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Samson to power SVS and Center?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MarkPayton, Nov 8, 2001.

  1. MarkPayton

    MarkPayton Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's a weird one:
    I currently am running a 5 channel setup - no .1 'cuz I don't have a sub yet. I have Klipsch across the front 3 (RB-5s and an RC-3, of course set to large right now). The receiver is a Denon 3801. The surrounds are crap 15-year old Kenwoods, planning to upgrade to Klispch RS-3s. My first concern is to get some woofage into the system, and so I am considering the purchase of an SVS 20-39. I am on the fence about CS vs powered, and it comes down to this, for $50 more (PC is $749 vs $799 for CS with Samson if I read it right) I can have a separate amp and plenty of power, but what to do with the unused channel?
    I do not have the need for 2 subs, nor the space, the HT/family room is less than 1600 cubic feet. And I believe I have read that it is not necessary nor even a good idea to bridge the Samson into one SVS.
    So here's my thought - please tell me if I am being silly or about to blow something up...
    If I buy the CS version with a Samson amp, could I use the amp in stereo mode to power the sub with channel one and the remaining channel two for... the center? What I am wondering is:
    1) How well would the Samson deal with this imbalanced load?
    2) Would this be too much power for the center to take?
    Obviously lots of level-calibration would be required, but I am thinking this would be a neat way to ease the burden on the Denon and have more pure power for the RC-3 center (which I would also bi-wire).
    Does anybody else do this? Am I heading for trouble to blow up my poor RC-3? Is the Samson overkill?
    The other attraction of this setup would be that I could be using the Samson as much as possible now, but also have the capability to upgrade to 2 subs if in the future I move or build a separate HT...
    Please let me know if this makes any sense...
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  2. Brian Schucher

    Brian Schucher Supporting Actor

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    I personally wouldnt use the Samson amp to power the center.. I dont think a pro amp would be a nice match center channel reproduction..
     
  3. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Mark,
    Sadly it seems the idea that sometimes a good quality pro amp still has the reputation of not putting out top quality sound. Fortunately this is not always (if ever) the case. I doubt most folks have heard a Samson powering thier mains, or center channel. I've done it many times and can't tell the sound from my Denon receiver's amps.
    The only significant difference is that I can push my HT MUCH louder, and my receiver (not using anything but the rear amps now) never gets warm any more.
    I defy anyone to listen to a Samson on full range applications and determine it's audibly inferior to any amp remotely close in price. Look inside one and you'll see some of the cleanest and best fit and finish you'll find in the consumer market, and with 300 watts per channel a damned bargain in the sheer power category.
    Powering a center and a sub is a fantastic idea. Unless you are about to get a second SVS, there is no reason not to try. The only advice I'd make is to not turn up the Samson's gain full blast on the center (as we typically recommend for subs). I found about mid position with the rest of the calibration by the receiver's channel level to be about ideal.
    Ron
     
  4. MarkPayton

    MarkPayton Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Ron! Again, I'm blown away by your blazing fast response time! A couple more questions though: is there any danger to the center from doing this (potentially overpowering it)? And do will the Samson be OK itself from driving such radically different loads over the long term?
    Thanks for indulging me... Anybody else out there doing this?
     
  5. Jeff O.

    Jeff O. Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark,
    That should work fine. I am doing a very similar thing. In my case, my receiver has a pre-out for the rear center channel. I am using one channel of the Samson to power an SVS 16-46 and the other to power 2 Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers for the rear center. I set the volume on the Samson so that the calibration on the receiver was at 0 and then use the calibration in the receiver for small adjustments. I have had no troubles, it works and sounds great.
    Jeff
     
  6. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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  7. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    As long as running the samson full tilt still allows you to get proper calibration from the center,that's fine. If you cant get the center channel low enough compared to the rest of the channels which might be using 1/5th the power...working down the gain isn't the ideal solution...but it works pretty well if you only have to lower it 10-20%.
    TV
     
  8. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    I currently have pro amps running my complete HT. QSC Audio DCA stuff. 215 WPC on surrounds and CC, 350 WPC on the mains, and 1200 WPC on my subs. These pro amps kick some serious ass - clean sound and head room to spare [​IMG]
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  9. Brian Schucher

    Brian Schucher Supporting Actor

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    My only experience was driving my Mirage OM6s with the Fidek amp i got for my 20-39s. I "personally" wasnt thriled with it. If the Samson is a better way to go...so be it. Suppose it cant hurt to try and as usual, ill be wrong [​IMG]
     
  10. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    The reason I set my Samson much lower on the center channel is that with 350 watts on that channel I had to nearly peg my center channel output at its lowest setting to get a 75dB calibration.
    Not good, even for subwoofers since this gives you no downward adjustment. Rather I did what others have, set my output at 0dB and the resulting Samson setting was about 1/3 to center (50%). When I had the Samson full throttle (that is, 350 watts ready to roll) and the Denon full down I could detect more hiss from the Samson than I liked.
    When set as I have it now, dead silent and more power than you ever need for a center. Properly calibrated like this it's probably less likely to damage your center with full ref level blasts than I was with only the Denon's 70 watts. Clipping is a non-issue now, so is overheating.
    Very clean sound, and endless headroom = a great way to use a spare amp channel from a Samson.
    Ron
     
  11. John A. Gordon

    John A. Gordon Stunt Coordinator

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    My 2 cents:
    With regards to mismatched loads. Any well designed amp should easily drive an "imbalanced" load.
    As for gain controls. One thing many people do not understand is that gains have nothing to do with the power output of an amplifier. Let's say your amp is 200W/per ch. and your gains are set wide open. This means you have 200W at your disposal. Or let's say your gains are set half way, this means you also have a 200W at your disposal. Gain controls are not a volume control. One thing for sure though, if you are clipping the amp, then the gain is too hot.
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    John Gordon
    QSC Audio Products, Inc.
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626
    (714) 957-7100
    http://www.qscaudio.com
     
  12. MarkPayton

    MarkPayton Stunt Coordinator

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    Excellent exchange folks - I have placed the SVS order and am eagerly awaiting delivery. Am I correct in thinking that the Samson has independent gain controls for each side? If that is the case, then I probably will follow the design Ron mentioned, with the amp turned down about a third and the fine-tuning done on the receiver.
    From what I read, there is no danger to either the speaker or the amp from having the Samson drive both an SVS and a center, which is great news! Now, I only have to focus on proper calibration and placement (for the SVS) but that is another thread... Thanks everyone for the ideas!
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