Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Remote control plans for living room analog sources

Received Kenwood RC-RO600 AV remote today.  It did nothing discernable to the KT-6040 tuner.

This was just a roll of the dice, to see if similar vintage A/V remote would control the tuner.  it does have some tuner controls, including band select, preset up and preset down and dual-purpose number buttons that work with either tuner presets or tape presets.

I have a "watch" on a different but similar kenwood AV remote.  I'm getting a sinking feeling about this.

Funny or not I couldn't find stories of anyone else trying this.  The actual 6040 remote is unobtanium, though it does show up in lists as "unavailable".

Funny I just unplugged the Sony today to plug in Nakamichi RX505 to listen to my "party tape" that I made previous weekend.  I've been thinking about a switcher to select 6040, Nak, or Oppo BDP-95 (which I might keep in living room and get second for kitchen) or Denon 5900 (instead of getting second Oppo, I could just use Denon 5900 I already have, it's nearly as good for analog but doesn't have balanced outputs).  If using the Oppo, it would be nice to run balanced straight into the Lavry AD10 ADC I use for all analog sources.  So in that case, the "ultimate" switcher would be:

1 balanced input (or more)
2 unbalanced inputs (or more)
balanced output

unbalanced inputs are easily to converted to balanced by shorting signal minus to ground.  If there is one master switch, it must be 4 pole.  If there are relays, they should probably all be 4 pole also.  The ultimate would be relays with remote control.

I can't find anything like this made.  You can get, at $190 and up, professional balanced audio switchers with 4 or more inputs.  Then I could stuff the some of the inputs with xlr-to-rca adapters.  So that would work, but it's mechanical switching, not remote.  Plus the total cost includes the $5-10 adapters.  Jacks could be added to the box, though it's fairly compact.

Actual remote operation could be done with some sort of preamp, possibly using tape outputs.  There is a certain Adcom which may be promising, it has relay selectors with possibly bypassable output stage (it's a Pass designed single mosfet).  Krell also had some relay selector based units, but though the tape output might not be buffered (don't know) it is probably not balanced.  I have a Classe CP35, but I think the tape output is buffered and it's not balanced (in fact, all inputs are buffered at input IIRC).  Not sure if there's an acceptible option in any classic piece of obtainable used gear including balanced.  At very high cost, one can get a Placette volume control ($999) in balanced ($2000) and add a 2-input balanced selector (total cost maybe $2500).  That's high cost for what I need: the one relay controlled selector switch.   I don't need actual volume control, the Lavry inputs have native 10V maximum with 13dB adjustable gain.  If anything, I could use more gain.

Another option: get second Lavry, one for balanced (currently only Oppo) and one for unbalanced (Kenwood, Nakamichi, whatever else).  Currently, switcher only needed for unbalanced sources.  If switcher costs more than $1000, getting $1700 lavry is worth considering.

Then one more feature: second tuner (Sony XDR) feeding Nak input for making party tapes (though it may not have the fantastic bass of the 6040.  Also allows a second tuner, which DOES have remote control, and the convenience of on-demand recording (which it seems industry would prefer you not have).  And it means remote control access to other FM stations...

First step is getting 3 more 1foot power cords (very useful) with 3ac adapter because I'm running out of plugs on my 12 outlet power conditioner.  In fact I'm already using one 3ac adapter for both speaker dc supplies and something else.  As I said, I had to unplug Sony XDR to plug in Nakamichi, and the plan is to have the XDR be the source for the Nakamichi, hoping it's good enough for that.

For the time being, manual cable swapping instead of knob-turn or remote switcher.  I hate that though, always feeling that it prevents me from doing what I want whenever.  But that's mostly just a feeling anyway.  Often after the perfect switch has been constructed, I simply fail to have a need for it anymore.

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