Help setting up HT and Integrated Amp and Sub


Hi, all...
I have a bit of a hodge-podge system that I am trying to get set up and am having a brain-cramp determining the best way to wire things here...let me give a summary of the journey thus far:
- I live in a tiny little apartment, so my ancient full-range floor standing Polks do not fit, nor does much of anything
- Had a nice little home theater setup featuring Cambridge SoundWorks surround speakers and sub hooked up to a Yamaha RX-A700 HT receiver. Not bad, but I decided to get a little more audiophile as the quality was just meh.
- Bought a set of Harbeth P3ESRs and, wow, they are pretty fantastic...the sub became more important and so I replaced that with an SVS SB-2000.
So now I had the P3ESR, SVS sub and 3 Cambridge speakers (center and surround) driven by the Yamaha...not bad, but not great.
- SACD player (old Pioneer) died, replaced with Oppo BDP-103
- Got a Teac DAC to hook my Mac up to the stereo system
- Felt the P3s were underdriven, so got an Emotiva MiniX (pre-out from receiver into it onto the Harbeths)...sounded much better, surround and movies was bad though, so got 3 Cambridge Minx21s (very blah, but a bit better than the old ones) and left them hooked to the receiver...as is the sub
This was fine for a little bit, but I felt the receiver was really holding me back, so looked at integrated amps...tried a Musical Fidelity 3.5, but it doesn't like my power (even with a conditioner!), so gave it to my brother. Found a good deal on an Exposure 2010s2d and am where I am now:
- I want to connect the Oppo, the Teac DAC and the HT receiver to the Exposure, driving the Harbeths for quality stereo sound and leave the 3 other speakers connected to the HT receiver....but where do I connect the sub? If I connect it to the Exposure for use in music listening, I lose it from the HT setup so movies will suffer (as will the occasional surround disc I play). If I connect it directly to the Oppo, I need to play with the settings constantly and I lose sound level control (i.e. when I turn up the amp/receiver, it won't get louder too).
I did buy a fairly good quality RCA Y connector thinking I could run from both the integrated amp and receiver, but it introduced a pronounced hum, which I am assuming is a ground loop somewhere...

At this point I am getting all confused and it is annoying, as it is a feeling I am not used to. Anyone have any ideas on the best way to connect all this? I mean...I want pure audio through the integrated amp, with the ability to watch movies and play surround content through the receiver...
Thanks in advance!
Os.
osmodious

Take a look at this,

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/50-8396

Output to the sub with inputs for integrated amp and HT receiver.


Thanks for the suggestion...not sure that would work for me, at least I would prefer it to be switchable rather than auto-sensing. It would theoretically be a bit more solid a connection than a mere Y-cable.

I was in a similar situation as you - wanting to incorporate a subwoofer into a setup that has an AVR for movies (and the LFE output to the sub), but also ’better’ audio for 2-channel listening with an integrated amp.

It is too bad you couldn’t get the MF A3.5 int amp to work for you, because that amp has an HT Direct feature that would have allowed you to do exactly what you want w/o resorting to switches and such.

I couldn’t tell from the Exposure specifications whether it has an HT Direct (aka Bypass) feature or not.

If it doesn’t, then I think you have to use a manual RCA switch device in front of your sub with the outputs from the AVR and Int Amp.

I assume you plan on connecting your AVR L&R front preouts to one of the RCA inputs on the int amp to drive your front speakers?

Yes...the Exposure 2010S2D does have a HT 'bypass' input (prior versions did not), which I do plan to use (if only for the convenience of using just one remote when adjusting volume on surround programs). The only thing there is what to do with the sub then...it is already connected to the sub pre-out on the receiver, but is not connected to the integrated so on stereo playback straight from the Oppo to the Exposure, I do not have the sub (and believe me, the Harbeths NEED the sub, as they only go down to about 70hz, and really trail off around 80hz).

It is sounding more and more like I need to do an RCA switch...now I have to find a good one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and doesn't have a terrible impact to sound quality (so much for the wonderful expensive sub interconnects I bought!). I just have this feeling there is something stupidly obvious here that I am missing. Well, other than just getting two more Minx21's and making the stereo system completely separate (which would still lead to a connection issue with the darned sub!).

Here's a manual switch that should work. Just use 2 of the inputs for Integrated and HT receiver, then output to the sub.

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/50-6180


Thanks!
I went ahead and ordered a switch so will give that a try. I wound up going with a Niles that was recommended on various audiophile type forums. A bit more costly than the one you linked to, but reported to have among the lowest impact to sound quality...some of the ones listed were several hundred dollars, and the one by Manley was over a thousand! So, 50 bucks for gold connectors and audiophile level switchgear seemed reasonable. Thanks, again, for your input...much appreciated!
Os.

It could be your previous attempt to hook both the AVR and Int amp to the sub failed (eg the hum) might be because the Exposure doesn't have a true HT Bypass.  Meaning its HT input is really a unity gain connection that still passes thru the preamp which would result in the pre-outs being active at the same time as your AVR subwoofer connection.

So the switch approach is probably your best bet.

I have a MF A5 int amp with an HT Direct connection which when selected completely bypasses the preamp section of the A5 so that it only functions as a power amp.  Therefore no signal is outputted from the preout L/R connections.

This allows me to hook up my sub to both the AVR subwoofer output and the L/R preouts from the Int Amp.  No hum, no switches - works perfectly.

If I'm listening to music, source devices are connected directly the A5 and the AVR is off.  The sub gets full range from the A5 preouts and I use the sub xover, phase, and volume.

