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RF-7II amplifiers...


Clinton
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Yes I know this topic has been beat to death, but I don't jump out and spend G's on an amplifier without doing research.  Well wait, I already have and am not entirely happy.

 

Current setup: RF7II, Orbit turntable (upgraded with cork mat, ortolan 2M blue stylus), Yamaha RX-A1070 bi-amped, large listening room.  I was talked into the RX-A1070 by the only local shop which essentially specializes in surround systems.  I'm not interested in surround systems.  Stereo 2.0, with A/B speaker set up.  The 1070 allowed me to bi-amp OR have the A/B speakers (I have not run the wires for the second set of Klipsch bookshelf speakers.  The RF-7II are primary)

 

My biggest issue is how loud the system gets.  I'm a 90's kid, I listen to 90's music: STP, Sublime, Alice in chains; I listen to 60's/70's Led Zepplin, Doors.  I like music loud a lot of times, but will also listen to it at normal levels depending on the music and people (fleetwood mac, David Bowe). 

 

My issue with my setup is how load it gets.  I assume its power issue or something; near 0DB on the amp, or 1-2 and I get a terrible distortion.  I get that over 0db on the amp is pushing more power than it has, but the distortion seems to come instantly and overpowering.

 

Ok, so where do I go from here.  I am willing to spend a couple thousand (2k-3k) on a new amp.  I'm interested in tube amps, but have concerns with the price per watt output.  I have never heard a tube amp, so excuse my ignorance.  If I go tube amp do I bypass the orbit pre-amp and get a tube pre-amp? Will I get the decimal in a larger room (stepping off its 20'x20').  If I don't go tube amp (eventually I need to try tubes), then what would you recommend?  In your opinion what should the financial ration between amp and speaker be?  I spent $2400 on the speakers (got a deal before they went RF-7III) and $1200 on the receiver but I'm not entirely happy.  Then again is it just the larger room?  Has any one Bi-wired the RF-7II's?  how difficult is it?

 

 

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Sounds to me like you need a major Class D Crown to satisfy your perceived need for power. XLS class D will work. Crowns drove the amps at Pilgrimage that generated the "pissn' off the neighbors" award with a complaint from a mile and a half.

 

As a K'horn owner who fears for his ear, knick knacks, windows and such with a 40w amp I can't quite understand your issue...but it's metaphysically absurd to assume I know what you hear. What I CAN do is make the above nuclear power option that I know are good, clean watts that are well below what you are willing to spend. And, while not tubes, they have more tube-line qualities than SS at a fraction of the cost and power consumption.

 

Anyway, keep looking...it's what we do...until we get K'horns.

 

Dave

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@Clinton,  If you  have hooked up the biamping correctly, I'm very surprised you get all that distortion.

  • How big is your room, in cu. ft.?  20 x 20 by what?
  • Is it acoustically live, medium, or absorbent?
  • How close (in feet) do you usually sit from the speakers?
  • If you dance around in a 20 x 20 foot room remember that indoors you loose about 3 dB for every doubling of distance (you would loose 6 dB per doubling outdoors with the speaker away from all large surfaces, including the ground).  To maintain the same volume, you would have to double the power for each 3 dB loss.  That's why "0 dB" on a main volume control means nothing (is "free floating")  unless you have your sound system and room calibrated by a room correction or other device to make "0 dB" equal a certain sound pressure level like Dolby/THX/Audyssey Reference level.   Otherwise your RX A10 70 doesn't "know" if it is in a 2,000 cu ft room or a huge hall or stadium.  In your large room, you might have to turn your Yamaha up too far to get the SPL you want.  Yet, the RF 7 II is one of the most efficient speakers around, second only to the Klipschorn, La Scala, Belle or the Jubilee, so I'm still a bit surprised.
  • Do you have an SPL meter?  What dB reading do you get on peaks at the main listening position at "c" weight?  With the kind of music you like, you should be cautious that you don't damage your ears or your speakers if you are playing too loud.  Also, if your amp is clipping (distorting badly) that may increase the chances of speaker damage.
  • If you give me the information I asked for, I may be able to respond in more detail.

