Dedicated stereo to HT--advice?

How best to expand a stereo system into a HT system in as few steps as possible? I have recently put together a system which is 100% devoted to stereo--however, I did so with the eventual intention of expanding it to include a surround sound processor, three more channels of amplification, and some speakers. That said, I would like to accomplish the expansion as cheaply as possible (relatively, at least). I am familiar with the reasoning that the HT equipment should be comparable to the stereo end of things in order to fully appreciate the HT (which is certainly undeniable) but I have no intention, or ability, to spend as much on the HT bits. Basically, I’d like to try to figure out what my options are for tacking on a processor and three more channels of amplification. The basics (what I’m building off): Thiel 2.3, Bryston 4B-ST, VTL 2.5, AH!Tjoeb, Yamaha changer and tape player (both of which will likely be sacrificed in the name of more space in the rack…), and a grab-bag of Synergistic and Monster tying it all together. (Note, the Thiels in the front, whatever the setup, will still run off of the Bryston and VTL – so I am not looking for a solution which would be worthy, or even necessarily capable, of making the Thiels go). Thoughts (to be shot to hell as appropriate): A relatively cheap HT receiver? Could even bridge a couple of channels for a little more umph, the tuner would be a bonus, and I’d have a way to spread a few more speakers around the room with one box for little $$. Is this a waste of time? Am I mad? If cheepo option #1 (above) is a complete jackass move, what are my other options? I’m not entirely opposed to separates, but, especially with three channel amps, we’re talking about a realm which is just esoteric enough that there isn’t that much in the mid-range that I was hoping for (correct me if I’m wrong, but the +3 portion of the 2+3 solution to amplification for HT is place where only true addicts tend find themselves—not a big market for that sort of stuff). What should I look at? Should I just use what I’ve got? Stereo is where it’s at for me, so the HT whistles and bells are, in my book, just that. Any suggestions (equipment, configurations, priorities, you name it) are welcome—-with one caveat-—yes, I do realize that analog sounds better...that’s another battle, for another day...
Pardon the expectant mother routine, but apologies for the double post. It sent it again when I hit refresh to see if there was anything new...
If you are looking to add an awesome center channel for your system I have a Thiel MCS1 which uses the same midrange/tweeter as you CS 2.3. In a home theater environment the most important speaker is the center since close to 70% of the sound in movies comes from the center so you really shouldn't skimp. You can e-mail me at if you are interested.
Welcome to the consolidation world. For the last few years it is exactly what I try to do. The Big question is how to put together whithout big compromise in sound Music/Home Theater all around system? Reasonably. I had a modest system with Apogee Major as a front speakers run by Adcom GFA-565 monoblocks, 565 preamp, CAL-15 changer. I new I could not afford everything new, so my solution was to find mostly used but better equipment. For Center channel - Apogee monitor and for suround - Apogee Minors, run by Marantz monoblocks (about 1.5K). I bought Fosgate 3A and Elite-79 LV for about 1/3 of new price. and I was in business. Now I added Technics AC-3/DTS processor ans DVD Player I almost completed the task. So I think, speakers should be the same brand and Tiel has it, you can get THX Dolby Prologic processor like Lexicon, Fosgate or other for 1/5 of original price (which also could be used as preamp for music only and add on AC-3/DTS processor (for may by $800 - $900 total), used 3 Ch. amp (better mono blocks, and use new generation DVD Changers with Dac for CD/DVD. Evelyn
Just can't agree Evelyn (Sharp 2451). So many people say you should be able to get stuff you just can't find. Show me where you can find a Lexicon that does AC-3, DD, THX and DTS for $800! Those units run $4k-$6k new and I've not seen a single one for less than $2k (and usually they're more like upper 2's to 3). Peter, I've been trying to upgrade my HT whilst keeping high quality, and even with used stuff it's tough to do without spending LOTS of cash. Nowadays, you've gotta have at least DD and DTS (and some could argue THX) and for a good quality processor, that'll cost you bucks. Amps could be cheaper, and as you suggested, I'd spend the biggest bucks on either two monoblocks or a stereo amp. The 3-ch amp doesn't have to be so hot. I know, I know, some will argue it's very important, because 70% of the sound comes from the center channel, but truthfully, if you have to skimp somewhere, skimp there first. I could write forever, but I'm frustrated and tired... good luck! -B
To Bazmataz. I am not talking about Lexicon latest models. But you can buy Lexicon CP-3THX and add something like Technics for AC3/DTS and have it all. Evelyn
Consider this, add a powered subwoofer (REL, Monitor Audio, Bag End, etc.) and do nothing else. Approximate cost -- $1,000 to $1,500. The advantages of this setup is that your music system is not compromised. I have two video oriented systems. The big system has seven speaker plus twin subwoofer sound. It's very enjoyable. The smaller system is much simpler and has only a pair of Sony SM7 speakers (very good speakers, but not as good as your 2.3s). No subwoofers, no center or surround channels. It still sounds great. Surprisingly, I never miss the surround information. The primary use of a center channel is to anchor the dialog to the screen for off center axis viewers. Alot of setups don't need this. To summarize, a high quality two channel system is far preferably to a half-assed five channel setup.