If I'm watching movies thru the AVR, I select the HT Direct input on the A5, the preamp gets bypasses, no signal from the A5 preouts, and the sub gets the LFE signal from the AVR and its bass management settings.

The hum was actually from the MF A3.5...fairly certain it didn't like my power as I tried it at my parents' house and...no hum. Then again, I did not have the sub/receiver/etc there so that may be it as well. I'm now almost certain that the switch is necessary...both inputs to the sub would probably always be active as they would both be coming ultimately from the Oppo. I have the Oppo connected to the HT receiver via HDMI, and to the integrated via LF and RF out and Sub out (now that I consider that, probably should have connected the sub to the A3.5, too...but I don't recall seeing a sub in/out). Come to think of it, part of the hum situation could be the spaghetti-nest of wires behind all this stuff.

In any event, I have bowed to the seemingly inevitable and ordered a switch. This weekend I am going to go through and re-cable everything and purge what is unnecessary then plug the switch into the combo when it arrives. If I have a chance, I'll also try wiring it up without a switch and pared down to just the one input into each: receiver and integrated.
I'll report my results...
Just verified...MF A3.5 does NOT have separate Subwoofer connections, just a Pre-out, which is how I had connected the sub (ran the Oppo in 2-channel mode, connecting LF/RF to the MF A3.5...so pre-out was passing full signal to sub, which has built-in filter which I had set to 80Hz). It all should have been able to work using just the Y connector to the sub, assuming I kept the HT receiver off when playing the Oppo in 2-channel mode...if not for that hum and the pain of having to switch modes in the Oppo all the time. Eh, we'll see what happens with the switch...

If you could figure out the hum issue with the A3.5, that would be, imho, the cleanest solution.

I also have an Oppo player: hdmi connected to my AVR, and L&R analog outputs connected to my Musical Fidelity A5 int amp for CD inputs.

HDMI w/ AVR selected for movies: the A5 amps my front speakers and the sub is controlled from the AVR.  For music, AVR is off, Oppo drives the A5 CD input, A5 preouts drive the sub for clean rocking music goodness.

If you'd like to see diagrams I've done up that show the connections in my system, I can post links here.

It all works slick and clean, no cable swapping, no switch boxes, no hum.

That would be fantastic, thanks!
Ideally, that would be my preference for install, as the idea of the switch is really bothering me for some reason...not to mention I'm lazy and don't want to get up off my fat butt to switch from AVR to Integrated (granted, would only have to for the sub, but still).
So you have both the AVR and your A5 connected to your sub...does it have more than the one set of inputs, or did you use a Y connector? I guess the diagram will show it...
Thanks, again!
Os.

Here is my overall system connection diagram

http://erikt.cts.com/Pictures/hometheater/HT-Bypass-Diagram-1.jpg

And for HT/movies/multichannel sources

http://erikt.cts.com/Pictures/hometheater/HT-Bypass-Diagram-HTmode.jpg


And for 2-channel sources

http://erikt.cts.com/Pictures/hometheater/HT-Bypass-Diagram-2chnlmode.jpg

Hope that helps and good luck with your own setup.

Those are great!
I see the difference now...on my SVS sub, there is only one input. There are a grand total of 4 RCA jacks, 2 (white and red) for Line Output and 2 (also white and red, of course) that do double duty as L/R input and LFE in (the red/right input). I guess they felt there wasn't need for a separate input for LFE.
I had plugged in a Y to the red (which had the LFE from the AVR and the Right from the A3.5) and the Left from the A3.5 into the white. Maybe I'll try moving the Y to the upper end, by the the AVR and Integrated...or just wait until I have the switchbox.
Thank you...very much appreciated!
Os.

I’d also verify that the Exposure Int Amp has ’true’ HT Direct when you have your AVR front preouts connected to one of the inputs.

With the sub connected to the preouts of the Exposure, you should not hear any signal at all if the Exposure ’bypasses’ its internal preamp section.

If you do hear something from the sub, then the Exposure has a unity gain design and the AVR L/R preout signals are still going thru the Exposure preamp section (and hence the Exposure preouts to the sub).

This may explain the hum with your "Y" connection from both the AVR and the Exposure to the sub.

I just typed up the whole sordid story...and this stupid website ate it. I'm not retyping it. Suffice it to say that this whole thing has been as much of a disaster as attempting to post my frickin reply...and I'm just done.

A couple of quick notes: 1) According to Exposure, and borne out in my experience (as much as I could tell with how poorly all of this works) the PreAmp Out on their Integrateds is FIXED volume, which makes it a LINE OUT, so useless for me (or for anyone expecting to use their Integrated as a Preamp). 2) If you adjust the volume on the Exposure when using the AV-in, it turns the volume up and down...it is NOT a fixed-gain output. 3) If you use analog outs on an Oppo BDP-103, be aware that the player acts as a preamp and you can adjust volume on it...and it defaults to 100%, regardless of what you set the default to, or the maximum either (when you turn it off/on, it's back at 100 again). This will cause sound to come out of your speakers even if the Integrated has the volume all the way down...and will blow your speakers if you hadn't turned the amp's volume down first. 4) Also, the Oppo sends signal/sound out to the analogue out AND HDMI out simultaneously...this cannot be adjusted...making it useless as a single source for both an AVR and an Integrated, as the Integrated will then receive a signal from both the AV in and CD in and you will get noise, and not a good noise. 5) If you live in a small apartment, decide whether you want to have an audiophile sound system OR a home theater because you don't have the space to do both and you apparently can't use one system for both unless you compromise on the audiophile side.

Now...let's see if this post also gets blanked out when I save, in which case I'll be in the market for a new laptop once I've thrown this one against a wall...

Os.