A/V Component Advice

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ssjones

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May 11, 2011
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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.)

 

sablebrush52

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Jun 15, 2013
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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.

 

jeff540

Senior Member
Jan 25, 2016
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Southwest Virginia
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?

 

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cossackjack

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Oct 31, 2014
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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.

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
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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

 

3rdguy

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Aug 29, 2017
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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.

 

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?

 

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.
 

elessar

Member
Apr 24, 2019
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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.

 

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.

 

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)

 

elessar

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Apr 24, 2019
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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?

 

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.

 

elessar

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Apr 24, 2019
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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).

 

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?)

 

elessar

Member
Apr 24, 2019
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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

 

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.

 

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