Which amp (with HT bypass) for LS50 meta?

psychedelicbeast

Novice Member
Hi all
I am thinking of getting a new HT setup with 2 LS 50 Metas as Fronts, an LS50 Meta/LS 50 / Q650C as centre and Dali Spektor 1 rears. I plan to use a Denon 3700H as AVR, and an SVS SB 2000 Pro as Sub. Usage would be 50% music, 50% PC gaming/movies. I was planning to go for a Klipsch setup earlier, but am now strongly considering the LS50 Meta setup I mentioned above. I have read how LS 50 metas need a lot of power to reach their potential (for music, especially), and hence am looking for stereo amps with HT bypass that I can connect to the pre-outs of the Denon 3700H. Budget would ideally be <1K. Currently considering the Arcam SA20 and the Musical Fidelity M2Si. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which one would suit the Metas more, or give other suggestions based on my budget? After doing a ton of research and finalising most of the components, I am now feeling quite confused about what amp to go for (especially since I wasn't planning to go for an amp earlier when I was going with the Klipsch)!
Thanks in advance
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The Arcam has more power with 90 watts into the 8 ohms that the LS50s need and it is a very good amp. Good reserve of power. The MF2si again, good amp but with less power at 72 watts into 8 ohms which is hardly anything. Again it has a good power supply which the LS50s will thank you for. They will sound a little different to each other and an audition either at home or a dealers when they eventually open back up is essential.

Main difference between the two is the Arcam has class G amplification and has it's own DAC onboard and has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The MF is a pure analogue amp and is devoid of a headphone jack. Class A/B amp.

Stretching your budget you could look at the Rega Elicit-R, the first model in the Rega line up to feature HT by-pass. Really good amp for LS50s. Pure analogue amp with no headphone jack.
 

psychedelicbeast

Novice Member
The Arcam has more power with 90 watts into the 8 ohms that the LS50s need and it is a very good amp. Good reserve of power. The MF2si again, good amp but with less power at 72 watts into 8 ohms which is hardly anything. Again it has a good power supply which the LS50s will thank you for. They will sound a little different to each other and an audition either at home or a dealers when they eventually open back up is essential.

Main difference between the two is the Arcam has class G amplification and has it's own DAC onboard and has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The MF is a pure analogue amp and is devoid of a headphone jack. Class A/B amp.

Stretching your budget you could look at the Rega Elicit-R, the first model in the Rega line up to feature HT by-pass. Really good amp for LS50s. Pure analogue amp with no headphone jack.
Thanks gibbsy, I am confused how the DAC on the Arcam would be used. Wouldn't the AVR already convert the audio to analog before sending to the Arcam? So what would the DAC on the Arcam do exactly?
I believe you have also mentioned (correct me if I'm wrong) in other forum topics that Arcam amps need a bit of patience. Can you let me know why? Are they very flaky? Or are the controls unintuitive?

The Rega would be so great, but really far beyond my budget at the moment unfortunately.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
What about an Audiolab 6000A (RRP £599) - afaik this is the cheapest Integrated Amp with HT Bypass:


I have this amp in a similar setup to you (Denon x4500h, Monitor Audio Silver speakers, & SVS SB2000 Pro's) used 50/50 movies to music. I think it's a lovely bit of kit & has a great onboard DAC. Don't let the 50wpc output put you off this amp can go loud! Sevenoaks sells it bundled with the LS50's:


It doesn't have a built in streamer. The 6000APlay does, but I'd not get that. I'd buy a seperate streamer to pair with the 6000A (if you use streaming services like spotify).

If you don't need a DAC the Audiolab 8300A is an pure analogue amp with slightly more wpc @ 75.

There's also the Cyrus One or One HD. The HD has DAC.

These are all under £1000.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
It's the Arcam AV amps that can prove difficult as they come with Dirac the SA20 doesn't have room correction so is far less problematic. The DAC would give you the opportunity to have any of your digital equipment connected by toslink to assess the DAC and how it performs against any others that you have in the system. It just gives you a little more leeway. There's a review on here.

With having a stereo amp in the system alongside an AV amp the idea is to completely separate the stereo music side from the AV side. When using it for HT then it's the connected AV amp that does the decoding, you're just using the power amp side of that stereo amp.

I've not listened to the Arcam but the MF is a sweet little amp which is very musical and very quick.

