Need some advice [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-30-2011, 05:57 AM
I have recently acquired a total of 6 Realistic Mach Ones and I did a review of them--so to save you time looking it up--I do not have a very descerning ear, and I do not have the data nor experience to debate the pros and cons. It simply is what I have to work with. I am sure there is better, clearer and all that but ignorance is bliss as they say... So with a starting point of the Mach Ones... two are operable with Mach 2 woofers in them :mad2: and the other four are in need of foam surrounds. I have a line on that, but I am curious if anyone has a "stay away from them" recommendation. Also Amazon. com has a set of "manufactured with updated materials" woofers, so as I said in another post I may give those a try to see if they are at least better than the Mach 2 woofers.

"Technical Details
Modern reproduction of the famous Mach One design
Resurrect your Mach One speakers from the Seventies!
Same voicing but up-to-date materials and technology
2-1/4" copper voice coil on brass former
you can buy."

Anyhow at this point I do NOT have a good reciever or discrete amp (I've been out of the audio component game for a while--when did they start that?) --at least not one that is suitable for the Mach Ones. I have a Kenwood Soveriegn HT setup with 100ish watts per channel but when I hooked the Mach Ones up to that they sounded horrible. I think the whole DSP thing is completely opposed to the intent of the old speakers. (I do have a bose accoustimass 10 setup for the TV... but HATE it for music. Sounds great for movies.) In my computer room I have an Onkyo TX-SV717Pro and it is ok for what I am using it for... I have it hooked up to the computer (and mp3 library) pushing the "defiled" Mach Ones or DMO's for short. It has a DSP/Surround blah blah blah and is not great for the DMO's, but it has a little power and pushes them adequately although it sounds a little bad... it's a little bad at higher volumes. I had a set of Bose 301's (series 3's but no longer) and it sounded clearer, but I hesitate to say better as they didn't have the thump. Kinda wish I kept the 301's for the computer room now.

So where is this rambling nonsense going? I need advice. I think the background info is important to make recomendations. I do not have alot of cash to throw at this. I need to find a good stereo reciever minus the DSP crap that can push at least the four NON DMO Mach Ones. They are what? 160watts peak? I would love to find an old...circa 1980ish Reciever that has the gnutzack to push them. Big fan of Kenwood. (I know it's like amatuer hour for my ears...) I would ideally like to find a tube based amp for the sheer awesomeness (and fuzzy classic rock sound) of it.

But I am a little confused about the whole discrete amp thing... this is a modern stereo amp without the radio section is that correct? Would one of these sound good with the Mach Ones? I hit up garage sales like a angry grandma looking for old equipment that may work here. I ideally want to have all six speakers going in this abortion of an audio system but realize that I am going to be running at least two amps/recievers to do that... line out line in? Wax on Wax off Daniel-son.

But heres the kicker that may get me thrown out of here. My audio source. I had a Realistic Turntable but it has since died... and my album collection has shrank over the years with military moves and ex wife kinda things so that it doesn't make sense to try to ressurect that technology. I do have a very nice Teac soft touch tape deck that needs a belt. It has friggin needles! I love friggin needles! But again the medium is a little tired and not practical. My CD's were likewise raped and pillaged by the exwife and military life, so that leaves me with the Sony MiniDisc Deck--which I love but also hate... So that leaves me with MP3's. Even at 320k samples it leaves alot to be desired but it's what works for me now with money and all that. Again, I don't have all that discerning of an ear to REALLY hear the difference anyhow. It's only when exposed to a quality source do I say wow... I forgot that was in that pink floyd song or something like... hey the cymbols don't sound crusty like they do on my Ipod.

That being said I am going to build a computer with the intention of th at being the audio source. Maybe I'll even use the onboard audio 8.1 anymore to push three seperate amps for ghetto fabulous redneck surround. (I do have a SSD for the setup so the vibration doesn't kill the HD.)

Also I need a big ole gaudy graphic EQ to blink at me. LOL

Thanks in advance.

10-05-2011, 09:10 PM
Nobody has a comment? Allllrighty then.

