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Stillmat1k
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Purchased vintage passive speakers and need advice setting up with PC

I recently purchased a pair of Ohm Walsh 4 speakers and I'm looking for some advise and guidance on how to best set them up. I have very little experience with audio but I do appreciate quality audio so any and all help is appreciated.

I do not have any other kind of hardware aside from my PC which has an inexpensive sound card (Creative Sound Blaster Z). I use my PC to play my movie files on my TV which has a sound bar as well. My pc is also my main source of music. I have a large collection of high quality .flac music files. I have some small active speakers that I use if I'm not using my headphones. I occasionally game as well and will use my headphones for that.

So my main concern is these speakers are passive and so need something to power them. However I'm a little confused on what I need exactly... Pre amp, amp, DAC, receiver, etc.

I do have some old receivers laying around and I was planning on testing those out to see how they work. One is a Yamaha HTR-5440 and another is a newer but I believe lower quality Samsung receiver (model unknown but will update). One concern with the Yamaha is that there's no HDMI. Another is that assuming I'm mostly going to be playing digital audio files and movies that this receiver is outdated and won't be able to output the quality of my files? In this case would I need a better receiver? Or maybe just a DAC? Can I even hook up a DAC to my pc and then directly to the speakers or do I have to have a receiver? Does a receiver replace an amp since it has one built in? Should I look into a newer or older receiver and look for used ones?

I don't want to spend a ton of money as I just spent $700 on these speakers but I understand that I might need to in order to achieve the audio they're meant to put out.

What are your recommendations all things considered? Sorry for rambling... Just thought some context would help.

Old Audiophile
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Bookshelf Speakers?

Ohm Walsh 4... bookshelf speakers? The Ohm 4 I remember are definitely floor-standers.

No offense but you have many questions that I think would be best and much more efficiently addressed by a visit to a local, reputable audio shop and discussion with a bona fide, experienced audiophile, rather than a forum like this. Given the nature of your quest, I suspect whatever you get in a forum like this is likely to be piecemeal and confusing, at best. At worst, it's likely to lead you down the wrong path(s), result in you spending more money than necessary and leave you with audio performance less than what those speakers are designed to deliver.

Here's a little information to start you off:

The speakers you've just acquired are very nice. I loved a pair of Ohm F when I first heard them in 1972. Your Ohm 4 are meant for medium to large rooms and do require proper room placement to sound their best. The Ohm 4 can be upgraded or changed to active speakers, if desired. Of course, there's a cost to this. I had a pair of Ohm C (much different design than your Ohm 4) back in the day, and happily enjoyed those speakers for over 20 years. They were the envy of all my audiophile friends who came to visit and listen to music, including one who had a pair of speakers over twice the sticker price of the Ohm C. Every time he listened, all he could do was shake his head in disbelief and wonder how they could sound that much better than his.

Personally, I think it would be a shame to limit the Ohm 4 with an anemic amplification source, especially considering they are a 6 ohm nominal load design. From a cost-effectiveness point of view, you might want to look at good receivers or integrated amplifiers with connectors you desire. A receiver is, basically, an amp, pre-amp, AM & FM tuner and other stuff built into the same chassis. If you don't need or want AM and/or FM radio, an integrated amp is a better way to go. An integrated amp is, basically, an amp, pre-amp and, often, other stuff built into the same chassis (e.g. DAC; phono stage(s) for turntable; etc.). Generally, you can always add outboard stuff to receivers and integrated amps in the future if like (e.g. DAC; phono stage(s); AM/FM tuner; etc.). Same applies to a pre-amp. A good separates system (i.e. separate amp, pre-amp, etc.) would be the costliest way to go.

Personally, for the Ohm 4, I would go with the best amplification source I could afford (i.e. not only watts but good current supply). For example: a minimum of 100 watts into 2 channels into 8 ohms and, say, 150 to 160 watts or more into 2 channels into 4 ohms. If your plans are to incorporate the Ohm 4 into a multi-channel TV/audio system, rather than strictly a 2 channel music system, then there are other ways to go.

BTW: If I'm not mistaken, the Yamaha SW-201 is a powered sub-woofer; not a receiver. Good luck!

Stillmat1k
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My mistake listing it as

My mistake listing it as bookshelf speakers, I've corrected my title. You are correct, they are floor standers. I also accidentally listed the wrong model number of the receiver which has been corrected. It's a Yamaha HTR-5440. Here's a link to the manual https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/other_assets/8/319648/HTR-5450.pdf

I do have a lot of questions and you're probably right. It's just a bit difficult getting into an actual store with everything going on. I was hoping to expand my knowledge a bit online before doing so.

