Need to replace my amplifier... or not?

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by Charlie98, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    10
    RE: HTPC in signature.

    We are remodeling the house and I need to find a better solution for the HTPC... and the 3000' of wire I have behind the cabinet.

    Currently, the HTPC video goes directly to the TV via HDMI, which is fine; it's the audio I need to work on. Sound comes out of the HTPC via mini-jack to a Denon amplifier, and then to the speakers via 2-wire speaker cable. The Denon is an old Class-A amp that would be great on a stereo system, it's completely overkill as an amplifier for the HTPC.... and I'd like an alternative, except that I'm completely clueless on what's out there these days. Couple of questions...

    1) Is the HTPC alone enough to drive the speakers? ...and that's assuming I can convert the miniplug output to a standard stereo 2-wire speaker input.

    2) Are there very small amplifiers available that would serve my needs? I don't need a Class-A amp, that's for sure. There are no other components hooked to the amp... just the HTPC. But because I'm trying to reduce clutter.... I want something smaller than a frikkin' rack-sized amp.

    3) Am I missing anything obvious? Would a separate sound card for the HTPC solve this issue? My main concern is getting the signal to the speakers via 2-wire speaker cable with enough volume to hear it.

    EDIT: And I'm not saying I wouldn't like to update the old speakers, either. If there is a better system I'm open to suggestions. I can't do 4- or 5- speaker surround, but I can do 2-, 3-, or 5-speaker front stage.
     
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads - replace amplifier Forum Date
    Replacing HTPC with PlexDVR and Shield - anyone done it? Home Theater PCs Aug 29, 2017
    FireTV vs. NVidia ShieldTV as a WMC supplement/replacement? Home Theater PCs Dec 14, 2015
    Help with replacing woofer 4ohm or 8ohm Home Theater PCs Feb 11, 2015
    HTPC Upgrade - Replacement for GTX 580 Home Theater PCs Oct 17, 2014

  3. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
  4. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    In answer to your first question you need an amplifier to drive non-powered speakers. You should be able to use your HTPC keyboard to adjust volume (even with usb output from a PC) etc but a separate remote is nice. Most class A amps aren't that powerful but some are so check your output capability. I like ckass A amps too but the topping or any good class-d should sound as good.or better especially if the have a decent internal DAC.
    This unit is also good and more powerful:
    https://www.amazon.com/SMSL-Amplifi...508009230&sr=1-1&keywords=class-d+with+remote
     
  5. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
  6. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thanks for the suggestions! The form factor of the SMSL unit looks about right, and the output looks like it would serve the needs of what I have currently. I'd love to add a sub to the current setup, and that unit would allow that... a powered sub, anyway.

    Now that I've taken a closer look at what I have, I'm considering moving the old 2-way Allisons down the road for something more modern... I'll have to research that before I make a decision.
     
  8. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Be careful and make sure you select an amp with enough power to drive those Allison's. I'd check the power output rating on your present amp or speakers and not buy less. Another option is to buy a good usb Dac and hook it between your amp and speaker in order to upgrade the audio quality (pc audio outputs usually are second class to a good dac but some new ones are pretty good).A new sound card like an Asus STX or equivelent or an smls stand alone dac might be a viable way for you to go depending on the quality, power rating and condition of your present amp but it depends on your needs and pocket book. I do believe that Allison made pretty efficient speakers though, something like 91 db in general and that 40 watts a channel amps was considered high power when he started in 1974 so the SMLS bluetooth/usb amp should work very well and is a bargain at $150 but please check?

    http://www.audioholics.com/news/a-tribute-to-roy-f.-allison
     
  9. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Remember your Allison's are 8ohm and the smsl is rated for 4 ohms so you would get about 43 watts a channel not 85.
     
  10. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    10
    Well... the Allisons have gone through a bit of change over the years. The tweets have been replaced by my brother some years ago, and the woofers, after they disintegrated, I replaced with, of all things, some old 6" Kickers out of my truck stereo setup. They sound good enough, but I'd like something with a bit smaller footprint. If memory serves, the Kickers are 4 ohm, but the Phillips tweets are probably 8... I would have to pull them to see.

    As an aside, I hooked the HTPC back up last night, minus the amp. The wife took one look at me and said (about the poor quality TV speaker sound) "Well, that ain't going to work!!!" So I might have some leverage to upgrade the components.
     
  11. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Then you need new speakers or drivers at least probably. Call madisound.com and see what they suggest.
    Good British reviews of new speakers:
    https://www.whathifi.com/awards/2017/very stereo-speakers

    Both your tweeters and woofers must be very close replacemenst or your listening to much less tan the designers intent.. Madisound does that stuff for a living and they are pretty good at it.
     
  12. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    68,941
    Likes Received:
    3,154

    Lurker! Mine!
     
  13. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    10
    Just an update...

    Got the AD18 hooked up and working... plenty of overhead to drive the Allisons. I set the AD on 25 and make volume adjustments with the W7 remote... works very well.

    Next problem... and this may be more of a HTPC thing, not directly related to the amp... one of the reasons I set the amp at 25 is if I go any higher there is a terrible background buzz. Some reviewers complained about this, but, honestly, I don't think it's the amp, I think it's coming from the HTPC. Is there another way to get the signal from the HTPC to the amp that is more efficient and less prone to noise?
     
  14. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
  15. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    10
    The instructions weren't much to speak of...
     
  16. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,928
    Likes Received:
    10
    ...and, I have to laugh. The amp solution did hardly anything to the 3000' of wire behind the cabinet... but it did get rid of the big amp! I still have a power distribution unit that I still need to hook up, but, hey, a small victory nonetheless.
     
  17. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why all the wire? You could just shorten your speaker cables? Also I'd try both the optical/coxial and usb connection to see which is best. You can also use the optical from your TV if you use it stand alone from the HTPC and stream from your blue tooth cell phone too
    .
    Link to pdf manual etc: http://www.smsl-audio.com/productshow.asp?id=95

    You have a lot of connection options but using the analog audio from most pc's is bound to be the most noisy. You might have to go into your control panel and change the sound output options. I'd play around till I got the best sound myself.
     
  18. Lewy

    Lewy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2001
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0