So many options....help!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dennis Zamora, May 20, 2002.

  1. Dennis Zamora

    Dennis Zamora Auditioning

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    Hello all!

    My dad passed on to me his old but mint condition B&W 802 series 80 (1st series) speakers along with a Lexicon CP3 preamp and a Rane MA6 6-channel (100wpc) power amp.

    My first problem is that I'm not sure that these 802s are suitable for home theater use. I mean, they are great for music but (a) they were not designed for digital sound and (b) I've read somewhere that they are quite power hungry and thus not suited for the sub $1,000 DTS/DD receivers out there. If indeed they are suitable for home theater use, can I simply buy other B&W speakers (i.e. 602s) to complete the set? Or, am I better off buying the moderately priced speaker packages out there (Energy Encore, Atlantic Technology, Wharfedale, etc.) which presumably are well matched.

    My second problem is: I know I the CP3 has to go because it does not do DTS/DD. I have three options: (a) buy a reasonably priced preamp from the likes of Adcom, B&K, Marantz, etc. (b) buy a DTS/DD processor such as the Technics SH-AC500d and keep using the Lexicon for music / pro-logic or (c) buy a new high-end AV receiver from Sony, Yamaha or Denon. Of course, the answer to this second problem would depend on the answer to the first problem!

    Please help me!!! Thanks!!!

    Dennis
     
  2. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    IMO, Speakers are like computers...Garbage in - Garbage out.

    Upgrade the electronics first.
     
  3. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    FWIW, there's no such thing as 'digital sound'. Also, wrt 'power hungry', see if you can find the speakers rated sensitivity and load. If they are rated over 86db/W/m and over 4 ohms, a sub $1000 receiver will do fine.
     
  4. John F. Palacio

    John F. Palacio Supporting Actor

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    (a) they were not designed for digital sound and (b) I've read somewhere that they are quite power hungry and thus not suited for the sub $1,000 DTS/DD receivers out there.
    If they were driven by a 100 WPC amp then a receiver or power amp of same (or more) power will suffice if the new room is similar (acoustically) to the old one. Forget about "not designed for digital sound", those are still excellent speakers.
    My second problem is: I know I the CP3 has to go because it does not do DTS/DD. I have three options: (a) buy a reasonably priced preamp from the likes of Adcom, B&K, Marantz, etc. (b) buy a DTS/DD processor such as the Technics SH-AC500d and keep using the Lexicon for music / pro-logic or (c) buy a new high-end AV receiver from Sony, Yamaha or Denon. Of course, the answer to this second problem would depend on the answer to the first problem!
    Any of these choices would work. I would be biased towards the new processor, since we know your present power amp drives the B&W's nicely. I am not sure about your decision to keep the Lexicon for music (unless it has a phono stage and the new proc. does not).
    John
     
  5. Dennis Zamora

    Dennis Zamora Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the useful advice. In response to Joe Casey's comment, I looked at the manual and it says:

    Sensitivity = 1 watt into 8 ohms load for a s.p.l. of 85dB at 1m, sinewave input at 300Hz and Power handling = Minimum amplifier 50 watts into 8 ohms. No upper limit.

    Further, the frequency response is 55Hz to 20KHz +- 2dB at center of listening window at 2m. Low frequency system says: closed box acoustic suspension with system resonance of 49Hz and system Q of 0.7 (i.e. minus 3dB at resonant frequency).

    Forgive my ignorance but I'm not even sure what these things mean? Are they good? Are they relevant in my choice of amplifier and, for that matter, choice of satellite speakers, center speaker, and sub?

    Thanks a lot!

    Dennis
     
  6. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    Dennis,

    Ok, so it sounds like they are a rated 8 ohm load (good) and 85db efficient (somewhat power hungry). Based on the frequency response, I'd use them as front channels set to small, and as long as the receiver/amp driving them is rated at around 100W/ch you should be fine. Try it out.
     
  7. Dennis Zamora

    Dennis Zamora Auditioning

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    Thanks a lot Joe, that was definitely helpful.

    4 more questions:

    1) What about the frequency response makes them good for use as front speakers? Is it the frequency range (55hz to 20khz) or the +- 2db rating within this range?

    2) Does this mean I should look for a sub that performs well on the frequencies below 55Hz?

    3) Should I look for rear speakers that match my front speakers with regard to these specs (frequency response, sensitivity)?

    4) what does it mean when you set front channels to "small"?

    Thanks!

    Dennis
     
  8. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    Dennis,

    1. The Dolby Digital spec LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel (the .1 in 5.1) is crossed over at 80 HZ i.e. material below 80 Hz is sent to the sub. Your speakers rated at 55Hz on up are fine for this application.

    2. Yes. Like I said above, the LFE channel REQUIRES a sub.

    3. WRT surround speakers, the most important 'matching' requirement is a timbral match i.e. same type of speaker drivers and crossover components. Sensitivity requirements are not as stringent as they can be compensated for by the processor. Frequency-range-wise, they should be able to reproduce frequencies down to 80 Hz.

    4. Unless you have front speakers that can go down to 20Hz or so, most processors allow you to set the speakers to 'small' as opposed to 'large'. When set to small, the processor redirects all frequencies below 80 Hz to the sub, in addition to the LFE channel. IMO, even a speaker that is rated down to, say, 30 Hz should be set to small as low frequency reproduction by speakers can take its toll on amplification and can, in some instances, take away from mid- and high-frequency reproduction.

    One thing to remember is that all this info is applicable to 5.1 movies for HT. If you're talking 2-channel audio, ita a whole different ball-game.
     

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