Recommended receiver for HT


I plan to downsize from Bryston SP-3 processor and Parasound amps to a single receiver for HT. The speakers would be KEF T301 fronts; LS50s are side and rear; subs are pairs of Velodyne HGS-15s and HGS-10s with SMS-1 bass management. Sources are Cox TV, Ayre DX-5 DSD, and perhaps Oppo 205 or 105D. Stereo music is a separate setup. I’ve been out of the receiver market for decades, so I’m seeking recommendations for a used receiver at moderate cost.
Ag insider logo xs@2xdbphd
There is no such thing as a receiver worth buying. There are only receivers you buy because you don't know any better. I mean seriously, go and listen to them. 

If you're serious about downsizing the way to do it is multi-channel dreck to stereo quality. Ditch all your HT gear. One integrated, two speakers, done.
@millercarbon - he has already said he has a separate stereo music setup, so I don't think your reflex response is entirely correct.

That being said, if you are coming from a Bryston SP3 / Parasound system, going to a receiver will be a significant NOSE DIVE in sound quality.  If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, by all means go ahead, as long as you understand that you're shooting yourself in the foot, lol!.  As far as recommendations, look at Anthem, NAD, Arcam.  However, none of these receivers are going to sound nearly as good as Bryston SP3 / Parasound.
miller carbon, The stereo setup is Ayre 5 Twenty series digital hub, preamp, and amp with KEF Ref 1s. Source is mostly Roon playing downloaded, ripped, Qobuz and Tidal files, with occasional discs spun on the Ayre DX-5 DSD.

auxinput, The Bryston SP-3 was paired with 3 Parasound JC 1 monoblocks for LCR driving KEF Ref 107/2s and 204/2C, and 4 KEF LS50s for surrounds driven by A 23s. The JC 1s are boxed up ready to sell; the 107/2s have been given away.

An alternative to a receiver might be using the SP-3 and adding another A 23 to obtain 6 channels, but that defeats downsizing. I’m undecided about the front LR speakers for HT, but another pair of LS50s is a possibility. I’m alternating between Audio Engine A2+ and NHT Super Zero now.

The only thing that gives me pause about a receiver is that I do enjoy opera on Blu-ray, and, of course, Legends of Jazz, but that might be done by the DX-5 DSD to the stereo setup-- video goes directly to the projector from the disc player.
Probably the closest receiver to your Bryston/Parasound sonic signature is the NAD, but realize that it may not be quite as refined or full or powerful.  Alternative would be to keep the Bryston SP3 and look for a nice 5 or 7 channel amp.  It will not be as good as the Parasound JC1s, but it will still be better than a receiver.  All the receivers have very small power supplies with compromised amp board sections and the quality of sound just is not there.

If you wanted to keep the Parasound sonic signature, you could always get a 5-channel A51 amp.   Or look at alternative, like a Krell Chorus 7200 or even an ATI amplifier.  Or go Class D and look at a Wyred 4 Sound or a Nord Acoustics amp.  Basically, there are many 5 to 7 channel amplifiers out there which will be much better than any receiver, but not as good as your JC1s.
Hello dbphd,

     If you're going to use an Oppo 205 or 105D as a source, your problem is solved and you'll only need a 5 to 7 channel amp and some cables. You also won't need the Bryston SP3 or a separate receiver.
     Both Oppos have multiple ESS Saber surround sound dac chips that will decode up to 7.1 surround channels and send the analog outputs to up to 7.1 surround channel jacks on their back panels. The mains L+R/stereo outputs are a choice of either XLR balanced or RCA unbalanced jacks and all other channels, including the sub, are RCA unbalanced jacks.      
       You'll just need to connect these analog outputs directly to your choice of a good quality 5 to 7 channel amp, connect your speakers to the amp and configure each channel in the Oppo's Setup Menu in the Audio Processing  section using the Oppo's remote. 
      In the Audio Processing menu you're able to view all the surround channels and hear a white noise test tone played through each as you scroll through them. You configure each channel by setting the Size(large for no sub assistance and small for sub assistance), Distance (from 0-60 feet away from the listening seat) and Trim (volume from -10dB to +10dB).  
     When completed, you can scroll through each channel and level match either by ear or using an SPL meter. There's also a low-pass sub Crossover Frequency section with settings from 40 to 250 Hz in increments of 10 dB. 
     I have an Oppo 105 and use this setup in my 5.1 ht system with all class D amps; a pair of mono-blocks for the L+R mains, a bridged stereo for the center and a stereo for the rear surrounds with the four passive 10" subs powered by a separate 1K watt class AB amp.
      I was also looking to streamline and removed a separate preamp with a HT bypass switch and a Parasound AVC-2500 5.1 surround sound processor from my system.  My whole 5.1 audio system was significantly streamlined and I actually perceive it as sounding considerably better using just the Oppo with directly connected amps. I think you'll likely achieve at least equally good streamlining and performance results with your system.


