Need advice on choosing amplification and setup of 5.1 system with Snell Acoustics speaker set

C

CMcD-USC

Enthusiast
Twenty-five plus years ago when I paid much closer attention to home audio reivews/trends and well before surround sound really became a thing, I assembled a home audio system comprised of a pair of Snell Acoustics Type E/III loudspeakers and NAD pre-amp/power amps. Paired with an NAD CD player and decent turntable, the system sounded great and got a lot of use over the years until I moved into a home with in-wall surround sound speakers already in place, and the component system got moved to a detached room over my garage that didn't see nearly as much use.

I recently moved again and no longer have a ready-made surround sound setup in my home but recently came into a second pair of Snell E/III speakers and a Snell Type K/IIv speaker from my in-laws when they downsized (they used the K/iiv as a center channel in their home system). I'd like to put together a system that I can use for 5.1 surround sound and for listening to music (I have a Velodyne sub that will be part of the system as well). As I said, the last time I really paid attention to this stuff was when I purchased the NAD components literally decades ago.

I have a middling 10-plus-year-old Onkyo 7.1 receiver/amplifier (TX-SR605) that I purchased for the previous home, but when I coupled it with the Snell speakers, the setup sounds surprisingly thin. This leads me to believe that I am not wired optimally and/or the receiver is under-powered (or under-qualified). I was hoping for some advice on speccing new components (I no longer have the NAD equipment because I thought it would be easier to either purchase a more modern setup than try to find matching amps for the other speakers and a pre-amp to connect them all).

What should I be looking for in terms of power? The two NAD amps that used to drive the single pair of Snell E/IIIs were 2 X 30 watts or bridgeable to 90 watts and sounded more robust than the Onkyo receiver/amp, which I think is rated at 90w/channel (I know that these ratings are often misstated or otherwise misleading).

Is there any great advantage to using a pre-amp/separate amp(s) setup, or should I just go with a solid surround sound amp/receiver combo?

The five Snell speakers are bi-amp-able... is this the preferred wiring method based on their specifications (see below)?

I don't know what I don't know... what other questions should I be asking?

Any insight would be most appreciated. I am looking to purchase components whose quality isn't over-matched or under-matched by the speakers which, in early-90s dollars, would've run a bit north of $2,000 for the five. The Onkyo receiver I have seems over-matched, although that may be due to operator error in the way I have wired everything.

The specs of the Snell speakers are as follows:

E/III specs (from stereophile.com): One 8" cone woofer, one 1" treated textile-dome tweeter, one 0.75" soft-dome, rear-firing tweeter. Crossover frequency: 2.7kHz, 24dB/octave slope. Frequency response: 39Hz–20kHz, ±1.75dB anechoic (response specified on-axis or up to 15° off the horizontal axis). Nominal impedance: 6 ohms [NOTE: Snell.no reflects an impedance rating of 8 ohms... not sure whether this rating means something different than nominal impedance]. Sensitivity: 91dB at 1W (2.83V) at 1m, anechoic (sensitivity higher in a normal environment). Power requirements: suitable for use with amplifiers rated from 20Wpc to 100Wpc.

K/IIv specs (from stereophile.com): One 8" polypropylene-cone woofer, one 1" treated textile-dome tweeter. Crossover frequency: 2.7kHz, third-order slopes. Frequency response (measured in an anechoic chamber and corrected for half-space): 70–20kHz ±2dB. Sensitivity: 90dB 1W/1m (anechoic). Recommended amplifier power: 10–100W. Nominal impedance: 6 ohms [NOTE: Once again, Snell.no reflects an impedance of 8 ohms].

Once again, thanks in advance for any assistance. Chris
 
Last edited:

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top