Question: Separates (No AMP) with Powered Bookshelf Speakers?

Hello All,

I have been doing a bunch of research, but this question is not very clearly answered. Is it possible to hook up a powered bookshelf speaker up to a processor, and without a need for an AMP?

I apologize for the newbie question about home theater. I am more used to AVR (Audio Visual Reciever) and not too familiar with separates/processors. I was thinking of my future home theater setup. I was hoping to not get a traditional AVR, but instead, get a separate/processor instead. At least either an AVR/processor that supports XLR. I was hoping to slowly build up a whole new home theater setup. I plan on starting with front/center speakers, such as the Swans M5A or other Swans if/and when the Swans come back in stock. And then slowly buildup my speaker collection. I want to eventually create a 7.1/11.1 surround sound home theater experience. I would like to hook the speakers up via an XLR cable to the processor (in this case Marantz AV7706 or similar.) I believe most powered bookshelf speakers already have a built-in AMP to run this, so needing an AMP (that a typical AVR would have) is not necessary?

Initial Equipment Wanted:

  • Marantz AV7706
  • Swans M5A/Swans M300
  • XLR Cables

I am assuming I can keep adding bookshelf speakers to create a full home theater setup?

I prefer XLR cables because they are inexpensive and easier to work with. I prefer to not run RCA cables or speaker wires. I understand I will probably need a six-pin left-out cable if I plan on using this in an extended run.

If there are any other tips and tricks about this type of home-theater setup, please let me know.

1 Like

As a short answer. Yes
No separate AMP is required.

Swans speakers use Master unit and Slave units. Send in left and right audio signal to Master unit, it sends the e.g. left signal to Left.
The Marantz AV uses single channel audio for the XLR outputs. LF (left front) channel from one XLR connection. You need powered speakers that each unit has it’s own AMP and signal input. Preferred in XLR like you mentioned. XLR out and XLR in.
Unless you buy 11 pairs of Swan’s and only use the Master units. Probably not the good way.

Yes. That is all you need and of course power.
Using similar concept but with more twists.

No. Unless they also are powered speakers. Powered bookshelf speakers, then Yes.

One thing you might want to thing and plan is the actual power management.
Will the houses / rooms power and fuses last etc. If you plug like +5000W to single fuse from all the gear + screen / TV and the rest. Might not have power at all.
Power Management For all 11 speakers and sub. Usually the “cheapo” powdered speakers do not have Auto Power ON/OFF or sleep mode, so they use power all the time.
The very good ones, have like -5w sleep states if no signal.
Plus how to turn On/Off all 11 speakers and Sub if needed and wanted. Clicking all 11 speakers from behind, some being near roof line ain’t a good option.

In my mind. Major thing is sound timbre so every speaker should sound the same. If you add different speakers the end surround will sound different if you have the ear for it.

Timber means alot more now with the adoption of surround music by streaming companies like apple i think.

Yes it’s totally possible and I don’t understand why more people don’t do it, with the amount of channels they are putting in modern AVR’s have powered monitors just make since, because the AVR won’t run so freaking hot and you don’t need a massive rack of amps.

Throw in battery cell and a wireless solution.

Thank you all! This is super helpful information.

cheap avr’s dont have signal out to all channels. you have to use the built in amp for surrounds on most that cost less than 700$ or so. to answer the question of all powered monitors. and if your going that route, better of with a processor than an avr. no sense spending money on the amp section you arent going to use.

A hack to break into pre/pro denon 3700 $1499, which retailed at $1199 on release.

Good review from ASR.