Tim
dbphd:
"The only thing that gives me pause about a receiver is that I do enjoy opera on Blu-ray, and, of course, Legends of Jazz, but that might be done by the DX-5 DSD to the stereo setup-- video goes directly to the projector from the disc player."

dbphd,

     I forgot to mention an option you have for better quality sound on your Blu-ray music discs.  You can use a very high quality stereo, or pair of mono-block,  class D amps for the L+R front mains/stereo speakers and a separate 3 to 5 channel good class D amp for the center and 2-4 surround channels.  This would increase the sound quality not only on your Blu-ray music discs but also increase the sound quality on all other discs and ht sources played.  
     All the class D amps are a fraction of the size and weight of your JC-1 monos and run no hotter than tepid, so you'd still be streamlining and you could always safely tuck these away out of view if you prefer.
     Several professional reviewers have claimed some of the pricier class D amps provide the best sq they've heard, regardless of amp type and price. Some are even utilizing the new GaN transistors that are much faster switching from on/off than the typical FETs and eliminate dead time for exceptionally accurate and high quality performance and.  I don't know your budget or interest in exploring how good class D can perform but it's just another available option.


Tim   
 
I think I've decided to try the pair of Parasound A 23s with KEF LS50s in 4.1 with or without the Bryston SP-3, using Cox TV and the Oppo 105D or 205 as sources.  I already have all the pieces for the proposed setup.  If I'm satisfied with the A 23 for front LR, I can buy another A 23 for rear surround. 
Hello dbphd,

     I thought since you have all the ingredients for a high quality HT system, an Oppo,KEF 204/2c center, a pair of KEFT301 as mains, four KEF LS50s for side and rear surrounds, two 15"subs, two 10" subs and an SMS-1 sub controller, you'd be going for something a bit more ambitious like a 7.4 or at least a 5.4 system.  All you need is a bit more amplification.
     I know you're looking to downsize but are you sure you want to downsize the fun, too?  Isn't going from three JC-1s to a pair of A23s downsizing enough?  Having your four Velodyne subs configured in a distributed bass array will sound awesome for movies, music DVDs and tv.  Adding the full complement of KEFs to the solid bass foundation will just nudge it into sublime.


Your choice,
     Tim
After restarting my memory function, I recalled I have tired the LS50s with an A 23 amp and thought the sound a bit wimpy.  LS50s with an A21 sounded fine, and they would undoubtedly sound fine with the JC 1 monoblocks.  

Tim, you're trying to move me back to where I was before I decided to downsize.
Hello dbphd,

     I'm trying to help you downsize and streamline while still having some fun.  Just the Oppo suggestion as surround processor eliminated the need for your Bryston SP-3 and a new receiver.  
     But your fighting my efforts by not even considering my good suggestions on how to downsize and streamline in other areas.  Why would you want to use the big class AB Parasound A23s when you don't even like their sound with the LS50s?   And not just one but two?  C'mon DB, work with me.
     A good solution is to try some good class D amps, discover they're a good match driving the LS50s as well as all your other speakers  and, voila!, you've even further significantly downsized and streamlined.  Do you have an aversion to using small, lightweight,  powerful and cool running class D amps that are so efficient you can just leave them on 24/7 if you want?

Tim
Tim,

Class D amps are an attractive alternative to the A 23s.  Can you recommend specific models of Nord or Wyred 4 Sound.  I'm not going to reinstall a center channel, so it's 2, 4, or 6 channels of amplification driving 8Ω LS50s.

db
What about a NAD M22 amp for front LR LS50s?  Then add multichannel Class D amp for surround and rears.
Hello dbphd,

Now you're talking!  Excellent choice.

