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What amplifier do I buy?

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What amplifier do I buy?

Postby phillyorganist » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:18 pm

I've made the plunge. Bought the 24GB Dell computer, the organ hardware from Classic, AKG K701 headphones and will purchase an Echo Audiofire 8 audio interface. I think I made a lot of good decisions with the help of forum members, kind and generous Philly area Hauptwerk owners, and advice from Darryl and Francois.

Now, possibly considering a speaker/amp system. I have a townhouse in Philadelphia, so I'm not going to be blasting speakers much at all (the neighbors would call the police!). But, occasionally, I"d like to play and practice with a good set of speakers and subwoofer on a moderate volume. I have the entire 3d floor loft for my entertainment area, with about 8-9' ceilings, room is about 16x13', with a big open hallway area for additional space next to the stairs.

I see lots of recommendations for Def Tech Supercube I and II and Def Tech SM450 monitor speakers. Also the recommendation for the VERY EXPENSIVE Marantz MM8003 amplifier that has 8 pairs of inputs and outputs. Not sure I can afford that (lowest price I saw on ebay was $1500--yikes).

Any suggestions for amplifiers? Will my home theatre (Onkyo 7.1) amplifier work for a Hauptwerk system, and could I also use it in the same room for my wide-screen TV?

Some folks recommend the Supercube for a subwoofer. What about the Supercube III (lower priced). Anyone have it?
Jim
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby Cooky » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:00 am

I have used a Supercube 111 over the past couple of months after hearing one in another Hauptwerk setup. Judged on cost/benefit I think it was an excellent purchase (as new on Ebay). It provides an excellent foundation, sitting "under" the rest of my 10 channel home Hauptwerk setup. As it is rarely driven beyound about 10%-15% of its rated capacity, I doubt that a larger or more powerful subbase would provide significant benefit in my home environment. My open plan multi-zone living space however is not small - about 50' x 20', with a hotch potch of speakers ranging from 18"x1; 15"x4; 12"x3 etc. My wife and ultimate critic speaks approvingly of the purchase from our lifestyle budget. I never realised how much difference it would make to the "bottom end" of my system, adding a new dimension to much of the music I play.
I like the choice of inputs (high/low impedence), but dislike the 7-15 watts of power it draws in standby condition. I turn it off. In use it rarely draws more than 20watts.
As long as your home theatre amp can handle all channels being driven with a simultaneously load (Full organ fff is I suspect a lot more demanding on your amp than gunfire in a movie), I don't think you will have a problem with your amp, though your speakers may be another matter. I use my system regularly for internet derived music, as it leaves computer speakers where they belong!
I have tried to give a "gut level" rather than a technical response, but If you like technicalities there is another thread running on speakers - if you can figure out its meaning, please let us all know.
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby BarryG » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:56 am

Hi Jim,

Exciting progress!

I think a lot of forum members use home-theater receivers for their Hauptwerk audio systems; don't know whether many use the same speakers for both, or have a receiver dedicated to Hauptwerk.

I have a Speakercraft BB1235 amp for my Hauptwerk system, and it works quite well, very solid. They also have 8-channel models.

I share my DefTech Reference sub with my home theater system, which also has the DefTech 450s. (My Hauptwerk speaker array is otherwise separate and diverse, but I'm hoping to share a couple of the 450s to add rear speaker capability for Hauptwerk. The former living room is now the music/entertainment room, with the organ and home theater systems as principal occupants.)

Somewhere in what must be the forum's longest thread going, about multi-channel audio, Martin said, if I understand him correctly, that for wet sample sets a single stereo speaker pair plus sub is the perhaps-ideal audio system, whereas for dry sample sets that multi-channel audio is better. You might try finding that to verify, but I think it's an important point in deciding how many and how big an audio setup to start with.

