Best way to integrate analog with digital

Not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes.
I have a dedicated analog system and recently added screen and projector to make use of the room as both; a dedicated music and movie room. I am using the analog surround outs from a Mcintosh MVP891 to a non HDMI receiver and the two front channels from the MVP891 into my preamp, an Octave Jubilee tube preamp. Thus, the old school surround receiver is able to play surround analog audio as long as we watch only movies/or listen to SACD's from the MVP891.

Here is the challenge. I purchased an Apple TV and an Amazon TV to watch our library of digital movies as alternate options. Well, I can only get either two channel audio from the Apple, no surround, or from the Amazon, a matrixed surround, rear channels and center, but no left and right. I have dedicated Mcintosh MC2301 amps and separate phono stage as well. All two channel sources play as usual..only the digital stuff is presenting problems.

The research I have conducted so far seems to be a lost cause, unless I have another dedicated surround setup, with different front speakers, and that is not going to happen. Otherwise, does anyone know of an HDMI surround pre/pro or surround receiver that will not matrix the surround channels into the two channel outs? I need a receiver or processor that has an analog 7.1 out...the pre outs do not count as they are meant to drive dedicated amplifiers, I tried it, and it does not work quite right. I need a source device that has the ability to convert the 7.1 digital audio signal to an analog one with dedicated analog 7.1 outs, not pre outs, which seems to be the only analog outs on processors. I can't find any newer receivers that have digital capability that has a true non pre out analog audio out section.

I would appreciate your help in finding such a device or a solution which allows me to play digital surround and run the front two analog channels into my existing analog preamp using the aux, tuner, or CD inputs on the Octave preamp.

Thank you.
Consider looking for a second-hand MX136, MX121 or MX150. All of those would probably accommodate you as they have all the features you are looking for. I rigged a MAC 3 using the HT pass-through on my C50 and it works like a charm. That wouldn't work in your system, but I don't need 7.1 or HDMI input on the surround sound. I run my MVP881BR to the MAC 3 by F/O and to the C50 by analog XLR, so audio is perfect and HT is spot-on, too. The HDMI output goes direct to my display and I just kill the sound on it when I'm running the whole rig. This set-up also allows me to just run video direct to the TV without having to run the fancy audio - nice for old movies or times when we don't want to fuss with surround sound.

Good luck!

Thank you for the reply. I also run the HDMI strait to the projector via an in wall HDMI connection or Peerless wireless. The Peerless gives me the benefit of adding three HDMI video sources to route video to the projector directly. It is the digital audio that is the conundrum. I have actually explored the MX121....and speaking to my wife about it, ahem...well after these past two years expenses for the audio/movie room, new MC2301 amps, Mcintosh MVP891 3DBluray player, home theater seating, B&W Diamonds surrounds, Epson projector, and electronic drop down screen, the MX121 will have to wait until the fall.

Do you know if the optical or digital in on any of those devices serves as a true multichannel DAC? If so, then I could get the two front channels of the digital audio routed from the Amazon or Apple TV into the MX121, and then send those two channels into my preamp without any issues.


All of the MX units use multiple DACs. I don't remember how many channels each processor handles, but I seem to recall reading that Mc uses 4 chips. I might have that backwards and each chip is 4 channels. The user manuals are all available online so you should be able to get that info pretty quickly.

If the manuals aren't clear, you can always give the guys at Audio Classics a call. You might also want to ask them about the MX120. It has some connection limitations on outputs (XLR only to power amplifiers, I think). The reason I mention it is that used ones have been popping up at very reasonable prices recently.

Don't forget you can change the delay on 7.1 output in the 891 to sync sound with the display if you run into any odd artifacts. I can't discern any delay with the F/O. I also use it to run from the source (cable box w/DVR) to the MAC 3.