Help with 2.1 setup
Feb 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 37

DAhn626

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Hey Head-Fi,
 
So I've decided to set myself up a 2.1 system in my small room. I managed to find some decent stuff for pretty cheap and it worked fine until I realized I had no idea how to hook it up. 
 
My equipment is as follows:
Amp: Ariston AX910 (some info about it can be found here - http://www.gumtree.com/p/for-sale/great-amp--ariston-ax-910-amplifier-integrated-hi-fi-audio-amp--perfect-working-order-ox4-iffley-rd-20/95069396)
 
Bookshelf speakers: B&W CDM2 (specs: http://www.listeninn.com/product/407001-10733/Loudspeaker/Sold-Speakers/B&W-CDM2)
 
Subwoofer: NHT SW2P (specs: http://www.stereophile.com/content/nht-superzero-loudspeaker-sw2-subwoofer-specifications)
 
Currently, I just have the speakers hooked up to the amp, but was unsure of what to do with this subwoofer. I've been reading around but I can't seem to find a CLEAR answer as to how to hook up a subwoofer when there is no dedicated sub-out and no third speaker-out. I tried hooking up the subwoofer's red to right-red on the amp and the sub's black to the amp's left-black, but after reading some stuff about possibly blowing the speakers, decided to unhook it. 
 
I've been googling and youtubing all day and found bits and pieces of information, but can't seem to synthesize the right answer. Could someone please help me fill in the gaps and instruct me on how to hook this subwoofer up? 
I also happen to have HK 750 amp as well...if I used that, would that change anything?
 
Thank you in advance!
 
Feb 22, 2012 at 11:38 PM Post #2 of 37

Mauricio

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Is it too late and expensive to start all over with an active system?
 
FYI, in an active system, the issue of whether the amp has a sub-out becomes moot.  In other words, it doesn't enter into the picture at all.  In an active system, you feed the entire signal to the subwoofer which then routes the midrange and the treble to the satellites.  Presto!
 
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 2:39 AM Post #4 of 37

Joe Bloggs

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That‘s crazy, there‘s several ways to hook the sub up in your system.

Does your sub have high level inputs ie 2 red and 2 black holes that look like you're supposed to put speaker wire in? If so just run speaker wire from all 4 holes of your amp‘s 2 channel speaker output to the sub. If that leaves no room to insert the speaker wire for the bookshelves you can get pin adapters that allow you to hook any number of large gauge speaker wire to the same hole. Just be careful not to let the metal bits of the adapters touch each other, I‘ve blown an amp this way.

Failing that, your amp should have line level out as well as ins. Hook the amp‘s front 2 channel out to the sub‘s RCA input and you should be set.

Even failing THAT, most PCs have at least built in 5.1 sound and you‘ll likely find more than one output at the back. You can configure the PC to directly output 2.1 sound and output subwoofer output to a separate jack and use a 3.5mm to RCA adapter to connect to the sub.

Only the first method will allow the sub‘s output to scale automatically with the main amp‘s volume, but this shouldn't be a deal breaker if you set the volumes on the amp and the sub once (loud) and then control master volume on the PC in software from that point.
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 2:49 AM Post #5 of 37

Joe Bloggs

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If all else fails you could always get a y-splitter on the computer‘s line out and plug both the amp input and subwoofer input to it. My sub doesn't have high level input and this is the hack I'm running now, I could switch to method 2 or 3 above but I don't hear anything wrong with the current setup. Heck I'm preferring speakers to headphones for the first time now so I must be doing something right.
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 5:34 AM Post #6 of 37

Mauricio

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Quote:
That‘s crazy, there‘s several ways to hook the sub up in your system.
Does your sub have high level inputs ie 2 red and 2 black holes that look like you're supposed to put speaker wire in? If so just run speaker wire from all 4 holes of your amp‘s 2 channel speaker output to the sub. If that leaves no room to insert the speaker wire for the bookshelves you can get pin adapters that allow you to hook any number of large gauge speaker wire to the same hole. Just be careful not to let the metal bits of the adapters touch each other, I‘ve blown an amp this way.

This option suffers from the weakness that both the subwoofer and the satellites will be reproducing the bass frequency bands that should be handled solely by the subwoofer, so you may have exaggerated bass.  Another possibility from this setup is that your amp will be driven to the edge of distortion from having to put out enough current to drive the subwoofer and satellites in parallel.  In brief, this option precludes the seamless frequency integration of the sub and the satellites, and runs the possibility of increasing distortion.
 
 
 
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 5:55 AM Post #8 of 37

Mauricio

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Quote:
Afraid so. :/ but perhaps as a last resort I could try selling and buying.
Could you recommend me a system in the $400 range?


No, I cannot recommend an active 2.1 system for $400.  In an active system, $400 is what you should expect to pay for an entry-level subwoofer alone.  Bass is not cheap.  It requires ample amplification, large enclosures and large drivers.  After all, bass requires moving large volumes of air.  There still ain't no free lunch.  For $400, you should be looking at a pair of two-way speakers.  Sorry.
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 6:15 AM Post #9 of 37

Wage

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Quote:
No, I cannot recommend an active 2.1 system for $400.  In an active system, $400 is what you should expect to pay for an entry-level subwoofer alone.  Bass is not cheap.  It requires ample amplification, large enclosures and large drivers.  After all, bass requires moving large volumes of air.  There still ain't no free lunch.  For $400, you should be looking at a pair of two-way speakers.  Sorry.



Thank you for posting this, Mauricio. 
 
I was just thinking to myself "well what if I used my money on a proper speaker setup instead of splurging on Denon AH-D7000s"... and then your post and my small wallet woke me up.
 
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 6:18 AM Post #10 of 37

Mauricio

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Something that you could consider is to sacrifice a bit at first.  Buy the satellites first and put up with little bass extension for a while, and then buy the companion subwoofer once the piggybank is full again.
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 6:22 AM Post #11 of 37

Wage

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Is the difference between entry-level active speakers and great headphones like the AH-D7000s huge, though?

I ask because my main reason for wanting the AH-D7000s is that I understand they are the closest thing to a proper speaker setup in headphones currently available (without going electrostatic, which starts to enter speaker-like $$$ figures), only at a mere fraction of the cost.
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 6:30 AM Post #12 of 37

Mauricio

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I have to confess that I am not a can-head, and my knowledge of headphones is very limited.  But, yes, a $200 pair of headphones definitely will sound better than the equivalent priced set of active speakers.
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 6:47 AM Post #13 of 37

Wage

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Haha, the headphones I mentioned are MSRP $1000 (but can be had for around $650 street), so I guess I was right in trying to save money with them.

I'll have my nice speakers someday, when I'm able to afford a 1080p DLP projector and the rest of my home theater dream. Until then, D7000s it is 
atsmile.gif

 
Feb 23, 2012 at 7:35 AM Post #14 of 37

DAhn626

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Quote:
Is it too late and expensive to start all over with an active system?
 
FYI, in an active system, the issue of whether the amp has a sub-out becomes moot.  In other words, it doesn't enter into the picture at all.  In an active system, you feed the entire signal to the subwoofer which then routes the midrange and the treble to the satellites.  Presto!
 


An active system wouldn't require an amp...correct? Or am I missing something here? 
 
 
Feb 23, 2012 at 7:57 AM Post #15 of 37

Joe Bloggs

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OK, I see that the OP‘s sub is passive as well. Then it seems basically he needs a mono amp to power the subwoofer to complete his setup. But he certainly doesn't need to sell everything and start all over.
 

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