     Here's a Stereophile very positive review of the class D NAD M22 amp I just read:

www.stereophile.com/content/nad-masters-series-m22-power-amplifier

     There's also a NAD M27 amp that retails for $1,000 more than the M22.  It uses the exact same custom Hypex NCore 400 class D modules with the same 250w/ch as the M22 but has 7 channels instead of 2.  I know that's 1 more channel than you need but it would give you the option of powering a center channel if you ever wanted to use one again in the future. It would also help you downsize and steam-line since all of your required amplification would be in a single component enclosure rather than several.
     I think you'll really like the sound of either of these amps, the review on the M22 stated that both the M22 and M27 amps sound almost identical to the Parasound A31 3-ch amp.
     Great job in identifying the NAD class D amps as an excellent solution for your soon to be downsized HT system.

Tim

     
Tim,

I read several rave reviews of the NAD M22 this afternoon. Your recommendation pushed me over the threshold to buy a demo unit offered on Audiogon for $1400.

Current Cox TV is 2 channel, so surround would be limited to Blu-ray and SACD. I’m still thinking about whether to use the Bryston SP3 -- it may be redundant with the Oppo 205.  I think I'll reserve the Ayre DX-5 DSD for use with the Ayre stereo setup.

db
Hello dbphd,

     Great, I was going to suggest a used unit to save money but didn't know if you wanted to buy only new or were open to buying used. Once the M22 arrives, you'll be able to hear what a good class D amp will sound like with your KEF speakers.
     Are you certain your Cox cable tv  broadcasts in only 2 channel?  I live in Indiana and use the local Comcast/Xfinity cable tv and they broadcast in at least 5.1 channel on all their channels, possibly even 7.1.  I do subscribe to their HDTV package along with HBO and Showtime, but I'm not sure if that's why I get 5.1 channel sound.  You may want to check with Cox since the surround sound makes everything I watch more enjoyable, even commercials.
     I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions of the M22 with your speakers.

Tim
  
Tim,

I'm not certain Cox TV is only 2 channel.  I've been taking HDMI directly to the projector and RCA to either an Audio Engine 2+ or NAD C 328.  With DirecTV I took HDMI to an Oppo that split it into 7.1 audio and video HDMI outputs.  I'll reinstall the Oppo 205 when I install the M22. and use the Parasound A23s for surround until I get 4 channels of Class D amplification.

I felt like an energy scofflaw running a Bryston SP3. Oppo 205, Parasound JC 2 BP, 3 JC 1 monoblocks, and 2 A 23s to watch TV, but in my zeal to downsize I may have thrown out the baby with the bath water.

db
Hello dbphd,

     Here's a Cox cable site that explains how to get surround sound audio connected.  It looks like you'll need to set your cable box to "Dolby Digital" and follow the instructions to feed the surround audio signal to your Oppo 205.

https://www.cox.com/residential/support/audio-settings.html

     "I felt like an energy scofflaw running a Bryston SP3. Oppo 205, Parasound JC 2 BP, 3 JC 1 monoblocks, and 2 A 23s to watch TV, but in my zeal to downsize I may have thrown out the baby with the bath water."

     Hah!  So, it's you causing all this global warming?, way to go.  I was just going to lookup how little power the M22 consumes and I discovered there's a version 1 and a version 2 of this amp.  Wonder which version you bought?  You may want to research the differences to see if any you want are on the version you bought.


Tim
Tim,

We live in Montecito, a small town adjacent to Santa Barbara , where combating global warming is taken very seriouosly.  

From the photo used for the listing it appears to be a later version M22 with multiple screened ventilation ports in the top rather than louvers.  Makes me wonder how hot the thing runs.

db 
Hello dbphd,

     Montecito?  Very nice.  Beautiful area!

     I'm glad you bought the latest V2 model of the M22,  I actually don't know the changes from V1 units but think you're most likely better off with a V2 since their performance was probably significantly improved if they caused a version update.
     Your neighbors will also be very proud of your small but cumulative effort to combat global warming.  Congratulations.