10-06-2011, 05:06 AM
I read that these are highly efficient at 94db's so even low powered tube amps should drive them with ease. I checked ebay and Mach One's seem to be priced around $200-$250. I would keep the best two and sell the others. You can pick up some good sounding Chinese tube amps on ebay with the money from the sale of the others. If you don't want to get into tubes look for a vintage Marantz receiver from the 70's. 20 watts of solid state is all you need and less for a tube amp. As for a excellent but dirt cheap CD source pick up a PlayStation One SCPH-1001 with analog outs. I buy them at flea markets for as little as $5. The SCPH-1001 is the only one to consider.

10-06-2011, 07:49 AM
I agree with the Ghost Bird above. First of all what is your budget? If those speakers are rated at 94dB then you don't need a ton of power to play them loud. There ar plenty of used 1970's and early 1980's receivers to be found on line if you are patient. If you want to buy a receiver that has phono inputs and has a vitnage sound, consider a new Harmon Kardon 3490 receiver.

Your best bet would be to buy a used Adcom amp on AudiogoN high-end Audio for sale, high end HiFi classifieds, audiophile auctions, audio forums ( and then buy a tube preamp and DAC. Below are a few options for tube preamps and some low cost digital amps as well in addditon to the HK receiver. hk-3490 (

If you want the tube sound there are a lot of options at low cost-

Here is a combo tube Preamp and Digital analog converter for $220 if you get the recommended tube upgrade-

Welcome to Maverick Audio | TubeMagic D1 DAC | TubeMagic A1 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier (

I own this and it is a great little preamp and DAC but it needs the upgraded tube option and you need to upgrade the OP Amps which cost about $10 and takes 5 minutes to replace. I has a very smooth sound with a nice midrange and air. Bass is punchy. Pair this with this ,little Dayton DTA 100a digital amp at 30wpc for $100 and you will have a very nice system. I own one and have it paired with my 89dB speakers and it sounds great. It has only 30 usable watts per channel not 50. And don't be put off by its size. Digital amps pack a punch and are a totally different technology.

Other options include building this Class D digital amp- They are easy to build and are well regarded for their almost tubey sound.

Class D Audio Class D Audio Kits - PRODUCTS (

Here is another tube preamp and headphone amp that is very well regarded and on my short list to buy.-

Little Dot MK III MKIII Tube Headphone Amplifier | eBay (

Here's a review- Review of the Little-Dot MKIII Tube Headphone Amp/Pre-Amp (

Here are some other digital amps-
HLLY TAMP-90 90W Class T AMP AMPLIFIER Tripath TA2022 [TAMP-90] - $220.00 : DAC,Audio Amplifier,Hifi Amplifier,Tube Amplifier,Hlly Audio, Hlly Electronics (

Here are some tube amps-

YAQIN VK-2100 Integrated Valve Tube Power Amplifier amp [VK-2100] - $238.00 : DAC,Audio Amplifier,Hifi Amplifier,Tube Amplifier,Hlly Audio, Hlly Electronics (

Music Curve D-2020-KT100 Vacuum Tube Amplifier [D-2020-KT100] - $420.00 : DAC,Audio Amplifier,Hifi Amplifier,Tube Amplifier,Hlly Audio, Hlly Electronics (

10-06-2011, 01:27 PM
I couldn't agree more with Ebony Crow regarding the Parts Express DTA-100 . I have one and it will drive those Mach Ones till the cows come home and sound better than the average vintage receiver.

10-07-2011, 07:28 PM
Thanks guys that is ALOT of information to digest. I will dive into this weekend.

I have an update... ie: the plot thickens. I bought a couple of the 8ohm 15" woofers off of Amazon. I think I mentioned that before... I recieved them like 36 hours after I ordered. So I popped the screws out of one of the four in need of surrounds and first thing that I saw was the there was 6 ohms stamped on the back of the original woofer. hmm... so I did what any overly cautious person would do and immediately installed and played at high volume and I am surprised. It sounds pretty darn good. BUT... it's not the same. I can't put my finger on it but to say that the bass is lacking, and the highs seem to be overbearing. I have one of each hooked up to the reciever in my computer room. While the set with the good woofers (the mach 2 woofer) aren't 100%--(did I mention that I am still bitter about the Mach 2 woofers?) I played a variety of music with the mach2 woofer on the left channel and the "new" woofer Mach Ones on the right and you can hear that it's different. I then swapped channels to make sure that there was nothing weird going on. If I didn't have two different speakers side by side I may not have noticed and ignorance would have been bliss. But I know and now it's gonna bug the crap out of me. I still intend to get the originals redone (foam) but this solution was very attractive for the instant gratification.

