Best of both worlds? (Relatively speaking)


So, I've been into hi-res audio for a few years now, and have been feeding my digital music to my Vandersteen 2Ce Signature IIs through my Pioneer VSX-1020K A/V amp.

Then I found I could no longer ignore the burning desire to step back into my analog roots, so I took the plunge, or at least stuck my foot in.  I ended up buying a Pro-ject Debut Carbon Esprit DC turntable with an Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge.  I also refurbished my vintage Pioneer SA-9100 integrated amp, and soon was a happy camper listening to every LP I could get my hands on.

Now here's the rub.  My speakers are bi-wired, so every time I wanted to listen to some hi-res music, I had to disconnect the speakers from the SA-9100 and connect them back to the VSX-1020K, and vice versa.  That got old quickly!

Then, I realized that I could use the SA-9100 as a pre amp and connect it to one of the analog ins on the VSX.  It wasn't a perfect solution, but it was a combination of both 'worlds' and I could stop having to do the wire/re-wire dance behind the speakers!

Now, having accomplished that, I'm doing what any good A-goner would do.  I'm wondering how I could do it better?!!!!!

Maybe I could jam both bi-wired pairs of spade connectors to the back of the Vandersteens and use each amp for its original purpose??

Ideas?????

clipdin
Tape Out from the 9100 into one of the Aux inputs on the VSX..?
Sorry, I don't understand what your speakers being bi-wired has to do with anything. Why do you have to use them bi-wired for digital, but not for analog?

What is your source for your hi-res digital music? Can you connect that source into your SA-9100 and completely eliminate the HT receiver from the mix?
reubent - Sorry for the confusion.  The speaker wires from both amps are bi-wired.  And the reason my hi-res source feeds into the A/V amp is because it does the file decoding work.  It uses an HDMI input which allows the highest level of input.

The spades for both pairs of speaker wires are pretty thick, so I don't think I can fit them both on the speaker connectors, but I think I'll take a second look at that.  I really like the sound from the SA-9100 for my vinyl.  Using it as a pre-amp, then sending it through the A/V amp seems to take some life away.
 Using it as a pre-amp, then sending it through the A/V amp seems to take some life away.
I am not the least bit surprised.  If you truly want the best of both worlds, I would ditch the Pioneer AVR entirely as that's what holding all your music back.  The internal amps are too severely compromised to properly drive such a fine speakers as your Vandersteens (7 ohm nominal, 4 ohm minimum and only 86db sensitivity).   No way are you going to realize their potential with an AVR.

You need true continuous wattage something that the AVR cannot deliver with its bogus specs.   Look at a modern 2 channel integrated amp with a built-in DAC for digital needs and replace both the Pioneer AVR and vintage integrated with one unit that will properly drive your Vandersteens.  NAD, Parasound, Yamaha are all making very good ones now.  You'll be amazed.
Agreed with Paraneer. You need to ditch the HT receiver if you want the best sound. Also replacing the SA-9100 with a 

DO NOT connect both sets of speaker cables to your speakers. 

What would probably be better is to get a device that will convert your digital to analog and send it via standard analog RCA jacks into your SA-9100. Since I'm still not sure what type of digital device you are using for the front end of your digital rig, I can't say exactly what you need. However, since you are ultimately using 2 channels of amplification and 2 speakers, you don't need a multi-channel digital front end.

So again, what is the digital device you are using to store/stream your hi-res digital files? Does it have optical, coax or USB digital outputs? If so, you just need a DAC that accepts optical, coax and/or usb.

Keep digging. There are plenty of quality newer integrated amps that have DACs built-in. Otherwise, a DAC to convert your digital to analog, combined with your existing SA-9100, or a new high quality integrated amp, would do the trick.


Good points, guys!  Yeah, maybe if I sell both amps, I can pick up a better amp to handle all of it.  There HAVE been some great steps forward in amp technology.  BTW, my hi-res source is a  1TB WD TV Live Hub.  It DOES have multiple outs - HDMI, optical, USB, etc.
You should be able to use any one of those digital outputs into a DAC and then connect it to your SA-9100. You can get an inexpensive DAC, like the Audioquest Dragonfly, Parasound Z-DAC or Shiit MODI-2 to get you started. Just put it in-line between your digital source and the SA-9100 and you should be good to go.

I'm not up to date regarding DACs that use HDMI. However, I have used optical, coax and USB with no issues using DACs that support those connections.

For $100 new, or even less used, you could try one of the DACs I listed above. Will get you started in the right direction. Removing the HT receiver from the mix will be a good first step toward sound quality and simplification of the overall system and operation.
Time to go window shopping!! :-)
Well, now I've got something to keep me busy for the next month!  I'm starting to lean towards a good (meaning expensive) music server/DAC that I can feed into my SA-9100.  That will have to be via analog (RCA) jacks.

I'd like it to have a built-in, but upgrade-able hard drive, or at least allow an external HD to be connected to it.  The front interface would not matter much, because I'd want to be able to control it via a smartphone app, so I wouldn't need to get up and fiddle with a control panel on the unit (unless I wanted to).

I'm finding an entire gambit of differing devices and price points across the board!  But I think the need for storage and an app-controlled UI is helping to filter out the non-HD streamers, blue tooth and adapter-type units.

My current interest is with the Sony HAP-S1 Hi-Rez Music Player.  It keeps me under the 1K threshold.  Anyone have experience with one of these?

There's also the  Marantz - NA8005 DSD DAC.  I think it doesn't have an on-board HD, but you can connect one?