Wanting to bi-amp, looking at Crown XLS, but...

Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#1
Good morning! So I've come to the conclusion that my Yamaha AX-596, while a great amp, isn't going to be enough on its own to handle my Revel F30's. (For the TLDR, skip the next 3 paragraphs, I won't be offended) :D

This is my first foray into "inefficient" audiophile speakers (87dB),whereas everything else I've owned has rated in the low to upper-90's. Make no mistake, they are fantastic speakers and absolutely take my breath away every time I listen. But on those occasions when I want to go balls to the walls, the Yamaha gives up all it has before I reach that place I am aiming for.

For reference, some of the speakers I've had in the past were JBL CF-150's, Infinity SM-155's, and Klipsch KLF-10's. Yeah I know, I know... but while none of those were in the same league as the F30's sound-wise, they could get ludicrously loud when the urge struck me. Right now, I can tell the Yamaha is at its limits and straining, and the speakers could take more.

I've spent all week looking at amps, and for my budget I feel like Class D is the way to go. I'm thinking that I should bi-amp and keep the Yamaha on the mids and tweeters, and dedicate another amp (with some level matching) with 200+ wpc to just the woofers. I'm about to pull the trigger on one of the Crown XLS amps...

but...

...my reading online shows that the input sensitivity of the Crowns is 1.4V, whereas the Yamaha (made for home use) is 150mV. I was planning to run an RCA from the Yamaha's REC OUT to the Crown's input but that's not going to work. However, the MAIN IN/PRE OUT loop (for equalizers / processors) has a 1V output level. Good, but it has a jumper between the in and out, because the loop has to be closed.

My theoretical solution: Obtain a pair of a male to male+male RCA splitter cables (such as: this one),use them as jumpers on one end (Yamaha) and the input on the other (Crown). Would/should this work, or am I in danger of magic blue smoke if I try it?

Yamaha manual, the specs are on page E-13: https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/other_assets/2/319722/AX-596.pdf

As always, thanks for any and all feedback.
 
Z

zumbo

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
621
#2
If you don't mind me saying, you are pissing in the wind.

Need to drop the Yamaha AX-596 completely.
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
593
#3
I doubt you will hear any audio improvement, from the bi-amping, but the splitter will work fine for what you want to do.

BTW, Yamaha’s 1V output spec is probably conservative.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,335 10 2
#4
Your speakers do seem to be honestly rated at 87 dB. That's not inefficient. I'd be willing to bet that most speakers claiming a 90 dB or more sensitivity are fudging their ratings to the point of being downright dishonest.

Stereophile shows an impedance curve in their review of the F30s. Their estimated sensitivity is the same as what Revel claims. Their impedance curve suggests the F30 are not a difficult load.


Any post about bi-amping quickly sinks into opposing rants about it's value or lack of it. I won't go there, I hope you won't either :D. At best, it isn't worth the effort.

If you find the 100 wpc of your Yamaha AX-596 stereo amp isn't enough, I suggest looking for a 200+ wpc amp that you can use with your Yamaha as a pre-amp. Keep things simple – use the more powerful amp to drive the entire speaker.
 
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Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#5
If you don't mind me saying, you are pissing in the wind.

Need to drop the Yamaha AX-596 completely.
No offense taken! :) I'm at the age where I know the best learning comes with a few lumps on the head.

So I guess it would be best to run the Crown full range? I just looked up the sound card and its output is 2V, at the RCA's. I suppose the answer might have been easier than I realized...
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#6
Your speakers do seem to be honestly rated at 87 dB. That's not inefficient. I'd be willing to bet that most speakers claiming a 90 dB or more sensitivity are fudging their ratings to the point of being downright dishonest.

Stereophile shows an impedance curve in their review of the F30s. They estimated sensitivity is the same as what Revel claimed. Their impedance curve impedance curve suggests the F30 are not a difficult load.


Any post about bi-amping quickly sinks into opposing rants about of the value or lack of value of it. I won't go there, I hope you won't either :D. At best, it isn't worth the effort.

If you find the 100 wpc of your Yamaha AX-596 stereo amp isn't enough, I suggest looking for a 200+ wpc amp that you can use with your Yamaha as a pre-amp. Keep things simple – use the more powerful amp to drive the entire speaker.
Good info, thanks. I didn't really need an integrated, since my source is my PC, but I got a great deal on the Yamaha where it was cheaper than a straight 2-channel. To that effect, I've been using it in Pure/Direct mode.

As far as efficiency, I put "inefficient" in quotes because I've spent this year unlearning the bad lessons of my big boomy box days. I wouldn't trade the Revel's for any of those past speakers, but I want to make sure these puppies (and any future purchases) get what they deserve within my budget.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,028 16 36
#7
The Crown XLS gen 1 had fixed 1.4V sensitivity; gen 2 have adjustable sensitivity of .775/1.4V (but you lose 6dB SNR using the .775 setting). They also have built in active crossover for bi-amping.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,221 17 24
#8
I think you need to be careful. They seem nice speakers that measure well. I don't think they are high spl speakers and if you force the issue you will probably damage them.

