How do I easily add surround to my 2 channel setup

Well first things first. My current system is:
iMac Lossless iTunes Music Collection >> Lossless to Airport Express >> toslink >> X-DACv3 >> Old Junky Integra reciever >> Totem Acoustic Sttaf's

I have been waiting to aquire a Jolida 302b to put in place of the old Integra to give tubes a try ...I am not dead set on this though ...i picked it based on review and price point (can't audition it here in Indianapolis).

My dilema is that we have decided to buy a condo and it allready has 2 in-wall and 2 in-ceiling wired speaker cavities in the main room, and 2 additional installed in-walls in the bedroom (all wiried to one jack behind drywall). I don't care a great deal about having a super surround system, but since there are there ...why not use the speakers. I watch a few movies and a lot of sports, but mainly listen to music. (maybe 25%/75% movies+sports to music). I would probably just do a 5.0 surround setup and use the totems for my L/R and ceilings as surrounds and maybe the 2 in-walls as center? (they are about 4 feet apart

I am thinking of getting something like a Marantz SR5600. It is 90 Watts (my totems have a sensitivity of 88) and it has Pre-outs for each channel ...this way mayby I could just get a dedicated AMP? for the Left/Right. I dont want to spend a ton of money here (less than 1G) and I could sacrafice the x-Dac if the reciever had toslink and a decent Dac (maybe use that money for a dedicated amp for the front channels?). Also if there is an integrated surround that performs well in stereo I am open to suggestions.

Budget ~$1000 if I keep my Xdac ...~$2000 if I sell the x-dac and use the receivers.

I listend to Jazz, Americana and watch sports and movies.
I would consider a Denon receiver. You can assign 2 channels to run the speakers in the bedroom?
Also, you could use either pre-amp outs or the multi-room output to power the amp for your totems. For best sound, you really need tonally matched speakers across the front. I would be inclined to either splurge and buy a Totem center (does it exist?). Buying matching in-walls all around for theater is the other option. This would leave you with 2 systems-totem with jolida for stereo and in-walls for theater all run through the denon?
The Jolida is nice but leave some room in the budget for new tubes if it still has the stock ones.
It sounds messy but that is the only way to get good theater and good stereo through one system using 2 different amps.
Also, don't forget the sub!
Thanks ...I was peaking at the Denon's just now ...I also saw the NAD T763.

I must say ...I would deffinitly prefer fewer components. I was thinking that getting a goor integrated surround/Receiver/Dac would let me then just get a decent amp for the front channels.

I dont want to tailor my system for surround but if there where an all-in-one receiver/surround/stereo/dac that would be better than my Integra & xDac I would prefer this solution for now. I saw the NAD was 1300 and had "enhanced stereo" mode where it puts more power there when running 2-channel i guess.

If anyone has any other receiver suggestions or words-of-advise go for it. I am sure someone is saying keep the stereo rig going an then just pick up a cheap slim surround receiver ...but I would lik things discrete and space is an issue.
My advice is to find the cleanest pre-amp/processor that will keep the 2 channel on a direct pass-through, then add amplifiers. My older Denon did have great sound with separate amps from Outlaw and it is an affordable way to go. Outlaw Audio does make affordable separates as well as receivers (which I have not heard) and they can be found used as well. I own the M200 monoblock amps and see no reason to get anything else. Outlaw is also a good internet company to deal with and has excellent customer service, even if you are not the original owner.
Thanks ...I'll check this out.

I guess after thinking about it, I should keep the x-dacv3 around too ...I forgot one of the reasons I got it was because my music is wireless-to-toslink and this DAC is supposed to re-time or something and smooth out the toslink jitters.

Actually, i think I am heading in a direction where I could ruin my (potential) stereo system just to create a somewhat crappy surround (in-wall center with totem L/R and in-ceiling surround??).

I probably would never add a SUB anyways and my center wouldnt match in well in the wall without cutting (i was going to use the L/R inwalls together as a center.

I like the direction of a dedicated amp over the Jolida i suppose.

I think the smartest thing for me to do would be get an adequate receiver with pass-though that can opperate in some phantom 4.0 mode with L/R and LS/RS. This lets the totems do their jobs and they should be able to image the front better alone than being mis-matched and aligned with a hack-job center.

Again ...for sports this will be perfect for me and for the ocaisional movie ...who cares (not me).

So I get an Integrated receiver with pass-though and check out the dedicated amps (not too many components yet :)).

So this would go x-dac > receiever (pass through) > AMP > Totems?

Also ...any other suggestions.
technics sch500

sony spd9ES (close enough0

above two are inexpensive ways to add quality dolby digital sound to an existing system...the sony sounds wonderful; have no experience with the technics but it adds DTS....

a basic quality RCA switchbox is the way to go; ie, run the main outs from the processor and your two channel preamp into the the one you want to use and run the outputs into your two channel amp

used multichannel amps are value is from parasound, adcom, and harmon kardom. If you can find a HK PA5800 they usually go for 400, or so, and are excellent five channel amps with 80wpc. The insides look more like a Proceed or levinson product than cheap japanese crap; really. For a lot more power the parasound hca 1206 is a six channel amp rated at 135/channel from all six channels. Four of the six can be bridged for 350 watts. About 800 used; original box is worth the extra money as it is a good one.
I am confusued now ...

> RCA Switcher > AMP > Speakers

Is there any way to eliminate the PRE and Switcher you descrive? I was thinking the Dolby receiver would be my PRE and I could hook things up as I stated above:

x-dac > receiever (pass through) > AMP > Totems

The reciever would pass/pre out the L/R to the AMP and drive the surrounds itself.

