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A/V Component Advice

(34 posts)
  1. ssjones

    ssjones

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    I need some stereo component advice.

    I have a Sony 7.1 AV receiver in my family room. It drives a Sub/Sat/ speaker set with two rear surround speakers and a center channel. It also powers these speakers, thru the two speaker outputs (one output to the A/V family room set), the other to a speaker selector for the other three:
    - BIC Towers
    - 2 pairs of Advent outdoor speakers (pool/Patio)

    Typically we listen to either Pandora via the TV or XM satellite thru a Pad/phone (via the AUX input on the receiver)

    I recently changed a Monster brand, 4 speaker selector:
    https://www.amazon.com/Monster-Cable-SS4-Multi-Speaker-Selector/dp/B00004Y3UX

    For a Russsound selector, with four volume controls:
    Russound SDB-4 ez Dual A/B Input and 4 Pair Speaker (2 in 4 out) Selector Volume
    https://www.russound.com/products/connectivity-and-control/speaker-selectors/dual-source-with-volume-controls/sdb-4-1-4-pair-dual-source-speaker-selectors-with-volume-control

    The volume has been decreased significantly with the RussSound selector. I'm not looking for concert level volume (in case the neighbors are reading this...) but it's diminished enough to be a problem.

    Is my receiver not powerful enough to drive these? Unfortunately, I'm at the beach and don't remember my receiver spec, just a stand Sony AV from Best Buy, maybe 7-8 years old(no digital inputs, blue tooth capability, etc.)

    Al

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Hi Al,

    Wish I could help you, but I've not stayed current with A/V since I ran out of cactus needles for my Victrola. The only ting I can suggest is that you look at the spec sheets for both components to see if the answer is to be found there.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 2 months ago #
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    jeff540

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    Sounds like (no pun intended) the Russound selector is much higher impedance for whatever reason. Is the volume decrease the same as when you operated the Monster selector with all speakers being driven?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. cossackjack

    cossackjack

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    Impedance Mismatch: The Audio Impedance should match from the Sony 7.1 AV receiver audio-out through the Russound Selector to the speakers input, be it 4, 6, or 8 Ohms. If the AV receiver could adequately drive your speakers with the old selector, it is likely that they are Impedance matched. The Russound Selector may be Impedance mismatched.
    Your Russound Selector, as per its webpage:

    Designed for use with either 4- or 8-ohm speakers, the SDB-4.1 is equipped with internal jumpers to select the degree of impedance matching based on the impedance of your speakers and your amplifier's impedance requirements.

    The Rossound PRO-6 HP 6 Pair, Impedance Matching Speaker Selector has a rotary Impedance selector.

    Out-of-phase Connections: Another cause of poor audio is one or more component out-of-phase due to inadvertently switching cable connections, positive-to-negative, or vice versa. Check that all cables are correctly connected positive-to-positive & negative-to-negative.

    Hope that you can get this rectified.

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
    Specialization is for insects!" - Robert Heinlein
    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Thanks folks. I do have them phased correctly, all positive speaker leads are labeled as such.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    Unfortunately, I'm at the beach

    I can't help you with your audio problems Al, but this did make me chuckle a little.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. pipebaum81

    pipebaum81

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    Unfortunately, I'm at the beach

    I just love that you are contemplating your audio woes while on vacation on the Beach. In other news I wish we had some better weather for you this week

    j/B

    "I am a firm believer in the idea that who we are today is strongly influenced by the sum total of all of the individuals whom we have had the privilege of knowing."
    -huntertrw
    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. 3rdguy

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    Your Monster unit was rated @ 8 ohms per the owners manual. Your new SBD 4.1 is @ 4 ohms per the specs on their website. That is what I am reading.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. ssjones

    ssjones

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    @3rd Guy:
    Before I bought it, I checked the specs here:
    https://www.russound.com/products/connectivity-and-control/speaker-selectors/dual-source-with-volume-controls/sdb-4-1-4-pair-dual-source-speaker-selectors-with-volume-control

    "The SDB-4.1 uses high-quality impedance-matching autoformers to maintain a safe operating load at the amplifier while distributing maximum power throughout your system. Designed for use with either 4- or 8-ohm speakers, the SDB-4.1 is equipped with internal jumpers to select the degree of impedance matching based on the impedance of your speakers and your amplifier's impedance requirements."

    So, perhaps I need to move those internal jumpers mentioned above?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Downloaded the manual, mine didn't come with one. Looks like I have a job to do when I get home. I'll update!

    Setting the Impedance
    The impedance of the autoformers in SDB speaker selectors is set at the factory
    to be proper for most applications. The SDB-2.1 comes set at 2X; the SDB-4.1
    at 4X; and the SDB-6.1 at 8X. However, if certain applications require changing
    the impedance setting, simply remove the cover of the unit and re-position the
    jumpers on the autoformers to the necessary impedance-matching setting.

    Russound SDB Speaker Selectors autoformers can be set to impedance-matching
    settings of 2X, 4X or 8X.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. elessar

    elessar

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    Can you clarify the zones that you are looking to power? It sounds from your description that you would like a 5.1 surround system in the family room and an outdoor system consisting of 2 pairs of outdoor speakers. This would be two zones. Is this correct?

