amp selection for multi ch AND bi-amp capablity

OK, here goes... I'll try to be brief.
I would like to have higher power for BOTH HT and strictly 2 ch + sub config. I have a 5.1 55 w/ch Onkyo AVR w/no pre-outs except for the LFE. I have a DVD/CD multi disc player w/5.1 analog outputs (has built in surround processing and volume control). Sub is self powered 150W Velodyne line and speaker level input switchable.

I am looking for used economical (~ $100-150) 4 or 6 ch amplifier (3-5 bridgeable) that will: 1) help to breathe some real life in to a pair of older paradigm floorstanders 9semk3 200W in bi-amp config. 2) possibly also have dual functionality of high power for Home theater DTS/DD 5.1 mode.

Thinking I can possibly share the 5.1 analog outs from DVD to the amp AND the AVR (via splitting) Any danger in this?? OR-if not, route discretely the 2 channel line analog outs from DVD + LFE (or center) out straight to new(er) amp which will then provide dual matched amps for bi-amping source and sub (or center) from DVD to remaining (potentially) bridged input for sub (or non-bridged center). I am fairly sure that this will not give me the 5.1 "surround" signal though-unless I use the Onkyo amp via digital out for the 5.1 audio format.

A used Adcom 2535L offered 3-4 channel arrangement that I could bridge for the 3 channel scenario unfortunately the power is limited to 60W into 8 ohm and 90W into 4 ohm + 200W for bridged. This is not quite the power I was hoping for (not that much more than the onkyo-BUT does provide for bi-amping) at the expense of complexity and limited selectivity between 5.1 and 3 ch. configs.

Another consideration is an older Philips 6 channel (3-5 bridgeable). Although this had a short production life-the supposed 100W X6 configuration I thought MAY work for upping power on the center out too while keeping the sub self powered. Unfortunately I can't seem to get detailed spec.'s on and I believe it is limited to a 3 channel input-so although it is "6 channel output" separate discrete surround channels would not be available.

I saw an older Yamaha DSP 2070 but can't get details on input config. other than no digital input cababilty-and strangely that some modification would be req'd for 5.1 configuration (which would be strictly analog). I am confused as to whether-at the time external processors were the rage so there is still a need to separate signals thru mod. for discrete 5.1 arrangement.

Regardless although I have read innumerable posts in forums and technical explanations on crossovers with regards to bi-amping; I still am at a loss to understand how much performance this will provide by just hooking up to separate posts on speaker (without bypassing internal x-over). I read Elliot's guide and I assume the diagram used for bi-amping indicates INTERNAL speaker x-overs and that no external x-over or bypassing is required for basic hook-up correct? The Paradigm manual makes no reference to being able nor necessary to bypass internal circuitry for bi-amping so just removing the copper bridges and supplying discrete signal souces to each pair of inputs are all that is necessary for "basic" bi-amplification I assume-correct?

Any thoughts or recommendations (besides going separates and dumping the AVR) would be greatly appreciated.

I know...I want it all (for nothing!) but just wanted to get some insight and maybe a sanity check on my hopes and expectations or some feedback from some more "creative / experimentive" (read: cheap) thinking types!


"Just gettin started"

If you split the player outputs to the new amps, how will you control volume?
In a word...separately! Although the DVD remote has a "volume" it is obviously for TV or AVR only, although the switch allows for choice between TV/DVD-it obviously would not control an amp's volume. I suppose I was thinking that it did adjust the DVD signal level output.

Dual volume control (one is not even remote) definitely creates a bit of pain in the ass and is rather tedious. I messed around using the amp via CD input on another (older) avr for the main fronts low range (mains of the 5.1 analog outs on DVD-split)and the mains out of the Onkyo for high range; just to try to give me some feeling for bi-amplification. I do believe that I notice a definite difference, although rather hard to say.

I have yet to experiment much with movies however, it seems as though if you set the low range (from the bi-amped mains) level on older receiver, there is very little adjustment necessary (a little bit of adjustment on low freq volume = large volume change). This older avr is also rated @ 55W/ch. If I was brave (or dumb!) enough-I would use the older for both Hi and Low with using the A & B speaker outputs-but it is only rated for 8 ohms and I just repaired one blown channel on this unit-plus I don't want to hose my speakers more importantly! The Onkyo front ch. are driving the upper freq., the center and the surrounds which can be remotely adjusted.
In answer to my own question-it in this configuration it seems as though the surround does work because my DVD is doing all of the surround decoding with the Onkyo in strictly multi channel. Since front signals are split out of DVD, this bi-amp config. does work for surround as well.

Just for grins-(this is really getting screwy) but I will share nonetheless. Vantas has this surround converter / amp combo for upgrading a 2 ch. system to 5 channel. It is designed for routing the mains (frt)speaker level outputs as pass through and adds 3 channels of signal amplification. It monitors main levels and "tracks" any change which it then adjusts other surround channels level to match.
I was thinking of using this for strictly additional amplification (100w/ch versus 55 on Onkyo AVR). The only way would be to connect the rear surround inputs to this converter/amp to the main ch. connections which would pass those signals thru and track those and adjust the former surround (now front mains) channel outputs accordingly. This would give me 100w/ch on my two frnt mains and a center while the Onkyo would power the surrounds @ 55w/ch. Just was a bit leery of having the volume controlled by the surround level inputs, obviously suspect.

So, answer is there is no way round it I'm 'fraid. I guess I will just have to grin and bear until I can afford exactly what I want. Which means new Receiver/amp or separates or integrated of sorts, kind of fun playing though nonethless.

"done playin" now I just want some functionality!!
Malanl - I'm very interested in your comment on the Philips 6 channel amp - I bought a Pilips Model AV1002 off eBay. It looks as though it's the one described in your thread on 1/17/04. I didn't receive any manuals, spec's or anything like that. It's very heavy and well built, 6 discrete channels (2 Main, 2 center, 2 rear), whic can also be bridged to make a 5, 4, 3 channel config). There are controls for input sensitivity and tone for the Main, Ctr, Rear channels too. The Bridging labels refer to an achronym "BTL", I'm not sure what it means and the labeling on inputs/outputs is a little confusing, so I haven't figured out how to make the bridging work (or else there's a malfunction in the electronics) -
As for spec's - I have no idea - but I hooked it up initially to my Infinity Monitor IIA speakers and it had a hard time driving high volumes. These speakers require a lot of power - I normally drive them with a Phase Linear 400. The sound was very good at the volume level the AV1002 played though - very clean, good detail, and decent base. I would guess it's 100W/ch at most, maybe more honestly about 80W/ch.
I would really like to find someone who knows about this unit, has spec's and an owners manual (or how I can get one). Is this model (AV1002) familiar to you - can you fill in any blanks for me?
Sorry, not much help-you must have outbid me on the same one!!
(see my e-mail)