Tim
  

 
I ordered a pair of NAD C 268s to replace the Parasound A 23s for driving KEF LS50s side and rear surrounds. So the lineup for HT will be Cox TV, Oppo 205, NAD M22 and C 268 driving 6 LS50s, and pairs of Velodyne HGS-15s and 10s with SMS-1 bass manager. For music it's Ayre DX-5 DSD disc player, QX-5/20 digital hub, KX-5/20 preamp and VX-5/20 amp driving KEF Ref 1s.

db
Hello dbphd,

     Wow!  For a guy just getting into class D amplification, you have good taste, good knowledge and don't mess around.
     It looks like you'll soon have everything you'll need for a high quality, stream lined  6.4 surround system that will likely all consume less electricity than one of your former JC-1 mono amps.  Careful, Montecito may soon be awarding you their 'Green Homeowner of the Year Award' in a landslide vote.  Ironic, the award is actually a bronzed JC-1 mono-block with an etched inscription plate.
    But I'm a little confused.  You listed a lineup for HT and a lineup for music, are you creating one large system for both HT and music in one room or are you going to have a different room for each?  I recall you mentioning a 100" video projection setup, too.


Tim
Tim,

Both setups are in the same rack in the media room, but share no connections.
  
Our living room has a music setup comprised of a microRendu/Ayre Codex combination that sources files from Roon, and an Ayre A7e integrated amp (remotely selectable inputs but no preamp) driving KEF LS50s, a small setup with excellent sound.

As you may know, the small town of Montecito has more than its share of celebrities to honor.

db
Hello dbphd,

     Oh, great!  You're soon to be another famous resident and you'll be known as 'The Green Amp Old Man of Montecito'.  I can't wait.

     Okay, your post clears things up for me, thanks.

     Now I'm thinking about how to best configure and setup all your very good equipment for optimum performance and ease of use. I just have a couple questions: 

1.  Wouldn't you rather use your KEF Ref 1s for both your music main speakers and as your L+R front main speakers for HT?  I know a good and safe method to do this if you'd prefer to.  You'd still be able to use your KEF LS50s as side and rear surround speakers.

2.  Do you have a plan on how to setup your system so you can utilize your soon to exist 4-sub distributed bass array system, either with or without one or more of your SMS-1 bass manager units, for both music and HT?

     Also, I wanted to answer a question you asked before about how much heat the NAD amps give off.  If they're anything like my class D amps, they won't get warmer than luke-warm.
  

Thanks,
   Tim
Tim,

1. That’s the setup I moved away from with the Parasound preamp and amps. The Ayre preamp and amp drive the KEF Ref 1s. I don’t want to use them to watch TV, so the HT and music setups are separate. How can you connect two amps to one speaker?

2. I have a plan, but the HGS-15s have yet to be repaired.

The NAD C 328 I’m using now for TV stays cool to the touch.

db
Hello dbphd,

1."How can you connect two amps to one speaker?"  
     Your Ayre VX-5 amp has XLR and RCA inputs.  The Oppo205 has both outputs for the L+R stereo/ L+R front mains and your Ayre preamp has both outputs.  Both can be connected and, since you're only going to send signals from one or the other at a time, the amp will just amplify whichever inputs are active-like an automatic switch.   I wasn't aware you don't want to use the Ayre amp and Ref 1s for HT.  No problem, you have enough amps and LS50s.

  "The NAD C 328 I’m using now for TV stays cool to the touch."

     Good, the NAD M22 should be the same.

     I think we just need to figure out how to get a 7.1 signal from the Cox cable box to the Oppo.  What outputs are on the cable box?  
     If it has an HDMI output, you can probably use that to get the video and audio to the Oppo ( that's what I use on my Oppo 105) and then use the HDMI output of the Oppo to connect to your projector for the video. This will allow the 205's very good video processing to be utilized, too. 
     I think we just need to set things properly on the Oppo and Cox cable box menus for the surround sound to work.  I'm not sure yet if you'll be able to get 7.1 sound from the Cox box but it should be at least 5.1.  I'll try to figure this out.
     Don't forget you'll need cables for the Oppo surround ch outputs to your amps, too.

