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Using 2ch int. amp with AV receiver...

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by michaelab, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. michaelab

    michaelab
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    Anyone here doing this? What I mean is, hook your two front speakers up to a stereo integrated 'hifi' amp and then hook the front channels of the AV receivers 5.1 pre-outs to one of the stereo amps inputs. At the same time, connect the analog outs of your CD player (or other stereo music source) directly to the stereo amp, bypassing the AVR. For people like me who've just switched from a 2ch. system to a multi channel one it's an interesting option (I wouldn't consider it if I didn't have a recently spare Arcam Alpha 6+ knocking around).

    Benefit is a 'better' amp for listening to stereo music without any of the AVRs digital gubbins getting in the way, and the general belief that most AVRs don't make great stereo music amps (I have to say that my Marantz SR4200 is very impressive in this respect though).

    Drawback is a more complex setup, having to switch the stereo amp to the 'AV' input, having to do a balancing setup to find what volume level on the stereo amp. to use (as you're in effect using it as a power amp) and then remembering to set that level each time.

    I played around with this setup a bit today. I have to say the results were inconclusive. I genuinely couldn't say that the Arcam made my CD player sound much better and since this is really the only reason I'd do it I don't think it's worth the hassle.

    The real killer for me though is that the Arcam amp responds to the SR4200s remote 'volume' commands so I can't change the volume of the SR4200 independently of the Arcam (which should remain at a fixed volume when using the SR4200). This makes an already complex setup border on unusable :(

    Bottom line is I'm not going to do it but I wondered if anyone else has this kind of setup or experimented with it.

    Michael.
     
  2. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    I tried this set up when I bought a pair of Quad 11L speakers, and realised that there was no way my wife was going to let me keep them in the front room.

    so I tried setting my Quad77 amp up to drive the main L/R speakers along with my 3802, with pretty good results.
    I guess it helps with the quad amp as it has a digital volume control so once you have set the levels you know exactly where to put it to when you go back to av from stereo.

    I had to decide whether to keep the quad amp and speakers and buy more quad speakers all round and sell the Kef custom install speakers that I had already bought or just live with the sh!tty stereo sound of the denon.
    In the end I decided the live with the poorer sound for music as my main concern was the av side, but have sweetened the blow a little by buying a better av amp, havent got it yet but I bet even though it will be denons top of the range amp (a1se upgraded) it still wont sound as good as the Quad stereo amp (at £649).

    when i listened to the quad in the shop i bought it he compared it to the av11sr and the stereo amp was so much nicer t listen too.
    Smoother, more detailed and an great soundstage, the denon lost that.

    but it is a comprimise on conveniance and only you can decide whether it is worth it.

    If I hadn't already bought all the kef speakers I would have stuck with the denon and the quad amps and bought quad L series all round.
     
  3. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
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    why dont you cover the infa red sensor on the arcam ?? ;)
     
  4. michaelab

    michaelab
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    I thought about that but not only would it look naff, it would mean I wouldn't have remote control volume when I'm listening to CDs :(

    In the end the setup is just a bit too complicated and I can live with the stereo sound of the SR4200. It also means I can use the Arcam as the start of a 2nd system for my study/office/playroom :D

    Michael.
     
  5. AOD

    AOD
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    I had the same setup as you (SR4200 and an Alpha 6) and experienced exactly the same problem.

    I ended up returning the Marantz, not because I didn't like the sound but because of some problems it had with DTS :(.

    Now I'm saving for a processor instead.

    The one good thing was that until I got the Marantz, I'd never been able to remote control the Alpha 6 as I bought it without the remote. Afterwards, my universal remote learned some very useful volume commands. :blush:
     
  6. michaelab

    michaelab
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    I got my Alpha 6 without the remote aswell but it responded to the volume commands on my Marantz CD50SE CD player (which I discovered by accident) and since I used the fixed level outputs on the CD50 this worked very well.

    Since my SR4200 doesn't respond to my CD50's remote volume it must mean the volume commands are different, and also that, interestingly, the Alpha 6 seems to be programmed to handle several remote volume commands.

    BTW, what DTS problems did you have with the SR4200? I haven't watched any DTS discs yet since I got mine (I only have 3 DVDs so far... :blush: )

    Michael.
     
  7. AOD

    AOD
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    Basically the SR4200 had a problem where if you paused a DTS soundtrack and then continued, one of the rear channels was filled with horrible pops & clicks.

    They modified later units (look for a green mark/sticker either on the box or the rear of the unit) but at the time it was very annoying.

    For more information take a look at the following thread
     
  8. michaelab

    michaelab
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    Hmmm, mine doesn't have any kind of green mark or sticker on the back of the case (or anywhere) but since I only got it 3 weeks ago it is almost certainly a later model that has the mod.

    Certainly haven't noticed anything untoward with DD 5.1 soundtracks. I'm hoping there's no problem with DTS. Also, having read the other thread it seems that the problem possibly only occurs with the higher UK voltages? As I live in Portugal where we have 220V mains there may well not be a problem anyway (I got my SR4200 in the UK though).

    Michael.
     

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