What's your opinion... would the 4ohm woofer make a difference for low freq response. I am also greatly puzzled by the 6 ohm woofer thing. I can take pics if it would help. It's been a while since I was in electronics school, I want to say a lower impedance would draw more current?

Will look at the DTA-100. Thanks Again.

(I have a PS One, and a PS2, but honestly think I am gonna dedicate a computer to be the source. The remote capability of Itunes is something I want to use--at least for one source. I also have a Sony MD deck)

10-08-2011, 04:00 PM
What woofer did you buy? What is it that you don't like about it? You need to give it some time to break in. Some speakers need 100+ hrs to break in. I would give it at least 20hrs of break in time. Also, if you are going to use your computer as the source you will need a good usb dac for good sound. That Maverick Tube Preamp-DAC combo has multiple inputs-usb, digital coax, optical and analog. It matches very well with that DTA-100a.

By the way, parts express carry the replacement woofers for those speakers in 8ohm and 4ohm versions. They are currently on sale.

10-10-2011, 06:02 AM
What woofer did you buy? What is it that you don't like about it? You need to give it some time to break in. Some speakers need 100+ hrs to break in. I would give it at least 20hrs of break in time. Also, if you are going to use your computer as the source you will need a good usb dac for good sound. That Maverick Tube Preamp-DAC combo has multiple inputs-usb, digital coax, optical and analog. It matches very well with that DTA-100a.

By the way, parts express carry the replacement woofers for those speakers in 8ohm and 4ohm versions. They are currently on sale.

I did get them ultimately from Parts Express via Amazon. I purchased the 8 ohm replacement woofer for the Realistic Mach One... because the radioshack/tandy label on the back states that it is an 8 ohm speaker. Like I said in the earlier post, when I pulled the Mach One woofer out (the old one) it was label on the back by the magnet as 6 ohms. New woofer Installed in the speaker it sounds very unbalanced from low to high. I have to put the mids and highs to about -6db to make it sound like I am not torturing my dog.

I have been on the phone with Parts Express and they have been very nice to me--despite me being somewhat ignorant of this stuff. They said exactly what you guys said, that they need time to break in and I can return for 45 days but there's a restocking fee. I think the part that I am having trouble with is that it ISN'T what they advertised. Identical to OEM. It's electrically and audibly different. Break in--I get that but I think this 2ohm difference unbalances the speaker. So... I am thinking for the other two I may order the 4 ohm variety--unless someone thinks that they would harm the crossovers and such. I would rather have too much low than too much high. I can balance that out on the reciever.

Also (I am replying to a couple posts at once--thank you all for the input) my budget is somewhat fluid... never alot but I would be willing to save up if I need to get something more suited.

The gent at parts express recommended against the class T amps. Said they are very close to a class D (I've at least heard of those lol) but the one mentioned would be fine for pushing a set of bookshelf speakers on the back porch was the example he used, but thinks if I am hearing the difference in the mach one woofers then I probably wouldn't be satisfied with the DTA-100a. (I think I still would like to get one for the 301's to put in my kids room. She's got a little mp3 player)

So I will continue to read about the other recommended items above. I am a little curious do I NEED a DAC? The experience with the HT stuff I have leads me to think that DAC makes the speakers sound bad. I do need an EQ though.

thanks again all
sorry to be a pain in the ....

10-10-2011, 06:21 PM
First off, that DTA-100a is in no way in the same class as those Class D amp kits. They are worlds apart with the class D amps being much better and of audiophile quality. Second, an audio grade DAC does not make the sound worse, it markedly improves it depending upon the DAC and associated equipment. All CD players have built in DAC's to convert the digital signal to analog. More expensive CD players in general have better DAC's. You can buy stand alone DAC's and use the digital out from your CD player if it has one or your DVD or BluRay player. I have an $1800 hybrid tube DAC that sounds wonderful and I also have a $200 Tube DAC that sounds great and markedly improves the sound of the DTA-100a amp by leaps and bounds. There are many DAC's that sell for $100 or less that can improve your sound. One such is the one made by MCM electronics.