For example, in a 4,000 + cu. ft. room, at 13 feet from the speakers, in a room of average liveness, with RF 7 IIs, you would need only about 8 watts to produce a clean 104 dB, or about 64 watts to produce 113 dB, which should be for very brief peaks only (milliseconds).

 

Welcome to the forum!

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I used an Emotia XPA-2 Gen3 to power my RF-7iii's. 300wrms @ 8ohms per channel and much better SQ than the Crowns I was using before. New gets ya a 30 day trial and 5 yr transferable warranty . The RF-7 line really likes power. I started same as you with an AVR and had the same issue. Feed them lots of good clean power and you will not believe the difference, they will really come alive.

https://emotiva.com/collections/amps/products/xpa-2-gen3

Unless you're nuts about the "tube sound" I wouldn't go that route as it would cost yer left nut to get that kinda power in tubes. Think tube pre-amp if ya want that direction.

I also like to blast it loud at times so we are similar in tastes( 60/70's) and SPL levels( just ask my dead LSii tweeters) 😆

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@Clinton,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

First let me say, you don't need to spend 2K to 3K on a quality amplifier.   As a matter of fact, you don't need to spend 1K on one to reach your goal, especially if you are willing to go the used route.

Many 200w/ch+ quality amps can be found from $1000.00 to $1500.00.

 

Just a few examples of well built quality used stereo amps.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9a8ie-acurus-a-2002-solid-state

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9b7eg-b-k-reference-200-2-stereo-power-amplifier-16463-solid-state

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9bg6c-anthem-statement-a2-amp-solid-state

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9b838-aragon-4004-mk-ii-stereo-power-amplifier-mark-2-240v-16491-solid-state

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9ba64-adcom-gfa-565se-solid-state

 

Bill

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/3/2019 at 12:53 AM, garyrc said:

@Clinton,  If you  have hooked up the biamping correctly, I'm very surprised you get all that distortion.

  • How big is your room, in cu. ft.?  20 x 20 by what?
  • Is it acoustically live, medium, or absorbent?
  • How close (in feet) do you usually sit from the speakers?
  • If you dance around in a 20 x 20 foot room remember that indoors you loose about 3 dB for every doubling of distance (you would loose 6 dB per doubling outdoors with the speaker away from all large surfaces, including the ground).  To maintain the same volume, you would have to double the power for each 3 dB loss.  That's why "0 dB" on a main volume control means nothing (is "free floating")  unless you have your sound system and room calibrated by a room correction or other device to make "0 dB" equal a certain sound pressure level like Dolby/THX/Audyssey Reference level.   Otherwise your RX A10 70 doesn't "know" if it is in a 2,000 cu ft room or a huge hall or stadium.  In your large room, you might have to turn your Yamaha up too far to get the SPL you want.  Yet, the RF 7 II is one of the most efficient speakers around, second only to the Klipschorn, La Scala, Belle or the Jubilee, so I'm still a bit surprised.
  • Do you have an SPL meter?  What dB reading do you get on peaks at the main listening position at "c" weight?  With the kind of music you like, you should be cautious that you don't damage your ears or your speakers if you are playing too loud.  Also, if your amp is clipping (distorting badly) that may increase the chances of speaker damage.
  •  If you give me the information I asked for, I may be able to respond in more detail.

For example, in a 4,000 + cu. ft. room, at 13 feet from the speakers, in a room of average liveness, with RF 7 IIs, you would need only about 8 watts to produce a clean 104 dB, or about 64 watts to produce 113 dB, which should be for very brief peaks only (milliseconds).

