My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too

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Vince in TX

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When I first hooked these up, stereo music playback wasn't all that impressive since I was running SVS PB-2000 Subs using LFE only combined with 20+ year old MP3 files from my aging digital library.   So I put music playback on the back burner and focused on multi-channel surround for movies whilst I built the new subs (Servo Sub 4) and then the A/V-1RS surrounds.   When I initially replaced the SVS subs with the Servo Subs, music playback was still lacking even though movies were amazing.   And that's when I realized that during stereo music playback the subs were sitting at idle (no LFE channel in the tracks).

I had read here before that the best configuration for a theater was to use high-level input on the Servo Subs and put another sub (or two) at the back of the room on LFE, and that's exactly what I did.   I connected the speaker cables from the AVR (soon from an Odyssey Kismet 3-channel amp that's on order) direct to the Servo Subs and jumpered them using leftover wire from my A/V-1RS build over to the X-Statics.   Good Lord, what a difference!    :o   Even movie playback got better because all of the high-bitrate music tracks took full advantage of the Servo Subs (which was my initial concern with this configuration, and it turned out to be unfounded).

I sat back in my primary seating position, fired up some of those same stereo MP3s, closed my eyes and settled back into my theater seat.   For the first time in my life, I was able to pick out all of the instruments and vocalists in 3D space.   At first I thought the tracks tapped into the surrounds, but that wasn't the case.   I was hearing full 3D from two speakers.   And I don't even have the speaker placement or acoustical room treatments optimized yet (nor do I have the spiked feet on anything yet).   As some wise old man once said, "You have taken your first step into a larger world."

Cue The Monkees: "I'm a Believer"   :thumb:



Early B.

Ha ha!!!  You ain't heard nuthin' yet -- wait until the Kismet arrives.

You made a very smart move by investing in good speakers. Now the rest of your system has to catch up to the level of quality that your speakers are capable of reproducing. I predict many more "aha" moments in your future. 

mkrawcz

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Welcome to real hifi. :D

Tyson

Hell yeah.  Makes it all worth it.

Vince in TX

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Ha ha!!!  You ain't heard nuthin' yet -- wait until the Kismet arrives.

You made a very smart move by investing in good speakers. Now the rest of your system has to catch up to the level of quality that your speakers are capable of reproducing. I predict many more "aha" moments in your future.

I seriously can't wait.   I pre-wired the front L/R with two sets of 16/2 AWG (I should have gone 14/4 AWG) for the possibility of bi-amping them, but the X-Statics aren't bi-amp.   So what I'm planning is to combine both 16AWG wires into a single wire tied to the RCA pre-amp on my Marantz SR8015 (which is actually impressive on its own).

And that brings up a question, what is everyone using for conversion from speaker wire to RCA?   I was looking at these:  https://www.amazon.com/TXK-Gold-Plated-Oxygen-Free-tin-Plated-Connecting/dp/B08XYK2TTM/ref=sr_1_7_sspa

Tyson

And that brings up a question, what is everyone using for conversion from speaker wire to RCA?   I was looking at these:  https://www.amazon.com/TXK-Gold-Plated-Oxygen-Free-tin-Plated-Connecting/dp/B08XYK2TTM/ref=sr_1_7_sspa

Why do you need a speaker level to line level adapter?

Chewbacca

And that brings up a question, what is everyone using for conversion from speaker wire to RCA?   I was looking at these:  https://www.amazon.com/TXK-Gold-Plated-Oxygen-Free-tin-Plated-Connecting/dp/B08XYK2TTM/ref=sr_1_7_sspa

I've never even heard of speaker wire to RCA... For analog playback after the preamp IMO the correct setup is either:

1) IF you have dual RCA outputs on your preamp, use one of the outputs to go to your speaker amps, and one to go to your subs using LINE IN (ideal).
2) If you do not have multiple outputs on your preamp, I would do dual speaker cables coming out of your amplifier, and hook them up to the HIGH LEVEL IN.

For HT playback I would use LFE with RCA's from your pre (it should have a subwoofer out or two). But, if you're going with option 2 above, I don't know how it plays together with both RCA's into LFE & HIGH LEVEL IN hooked up to speaker cables at the same time. I know LFE always prioritizes over LINE IN if it reads a signal. (I have HT bypass on my preamp and a separate HT only preamp, so there's no switching plugs around)

Of course YMMV as I haven't personally tried option 2.

Vince in TX

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Why do you need a speaker level to line level adapter?

My AVR is at the back of the room.   It's roughly a 25' run.   To convert from the standard high-level outputs to pre-out on the Marantz SR 8015 would need a conversion from standard two-wire to RCA.




Vince in TX

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I've never even heard of speaker wire to RCA...

I actually linked to it above:




For HT playback I would use LFE with RCA's from your pre (it should have a subwoofer out or two). But, if you're going with option 2 above, I don't know how it plays together with both RCA's into LFE & HIGH LEVEL IN hooked up to speaker cables at the same time. I know LFE always prioritizes over LINE IN if it reads a signal. (I have HT bypass on my preamp and a separate HT only preamp, so there's no switching plugs around)


I actually tried this, and it seemed to work.   So rather than combine both cables, I would run one from pre-amp (using the RCA conversion) and the other from the high-level out to the subs?   That might make more sense since I wouldn't need the Kismet to amplify the subs at all.

