Integrating 2-channel and home theater gear

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Grooms, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    After getting the Basement finished, I have found myself trying to figure out the correct way to integrate Home Theater and the two-channel listening experience.

    My idea is to position a 2-channel pre amp between a HT processor and a front-end amp. For example, if I had an Adcom GFP-750 preamp going out to a 2-channel amp for the mains and a CD player and HT receiver or pre/pro connected to the inputs on the Adcom, would it work correctly for Home Theater? Music is very much a big priority in this system.

    I was looking at the Pioneer Elite VSX TX-47 for the HT end of this system. I would just run the pre-outs for the mains to the inputs on the 2-channel preamp.

    Is this the acceptable way to attempt to merge music listening and home theater? Would I be better off buying a higher end HT pre/pro?

    Keep in mind that Clean 2 channel listing on a budget is the goal here

    Thanks In Advance!
     
  2. Gregory S

    Gregory S Stunt Coordinator

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    Tom,

    I don't think you want the pre-outs feeding the 2-channel pre-amp. The pre-outs are already "pre-amplified", so you may over-drive your 2-channel pre-amp, plus "contaminate" the sound with the H/T pre-amp.

    I believe you need a pre-amp with an H/T bypass. There's a lot of talk about this at Harmonic Discord.

    Greg
     
  3. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Tom, I don't think you want a 2CH pre between an HT receiver and a 2CH amp.

    My suggestion is not to integrate but to separate. Use the receivers amps to power your HT and use the Adcom upstairs in a completely separate system. This way you can have music playing in the living room when you have company over or if your SO decides they want to watch some sappy, crappy movie you have no interest in.
     
  4. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Greg, What preamps offer HT bypass?

    Thanks Alex, But I already have my high end stuff set up in the Great Room upstairs. Im looking for a deluxe listening environment in the basement for party's or having a few guests over for a bottle of wine.
     
  5. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    You can feed the preouts on your processor into a 2ch preamp with no problem. You need set the two channel preamp at "unity gain" (run a search in this forum) hence no attenuation or gain. It is usually at 12o'clock on the volume dial but differs on some units. You can find "unity gain" with an spl meter or a good set of ears.

    A preamp with a ht bypass is ideal, but the above is not a terrible alternative.

    -rob
     
  6. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    Also want to add that I think you are much better off keeping a dedicated 2ch preamp rather trying to find a musical ht pre/pro. The adcom you have would take big bucks to be equaled by a ht unit.

    -rob
     
  7. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Thanks Rob, I figured I could calabrate the main level with the other speakers using the Pioneer elite and my Rat Shack analog SPL meter.

    What preamps have ht bypass?

     
  8. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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    run a search, there was a thread a couple of months ago that listed a bunch. "Unity gain feature" is the same thing as ht bypass. Not to be confused with finding a "unity gain setting" which we talked about earlier.

    I think the thread name was; "list of pre-amps with unity gain feature" it had a bunch of posts.

    most of;

    aragon
    classe
    anthem
    sonic frontiers
    levinson
    there are a bunch

    good luck

    -rob
     
  9. Pete H

    Pete H Stunt Coordinator

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    I do exactly what you are trying to do using a Sim Audio preamp. The Adcom GFP-750 will also work.

    I was looking at the Pioneer Elite VSX TX-47 for the HT end of this system. I would just run the pre-outs for the mains to the inputs on the 2-channel preamp.

    I believe the Pioneer has pre-outs so using a two channel pre like the Adcom will allow you to use the Pioneer to control the sound level of all speakers for movies. The two channel pre will control the sound for music. This makes life easier especially if you have a family.

    Would I be better off buying a higher end HT pre/pro?

    Depends on what you are comparing.
     
  10. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    The adcom GFP-750 preamp HAS a unity gain feature just for the reason of connecting a home theater preamp.
    http://www.adcom.com/preamplifiers/gfp750.htm
    So you would feed you home theaters front mains through the adcom and put the adcom in passive mode for home theater. The external processor loop found on the back of the 750 is there for this purpose. You should be all set.
     