 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
My understanding is that you would use the AVR preamp/DAC for movies/games, but for music you would attach your sources straight to the stereo amp and use its preamp/DAC. The Denon would be switched off when listening to music.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
With having a stereo amp in the system alongside an AV amp the idea is to completely separate the stereo music side from the AV side. When using it for HT then it's the connected AV amp that does the decoding, you're just using the pow
To give you an example of this in practice.

I have my Audiolab 6000A connected to my TV via optical (toslink). When I'm just watching say the news, or the OH is watching her soaps we just use the Audiolab and listen in stereo (ie HT Bypass). If watching a full 5.1 or Atmos Movie I then use Denon. The Audiolab is on and then becomes a Power Amp for my front speakers essentially. All the surround processing is done by the denon.

So all your stereo sources, eg turntable, CD player, Network Streamer, plug into the Stereo Amp. An onboard DAC in the stereo amp allows you to connect a digital source such as a music streamer like the Bluesound Node 2i or Sonos Port etc.
 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
And correct me if I’m wrong, but the sub would be redundant when listening to music as it’s connected to the AVR?
 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
To give you an example of this in practice.

I have my Audiolab 6000A connected to my TV via optical (toslink). When I'm just watching say the news, or the OH is watching her soaps we just use the Audiolab and listen in stereo (ie HT Bypass). If watching a full 5.1 or Atmos Movie I then use Denon. The Audiolab is on and then becomes a Power Amp for my front speakers essentially. All the surround processing is done by the denon.

So all your stereo sources, eg turntable, CD player, Network Streamer, plug into the Stereo Amp
HT bypass is when you are using the AVR. When you’re watching tv connected directly to the stereo you’re using the pre and power amp of the stereo.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
And correct me if I’m wrong, but the sub would be redundant when listening to music as it’s connected to the AVR?
Yes. Although if the stereo amp has either a dedicated sub out or pre-outs you can use a RCA Y splitter to connect it to both the stereo amp and AVR. Although you'd technically get the effect of double bass when using the Movie side of the setup. Since most stereo amps don't have built in bass management. There are ways around this though. Like using a minidsp.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
HT bypass is when you are using the AVR. When you’re watching tv connected directly to the stereo you’re using the pre and power amp of the stereo.
Surely HT bypass is as the name suggests bypassing the Home Theatre (AVR). Which you are doing when using anything connected directly to the integrated Stereo Amp?
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
And correct me if I’m wrong, but the sub would be redundant when listening to music as it’s connected to the AVR?
Depends on the make. REL and BK make subs that have both high level and low level (LFE) connections that can both be connected. LFE to the AV amp and a Neutrik connection to the binding posts of the stereo amp.

I don't use a sub with my stereo HT by-pass amp as my speakers go deep enough for my personal taste.
 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
Yes. Although if the stereo amp has either a dedicated sub out or pre-outs you can use a RCA Y splitter to connect it to both the stereo amp and AVR. Although you'd technically get the effect of double bass when using the Movie side of the setup. Since most stereo amps don't have built in bass management. There are ways around this though. Like using a minidsp.
I’m wondering if you would get double bass as you put it. When watching movies the stereo is in HT bypass and not using the preamp, it’s only being used for power. Technically anyway!
 

Marshall Mike

Well-known Member
Surely HT bypass is as the name suggests bypassing the Home Theatre (AVR). Which you are doing when using anything connected directly to the integrated Stereo Amp?
I see your thinking, but no. You can hook any tv up to a stereo amp. HT bypass is the ability to hook your AVR up to your stereo and bypass the stereos preamp, and be able to control volume directly from the AVR.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
I’m wondering if you would get double bass as you put it. When watching movies the stereo is in HT bypass and not using the preamp, it’s only being used for power. Technically anyway!
Yep you would get double bass. A miniDSP and RCA switch would allow you EQ the subs for stereo listening, while leaving the AVR's bass management stuff alone.

The SVS Pro range of subs also come with a very basic PEQ via an app. You can save custom presets for music & movie use in the subs themselves. And simply select which preset to use.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
I see your thinking, but no. You can hook any tv up to a stereo amp. HT bypass is the ability to hook your AVR up to your stereo and bypass the stereos preamp, and be able to control volume directly from the AVR.
I was only using the TV as an example of a digital source connection method. 🤣
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
@psychedelicbeast

id probably go the musical fidelity over arcam... on better match sound charter wise... but this is really very much a personal pref thing...

there are just so many options out there in an around this price point, both new and 2nd hand

eg the musical fidelity you can go all ways back to a3.5, a5 integrated... all were superb and with htbypass...

re subs... keep existing sub for HT/LFE...get another sub for 2ch and to extend you LS50... eg to go with the key LS50 id get the KC62

hook it upto the pre outs/speaker outs of 2ch integrated with ht bypass will extend the your little KEFs to make them full range :D


way you go then is your run off the 2ch integrated with ht bypass... and you eq the lot for HT .. and your AVR will just see you kef ls50 and sub as a full range speaker...
 
