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connecting a/v and stereo amps to speakers

kbfern

Distinguished Member
I currently have a 5.1 system powered via a pioneer vsx 814 amp.2 channel stereo is not brilliant and I am looking to buy a stereo integrated amp to use with the front main speakers.

My question is can I connect the front mains to the pioneer and also the stereo amp at the same time as long as when listening to the stereo amp I have made sure that the pioneer is switched off and vice versa.

I also would want to connect my dvd player to both systems at the same time,cd's via phono and dvd via optical.

Am I going to be ok doing this or do I need to only connect speakers/dvd player to one amp at a time.

I also may wish to connect a powered sub to both systems at the same time is this viable also?

regards
 

clockworks

Novice Member
There's a simple way to do this, as long as your amp has left and right pre-outs:

Connect the left and right pre-outs to a spare line input (tape input is favourite) on your new stereo amp, and connect your left and right speakers to the stereo amp.
Even simpler, buy a stereo power amp, rather than an integrated amp (no volume control or input selector to worry about).

This way, you don't have to use 2 sets of cables, or swap your speakers betwen 2 amps.
When you switch the AV amp to stereo, only the L&R speakers will be used. The sub will also work (still connected to the AV amp), as long as you set the speakers to "LFE + Main".

Leave your sources connected to the AV amp only.
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
clockworks

Sounds good to me mate,only thing is, would I not be using the pre amp circuit in my a/v amp to control the signal(which is crap for stereo).

The reason I am wanting a seperate stereo amp for cd's etc is to improve the stereo quality, if I upgrade to a better amp for stereo and route it through the existing amp will the quality be restricted by my existing amp.

The power amp sounds good too but would not the same apply,better amp but still routed through the pre amp on the av amp,resulting in a better sound but not getting the full potential due to the a/v amps limitations.

I hope I am making sense:confused:
 

ralphmalph

Novice Member
if you use the preouts on the AV amp to the stereo amp the AV amp is only in use during AV use. If you want to use the stereo amp for listen to CD's the AV amp does not even have to be on. So for example I have am AV amp preouts in to my stereo system. You just pick an input that you want I use AV on stereo am just because it is logical. The CD player is hooked up to the CD input on the Stereo amp. So whan I listen to CD's I have the cd player on and the stereo amp on and set to CD input that is all that is required to be on. When I listen to home cinema then I have the AV amp on I have the stero amp on and set to AV input. You have to set the stero amp to a fixed volume (the volume that you used when calibration was done, with and SPL meter preferabley). This means that the volume of the whole system is controlled by the volume on the AV amp i.e you do not need to change the volume of the stereo amp whilst in home cinema mode.

Also if you get a quality stero amp then the whole sound of the home theatre experience is transformed, my went from being good to being brilliant. (but then I did add 2k's worth of amplification).

I know this is a long email but it really is quite simple, just check that your V amp has pre outs and then all you need to do is connect the pre outs to the stero amp and connect the front left and right speakers to the stero amp. Calibrate the sound levels and you are in Hi-Fi and Home Cinema heaven.
 

ralphmalph

Novice Member
Sorry repeated what was said before. But to answer your question, then in stereo mode you would not be using the AV pre amplification at all. The amp can be turned of during stereo use.
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
Thanks ralph

Once I've got the amp will connect up as you sudgest,maybe my av amp will sound better too.

Mind you I am only thinking of something like a NAD 320Bee/Rotel RA01 or similar if new or a rotel 1062/musical fidelity XA2 or similar if second hand.

For now the dvd player will be used to play cd's(I may get a seperate cd player later)do I connect that via a/v amp or stereo amp?
 

nsherin

Novice Member
Nothing wrong with the NAD C320BEE or Rotel RA-01. Both are cracking amps for the money. I went for the NAD in the end, as I found it had a warmer sound. Best thing to do is to listen to both and see which you prefer. BTW, the NAD C521BEE CDP is an excellent match with the amp too, if you're after suggestions for adding a CD player at a later date.
 

ralphmalph

Novice Member
Hi Kb,

I bet that any of those two amps have better stereo amplification than your av amp. What I noticed and noticed dramatically is that it is the music on the DVD soundtrack that sounds so much better, it is in stereo and I do not mean the music that plays at the start or the end but the music that plays all the way through the film. It makes a big difference plus the little things like doors closing of screen and other noises are much more clearer.

You will love it.
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
Hi Ned

I have demoed the 320BEE and was impressed, its just should I buy new with warranty or second hand but higher grade amp.Still can't make my mind up yet.