Barry
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby David Pinnegar » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:53 am

BarryG wrote:Somewhere in what must be the forum's longest thread going, about multi-channel audio, Martin said, if I understand him correctly, that for wet sample sets a single stereo speaker pair plus sub is the perhaps-ideal audio system, whereas for dry sample sets that multi-channel audio is better. You might try finding that to verify, but I think it's an important point in deciding how many and how big an audio setup to start with.


Hi!

That decision, as an organist, is very difficult. I grew up playing a three manual instrument in a huge acoustic with a remote console, very much akin to the Hauptwerk wet sample set experience. When I transferred to a parish church pipe organ, with little reverberation and being on top of the sound, it was a terrible shock and for the first time I became aware of the terribly bad habits that the large acoustic had covered up in my playing.

To some extent, it depends whether you merely play for pleasure, entertainment and relaxation in which case a dream acoustic simulation is wonderful or whether you want practice for playing somewhere else, in which case the nature of what else you play will determine the necessity to go one way or other. If one wants to be a good organist, then the harsh reality of the dry is an acid test.

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby phillyorganist » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:04 pm

All good info, as usual, from Forum contributors. Can't imagine how much I've learned with my few posts and the generous responses.

Turns out my Onkyo 7.1 home theater receiver (TX SR605) has 8 audio analog inputs, which the manual says is typically used for DVD players with audio outputs. So, we're thinking that it will work for the Hauptwerk and I can also use everything for my home theater system. Like Barry, I'm hoping to have one large room for my HDTV as well as my Hauptwerk organ, and share the audio system for both. I think it can work.

It wasn't clear to me before my post that I could use a home theater-type receiver, but I've come to learn that the important thing is that the receiver/amp have audio analog INPUTS (such as 8) into which I can connect the Audiofire 8 OUTPUTS.

Going to look for a Def Tech subwoofer and SR 450 speakers for the rest of my "audio" system.

It is exciting, and I've made a lot of progress in the last two weeksl!! Looking forward to getting my system next week or so!
Jim
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby Doug S. » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:39 pm

Jim,
I use dry samples exclusively along with eight ranks of pipes. If I had to describe live pipes versus digital, I'd say the pipes do all of their interaction in the air. Put another way, the pipes shake a lot of air....gently, and quite clearly influence and interact with one another.
Consequently as seen elsewhere on this board adding, multiple channels and dividing the notes and ranks so as to minimize the miriad of interactions from occuring electronically makes a HUGE difference. From my limited experience, the 8' Open Diapason seems to suffer the most from digital reproduction.
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:32 pm

Doug S. wrote:Jim,
I use dry samples exclusively along with eight ranks of pipes. If I had to describe live pipes versus digital, I'd say the pipes do all of their interaction in the air. Put another way, the pipes shake a lot of air....gently, and quite clearly influence and interact with one another.
Consequently as seen elsewhere on this board adding, multiple channels and dividing the notes and ranks so as to minimize the miriad of interactions from occuring electronically makes a HUGE difference. From my limited experience, the 8' Open Diapason seems to suffer the most from digital reproduction.


Doug,

Do you use any kind of reverb? I have had pipes for a number of years and thought I would go to HW to get the ambiance, more ranks and free up more space in the house, but lately I've really been questioning getting rid of the pipes. Although I love the cathedral sound with HW wet, there is a considerable difference in the sound. As you say the the pipes blend much more effortlessly, and fill the whole room with sound, surrounding me. The more stops I add to the HW system, the more it seems to increase the harshness of the sound, even using 6 channels at this point. The pipes on the other hand just build effortlessly.

My thoughts now are to use pipes with HW to get a bigger organ, and then miking the pipes and speakers using convolution to rear/ side channels. I have tried miking the pipes in the past, and it has worked very well with even just an outboard DSP.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad I got the HW setup. I'm just thinking how I can blend the two for the best possible sound.

