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A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Hi there

I am looking to upgrade my trusty old Yamaha AV receiver - which is still fab but has no HDMi inputs and being overtaken in usefulness. We use it to run sounds from the new Panasonic 3d plasma (chosen thanks to this magazine), blu-ray (ditto), and importantly the music from itunes from our HTPC. The latter in particular we feed throughout the downstairs and terrace of our house, using the A+B speakers switch on the Yamaha and feeding the B speakers by connecting to a 4 speaker selector box (like this one: http://www.nilesaudio.com/images/SSVC-4_hi.jpg). This works great. I guess its not strictly multizone, but we dont need multizone really. If we want to watch the cricket with the music on we outside we just use the TV speakers and feed the Yamaha with the HTPC optical input. 

BUT I want this upgrade and am looking at the Onkyo 609 or Yamaha 671. But if I understand the (complex) manuals correctly I may be looking at a downgrade in terms of being able to do the A+B speaker switch combination. They dont seem to have a basic A+B speaker option, but instead a more fancy multi-zone option, which allows you to have a different source for Zone 2. But Zone 2 sources seem to be REALLY LIMITED - analog only inputs and not your standard inputs - notably the optical input from my HTPC. This is a real showstopper for us. And I wondered if anyone could confirm/deny my understanding and or guide me to a possible solution in terms of a box that is in this price and ability range but would allow the 'A+B' (in my language). Thanks in advance, Steve

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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Dakeeper zone 2 on the onkyo 609 and the 671 is an output, its a line level output that you would feed to another amp or powered speakers. I imagine it would output the sound from any of the sources connected to the amps various inputs. Not sure if it would output a separate source than what was playing through the main speakers as i have not seen the instruction manuals. However I am pretty sure that it would output anything playing out through the main speakers via the zone 2. 

The onkyo 709 offers powered zone 2 which would be like the b speaker setup you refer to but is also the next level up in price.

The Sony STRDN1020 and the STRDH820 both have the selectable A + B speaker configuration that you are used to and they are at and a little below the onkyo 609 price range respectively. I don't really know about much about these amps abilities compared to the 609 and 671 but at the end of the day i guess once you have the functions you want, it boils down to how the amp sounds. Which you can judge to your taste by auditioning the equipment.

Hope this helps a little

Kev.

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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Kev many thanks. Page 69 of the Yamaha manual says

Only analog audio signals (including radio, USB and network sources) can be
output to Zone2. To listen to playback sounds of an external device in Zone2, you SL need to connect the device to the AUDIO jacks (AV5~6, AUDIO1~2 or VIDEO AUX
jacks) of this uni 

Page 61 of the onkyo manual says


Only analog input sources are output from the ZONE 2 LINE OUT L/R jacks and ZONE 2 L/R terminals. Digital input sources are not output. If no sound is heard when an input source is selected, verify that the source is connected to an analog inpu t

Is our reading of this the same as mine? Ie I can't hear the htpc in zone 2? Unless I feed it as analog?

Cheers

Steve

Anonymous
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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Kev many thanks. Page 69 of the Yamaha manual says

Only analog audio signals (including radio, USB and network sources) can be
output to Zone2. To listen to playback sounds of an external device in Zone2, you SL need to connect the device to the AUDIO jacks (AV5~6, AUDIO1~2 or VIDEO AUX
jacks) of this uni 

Page 61 of the onkyo manual says


Only analog input sources are output from the ZONE 2 LINE OUT L/R jacks and ZONE 2 L/R terminals. Digital input sources are not output. If no sound is heard when an input source is selected, verify that the source is connected to an analog inpu t

Is our reading of this the same as mine? Ie I can't hear the htpc in zone 2? Unless I feed it as analog?

Cheers

Steve

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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Can't argue with that dakeeper, going off what the manual says you would have to use an analog input from the htpc to hear it from zone 2. I think even more now that the sony amps may be a better bet for you. 

Have a look at this page  http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-3534-sony-strdn1020-3d-ready-71-home-cinema-receiver.aspx

have a look at speaker output in the specifications tab it says 

Can be configured for 7.1, 5.1 with bi-amped fronts, 5.1 with two extra 'front-high' speakers or two sets of independently switchable (A and Dirol front stereo speakers.

So if the amp is in stereo mode you can select b speakers wired in the same way as your existing setup. Given my form today i would get this confirmed lol.

Kev.

Anonymous
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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Kev many thanks. I will surely take a look. A huge disappointment that 10 years on and with all these bells and whistles the latest highly rated boxes cant even do this basic 'A+B' functionality. if anyone else has further advice or suggestions Im grateful. Cheers, Steve

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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

I think you are right - that is why I "downgraded" from an Onkyo 605 to an Onkyo 308 - so I could get a speaker A/B auction (living room / roof terrace) as opposed to a Zone 2 which only fed through an analogue feed (which none of my sources are).  Quite happy with the "baby" receiver that I have now - it meets all my needs at the moment (mainly due to a small flat) but will probably survive the next house move.  

Anonymous
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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

I'm hoping somEone might know a solution that would allow me to stay in the 609 ball bark. 

Anonymous
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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

I'm hoping somEone might know a solution that would allow me to stay in the 609 ball bark. 

Anonymous
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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

I'm hoping somEone might know a solution that would allow me to stay in the 609 ball bark. 

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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Hi steve i'm thinking that you could put a dac between the optical output on your pc and and the receiver. The dacmagic for example, has an optical and a coaxial digital output and so will pass through dolby digital and dts bitstreams from your htpc to a optical or coaxial input on the av receiver. The dac will convert 2 channel audio from your htpc to a high quality analogue signal. Which you could then input to the av receiver and output via zone 2. With the benefit of it sounding better than it did previously. 

Anonymous
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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

Kev that may be the go. In fact I think the HTPC has regular analog outputs which I could feed the 609 without the need for a DAC. What im wondering is whether I can have both the zone 1 stereo speakers and the zone 2 switcher box fed by that same input - which is what we have now. A bit of oomph from the main speakers for the HTPC itunes content plus fed througout the downstairs ceiling speakers by the zone 2 ouput. Is your understanding that the 609 can do this. Feed an analog input to both zone 1 and zone 2 at the same time?  thx again, Steve 

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RE: A+B speaker mode or multi-room?

That has to be a yes. It says so in the manual.

 

To select the same source as the main room’s, press  ZONE 2 repeatedly until “Z2 Selector: Source”  appears on the display.

To select the same source as the main room’s, press ZONE 2 repeatedly until “Z2 Selector: Source” appears on the display.

 

 

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