Later,
 Tim
 
  

Tim,

The Cox receiver has HDMI that I'll take to the Oppo where it will be split into video and audio.  Video will go directly to the projector, audio to the NAD amps.  I'm pretty confident audio will be at least 5.1.  When I wrote that Cox TV audio was 2 only channel I had misremembered that the limitation was video, no 4 K video.

db
Hello dbphd,

     That's good news. 
     Yes, an HDMI cable will be connected from the HDMI main output on the Cox cable box to the HDMI input on the 205. Another HDMI cable is connected from the HDMI OUT (Main) on the 205 to the Main HDMI Input on your projector.  Then cables are connected from the 7.1 audio out jacks on the 205 to your amps, XLR or RCA for the l+r stereo/front l+r mains outputs and RCA only for the remaining channels and sub.  
    You'll probably need to connect all 7.1 channels to the amps and speakers to determine if the Cox cable box is sending 7.1 channel surround to the 205 or just 5.1.
     Once your subs are repaired and hooked up, the last steps will be going into the 205's setup menus and making sure everything is configured properly.  Things such as the proper video output resolution settings on the 205 for your projector, crossover frequency for your subs and the trim level, size and distance settings for each of the channels. 
     If the Cox cable is not 4K but your projector is 4K, I know the 205 can take an inputted 1080P video signal and up-sample or upconvert it to a 4K picture.  Do you know if this processed 4K picture will be of sufficient resolution for your purposes?

Tim
Tim.

The projector is not 4K, but I used the Oppo 205 with DirecTV and the video quality was excellent.  I'll use the 205 with Cox when the M22 is installed next week. and reconnect the Velodyne SMS-1 and HGS-10s with crossover at 80 Hz with 4th order slope.

db

Hey dbphd,

    Excellent! Just a few more questions if you don't mind:

1. Do you plan on running the LS50s full-range, with the amp connected direct from the Oppo-205 front l+r mains outputs or are you going to run them only from 80 Hz on up, with the amp connected to the SMS-1's restricted frequency outputs?

2. Are you going to run the remainder of all your satellite LS50 speakers  full-range or restricted to 80 Hz and up?

3.  Do you know when your 15" subs will be ready for pickup in L.A.?


Thanks, 
  Tim
1 & 2 probably full range; 3 not yet taken to LA
Hello dbphd,

     Okay, thanks.  I'll just monitor this thread awaiting an update from you in the next several weeks.

Later,
 Tim
I installed the NAD M22 amp today, sourced via balanced analog from an Oppo 205 and driving a pair of KEF LS50s.  I've yet to connect the subs or NAD C 268 surround amps.  I started with the Time Out SACD; the stereo sound is excellent.  Kal Rubinson's rave review of the M22 in Stereophile seems justified.

I'm awaiting a pair of 15' Mogami cables from LA Pro Audio to connect the surrounds, and I'm looking for my RCA splitter cable to connect the sub out of the 205 to the Velodyne SMS-1 bass manager.

db 
Hello dbphd,

     Happy Independence Day!
    
       I'm very glad you like the performance of the class D NAD M22 driving your KEF LS50s.  
     I appreciate good class D amps for their very low noise floor, good bass and dynamics along with the very accurate, detailed and neutral midrange/treble response that still manages to be smooth and natural without ever being bright or harsh.  I've found them to be very close to the audio ideal of 'a straight wire with gain'; with nothing added, subtracted or altered from the inputted signals.  
    This accuracy and neutrality sounds great on good recordings and matched with high quality upstream components but it also will clearly amplify any faults in the sound caused by poor recordings and poor quality upstream components.  Personally, I prefer this accuracy and neutrality but I thought you should be aware of this quality of good class D amps if you weren't already.  Fortunately, you have high quality components so you'll only need to be concerned with the quality of your music recordings and other audio sources.
     Well, so far so good, right?  I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions once everything's completed, especially the four subs and how  the bass sounds and integrates.  

Later,
 Tim
Tim,

I've got to do a lot of comparative listening, but what I've heard so far from the 205/M22/LS50 chain has led me to question the need for the Ayre 5/20/Ref 1 chain.  It's that good.  I've played CDs and SACDs ranging from jazz (Take Five) to baroque (Corelli), Blu-rays from Legends of Jazz to Aida; the sound is superb for all. 

db
Hello dbphd,

     Awesome!  The audio section of the Oppo 205 is also very neutral and of high quality.  I believe your whole chain, 205/M22/LS50s would be accurately described as exceptionally neutral.  I think you'll continue to notice there's a more direct relationship between the quality of the recording and the quality of the overall sound than most systems due to the high degree of neutrality.  