Eric
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby Doug S. » Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:19 pm

I do use reverb, but need to find the best way to add the pipework to the mix.
One way is to mike the room to the reverb unit. Another is to use duplicate HW stops as lower volume "ghosts" sent exclusively to the reverb unit. The "harshness" you speak of may be a matter of regulating the stops properly relative to the pipework. On the other hand, Pipes taken from a normal large volume setting were voiced and regulated tor that space and when brought into a small residence environment are often too loud and harsh. It can be quite a challenge to revoice and regulate them for the change in venue. The pipes that I didn't build from scratch as residence pipework, I ended up disassembling and replacing the languids with the un-nicked and more obtuce angled languids seen in older classically voiced organs. These permit open-toe voicing at minimal wind pressure and render a most pleasing un-forced tone pleasent to the ear even from a foot away. Building digital upperwork on top of unison pipework seems to work quire well.
G.A. Audsley illustrated proper ensamble finishing as follows.
Imagine all of the harmonic pitches arrayed in order as the keys of a glockenspeil, 8-4-22/3-2-1/35 - Mixtures...etc.
One strikes the keys beginning with the highest and ending with an extra strong strike of the fundamental unison.
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:20 pm

Thanks for the info Doug. This is probably in the wrong category of the forum now. That's my fault.

My pipework is of low pressure, low cutup, mildly nicked but still closed toe. Regulating the volume of the pipes is a challenge. The harshness I speak of on the digital end has mainly to do with with the electronic mixing and fast beats from thirds, etc. that I just don't hear nearly as much with the real pipework. With pipes it's like one speaker per pipe, after all.

My pipe mixture was the hardest to tone down and keep in tune, so this would be a good one to use HW for, as well as reeds as they are expensive and I don't use them that much.

How many speaker channels do you use for the HW augmentation?

Eric
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby schantzplayer » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:40 pm

Hey Phillyoraganist,

I use a Carver Sunfire Home theater system and it works great at 200 watt x 5 channels. To tell you the truth, I think it would be hard to find a lousy amplifier today. As long as the THD is very low and the power is sufficient, you should be good to go. I don't doubt that your existing amp would be fine. Most amplifiers made today, are flat from about 5Hz clear up to 100 kHz. I know true audiophiles would insist on more esoteric specifications, but I think it is overkill in this application. You are lucky that you do have analog access to all 8 channels.
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby toplayer2 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:29 pm

schantzplayer wrote:Hey Phillyoraganist,

I use a Carver Sunfire Home theater system and it works great at 200 watt x 5 channels. To tell you the truth, I think it would be hard to find a lousy amplifier today. As long as the THD is very low and the power is sufficient, you should be good to go. I don't doubt that your existing amp would be fine. Most amplifiers made today, are flat from about 5Hz clear up to 100 kHz. I know true audiophiles would insist on more esoteric specifications, but I think it is overkill in this application. You are lucky that you do have analog access to all 8 channels.


Agree. Amps are relatively interchangeable, IMO. Speakers, not.

The more stops I add to the HW system, the more it seems to increase the harshness of the sound, even using 6 channels at this point. The pipes on the other hand just build effortlessly.


Eric, this increasing harshness as (dry sampled) stops are layered is something I am really hoping to conquer; most of that hope rests on using 12 channels per side, grouped "Cyclic within octave, octaves and ranks cycled". Still need five more speakers to test this.

Joe
Last edited by toplayer2 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:45 pm

toplayer2 wrote:
Eric, this increasing harshness as stops are layered is something I am really hoping to conquer; most of that hope rests on using 12 channels per side, grouped "Cyclic within octave, octaves and ranks cycled". Still need five more speakers to test this. Joe


Yes I was thinking the same thing. When I said six channels I really meant 3 stereo pairs. I have alot more speakers to go to get to 12 pairs, obviously. I'm anxious to hear how it works out once you get there.

Eric
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby counterpoint » Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:12 pm

Jim,

I know exactly where you can get what you've been searching for.

Emotiva
http://emotiva.com/

I have a few Emotiva amps and they are all extremely high quality products, especially for the price! I have listed a few recommendations below but feel free to check out their other amplifiers. You can't go wrong with Emotiva!


