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Re: Carver stereo amp will only play
Power amps without built-in volume controls are always running full out. There is usually some form of preamp, control amp or receiver before the amp to provide source selection and volume (*) as well as any other signal processing.
* If you think about it, your CD player (or any other source) is also running at full volume unless it has an output level control. Hence, the volume knob actually LOWERS the volume from maximum rather than raising it from minimum.
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You need to run RCA cables from the CD player to the CD or AUX input on your amp / receiver unit. If you have a standalone amp, you need some way to control the volume. Basically, if you have a volume control on the front of your amp, you're OK. If not, you should also have a preamplifier that the CD player feeds first.
From the amplifier, then, a single pair of speaker outputs feeds a single pair of inputs on your speakers. The reason for two jack sets on the speakers is for "bi-wiring" or "bi-amping", not necessary for basic stereo reproduction.
CD red/white RCA out -> preamp/receiver red/white CD/AUX input. Amp speaker output (red + / black -) to one red/black input pair on the speakers. An input on the speaker is side by side...
Keep the red to red, black to black when connecting the speakers, or you will wind up with poor sound and weak bass.
By itself, yes, in stereo for stereo analog source material only.
There's good news and bad news for the multichannel hopes you must be harboring.
The bad news is that a multichannel receiver with Bose 901's will only sound right in STEREO on stereo analog material. For one thing, the other speakers around the room are not designed to receive its Active Equalization (unless they, too, are 901's of the same version) and for another, if you engage your Tape Monitor you will not be able to play digital sources. Tape Monitor is for analog stereo material only and on most (all?) AV receivers it disables any digital inputs.
The good news. I have a 7.1 setup similar to what I think you're trying to do and it works great!
A separate stereo amp for the 901's was my solution. I run a Carver AV-406 (5-channel amp) for my 901's in Front, 2 Subwoofers and the Rear Surround channel, with the Active EQ between the receiver Front L&R Outputs and the 901's amp channels. My receiver controls everything and just drives the Center and Surround speakers. You could get by with just a stereo amp for the 901's. A Carver M-200 is a good efficient amplifier that would have you cooking just fine (2x100W). Just draw the Front L and R analog pre-out from the Marantz to the Bose Active Equalizer then to the new amp. Adjust your speaker levels and enjoy.
You need an amplifier with at least 200 wpc to get the most out of your BOSE. Look into getting a NAD, ADCOM or CARVER amplifier. I prefer CARVER myself. I am running a CARVER M-500T(251 wpc) on my 901's and they sound incredible.
Tech data sheet with diagrams: http://www.bose.com/pdf/professional/802III_techdata.pdf In a nutshell, the controller would go between a preamp Stereo OUTput and a dedicated amplifier INPUT. You can't use Bose 901 or 802 EQ in a multichannel setup without separate amps for the Bose speakers.
The Bose 802/901 family uses full-range speakers instead of traditional woofer/tweeter combinations, so they compensate for the response limitations at the extreme frequencies by using severe electronic modification of the program material. Hence, they are a system, functionally inseparable, but the results are outstanding. Consequently, they need a dedicated amplifier so they alone get the processing provided by their electronic component. In a vanilla stereo configuration you would just put the controller/EQ into a Tape Monitor loop but multichannel sound and digital sources won't work that way. You should be able to draw off the (assumed) Front L&R channel preamp signal from the MD/CD-R or DVD-R Audio Out (REC) jacks (*). Run that to the Preamp In (or whatever it's labeled on the Bose EQ/Controller). DO NOT run a return RCA pair back to the Receiver as Bose-processed signals will not play well with non-Bose speakers. (*) Run the Output of the Bose EQ/Controller to a powerful separate amp for the Bose 802/901's. I use two channels on a Carver multichannel AV-406 amp but a stand-alone Carver MT-200T also works well. A good clean 100 watts/channel should suffice at home. * If possible, choose the recorder loop you are NOT using for something else. If you're using the MD/CD-R or DVD-R Audio OUT for a recording device just get some RCA splitters to share the Stereo signal between the Bose and the device at the same time. However, once you select monitoring of that recorder two things will likely happen - 1) you'll lose the Bose and anything digital in the receiver will be disabled.
It's the nature of the digital beast that analog monitoring gets in the way of DSP.
Of course, if anyone who reads this has a receiver with individual analog Audio Outputs for the various 5.1 channels (as I do), the solution would be to draw off the Front L&R channels to the Bose EQ and downstream amplifier and the rest would be the same but without Recorder Loop limitations.
I can think of no reason any amp pushing 120 watts would not work with 901-VI's. They're very efficent and will probably play louder and cleaner than you would ever need. As I recall, my old series IV's have no maximum amplifier rating specified, but I did blow up a bridged Carver M-400 Cube (pushing 400 watts to one speaker with a DVD-Audio of Yes - Fragile cranked dangerously high) with them. I'm convinced my speakers are indestructible in any home application.
Keep in mind that whatever you decide to use as your control/amplifier section, a pair of 901's need a dedicated stereo amplifier. I suspect you're thinking surround sound so a receiver with separable preamp/amp channels, due to the Activbe EQ, would be needed and as far as I know they don't exist. A separate stereo amp for the 901's was my solution. I run a Carver AV-406 (5-channel amp) for my 901's in Front, 2 Subwoofers and the Rear Surround channel, with the Active EQ between the receiver and the 901's amp channels. My receiver controls everything and just drives the Center and Surrounds.
Modest amps would work but at very loud volumes may go into clipping, which is bad for any speaker. 120 clean watts is good. I'm using only 110W for mine.
A Carver M-200 is a fine, efficient amplifier that would have you cooking just fine (2x100W).
There are two things. First check the sound settings of the DVD player. It might be putting out a lower quality sound on the CD side of things.
Secondly try to determine if the speaker tweeters are working. Connect the speakers if you can to another sound source. If the speakers are good and the settings fine. Then you have a fault in the amp unit.