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psychedelicbeast

Novice Member
Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I have a couple of questions.
1. I thought that the main issue with AVR'S and music was the amount of power they can provide to the front speakers ( which would be used for stereo music). Hence my plan was to connect my PC ( which hosts my music over the years) to the TV through HDMI, the TV to the Denon 3700H through eArc, and the Denon 3700H to the amp through the pre outs. Also the 3700H connects to streaming services I believe ( like Spotify and Tidal), which I was hoping could again use the DAC of the 3700H and then connect to the amp just for amplification. Hence, for all music needs (since I don't use a turntable), I would still route all music through the 3700H, rather than connection any sources directly to the amp. Would I be losing out on any quality here? Is there a big difference between the DAC's of the AVR and the amp as well? And if so, given the MF Music is pure analogue, does that mean I would need a separate DAC for better music quality ( as opposed to using the DAC within the AVR)?

2. I had an alternate thought of using the LS50 wireless speakers as front left and front right, as opposed to using ls50 meta + amp. Thought process was that the amp in the wireless would be optimised for ls50 functionality, so I would have to worry about whether the amp would pair well with it. Has anyone used this setup and would it work? Is there any loss of sound quality?

Thanks, I am a complete neophyte here and all my information has come from a week of intense research 😀. Would be great to your thoughts!
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
I thought that the main issue with AVR'S and music was the amount of power they can provide to the front speakers ( which would be used for stereo music). Hence my plan was to connect my PC ( which hosts my music over the years) to the TV through HDMI, the TV to the Denon 3700H through eArc, and the Denon 3700H to the amp through the pre outs. Also the 3700H connects to streaming services I believe ( like Spotify and Tidal), which I was hoping could again use the DAC of the 3700H and then connect to the amp just for amplification. Hence, for all music needs (since I don't use a turntable), I would still route all music through the 3700H, rather than connection any sources directly to the amp. Would I be losing out on any quality here?
best thing could do here psy... is actually avoid the AVR completely for 2ch music and feed direct to the 2ch integrated with ht bypass .... a simple streamer will do ... blue sound nodes are quite available and even 2nd hand unit will be a much better way to go than strangling the 2ch goodness through the AVR :)

the real wonder of the 2ch integrated with ht bypass isnt just the power amp... it is the 2ch pre stage... you get the benefit of both with using it with 2ch sources connected straight through... its only when you use it in htbypass mode that the benefit for the AVR is its power stage and acting as a power amp...

2. I had an alternate thought of using the LS50 wireless speakers as front left and front right, as opposed to using ls50 meta + amp. Thought process was that the amp in the wireless would be optimised for ls50 functionality, so I would have to worry about whether the amp would pair well with it. Has anyone used this setup and would it work? Is there any loss of sound quality?
this is another can of worms :D here you would hook up yes the LS50W as either wireless or working off L&R pre outs of the AVR... its no different to amp and LS50... your choice ... no need to dump your Ls meta in my opinion.... can keep what have and just add an amp :)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
And correct me if I’m wrong, but the sub would be redundant when listening to music as it’s connected to the AVR?
There are workarounds for this.

What sub are you using? Some subs allow both high and low level to be connected at the same time, eg BK. In the BK manual they explicitly describe this as the method to use for sharing the sub between an AVR and a stereo amp.

A passive Y cable is not recommended as current could flow the wrong way and cause damage. A switch or a mixer would work.

A hacky workaround is to use the pre-out of the stereo amp into the AVR, have that input in stereo only mode. So when listening to music, the stereo amp is playing to the main speakers and the AVR is playing the sub.
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
What sub are you using? Some subs allow both high and low level to be connected at the same time, eg BK. In the BK manual they explicitly describe this as the method to use for sharing the sub between an AVR and a stereo amp.
hi Rambles, BK used to make the old RELs... hence the same methodology :)

A passive Y cable is not recommended as current could flow the wrong way and cause damage. A switch or a mixer would work.
splitting low level RCA signals I agree is never a good idea !

