Integrate AVR and 2-Channel; Why so complicated?

I have what I think is a basic system need, yet cannot seem to determine the best way to go about configuring it.

I have an A/V Receiver that I use for HT. I would like to buy an Integrated Amp, or separates, for 2 channel listening. For 2 channel, I want the signal to be Source (cd player) => Integrated Amp ==> Loudspeakers.

For HT, I really don't care, it can continue to go through the AVR, or it can go from the Pre-Out on the AVR to the Integrated.

I thought I might be able to accomplish this with something like the Channel Islands VPC•3 Passive Controller, which is a preamp with a volume pot and an imput switch. Or, do I need and Integrated amp with an HT Bypass feature? Any help is appreciated.
Hi, I have done what you are looking at. Yes, it is complicated in the way I have done it, but but that is the only compromise, as two-channel is the main focus, with vinyl alongside cd/sacd/multi-channel, and video sources last in the priority list.
I have made a separate two channel system integrated w/multi-channel, via a pre-pro for video sources, two channel amp and pre amp, and multi-channel amp. The passive pre I use for two channel has a HT pass-through, but I prefer to run the front signals and center and surrounds through their separate systems, and adjust the volume until they match, thereby getting the best signal quality possible for multi-channel. There are easier ways to do this, but doing it this way sounds best. Vinyl and cd can shine this way also. To each his own, I guess.

Best of luck,
Many high quality 2 channel (and multichannel) analog preamps now have a "HT Bypass" function that will permit you to route your main L/R channels (or all the channels) from the MCH system through it. All 2 channel analog sources would be connected to that preamp as they usually are and are totally unaffected by the other sources.

Thanks for your responses. I have been checking out the Rega Mira 3 Integrated, and noticed that it has "Power Amp In" RCA inputs. This sounds like a version of HT bypass -- it seems that I could run the Pre-Outs from my AVR into this jack and bypass the Rega's preamp section. Not totally sure if this is true, however.

What about running a the Pre-Outs from my AVR for the 2 front channels into a line-in input on the Rega? Would this work, and would I be able to control the volume with the AVR?

Thanks in advance...
This might work depending on the interactions between the selected input on the Rega and the inserted signals fromthe AVR. This is not a real HT bypass.


I'm going to see if I can speak to a dealer and get details on option #1. What about Line-Level from the AVR Pre-outs? Any idea on that? My focus here is upgrading my 2-channel sound while maintaining acceptable HT sound.


This is actually very simple, especially if you buy an integrated amp or amp/pre-amp with HT bypass/processor loop.

There are plenty of good integrated amps out there that have HT bypass. A few older units that I've owned with this feature were Arcam Alpha 10, Plinius 8200 and Anthem Integrated-2, and they all worked well.

Simply build a good 2-channel system using CD->integrated->speakers. Then take the L&R pre-outs from your HT receiver into the HT bypass/processor loop input of the integrated amp and connect all of your multi-channel/HT sources to the receiver. Once you calibrate your HT system with the integrated powering the front speakers, there really isn't any additional complexity over your current AVR, except pushing the HT bypass button on the integated when you plan to use HT sources.


My Naim Nait 5i has a unity gain option for AV. Highly recommended unit if it meets your needs.
Thanks, all.

Reubent, the HT bypass feature does restrict my options a bit, but I recognize that configuring it this way is a compromise to begin with. Thanks for the info, I'll look into some integrated amps with that feature. Danlib, how do you like your Naim Nait 5i?
You can actually do it without having an HT bypass. Any integrated amp will work. You just connect the L&R front pre-outs from your HT receiver to any unused line-level inputs on the Integrated amp. The only difference is that you will need to "pre-define" a position on the volume control of the Integrated amp before you calibrate the HT setup and also every time you use the HT setup.

You can simply choose a volume position like "top-dead-center" and simply turn the integrated amp's volume control to this position every time you use the HT system.

This setup is slightly more complicated, but once you do it a few times, it will become second nature.

Don't over think this. If you want a quality 2-channel system, just build it. Regardless of what integrated amp or seperates you choose, you can "add-on" the HT receiver to power the surround and center channels and provide HT processing.

The HT bypass or processor loop functionality just simplifies the setup a bit by taking the integrated amps volume control out of the circuit. But it is absolutely not necessary to have the HT bypass feature to accomplish a "combo" 2-channel and multi-channel HT system in the same room, sharing the front speakers and amplification.


Reubent, thank you for taking the time to answer my question in depth, this was exactly the info I needed. Now I can begin my search for a suitable integrated amp...
Braudio7- the Nait 5i is an interesting beast. It lacks the "ethereal presence" of the Cary SLI-80, but sucks you into the music every bit as well. It won't handle the low end- or the extreme highs for that matter- like the Pass X 250, yet it has a grip on the music that's just hard to describe. I love the amp, and find it everything I heard it would be. It's a slap in the head to realize this small, rather plain looking British box can deliver as it does, but there it is.

As always, the ONLY way to really judge something is to hear it for yourself in conditions you are familiar with, but it's obvious to me that the Naim guys know what the hell they're doing.
This is a meaningful thread. I have the same issue: dedicated two-channel listening room ("Virtual Systems, Done for Now, Sanctum Sanctorum"), pre-wired for 5.1, to which I will be adding a 58" plasma. I'm going to stair-step my way into HT over the coming months. I want to keep my ARC LS5-Mk. III, ARC VT200 powering MG3.5s and Vandersteen subs all cabled up just the way they are. So, the question becomes, how to integrate a processor, DVD or BluRay source and 3-channel amp into the mix. I'm a real two-channel guy who wants to have the HT option without suboptimizing the stereo that has been my passion for the past 37 years. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
You dont need HT bypass, all you need is an empty input on Pre to route the front speakers pre outs from your HT unit then you simply find a reference volume level (many just use straight up 12 o'clock on the dial) then calibrate your mains to match other speakers in HT unit and your done.
When you eatch a movie swith 2 channel pre to proper place for HT fronts set volume at 12 and enjoy. HT bypass is handy but not a must have deal breaker.
Jtori, you just need to route all movie stuff via your HT unit (digital and such) then route that the 2 channel pre as noted above...the 3rd channel of amp would just route from the center output of the HT pro.
The consensus here then, is to use the Pre-Outs on the AVR into a line level input on the 2-channel Integrated Amp. In that scenario, the signal will have 2 preamp stages -- the AVR, and then the preamp of the Integrated. Is this an issue?

I'm not too concerned about sound quality for movies and tv as long as it is acceptable. If the only issue is that I'll need to define a "reference volume level", then this seems like a practical, inexpensive compromise. Thanks to all for the helpful responses.
You got it, and as I have done all this before if you need anything PM me and I would be glad to help.......cheers
When I had my tube integrated in my system, I ran a seperate set of speaker wires from it and had it coiled behind my floorstanders. I had the analog signals from my sources going in the tube amp and the digital signals going into my avr. Otherwise they remained completely seperate form each other. As I used banana plugs, it was an quick swap.