Enjoy,
 Tim
 
After a lot more listening I’ve decided to use the Oppo 205, NAD M22 & C 268 Class D amps with 6 LS50s and a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s for HT, and the Ayre 5/Twenty series with KEF Ref 1s and a pair of HGS-10s for music. But I don’t really sense the need for any subs with Ref 1s as my preference for classical, baroque, and jazz grows stronger, so I may use the 4 subs for HT.

db
Hello dbphd,

     You're back, I missed you.  I'd like to know more about roughly how much time you spend listening to music as compared to watching/listening to HT (cable tv, blu-rays, music dvds, etc.).

     I believe I need to know the answers to a few questions before I can offer any useful advice.  If you don't mind, here they are:

1. Percentage of total time you spend watching/listening to HT?

2. Percentage of total time listening to music?

3.  Is there any way you'd be okay with using the KEF Ref.1s for music and HT?

4.  Would you rather have optimum bass performance on music or HT?

5.  Are you set on having two separate systems, one for music and one for HT?

6.  If you want two separate systems, does this mean you're okay with moving and switching out the Ref 1s with the LS50s as the front speakers whenever you want to switch which system you want to use,music to HT and vice versa?
 
Thanks,
   Tim
Since you're using the Oppo as a source, I'd recommend looking into getting that modded.  For something like $500 to $800 you can transform an already good player to a much higher level.  Someone like Ric Schultz at www.tweakaudio.com gets consistently glowing reviews for the results he gets from his Oppo mods, if he's still modding the 205.  But there are other good mods out there although I'd hurry because they're likely fading fast with the demise of Oppo.  For the relatively low cost outlay and considerable improvements to be had I think this is a no brainer.  Just a thought, and congrats on building a nice HT setup. 
Tim,

1 Probably about 5 hours a day for HT
2 About 3 hours a day for music
3. If there were a good way to switch amps I’d like to use the KEF Ref 1s for both music and HT, because re your item 6 the Refs 1s are given preference and the LS50s are in less than an ideal location
4 Optimum bass for HT; the adequacy of bass from the Ref 1s has surprised me
5 Vastly different energy efficiency: about 400 watts for music, 50 for HT excluding the projector
6 See 3 above

db
Hello dbphd,

     Okay, I think we've got your best configuration figured out for both ease of use and sound quality if you agree to go with these two setup modifications:

1.  Utilize your Ayre amp for both music and HT and remove the NAD amp.  Your Ayre VX-5 amp has XLR and RCA inputs. The Oppo205 has both outputs for the L+R stereo/ L+R front mains and your Ayre preamp has both outputs. Both can be connected and, since you're only going to send signals from one or the other at a time, the amp will just amplify whichever inputs are active-like an automatic switch. 

     You just need to decide whether you'd rather use the xlr connections on your preamp and amp for music and the rca connections on the Oppo 205 and amp for HT, or vice versa.  There's no switch to flip on the Ayre amp for selecting whether you're choosing to use the xlr or rca inputs, correct?

2.   Utilize the KEF Ref 1s for both music and HT and remove the LS50s from HT duty.  This certainly won't reduce the sound quality for HT and very well might improve it

     You just need to position the Ref 1s for optimum positioning at your listening seat for music performance and this positioning should still work well for HT listening, too.  
     I know you don't think you need the four subs for music playback with the Ref 1s.  But I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how exceptionally well a properly positioned and configured 4-sub DBA system reproduces bass in any given room and how well the bass seamlessly integrates with any pair of main speakers used.  
    The bass will not only sound more impactful and dynamic but more detailed and smoother, too.  You'll also notice the increased bass detail and seamless integration with your Ref 1s will provide an impressive depiction of the music venue on good recordings. 
     Isn't this what I was relating to you on my initial posts on this thread?  If it wasn't, it should have been and I think it'd really be a shame if you missed out on what I believe is near state of the art bass performance by not even giving the DBA concept a try.  You can thank me 
     Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
  Tim
  



Tim,

What you describe is pretty much my previous setup with Parasound JC 2 BP preamp, JC 1 monoblocks, and KEF Ref 107/2s. It would be even easier to implement than you suggest. Simply take the balanced LR output from the Oppo 205 to the Ayre preamp rather than to the NAD M22, and select it for HT. That would use the Ayre preamp, amp, and Ref 1s for front HT. RCA surrounds from the Oppo would go to the NAD C 268s driving LS50s for side and rear surrounds. The Oppo would manage the subs along with the SMS-1s for acoustic room correction. Although I’ve been happy with the sound for HT, I’ll try the Ayre/Ref 1 setup, because it’s so easy to do.