I have read a lot of reviews and am drawn to a used musical fidelity XA2 or X150 if I can find one within budget (£250-£300) seen a couple of rotel 1062's around the £300 mark these are aso contenders.

A couple of weeks ago I was just looking at £160 for a 320BEE from Richers and then started thinking and thinking(typical technofreak)and don't know which way to jump(yet)
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
Agreed Ralph I am sure almost any stereo amp would improve the stereo on the Pioneer.
 

clockworks

Novice Member
kbfern said:
clockworks

Sounds good to me mate,only thing is, would I not be using the pre amp circuit in my a/v amp to control the signal(which is crap for stereo).

The reason I am wanting a seperate stereo amp for cd's etc is to improve the stereo quality, if I upgrade to a better amp for stereo and route it through the existing amp will the quality be restricted by my existing amp.

The power amp sounds good too but would not the same apply,better amp but still routed through the pre amp on the av amp,resulting in a better sound but not getting the full potential due to the a/v amps limitations.

I hope I am making sense:confused:

You might be surprised at how good the pre-amp section of your AV amp really is!
Many AV amps suffer because of the power supplies and power amps. Running everything from one transformer/regulator means that the power amps effectively drain power from the pre-amps, and can modulate the signal. If you aren't using the power amps (stereo mode, with an external power amp), the pre-amp will work to its full potential.

If you are on a fixed budget, I feel that a decent secondhand power amp (for £200 or so), used in conjunction with the AV amp as pre-amp, will sound better than a stereo integrated amp at the same price.

If you've got more cash, a stereo integrated amp for £500 or so might sound better.

I've tried 2 configurations recently for stereo:
Denon 3802 as pre-amp, Linn LK100 as power amp, Linn Mimik CDP
Linn Majik as an integrated stereo amp, Linn Mimik CDP

There really wasn't much in it. While the pre-amp in the Linn Majik is undoubtedly better than the Denon, it still shares a transformer with its' power amps, which can limit performance. Using the Denon and the LK100 power amp means that both are using their power supplies fo a single job.

In your situation, I'd get a secondhand British stereo power amp from eBay. Try it, and if you aren't happy, sell it again. You won't lose much.
If you like it, buy another power amp for your centre speaker!
 

kbfern

Distinguished Member
Thanks again clockworks

I will look into power amps as an alternative to integrated,what make/models in the <£250 range second hand would you sugest?.
 

rupbert

Novice Member
I got a mint condition Rotel RA-01 from ebay for &#163;200, and I use it with a Nad C521BEE cd player.

The Rotel is connected to the pre-outs on my Denon 2105 receiver, and the difference the Rotel made to the NAD was indisputable!
 

clockworks

Novice Member
The two power amps (Linn LK100 and Naim NAP110) that I use are both available for that kind of money on eBay. They are "only" 50 watt amps, but they easily run my not very efficient Quad L-ites. Proper British watts, not the puny Japanese AVR ones!

A lot of people seem to ignore "low-powered" amps, so the prices are very reasonable.
 

rupbert

Novice Member
clockworks said:
A lot of people seem to ignore "low-powered" amps, so the prices are very reasonable.

Indeed.

I cannot imagine how large the space they are trying to fill is, my RA-01 volume hasn't ever gone beyond the 8pm position on the dial.
 

Rohirrim

Standard Member
Hi,
I'm in the same position as kbfern. Just reading the posts here, I was wondering what interconnects I would need to connect my Marantz SR5200 to a power amp?
I assume i would need something like QED Qunnex 1 or 2 analogue interconnects to connect the Marantz via pre outs to an intergrated stereo amp if I went down the stereo amp route.

Cheers.
 

clockworks

Novice Member
Normally a 2 RCA to 2 RCA cable - a standard phono interconnect.
I'd go for a cable that's similar (or better) than the one you use to connect your CD player.
I'm using the interconnects that were supplied with the power amps. I just checked, and the Linn cable now retails for £75 :eek:
 

trailer

Novice Member
Just a quick mention that if you use your AV amp as a preamp into your hifi and have a seperate CD player into your integrated then you will have to adjust the volume (probably) every time you swap sources.

If the integrated has a unity gain feature then this is very handy.
 

Rohirrim

Standard Member
I am using a van den hul MCD 102 mk 111 0.8m hybrid cable to connect my cd player to the marantz. Would you recommend I got a similar quality cable to connect the marantz to a power amp?
 

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