Concerning the DTA-100a. It packs a punch but it has an open airy sound that you may not like (pairing it with the Maverick Pre/DAC really gives it a very nice tubey midrange while keeping the open air sound and transparency. It also improves bass). I would consider buying a used Adcom, B&K or Parasound amp and pairing it with a tube preamp like the Little Dot MKIII or the Maverick Pre/DAC to get the sound that you are after.

Getting back to your woofers, give them time to break in. They will never sound the same as the stock Woofers. They do make a 4ohm version of that replacement woofer. Those Mach speakers may need work on their crossovers as well to get them to sound good.

10-11-2011, 11:17 AM
All T-amps (short for Tripath amps) are also Class D (short for digital) amps. The DTA-100 (TK2050) uses the Tripath chip which are no longer produced although the Chinese seem to have an endless supply on hand.

While the techs at PE are helpful several are not that knowledgeable even of their own products. Amps from PE have a good warranty and I've only had one replaced. 94 db speakers will sound good and fairly loud even with the lowest powered T-amp (TK2020).

10-24-2011, 07:18 PM
Understood. Time has been in short supply of late. I am a 38yr old Freshman in UC's EE program now, and I am still working full time, wife, three kids, dog and 2.5 cats. (one is REALLY dumb) I went with something of a short term solution I am in the process of redo'ing the woofer surrounds and the first pair are decent. I am borderline OCD so seeing a bead of glue drives me nucking futs. I will attempt to include pics of a before and after woofer. I went to HHG (I know...) I told him I needed a good stereo reciever so that I could at least get music going through the six Mach Ones at one time. I was looking at a 100-200 model online that was supposedly "high current" for larger speakers. I recognized this as most assuredly bs but figured what the heck if it sounds decent at low to mid volume with 4 speakers it will be a good band-aid while I try to figure out what I want to do. Again, PC or Ipod as a source for now, and again I am not that descerning of an ear. I do have a stash of vinyl (mostly Floyd and AC/DC) and maybe I will go there again, but not at the moment. So dude at HHG immediately steers me to the high end home theater, biggest commission setup he had and I told him flat out I wasn't buying a home theater I wanted two channel stereo--I mean do they make those anymore? He didn't think so. The more I looked at the low end stereo mentioned above the more I was getting that sinking feeling that I was throwing a chunk of money away. So I comprimised. I found an Onkyo (TX-NR609) that was 500 watts or so across 7.1 but it readily divied up the channels into "All Channel Stereo on any combination of speakers. Also it switched HDMI and had a few other bells and whistles. I think I paid 4 and some change for it, and it sounds really decent in my computer room which is abour 13x12 ft running four Mach Ones. When I get the other two online I am hoping it will config easy enough to 6 speakers in stereo mode. My plan is to eventually move the new Onkyo down to the home theater, and (slowly) build the component system you gents have advised me on,

About the 8 ohm woofers from PE. I will keep them but I am redoing the old woofers and I may experiment with them... as "my set" has mach 2 woofers in them. If I can tweak a better sound out of "my set" great... if not then they will be ready spares.

12-03-2011, 11:21 AM
I recently got an older ADCOM GFA 5500 amplifier (with a switch to control sound in other rooms) and Bang & Olufsen Penta III active speakers. What is best way to hook up iPod or iPad to amplifier. Also, if I want to use other audio inputs or input TV sound through amplifier to speakers, what is best solution.

JoeE SP9
12-05-2011, 10:08 AM
I recently got an older ADCOM GFA 5500 amplifier (with a switch to control sound in other rooms) and Bang & Olufsen Penta III active speakers. What is best way to hook up iPod or iPad to amplifier. Also, if I want to use other audio inputs or input TV sound through amplifier to speakers, what is best solution.

The B&O's you have or any active speakers don't need a power amplifier. Your Adcom is a power amplifier. Your best option is to acquire a preamplifier. It could drive any active speakers direct and/or your power amplifier.