Home Theater or Stereo?

I'm in the process of upgrading my system. I own a DVD player and I'm trying to integrate video with audio. I've been very concerned about the reliability comments I've been reading on the internet on boards like this one and audioreview. I don' mind spending up to $2k for a preamp or processor but I don't want the hassle of dealing with operational problems. Lately I leaning towards sticking with stereo and just upgrading my preamp to a Classe (cp-50), Krell krc-3, Mark Levinson No. 38 etc. Do you have any comments that could help me. Thanks
I currently have HT and Audio combined it works well,I have the audio portion seperate from the HT. I use SF1 a Copeland CD and a Bryston 4BST for audio, a DENON receiver for home theater. The front outputs are input to the preamp SSP circuit for movies and then off for 2 ch music. I don't know what operational problems you're talking about but one thing is for certain a standalone cd player sounds better than most dvd players unless of course you have alot of money to blow. Good Luck
Thanks for your response. I also have a McCormack Prism II cd player. The problems I've read about with processors such as Classe ssp25, Anthem avm2, B&K ref 20 & 30 etc. that break down mechanically once or twice a year. I don't want those kind of headaches. Maybe the best way to go is the way your doing it with seperate audio and video systems. thanks again.
while this is strictly "hear-say", i have not heard ANY positive comments about the Krell HT processors from anyone that has owned them. Nothing but bugs and problems with them. Even the local Krell dealer tries to steer customers away from them but some people just HAVE to have matching components. As to doing dedicated systems, i think that this is the best route although more costly. Quite honestly a good quality receiver with decent speakers and a relatively "bottom heavy" powered sub would work fine for most movies. After all, how much low frequency resolution do you hear during an earthquake as compared to bass drums and pipe organs ? I wish i would have went that route as it would have been done by now and WAY less money. Sean >
I agree with Sean. For HT, I have a Yammie near top of line product w/NHT superzeros and two 8" NHT subs (one as bottom for front L & R, and one for LFE. Panasonic a320 (my next upgrade path) DVD. It seems more than adequate for movies in my (admittedly) small room. My 2 channel set up in another room is CAL CL-10, BAT VK31, McCormack 0.5 dlx, Vandersteen 2ci. I will admit that if I were to do it again, I would probably pass on the Yammie (never have used any of the DSP modes) and stick with an NAD, but otherwise, the soundtracks sound just fine and the effects work well. In a larger room you'd just need a bigger sub for the LFE. Total cost about $1.5K for some mint used and some new. Less than what you'd pay probably pay for a B&K less speakers, sub, DVD. BTW, any thoughts on a good DVD player (component out, but non-prog. scan, my Loewe TV has a good doubler)would be appreciated.
I too have had to make that decision of HT or 2 channel. If you are more a videophile then choose the Yammie. It is good but I don't know if it will be up to speed on the audio end. That was my decision. I have integrated audio and video in this way. I have a CJ 2200 for front with an Adcom GSA 700 pre/processor 3 channel amp for center and rears. I am using an Adcom preamp with a processor loop in which I run the 3 channel amp through when I want to watch movies. There are other manufacturers who make preamps with a video loop and you can find 3 channel amps and DD processors. My decision was based on the fact that I am more into music than video but my 55" Toshiba Cinema series was needing more than its factory speaker. Though my video portion may be lacking to a videophile it sounds relatively good and can be upgraded by a processor at a cost of $400-800. However my audio portion sounds very good. Also Adcom makea a 5 channel Pre/processor for about $1500. I don't know how well it does double duty but it may be worth a listen.
I have owned a Yamaha 2095, NAD T770, Classe ssp-25, and now run a Denon avr3300 through a Sonic frontiers Line-1 which has a processor by-pass loop. I feel running a decent HT reciever through a good tube line stage preamp with a by-pass loop is he way to go. No HT processor will sound as good for stereo. Your reciever needs to have pre-outs for the main channels. You can use the reciever to power the center and rear channels.
Js- How would you compare the Yammie to the NAD and Denon. I have the Y 995 and while its OK, I have never used any of the DSP modes. I find them distracting and wonder if the NAD with its less complex circuitry provides any real benefits. I could probably move sideways without much cost. I don't think I'm ready to go for separates in the HT system.
