How do I merge home theater into my 2 chan setup?

2 channel is my first love and I'm not willing to tamper with the 2 channel sound that I have at the expense of a home theater. I want to make a move to home theater and integrate it with my current system. I live in a room is 70 ft long by 22 ft wide and my ceilings are 25 ft high. My next move is a pre/pro that I will only use for video. I love the sound of my 2-channel preamp, so the pre/pro only has to do a good job when watching movies. I've heard good things about the Outlaw 950 pre/pro. This seems like a good match because of its low cost and I won't need an audiophile preamp section. After I settle this pre/pro issue, I will set about getting myself a projector, screen and subwoofer. Does the Outlaw seem like the best bang for the buck in what I'm trying to do here? I've borrowed a pre/pro and I like the sound my amps and speakers can deliver in a home theater setting....even without a subwoofer.

My 2 channel setup:

Preamp..............Audio Research LS-10 solid state (no phono input)
Preamp..............Carver C-19 Tube (I have it connected to the AR LS-10 and use it for a phono preamp)
Speakers............Infinity Kappa 9 (bi-amped)
Amp.................Carver Silver 9-t monoblocks (low pass)
Amp.................Sunfire Signature (high pass)
Phonograph..........Oracle Delphi Mk-I
Cartridge...........Grado Reference Platinum
CD Player...........Carver SDA/360 5 disc changer
Tuner...............Sansui TU-X1

My home theater stuff:
Rear speakers........Infinity Kappa 7.1
Center speaker.......Infinity Kappa Video Series II
Rear amplifier.......Carver TFM 45
Center amplifier.....Carver TFM 45
Television...........Sharp 32 inch
DVD player...........Samsung M-301
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Since I made my post....I bought a Rotel 985 pre/pro to use for processing DTS and Dolby Digital.


There is nothing wrong with watching 2 channel movies, or 2.1 if you add a sub.
Try What I do, 2 separate systems, 2 channel and H.T. I put banana plugs on the speaker end of the stereo and theater wires to the main speakers. When Ilisten to stereo fine when I want Home Theater just unplug the 2 channel and plug in the L/R wire from the pre/pro and you have it.Integrated systems. one for music .One for movies, same speakers for both. Works for me!
Poloman, I have decided to take your route...I thought it kind of crude...but it is what it is. I actually thought of it before you made your post, but I was too embarrassed to mention that you've confessed, I don't feel so bad. Will taking the banana plugs in and out as we go between HT and 2 chan degrade the speaker connection after a while? This also requires a dedicated amp for the pre/pro mains....which I happen to have. One thing I know for sure, all of us here are crazy.
If you have a Home Depot near you go down the electrical aisle find the RCA gold banana plugs. I use them they are like $5. a pair. If they wear out get some more. I dont use the outer sleeves though they're conductive.The plugs use 2 set screws, then I use hot shrink tubing from the collar down a couple inches on the cable, A hot hair dryer and VIOLA! Works for me.
I could really use some advice on the same. I am mainly a 2 channel stereo purist, but would like a good set up to watch movies on at home.

I currently have a 2 channel set up that consists of the following:

Old Denon pd300 belt drive turntable
Grace 747 tonearm
Dynavector Karat moving coil cartridge
Lehman Black Cube phono prestage
BAT vk5i preamp
Mark Levinson 331 Amp
Innersound Eros speakers
Old Sony ES CD player

I also have an old pair of inifinity 2 way bookshelf speakers that were my wife's from ages ago.

I have two goals here:

upgrade my CD player (thinking $2k-$3K range - I almost bought the Wadia 850 when I was buying the BAT and the Levinson)

figure out a way to integrate home theatre into the stereo system without compromising the stereo.

I was thinking about the Arcam FMJ cd/dvd player, the sony 9000 cd/dvd/sacd player, but man am I tempted by that Gamut CD player. Anyone have any thoughts on the best CD player that also happens to play dvd or would I be better off with a cd only player and then a separate dvd player for video?

