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Replacement amp theory

 

New member
Username: Sumflow

Hawaii

Post Number: 1
Registered: May-12
I grew up on a MacIntosh 6100 integrated, later with power guard as a Mac 6200 pre/amp Amp.

Gaucho1 said "I'm considering making some changes to my system. I no longer use a turntable… The Mac Mini is the primary source of audio and video, whether I am watching iTunes, Hulu, or Netflix or streaming Pure Music or MOG."

Now I find myself in a similar situation to Gaucho. I use a iMac to watch Hulu, Youtube and Quicktime. My 100 GB of music is apple lossless on external harddrives played on iTunes. I go into a Denon amp with an optical cable, and fat wires into a pair of JBL-100 speakers. Would you recommend replacing the Denon with a used Mac?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17254
Registered: May-04
.

I'd always recommend a Mac over most other items and I would get rid of the fat wires.
 

New member
Username: Sumflow

Hawaii

Post Number: 4
Registered: May-12
Will I need a DAC?
What do you recomend for wires?}
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2754
Registered: Oct-07
I'd use the optical / 3.5mm output in the optical mode....and YES to a good DAC.
The list of DACs say.....<1000$ would go on for several pages. Some even have balanced outs. Others have a 'pass thru' set out outputs and multiple ins of coax, optical, USB and a new input in the form of a BlueTooth dongle. I've even seen a few at that price point with the digital balanced connection, though i've yet to see such a source. My DAC has a vol control and headphone outputs so all I really need is a power amp IF all my inputs were to be digital. Not quite yet, but close.
Widen the net to up to 2500$ and the selection gets strange.

Cables / Wires / Interconnects are really the 3rd rail of audio. NOBODY agress 100% on any part of it. System dependance and personal preference rule. Good in this system is BAD in that. Spending megabucks is, to me, crazy. Good fundamentals would appear to be #1. Good cables should not be a bank breaker, either.
Personally, I'd skip the JBLs, too. I had a pair of RSL3600 'copies' while my brother had JBL 4311s. Ok, for the time, with a bass bump before rolloff, I wouldn't want to go back.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17255
Registered: May-04
."Will I need a DAC?"

Depends on which McIntosh you buy and what files you want to run. Decide which Mac you intend to buy and then you'll know whether you sould buy an outboard DAC.



"What do you recomend for wires?"


I don't recommend wires. I recommend you use wires but I don't recommend you use any specific wires. I just can find no justification for fat wires in an audio system. Why'd you buy fat wires in the first place?



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New member
Username: Sumflow

Hawaii

Post Number: 5
Registered: May-12
Adequate wire size is essential to proper operation of a speaker. Ordinary 14-gauge lamp cord, as long as it's heavy enough, is just as good as anything else for speaker leads.

The Truth About Speaker Wire http://goo.gl/pTM6d

http://fmarvasti.com/Graphics/SpeakerWire.jpg
[img]http://www.outdooraudio.com/images/graphics/2007/wire_chart.jpg[/img]
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17259
Registered: May-04
.

"Ordinary 14-gauge lamp cord, as long as it's heavy enough, is just as good as anything else for speaker leads."


I'd say that's true only if the listener cannot perceive any improvements by using a higher quality cable or, at least, one with less self inductance per foot.

I'm not looking to get into a p*ssing match with anyone over cables. But that sort of statement is the type made by someone who has just a weeeeeee bit too much desire to claim snake oil because of their belief engine IMO. Use whatever you want in your own system - that's your money - but don't start telling someone else what you think they should hear for their own money. That's BS!

My point is, there is little need for "fat wires" in most systems and, in most cases, they are made thick to sell to male buyers who equate size with performance. Most people have no idea what guage the conductors in their fat cables are. They could be very thin 28 AWG with a "fat" dielectric/insulator for all most buyers know. Hang a gold plated connector of some sort on the end and this is called "audio jewellery". Made to attract crows and other assorted creatures who are drawn to bright shiney things.

95% of the audio systems where specialty cables are used will never come close to challenging the current capacity of the cables they have installed. That's the main reason for a "thicker" cable - to carry higher amperage at higher voltage for a longer period of time. Virtually none of that applies to an audio system. And the output impedance of a solid state amp is typically so low that 8' of cable will make no difference on the total circuit resistance. So, why buy something that is 90% visual and 10% what you need?

