Going from 2.1ch. hi-fi to 5.1ch. home cinema


New member
Aug 10, 2019
I'm looking for advice to upgrade my hi-fi to a home cinema system.

Currently I've a Yamaha A-S500 amp powering a Rotel RCD-06SE CD player and a PlayStation 3 via RCA cable to Dynaudio Audience 42 speakers on Atacama stands with Chord Carnival Silverscreen cable and a Gale subwoofer.

It's a modest 2.1 channel system. Having heard a proper 5.1 channel home cinema system, I'd like to upgrade whilst maintaining the quality of 2.1 channel audio. So I'm thinking :

1. Replace Yamaha A-S500 amp with an Arcam AVR350 amp.

2. Add rear speakers (Cambridge Minx) and a centre (Dynaudio Audience 42C).

Then I can connect the CD player by RCA cable and the PS3 by optical and get 5.1 sound, whilst still using the Audience 42's for music.

Any thoughts on where I might improve on this? I don't want to sacrifice the quality of 2 channel music from the CD player with an inferior AV amp. If money was no object then I'd get an Arcam AVR600 and enjoy DTS-HD and True-HD sound, but £500 is my budget to get the whole job done.

Thanks for any help.


Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
It's definitely a plan - I'm unable to give you any specific recommendations other than obviously to go and demo the system, especially the amp before you buy. If possible, take along your Dynaudios and your Yamaha amp, and then run a side by side comparison with the Arcam to see how it compares. In theory, it should be a more than capable amp, but theory and practice often don't tally!

You'll then also want to audition the speakers - again, in theory, the centre should work well with your fronts obviously, but probably worth playing around with a few different rears to see if any other budget models are more cohesive with the Dynaudio fronts.

Probably best bet is to take this step by step since it would be very hard / nigh on impossible to find somewhere which has all this kit to allow you to demo it together i.e. get your amp change done first and ensure you're happy with the stereo performance, then look at auditioning some of the surround speakers with the new amp.

EDIT - no idea where your sourcing the Arcam and Dynaudio 42c from to get everything under your £500 budget, but sounds good if you can!


Have you considered the Cambridge Audio 551R? That unit retails for around $1200 here in Canada so it should be somewhere near your budget. If its higher than that where you are, have a look at the new 351R that is coming down the line in the very near future with a suggested list of around $849 Canadian and that puts it even closer to your budget.

Both unit support your various surround formats and are fantastic receivers both from a simplicity standpoint as well as a sonic standpoint. ( I haven't listened to the 351R yet but after listening to all of the integrated amps that Cambridge builds I can honesty say that I would not be surprised if it will deliver what you are looking for).



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