Secondly, preamp, amp, processor - should I go with an all in one unit - if so how to integrate with my current set up - should I go with separate pre/processor and with a separate amp? Once again, how to integrate? Should I get a 3 channel amp (I think arcam makes a model specifically to get to get you to a 5.1 system with an existing 2 channel stereo) or should I get a 5 channel amp or combo pre/pro/amp which I could then integrate with my stereo into a 6.1 channel set up. I already have pretty fixed ideas on certain speakers (innersound will be coming out with a center channel speaker soon, I really like the rel stadium subwoofer for its quickness and musicality), but am relatively open to new ideas on the rears (either two surrounds or a two sides and two rears).

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. And yes, I'd like to keep this within some semblence of a sane budget - say $2K ish for the cd player/dvd player and less than that if possible for the pre/pro/processor amp.
I have my 2 channel system merged with my HT. The only thing they share besides the room is the Magnepan MGIIIa speakers (2 channel/Front), and the front channel L/R of my Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amp. I use the Sunfire Theater Grand II as a processor only for film, another pair of Magnepan MMGs for the rear surrounds, and all 5 of the Sunfire CGS channels. There is also a Sunfire True Sub Superjunior sub connected to the processor for film LFE.

I use an ARC SP 9 mkII preamp to drive my phono and CD/SACD.

The Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amp is perfect for this setup in that it has both balanced and single ended inputs.
I am using both: the balanced connections connect all five channels of the pre/pro to the amp, and the main outs of the SP 9 connect to the front L/R on the amp via the RCA inputs.

I also use a modified Sony DVP NS500V DVD/SADC/CD player that does double duty: The digital output feeds into the TGII for 5.1 film processing, and the 2 channel analog outs feed the SP 9 for music.

It's the best of both worlds: the processor is off during 2 channel listening, the SP 9 is off for films, AND no switching of cables!
There may be a simpler solution... I thought most audio preamps these days have a processor loop (or a tape loop, even) that could be used to switch in and out either a dedicated HT processor or a whole HT pre/processor. Even if yours doesn't have such a loop, you could *still* get a separate HT pre/processor and run the front speaker line level outs into, say, an AUX/VID/whatever line level input on the 2CH preamp (they are all the same, except phono).

You would have to: (i) calibrate the surrounds with the 2CH preamp volume at a preset point that you always tune it to in order to maintain the surround volumes right; and (ii) run separate signal paths from a CD/DVD player so CD Audio goes directly to the 2CH pre and DVD 5.1 goes directly to the HT pre/processor. That shouldn't be a big deal, however, because most CD/DVDs have lots of output options (e.g., RCA->2CH, digital coax->HT, like the prior poster).

This method would keep HT out of the 2CH rig, but allow sharing of all downstream amps/speakers/cables without *any* cable swaps or need to use simultaneously the bal/SE inputs on amps (less cabling, for one). In that regard, what happens if the amp is getting two signals at once by mistake? Any danger there? Also, even if an amp has both, don't some mfrs use a switch to select between them or shorting plugs? My sol'n avoids that...
I can't speak for other mfrs., but Sunfire doesn't use shorting plugs or switches between the Bal/SE inputs on the CGS. Both are "hot". You are correct re: the chance that both processor and pre could be sending signal to the amp at the same time. In my situation, it would only occur when the NS500V was in use, resulting in a 2 channel analog signal and an S/PDIF signal being routed to the amp, from the same source. Not a great idea to be sure, but not a hazard. The danger would lie in sending phono source material through the pre to the amp at the same time digital based material were being routed through the processor. I for one, never have ANY digital equipment powered up when listening to my phono. I would further hope that someone whose system was at this level of complexity (and judging from the above posts, I assume that IS the case), would be smart enough and aware enough to avoid that tragic string of events.

Your method is very effective and accomplishes the same goal, and I would use it myself if I couldn't go the route I have. I would want to avoid the preamp vol. calibration and preset as I would have to remember to do it every time we used the processor, and what that setting is.

A perfect example of arriving at the same place by taking 2 different routes!
Looked at my last response and it seemed a bit complicated. Let me try again. If your normal 2CH rig is:

LP Out -> 2CH Pre/LP In
CD/DVD Out1 -> 2CH Pre/CD In
2CH Pre Out -> 2CH Amp In
2CH Amp Out -> Main Spkr L/R In

You can incorporate HT by getting an HT pre/pro or HT pro adding the following signal paths and retaining the signal paths (and therefore 2CH purity) described above:

CD/DVD Out2 -> HT Pro/DVD In
HT Pro L/R Out -> 2CH Pre AUX In
HT Pro RR/LR/C Out -> HT Amp(s) In
HT Amp(s) Out -> RR/LR/C Spkr In

By switching 2CH Pre to "AUX", you get HT. By switching 2CH Pre to "CD", you get pure 2CH--allows you to use HT master volume if you set 2CH Pre to a predefined setting where you have balanced the HT surround volume.

