Use a preamp or integrated that has a pass through input that bypasses the volume control. Two terms you may encounter to describe this are Theater Bypass, or unity gain out. Using this features allows you to run your A/V receiver's main speaker line levels into the preamp (or integrated). When in bypass mode the volume control of the A/V receiver controls the mains, along with the other theater speakers. Now you can leave your speakers connected to your music amp full time. Pre-amps and integrateds that have this feature include models by VAC, Conrad-Johnson, Blue Circle and Simaudio. If you find an integrated, or preamp you want that does not have this feature you can always run the mains from the A/V receiver through the tape loop, but you'll have to have a reference volume level set on the preamp to keep all the theater speakers balanced.
Duddley is correct, and I have run several different integrated/HT combo systems over the years. Here are some other nice integrated amps that have HT bypass/Processor loop. BTW, I've owned all of them!
Arcam Alpha 10
Anthem Integrated 1
Anthem Integrated 2
All of these were nice, with the Arcam having the best functionality and ergonomics and the Plinius having the best overall sound. However, I might consider the fully tube based Anthem Integrated 1 to be the best value by a large margin. The integrated 1 sounds very good for its sub-$500 used price. The Integrated 2 has much more power, but loses a bit of the tube sound as it is a hybrid.
I would have to consider auditioning the newer Arcam Diva A-85 if I were in the market for a nice sounding Integrated amp with great functionality.
You may have to consider the effeciency of your speakers when deciding how nuch power you need.
Do you know if McIntosh MA6500 and Classe CAP-151 have Theater Bypass? I cannot figure it out reading specs on their web sites.
No, not personally, but since this has become a new selling point/feature I would think you would come across it in the marketing literature. Then again, some of these companies have abysmal marketing.
One more thing I forgot to mention: If remote operation is important to you, be sure that you can perform the necessary input selection for the theater bypass with a remote. The VACs, for instance, don't have this ability.
So, if I use int amplifier that does not have an Theatre Bypass, it means to inc/dec sound volume I'll have to use volume controls on both int amplifier and a/v receiver?
And, two remote controls?
Correct, if you use an Integrated amp with no HT bypass/Processor loop, you will need to set the volume of the integrated to the "calibrated" level each time you want to use HT. Not as bad as it sounds. Simply set the volume to a pre-described level before doing the initial calibration of the HT setup. For instance, set the volume to top, dead center or 50%, whatever. Then, when using HT, just set the integrated volume to that position.
It _is_ not that bad. So I am not gonna make a Theater Bypass a critical criteria for choosing int amplifier.
Good luck, Konstantin. Out of curiousity, what is your budget for an integrated, or Amp/Pre combo? I have recently done research on this, and I'd be pleased to assist in narrowing down the scope.
The other way to do it is to acquire a decent passive RCA/line level switch box. I have one made by DB Audio; it has five stereo RCA inputs and one stereo RCA output. Plug the stereo preamp out from your good preamp into it and the front main out from the home theatre processor.
You are..to use a very old expression..."in like flint"
Doodley, sorry for late answer. I thought the thread is over. I've made my mind on int amplifier: McIntosh 6500. I might upgrade to MA6900. I am looking for CD player now. Very time consuming process...
Carl, thanks for your input. Will it work with integrated amplifier? I guess not. Does the switch box downgrade sound?
Take a peak at what I did :
Above is my web page.. I requested in the summer JenaLabs to build me and good quality XLR switch box.. This allows my Aero Audio Capitole MK II to go directly to my Halcros. With a flick of a switch, I switch to my pre/pro Lexicon MC12B. I preferred the sound of the CAP direct compared to bypass mode on the MC12B.
This allowed me to sell my Levinson 380S, a great piece on its own but redundant
Wow! That's impressive!