I am just trying to see if I can eliminate components that I might not need.
> RCA Switcher > AMP > Speakers


                      > RCA Switcher > AMP > Speakers
Surround Rec

You will get a lot of different answers here and you will have to decide which is most appropriate for you. I can give you a suggestion based on my experience. I've owned lots of dedicate 2-channel music systems priced $500-$5000+. I'm nearing a move to a new home, so I currently have a combined 2-channel music and 5.1 Channel HT system and I'm very happy with the performance. Here is what I'm using:

Sony STR-DA5000ES HT Receiver

The Sony uses the newer digital switching amp technology and it is very good. It is so good that you would likely not need an external power amp to drive your totems, however it has pre-outs for all 7.1 channels, so you could use an external amp if you wanted. Also its internal DAC is so good that you would likely not need or want the X.Dac. I've heard that the digital design for this amp was done by a very well known designer of $10,000 DACs and I can believe it.

I use the A/B speaker switch on the Sony to connect the A pair to my Reference 3A MM DeCapo monitors. I use the B connection for my L&R front on-wall speakers and have an on-wall center and surrounds connected too. A sub adds the rest of the 5.1 channels for HT duty. There is also a configuble zone-2 that you could use the remaining 2 channels of the 7.1 channel amp to drive the speakers in your bedroom. It also comes with two remotes, one main and one for the second zone.

Don't just take my word for it. Check out the post on and (tapers forum section). This receiver is very, very good and it can do everything you want, very well. It will also allow you to use all of your speakers and get rid of some unnecessary components (external amp and DAC).

If you choose to buy a Sony STR-DA5000ES, try to get one with the "A" designation (a big "A" on the box). The A version has some firmware fixes included that make it work and sound better.

Lastly, if you have $1100-$1200 to spend, the new Sony STR-DA7100ES is even better still! I've read a review that compared it favorably to the $4000+ Sony STR-DA9000ES from last year. Check out the review at AVGuide:,_tuners,_and_integrated_amps/audio_video_receivers/sony/str-da7100es/3291.jsp . You will have to download the full review (its free!), but it's worth a read.

Check it out. I think it would meet your needs very well.


The method I propose assume you have a quality stereo preamp you wish to have remain in service for stereo listening. If a receiver with a high quality preamp section, in analogue mode (NO digital conversion for analogue sources!), is available than that is a simpler solution.

I had good luck with an Arcam AVR200. It has a pretty good preamp analogue stereo section. Now, this preamp is not as good as a quality tubed stereo preamp and I have yet to hear a solid state receiver that does. Some come close and the convenience may be an acceptable trade off for many.

The other method to eliminate the RCA switchbox is to acquire a high quality preamp that has a home theatre pass through. Or, if you are only interested in two channel performance (even with Dolby Digital sources) then you can simply run the stereo preamp outs from the TAPE OUT to an Auxiliary line level input of your preamp and simply treat the receiver/dolby digital sources as another component.

I have the extra speakers for multi channel reproduction but prefer to simply use the Lowthers (so far).
Sounds like my plan to skimp on the surround receiver (pre) and just add and Amp for the front speakers is not going to be a great idea then ...I am getting the feeling that doing so is is not going to help my stereo setup.

Perhaps an All-In-One receiver is the best choice or just go back to my plan to get the Jolida and maybe a cheaper Denon for surround. I have a hard time parting with the x-dac and moving to a Sony ES or something similar ...I feel like I will be sacraficing my Stereo system.

Perhaps I can keep my XDac and get the Jolida 302b I wanted to, and then i can connect the xdac into one input on the jolida and then connect the L/R pre-outs on a surround unit to another channel on the Jolida.

I was also looking at other units but I have been hoping to audition them in Chicago next time I am there. I heard the x-150 and liked it with the totems so that is another option. Does it make sense to keep going with my stereo rig and then just throw a surround receiver behind it like i say above ...this would seem to keep the cheaper surround component I plan on out of my music chain.
Also .........

I guess that is my ? for those of you who have all-in-one (receiver/surround/dac) suggestions. Am i going to get an all-in-one surround that will get a sound close to the X-Dac/X-150 integrated combo that I have heard.

If so, then that is the way I want to go (not sure if the Sony ES or NAD are at this level).

If not then I want to know if I can just complete my 2-channel rig and throw a surorund receiver with pre-out behind what will be my decent 2-channel interated.
I see for ~$399 retail I can grab a Marantz sr4600 surround receiver which has Pre's out for every channel.

Since I should be able to find it for less, this is probably the cheapest solution, I'll just forward the L/R to a better stereo integrated that I can use for music ...perhaps the musical fidelity x-150 to save space.
I'm not impressed with the Marantz chips. You can hear a difference between them and denon.....
Also, you mentioned "wireless". Is your music compressed? If so, no matter how good of a system you get, it won't match the quality of redbook cd's and a decent cd player! It can't with compression involved.
The music is all Lossless, transmitted losless over itunes-Airport. I run a toslink cable into the Musical Fidelity x-dac v3 at my system. The reviews say the x-dac v3 takes care of re-timing the data so I don't much of the timing-jitter issues toslink is known to have.

From what I gater my solution should be about as good as a decent CDP priced near the cost of the x-dac. Maybe I will start a thread on this though
hasn't this question/post been done,like, to death?!!!
There must already be a few of this same themed posted on this site somewhere...