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Question which path? New 2 channel, or upgrade avr?


Well-known Member
i think I already know the answer to this, but I'd like to know what you all think.

Currently got denon 1910 running 7.1 duties and it's ok. But I've recently got back into 2 channel again, albeit with a budget denon Pma 350se. This is where my dilemma lies, obviously I'd like to improve sound quality everywhere but I'm not sure which path to take. I'm running 7.1 and a 2 channel set up in one room(wife not overly impressed with 10 speakers in one room) haven't even mentioned dts-X etc yet.

Do I take option 1: Just get a new 2 channel amp and leave the 7.1 alone. Budget for this about;)£750

Option 2: Upgrade the avr to high end and use it for 2 channel as well. Budget for this about;)£1500

Option 3: Upgrade both, new avr with pre-outs and use a new/second hand 2 channel amp for stereo duties. Budget for this negotiable?

Including in this it'd be nice to future proof for new surround formats if I choose that option(2 or 3) and maybe if I choose option 1 the ability to upgrade later with power amp.

I've already got all the speakers, cables etc that I'd ever need, so no added expenses there.

Please help, as I'm struggling with deciding.

At the end of the day which is best, which in itself is an impossible question, a £750 2 channel or a £1500-£1750 avr?
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J J Carter

Active Member
From sig, I can't work out what are your Front L/R speakers for 7.l and which are stereo.

Usual recommendation would be use the best sounding Front L/R speakers connected to the stereo amp and connect an amp's fixed-gain input to the front pre-outs on the AV receiver.

However, yours doesn't have pre-outs or a fixed gain on the amp. I'd decide on speakers and try something like a Denon AVRX3200W connected to the amp and (try to) set the amp volume to the same place when watching movies.
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Well-known Member
Sorry, not quite clear in my signature. 2 channel not amongst that lot. I'm using quad 12L for stereo, but might change that as well. Quad 22L as fronts in 7.1, but with a monolith I really don't need floorstanders for bass duties.

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
Option 4 - get a switch like Beresford 7220 and connect both amps to same front speaker and save £1650.

However, option 4 is probably a no goer for you because it does not improve sound or future proof anything . It will However please The Missus as it's 2 less speakers and money saved.

Option 2 would be easiest and you would think A £1500+ AVR should be able to meet folks music satisfaction which some do but there are a fair few folks who are not satisfied or convinced . This includes some high end /flagship AVRs as well.

You should demo a few £1.5k + AVRs and see how you fair with them for music but also a few stereo amp between £500-£1K and see if the demoed AVRs are comparable or not.

Option 3 -Been there done that already, and would do so again if I wanted surround sound again in my current home. The closest you are going to get to having best of both worlds with the least amount of clutter. And if you can get a stereo amp with HT bypass will make life much easier to switch between the two worlds.

If the above does not bring the improvements you want, You will most likely will have to look at upgrading the Front speakers though I think Quads should do you well
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Active Member
I have but one room in which I can have speakers and components. Since 90% (or more) of my listening is 2.1, I use an NAD T758 receiver and KEF R500 mains with SVS SB1000 sub. It is so simple to press one button (listening mode) and switch between 5.1 surround and 2.1 stereo.

And it sounds GREAT. :)


Well-known Member
I think it depends a little if you are going Atmos/DTS X. If not you may find you can pick up an AV amp that's few years old but was top of the range. These may give you lift in both areas you require with one box. An olde Arcam, krell, primare, anthem, parasound etc. Because prices drop so quickly on AV gear you might get a bargin


Well-known Member
I think it depends a little if you are going Atmos/DTS X. If not you may find you can pick up an AV amp that's few years old but was top of the range. These may give you lift in both areas you require with one box. An olde Arcam, krell, primare, anthem, parasound etc. Because prices drop so quickly on AV gear you might get a bargin

Thanks. That's the route I'm going to go I think, as there's not a Lot of chance of more speakers in the room. Just gotta wait to see what comes along. But that could change if the right thing turns up at the right price.


Distinguished Member
I'm still using an old avr with fronts via a separate even older stereo amp. Best addition to improve sound quality has been dspeaker anti mode.


Distinguished Member
How does your current system sound for music?

If the AVR has Pre-Amp outs, you could add a power amp to it that would enhance your Front Channels for Music.

Really, at least from my perspective, you need to weigh your priorities. With Surround Sound you get Surround Sound. With Stereo you don't, but for a fixed budget, you get better equipment, and it is not that hard to find new amps that have Digital Inputs.

Myself, I have a Stereo system, and while I love music, I also love Movies, though my system is a bit unusual, it is not lacking in any way for movies. I've felt bass impact so strong it ruffled my hair and flapped my pant legs, and this is with NO subwoofer.

As to the lack of Surround Sound, I re-watched the Hobbit, and in one of the battle scenes in The Five Armies, bass hit me from all sides. Not in a uniform room full of bass way, but from a way that would have made me swear I had Surround Sound, it came bouncing at me from all sides as if I really did have Surround Sound.

So, how important is Surround Sound to you? We can't answer that. If it is important, and for me it is not, then the question is answered, get Surround Sound.

However, you budget is a bit lean.

There are two ways to enhance a Surround Sound for Stereo listening.

One is to run the two systems in Parallel sharing the Front speakers. This requires a Switch to assure that only one Amp is connected to the speakers at a time, and such a switch does exist.

The other is to use the Pre-Amp out of the ARV to drive a stereo power amp. In this case, the Stereo Power Amps is always in the system and on.

Though there is a third option. Have two completely independent systems. One exclusively for music, and the other (more or less) exclusively for movies.

Myself, based on my priorities and my circumstances, I've chosen pure Stereo, and I have not regrets. My system is fantastic for movies ...but... it doesn't have Surround Sound or a Subwoofer ... I'm OK with that.

I suspect, your existing system has some value on the open market, that could offset the cost of a new system.

Can you tell us specifically what your main speakers are?

Though my system tends to be in a state of constant upgrade, this is close to what I have now -

Rotel RA1570 Amplifier With DAC - Superfi

Wharfedale Diamond 250 Floor Standing Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

My listening area is about 16ft x 16ft in a room that is open floorplan and about 16ft x 30ft total. (Lounge + Kitchen + Entry) I sit about 12 ft from the speakers.

You have to set your priorities, and decide what it is you really want. We can't do that for you, we can only weigh the differences.

concentrates your money, give you excellent music, and if done right, gives you excellent results for movies ... minus Surround Sound.

Surround Sound
thins your money, but does give you the enveloping Surround Sound, and Subwoofer. Excellent for movies, and a good well chosen system can still be very good for music.



Well-known Member
2 channel system sounds good, but we're always after an improvement aren't we?

And unfortunately my current avr doesn't have pre outs, otherwise I'd be going down the power amp route.

As for main speakers quad 22L for stereo.

I hadn't really thought about going 2.0 or 2.1 for movies, but maybe that could be an option as well. That'd earn some serious brownie points from the wife, getting rid of speakers everywhere. So maybe I could splash out,on some monsterous amplification :clap:.

Stereo concentrates your money, is a great line.

So many different avenues to go down.

Thanks Steve.

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