There are some AVRs that do good music and there are also many 2 channel pre-amp that have an HT pass thru input that allow you to integrate HT and 2 channel. If budget is tight, you may want to consider an all-in one unit like the Linn or Arcam DVD/CD/Rcvr combos, which have gotten very good reviews.
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Thanks to Kal (KR4) I've been reading about the Integra DTC 9.8 ($1600) AV pre/pro. From the reviews it appears to be very good. Paired with a balanced multichannel amp (only 2-channels now $1500, but can be extended later) from ATI AT2002 would make a nice system.
You didn't mention a subwoofer. I'd consider the SVS PB13 Ultra
As far as a source goes, the higher end Denon universal players are quite good. I own the 3910.
Hi, maybe this is beside the point, but in my experience, there are no home theater receivers priced within reason, that will sound as good for 2 channel as your current Adcom setup. Well, maybe the used Krell HT separates. But you probably want a new receiver with HDMI and the new 1.3 for Blue Ray audio.
I used to have the same Adcom amp and preamp. The amp is still quite good sounding IMHO, but I think the Adcom preamp is terrible. I upgraded mine to a tubed Anthem Pre1 and was blown away. I agree with getting a preamp with the pass thru feature. A good preamp is the #1 thing I think for high fidelity. I think with a good 2-channel preamp you could get by with the power amp section of a decent receiver. But why not just buy a 5 channel amp? There is just no way to fit 5-7 channels of quality amplification (power supplies)and all the other hardware into a 40 pound 19" wide receiver. I suggest a 2 channel preamp with two outputs for sub flexibility as well. I think you are on the right track with playing cds through a high quality 2 channel player, and the excellent speakers. Sorry for the long post, but I myself am extremely disappointed with HT receiver sound for 2 channel. I would hate to see you spend so much to a take a step back. HT sound is just bump and sizzle to me.
Thanks for the response - had not considered simply adding a preamp to replace my existing Adcom. One thing I am unclear on is what is a surround bypass. The rep at Sounds Unlimited here in San Diego suggested the same thing. How does this work when I eventually add the rear and center speakers?
Any ideas out there on CD players other than the Marantz?
Following up on my last, and based on the good feedback above, I am now leaning towards replacing the Adcom pre with a good AV processor and bypassing the digital circuitry for music. Will run the processor through the 535ii amp (I had a typo in my original description).
So...any recommendations of a processor to run through the amp? Also, looked at the Naim CD5i as an alternative to the Marantz. Any opinions on this player?