Mixing Tenor hybrid with SS multichannel for HT ?

Has anyone ever tried mixing a Tenor (or Lamm) hybrid tube amp being used primarily for 2 channel music, with a SS multichannel amp for home theater use ?

As I try to finalize a decision for a 2 channel amp for my audio room under construction, I realize that there is a chance down the road that my growing kids will want multi-channel sound for home theater in that room as well. Trust me, a second room is out of the question for some time, yet, I don't want to compromise on the music side now. Would going the route of a Tenor or Lamm hybrid now make it difficult to mate with SS amps down the road for HT ? I don't want to get into multichannel at this time.
that is exactly the way i'll be going. although my new room is no-compromise 2-channel......i did set it up for multichannel and anticipate using ss of some sort ( maybe Dartzeel or Rowland) for my rear channels. i have 2" conduit buried in my concrete floor from my gear to the rear corners, the front side, for a subwoofer, and the front center (in case i do elect to have a center speaker).

i do plan on a 'Phantom' center as i believe that (at least for multi-channel music) my 2 Exquisites will outperform ANY center channel. for film a center channel has it's advantages; but i have a separate HT room so that isn't an issue for me.

i expect that the Tenor Hybrids will 'work' fine with any reasonably natural sounding ss amp for the rear channels.
The only issue to address when using multiple amps is volume control for all the speakers. Optimally, you would like to use one volume control when listening to HT so that the volume is appropriate for all of the speakers. Unless the amps support dual preamp inputs, or you utilze the HT preamap as the 2 channel preamp, you might have to create some kind of passive connection from the two preamps to a single amp. I personally would prefer creating the passive connection as I have not seen a multi-channel preamp outperform my current 2 channel preamp. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the responses so far ...

I should add (stupid as it may sound), that for now I will be putting in a DLP front projector and retractable screen in the room and running the movie sound track as 2 channel (I am not into adventure movies, as much as artsie films). Like Mike I will be pre-wiring the room with in-wall speaker wire for possible future 7.1.

Stenersr you're right, I don't want to compromise on the 2 channel preamp section. So, down the road, I would envision buying either an affordable separate pre/pro and multichannel amp vs. a high-end A/V receiver and use either the separate pre/pro or the the pre/pro section of the receiver to control the volume for all 7 channels. That is, I would run the front L and R channel through the music 2-channel pre-amp's HT passthrough input, so that all the volume control would be from the pre/pro.

My concern now is going to be a problem if my kids want to watch a film NOW, would it be OK to start playing the soundtrack for the film through the Tenor hybrid amp with it virtually cold, rather waiting for its usual warm-up. You know, kids aren't going to wait 20 minutes to watch a film. Is this going to stress the tubes/amp ? (sorry for the stupid question ???)
Thom, the 'warm-up' circut of the Tenors will protect it as long as your kids know how to properly turn the amps on and off. it IS important to not be turning the amps on and off immediately (allow for full 'power-up' before powering off). once your front lights go from red to blue there is no harm in listening immediately. the tubes are not stressed by playing music (even if they don't sound their best until warm).....but they could be stressed by more on/off cycles.....if the system will be used a few times during the same day it would be better (less stressful on the amps) to leave them on.....or at least in 'standby' mode.

regarding preamp integration for no compromise 2-channel and multi-channel there are a few different approaches to consider.

the best sonic solution i am aware of is the emmlabs Switchman III. it would be a no-compromise 2-channel preamp, allow for hirez multichannel music input from multiple sources, and also allow input from a separate digital processor for film. there is even a 'Phantom' center option for the Switchman. i have compared the performance of the Switchman to my Placette passive and it is remarkably close to my reference in overall performance. my opinion would be that your DCC2 is (possibly) even a little better than my DAC6/Placette combo for 2-channel (but that is only a guess).

the problem with the Switchman is that for film it would add a layer of complexity for your kids. i would guess that your kids would soon master this issue (they learn very quickly and will be teaching you about it soon).

in my system i will be using the Switchman with my Placette and Jena Labs switchbox (when i can afford to add the multi-channel components).