  11. Aaron H

    Aaron H Supporting Actor

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    Does the Sony TAP9000ES have this feature?

    Aaron
     
  12. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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  13. Amir

    Amir Agent

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    I was in the same boat about 6 months ago deciding if I should upgrade the HT receiver buy a separate pre. After hearing some $3000+ HT processors. I decided to go with Conrad Johnson PV14L pre for the 2 channel and use my old Denon for HT. The cj does have a unity gain "processor pass through" input. If your first interest is music this would be a better choice, If your main interest is HT a new processor will be easier to integrate. The bonus is the quality of the sound even form the processor since even though it goes through the CJ without any gain it is "colored" by the preamp. I was not a believer of tubes but I am a convert. this has been one of the most noticeable changes in my system. The CJ has a remote but there are some draw back in remote integrations. You can email me if you decide to go that route and i will be happy to elaborate.

    Regards.

    Amir
     
  14. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    My bad Tom. I read your initial post like you already had the GFP-750 preamp. Indeed, the Sony TA-P9000es is the better route (i use one for this purpose as well). oade.com is a good source for the P9000es. IMO the adcom piece is overpriced but it is a nice preamp. The P9000es gives you many more options and does add 2 5.1 analog bypass inputs that can be used for 2 channel sources or SACD/DVD-Audio. If you need even more flexibility, it also has a seperate 2 channel bypass you could connect a seperate 2 channel preamp to this. For $400, the P9000es is easily the best bang for the buck component I have ever bought.
     
  15. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Charles, I do own the Adcom 750, it has been in the audio closet for over two years since I upgraded my main 2 channel system in the great room. I Thanks for your advice but I am not a fan of Sony and would never introduce their products into my audio chain. The 750 (a class A Stereophile component) is not even in the same league as Sony. ;-) Overpriced? Jeezz!
     
  16. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    JFYI, the Sony P9000es is also a class A component. I guess since I called the Adcom 750 overpriced you felt the need to slam Sony. Oh well.

    Anyway, as long as you use a 2 channel amp, any home theater processor will connect into the 750's processor loop with no problem.
     
  17. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    I tried to get on of these [​IMG] in there so you wouldn't take it personally. Thanks for the recommendation, I just wont buy anything Sony, but they are a good marketing company.
     
  18. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    No problem Tom. Sony DOES make some good products in their ES line. The P9000es is a Class A product under analog preamps. Even my lowly E9000es HT preamp rates pretty good and I've had that for almost 5 years. The DVP-S9000es DVD/2 channel SACD player is also a great product in its class.

    Sony can make some junk but most of the ES line is not included.
     
  19. Rob Rodier

    Rob Rodier Supporting Actor

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  20. Gregory S

    Gregory S Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Tom,
    You might also look at ACA - discussed heavily at Harmonic Discord. I think there's another popular pre-amp with H/T bypass over there. Here's the link: www.harmonicdiscord.com
    I have an HK 520, but I may also be interested in an H/T bypass down the road. I'm going to live with the HK for 2-channel for now and get used to the sound - I mainly got it for home theater, though.
    If you run a 2-channel or even a 3-channel power amp as your home theater (front 2 or 3 speakers) and as your 2-channel music amp (double duty amp), then integarting them should not be too difficult. However, if you want to run a separate amp or the internal receiver's amps for home theater and then use a totally dedicated amp for 2-channel stuff with the same speakers, like I might want to do, then it gets complicated. The only way I know of doing that would be to get a good speaker swither, which you would select which amp to send to your speakers. Ease of use goes down, because I don't know of any remotely controlled switchers. Got to suffer if you want good music, I guess.
    The reason I am thinking about that method is so that I can use the HK 520 for home theater and use a Conrad Johnson CAV50 intergated tube amp or similar for 2-channel. I have ACI Sapphire III LE's for my front 3 speakers and I hear they mate extremely well with the CJ CAV50. But what about that glorious SACD/Super Audio multichannel stuff? It's endless!!
    Good luck,
    Greg
     

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