Integrated amp plus receiver?

I hope this doesn't sound too confusing. I confuse myself just trying to figure out the proper way to ask this question. I would like a dedicated stereo rig plus home theater. The best of both worlds!

I'm looking for some recommendations for an integrated amp for auditioning. I just purchased a pair of Triangle Celius speakers and also have a Rotel RSX-1055 on order. I want to hook up the integrated to the Rotel's front L/R to use for home theater 7.1, converting the Rotel's front L/R to the rear surrounds. But I am also hoping to use the extra analog stereo outs from my DVD player to the integrated amp, in order to bypass the Rotel for two channel. My question is, are their any integrated amps that can be set up as an amp only so that it can be controlled by the Rotel's volume control, and then be easily switched back to the integrated amp for stereo? I know if I don't go with a Rotel amp the center channel won't mesh with the fronts as well but for home theater close is good enough. Just not too different.
Stereo is my top priority.

I'm not sure you can get there from here. As you describe it, you'd have to hook your DVD player to both your A/V receiver and your stereo integrated. Since both would be on, the integrated's amp section would be receiving a signal from both preamp sections! Not so good.

As I see it, you have several alternatives:

1) Just use the Rotel. Try it, at least. It might be just fine as is.

2) Get a 2-channel power amp, and use the Rotel preamp section for stereo.

3) Get 2-channel separates. That way, only one preamp has to be on at a time.
I think as long as your Rotel has pre-out for the L/R channels, you should be fine with any integtared amp. I have an Audiomat Arpege with following connections:
- DVD audio out-> Int. Amp input (1) for 2-chan muisc
- DVD digital out -> HK receiver digital IN
HK pre-out -> Int. Amp input (2) for movies
You have to calibrate the VOL on your Int. Amp and after that the VOL can be controlled by the Receiver.

Good luck.
What you need is an integrated amp with features that would allow for individual volume adjustments for each source input and/or a feature that allows the volume control to be defeated. Thus, when you are listening to two channel, you are using the volume control on your integrated amp, and, when you are using the Celius as home theater fronts, the integrated would serve merely as a poweramp. I only know of the Meridian integrated amp to have individual gain setting for each source input. I am sure there are others.
You can do it as Myc49 has done his You will need to reset levels with the integrated's volume control at 12 O'clock, when you watch a movie return integrated's volume control to 12 O'clock each time as this is the point you will have calibrated from. For music you will just use your integrated and will not need the rotel. To use the front channel amps for rear channels you will need to hook the rear channel pre out into the front channel amp in, hook your rear channel speakers to your old front channel speaker binding posts as these will now be rear channel amps.
You can actually do this very easily. First, you put together the 2-channel music rig. So, connect the Triangles to the output of the integrated amp. Also, if you have a dedicated music source such as a CD player, connect its analog outputs to the integrated amp, ie CD>Integrated>Speakers. OK, now you have a good 2-channel music rig.

To integrate the HT receiver into this, it is helpful to have an integrated amp with an HT bypass/processor loop, but it is not absolutely necessary.

OK, for HT, connect the pre-amp outputs from the Rotel into the HT bypass inputs (or any unused input if no HT bypass loop) of the Integrated amp. Connect the center speaker, surrounds and LFE subwoofer to the corresponding speaker outputs on the Rotel. Connect any HT sources (DVD, VCR, Cable box, sattelite receiver, etc) to the inputs of the HT receiver. That's it.

So, for 2-channel listening, you just turn on the integrated amp and source component and enjoy! For HT, also turn on the Rotel and push the HT bypass button (or just select the corresponding HT input source if the Int. Amp doesn't have HT bypass loop). In this setup, the volume control of the Rotel will control the volume of all channels.

The HT bypass loop basically turns the integrated amp into a power amp, thus bypassing the pre-amp control functions of the the integrated. If the integrated amp you buy does not have an HT bypass, you would simply need to set the integrated amps volume to a pre-determined position (maybe top-dead-center) each time you use HT.

I have had several setups exactly like this over the last few years. Some integrated amps that I owned were Arcam Alpha 10, Anthem Integrated 2, Plinius 8200. Each had an HT bypass/processor loop and they all worked well.

Although this may not be EXACTLY what you asked for, it is truely the best of both worlds as the 2-channel rig is totally unaffected by the HT systems potential sonic shortcomings. But in this setup, the integrated is powering the front L&R speakers regardless of wether you are listening to 2-channel music or 5.1-7.1 channel HT.

I hope this helps. Feel free to e-mail me if you don't understand the information in this post.


If you don't mind running your HT signal through both the AV and 2-channel preamps, then Mike's solution should work fine, with the cautions later about setting the volume control. I was thinking you'd want to plug the Rotel directly into the amp section of the integrated, in which case you'd need some way to block the signal coming through the integrated's preamp section when you're playing HT. I'm not familiar with the HT bypass/processor loop feature TIC mentions, but it sounds like it would do the job.
Bomarc, HT bypass on integrated TIC refers to will bi-pass it's volume control and pass through signal. With Mike's solution you are setting integrated's volume control to unity gain so as to remove it's effect on signal pass through. Both work fine.
So it sounds like it will work. I'm looking for a short list of integrateds that I can check out. So far I see-Audiomat Arpege, Meridian(way out of my price range), Arcam Alpha 10, Anthem Integrated 2, and the Plinius 8200. I would also like to try the Musical Fidelity offering. Any other integrated model suggestions would be appreciated. I am probably going to have to keep the price down below $1500, so will look at pre-owned. I have about six months before I will be ready to purchase the integrated, so in the mean time I can play with the Rotel and just enjoy the music. You've all been a big help. I went to the local B&M and asked them the same question. You would not believe all the confused looks I got, and no answers.

Thanks for all your help!

Betelgeus, I am doing something similar to Ruebent's suggestion. What I did is have all video sources, ctr and rear speakers to the AVR and the cdp and front speakers to the int. amp. What you need is an integrated with a pre-out on it. This makes it easier for subwoofer connections. I did do numerous and various connections to both components with success. The only drawback was getting the sub to work its best for both music and movies. I tried everything to get the bass perfect, by changing settings large and small, sub from int. amp or receiver and whatever, but it was not the same, close, but not the same as coming directly from whatever amp or receiver for its intended purpose. Probably to many cables and pre amp stages involved to cause colorations in the sound. The only way to get the bass the way I want it is to make or get a switch box so I can switch the sub to whatever I want to use it for. Other than that, everything works fine with no other complaints. Any questions, email or post.