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A stereo Amp and an AV receiver through one set of speakers? With no sound compromise...

admin_exported

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10 months ago I became a proud daddy for the very first time. 3 months before that I became the proud owner of a superb home cinema set up. Pioneer 43" Plasma, Onkyo TX-NR905 receiver, PS3 BluRay/CD player, Monitor Audio GS Series Surround Speakers. The rationale was that with no social life now for the next 16 years, my movie loving wife and I would be spending a lot of time at home watching movies and it would be a sensible investment. How wrong could I be. The wife now does not have the patience or energy to watch films anymore (clearly not her fault), but having invested the best part of £10K in a home movie set up it does feel like the money could have been better spent as we have watched about 5 movies on it together in the last 10 months! The upside is that we listen to a hell of a lot of music, but unfortunately the system does not seem to play music to the standard it can handle movies, which is to be expected for an AV receiver.

Pre-amble over. What I would really like to do is bolt on a top notch stereo amp in order to get the most out of the GS60 speakers at the front, but I do not know how to do this without compromising on sound quality (i.e. split the speaker cable to run to both amps.)

Is there another way, such as an external switching mechanism? Could I use the pre-out to route the signal from the stereo amp via the receiver, but the receiver just be used as a router and not be used for processing or amplification of the stereo amps signal?

I cannot belive that there isn't a way to perform this trick, but I am worried that the methods out there may degrade the signal, which is clearly contrary to what I'm trying to achieve.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

Andrew Everard

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The simplest way is to use the front channel pre-out from the Onkyo into the stereo amplifier, then add a dedicated CD player to the stereo amp. That way all the home cinema electronics can be out of circuit when playing music.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Archie13:Could I use the pre-out to route the signal from the stereo amp via the receiver, but the receiver just be used as a router and not be used for processing or amplification of the stereo amps signal?

Yes, this is the key - the front L/R preouts from the Onkyo can go to a spare input on a stereo amp to power the front two channels of the AV setup, whilst the stereo amp is allowed to get on with just music - the receiver doesn;t have to be on. Generalising, you would set the stereo amp to a fixed volume (12 o'clock say), run your AV amp's setup routine, and then always have the stereo amp set to that volume when watching movies. Some (though not many) amps even have a fixed-gain input specifically for this purpose.

What's your budget?
 

John Duncan

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Andrew Everard:Didn't want to interrupt the interior monologue...


Well it's Christmas, there's nobody else around.

Course, the trouble starts when I start arguing with myself...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the help guys. I was possibly thinking of the Primare Amp, which I know sounds terrific. £1500 was about the max I would be considering.

Just to clarify on the advice raised in this thread. The speaker cables would remain running out of the Onkyo, so all I would need to do would be to route the Stereo Amp into the pre-amp on the Onkyo i.e. CD to Stereo Amp, Stereo Amp to Onkyo, Onkyo to Speakers. Correct?
 

Big Chris

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Don't forget a CD player too. Would £1500 be for both units, or just the amp?

And no. The front speaker cable would be coming from the Hi-Fi amp.
 

Andrew Everard

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No, the stereo amp would drive the front left and right speakers, whether for home cinema or music. Preout from Onkyo to stereo amp, CD player to stereo amp directly, stereo amp to front left and right speakers.

Choose an input on the amp for the preout feed from the Onkyo, set the volume on the stereo amp to, say, 10 o'clock, balance up the sound again either using the Onkyo's auto-calibration or a sound pressure meter.

Then when you want to watch movies you set the amp to the input to which the Onkyo preouts are connected, and the volume on the amp to 10 o'clock, and away you go.

For music, you use the stereo amp as usual with the CD player, and the Onkyo is totally out of circuit and can even be off.

Some amps have a unity gain setting, enabling them to be used as a simple power amp, for just such a configuration.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Archie13:
Thanks for the help guys. I was possibly thinking of the Primare Amp, which I know sounds terrific. £1500 was about the max I would be considering.

Just to clarify on the advice raised in this thread. The speaker cables would remain running out of the Onkyo, so all I would need to do would be to route the Stereo Amp into the pre-amp on the Onkyo i.e. CD to Stereo Amp, Stereo Amp to Onkyo, Onkyo to Speakers. Correct?

No, CD player and Onkyo preouts to stereo amp. Stereo amp to front two speakers. All the remaining speakers come out of the Onkyo.

And not going to argue with the Primare, obviously
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
OK. Great. Nearly there...

Which of the 2 Amps conducts the processing and the amplification of the movie sound to the fron L/R. I guess the amplification is the stereo, but is the processing still done by the Receiver. Or is there a bit of both going on?
 

Andrew Everard

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The Onkyo does all the processing.

In this set-up the stereo integrated amp is merely acting as a power amp for the front left and right speakers when watching movies.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Now I could start a bun-fight here, but I am seriously considering dropping the CD player completely and going Apple Lossless with Apple TV. My gut feeling tells me that a quality Cd player like the primare would read the source material more faithfully than a PC CD reader, but all the forums seem to indicate that there should be no sound benefit for staying with CD's at all. With all the obvious benfits of digital files, why wouldn't I switch and spend that other £1500 on an even better amp.

Should I duck now?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I take it you think my gut feeling is correct then? There appears to be 2 camps out there. The digital file (ALAC) lovers and the CD-is-still best camp. Those is the former haven't been able to completely convince that lossless will give me the same audiophile performance in a top notch system when compared to the same system with an equally good CD player. They tell me the information in a lossless file is the same as on the CD, but surely that depends on the quality of the copying?

Does anybody have a convincing argument as to why a premium CD based system will be better than going to Apple TV/ALAC with discs copied on my PC?
 

Andrew Everard

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Archie13:I take it you think my gut feeling is correct then?

I'm keeping out of this, as these things tend to go 'nucular' at the drop of a hat.
 
A

Anonymous

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For a man in your position that it is probably a wise decision!

Doesn't look like anybody else is willing to make a comment on this either. Maybe it really is the beginning of the end for the CD!
 

Big Chris

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IMO. CD all day long. MP3 has 1 single advantage. Convenience. That's it as far as I'm concerned.
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Big Chris:IMO. CD all day long. MP3 has 1 single advantage. Convenience. That's it as far as I'm concerned.Ha. You wanna come round my house, buddy.

(Damn, I pressed the button)
 

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