How to use stand alone pre-amp with HT?

I've seen it recommended that those of us using pre-amp processors can improve our music performance by using a stand alone (better) pre-amp.

I am currently using a Arcam AVP-700 which is highly regarded for it's two channel music performance. It does have a two channel by-pass mode which I use, but I think the volume, etc. is still digitally controlled. I'm not sure if this is good or bad.

Anyhow, I'm stuck with using one system for HT and music and I'm trying to get the best of both worlds. I'm totally satisfied at this point with my HT, but am not convinced I can't do better for music.

The rest of my system is a Naim CD5i, Outlaw model-755 five channel amp, Energy Veritas speakers. Still experimenting with various IC's, use Alph Core Goertz MI-2 speaker cables.

I'm also thinking of upgrading my front two channels with a better amp, but some have suggested a better pre-amp would make more of a difference.

I would like to know how an outboard pre-amp can be used with my existing system, and if you think this would be a better upgrade or the amp. If memory serves, I'll have to use a tape loop, but this still routes the signal through my Arcam, so where how would there be an advantage.

Please help. Thanks.
You buy a pre-amp with a "HT bypass". There are many out there now with this feature. You take the LT/RT front outputs from your Arcam, and run it to the new preamp. There should be a special input for this. Now you run the LT/RT outputs from your new preamp to your Outlaw amp.
You hook you music sources up to the new pre amp, such as CD, turntable, etc. When listening to music, you dont even need to turn on your Arcam.
When listening to HT, switch the pre amp to "bypass" mode. This lets the signal pass right through the pre amp uninterupted to the power amp.

I'm not really familiar with any of the components you currently own, but I can tell you how to implement a system using a dedicated pre-amp integrated into your HT.

You would not want to use the tape loop of the Arcam.

First, acquire a pre-amp (preferably with an HT bypass/processor loop). You would connect your music source (naim CD player) to an input on the pre-amp, not to the HT processor. You would then connect the L&R output of the pre-amp into the front L&R inputs of your power amp. You would connect the front L&R output from your processor into the HT bypass/processor loop input of the pre-amp. You would connect any HT sources into the Arcam processor, not the new pre-amp.

OK, now for listening to 2-channel music, simply pop in a CD, turn on the pre-amp and amp and you are in business. You don't even need to turn on the Arcam processor for 2-channel music. You 2-channel rig would be totally independant of the HT system (but share 2-channels of amplification and the L&R front speakers)

Now, for HT or multi-channel, also turn on the HT processor and select HTbypass/processor loop on the pre-amp. This will route the L&R front outputs of the HT processor through the 2-channel portion of the system. When in bypass, the pre-amp simply passes the signal through to the power amp, so the HT processor affects the volume control of all channels of the system.

It is actually simpler than it may seem from my description. I've done it several times and it works well.


Reubent/Jdcrox. Thanks allot you guys. Makes perfect sense. For some reason I was thinking of routing the R/L output of the Arcams to the pre-amp and this is why I didn't see how the Arcam wouldn't effect the sound. And, of course done this way it would, but wired like you suggest it's not a factor.

I guess for HT you calibrate with the volume of the pre-amp set to a certain position and then every time you use it for HT you go back to that same setting?
Probably up as far as I can get it before it distorts?

Also, do you guys feel this arrangment would be more benificial than upgrading the amplifier?

Thaks again.
As far as calibrating, if the preamp has a HT bypass, you dont need to set the volume on the preamp anywhere, it is out of the loop. The way you suggested will work if the preamp does not have an HT bypass, you simply set the volume at an easily-remembered position, I use 12 o'clock, then calibrate your channel levels. Now whenever you watch movies, you simply set the volume to 12 o'clock and the levels will be set.
But you must remember to reduce the volume when using the pre to listen to music!
I agree with everything Jdcrox said! Enjoy!

Hey, guys great answer so far.
So....what preamp (SS or tube) under 1500K new or used has HT bypass?

I would suggest starting a new thread and ask the question. Also, you can search the archives. The question has been asked many times.

BTW, many (if not most) new pre-amps will have an HT bypass/processor loop. I would say especially most mainstream solid state units.


What is the difference of the preamp and a single system with a s channel amplifier and a HT receiver? because for example if I use my Marantz SACD player the system only use 2 channel for stereo CD`S

So what is the difference adding a pre-amp?