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Power Amplifiers for Passive monitors

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by Greg Cerrato, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Greg Cerrato

    Greg Cerrato Guest

    Hello all, relatively new to this field of music--long time listener, noob producer--anyways Im picking up a pair of Tannoy Reveal 601P's very soon.

    Heres a link to the manual--page 12 lists the specs passive Manual LR2010331.pdf

    so I have a few questions, mainly revolving around the electrical amplification required for this pair

    first off, why do they give a range of wattage for these bad boys--its listed at 50-100w output, right? What should I put into the pair? I need to buy a power amplifier for them, it will be at 8 ohms, but Im really unsure on the wattage.

    Should I get 200 for the pair? 100? or more so I can put in more channels in the future? I really have no clue and would just love any advice/help figuring out the breakdown of this kind of equipment.

    If I get an amp with too low of a wattage, it will sound weak, and if I get one too powerful, will it auto-adjust, or will I ruin my monitors?

    Any advice is muchly appreciated, thanks, Greg

    Also, specs for power amplifiers would be nice, but if someone could recommended a specific amplifier, or even a line of high quality/relatively affordable ones I would love you
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    There's no need to use an amplifier that will deliver more than 100W r.m.s. per channel into 8 Ohms for these speakers. More than 100W available power risks damaging them. There's no "auto adjust"!

    However, my feeling is that if you are unsure of what type of amplifier to buy for these units, you would be better getting the 601A active version of the speakers that have amplifiers built in - you can't blow those up so easily. Since you say you are a music producer, I'm assuming your signals will be from the output of a console or from a computer audio interface, so you will have professional line-level balanced signals available.
  3. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Now, the one-man-oposition ..again:

    With normal consumers I would gladly agree that the amp should not have more power then the speaker can deal with.

    As an audiophil HiEnd stricken electronic dude I say that much: get an amp that is under any circumstances able to deliver any required current to the speakers extremely fast and out of the full.
    A good example: I am proud owner of a pair Infinity Kappa 9 ( no...not the tamed "A" successor..) which is infamous for killing poweramps for fun...
    The Kappas have a nominal power max of 60 to 340 watts sinus, going down to 29 Hz and killing the amps right there at a low 1.13 Ohms, sucking every Ampere
    out of the box the transformers can deliver...till they burn to death or are being safed by the bell or rather a functioning fast safety circuitry.
    Now, with good amps the safety features should be working well. That protects the amp that would power-wise not be able to destroy the speakers, anyway.. OR???
    Yezzz, it can. When tortured to the bones an amp begins to produce rectangular waveforms ( high freqs) that can kill your tweeter. Apart from that I doubt that it still sounds any good...lol....

    But back to the topic... for excellent amplification of signals you need a powersupply that has lots of redundant power for the amp stages.
    If it can deliver sudden demand of power with a fast slew rate you will get accurate bass signals, tight and clean... To prevent damage, my 2 external amp systems all have an output power cut at
    about 70 % to protect the speakers. But they have all the reserves to pump up the boxes when needed....laaarge electrolytic capacitor in it,....
    Like a sportscar that is only being pushed to 60 mph, but that it does with great style..lol..

    For the ease of use I would also recommend active monitors. The better brands are well balanced and safe to use...
    I can't complain about my 5.1 Genelec 1031 setup, albeit there are better ones, which I use for mastering ( but mucho expensive .... -divorce-expensive-level.).
  4. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Yeah there's a school of thought saying you should run 300W into 100W speakers, at 30% of the power or less, to allow the amp to be working with plenty of breathing space into the electronics. There is a second school of thought that says that well-built amps already take these power rail requirements into consideration.

    In actual fact (no offence) the 601s are so cheap that I presume your amp budget is about the same. In which case, get the active versions, or give us an indication of your budget.

    You can get a Hafler ideally, or an old Crown (or C-audio, same thing) quite cheap second hand.

    But in fact my suggestion would be to ditch the Tannoys and get a pair of powered Yamaha MSP5s instead. I've not owned the 601s but I have owned older Reveals and the step to the Yamahas was an eye-opener. You'd probably get a pair of MSP5s s/h for the price of the Reveals and an amp new.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Geez, if this is all he is investing in speakers, why not just use a home stereo and wait to save up for something real later. Can't be all that much different than those Tannoys.
    I've used home stereo's in a jam many times. Run headphones out into the ins on that back of the home amp into the rca's (CD, Tape Video in etc) and Bobs your uncle. You may need to go to radio shaft for a couple of adapters. done...

    If all you are spending is $125 on each speaker http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Reveal601p and some junker amp that won't do you any good for serious speakers later, its all good money after bad. ... lets add up what he is really getting at the end of the entire marketing line including the cost of packaging. Can't be much more than $30 in product for each speaker. Buying an amp, forget that as the others all say and go active with built in amps.

    For now... Better off using a home stereo and watching your volume and saving up for something that will actually give you an idea of your sound.