So far I've got some good info reading and asking in other forums including the info you provided (thanks). Below are a few links that I was told will accomplish what I need while get the performance the speakers deserve. What are your thoughts?

https://www.amazon.com/Crown-XLS1002-Two-channel-Power-Amplifier/dp/B011TI97VE?th=1&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matter...CT8H5P&psc=1&refRID=VV8DCB0132ZJGQCT8H5P&th=1

https://www.schiit.com/products/modius

Yeah from what I read these speakers should be perfect for my room size (checked with Ohm Walsh directly as well). I'm excited about these speakers from what I've heard / read. I realize I may have purchased them prematurely but it seemed like a great deal @ $700 and pick up was local. So here I am... I did notice that there are tons of upgrades that can be done to these. The previous owner had the speakers refoamed a few years back and when they do that apparently they go through maintenance as well so they should be good for some time (I hope).

I don't really care for AM/FM so that's good information knowing an amp is the same minus the radio portion. I would like to eventually be able to add other devices to use with the speakers too like a good turntable, gaming/media center like a Playstation 3, etc. Would an amplifier be able to do this or would that need a receiver? Sounds like I can accomplish this using the amp like you mentioned.

Would my Yamaha receiver be a good amplification source for the Ohm 4's? Or not even close. I don't mind spending some extra money to get these to sound as they should but I would also like to save as much as I can. I know that these receivers can last a lifetime sometimes so it would be more of an investment and if I do get one I'd like one that I can use in the future as well.

Old Audiophile
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A Few Things

A few things you should know. Copying & pasting links on this site, more often than not, doesn't work.

IMHO, I think your Ohm 4 would benefit a whole lot more from more power & current delivery than your Yamaha HTR-5440 A/V receiver is designed to deliver. This is no nock against your Yamaha AVR. I have a Yamaha RX596 two channel receiver that I will be setting up in a bedroom with bookshelf speakers in order to listen to FM radio. It's a fine two channel receiver that I once used in my main system in the living room to drive a pair of Paradigm Monitor 9. Yamaha makes great stuff. If you haven't already, try your Yamaha AVR with your Ohm 4 and see/hear what you think.

IMHO, I think you need to do some more reading to learn the difference(s) between Audio Visual Receiver (AVR), Receiver, Integrated Amplifier, Pre-amplifier, Power Amplifier and Separates. "Separates" is jargon to describe what the name implies (i.e. separate Amplifier; separate Pre-Amplifier and everything else you want to add, separate piece by separate piece).

Crown Audio makes outstanding stuff! Fifty years ago, they made amplifiers for the audiophile market that, IMHO, were the equal of McIntosh, Phase Linear and all the other heavyweights at the time. Nowadays, though, they cater more to professional applications (e.g. musicians; DJs; public address systems; etc.). This is not to say you couldn't use one of their amplifiers in a home audio entertainment system. However, I would seek out their advice on that specifically to what you want to do in your home and I would pay particular attention to specifications (e.g. connections; power; current delivery; audio performance specs like THD or Total Harmonic Distortion; etc.). Lots of power and current are great but sometimes comes at a cost in sonic performance. Generally speaking, I would avoid anything that generates 1% or more THD. The lower, the better! Your ears will appreciate it!

Define "good turntable". Getting into vinyl is a whole other education process! Unquestionably rewarding for music lovers who are after the best audio performance you can get! It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. However, like most good things, this will require an investment to do it right (i.e. know-how and money). Gone are the days when you could walk into your friendly neighborhood record shop and walk out with 10 brand new albums for 10 bucks when they were running a sale or if you were one of their frequent flyers! Guilty as charged! Average minimum price for a good brand new album nowadays is around 25 bucks. A "good turntable", IMHO, is going to run you, at least 3 to 5 hundred bucks (with bundled cartridge) and you will need some accessories, as well (e.g. record brush; stylus cleaner; etc.). I've got records I bought in the 60s and some I inherited that were pressed in the 40s & 50s. They're all in very good shape because I took and continue to take great care of them. Take good care of your music and it will take good care of you.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that your plan is to eventually move in the direction of a multi-channel or, at least, two channel audio visual system incorporating TV watching. If that is indeed the case, then I think your most cost-effective approach to this would be to find a good AVR. Most, if not all, inexpensive AVRs with built-in phono stages (pre-amplifier for turntable) have poor or, at least, significantly limited phono stages. Manufacturers have to cut corners somewhere in order to build in all the other stuff in those things. Regardless, down the road, you can always buy a turntable with a built-in pre-amplifier or a turntable and separate external turntable pre-amplifier. IMHO, generally speaking, the latter choice is the better way to go. If you want to start learning about vinyl, Analog Planet is a good place to start, in addition to Stereophile, The Absolute Sound and other publications, of course.

Hope this helps! Enjoy our journey into audiophile land! If you are a true lover of music, you'll never get out! Then again, you won't want to! Enjoy!

Stillmat1k
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Thanks for the info. I'm

Thanks for the info. I'm looking at a used receiver someone is selling that they're willing to part with for $40. It's a Pioneer VSX-520-K. It has HDMI, etc. and seems to be newer than my Yamaha. What are everyone's thoughts on this one vs my Yamaha HTR-5440?

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