I don't think, in retrospect, that the processor loop concept works unless you have a completely digital preamp, in which case its probably got HT built in anyway. Used to work in the days of Dolby Surround, but not for 5.1.

The question might be the number of outputs on the CD/DVD--I have to believe that, at a minimum, that most have Dolby 5.1 analog outputs and a digital coax/optical out. That gives you the choice of: (i) using 2 of the Dolby 5.1 analog outs to your 2CH Pre, if you don't use an outboard D/A, and running the digital line to your HT Pro; or (ii) using the 5.1 analog outs to the HT Pre and running the digital output to your outboard D/A.
Thank you both for the responses. I think that the last solution would work best. I think this would work perfectly for dvd playback. For CD playback, my only concern would be that this might degrade the sound slightly by having the signal passed through two preamps (assuming you are using a single source dvdvideo/cdplayer). I think my solution would be to utilize this set up, but when playing CD's to switch the interconnects and by pass the HT preamp entirely and go directly to the audio preamp. This way, there would be no sound degradation by having the signal processed by two preamps. What do you guys think?

I can't figure out a way to have a one unit CD/DVD player and keep the CD output from going through two preamps/processors, unless of course these combo players have two sets of audio outputs, one for cd audio and one for dvd.

Or, the other solution would be to have the setup exactly as described above for the dvd video portion, but have a separate audio only cd/sacd player which feeds the audiophile preamp directly. Then there is no need for cable switching (but this gets expensive unless you buy a really cheap dvd player for video only)

Yikes - talk about mental masturbation - all for the fun of good listening!

if you are passing digital signal to HT processor, and analog signal to preamp from same unit, just keep the HT processor off and feed the analog signal through your pre and straight to the amp? Vice versa for DVD digi signals.

If I understand your situation, you have both a preamp and an HT processor that can operate independently of each other, amplification that processes signals from both, and a common pair of front speakers. Correct? I also assume that your DVD/CD player passes digital either via TOSLINK or S/PDIF or AES/EBU and also has a set of analog outs, either 5.1 or stereo L/R.
Hmm... I the situation I outlined, the Audio CD signal of the CD/DVD isn't going through 2 preamps, only one. Think about the respective paths for the front channels for 2CH and HT...

CD/DVD is connected to 2CH Pre via analog out, 2CH Pre then goes directly to main amp. To play DVDs, CD/DVD connects to HT Pro via digital out, HT Pro connects (Front L/R) to 2CH Pre via AUX in. The HT signal is the one that passes "thru" two preamps...

I may be a little late, but I had the exact same speakers you had, the Infinity Kappa 9 and the Kappa Video. If you want to improve the sound greatly, take the center channel and put it in the fireplace and set a match to it.

Sorry, but the Kappa Video sucks compared to the output of your vastly superior kappa 9. Run the surround sound system in phantom center mode. If you must have a center channel, then try to locate an EMIT K tweeter and replace the EMIT R in the center channel with the EMIT K. Reworking the crossover for the EMIT K would be even better, but a major improvement will be getting an EMIT K in there.

I used kappa 9 as the main speakers for my HT system for about 8 years and was very happy with them. Their new owner is going to be happy with them as well I am sure, but I feel guilty about giving him my old kappa video with the package.
Thanks again guys. I have yet to purchase a cd/dvd player - I am in the market for one to upgrade my old CD player. As a result, I was not aware that I had the ability to have analogue outs for the cd playback with the l/r front channels for pure audio - to be run to the audio preamp only, then the have digital outs for the dvd portion which run through both preamps - which is fine because with film the sound quality really isn't going to matter that much. As you can probably tell, I really am a neophyte when it comes to dvd video. This discussion has been very helpful!!! Now comes the hard part, choosing the cd/dvd player and the pre/processor/amp!!