    All those are is pretty and suggestion. What you basically need right now is the ability to hear something. You are thinking you need "monitors" ? You aren't even close to producing an accurate mix with this stuff. Buy quality or don't waste your money. That's my two cents.

    Or... buy those Tannoy's and use a home stereo amp the same way I described until you need to get serious. Looks like you'll need two banana plugs and done.
  6. Greg Cerrato

    Greg Cerrato Guest

    so yall really think the Tannoy's are junk? It was almost impossible to find reviews on them, but the one that I did find sounded like they were pretty good. Would I be better off investing in a high quality amplifier so I can run better speakers later when I can afford higher quality? Im really just trying to get into this field and its like learning a new language so youll have to excuse me for my ignorance...one of the other reasons I liked these is the fact that the magnets are unshielded, and I produce trance inducing/meditation music with the didgeridoo/drums/binaural beats--the EMFs from these things will entrain the entire body, not just the brain with a phantom audio signal.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Not so much as junk, I have some pretty nice Tannoys and there is even these: Manley_ML_10_Tannoy_with_Mastering_Lab_Crossovers so Tannoys are not junk. I'm getting the idea you are more needing to just hear rather than mix and produce but you have a conflict of organic vs pro mastering. You posted in the Pro mastering forum and these aren't even in the same world. These are low end home recording speakers.

    If you are going to invest in an amp, what speakers are you going to buy later that don't effect an organic environment?
    I would personally go powered monitors and forget the amp. It sounds like you have to take the EMF into consideration. 99% of us won't have any idea how this will coexist in the pro audio world without serious compromise. You are between a rock and a hard place.
  8. Greg Cerrato

    Greg Cerrato Guest

    Well then I posted in the wrong section, my apologies--all I want are low end home recording speakers and a little help from people with more know how than me. No wonder these posts felt a little condescending, would you mind moving this over to a more appropriate section where I can get the help I need from more similar minded people please? Sorry for any inconvenience..

    Still just looking for a recommendation as to what amp I should buy for these things, and a little laymans explanation as to why--jumped into the wrong forum tho
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    LOL. Greg, dinna fuss yerself laddie!

    What the consensus is here and what it likely is going to be in the home recording section is this. Skip the passive monitors. Period. It will be much more trouble that it's worth. Go with the active monitors. No really.

    I have Tannoys-both the active Reveal 6D and the passive Reveal 6. I can tell you from personal experience the passive speakers sound like crap without a great amp. An amp that is far better suited to running some nice JBL's or higher end Gennies. An amp that costs more than the pair of speakers. The active Tannoys are not too bad at all. Are they worthy of a fine mastering room? Nope. The higher end Tannoys cost almost $2K a piece and they still aren't king of the hill. Another monitor you should look into is the Mackie HD624Mk2. In either case stay away from the 8" versions unless you have a very large room. The 8" size doesn't work well for near field monitors even at a high price point: in my opinion of course.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    my apologies, I meant to say active when I said passive... in my first response. and agree with John 100%. No worries about the wrong post, you are new and just beginning. We all read the forums. We do however, move threads to the right forum if they are in the wrong ones so the site is better organized and optimized to help everyone best we can.
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I agree with both pieces of advice. Active monitors are the better deal in the low to mid range, and home stereo speakers are just as good as (and sometimes better than) cheap speakers marketed as monitors. Since people are getting 5.1 home theater systems these days there are a lot of high quality stereo systems on the used market these days for next to nothing. Just after the holidays might be a good time to scour Craigslist, thrift stores, ebay.
  12. Greg Cerrato

    Greg Cerrato Guest

    so what do you all think about D-amps? Looks like this little t-amp would do the trick for my purposes, right?

    Lepai TA2020 - Google Search
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    That amp is garbage. It seems like you are hell bent on getting passive monitors despite a pretty unanimous thrashing of the quality of such in your price range.

    Look. The Tannoys you listed are rated at 50-100 RMS power from the manufacturer. That's per channel. I wouldn't go less than 150 amps per channel if they were mine even if I never turned the amp up that high. That little POS you linked to puts out about the same juice as my headphone amp-20amps.
  14. Greg Cerrato

    Greg Cerrato Guest

    Dayton DTA-100a Class-T Digital Amplifier 50 WPC | Parts-Express.com

    what are your opinions on this one? I think for a 350 set up Ill have a decent sounding system--feel free to put me in my place though master. I should have never went to the pro mastering section cause now Ive just got everyone shitting all over me--trying not to take it personally, but you all arent being too friendly about any of this. I understand you know a lot more than me, but you can tone it down a little bit and try to help me understand, rather than getting upset over it for no reason...
  15. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Yep, unfortunately you dove into the deep end of the pool, but they really are trying to help. If you're taking this seriously, you can't expect a great mix from monitors that are lying to you.