Three years ago I chose to go with a high quality pre/pro for HT and music using a Meridian 561. The 561 does a nice job on both HT and music, but ultimately limits two channel DAC upgrades. If you do not upgrade equipment that often, and are happy with the sound, then maybe this is the approach you should take. I am currently going back to a quality analog preamp and separate CD player for two channel, and possibly run the 561 L/R through a processor loop in whichever preamp I get. If I had to do it over again I would buy a less expensive surround processor or receiver, and would not have tried to match all speakers and amps to the same quality level. For HT it just isn't that critical, unless of course that is your priority. I have a friend who recently bought a Lexicon DC-1 with all of the latest upgrades used for 1400. It doesn't sound quite as good as the 561 on music, but for movies it is excellent.
Hi Swampwalker. For dolby digital movies, of the receivers I've owned I liked the NAD the best. No DTS but I find very few DTS movies to rent anyway. The NAD is the best for stereo too but will not satisfy a serious audiophile. NAD has the best remote but tuner use is not intuitive. I think all three recievers I've owned are exellent for HT.The Yamaha and Denon are a toss up. I Bought the Denon for HT only because I got a great deal on it from an internet seller. You can only operate the tuner from remote( which has way too many buttons) on the Denon. You should keep your Yamaha and spend your money on your two channel system.
My approach is to use common amplifiers and speakers and seperate the front ends. In the interest of highest possible music quality I am switching to an Adcom 750 preamp. The bypass feature allows me to run my main amps and speakers in the HT rig. Other manufacturer are starting to follow suit on higher end preamps. Krell's KAV300i and VTL's IT85 have the feature too! Why shut down your hard earned main system to listen to movies through of all things a receiver and $750 worth of speakers? My budget processor is a Marantz AV550 bought used ... it satisfies all the criteria for a small home theatre with out breaking the bank. It even has a tuner built in.
Js- thanks for your response. I rarely use my HT system for music (occassionaly listen to headphones cause my stax box jacks nicely into the B speaker taps). The only real complaint with the Yamaha is the remote which sucks big time, but so far I have not found a universal that will change inputs. Just bought a Pronto and am awaiting delivery. If it can be configured for input switching on the Yamaha (audio end) and Loewe (video end), then I can put 6 remotes into storage. Talk about a high WAF upgrade!
Js- do you have cable tv? If so I get a ground loop hum any time any video related device (DVD player, VCR etc.) is hooked up to a preamp that has tubes in it. Very strange problem that has occured with Audio Research and Cary preamps, when I insert a solid state preamp there is no ground loop hum. If I unplug the video device from the back of the tube preamp the hum stops. I've tried a MAGIC box as well as floating the grounds of the amp/preamp. There is some improvement but it is still there. I think I'll just go with a seperate receiver just for video, I don't know if I would bother getting a preamp with a passthrough.
Jmcgrogan- I have a magic box and have no ground loop hum with it in the system. I have never had a video device directly to my tube preamp, only indirectly through the receiver. Swampwalker- Let me know how that pronto works out-my wife is constantly putting my five remotes "away"!
I hear ya Js. It should arrive within a few days and will post results. If it can switch inputs on my Yammie and the Loewe and then control the DVD and the DSS, there will be peace in the valley. I have the HT/DSS set up as my main Tv, and there's a remote crisis at least once a day.
man, i'm glad i don't like movies... ;~)

regards, doug

I'd definitely recommend a combo-system unless you have lots of 1)Money and 2)Space. If you were to look for a used KRC-3 as a pre-amp (with HT pass-thru) and a used Lexicon DC-1 for movie processing as the heart of your system, that would cost less than $3000 and give you both excellent surround sound processing and analog signal paths for movies, with minimal operational inconvenience. Then you get the benefit of whatever amplification / speakers you buy for both pursuits. I love both and, while you can get away with less on movies, I find the benefit of high-quality in that pursuit to be WELL worth the time and effort (and money).