Newbie Help! I'm dying here....


New member
Username: Jdingwell


Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-10
Here's the Cole's notes to my problem...

Wife and I decided to put up crown moulding -- so hey, let's wire our 'bowling alley style' condo for speakers while we can. It's a bit of a Frankenstein mix of technology, I'm not an audiophile by any definition of the word, I'm just trying to get a basic setup going for casual listening. Here's the setup:

• two Monitor Audio Radius 90 speakers in the back
• two old PSB Alpha Minis (from my university days) in the front
• and an Omage TRD6.5ST-RC in-trim rear can speaker in the bathroom.

I installed an in-wall volume controller for the bathroom speaker (AMX impedance matching volume control).

Everything works great individually when plugged into my amp (old Yamaha RX-396) - but, nothing really works when mixed together -- amp overloads and shuts off, speakers sound crappy - doesn't matter if it's any combination of 2 or all 3 speaker pairs.

The audio store where I bought the Monitor speakers sold me a fairly cheap looking Legend LE414 Speaker control box so I can run three sets of speakers from the single A/B amp -- which just seems to make things worse.

By no means am I at all versed in the nuances of the stereo world. My thought/hope was it would all just work. Clearly, I underestimated the problem. Does anyone see anything that is jumping out as the problem? Are there issues with mixing speakers with possibly different wattage? Is it that my amp it too old and under powered? Please, any help is GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks. Jeff

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 635
Registered: Oct-10
Due to some confusion when we tried to help another member, I have a few questions.

Please define what you mean by "casual listening" I know that should be common sense, but the other member used a similar term when he actually meant something entirely different.

How much money do you want to spend on additional equipment and cables that you may need?

Are the tweeters in both pairs of speakers the same type? If not, the two pairs of speakers will not sound good together.

Finally, be prepared for more questions. I'm sure they're coming.

New member
Username: Jdingwell


Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-10
I guess by casual listening I mean that I'm not trying to impress anyone with a monster system that's going to make the neighbors call the cops.

My expectations for a sound system could be summed up as background music over dinner and/or decent enough quality to enjoy pop music at a reasonable level without things sounding either too thin or too 'bassy'? I guess the kiss of death, from an audiophile perspective, is that much of the music I'll be listening too will be MP3 quality. The quality on the Monitor Audio speakers, when hooked-up alone, are more than adequate for my needs - does that help?

As for money, I'd like to not have to throw a lot of money at the problem. If the amp is the issue then I'd probably be willing to drop a few hundred (less than $400) on a new one.

Cables are all brand new 18 gage (full discloser - one of the cables I used out of convenience is less than 18 gage to one of my speakers) - and everything is now behind the wall/molding so I'm less inclined to make changes there . In total, I'd say that there's about 350 feet of speaker wire running around the house to connect the various speakers.

As for the tweeter question, I'm not sure, but to be honest. But the speakers are far enough apart and the layout of the condo is such that you don't get a lot of overlap in sound. Think two largish rooms separated by a hallway.

So, that said, notwithstanding any overall quality issues, one of my bigger concerns at the moment is that I'm finding that with certain configurations (font and back speakers only running let's say) the amp is overloaded and shuts down once you hit anything over low to medium volume - that's with only two sets of speakers and the bathroom speaker not even hooked-up?

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 637
Registered: Oct-10
First thing you need to know is that no one is going to judge you for not being an audiophile. Do what works for you within your budget.

To power 3 pairs of speakers, you should have an autoformer based speaker switch. This will help to stabilize the speaker load for your Yamaha. I understand they are rather expensive though.

Aside from the switch, and possibly speaker wire, I can't think of anything you need. I'll look again later when the buzz from the margarita wears off.

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 647
Registered: Oct-10
If it's at all feasible, replacing your speaker wire with 12 guage would be good. If you don't want to pay $75 for a 50 foot spool of monster, there is 12 awg for less that works just as well.

Any speakers that are in same room should have the same tweeter.

An autoformer is an automatic audio transformer. I post more info on autoformers when I can.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15622
Registered: May-04

You indicate only one speaker - the "Omage TRD6.5ST-RC in-trim rear can speaker" installed in the bathroom. You have a stereo receiver with two channels. How did you make the connection to the single bathroom speaker? Are you only using one channel of the receiver's outputs to drive that one speaker or, did you try to combine both channels into one single speaker?

Do you know how to check for continuity in the speaker cables? Often, when cables are placed in wall prior to the drywall or finish carpenter doing their work, cables are shorted by a staple or nail that is inadvertently run through the speaker cables? Have you checked the cables to make certain they are still in good condition by performing a continuity check or, did you just assume they were OK since they looked good the last time you saw them?

You say the speaker selector seems to make matters worse. In what way? I can find no reference to the model of switcher you list. But switches aren't that complicated and even a cheaply constructed switch shouldn't make things worse unless there is a problem with the switch - which is the least likely suspect here since you were having problems before it was introduced into the system.

I'm making the guess you didn't bother to check any of the cabling install before you signed off on the work and allowed the other workers into the house. Had you ever even tried to run the two main pairs of speakers - the MA's and PSB's - simultaneously with this receiver to know how that combination fared?


Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 677
Registered: Oct-10
Fasteners through speaker wire would @#%&$ things up. On the rare occations I get the luxury of running wires in open walls, I always fasten the wires to the sides of studs centered front to back so that wouldn't happen. Never had a rocker nail a wire yet.

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4516
Registered: Feb-07
Your receiver has A/B speaker outputs correct? How are you connecting all 5 speakers?

If you run just two pairs of speakers (disconnect the bathroom speaker), does the amp still shut down?

New member
Username: Klang

Greystones, County Wicklow Ireland

Post Number: 4
Registered: Dec-10
check to see if the speaker switching box is impedance matching !?
As most speakers quote nominal 8 ohms but most are really 6 ohm.
The Amp will shut down once the impedance drops below its capability ( check the specs and see what it will accept) .
2) If the cable run is long you will get a voltage drop off .
3)Most of the cheaper switching boxes degrade the sound quality and output volume.
4) If the amp is low powered the use something with more reserve current even a good quality used one like NAD .
You could also borrow an amp from somebody just to see if your amp has a faulty circuit.
« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us