A hacky workaround is to use the pre-out of the stereo amp into the AVR, have that input in stereo only mode. So when listening to music, the stereo amp is playing to the main speakers and the AVR is playing the sub.
just be very careful on this ... it can actually result in a feedback loop being created .... mainly because of the htbypass... depending on amps circuits and topology there is opportunity to blow tweeters :D i have used this method myself back in early days... far easier and safer is the BK/Rel method you have suggested ... :)
 
Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I have a couple of questions.
1. I thought that the main issue with AVR'S and music was the amount of power they can provide to the front speakers ( which would be used for stereo music). Hence my plan was to connect my PC ( which hosts my music over the years) to the TV through HDMI, the TV to the Denon 3700H through eArc, and the Denon 3700H to the amp through the pre outs. Also the 3700H connects to streaming services I believe ( like Spotify and Tidal), which I was hoping could again use the DAC of the 3700H and then connect to the amp just for amplification. Hence, for all music needs (since I don't use a turntable), I would still route all music through the 3700H, rather than connection any sources directly to the amp. Would I be losing out on any quality here? Is there a big difference between the DAC's of the AVR and the amp as well? And if so, given the MF Music is pure analogue, does that mean I would need a separate DAC for better music quality ( as opposed to using the DAC within the AVR)?

2. I had an alternate thought of using the LS50 wireless speakers as front left and front right, as opposed to using ls50 meta + amp. Thought process was that the amp in the wireless would be optimised for ls50 functionality, so I would have to worry about whether the amp would pair well with it. Has anyone used this setup and would it work? Is there any loss of sound quality?

Thanks, I am a complete neophyte here and all my information has come from a week of intense research 😀. Would be great to your thoughts!
You need to be clear in your own mind as to why you wish to use a stereo amp with HT Bypass. As someone who uses an Arcam SA20 with a Denon X3700H, I can confirm that they work well together.

When in AVR mode, yes the Arcam just acts as a power amp for the Front L/R, so takes some of the load off the AVR. But the biggest benefit is that when listening to stereo sources (CD, streaming, Turntable etc) you benefit from the pre amp and the DAC in the Arcam. While you do of course have a pre amp stage and a DAC in the AVR, they are not as good for stereo music as the stereo amp is. As above, Arcam AVRs are a bit flaky, but the stereo amps are fine.

If you want to use your sub with Stereo, then a sub with high level connections can also be used (I have a REL).

So the HT Bypass set up gives you maximum flexibility and the best quality sound.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
A passive Y cable is not recommended as current could flow the wrong way and cause damage. A switch or a mixer would work.
You are correct. I forgot to add that you need to use a 2 in 1 out RCA switch like the Shiitt sys so the flow would go:

AVR Sub Out ➡️ input 1 on rca switch
Stereo Amp Pre-out ➡️ input 2 on rca switch
RCA output ➡️ Subwoofer(s)

When watching via AVR select input 1 on switch. When using Stereo amp input 2 is selected. You can even add a minidsp to DSP the sub(s) on the stereo side. See from post #12 onwards in this thread. This is my long term plan 😊

Post in thread '2x BK Double Gems vs 1 BK P12-300SB-PR??' 2x BK Double Gems vs 1 BK P12-300SB-PR??
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
Additionally. The OP (like me) is using a SVS 2000 Pro Subwoofer - which has a 3 band PEQ built in via the phone App. So in theory this could/would function like a stripped back miniDSP, since there is the option to toggle on/off the LFE & set independent crossovers for any of the subs built in presets (eg: music, movies or custom).

You wouldn't need the miniDSP. When listening to music the steps are:

Set RCA switch to stereo input and select the "music" preset I'm the SVS app

Movies: set switch to Movie input and select the "movie" preset on the sub.

The miniDSP is more configurable however.
 
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D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
just be very careful on this ... it can actually result in a feedback loop being created .... mainly because of the htbypass... depending on amps circuits and topology there is opportunity to blow tweeters :D
No, there isn't any feedback risk as the loop is closed by switching the stereo amp away from the HT bypass input.

I have employed all of these methods over the years, and had varying success. But, I have since switched to using an Arcam AVR for both movies and music. It is much less faff, less cabling and devices, and sounds better to my ears than the Denon / Marantz AVR's did for movies, and music sounds as good as the Musical Fidelity stereo amp when using the AVR in analogue direct mode.
 

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