i assume that you will be simply inputing the 2 front channels from an HT processor into the analog inputs of the DCC2 and setting the DCC2 at a pre determined volume level (to allow proper volume control from your processor for film).
Mike thanks for your very helpful suggestions. As I don't have any equipment now (the reno probably has almost 2 months to go),

If I went with the DCC2, it doesn't appear to have a HT pass-through input or unity gain input. Is that correct ? I wonder if the Audio Aero Capitole MKII has a HT pass-through on it's preamp section ?
i don't know for sure.....but i believe the DCC2's analog input can be used as a pass thru. yes, it would go thru the gain stage of the DCC2 but that would be easy to figure out. you could do it a couple of different ways.

you could simply preset the front channel volume levels on your processor to allow for the DCC2 to be adjusted to 'full volume'. this, in essence, would be unity gain. the danger of this approach would be if someone 'forgot' to turn it down when using the DAC in the DCC2.

you could also adjust the gain settings on your processor for the normal levels of the DCC2....this would be a safer approach. i think the DCC2 has numeric values for volume.....so it would be an easily managable issue. any sonic penalties of 2 gain stages would be trivial with HT sources anyway.

either way it should work just fine integrated with an HT processor.

the AA Capitole has no 2-channel analog input (at least not that i am aware of--mine did not have it).....so it would not work as well (and not perform as well in 2-channel).
Let me share a thought process during my decision of trying to determine a configuration.

I currently have the Meitner DCC2 for listening to music. I was thinking about going to a DAC6/Switchman and feed the music signal through it to utilize a single volume control. The problem is that, for music, the DCC2 directly to an amp is better than inserting any other preamp between the DCC2 and the amps. Since music is my primary interest and HT is second I did not want anything between the DCC2 and the amps. Consequently, either I would have to switch the cables between preamps and amps each time when switching between listening to music and HT or think of an alternative.

If you run the HT pre/pro into the DCC2 then the highest volume of the HT front L and R will only be as loud as what the DCC2 is set to. Which may not be correct volume for the movie being watched. The potential of setting the DCC2 up to volume 99 while the HT is playing and then switching to music source on the DCC2 and blowing something up comes into play.

For right now I am thinking of having a passive switch which would act like a Y-connector. But I will have to listen to it and see what it does. As always, the tweaking of these systems is sometimes trial and error.

If there are any other thoughts on this I would even appreciate input.
you guys are great !

yeah, the 99 volume scares me (a disaster waiting to happen) ... how much does a Jena switch box go for ? are there other high-quality switchers that are cheaper than Jena that are unlikely to degrade the output ?
On my DCC2 the volume level is "input specific" and retained for that selection. For example, if you have the analog input set to "99" for the HT pass through, when you switch to a digital input, the volume also changes to the last value selected for that digital input. There really is no danger is setting the DCC2 input to "99" for HT pass through and accidentally blowing your system up if you switched to a digital input on the DCC2. Even the digital inputs themselves retain a separate volume level for each input- AES/EBU, Coax, Fiber, etc.

What I plan to do is set my levels in my HT processor for the rest of the system and then raise the volume on the DCC2 until the main/front L&R levels are the same as the surround channels. Once adjusted, I'll just leave that volume setting on the DCC2 to that value, and everytime I select the analog input it will be set for me. This way I keep all the internal levels on my HT processor the same.

I hope this helps.
Good point! You are absolutely correct that it does that. Then really the only issue would be if your children, or other adults can/want/should switch the preamp setting or should they only operate the HT setup.
Hey Thom, I can't figure out what speakers you have.

What will these amplifiers be driving?
D edwards,

Any suggestions ...

I still can't make up my mind ...

right now I don't have any equipment ... I have a room that is half ready (framed, awaiting completion of electrical rough-in, HVAC almost complete, speaker wire still to be installed for future surrounds, then insulation, the double gyprock, sound isolation clips, oh I forgot the poured concrete for the floating floor, the light valance etc.) So, to be honest there is still no rush on picking speakers, amps, or a source component.

