2 Channel Pass Through for Home Theater

I would like to upgrade my 2 channel listening in my home theater room. Is there a way to hook up a class A audiophile preamp and processor to my home theater system so that I can get better sound when playing CDs? Any recommendations on Pre-amps and processors that are truly amazing. (I like tubes) How about the Audio Research Ref 1 or 2 with a DCS processor? Any help would be appreciated. Some of my current components: Proceed AVP processor Proceed PMDT transport 6 Bel (Brown Electronic Labs) Amps Audio Physic speaker system all around (Virgos, Celcius center and luna Subwoofer)
I know that the ARC LS-25 and REF2 both have this function available. I own the LS-25 and love it. If you integrate with a automated HT, the ownly downfall is the logic of the controller, they do not have descrete selection. With a little extra programming, this will work out.... Please e-mail me for details. I use my LS-25 with my audio and HT and my programming references are to the Phillips Pronto.
The Conrad Johnson Premier 14LS Tube Preamp has theater processor loops. So does the solid state PFR.
Have to agree with j_k. I also use a ARC LS25. Pristine & impecable sonics (slight lack of harmonic decay as in RF1). This was a discontinued model & purch. nex for little >$2k. I use the ls25 with a Music Reference RM200 tube amp by Roger Modjesky. Cables are Straightwire's flagship (Crescendo) No surround processor on the market surpassas this pre for 2-channel playback that I know of.
Some high-end preamps do come with a dedicated SSP by-pass circuit for the kind of system you are comtemplating. This feature is showing up on more high-end preamps every year since there is clearly a market for it (many audiophiles can't afford 2 dedicated hi-end systems). In addition to the CJ mentioned above (don't know about the ARC LS25 but no doubt exceptional), other "A" class audio preamps with SSP bypass include the Sonic Frontiers Line 2 and 3 and the Adcom GFP-750. According to Mark Obrien, Rouge Audio sells an inexpensive add-on device ($50 I was told) for their lovely tube preamps (66 and 99) to provide SSP bypass. The Audible Illusions M3a and L1 don't have a SSP bypass circuit, but they advised me to use the buffered tape loop for this purpose. This presumably can be done for other 2-channel preamps as well (assuming you aren't using that loop for something else). This isn't a true SSP pass-through though it would probably work well enough for HT without compromising your preamp's 2-channel performance. If you don't want to buy a separate "A" class preamp and "A" class SSP-AV controler, there are a handful of nice pre/pros out there that serve both purposes pretty well. I auditioned the Classe SSP-50 a while back and thought it had very good 2-channel audio preamp performance (close to "A" IMHO) as well as exceptional SSP performance. I thought it was better as a "preamp" than the Proceed, Theta,.... Surprisingly, the Nakamichi CA-1 (now discontinued) is a very nice pre/pro and has a clean analog/audio by-pass circuit; it's pretty bare bones in terms of SSP modes, and isn't quite "A" performance as a preamp, though I think it is still surprisingly good compared to the competition in its price range (maybe Nak's last real high-end device). If you go shopping for a combined pre/pro, however, be careful to inquire about the circuitry because most of the current "high-end" SSPs (e.g., Lexicon) are designed for the HT market and do not have pure audio pass-through; instead, they convert all analog inputs to digital before sending them to the D/As and output stages, thus degrading the signal. I've heard Bryston recently put out a pre/pro; if true, I suspect it has pure analog pass-through and very good preamp performance (just speculation based on the quality of their other products). If you'll be using your system for a lot of 2-channel listening, it's also good to have a dedicated 2-channel amp for the front L&R and a separate 3-channel amp for HT. This way you won't have to compromise the exceptional signal coming from your "A" class preamp by sending through a less than stellar 5/6-channel HT amp. There are some good HT amps on the market, but you can still get better performance from a dedicated 2-channel amp. This also lets you keep the HT power off when listening to music. For HT, I use a McCormack DNA-HT1 for my rears and center and am pleased with its performance. Hope this info helps. Don
I have a Rowland coherence 2 which has a dedicated passthrough. Excellent preamp, if you like the Rowland sound. My 2 front amps are 9Ti,s. The controller is a Theta Casa-2 David
djjd really provided a lot of good info. He mentioned the Sonic Frontiers Line 2 and 3 preamps (which are Class A). The Sonic Frontiers Line 1 also includes the SSP, is a lot less money (Which is Class B), and with high grade 7308's in the first position are really close to Class A. Just a little more info for your quest.
I second what Djjd said about the Nakamichi CA-1. I had one, but being used to the Yamaha DSP's of years back, I traded it in on a Lexicon DC-1 some time ago. As an audiophile two-channel device, the CA-1 was considerably better than the DC-1 IMHO. I have no complaints about the DC-1 when used as intended for home theatre, and music using the surround modes. I have a second dedicated two-channel system now in another room, so it's a moot point for me. I do beleive that the Nak CA-1 is an awesome piece for a combo HT/2 channel setup, and I've seen these used at a local store for fairly short money, and with the DTS upgrade. If you can take one home and try it, it may serve your needs very well! Paul
I believe the Muse Model 3 preamp might do what you need. Its solid state -- but a sweet, warm sound.
Any of the Sonic frontiers line stage preamps have pass thru for HT