    You're clearly not in a position to drop thousands of dollars on high-end monitors, so you'll have to decide how good is good enough and learn to deal with what you've got. You'll have to take your mixes and play them back on a wide variety of systems (car stereo, boombox, home stereo) and see how they translate. Invariably, with any monitors middle-of-the-road and down you'll be surprised with how different your mixes sound elsewhere - and that's assuming the room you're mixing in isn't working against you.

    To answer your last question: I buy a lot of installation materials from Parts Express, and on several occasions when they're blowing out their little amps cheap, I throw one in with my order to make the free-freight threshold. I bought the first one out of what could only be called morbid curiousity, I was skeptical it could live up to the reviews. I've heard several variants now and can tell you those inexpensive little amps sound shockingly good for the price, but they're only really going to be useful to you at low to low/moderate volume.

    They can handle pre-recorded music to a moderate volume, but will lack the reserve power to deal with the broader dynamics of material that hasn't already been compressed and limited to within an inch of its life - (most modern music).

    My son stole one of them to listen to his iPod in his room with an old pair of Koss M80s bookshelf speakers I had collecting dust. He loves it. I would have no qualms listening to music through that system all day, but I would be very reluctant to make critical mix decisions based on what I'm hearing from that kind of set-up.

    Good luck.
  16. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Nobody is trying to hurt your feelings. One just can't be much more blunt than stating "in your budget category Active monitors are far far superior to Passive monitors." Now if there is a question as to why that is then that is a different story. First, just to be sure, an active monitor is a cabinet that contains the speaker(s)/crossover and an in built amplifier. A passive cabinet has speaker(s)/crossover but no in built amplifier.

    1) The amplifier is at least as important if not more so than the speaker itself. It's all well and good if the woofer and tweeter together reproduce a full spectrum 40-20k in as flat and faithful a manner as possible. They have no chance to do so if the amp is a) not matched to the speaker for pure clean and quick power (transcients) and b) the amplifier itself is not able to reproduce that frequency range and in a timely manner and c) impedance mismatch.
    2) The amps that can do the above cost money. More money than the pair of speakers you want to buy unless you find them used and in good condition.
    3) In the prosumer range of monitors and even the very bottom of the pro range of monitors, the amp matched by the manufacturer/designer to the speaker and placed in an enclosure (to make it active) is going to produce better sound than joe consumer trying to stab at matching a pair of passive speakers to a low end amplifier.
    4) An amp that produces at maximum output the average (RMS) minimum full load of a speaker will eventually blow up itself or the speaker. There is electrical theory involved here but not much need to get too deep into it. Tannoy rates the 601p at 50-100 watts RMS which is a large range. You should get an amp that can pump 100watts RMS as a minimum. But you should still scrap the passive speaker idea and go with active. If not Tannoy then look at the KRK and the Mackie and M-Audio etc.
    5) Professional Audio level manufacturer or not, in today's world most Pro Audio companies produce a range of gear from prosumer through mastering quality if they can afford to do so. Tannoy is no exception. The Reveal 601P is in the prosumer or very very bottom of the pro audio line of passive speakers.

    None of this is stated to belittle you or hurt your feelings. If you don't understand why a pro engineer (or whatever subject matter) is giving you a particular piece of advice then you should ask the question and not crawl into a corner or ignore it altogether and start throwing out names of different gear just because they are cheap and in your budget range.

    And I'm blunt. It's how I'm built. Have you seen the R Lee Ermey Geico commercial? That's me with the high and tight.
  17. Ripeart

    Ripeart Active Member

    If your still hell bent on passive monitors, mackie and jbl make decent prosumer products.

    For amplification consider looking for used Adcom or B&K amps. Both excellent and "affordable" amps which hold up well under varying conditions.
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Ripeart, You are a very astute person in spite of the fact that this request was made more than six months ago. LOL I've done the same thing trying to help others when I haven't looked at the date code. Good to know though that you are perusing supposedly new posts for the greater good. In spite of this, I think passive monitors are much better than active monitors since they are much lower in noise because of their lack of amplifiers.

    Everybody is always so worried about noise.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  19. Ripeart

    Ripeart Active Member

    Hah I didn't see the post date lol. I agree with you with two exceptions. Some active monitors are powered by matched amps which is a benefit in terms of efficiency and response. Additionally some actives have room compensation adjustments. Barring that I like passives although I couldn't find a decent pair that worked with my monoblocks.
  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm just a funny old hard-core JBL 4310/11/12 user and have about 5 pairs of those. And I prefer my Crown DC 300 A Type II in the control room & have other amplifiers powering the others. I also have a passive pair of KRK 7 inch passives & V6 actives, little powered FOSTEX actives. Nothing esoteric. I wouldn't mind a Bryston But haven't dropped any $'s for that yet. Oh yeah, a pair of 4411's that needs some TLC. Also have a nice pair of B & O passives in the secondary control room in the truck which I quite like.

    Mx. Remy Ann David

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