2-channel system to 5.1/6.1 - How to get there from here?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steven Harris, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Steven Harris

    Steven Harris Auditioning

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    I need advice on how to grow a two-channel audio system into

    multi-channel HT audio system - without removing any existing parts.

    I currently own some equipment oriented toward two-channel stereo

    music listening:

    o NAD C340 integrated amplifier (two-channel)

    o NAD C540 CD player

    o Snell QBx 20 speakers

    This combination is wonderful for music. I do not want to replace any

    of it.

    Now, I recently purchased a Toshiba 34HF81 television and a Panasonic

    RP-91 DVD player. I have the two-channel analog output from the DVDP

    connected to my amplifier, playing through the two mentioned

    speakers. The sound is good, but I imagine that adding a center

    speaker would improve dialogue intelligibility. My existing amplifier

    cannot power another channel.

    I'm wondering how I could get to 5.1 or 6.1 HT-style audio without

    disturbing my existing two-channel equipment. That is, I would like to

    keep my same two front speakers connected to the same NAD C340

    amplifier; I don't want to change my current CD playing set-up. I

    would like to add speakers and some sort of receiver/amplifier units

    to power the additional speakers. The revised set-up should not

    require me to reconnect my Snell speakers to this new amplifier or

    receiver.

    Would you recommend buying an AV receiver and running the two front

    channels (pre-amp) out to the NAD amplifier? (This would leave two of

    the receiver's amplifier channels unused.) If I did that, I'd have a

    volume control for the two front speakers separate from the volume

    control for the other three or four. Would the volume level be

    difficult to coordinate?

    My DVD player also has built-in DTS and DD decoders. Does having these

    decoders allow me to run the analog outputs from the player into a

    multi-channel amplifier, with the two front signals going to my

    existing NAD amplifier? I'm not clear how I would control the volume

    of the other speakers. Is a receiver or preprocessor still necessary

    in between the DVD player and an amplifier?

    Any advice - including product recommendations - would be greatly

    appreciated.
     
  2. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    1. You can run your processor/receiver left and right outputs through the integrated amp. Simply calibrate with the volume in some easy to reproduce (straight up) position and set it there any time you listen to multi-channel.

    2. Many (most? all?) DVD players lack a volume control, and therefore can't be fed directly to power amplifiers. Multi-channel analog preamps are available, although if you're using the DVD's on-board decoders you probably don't want to pay for one.
     
  3. Steven Harris

    Steven Harris Auditioning

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  4. Greg_W

    Greg_W Stunt Coordinator

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    What you would need is a reciever with preouts, then the L/R channels could be run to your integrated amp. The preouts on the reciever have a variable level, so the reciever can change the volume of the whole system, even though you are running two speakers through the integrated amp. Setting the integrated amp at a level (like 12 o'clock)and then calibrating your system so that all the speakers are playing at the same level. This is done through the reciever set-up and ideally using a SPL (sound pressure level) meter. Whenever you want to watch a movie you could just set the integrated amp to 12 o'clock, and you would always be calibrated, and would just set the reciever volume to the desired level.

    Greg
     
  5. Art Miller

    Art Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Been there-gave up on that.

    Can't adjust global volume continuously.

    I gave up and bought a Sherwood AVP9080r pre/pro ($1200 MSRP) on ubid for $349. Does everthing that you will need. You could use your integrated amp for two of the channels, but would need more amps for the surrounds, etc.

    Good luck doing it hacked, it won't really work.
     
  6. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Art,

    I ran for months using a stereo preamp being fed from two channels of a preamp/processor.

    It works perfectly well, so long as you have an easily repeatable setting on the stereo preamp (or integrated amp in Steven's case).

    Currently I'm running an EMM Labs Switchman-2 6 channel preamp, once again without problems.

    Regards,
     
  7. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Art,

    Actually system-wide volume control is easy and automatic in all AV receivers/pre-pros, even when the L&R main pre-outs are fed through another stereo preamp or integrated.

    I've been using this setup (stereo preamp and DD/DTS pre-pro) for the past three years with stunning success (see my Equip list below).

    Steve,

    I found additional benefits doing it this way, as I was able to incorporate my sub into my 2 channel music, even though my mains are quite bass capable (32Hz).

    As Greg and Drew indicated, using a RS SPL meter ($30) and a calibration DVD (Video Essentials or AVIA), you simply set the volume level on the integrated to a level you feel comfortable remembering (attach a piece of tape to mark it) or something like 12 o'clock.

    Then when doing the speaker SPL calibration, all level adjusting is done from the AV receiver/pre-pro, a system-wide speaker level calibration.

    When watching a movie, adjusting the AV receiver/pre-pro volume automatically adjusts the volume on all 5.1 speakers. You won't need to touch the integrated's volume control until you decide to listen to the NAD CD player.
     

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