I have pondered this and I use option #2.
I chose the 47Labs input chooser. A nice little switcher box that is reasonably priced and built like a brick. Jena Labs has one or will make one also and it is outrageously priced IMO.
I switch an Audio Aero Captiloe MKII or a Theta Digital pre/pro to the power amp that feeds Kharmas for the front speakers. I detect no change in sound quality with the switcher.
Just a suggestion, I am using Manley Amps that have both balanced XLR and RCA single ended inputs. I checked with Manley and they told me that I could use both inputs and just switch (using the factory installed switch) between the two inputs. I am using the single ended inputs for my two channel system and the balanced in for my HT. Just the flip of an input switch takes care of these separate systems.
I too, am using the Audio Aero Mk II and a Theta HT setup both have the correct outputs that I need to run to the power amp.
There are many quality amplifiers to choose from that have this switching ability. Just check around. Maybe the amp change will offset the need for additional switching and cables, all of which compromise the sound quality of both systems.
i have succesfully integrated the two, and the simple asnswer is always overlooked. connect your main speakers to your tube amp, and have the amp connected to your 2 channel pre. then, use a pair of rca's from your AV reciever's output to your 2 channel's input (one you're not currently using) and set it the that input when doing HT. this way, you do nothing to sacrifice your 2-channel at all.
Thanks everyone for the input. However, I am not closer to any solution. I don't need to switch between inputs using one amp, and I can't wait to power-up a tube amp when the kids want to watch a movie.
If the speakers are connected to the tube amp, and I use any pre-out from the AV Receiver, all amps need to be powered when movie watching. My wife and kids do not have the patience to wait for the tube amp to warm up.
Is there a speaker switching device? Speaker connection from each amp to device, and hook up front speakers to device. Or am I dreaming?
Or, should I just give up on quality HT, and buy some small front speakers just for HT and mount out of the way. (Mirage Omnisats)
Any help is always appreciated
I'm using 2 Bryston speaker selectors for 2 dual systems with great result, each is used to switch main speakers between a 5.1 AV receiver and a stereo system.
Because the selector have only one source/ two outputs, so I have to "reverse" speakers connection to the source, one output to speaker out from AV receiver, one output to speaker out from stereo amp.
Radio Shack has one for $20-25, but I found my Bryston on Ebay for $80.
Russound makes some good one which have 2 sources/4 or 6 outs and even volumn control for each pair . Adcom has too.
But I like Jamo and Bryston, they use all binding posts.
I didn't try it but in theory the following should work - if you use biwire in reverse - connect each speaker to both amps outputs. As long as you power only one amp at a time there shouldn't be any signal crossing. And output stage of either amp when it's OFF should not have any problem with the external signal on its output.
Please anybody correct me if I'm wrong on this.
Thanks Tqn999, is this the unit you are using?
And, have you noticed any drawbacks in two-channel music quality when using it?
I found this AMPSWITCH on-line. Contact them for more info.
"I didn't try it but in theory the following should work - if you use biwire in reverse - connect each speaker to both amps outputs. As long as you power only one amp at a time there shouldn't be any signal crossing. And output stage of either amp when it's OFF should not have any problem with the external signal on its output.
Please anybody correct me if I'm wrong on this."
Here goes: Don't do this. First, even with the tube amp off, its transformer secondary will shunt the output of the other working amp. When using the tube amp, there may well be sufficiently low resistance at the unpowered SS amp to affect operations as well. Second, Don't leave open the possibility of operating them both as the same time.
Get a switch. Instead of a backwards bi-wire, use a backwards speaker selector switch!
Zoya, I would like to add to your suggestion, or theory. If you bi-wire in reverse, why would the amp and receiver be on at the same time? If they have to be on, why not put one in stand-by, mute or speaker off while the other is in use.
By doing this, you would avoid breaking the speaker wire.
Yes, that's the one.
I also connect to this selector from receiver/amp using 12awg silver plated cable, and regular speaker cable out from it to speakers (Tara labs bi-wire, but twisted as one). I don't think I hear any reduction in sound quality.
Drawback ? Yes, the two buttons for A/B can be turned on at the same time, my wife mistakenly did it couple times and both system didn't get any problem ... yet. I had to remind her more than once, release the down button first, then push the other later.
The soluttion is relativly simple if you don't mind giving up the absolutes in performance with the main system. Power 2 DPDT relays from the switched outlet on your surround receiver. Both amp outputs will feed into the relays and the speakers are the output. When you power up the surround receiver it will send the output from that receiver to the speakers. Turn the surround receiver off and the tube amp is again connected. Just don't try to drive the tube amp with no load (speakers) connected, highly unlikely as I am sure that you are the only one who turns it on, and you would have turned the surround receiver off before hand. The solution is about as kid proof as you will get. If you would like a schematic, or are not a hobbyest I could help further given time.
Thanks everyone for the input.
Niles SAS-1 is designed for this situation. It is much like Stickleda's idea, but the work is done for you, you don't even have to know how to make a relay work-- just hook it up and go. Trigger it with a cheap wall wart DC power supply running of a switched outlet on your HT gear.
There's even one on Ebay right now cheap. It's not perfect, since there will be relays in your speaker cables, and extra connections, BUT, I don't think there's another way.
If you wanted to, you could probably mod it to use some audiophile approved relays and then write a review for us...