The cross to the midrange is low at 220Hz. There is one small unit for the midrange, taking over where there is huge power in the music. A passive crossover at 220 Hz is highly likely to saturate at that crossover point and the mid almost certainly is in the thermal compression range and high distortion. If you go from 100 watts to 200 watts you will only gain 3db.

I don't know if it is your speakers or amp that are power limited, I suspect both.

That speaker is not a high powered design. It seems to be a speaker with good measurements for refined listening.

Generally to do what you want requires a full active design with electronic crossovers at least for the low crossover and two midrange units.

I would enjoy you speakers for what they are an not be tempted abuse of the speakers.

I do think what you are contemplating constitutes abuse of those speakers.
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#10
I think you need to be careful. They seem nice speakers that measure well. I don't think they are high spl speakers and if you force the issue you will probably damage them.

The cross to the midrange is low at 220Hz. There is one small unit for the midrange, taking over where there is huge power in the music. A passive crossover at 220 Hz is highly likely to saturate at that crossover point and the mid almost certainly is in the thermal compression range and high distortion. If you go from 100 watts to 200 watts you will only gain 3db.

I don't know if it is your speakers or amp that are power limited, I suspect both.

That speaker is not a high powered design. It seems to be a speaker with good measurements for refined listening.

Generally to do what you want requires a full active design with electronic crossovers at least for the low crossover and two midrange units.

I would enjoy you speakers for what they are an not be tempted abuse of the speakers.

I do think what you are contemplating constitutes abuse of those speakers.
Definitely not the route I want to go! Here's what's the most frustrating:

LOUDSPEAKERS AND POWER

REVEL PERFORMA F30 loudspeakers use high-order crossovers with steep cut-offs to eliminate damage caused by “out of band” frequencies. Using this approach, in combination with carefully selected components and transducers, gives us confidence that a REVEL PERFORMA F30 loudspeaker will not fail, even under extreme conditions. However, there is a limit to how loud any speaker can play continuously. A good rule of thumb is to avoid playing the system at volume levels beyond where the sound is “clean.” If the sound becomes distorted or strained, reduce the volume level immediately to avoid damage
Cut and pasted from the manual. So there's no guideline to at least give me a ballpark. And like you said, I don't know if I'm trying to drive them too hard or if the amp isn't adequate. On the one hand, I understand them not posting a number, because there will always be the idiot who sees "300W power handling" and buys a 300W amp and cranks it up to 11 every chance he gets. On the other hand, the $3500 price tag on these should have filtered most of these idiots out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for instant deafness. My last "music night" with the Klipsches was spent playing the SOS Band's greatest hits, and it left me with a headache I won't soon forget! Mary Davis' voice is hell on the ears, and worse with horns. All the same, some songs (or passages within songs, the "I LOVE THIS PART COMING UP" feeling) just beg to be played loudly, and I hit a wall that I've never been used to.

I'm nixing the bi-amp plan though, for the reasons you stated, and will just try for a bit more headroom playing them full range. Not having an active filter would be dangerous. Looking at ebay and CL, I can get either an XLS1000 for $150 shipped or pick up an XLS1002 for around $200 and 2 hours' worth of driving.
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#11
Thanks!

"However, in terms of basic audible differences, there’s not much to write home about, and what improvements do exist could typically be gained by simply utilizing a single more powerful amplifier with similar or better performance metrics than the two smaller amplifiers."

So opens the path to enlightenment. :cool:
 
Z

zumbo

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
621
#12
Find a deal on a current, or last model upper-end stereo/int amp. Problem solved.

If you want separates, then find a deal on current, or last model separates.

No matter what amp you add to the source(your Yamaha,) the sound is gonna be the same.

It's gonna amplify whatever your Yamaha processes.

It's gonna clip wherever the Yamaha clips, provided the amp you choose is well within the limit of your speakers. The better the amp, the worse the situation MAY be because the amp will remain clean up to the point of the Yamaha clipping it's output.
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,486 7 1
#16
...my reading online shows that the input sensitivity of the Crowns is 1.4V, whereas the Yamaha (made for home use) is 150mV.
You are comparing apples and water melons! The Yamaha is an integrated amp and the 150 mV is the input sensitivity of the preamp stage, but you already know that right?

I was planning to run an RCA from the Yamaha's REC OUT to the Crown's input but that's not going to work. However, the MAIN IN/PRE OUT loop (for equalizers / processors) has a 1V output level. Good, but it has a jumper between the in and out, because the loop has to be closed.
That 1 V output is not the maximum, it is stated for under a specific conditions that is unfortunately not specified. The Yamaha most likely can drive a 200 W to 300 W rated Crown XLS power amp, especially if you use the 0.775 V input sensitivity setting.

My theoretical solution: Obtain a pair of a male to male+male RCA splitter cables (such as: this one),use them as jumpers on one end (Yamaha) and the input on the other (Crown). Would/should this work, or am I in danger of magic blue smoke if I try it?
It you hook everything up correctly, and level match the two amps, it should work fine.[/QUOTE]
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#17
IMG_20180813_1612348.jpg


So yeah... first world problems. :rolleyes:

I've actually had the Crown amp since last week and have been incredibly impressed with it. They really do make you rethink what should and shouldn't be, as far as home amplifiers go. I've used it long enough to get a good grasp on what I like and don't like.

