How can I integrate a new 2-channel system into my 5.1?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by EdNichols, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

    Feb 15, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I have read where some of you guys are lucky enough to have separate 2 channel and HT systems. Some are even luckier and have separate rooms for both. I don't have that luxury, yet. Right now I have an entry level 5.1, Onkyo TX-SR500 with Energy EXl26's for mains and Energy take 2's for the center and surround. Since my system has to co-exist with the furniture and layout in my 16x20 family room I have to stay with the little take 2's and the center channel. I do, however, have some room to play with new main speakers and amp. As far as HT goes, I am satisfied with the present system. To me, HT doesn't warrant spending lots of money unless you want to crack plaster. And, yeh, I know many won't agree with that statement. However, what I do want to do sometime in the future is upgrade my 2 channel sound. All I am planning to have this new system is a CD player, amp, and main speakers. I am looking at new mains, and amp. So here are my questions:

    1) My present receiver has no pre-outs and I would like to go with separates for 2 channel. And since I am only concerned with 2 channels I only need a good 2-channel amp. Since my CD player has a gain control on it can I hook the CD player directly to the amp and not use a pre-amp? If not, do you have suggestions on a no frills, good quality, pre-amp? I don't need all of the surround modes, hook-up options etc. that many of the pre-amps have just to run a CD player.

    2) When I watch movies how do I integrate the mains to work from the surround receiver if they are also hooked up to the 2-shannel receiver? Do I run wires from both the surround receiver and the new 2-channel amp to the back of the mains?

    3) If I get mains that are of much higher quality than my center will the sound integrate as well on HT?

    4) Shouldn't I be able to get a good 2 channel amp for < $1000 and if I have to get a pre-amp what would that cost?

    5) What brand amp would you recommend? I figure that 100-150 watts PC should be plenty.
  2. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

    Aug 30, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Ok lots of questions there.

    You would need a receiver with at least front main preouts to make the system operate together in the easiest manner possible. Without the pre-outs you would have to swap speaker cables from the reciever to your new 2 channel amp everytime, as a speaker cannot have two loads connected to it at one time.

    If you had preouts on the receiver then you could just run the IC's from the preouts into your 2 channel preamp. Then how you would run your HT gear in this set-up would depend on the options your preamp would have. If the preamp has a unity gain, HT bypass, or any other term they use for this, then it would only be a matter of selecting that input on your preamp when wanting to use the HT side. Everything else would work the same as it works for you now.

    If the preamp does not have such convienences then ity would just be a matter of setting the the preamps volume control to a specific level for any HT use. For example moving the volume control to the 12 o'clock position is a typical spot that most choose. So then when using the HT you would need to select the input and move the volume control to this selected position, and then everything would be controlled as it is now for you.

    Of course for both of these options you would need to check level matching for all five speakers.

    What CD player do you have? Unless you have a pretty good one I think in most cases you would be best off with having some type of preamp added into the chain.

    Question 3 is really something that only you can answer. For me it wouldn't bother me, but I know many others on this forum would not be able to live non-timbre matched speakers, especially across the front.

Share This Page