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Install HT system but maintain high quality 2-channel music performance?


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Hi! I am new to this forum and look for wisdom.....as an alternative to me reading huge volumes of web-blather!
I run Cary mono block 300SE (9 watts per channel) amps into Almarro speakers. I use a Burson headphone amp/DAC as pre-amp. Source is either from Vincent SDV-3 (use its DAC) or my iPod Classic via a Wadia i171 transport to the Burson DAC.

Clearly my listening preference is towards refinement and spaciousness (mellowness some would say) rather than big sound and dynamics.

However, I want to set up a reasonable home theatre but room space dictates that the tube amps get put into storage (for a while). I want to find a receiver or pre/power amp combo which will give good service for video work, but excellent stereo for simple music enjoyment. A big ask.

My investigations so far point to Yamaha or Pioneer top end receivers (up to the $3-4000 mark) with the Arcam AVR600 a seeming benchmark at a much higher price point.

I have not yet considered side and rear speakers to complement the Almarros.

I look forward to some helpful comments.

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As I posted in your previous thread,

Buy the Cary 2ch tube pre amp with ht bypass to go with your monos and to integrate your fine 2ch gear with a ht setup and enjoy best of both worlds

Basically the 2ch side drives your mains for both 2ch and ht.

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As I posted in your previous thread,

Buy the Cary 2ch tube pre amp with ht bypass to go with your monos and to integrate your fine 2ch gear with a ht setup and enjoy best of both worlds

Basically the 2ch side drives your mains for both 2ch and ht.

 +1

 

I do believe the Arcam may also be an option.

 

Alternatively get any AVR thats reasonable and use that for centre, rears sides etc. Connect the fronts out to your Burson and monoblocks. That way your mono blocks can run 2 channel and the fronts of HT setup While the AVR run all the speakers except the fronts. (That is what I do)

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  • 2 weeks later...

build a good quality HTPC with asus xonar st with multiple rca output attachment. 

get several good quality stereo power amps with gain controls, or 1 good stereo for mains, and 1 multi channel power amp for rears and centre. or you can use whatever favorite amp you have for your mains 

run your HTPC as source & preamp. will give you all the flexibility you like, as long as the output voltage is suitable to input voltage of your amps

this way, you can even build a multi channel system with tube amps if need be 

 

in my experience, none of the multi channel receivers have sounded as good as stereo amps i got. there may be some.. i wouldnt know.. as i am not the type to invest 5 grand in an amp because it sounds 0.0002 % better than other options that i can acquire for 300.

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I've been down this road before.

 

Originally i have used my Anthem MRX300 as a preamp feeding into A Parasound Halo A52, I find the MRX great for movies and the ARC room calibration works really well. It was OK for music but this model is an all digital receiver so all analogue signals are converted which I didn't like.

 

I found that 90% of my listening was is 2 channel and having to power 5 channels all the time felt wasteful. So now I'm using an Audiolab 8200CDQ as preamp/Dac as it does HT Bypass. This feeds a pair of class D monoblocks for my mains. The MRX300 is left to power the rear speakers which are B&W in walls and fairly efficient. I've also ditched my centre channel and to me the sound has improved, my room is smallish 4X5m the front stage is much more balanced and imaging is much better.

 

I would suggest buying a nice preamp which allowed HT Bypass and unitise your current 2 channel set-up. 

 

If you really want an all in one solution I'd recommend Arcam musically very nice. I had a Yamaha before the Anthem but music listening was not very enjoyable. Marantz and Denon also good brands to check out

Edited by mpearce38
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As I posted in your previous thread,

Buy the Cary 2ch tube pre amp with ht bypass to go with your monos and to integrate your fine 2ch gear with a ht setup and enjoy best of both worlds

Basically the 2ch side drives your mains for both 2ch and ht.

+. Lots

I agree absolutely 199% with Al..

I have tried several variations on the theme.

After the 2 ch setup you will not be happy with any avr at any price point.

So any setup that feeds your 2 ch source thru the avr will break it beyond the point of wanting to listen.

I strongly recommend you save a great deal of frustration and mucking about/wasted time and heed Al's suggestion.

I run a fairly exxy rxer for ht which runs full 7.2 duties.

For 2 ch I swap the speaker cables to the mains which run off an all valve rig.

Tedious but I found any other implementation to cause too much degradation ( I do not use a preamp)

If you want ease of use for family members then Al's suggestion re preamp with ht bypass is much easier to use.

Good luck finding a happy resolution

Rawl

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  • 4 weeks later...
build a good quality HTPC with asus xonar st with multiple rca output attachment. 

get several good quality stereo power amps with gain controls, or 1 good stereo for mains, and 1 multi channel power amp for rears and centre. or you can use whatever favorite amp you have for your mains 

run your HTPC as source & preamp. will give you all the flexibility you like, as long as the output voltage is suitable to input voltage of your amps

this way, you can even build a multi channel system with tube amps if need be 

 

in my experience, none of the multi channel receivers have sounded as good as stereo amps i got. there may be some.. i wouldnt know.. as i am not the type to invest 5 grand in an amp because it sounds 0.0002 % better than other options that i can acquire for 300.

 

+1 on this. Have a HTPC with Xonar Essence ST+H6 card (esp with custom op-amps that sound more "musical") direct to 2 channel and 5 ch power amps. It is the cleanest, most detailed sound quality I have ever experienced. Streets ahead of a receiver or even having the receiver as a pre-amp to the same power amps above.

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I previously ran my avr (Yamaha RXV 2067) for the centre and rears and then the fronts into pre and monoblocks.

 

The kids could watch movies etc in three channel and when I am there we would run the whole system.

 

Then I did a  firmware upgrade and I cant get the AVR to run the setup like that. 

 

I am now doing what rawl99 does -  I just run the AVR normally for movies and family.

 

 when I want to use my 2 channel I change the speaker cables around.

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