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Help in Adding Surround to a 2 Channel Stereo System


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 25 2005 - 09:29 AM

Hello All! I have a 2 channel audio system with monoblock amps,preamp,2 speakers,etc.I have purchased a pair of small B&W speakers for the rear surrounds,i have a center channel on the way and i will eventually purchase a powered subwoofer.Question is what do i need to integrate these new additions to create my 5.1 (i assume) system? A decoder/3 channel amp? Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated.TIA!Posted Image

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted March 25 2005 - 09:49 AM

Yep,

A pre/pro (pre-amp / processor) and 3 more mono blocks. Posted Image or a 3 channel amp would suffice as well for sure.

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 26 2005 - 12:20 AM

Thanks John-Now can anybody recommend a modest price pre/pro and 3 channel amp to complete this system or perhaps a variation of the above to accomplish my needs.Thanks!

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 26 2005 - 05:07 AM

Define "modest"? What would your budget be for both? Outlaw, Rotel and Sherbourn make solid entry level pre/pro's. As far as an amp what brand do you own now? You should stick with the same brand or one with a similar sound. I don't know the quality of your 2-channel preamp but if it's very good you might think about using the pre outs on the pre/pro for your left and right channels into to the 2-channel preamp and then into your monos and keep your 2-channel sources plugged into the 2-channel preamp. This way you can still have a 2-channel system for music and have your HT also. This was the way I did it when I only had one system.

#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 26 2005 - 07:51 AM

That's EXACTLY what i want to do ScottPosted Image I have a pair of Bryston 7B 500 watt monoblocks..would love to continue with Bryston but $$$ is a concern...looking into A Rotel RB 956AX which when bridged will yield 100 watts x 3..which would run a pair of B&W 2 way speakers for the rear surrounds and possibly a JBL EC35 center channel..pre/pro i'm undecided on....am i headed in the right direction here?

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 26 2005 - 10:28 AM

Brad

Are you still going to be listening to music the majority of time or will HT and music be a 50/50 ratio now? I ask this because if you are going to be listening to music 80% of the time like myself then I don't see where you need to spend some so much on a pre/pro and amp. If this is the case you might be better served with a quality receiver and use it's pre outs to connect it with your 2-channel system. If you still want separates then yes the Rotel is a nice amp but it won't be as detailed as the Bryston IMO. You could look for a used Bryston on audiogon or ebay. I think you should give the Arcam AVR300 a long look it's a receiver that even a audiophile could lovePosted Image . Other cheaper choices would be the Marantz 7500 and 8500 which are excellent and the Denon 3805. What are your main speakers? Because with the money you save in electronics you could spend on a center channel from the same speaker company and get better timbre matching with your main speakers.

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 26 2005 - 04:00 PM

I'd say 80% music..as that has been and will always be my main focus..front speakers are JBL 250ti's so i assume they will mate well with the EC35 center channel.maybe i should proceed to investigate the receiver option as i'm more concerned with standard stereo enjoyment with a side order of bombastic home theatre sound..i always thought that even midfi equipment can still sound pretty darn good when attention is paid to the quality of interconnects and speaker cable.

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:12 AM

Well if HT is only going to be a part time thing then I think you will be pleased with a receiver. Considering the quality of those 250ti's you might think about JBL's TiK center channel instead but the EC35 should be ok too.

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 27 2005 - 03:49 AM

Thanks Scott,you've been most helpful.The TiK center looks wonderful but at 1K retail and the EC35 available for 140.00......well you know where i'm headed here..i'm looking into the Marantz 8200 A/V receiver as $400-$500 for an upgraded used unit seems to be a possibility..i believed it retailed for 1200.00 or so when it was in current production (2-3 years ago) your thoughts pleasePosted Image

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:05 AM

Well I think your 250ti's are much better than the Northridge series that's why I mentioned the Tik. As far as the 8200 I wasn't impressed with the build quality of the 8200 and 8300 but with the 8400 and 8500 I think Marantz is back on track. I plan on buying a 7500 here pretty soon and you could find a new one on the internet for $300 more than the 8200 you are looking at. Another receiver to consider is the Harmon Kardon AVR635 which is very good also.

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:25 AM

J&R has the HK AVR635 for $769 and free shipping..they show a retail price of 1100.00...the Harmon Kardon Website shows a retail price of 1300.00..is there a great deal under our nose?

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 27 2005 - 04:55 AM

That would be a good price for one. A friend of mine has one and is very pleased with his.

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 28 2005 - 12:09 AM

I'm wondering if i could get away with the HK 335 @ 55 watts/channel since i'm only powering a center channel (most likely the JBL EC335) and a pair of 2 way B&W's for the rear surrounds.That unit will run about 440.00.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 28 2005 - 10:03 AM

How big a room do you have? Unless you are trying to play reference levels or have a very large room it should be ok. You will need a spl meter no matter what receiver you buy because your mono's have so much more power than the receiver has.

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 29 2005 - 12:12 AM

Room is approx 15'x20'...floor is ceramic tile over concrete slab and exterior walls are plastered wallboard over cement block construction,internal walls are framed plastered wallboards.Very hard sound right now..just starting to add furnishings..additional sound control methods will be neccessary,yet to be determined is the direction that will take.

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted March 29 2005 - 02:51 AM

You have out board amps now? High quality ones at that?

No way would I suggest going back and using the integrated amps in an AVR for any channel. But that's just me. Posted Image

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 29 2005 - 03:32 AM

I understand your concernPosted Image If i could find a reasonably (for me) priced 3 channel amp and pre/pro...i would certainly go in that direction.

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   John S

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Posted March 29 2005 - 03:39 AM

Well, you can still use the AVR for the pre/pro duties to save money. With your existing amps you have raised the bar quite a bit. I just don't think it would work well, for the channels to be so mis matched as far as gain staging goes. I mean, I'm not so sure even any inexpensive 3 channel amp is going to cut it for you. I think I would be on the look out for a used something real nice over any new inexpensive option. That is one sort of bummer about improving one's system. You raise the bar so high, you just no longer have inexpensive options as viable choices.

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted March 29 2005 - 10:37 AM

There isn't any reason to invest serious money in HT unless you are serious about HT. As long as your system is being used mostly for 2-channel music then a receiver will be ok. You can always add a 3-ch amp down the road if you want more power. I do think a AVR635 or Marantz 7500 are better choices than the 335 unless you don't watch action movies.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Brad-G

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Posted March 30 2005 - 09:44 AM

Maybe i'll get an AV receiver to tide me over until i find a deal on a Bryston 5B 3 channel amp or a comparable amp and when that happens i can use the receiver as a pre/pro only.




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