    Also, do you want/need to be able to listen to 2 independent sources on the 2 zones simultaneously (someone watching a movie while someone listens to pandora outside)?

    One thing to be careful about on those AVR receivers they never (to my knowledge) put out any level power even near there nameplate rating. For example, if you have a 7.1 AVR that has an amp section capable of putting out 150 watts with only one channel being driven, Sony will rate that amplifier at around 1,050 watts (150 x 7 channels). The amp section is not even close to being able to deliver this power level but that is how these things seem to be rated. You can confirm this by comparing the advertised output on the unit with the rated power draw on the rear of the unit. To me, this is a deceiving way of marketing a product. For a reference, I have a 7 channel amp that is capable of delivering 150 watts to all channels simultaneously. This amp weighs in at around 100lbs and is an absolute beast. It also draws 1,500 watts at that power level.

    If I was to make a guess, the Monster unit may not have done impedance matching and depending on how you wired the speakers together you may have been presenting the AVR unit with lower impedance. For example, if you wire two 8 ohm speakers in parallel you present the amp with a 4 ohm load. This will have the effect of allowing the amp to deliver more power and volume. Lets say you wired a couple speakers (through the volume control or otherwise) to the same amp output you may have even been loading the amp at 2 ohms or less. This will give you more perceived volume at the risk of burning out the amp by exceeding thermal limits.

    There are tons of good products that can achieve what you are looking for. If you give some goals for the system I can probably try to point you in a good direction.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. 3rdguy

    3rdguy

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    You are correct, the jumpers need to be advanced. 4 ohms takes more than the 8 ohms. That should correct it. Who knows what it is actually set at.

    Elessar is correct on the power ratings. Those ratings are @ 2 channels driven. My receiver which is fairly old by the audio video hobby, is rated @ 200 watts/channel. It gets no where near that with my 7.1. One way to help it (in a home theater setting) is to make sure your sub is powered as they draw a lot.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. ssjones

    ssjones

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    All four speakers have separate runs, none are in parallel.

    The Sub/Sat set for A/V use in the family room is running off Speaker A on the receiver. (not run thru the selector) The Sub is passive. This is used for movies/television and never in combination with the other speakers.

    Speaker B on the receiver runs to the speaker selector. Listening to music, through a phone or I-pad, through the receiver, is only done in 2 channel. Off the selector, I have three speaker runs (family room towers, patio and pool)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. elessar

    elessar

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    There should be a chart in the Russound manual to determine which impedance setting should be used. You will need to know the impedance of all attached speakers and the amplifier to determine correct jumper settings.

    On your old Monster unit did you ever press the "Amplifier Protection" button when listening to multiple sets of speakers? Also, do you have a model number on your Sony receiver?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. ssjones

    ssjones

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    I'm at the beach, so no access to the receiver (the one component of which I don't have the manual downloaded).

    I do have the Russound manual, which lists the chart for impedance settings.

    The speakers might be an issue. I've had them so long, with no paperwork (Boston brand) I think they have a manufacturers tag on the back. Will also check that. However, 8 ohm seems to be the standard for home speakers.

    I wonder what the jumpers look like inside? I can't find any reference to that. Russound has this video, which is interesting:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlONDdCUodU&t=10s

    90% of the time, I only run two pairs - the pool/patio, rarely are the towers on inside the house.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. elessar

    elessar

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    If you have a multimeter you can quickly check the resistance of the speakers. The measurement should be relatively close to the impedance.

    You may find that even with properly matched impedance you don't get the volume you want. Then it's time for more power (cue Tim Allen grunt).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. georged

    georged

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    Then it's time for more power

    https://www.qsc.com/live-sound/products/power-amplifiers/pld-series/pld45/

    Dogs live such short lives... and spend most it waiting for us to come home
    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. ssjones

    ssjones

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    It might be time to upgrade to a receiver with Bluetooth/Wifi capabilities. This Sony has 1155 max watts.
    https://www.amazon.com/Sony-STR-DN1080-Surround-Sound-Receiver/dp/B06XKRWWSG?tag=outdoorspeakersreview-20

    Or an add-on amp to my existing receiver? (is it worth it to add to a 10 year old budget class receiver?)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. elessar

    elessar

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    That Sony has no where near 1155 watts actual output for reasons stated above. That is just a theoretical number. It will give you more bells and whistles but not necessarily the volume you are looking for (not saying it won't either, the way those units rate power it can be hard to tell).

    What do you want to spend (on a scale of 1-10)? To get into higher level distributed audio systems is usually a pretty large jump in costs.

    You could also try something to power your outdoor speakers separately. I have not used this unit personally but the reviews look decent.
    https://www.parts-express.com/lepai-lp1601s-200w-class-d-stereo-amplifier-with-bluetooth-and-power-supply--310-303

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Thanks elessar, I was wondering about an add-on like the Lepai. Could I use that to just drive my two sets of outdoor speakers?