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

@garyrc The room is 20 ft x 20 ft x 9 ft.  The room is probably considered absorbent.  It's the room I had - with one wall mostly open, bookshelves in the back of the room.  Likely not the best room.  I probably sit around 12' from the speakers.  I wish I had a SPL meter and initially looked into it when the distortion started but never ended up getting one, any recommendations?

 

I can't tell you if the amp is clipping or not, it does not sound like its cutting part of the sound off, but a loud low harmonic hum overpowers the music.  I don't always listen to the music loud and when I do I'm quick to turn it down.

 

The Emotia XPA-2 Gen3 looks interesting or the QSC PLX, but I already made the $1200 mistake on getting the Yamaha when I really just wanted a stereo amplifier (its tough to wait when you bought speakers and the yamaha is right in front of you).

 

@radblue mentioned a tube pre-amp with the emotiva.  What would I really look for matching a tube amp with a integrated amp?  The orbit turntable has its own built in amp, but I'm not sure the quality of it.

 

Also any recommendations of books, 'audiophile' websites, or websites that review this type of stuff would be greatly appreciated.  I'm in the remedial stage of learning about all this, and now recognize how difficult it can be finding good equipment based on spec sheets.  There is a lot more into audio equipment/engineering than I ever suspected and I find it fascinating.

 

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I would only suggest you NEVER let anyone talk you into an audio purchase in the future. Buy ONLY after audition and comparison. Some units are popular for different reasons, sometimes cause they are easy. As we learned at a young age, easy usually ain't best. Shop, audition, listen, take the time, do the work and you'll be satisfied. If not, you just keep wondering .Good luck.

 

After rereading it appears loud is most important ?? I suppose the Yamaha has a volume knob and you could just hook up a big amp. If more loud mediocre sound is what you're after that's easy. Buy a big amp and a couple cables .

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Never been a fan of Yamaha audio (they make serviceable equipment in all their lines: motorsports, instruments, electronics, ...).  I particularly like the "loudness" control they've use(d).  But the idea of any company that feels they have to cater to so many markets just irks me.  Like Brad Pitt told someone in "Troy":  Decide!

 

In this case I'd surmise it's the receiver you were talked into that's the bottleneck.

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Let’s not completely dog on me getting talked into the receiver, he also gave me a good deal on a pair of rf-7’s.  He just wasn’t an audio guy. Small town - the electronics store is geared towards surround systems. That’s why i didn’t end up with a stereo amp like i wanted - they didn’t have any.... 

 

I get the problem is likely the reciever. I mean to Biamp correctly I had to hook a tv up to it. It’s designed for something I’m really not using it for.... surround sound. 

 

What I’m looking for is good reccommendations, and suggestions. Also looking to learn more; What works well together. Tube preamps, bi-wiring sounds interesting (although in reality I’m not there yet). I’d like to even try tubes one day, although i recognize i wouldn’t probably get the volume i wanted (i don’t have that kind of money). 

 

Right now now i am kind of leaning towards the Emotiva, but would like to hear other people’s experiences with it, or comparisons. 

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Did your helpful dealer not tell you that Yamaha has a big range of stereo receivers and integrated amplifiers?  Maybe he just wanted to move what he had on the shelf, but when a customer asks for stereo, he doesn't usually mean "Or 9-channel, if that's all you got."

 

The Yamaha USA stereo range:  https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/index.html

 

And for heavy duty use, Yamaha makes a big range of professional stereo power amps, but they're less suitable for home use.

 

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/proaudio/power_amps/index.html

 

As for bi-wiring, that was a trendy thing that did more for speaker cable sales than it did for sound quality.  You may also hear about bi-amping with a multi-channel receiver/AVR, but for true bi-amping (or tri-amping), you need 2 (or 3) separate power amps, not the back channels of a surround sound receiver.  You also need a digital processor (and the correct settings for it) or a custom passive crossover, because the speakers' normal passovers are not suitable for bi-amping.  It can be done, and a number of forum members have gone the bi-amp or tri-amp route, including me, but it's neither simple nor cheap.

