lot more power than your typical 100wpc mass market receiver today.


    A powered subwoofer will not draw any power from your reciever, it has its own amp built in. That said, this is not really an advantage, as most receivers aren't really designed to power a sub, and few could give a decent sub the power it requires. The 'channel for the sub' on most recievers is just a line out - its not powered.

    You can use the reciever's bass management to send all bass below say, 100hz or 80 hz to your sub (you do this by setting all speakers to 'small'). This will greatly help with the power issue, as power requirements increase greatly as you decrease in frequency.

    In terms of a good reciever for them, it depends on your price range. I would look at the top of the line Panasonic if you can get over the 'brand name pride' thing, or look at Harmon Kardon, Denon, NAD, Outlaw Audio, or Pioneer Elite if your budget permits. Again it depends on your budget - an amp that does a 'true' 80-100wpc should do just fine, but such amps can be expensive, as you can see from the S&V testing list. Just my $0.02.
     

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