Chewbacca

Then again, if you already have the subs hooked up with speaker cable (option 2), and only one preamp (for both 2 channel and HT) it's probably just easiest skipping LFE all together.

But then that brings up the question of room correction and Audyssey (or whatever people use), it wont think you have a subwoofer with the system since you won't have any RCA outs on your preamp hooked up. Not sure how well that plays together (haven't tried).

Chewbacca

Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #10 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:13 pm »
I actually linked to it above:

Understood! I should have said "I've never even heard of speaker wire to RCA until now" :lol:

Tyson

Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #11 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:15 pm »
Your sub amps have 2 inputs, either RCA or speaker level.  If you're using the speaker level input, then you would use the speaker level output from your amps, no need to mess with the RCA connector at all. 

If you are using the RCA level input on the sub amp, then you need a Y splitter between the Marantz and your Odyssey amps.  Half the Y signal would go to the amps, the other half would go to the sub amps RCA input. 

Vince in TX

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Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #12 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:18 pm »
Then again, if you already have the subs hooked up with speaker cable (option 2), and only one preamp (for both 2 channel and HT) it's probably just easiest skipping LFE all together.

But then that brings up the question of room correction and Audyssey (or whatever people use), it wont think you have a subwoofer with the system since you won't have any RCA outs on your preamp hooked up. Not sure how well that plays together (haven't tried).

I actually do have a subwoofer with LFE in the system.   It's at the back of the room now.    :thumb:

So this is my plan (I think - for now):

  • High-level direct to the servo subs (skipping LFE)
  • Pre-Amp using 2-wire to RCA conversion for L/R/C to the Odyssey
  • Odyssey to the L/R/C speakers

Your sub amps have 2 inputs, either RCA or speaker level.  If you're using the speaker level input, then you would use the speaker level output from your amps, no need to mess with the RCA connector at all. 

If you are using the RCA level input on the sub amp, then you need a Y splitter between the Marantz and your Odyssey amps.  Half the Y signal would go to the amps, the other half would go to the sub amps RCA input.

Interesting.   I'll take this into consideration also.   I suppose I'll have to play with the different wiring options when the amp shows up.

Thanks for the feedback!

Tyson

Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #13 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:23 pm »
RCA output to speaker level input won't work.  The signal is going to be way to low for the speaker level input.

Vince in TX

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Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #14 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:27 pm »
RCA output to speaker level input won't work.  The signal is going to be way to low for the speaker level input.

No, no.   I would convert speaker wire to RCA at both ends.  Basically I'd be turning a 25' speaker wire into a 25' RCA connection.

Tyson

Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #15 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:29 pm »
No, no.   I would convert speaker wire to RCA at both ends.  Basically I'd be turning a 25' speaker wire into a 25' RCA connection.

Oh you mean in order to have a larger gauge to avoid signal loss.  Ah, that's interesting.  Yeah that will probably work.

Vince in TX

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Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #16 on: 16 Sep 2021, 04:41 pm »
Oh you mean in order to have a larger gauge to avoid signal loss.  Ah, that's interesting.  Yeah that will probably work.

Yes!   That's what I was thinking.   The Odyssey would go at the front of the room beneath the screen.   And something just dawned on me.   I can combine both sets of 16 AWG speaker wires (they are AudioQuest SLiP 16/2) into a single wire, convert to RCA at both ends and go direct from the Marantz pre-amp to the Odyssey.   Then I can go from the speaker out on the Odyssey to the high-level on the Rythmik amps for the L/R channels and jumper from there to the X-Statics like I have now.    :D

Incidentally, I don't think I've ever posted the latest on the equipment cubby.   Last picture showed everything sitting on their respective boxes:







Vince in TX

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Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #17 on: 16 Sep 2021, 05:16 pm »
You know, another possibility (which might end up being more trouble than it's worth) is to just yank out all of the existing wiring in that front channel and start over.   I ran it through conduit for this very reason.   I just recall how much of a pain in the butt it was to pull two sets of 16/2 (three in the case of the left tube to cover the center channel) + an RG6 for LFE through that 1" tube.  A single 14/4 on the Right, then a 14/4 and 14/2 (Center) on the left would have been a cakewalk in comparison.

Live and learn.





Early B.

Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #18 on: 16 Sep 2021, 05:47 pm »
Vince -- let me save you some heartache down the road -- keep your HT and budding 2-channel system separate. They should only share the front speakers. Use the Kismet for your 2-channel system and buy a good preamp. That 3rd channel on your Kismet may come in handy later on. Trust me -- you're gonna separate movies from music either now or later. May as well save time and money by doing it now.   

Vince in TX

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Re: My First 3D Soundstage Experience - Ecstatic for X-Static Too
« Reply #19 on: 16 Sep 2021, 07:16 pm »
Vince -- let me save you some heartache down the road -- keep your HT and budding 2-channel system separate. They should only share the front speakers. Use the Kismet for your 2-channel system and buy a good preamp. That 3rd channel on your Kismet may come in handy later on. Trust me -- you're gonna separate movies from music either now or later. May as well save time and money by doing it now.   

Believe it or not, this was Plan B if I couldn't solve the wiring challenges.   I was contemplating a nice turntable to go with it.   It would be nice to not have to swap cables around, though.   Right now, my music library is accessed with my Apple TV through a Plex server, and everything is controlled with a Savant Pro (one remote to rule them all).