Added external amp - can I put unused receiver amps to work?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Wayne_T, May 26, 2002.

  1. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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    A dealer lent me a Bryston 4B-ST for the weekend to test what adding external amplification would do for my system. I'm on the slow road to separates. My receiver is a Yamaha RX-V3000, speakers are Paradigm Studios all around. I hooked the Bryston up to the main outs and turned on some Diana Krall. The improvement was immediately obvious, even to my wife. Its going to be hard to bring it back on Monday, which was of course the dealer's intent.

    It occurs to me that I now have three unused 100W amps in the receiver - the mains and the rear center which I haven't implemented. Wouldn't it be nice if I could put at least one of them to use and biamp my center. Or even put all three to use and biamp the surrounds too.

    So here is my question. What if I take the center channel pre-out and connect it to the main in jacks, and then biamp the center speaker to the receivers main amps? Will this work? I could just try it, but I'm a little bit afraid of damaging something.

    If it works, then keeping the Bryston would effectively give me much improved performance across all three front channels, making it a very good value.

    Am I out to lunch? Do any of you know if this would work? Has anyone tried it with this or any other receiver?

    Thanks,
    Wayne
     
  2. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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    Curiosity got the best of me and I tried it. Works like a charm. The center is now being driven (bi-amped) by the RX-V3000's main amps, and the Bryston is powering the mains. I'm listening to Diana Krall's Live in Paris DVD which I'm very familar with, and I can't believe the difference. I'm not good with all the adjectives that folks use to describe sound, but this is terrific.
    This means that the new amp kind of gets me three channels for the price of two. I'm thinking its gonna stay. My wife even likes how it looks!

    Cheers,
    Wayne
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Wayne
    Wayne,

    I would have told you your plan would work if I had seen your post in time.

    It’s impressive that adding the Bryston to a Yamaha receiver results in a significant improvement – that says a lot about the Yammie’s pre-pro section, IMO.

    Whether or not biamping your center will deliver improved performance – you’ll have to judge that for yourself. Most center speakers perform just fine with only 100 watts, since they don’t have to reproduce any bass. Any way you cut it, the tweeter only needs a few watts to operate anyway.

    I don’t know why people worry about ” I now have three unused 100W amps in the receiver,“ as if something is inherently wrong with this. Not using all the internal amplification should theoretically result in cooler operation, which should theoretically lead to increased durability and a longer live span for the receiver. In addition, since all the receiver’s amps share the same power supply, retiring some amp channels should result in increased headroom for the others.

    I have a similar Yamaha product, with an Adcom amp for the L/R mains. I had a suspicion that the Yamaha’s front L/R channels sported higher-quality amplifiers than the rear channels, and published measurements in a magazine review confirmed this. So what I did was patch the rear outputs into the front amplifier channels, to utilize the better amps for the surround channels.

    Did this deliver improved sound? Hard to say – it would probably take some careful evaluation with all other speakers off, just as with your biamped center. But it’s always a good feeling knowing you’ve made improvements in the interest of better quality, especially if it’s “free.” My main goal with adding the outboard amp was to give the Yamaha an easier job; any improvement to the rears was gravy.

    So there’s another option you can explore in addition to biamping the center channel.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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  5. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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    Salvador, I don't think they're in the habit of lending stuff out. They know me and this was a demo unit they are trying to clear. They don't expect to see it back.

    Wayne
     
  6. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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    Update - the Bryston now has a permanent home in the rack. Sounds great and no regrets, at least not until the Amex bill arrives.
    FYI, I spoke to Bryston a few times yesterday because the store couldn't find the spec sheets and manual. Their pre-sales service is excellent. I learned that the 4B-ST was discontinued as of Friday and is being replaced by a new 4B, which I think is going to be called the 4B-SST. The new model will be similar to the 14B and will be marketed as 300W/channel. The 4B-ST was really a 300W/channel amp anyway. Mine is 313W on both sides.
     

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