2 ch. or 5.1 amp for HT mostly for music

I have just gotten back into audio after having raised 3 children. I bought an HK 325 receiver and 2 rti polk speakers along with a center. At some point for HT, I will probably add surrounds. Here's the problem. If I had it to do again, I probably would not buy any of the above, although neither the HK nor the polks are terrible. I listen mostly to music. Would I be better off to buy a 2 channel stereo amp or a 5.1 amp. I'm leaning toward a 2 channel. If I do go with the 2 ch. will this stll work when I add the surrounds. Again mostly music for me but some movies for the wife and family. I am also in the market for some good used speakers.
This is just my personal opinion. I used to have a complete home theater, now I have a stereo. Think about this for just a minute and maybe you'll seen what I found out, for myself anyway. You have $5K, $10K, $15K, etc. in your hand ready to buy something.

If you're wanting quality in your stereo and in your HT, would you be better off spending that money and buying two speakers or six? One stereo amp or three stereo amps (or 1 six channel amp)? One pre-amp or one HT processor?

With a GOOD stereo, the imaging eliminates the need for a center speaker, if the people watching are close to center. The center channel basically orients everyone in the room to the centered image (voices mainly).

Now, if you're rich and have $50K to $100K to spend, either way you want to go ought to be awesome.

Are far as used speakers, I have a pair of B&W Silver Signatures ($8000.00 in 1991) that I would sell you for $3500.00, they're monitors, but they go down to 35Hz, so for stereo material they're fine. For HT though, you'd probably want to add a REL Storm subwoofer for about $1800.00.
If I bought a 2 channel amp to use with this receiver, how would it work if I decided to add surrounds.
Assuming the receiver has preamp output for the two front channels. Those would be your inputs to the two channel amp.

Hope this helps
I guess what I am asking here is whether or not the system can run two channel, which I prefer, and then turn around and become a surround system when the family wants to watch a movie. My receiver does have copious preouts.
The new Digital amps seem to be best for affordable HT. After that you have to spend a considerable amount to be able to live with without a good 2ch. system that can also provde good HT 5.1.

I am using a Panasonic 45 which seems to fair well.

My experience is a bit dated considering my HT involvement was a few years ago. But, my situation and needs were similar. If your preference for listening to music is 2ch, as opposed to the trend towards multi-channel audio, then your choices may match my experience.

I think my set-up was considered conventional at one time. CD/DVD source, 2ch tubed pre, 2ch ss amp driving main loudspeakers. 5.1 receiver driving center and surrounds, with .1 signal to sub. The source ran fully balanced for 2ch independent stereo. For 5.1, source digital out to receiver, mains pre-out to 2ch pre pass-through to 2ch amp driving mains. My front and center loudspeakers were matching and the surrounds left-overs. 2ch music was my priority and it was very good. Not anywhere near the ultimate for HT, but good enough.

Have fun!
Krell, thanks for the speaker offer, but at this point they are out of my budget range. Are you saying to forget the HT and concentrate on 2 ch.? If so, and I wanted to keep my HK receiver(for the time being), would it be an improvement to buy a 2 channel just for stereo and run us the receiver as a preamp?

Rny---Did you decide to go away from HT to 2 ch. stereo?
Hello Papertrail,

I didn't really go away from HT. I ultimately moved toward a separate 2ch music-only system in another room. The receiver-based system remains, with exceptional digital front end and sans the 2ch pre and amp. For me here in this reduced HT system, garbage in/garbage out rules the day. Speakers have come and gone. I have settled on using the sat/sub system that I purchased when I got the HT receiver. It's just ok, good enough for cable tv and a movie once in a while. The system is not able to bloom the movie score like it did with the 2ch components, but it is simply not a priority for me. The last few years have been devoted to the assembly of my main 2ch system, which is where the music lives.

From my point of view, I don't know about your HK and Polks but it should be adequate for HT. Does it make music for you? If it doesn't you may have to take a path similar to mine or move to other multi-channel processing equipment that meets all of your needs.

Good luck and enjoy!
Rny and others, Actually the HK and/or the Polks do not quite make what I am listening for in music. I have two fronts a center and a sub. I usually listen in stereo mode. I am trying to decide whether to change out the speakers first, buy a better DVD/Cd player because my current one is a JVC cheapie, or to try the 2 ch. amp. Over a period of time I plan to do all and maybe go to a dedicated 2 ch. system like you did. Right now what do you and others think would give me the quickest return for my bucks.
You are describing a common situation that I would guess most here are familiar with and one that is discussed very often. Upstream or downstream, which dictates good sound to you?