If your cables runs are less than 12' per side, then even a 14 AWG cable is overkill for most systems. However, yanking the cord off an old table fan is not adequate speaker cabling.


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New member
Username: Sumflow

Hawaii

Post Number: 6
Registered: May-12
I have always run14 gauge copper wire fifty feet per side. } w}
 

New member
Username: Sumflow

Hawaii

Post Number: 7
Registered: May-12
Jan Vigne: > .. yanking the cord off an old table fan is not adequate speaker cabling.<

"We have been told by advertising that the exotic speaker wires offer fabulous advantages over ordinary lamp cord. Do you think it is reasonable that using this same wire for lamps would also enhance lamp performance?
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2757
Registered: Oct-07
50' of #14 is probably inadequate, no matter what you've been reading. Especially for lower impedance speakers. Problems arise as resistance of the cable reaches a certain %age of speaker load. Keep in mind, too that the speaker will probably have dips and peaks which can complicate things....the dips, especially. Also, the non-speaker wire you are running is of unknown capacitance which further gums things up. Jan may choose to discuss hi-capacitance wire of such long runs......and has already mentioned inductance. Some measureables DO make a difference.

For runs of that length? I'd go #12, especially at higher power and lower impedance.

#14 is about .25ohms per 100 feet. Your run is 2x the one-way distance, so that is pretty close. #12 is about 40% lower.

An incandescent buld is a resistive load, so current capacity is IT. Speakers are complex loads where other factors come into play.
 

New member
Username: Sumflow

Hawaii

Post Number: 8
Registered: May-12
Sorry, I should have said I was running 14 gauge copper wire, fifty feet per side, into 8 ohm loudspeakers. The most cost effective thing to do is just buy a hundred foot roll and cut in in half for two speakers. But sure fatter would be better.

Longer wires give us more flexibility when we move things around. Going under rugs and around beds, even fifty feet does not seem like enough. If you have ever been on stage you know the real source is spread out all over the place. Performance riders commonly ask for 40' by 60' clear stage area to put down rugs and flowers before they bring in the equipment. If you are trying to get that sound, you cannot put the speakers right next to each other. If you have ever walked around on a stage when the show is going on, you cannot stay in one place to listen, or for that matter sit still, when the music is a blastin.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2758
Registered: Oct-07
My mistake.
I thought we were listening at HOME, not on stage.

I'm not going to get into the minutia of speaker measure, but you should take '8 ohms' as advisory, not writ. Also, being 'impedance', not resistance, you have a reactive measure, as well.

Quality of wire is important. If you are a set and forget type, you should examine your wire periodically. Some insulation reacts poorly to the copper and turns green / oxidized. Bad news, higher resistance at the connection and a diode, to boot. (copper oxide is a diode).

http://www.audioholics.com/education/cables/speaker-cable-gauge

The linked article will fill in the gaps on what is measurable in speaker wire and why some are important.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3710
Registered: Jun-07
Going back to the original post, Mac, Dac whatever you buy do yourself a favor and stop using I-Tunes. Its horrid. Sounds like absolute crud. Don't ask me what I would recommend as a player for an apple product because I don't care. In my world the word Apple means what I ate for breakfast as anything else stating its name is useless in my day to day. Leo will have a good player to suggest.

IMO anything MAC will make your Denon sound like a spoon rattling on the outside of a tin can. Ping, pang King tang *AHHH WHAT IS THAT NOISE*!! What have I been listening to!! Sort of feeling once your new Mac hits is inserted into your system.

Thick wires you say, ahhhh now I know why those 10 guage Monster cables sounded so good from Best Spooge!! Nope!! Horrid. Worse s$hit I have ever heard from a cable. But they were THICK!! lol Throw the thick cable theory out the door its horse pile my friend.

Now I am going to spend your money for you...Buy the Mac, Buy a DAC, Buy speakers that are worth owning a Mac and a new DAC for, and for the love of humanity ditch I-Tunes. I have seen 14 year teenagers program better software out of their mothers basement using a hacked together PC.
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