 

 

garyrc is a knowledgeable guy, so he may have good advice for you, but he's asking for the volume of your room, not the floor area.  The height of the ceiling is part of the volume.  It does make a difference.

 

Finally, what does "Will I get the decimal in a larger room?" mean?  The meaning is not clear to me.

 

Also, welcome to the forum!

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About 7 years ago I acquired a pair of Palladium P38s tower speakers. I had a 5 year old (now a 12 years old) Yamaha AVR, 100 wpc. It sounded very good to me, but it would clip around +6 on the volume, scary. A couple years ago I bought an Emotiva USP-1 pre-amp and an Emo XPA-2 Gen 2 amp. That combo really brought the towers to life, much more detail, a lot more bass, even a clearer mid range, there really wasn't a comparison. Those speakers, and also the RF7ll really need some good clean power. 

Someday I might try some tubes, but I'm happy with the sound for now. There's a very good deal on an ATI amp on this forum, that will bring your speakers to life.

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1 hour ago, Clinton said:

Let’s not completely dog on me getting talked into the receiver

Sorry...we're not doggin; ya. I'm sure you got the avr because it was there, looked like it could work (and should at the price) and has some people that like it. I had an RX A1000 for a short time in a second set, sold it on this very site years ago. I hooked it to a decent amp. What I didn't like was even louder.......I've owned several Emotiva units amps/pres, all great, outstanding for the price. I would compare them to Rotel/Anthem in sound quality.

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Clinton, couple thoughts:

The low growl you mention sounds like feedback from a turntable.  Does it happen on other sources?  If not, you need to provide better isolation for your tt.

The rapid onset of crap sound at high volumes sounds like a clipping amp.  Yamaha typically employs an impedance selector switch on the rear of the unit.  You should put it in the high impedance setting; the low impedance setting throttles back the supply and prevents the unit from delivering full power.  So check that first.

And that's a big enough room, particularly if it's well damped as you say, and RF7's are current hungry enough (4 ohm load), that a more meaty external amp may be in order.

Some helpful reading for your edification:

https://www.audioholics.com/audio-amplifier/impedance-selector-switch-1

https://www.audioholics.com/home-theater-connection/connecting-an-external-amp-to-a-receiver

 

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I have run many different amps and some receivers on my 7's from a beast old Onkyo TX890, 805 and the 7's sounded very good at high levels, then some Carvers pushing around 300-350, Emotiva XPA5, Behringer Inuke (had one laying around to try it out) and a QSC rated for 500-600 at a 4ohm load.  The QSC happened to be a DCA series, but that series has more to do with some features for cinema applications and is the same as some of their other series.  The Carvers and Emotiva were a noticeable improvement over the receivers, though they weren't bad at all, but the QSC out performed all of them clearly and you don't need to spend anything approaching your budget.  If you go out hunting on the clean used market with a $500 budget and understand the market you will have more clean power than you will ever be able to utilize and if you want to try out a lot of different things until you understand that from personal experience, you can buy and sell and it costs you nothing if you buy it for fair market value.  

 

Just my .02

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38 minutes ago, Pete H said:

you don't need to spend anything approaching your budget.

For example, the Outlaw 2200 amps put out 300w@4ohms, for about $350 apiece.  Someone is selling a really nice ATI 1802 in the garage sale sub-forum for an outrageously good price now as well.

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44 minutes ago, Ski Bum said:

For example, the Outlaw 2200 amps put out 300w@4ohms, for about $350 apiece.  Someone is selling a really nice ATI 1802 in the garage sale sub-forum for an outrageously good price now as well.

Yes, but I have no personal experience with either one of those pieces but I can say with confidence that running a pair of RF7's with anything pushing out 200+watts can provide them with what they need to reach their potential and then it comes down to preference regarding how that particular amp sounds to your ears and in the end, that's all that matters, not mine or anyone else's opinion. 

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