    On the Sony, I realize the 1155 watts is not what I'd experience, but I think my current receiver is rated significantly less (under 500?). the Wifi connect would be a usable feature.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. elessar

    elessar

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    I would think so, but not seeing your speakers I couldn't say for sure. If your outdoor speakers are all 8 ohm and you parallel them to the unit (making 4 ohm) I would think it would do the job. I would certainly try it. The Lepai seems to be rated down to 4 ohm speaker impedance. Looks to be Bluetooth only, no wifi. There are certainly other amps you could look at, though I would recommend avoiding PYLE and some of the other really low end brands. They are pretty much horrible in many ways.

    Parts Express also sells a Bluetooth receiver module that could drive a larger amp if needed. You already have a volume control. Or go the route georged suggested and get "The Who" volume levels

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Neighbor boy taking care of our pets sent me my receiver model
    https://www.crutchfield.com/S-RSL2JwCZBSH/p_158STD697B/Sony-STR-DE697.html

    Specs are:
    Product highlights:

    90 watts x 7 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD
    Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS Neo:6 and Pro Logic II processing
    Digital Cinema Sound modes
    32-bit processor
    multibrand A/V remote
    5.1-channel input
    component video switching (2 in, 1 out, 80MHz bandwidth)
    digital inputs: 3 optical, 2 coaxial
    optical digital output
    3 audio inputs and 4 A/V inputs (including 3 S-video and 1 front-panel)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. elessar

    elessar

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    Looking at the specs I now better understand the A/B speaker outputs you mentioned. I wonder if these are separate channels or a switched set of bridged outputs. Doesn't really matter I suppose.

    In any case, I think the Monster switch was probably presenting a lower impedance resulting in higher volume. I would start with trying to match impedance per the Russound instructions and see if the volume is to your liking. Intentionally reducing the impedance will produce higher volume at the risk of amplifier damage. You will need to know the impedance of your speakers to set the Russound.

    If it still isn't what you want there are plenty of good alternatives.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. elessar

    elessar

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    I haven't worked on that particular Russound volume/selector but I have worked on the wall mount Russound volume controls. The impedance jumpers are clearly marked and easy to adjust. Your unit should be the same.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. 3rdguy

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    Have you considered a good Denon or Onkyo receiver? Get a lot of flexibility with them. Solid units.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Thanks for all the input and advice! I'm back tomorrow, on it next week. Until now, my current receiver has been solid, so if I can get the Russound to work, that's plan A. I'll report my findings.
    @elessar - appreciate the confirmation on setting the jumpers, there aren't any pictures of video of that process.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Ok, home from the beach, time to dismantle my stereo....

    I remove my Russound selector, and it appears that one screw on each side will release the cover. Nope. Pull three more off the back, no go. Remove the eight (two for each wire connection) for the speaker leads. Nope. Pry the sides of the cover out, and the back and get it to barely clear the speaker quick connects. Victory!

    But, there's no sign of any jumpers here. I suspect on the board, the 8X, with those two holes must be jumped? (there are eight of these, two per speaker selection)
    I figured this wasn't going to be easy. Google of zero help, apparently, I'm blazing new ground or I'm a really poor googler.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. elessar

    elessar

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    No it should be easy. The wall mount units are just multi tap switches to set impedance (2x, 4x, 8x). Is there anything on the bottom side of the board? Or anywhere else? I can't imagine any soldering required to adjust impedance.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. ssjones

    ssjones

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    No switches on the bottom, with very difficult access. It sure doesn't look like this unit was meant to changed by the user.

    I emailed Russsound, I'll see what they say to do.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. elessar

    elessar

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    I think that is probably the best thing to do. See what Russound says. It shouldn't be this complicated.

    If I was speculating it looks as though there should be a switch of some kind across those contact points. They look laid out for a surface mount switch. It is almost as if they forgot to put the switches on. If their instructions reference a method of adjustment that you are not seeing I would send them the above picture.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  31. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    Al, if you do go for a new receiver I would look at Denon. I had a Denon amp and pre amp set up in my pool hall. We were always open, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and 14 hours a day for 20 years. That Denon never quit. In my home I have a Denon receiver, it has loads of power when I want to crank some Led Zeppelin or Yes.

    Harris
    Posted 2 months ago #
  32. elessar

    elessar

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    Upon closer inspection of you pictures I see your volume control is a SDB-4 EZ, not the SDB4.1 that your link points to. I also see that you posted the correct model in you r initial post. I should have read more carefully.

    You can find the correct product manual at this link (scroll down to the SDB4EZ):
    https://www.russound.com/document-center/20-legacy-products/57-miscellaneous/59-product-manuals

    I do not see any mention of impedance matching in this manual. Perhaps Russound will have a better explanation but it is possible that this older model does not allow more advanced impedance matching.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  33. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Yep, Russound confirmed the older unit I have has no impedance matching feature. I put the original Monster switch back in, it sounds great. Russound did send me a lot of options, including offering me the new SBD4.1 for $100. I'll stick with my current system for now. I definitely appreciate the responses and assistance!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  34. elessar

    elessar

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    Glad you are up and running again.

    Posted 2 months ago #

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