Sorry, I am not able to offer recommendations for "quickest return for your bucks". It comes down to what makes sense to you and what your ears tell you. I can only share my sequence of upgrades from approximately where you currently are.

My first leap were main loudspeaker replacements done simultanously with 2ch amp introduction/synergy. Improved digital front end was next along with cable trials/upgrades and experimentation with coupling/decoupling. Followed closely with the 2ch pre, which finally gave me untainted stereo. Next, the matching center channel gave me seamless theater sound. I continued to use my av-receiver for multi-channel processing, sats for surrounds and sub for movies only. That was it, as good as I would ever need, until...

A couple of good dealers would be helpful and lots of research will allow you to avoid many pitfalls.

Good luck to you!
I bought an HK a/v 230 to pre out into my 2chan main and then amplify just some extra rears for enjoyment with movies and SACDs. Pre-outing into my main cause a hum which I could not get rid of. I ended up bi-amping--main amp powers L/R front directly from SACD/DVD player, and H/K powers L/R rears directly from player. The plus is less wiring and a more direct path, the negative is two volume controls, though I found this easy to manage with the test tones from the player. All that said, now I realize I could have gone with just an extra 2channel amp for the rears, without all the extra stuff.
Hi Papertrai. I just wanted to chime in with my 2 cents worth because I use an HK3375 2-channel with Polk Rti38 speakers. First, Jaica has it right about 2-channel. Check your manual because you should be able to switch between 2-channel and HT (I'm not absolutely sure of this since I'm not an expert on HT but it seems it should be possible. Most of the HT receivers I have seen have a stereo selection somewhere.) Second, you don't mention your cables and interconnects. I got better results by going to Kimber Kable (4TC for speakers and PBJ for interconnect). If you are using generic cables and IC's you will probably get better sound with an inexpensive upgrade like Signal, Kimber, Audioquest, etc. Third, experiment a little with your speaker placement. Make sure your stands (or shelfs) put the tweeters at approximately ear height (at your listening position) and you might try toeing them in just slightly. Also, if you can, position them so the drivers are about a foot or more in front of your tv for better imaging and soundstage. Fourth, if you have a set of main in/pre out jacks connected with a set of pins, replace the pins with a set of interconnects. You don't have to use a fancy set and it will improve the sound immensely. I did this recently and my Rti 38's sound better in every way. Anyway, I hope this helps. I know how it is to be seeking good sound on a budget and I think the HK/Polk combo is a good one for the dollars. Don't throw in the towel too easily. These changes don't cost much and they can really help.
I picked up a Chiro 5 channel amp (140wpc, I think) for something like $600 and it is a beast.
I am now thinking about buying a 5 channel amp. An article in this month's "The Absolute Sound" has convinced me that multichannel sound (DVD A and SACD) are worth exploring.

Jr.--Thanks for the suggestion.
i'm sure your hk will do stereo. just turn doly off.
question is will it do stereo good, i dont know. i'm currently in the market for a avr and 2 ch is most inportant to me too.

i do have a pair of polk rti38 that i am not too happy with. i bought them on the merrit of the polk moniter 12 i heard when i was younger. they do sound good but are not verry dynamic.

if you like the polk sound try some full range up front and move the rti to the rear ch. otherwise try some other full range sp up front, the hk should be fine with whatever you choose.
An Arcam AVR300 is a wonderful 5.1 (7.1, too, methinks) receiver with 120 watts per channel, an excellent 2 channel sound that bypasses the digital processing, and all the processing modes anybody needs. No need for an external amp; nice looking, not terribly expensive especially if you find one used.

A used AVR200 is a great buy at around 700 but with 70watts per channel. Note that both of these receivers have pretty good moving magnet phono sections unlike most home theatre products.

Highly recommended. I don't have one; had the AVR200 for some time and sold it as the wife did not like the remote control. Go figure. Use an Integra 7.3 now which is very good; not quite as good as the Arcam in stereo mode but pretty close. Plenty of power, too, for the relatively easy to drive Gallo Mirco/Due combination.
i'm leaning toward the hk avr 235. i am wondering if you could use two of the 7.1 ch to add to the fronts. either by bi-amping or monoing a couple per side+bi-amping lows with a seperate amp for a tremondous amount of power for my power hungry nht 2.5i. with the adjustable freq range output bi-amping should be worthwile.

i like the sound of the avr200 or more how it bypasses all the junk for 2 ch stereo. my budget is $500 unfortinatly.