UPA-5 Five Channel Audio Power Amplifier
125 watts RMS x 5 into 8 ohms | 185 watts RMS x 5 into 4 ohms
http://emotiva.com/upa5.shtm
$549 +$25 shipping

Image

Detailed Specs:
* Number of Channels: 5
* Amplifier Gain: 32db
* Signal to Noise Ratio 1 watt: >119db Full Power: >116db
* Input Impedance: 23.5kohms
* Transformer Size: 600VA
* Secondary capacitance: 90,000uF
* Output Devices: 4 per channel
* Size: 17” W x 7.75” H x 19” D
* Topology: Fully Discrete, Dual Differential, High Current, Short Signal Path Class A/B
* Power output (all channels driven): 185 watts RMS @ 4 ohm (0.1% THD) 125 watts RMS @ 8 ohm (0.1% THD)
* Power Band Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz with less than .05db deviation at rated power
* Broadband Frequency Response (‐3db): 5Hz to 150kHz
* Weight: 58 lbs (71 lbs boxed)


UPA-7 Seven Channel Audio Power Amplifier
125 watts RMS x 7 into 8 ohms | 185 watts RMS x 7 into 4 ohms
http://emotiva.com/upa7.shtm
$699 +$25 shipping

Image

Detailed Specs:
* Number of Channels: 7
* Amplifier Gain: 32db
* Signal to Noise Ratio 1 watt: >115db Full Power: >120db
* Input Impedance: 23.5kohms
* Transformer Size: 850VA
* Secondary Capacitance: 90,000uF
* Output Devices: 4 per channel
* Topology: Fully Discrete, Dual Differential, High Current, Short Signal Path Class A/B
* Power output (all channels driven):
185 watts RMS @ 4 ohm (0.1% THD)
125 watts RMS @ 8 ohm (0.1% THD)
* Power Band Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz with less than .05db deviation at rated power
* Broadband Frequency Response (‐3db): 5Hz to 150kHz
* Size: 17” W x 7.75” H x 19” D
* Weight: 66 lbs (84 lbs boxed)


XPA-5 Five Channel Audio Power Amplifier
200 watts RMS x 5 into 8 ohms | 300 watts RMS x 5 into 4 ohms
http://emotiva.com/xpa5.shtm
$799 +$25 shipping

Image

Detailed Specs:
* Number of Channels: 5
* Amplifier Gain: 32db
* Signal to Noise Ratio 1 watt: >119db Full Power: >116db
* Input Impedance: 23.5kohms
* Transformer Size: 600VA
* Secondary capacitance: 90,000uF
* Output Devices: 4 per channel
* Size: 17” W x 7.75” H x 19” D
* Topology: Fully Discrete, Dual Differential, High Current, Short Signal Path Class A/B
* Power output (all channels driven): 185 watts RMS @ 4 ohm (0.1% THD) 125 watts RMS @ 8 ohm (0.1% THD)
* Power Band Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz with less than .05db deviation at rated power
* Broadband Frequency Response (‐3db): 5Hz to 150kHz
* Weight: 58 lbs (71 lbs boxed)

Good luck!
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby phillyorganist » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:44 am

Thanks Counterpoint. Your post is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for when I simply asked "What amplifier do I buy?"
Jim
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Re: What amplifier do I buy?

Postby mrkniz » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:23 am

Jim:

I have 3 Emotiva UPA-7 Amplifiers (two are still in boxes). I am very pleased with the one I have used. Best bang for the buck!

However, question for Counterpoint: The instructions for the UPA-7 say that it needs 10 Amperes. One such amplifier works fine on our 15-Ampere electrical outlet. You have several Emotivas--any problems with electric supply? I've contacted an electrician about a separate line to accommodate my three amplifiers. Is it necessary? I might also be buying a 1000-watt sub amp, and I have three EX-66's (200-Watts each), so it's quite a load!
Ken ZInk
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