The Outlaws were totally impulse. I saw the pair on sale on ebay for a reasonable price, but was on the fence... until I read ebay had a 15% coupon running that day. They just arrived today. I won't have the house to myself until Wednesday or Thursday so a thorough evaluation will have to wait. In the meantime I will have to enjoy them at "domestic" volume. Heh, heh.

One thing for certain, my problem was without question a lack of headroom for transient and sustained peaks. With the XLS I listened specifically to songs that had passages that weren't resolving well (usually emphatic bass, but not always),and was blown away at the difference having the power in reserve made.

So the Yamaha will definitely be up for sale, and I have to choose between the dual monoblocks or the Crown. Fun times ahead! I will post my overall (subjective) impressions and decision in a few weeks after I've had quality time with these monsters.
 
joshua_roop

joshua_roop

Audiophyte
#18
I run an XLS 1002 myself powering a pair of definitive 9060 towers in stereo.I also use an emotiva PT-100 pre amp.The sound I get from the crown is astonishing and I cannot get enough of my system...aswome power and sound.

Sent from my MHA-L29 using Tapatalk
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,313 4 1
#19
View attachment 25435

So yeah... first world problems. :rolleyes:

I've actually had the Crown amp since last week and have been incredibly impressed with it. They really do make you rethink what should and shouldn't be, as far as home amplifiers go. I've used it long enough to get a good grasp on what I like and don't like.

The Outlaws were totally impulse. I saw the pair on sale on ebay for a reasonable price, but was on the fence... until I read ebay had a 15% coupon running that day. They just arrived today. I won't have the house to myself until Wednesday or Thursday so a thorough evaluation will have to wait. In the meantime I will have to enjoy them at "domestic" volume. Heh, heh.

One thing for certain, my problem was without question a lack of headroom for transient and sustained peaks. With the XLS I listened specifically to songs that had passages that weren't resolving well (usually emphatic bass, but not always),and was blown away at the difference having the power in reserve made.

So the Yamaha will definitely be up for sale, and I have to choose between the dual monoblocks or the Crown. Fun times ahead! I will post my overall (subjective) impressions and decision in a few weeks after I've had quality time with these monsters.
Fortunately, we do live in the first world!

Nice when a plan comes together! Congrats.
I use a Yamaha p2500s to power my JBL mains and I agree. There is a lot of stigma associated with using pro amps at home. Of course they aren’t nearly as elegant. I’m a believer although I should point out(in the interest of full disclosure) that with 92db sensitivity and a beast for an avr the Yamaha was mostly icing on the cake.
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic
Ratings
86
#20
I will post a summary of my time with these amps later, but here are my pros and cons. Sound-wise, my ears never told me that one sounded “better” than the others. The biggest issue was headroom, and how bass notes would suck all the Yamaha’s power away at volume. Both the Crown and the dual Outlaws solved that problem easily. You’ll notice the majority of my notes are aesthetic (except for power and thermals). The higher input sensitivity of the Crown and Outlaw weren’t an issue with the Xonar sound card, and I’m sure most preamps would do fine as well. I’ve read negative buyer reviews of people complaining that they “could barely hear” the XLS1000’s, and I’m certain in those cases they weren’t matching it with the right source. Always something to consider.



Yamaha AX-596

Pros:

Beautiful, “traditional” look
Solid build, long-term reliability
Allows bypassing tone controls
The best speaker wire terminals I’ve ever used
100wpc into 8 ohms is more than enough power for most situations

Cons:

100wpc is not enough power for my situation :confused:
Gets a bit warm after extended listening sessions at volume
Pricey when new

Crown XLS-1000

Pros:

Power, power, POWER!
Handles current peaks with aplomb
Never ran warm at all
Extremely impressive array of configuration options
Easy to follow, no-nonsense owner’s manual
Gain Level knobs have detents for precise balancing
Level and clipping indicators
Lightweight (you pay dollars per watt instead of dollars per pound)
Balanced and unbalanced inputs
Unreal value compared to “hi-fi” amplifiers

Cons:

The temptation is great to buy a second one and biamp with XOVER mode!
I keep staring at the level indicators (SQUIRREL!)
(All these below are attributed to its intended PA purpose, but still should be mentioned)
I have dust concerns with the fan and back-to-front airflow design
Function over form: it’s not a looker; “Plasticy” faceplate and controls may wrongfully imply cheapness to some
High input sensitivity may have to be taken into consideration if used with home audio sources (fixed with the gen 2 XLS series)

Outlaw 2200 dual monoblocks

Pros:

P.O.W.E.R. for days
Slim and unobtrusive; their looks hide their beastliness from the unwary
Soft, pleasant LED power/standby indicators
Run cooler than the Yamaha under extended load, even with more power
XLR and RCA inputs

Cons:

Power switch on rear of unit (would be a total pain with a large stack)
No gain level controls
Form over function: compared to the Crown, lacking the value quotient
Can’t match the Crown’s power efficiency; I can dim the lights in the room if I play loud enough
 

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