Sony STR-DA5400ES & TA-N9000ES in BTL Mode

I have a B&W 600-series 5.1 speaker system and a Sony STR-DA5400ES A/V receiver and TA-N9000ES power amp. I am running the power amp in BTL (bridge-tied load) mode for the front left and right speakers and normal mode for the center channel. The surrounds are connected to the surround-speaker outputs of the receiver directly. Putting aside calibration and room size, am I doing the right thing regarding compatibility, connections, and power?


BTL mode simply combines two of the amplifier channels to provide more power. The TA-N9000ES has five amp channels rated at 115 watts per channel into 4 or 8 ohms, and it has a switch that puts the front left and right channels in BTL mode, disabling the surround amp channels and leaving the center channel in normal mode. In this configuration, the front left and right channels are rated at 200Wpc into 8 ohms and the center channel is rated at 120W. Note that in BTL mode, the amp is rated for 8 ohms or higher impedance, while it can drive 4-ohm loads in normal mode.

Your configuration is excellent. The B&W 600-series speakers are all rated with a nominal impedance of 8 ohms; the 683 can handle up to 200W, the HTM61 can handle up to 150W, and the 685 can handle up to 100W. According to our measurements, with 5 channels driving 8 ohms, the STR-DA5400ES reaches 0.1% distortion at 39.4W and 1% at 45.0W; with 7 channels driving 8 ohms, it reaches 0.1% at 37.3 and 1% at 41.9W. All in all, this is too little power for the B&Ws.

With only 2 channels driving 8 ohms, the AVR reaches 0.1% distortion at 157.5W and 1% at 186.6W. If you have 683s in the surround positions as well as the front, no problem, but if you're using 685s, this is actually too much power for them, so don't crank the surround channels in this case. Otherwise, you've set up a kick-ass system that should sound superb.

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msardo's picture

An aside - I simply am amazed at how you (Scott) are able to take all of these questions and answer them so clearly and with detail.

May I please just say thanks for doing a great job.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
Thanks so much for your kind words! I'm afraid I get far more questions than I can possibly answer, but I answer as many as I can.
K.Reid's picture

I second Msardo comments. As always excellent work, Scott.

Given the detailed responses to questions you answer, does HT online/mag maintain a historical database of specifications for receivers, amps, speakers, etc. in anticipation of such questions? Or do you research each product individually by downloading product manuals and contacting manufacturers?

Thanks, K

Hope to see HT and Stereophile staff at the New York Audio and AV show this weekend at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
Many thanks to you, too, for your kind words! We do not maintain a database of specs; I generally find specs and owners manuals, even for discontinued products, online. I also rely on HT's reviews, which include our own measurements.

I'm sorry to say I won't be at the show in NYC this weekend; I suspect John Atkinson and Rob Sabin might be, along with other writers who live in the area. Have fun!

thx2468's picture

I appreciate your answer! I have the B&W 684 front and 686 surround. can't wait to get the STR-DA5700ES. Thank you also to the Home Theater Magazine. :-)

mailiang's picture

Who is this character and why is he posting such nonsense on these threads?


Scott Wilkinson's picture
It's just spam; I deleted the comment and account. Like all websites, we get a lot of spam comments, which I remove as soon as I see them.
albert26's picture

I've never heard that combination,of ES/ & B&W ,600 series
but I bet it sounds very Kool,,one thing to mention all though,
Is what type of Speaker cables r u using on those B&W's,

Mr W ,did forget to mention that,we all know /Nice spk cable's,,create a World of difference,if you r into 2 channel Vinyl// CD's//& quite honestly
Home theater,,,,
Just a thought Jergen,plz always use Bannana Plugs,at least.

thx2468's picture

I use Monster cables. I'll consider the banana plugs since I assume it'll be easier to hook up the cables to the speakers also. I still play vinyl and 2-ch cd's. I enjoy it a lot!