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Going from 2.1 to 5.1 while keeping a stereo setup?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by andrewfee, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    Apologies if this is in the wrong place.

    I have recently built up a 2.1 stereo setup that I'm extremely happy with;

    JBL XTi 20 Speakers, BK XLS200 Subwoofer, and a Cyrus 7 Integrated Amp. (stereo)

    My room is too small for a "proper" 5.1 surround sound setup with bookshelf speakers for the rears, but I play a lot of games, and there are times where I feel that it would be helpful to be able to get the position of something easier.

    Ideally I'd just be wanting to buy a centre, two rear satellites to go on the wall, and a surround amp; but I'm not sure how I'd go about it.

    Is it at all possible to hook up the same speakers to the two amps? I'd still want the stereo amp for music and all other stereo / analogue sources.

    Or am I better off buying a cheaper 5.1 home theater in a box kit and having it set up beside my current speakers? (although I'd have nowhere for another sub)

    While I've spent a lot on my stereo setup, the surround one isn't as critical, as it would just be for gaming really, although I wouldn't want anything that sounds terrible compared to what I've already got, and audio quality in games is improving all the time.
     
  2. Timbo21

    Timbo21
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    The way to go, from advice I've been given, is to have the pre-outs on a 5.1
    AV amp/reciever for the front L + R speakers going to Cyrus 7 amp, which will feed your fronts. Centre & rear satellites would go direct from AV amp. Sub, if it's got hi level, use that from the Cyrus 7 for stereo music, & connect LFE input from pre-out on AV amp for films; I dare say you can run both inputs on your sub at the same time, but you may want to turn down the hi-level input when watching films & vica versa.

    Also, you will have to balance volume between Cyrus 7 for your fronts with the rest of speakers with AV amp for films.

    CD player etc. goes straight into Cyrus as normal.

    You've got a decent sub, so you don't want to be using some dodgy sub which comes with an all in one system.

    T. :)
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    One thing Andrew before I start :

    Step away from the AV 5.1 rig !!!!!!

    Timbo is on the nail, buy a cheap 5.1 DD/DTS AV amp from the classfieds, ie like a Maratnz 4200 add 3 speakers as cheaply as possible and run from AV pre-outs for Front & left.

    One area you will have to look at is your sub, which IIRC is hooked up from the Cyrus 7 pre-outs, your AV amp will have a LFE RCA socket for subwoofer which you are currently using so you may have to wire the sub from the speaker posts on the Cyrus via a high level lead to accomadate the 5.1 amp LFE ability.

    If I were you bro I would save the money for my next upgrade (like a DAC for CD & Digital TV & Radio use or a better DVD player than you have)
     
  4. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    I wasn't really considering buying a HTiB 5.1 setup, it's just that I couldn't see a way to hook up the speakers to both a 5.1 and 2.1 setup and it would be the most hassle-free way of doing it. As it seems relatively easy to do, it's not even under consideration now. :) (although volume levels might be annoying)

    As for the sub; it looks like no matter what, I'm going to have to connect/disconnect it from the stereo amp when switching between 5.1 and 2.1? That would be a major pain, and I'm sure it wouldn't be good for the connectors. I could disconnect it from the stereo amp altogether, but some music definitely does benifit from it.

    As for buying a DAC etc; it's still under consideration, but right now I feel that I'd see a bigger change in my setup from adding the three extra channels.

    Thanks for the great advice so far. :)

    EDIT: Just re-read Timbo's post; would there be any issues with just turning the high-level input right down every time I go to use the surround amp? That wouldn't be a problem.
     
  5. hinesle

    hinesle
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    Having being a big HIFI enthusiast for at least 17 years and spending literally £1000’s and £1000’s on kit (I went through this debate time after time. I originally kept a separate stereo amp (pre + power) for stereo and a 5.1 amp for movies and games etc. Each had its own speaker set (although you can use the same speakers if you use a separate switching box) but I liked to keep my “good speakers” purely for stereo.

    Then all of a sudden wham! A flash of inspiration, sold everything and bought a sony STRDA3000ES amp and a set of 5 B&W VM1 speakers to go with my B&W sub and I must say have never looked back.

    The idea takes a bit of getting use (and no doubt I will now be crucified by fellow audiophiles) but IMO Decent AV amps now compete on equal playing fields with good stereo amps especially AV amps that can isolate the stereo path.

    I know my Speaker setup does not compete with traditional square box speakers and ideally I would have gone for a B&W 700 series speaker setup, but neither room aesthetics or wife would accommodate. With all 5.1 setups it is very important to get all the front speakers voice matched so panning becomes smooth. You will probably need another JBL XTi 20 (or a another JBL that is voice matched) otherwise the sound will sound a bit odd.


    Bring on the slating :D !
     
  6. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    hinesle, thanks for the advice, but as I said I'm not looking to spend huge amounts on the surround setup, as that will pretty much only be used for gaming. (and the occassional movie)

    I've only recently purchased the Cyrus amp, and it was at the top end of what I had to spend on one. (whether it was stereo or surround) While I could sell it and go for a better AV amp, I've been told that I won't find anything that competes with the Cyrus for music in that sort of price range.

    As for the other speakers; I hadn't even thought of that. There's no way I could fit another set of these JBLs for rears; they're huge! The rears really will have to be small speakers to fit in here, and they'd have to be wall-mountable. A centre isn't as big a deal though, as there's plenty of room for that.
     
  7. hinesle

    hinesle
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    The rears are not that important they can be pretty much whatever you like as they are only used for “ambient affects” and other bits and bobs so to speak. You may find dipoles are a good choice for rears as they do a good job of disbursing the sound.

    The front’s however are more important as they should ideally be voice matched otherwise tonal differences are very noticeable.
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Actually Hinsele not much of a slating, you’re a man of fine taste, Sony ES kit has long been a favourite of mine, Im on my second Sony ES hifi amplifier which I use every day in a 2nd system. And Id imagine I may end up seeing a TAV-777-ES as a AV amp one day. I do disagree with you bro though that AV amp even such as the 3000ES can match price equivalent design. The simple matter of 2 channels versus 5.1/7.1 et al is the factor of quality that needs to be addressed. And yep Ive heard many AV rigs, for me AV 5.1 passive pre-amp into offboard Pas are very musical in stereo, Ive just not heard many £1000-2000 AV amps that beat say £500-1000 stereo designs.

    Anyway Im glad you enjoy your AV kit.

    Andrew, you can easily hook up a subwoofer in 2 configurations at the same time ie high level and low wise, in your up 7 coming situation I would hook up the Cyrus high level wise ( a right PITA due to those crappy BFA connectors Cyrus use IMHO) and Av amp via LFE RCA out. Don’t run high level from AV amp to sub, better off with the dedicated .1 channel LFE connection.
     
  9. andrewfee

    andrewfee
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    Know anywhere I can buy BFA connectors? The Cyrus only came with one set for my speakers, and a quick google search didn't come up with anything...

    My Sub came with a 5m low-level cable and a 10m high-level one. I've still not got around to ordering a cable that's long enough. Hooking it up to the high-level inputs would solve this without having to buy another cable. (yet)
     

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