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Hi-fi for a home cinema set up

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by daveb975, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. daveb975

    daveb975
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    I want to re-convert my home cinema set-up back to one that produces a good stereo sound as well.

    I am currently using a Sony STRDB-1080 receiver, and my sources are a Denon DVD2200, Marantz CD63IIKI and a Project Debut 3 TT. Speakers are B&W DM603mk3.

    Films are still going to represent about 50-60% of my total usage, so I don't want to sacrifice the surround sound totally.

    My two options are selling the Sony and getting a more stereo-capable receiver (e.g. Denon 3805), or buying a stereo amp in addition to the Sony.

    The current deal on the Cyrus 7 at £350 looks tempting for the second option. The only concern that I have is whether its releatively low power output compared to the Sony will let it down for home cinema duties.

    Does anyone have any recommendations?
     
  2. speedster2000

    speedster2000
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    Hi,

    I have been looking into this sort of thing myself and would suggest the following a possible setup:

    I'd recommend picking up a second hand (now discontinued) Arcam A85 from ebay for around £400 since this has a handy processor function which lets you use it as a power amp when used together with a home cinema amp. This makes it very convenient to get the best of both home cinema and stereo. It is also quite powerful at 85W per channel.

    I'm using one with a Yamaha DSP AX620 5.1 Amp. You basically connect your front speakers to the Arcam and then use a phono cable to connect the Arcam's tape loop (input) into the preamp outputs for the front speakers on the home cinema amp (assuming your sony has pre-amp outputs). On the Arcam there is a menu option to enable the processor mode and also set the gain so it perfectly matches the home cinema amp centre and rears (it remembers this setting so you only need to do it once).

    You then switch to tape loop (which enables this processor mode) on the arcam when watching films so that it receives the sound signal from the home cinema amp and powers the front 2 speakers.

    All your home cinema sources (DVD, VCR etc.) are still connected to the home cinema amp, all your stereo sources (CD, Tuner etc.) are connected to the Arcam. When listening to stereo you can turn off the home cinema amp completely so your basically have a separate stereo hifi with no compromises in sound quality.

    I just bought an A85 and could not believe the improvement in stereo sound compared to my home cinema amp :) - in fact it also seemed to improve the general sound for movies.

    One thing to bear in mind with the A85 is that it needs firmware version 2.1 or above (dated November 2001 I think) to have this processor function - I could be wrong but I think older software versions might not have it enabled. From what I have heard Arcam can upgrade an amp to the more recent firmware though if you send it to them.

    I think the (also discontinued) Arcam A75+ (ebay approx £250) and current A80 (£600) /A90 (£850) models also have this processor option.

    If you have a sub you can leave this connected to the home cinema amp via. low level and just use it for films or if the sub can accept both high level and low level connections then you could run another set of speaker cable from the second set of binding posts on the arcam and switch it in with the 'speaker 2' switch when required for music. I haven't tried this on mine since I prefer music without a sub but believe it would work on many brands (e.g. I think some REL subs accept both types of connection?)

    Hope this helps - sorry to waffle on a bit but I thought it might be worth to put all the info in one post in case others are interested!! It took me a while to find this all out before I made my decision - I gathered up various bits of info from this board and a few others!! :thumbsup:
     
  3. Mr_Sukebe

    Mr_Sukebe
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    I'd recommend adding a stereo integrated amp. Plug your CD directly into the new stereo amp, and connect it to your front stereo speakers.
    Then take pre-outs from your AV amp for the front stereo channels and plug them into your stereo amp.

    Compromising by simply buying a more expensive AV amp is not the solution.
     
  4. stevos

    stevos
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    Not to rain on Arcam's party, but Cyrus 7 also has that option and is £50 cheaper plus brand new.

    If you unplug the amp, and hold down the av button, whilst reconnecting it. The av button switches to fixed output mode.

    P.s. volume won't be a problem unless you listen to your films really really loud.
     
  5. roman-r

    roman-r
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    I'd agree with adding a stereo amp (as long as there are pre outs for Left and Right Speakers on the Sony AV Amp.

    Stevos is spot on with the volume as you really do need to crank up the AV amp to crazy levels to even contemplate a possible problem - although My 75W Yam A595A AV amp doesn't cause any issues to my 50W Marantz KI Sig Stereo amp.

    I also have a Marantz CD63 KI Sig CD player and I phono it into my Stereo Amp as well as well as connecting it using the Digital connection into the AV Amp.

    Often while listening to CDs I run both Amps at the same time :eek: Stereo Amp doing most of the work Via Phonos but AV amp set to "Disco mode" (only rears will work as AV preout signal to fronts isn't being picked up by Stereo Amp as the Amp is set to CD and not the Source for AV).

    Doing this and having the AV running at about 10% volume of the Stereo Amp creates a really enjoyable "fuller" stereo sound without having to really crank up the volume dials.

    The more boxes one has the more options available :clap:

    One other addition was a REL Q150 MK2 sub as this has high and low level connections so it phonos from the AV Amp and high level connection from the Stereo L & R terminal outputs - covering additional bass from either Amp :thumbsup:
     
  6. roman-r

    roman-r
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    Just one more thought, buying something like Grado 225 headphones - now about 125 pounds new on ebay - and plugged straight into your Marantz KI Cd Player will bring you better stereo than you can probably imagine.

    You'll need the CD players original remote so you can adjust the internal phono Amps volume :)

    It's the headphones I use and I rarely listen to stereo music any other way :D
     

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