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  1. #1
    CH Rotel Fan Registered Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Wisconsin, USA

    Integrated vs. separates: bridging Q's

    I am a newcomer to mid-fi. I have B&W 602's, a Rotel RB-1050 (70w) Amp, and RC-1072 CD Player. I've patiently sniped it off of e-Bay but have yet to hook it all up, and I have a missing link or two, not the least of which is the preamp functionality. Prior to this I have survived with Yamaha, & Denon components, so I am excited. I have listened to friends' high end systems including Accurus, Linns etc.

    Budgetary concerns and aesthetic lead me to want to stick within the Rotel lineup at this point. But the following questions are generic in nature since I'm a marketing guy and don't understand the inner workings of soundpaths well. I just want to make sure I have a "step-change" sound improvement, and don't inadvertently create a "weak link" in stringing together what for me are expensive components.

    1a) Do you think I can bridge the RB 1050 Amp to the Rotel INTEGRATED amp (RA-1062) instead of to just to a preamp like the RC-1070?

    Rationale: The RA integrated (IA's) are much easier to find on auction, possibly because they are newer, and more cost effective so there are more out there. And then I would have stand alone back up solution vs. just a preamp for only ~$150-200 more ($500 vs $300 used). My sense is I will also gain a B channel output that I don't believe I get on the RC 1070.

    1b) Do you think I would gain a lot of "noise" bridging to an Integrated Amp (IA) such as the RA 1062? i.e, do separates make such a sound difference?

    1c) Isn't a preamp just a darn expensive "switcher", or am I missing something?
    1d) What other peamp features are there to consider?

    2) If the answers are "yes" I can bridge Amp to IA and disadv's are minimal..., and if the B&W 602 speakers are rated at 120 watts but the combined Rotel wattage of the RA Integrated + 1050 Amp combo is a peak of 130w, do I run any risk of blowing the speakers? (Note: I do not anticipate pushing them beyond normal listening level.)

    3) And later could I bi-wire the speakers, i.e., IA to tweeters and PA to mids? (That is if the speakers are bi-wired, does that minimize the risk of overpowering them since the 130 total is split 60/70 between tweets/mids?

    4) I have speaker wire runs of ~30 & 35 feet using monster cable and quality connectors - is the length of this "run" a major flaw or weakness? (I'm trying to work with a great room).

    5) I plan to use quality Mogami link2 audio patch cables - is this a waste in light of #4?

    6) Lastly, how important is a surge protector or line conditioner in this equation?

    I appreciate your patience to bring me out of the dark.

  2. #2
    Old Audiophile SAEA501's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Not sure what you are trying to do here but I think you are asking if you can drive an external power amp with the front end of an integrated. If that is your question, then yes, you can if the integrated has a pre out. Also, the term bridging does not apply here. Bridging refers to a power amp that has the ability to use its left and right channels to work together as a single mono amplifier, therby developing a great deal more power.

    A separate pre amp is not just an expensive switcher. Generally speaking you move into separates for sonic gains and a well designed pre amp, or processor for surround, makes a huge difference in the overall sonic quality of your system. In designing a pre amp engineers are less constrained by physical space and more importantly by budgetary concerns. They are free to use more elaborately designed circuits of higher quality components.

    You seem very concerned with overpowering your speakers. Please know that it is much easier to damage a speaker by underpowering it than it is to overpower it. I have been working with high end audio for 40+ years and have never overpowered a speaker. I have seen many, many speaker failures caused by too little power and too heavy a hand on the volume control. In fact one of the very least important specifications I look at is the maximum power in on any given speaker. Buy as much power as your budget allows. Increased power makes for greater clarity and dynamics, not necessarily greater volume.

  3. #3
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    down there

    Good advice

    Quote Originally Posted by SAEA501
    Not sure what you are trying to do here but I think you are asking if you can drive an external power amp with the front end of an integrated. If that is your question, then yes, you can if the integrated has a pre out. .
    SAEA501 is correct. One could power an external power amp from the front end of an integrated, but the unit in question (Rotel 1062) has no pre-outs so effectively the answer is "no" in this specific situation.

    And you are never going to throw too much power at the B&Ws without a small ractor behind them.

    At the bare minimum, get a good surge protector.

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