Question HTPC surround separates - preamp/processor choice

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by Mopatop, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. Mopatop

    Standard Member

    Nov 9, 2009
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    Hello avforums! I wonder if you could help me with my system setup please. Currently I enjoy 5.1 audio through an Arcam AVR500, and I am sick to death of it. The main reason is that 90% of the time I am listening to music, and I like to host loud parties, which makes the AVR difficult to use.

    I want to move to a 5.1 setup which uses my pair of Cyrus X Power amplifier and probably a new power amp for the centre. I use an active sub (and FYI Monitor Audio RX8, RX6 and the RX centre).

    My source will always be a computer - most of the surround sound I listen to is actually games - and for music currently I use a USB DAC from HRT which does a great job with stereo (which I plug into the AVR500's stereo inputs). I think I want an equivalent sort of DAC but one which operates on 6 or 8 channels. My room correction / levels can be probably be done in software, but I haven't checked - and I probably don't care so much anyway as I don't watch films on this equipment.

    My main problem (which I was hoping you lovely people could help me with) is this - I think I need a "surround processor" but they are all huge, complicated-looking devices. There were a few things that I hated about my AVR500 - overcomplicated, feature-crammed, but also its size and weight. Ideally I want something that is half-width so it can go in my stack of Cyrus equipment. I am dismayed at seeing all these 8 inch-high processors because my head is thinking "but my awesome stereo DAC is the size of a pencil case, an 8 channel version can't be too much bigger". I prefer simplicity over features I like to keep the signal path unadulterated.

    Final notes - I am not using HDMI and don't intend to, so I don't need/want a device which accepts HDMI. I *could* run an HDMI output if necessary but.. I'd rather not. I have no hard budget but was hoping up to £1,000. I can add anything to my computer which is necessary. I assume the only option is TOSLINK? I think I have a port. I have considered options like 5.1 soundcards but I don't have a good feeling about analogue coming out of the PC.

    I would appreciate any advice you would have for someone trying to achieve what I want. I'm very excited about ditching my integrated system and moving to full separate amplification.

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