I haven't even firmly decided on the Tenor hybrid, but it remains my favorite of the things I have auditioned (of course the Kharma Exquisite Midi's and Audio Aero Capitole probably helped out when I listened to the Tenor in Montreal in the factory).
Too many variables right now to get specific about recommendations, but If I was given a chance I'm sure I could spec a theater/multi channel system that would cost the same as and outperform the components your choosing for your two channel system on two channel recordings. That is all I will say for now.

Building a system that addresses and solves the problems with the kids using the system and the dissappointing prospects of a partial theater, would probably go a long way for everyone in your household. Especially, if it can meet or exceed your expectations for sound quality.

Little tip, if you have a first rate contractor and he put all those studs perfectly 16" on center, even with double drywall your walls are perfectly tuned to a particular frequency use some odd studs between the 16" OC studs to break up the High Q mode you have created. Horizontal braces randomly scattered throughout the wall will help a great deal also. This will increase the effectiveness of the sound isolation and minimize how much the room effects the sound.

I don't know where you live but if you're near Baltimore I may have my store open in time to be of some help to you.
A comment that I disagree with strongly in this thread.

Mikelavigne wrote

"do plan on a 'Phantom' center as i believe that (at least for multi-channel music) my 2 Exquisites will outperform ANY center channel. for film a center channel has it's advantages; but I have a separate HT room so that isn't an issue for me."

1st another Exquisite would make a super center channel in his system. "Phantom mode" says it all in its name, something is missing and if you think 2 Exquisites are a good thing...imagine what 3 can do. Staggers the mind!

I would like to note cause this comment is a bit off topic; Please refrain from comments that start out with "I never heard" or its "impossible to get good imaging with" cause I have and I can with a $500 Prologic receiver and competently built budget speakers like PSB Image series. So at this point we will have to agree our experiences differ and nothing can be gained through discussion on this fine board.

PS: Like to see how 2 Exquisites fair against the front three speaker in an ATC Concept 6 System. Would be interesting.
D, my comments regarding the 'Phantom' approach relate to 2-channel and multi-channel music. for film i agree that the benefits of a center channel for dialog outweigh the negatives. also, in my room i could care less about the off-axis listening benefits of a center channel.....i only care about performance from the 'sweet-spot'.

i have spent lots of time with various muti-channel systems (including ATC). i have found that every one of them is compromised for 2 channel music and that three front channels is less real to my ears than 2 even with a multi-channel source. possibly part of the reason is that my 2-channel reference is far superior to ANY multi-channel source.

by far, the best multi-channel i have yet heard is a quad recording by Peter Mcgrath of classical music. it is the only multi-channel recording that really did imaging correctly. i have found that the problems of 3 front channels far outweighs the slight additional information.

first, a center channel speaker (especially one as large as an Exquiste) will degrade any 2-channel performance simply be messing with the center imaging. second, the odds of the mastering engineer mixing things properly are much less likely than with stereo. third, a center channel for music just doesn't sound 'right'......but if you add a picture i am distracted enough that it seems fine.

even though i would agree that in theory multi-channel music might be the future.....based on my experience it is not yet the present.

i also don't agree with your feelings on active speakers. while they have their advantages.....my experience with ATC, Meridian etc so far has left me cold.

i guess different strokes for different folks.
I understand clearly what you were writing about.

I can't believe you own Kharmas and the ATC's left you cold? My every experience with both brands of these speakers tells me these are pretty similar speakers, ATC being more accurate and dynamic in the midrange and the Kharma's providing an extended high end with a brilliant seductive midrange. At best mutual appreciation has to be achieved. Otherwise you're just making stuff up or your ONE time experience was simply a bad experience.

I would be a kharma dealer if it was profitable to be one here in the US. I like the product very much.

Look your life is two channel, and clearly you have a good grasp of that. Please let the multi-channel advice to those of us who understand it and love it as much as you love and understand two channel. When you overcome the thinking that the center channel is an obstacle, then feel free to advise others accordingly.

Like I said in my post addressing your comment, I know what you've heard and it was wrong ( i hear what you're saying) but the problem is you didn't know how to make it right you didn't know how to tweak the system to your preferences. And I'm stating that I do know how to make multichannel work so that all those problems you have experienced go away.