"My question: is it possible to use the ARC D-90 for the HT front speakers by using a Pre-out from a newer receiver?"
"Any recommendations on receivers with Pre's that could do this?"
Many but one with a great feature set is the Denon AVR-4311ci.
BTW, what does any of this have to do with bi-amping?
Yes you can do it, but I'm not sure why you would consider it. You will still be using the pre-amp section of the ht receiver - no power amp is going to fix that.
Also have no idea what this has to do with bi-amping?
all HT receivers I'm familiar with have pre-outs and will work the way you are asking. The key is this - you want to feed the main outs from your receiver through your your SP-12 preamp in what is called "bypass" mode, and have your main speakers/D-90 amp connected to your SP12 pre-outs.
This setup allows you to use the same main speakers for 2 channel music, and alternately for HT with a simple change of switches. It's not likely to make your HT Fronts sound a lot better (due to the Receiver preamp limitation), but can't hurt it, and greatly simplifies the speaker setup for you.
I doubt your SP12 has true bypass, and if this is true you set up the receiver to feed main outs into a free input on the SP12 (eg tape in). You then set your SP12 volume at a set point that can easily be remembered (eg 12 o'clock), which is where you set it any time you use your HT. Calibrate your HT speakers with the SP12 at this level. You will need to have your SP-12 powered on whenever watching HT. When you want to listen to 2 channel music, simply leave your HT receiver off and run your source through the SP12 as usual.
You can search the archives on "HT Bypass" and find a lot more discussion on this. This is not biamping - which isn't what you're asking about.
As for HT receivers - you should state your budget range if you want some good recommendations. I have a Sherwood Newcastle which was cheap and is stunningly good given what it cost me (~$150 used/mint), though it has some shortcomings.
Thanks for the responses and yes I realize this is not bi-amping, my mistake. I'm just trying to incorporate the ARC 2 channel gear into a HT set-up.
I understand Bdgregory's set-up recommendation but not sure that's a reasonable method given the manuel nature of the SP12, warm-up time, etc. Was really trying to get everything to work off remotes and eliminate the SP12 Pre but it appears that the sound quality will not be so great if the SP12 is replaced by a 'standard' HT receiver Pre.
well, in HT Mode, it will indeed be fully remote controllable. But when in 2 channel music mode, it's the same as you have today.
as Meiwan and I indicated, using the HT Pre for 2 channel music will be a bad idea. I've tried multiple high end HT Pre-Pros and even they don't compare to a good 2 channel preamp when listening to music. An option is to sell your SP12 and by a good remote controllable 2 channel preamp. That's what I did.
Yes, I have considered that but would still like to have the rear speakers for movies and sports. They do fill in nicely but just can't figure out how to keep the rears with the ARC 2 channel gear.
I could go with a nice Marantz or other HT receiver but pretty sure I still won't get that ARC tube sound. If I get a new Pre w/remote that still won't allow for 4 channels, correct?
If I get a new Pre w/remote that still won't allow for 4 channels, correct?
Wrong - you need to focus on what's going on in the scheme I described. for music - it's 2 channel, for HT it's 5.1, or 7.1, or whatever you configure. Furthermore, in HT Mode - all channels are controlled by the Receiver remote. It's only in 2 channel music mode that you don't have remote control. You can remedy this by getting a new preamp that has remote.
OK, so I would need a new pre w/remote AND a new HT receiver w/pre-outs (my current Pioneer does not have speaker pre-outs). Hook-up the front speaker pre-outs from the new HT to the new pre-amp In's? That would give me complete remote for TV and music.
Or, just get a new HT receiver, keep the SP12, hook it up similar, and use the preamp manually for music but it will work remotely under the HT receiver if I keep the volume set at a predetermined level?
that's right. Think of the preamp as simply being a passive connector between your HT receiver and your power amp when you're using it for HT. This way the volume control is fixed on the SP12, and the volume for all HT channels are controlled by the remote for the receiver.
If you do decide to buy a new 2 channel preamp - you may want to consider getting one that has HT bypass built in. It's better and more convenient, but not essential.
A Manley Skip Jack will allow you to use both your SP12 and your Pioneer receiver. You'd run your front left and right speaker line outs from both into the Skip Jack and out to your ARC D-90.
let me get this straight Byfo . . . you want him to buy a $900 switch so he can connect his $300 receiver and his $470 preamp to one amp, when both of them already have the capability to do this without an external switch?
If my current Pioneer had pre-outs for the speakers then I'd be set but it only has the pre for Subwoofer.
So just to clarify, I need a new HT receiver that has pre-outs for the front speakers(most current ones have pre-outs for all speakers). Connect the Pre-out L&R fronts from the HT to an Aux input on the SP12. Run my normal connection from the SP12 to the D90 amp. I don't believe it has a bypass mode.
I would have to manually turn on the SP12 because of no remote, with it set to the Aux input. Set volume to a predetermined level and from then on I can run the volume for all HT speakers from the new HT receiver remote.
Listening to music only with just the fronts and SW would be done as normal using only the SP12 and D90. I could listen to music in 4.1 if I connect my source to the HT so the fronts would go through the SP12 but the rears would be handled completely through the HT receiver. I could hook a different source into the SP12 and use just 2.1.
And if I get tired of the manual switching I can upgrade the preamp to one with a remote function and possibly a bypass function.
you got it, except unless you have a subwoofer connect to the SP12, it will be 2.0
Jamesk58, you can use a A/B speaker switcher on your speaker to select HT or 2channel system.
Set the SP12 to unity gain each time you use in setup in HT mode.