I have no aversion to using 4 subs. I just haven’t hauled the HGS-15s to LA yet. I’m 83 and the subs are too heavy for me to lift so I need to have them taken downstairs, put into the back of our MB wagon, then trek down PCH to LA.

The Ayre amp does have balanced/unbalanced input switches.

Switching between the Ayre and NAD amps to drive the Ref 1s is complicated, because both the Ayre and Ref 1s support pairs of lugs for biwiring whereas the NAD does not.

db
Tim,

It occurred to me that in addition to connecting the balanced output from the Oppo to the Ayre preamp I could connect the single-ended output to the NAD M22.   But then the Oppo can no longer trigger the NAD, because I don't want audio from both the Ref 1s and LS50s.  That's an inconvenience but it would save energy when just watching TV -- the reason behind two setups.

db
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Morning DB,

    I want to respond to some of your recent comments and concerns on this post to consolidate the issues I believe we need to resolve so that you have a solid, thorough and clear plan for your combo music and HT system configuration in your new room that works conveniently, sounds extremely good and you approve of. I'll respond to your recently posted comments below and please let me know of any additional concerns you may have:

1. "Tim,
    It occurred to me that in addition to connecting the balanced output from the Oppo to the Ayre preamp I could connect the single-ended output to the NAD M22.   But then the Oppo can no longer trigger the NAD, because I don't want audio from both the Ref 1s and LS50s.  That's an inconvenience but it would save energy when just watching TV -- the reason behind two setups."
    I believe you're stating you'd prefer to use the NAD M22 amp when just watching TV to save energy. I've been reading a bit of your Ayre KX-5 preamp manual and it's very flexible in its configurability. I believe we could figure out a method to do this, however, I believe this would still require using two sets of front main speakers, the Ref 1s for music driven by your Ayre amp and the LS50s for HT driven by your NAD M22 amp.  
    If this is acceptable to you, having both the Ref1s and LS50s permanently positioned near each other at the front of your room, then I suspect we could design a good configuration that provides good sound quality and convenience for both music and HT.
    If having both sets of main speakers positioned at the front of your room is not acceptable to you, then we need to figure out how to conveniently and safely use two amps on a single set of speakers, substitute the NAD M22 for the Ayre amp or think of a very innovative alternative solution that is safe, convenient and provides good sound quality on both music and HT.  

2. "Switching between the Ayre and NAD amps to drive the Ref 1s is complicated, because both the Ayre and Ref 1s support pairs of lugs for biwiring whereas the NAD does not."
    Yes, I think we both agree this fails to meet the goal of a convenient music and HT system configuration solution so we should probably just eliminate this as a viable solution, unless we can figure out a safe and convenient method to use two different amps on a single set of speakers.

3. "I have no aversion to using 4 subs. I just haven’t hauled the HGS-15s to LA yet. I’m 83 and the subs are too heavy for me to lift so I need to have them taken downstairs, put into the back of our MB wagon, then trek down PCH to LA."
    I'm glad you have no aversion to using 4 subs for music and HT because I'm almost certain you'll consider their use very beneficial on both once properly positioned and configured.
    I've been thinking about the best method of having them transported from your room to the repair facility and back again to your room. I currently consider hiring and coordinating with a local moving company to do this as your best option. It'll cost a bit more but they'll be able to remove them directly from your room and eventually directly back to your room while you're only required to supervise and sip on a glass of delicious iced tea, sun brewed and garnished with a fresh lemon wedge, as they do both. Your only exertion will be lifting your glass.

Later,
 Tim
DB,

      I just finished reading an Audio Beat review of the combination of your Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp and VX-5 amp linked below:

www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/ayre_kx5_twenty_vx5_twenty.htm

     It's such an extremely good review of your equipment's sound quality that, if you can verify you perceive even half of the positive comments of its sound quality described in this review, I believe you should and would likely be very hesitant in choosing to substitute the NAD M22 for your Ayre VX-5 amp.  The apparent positive and synergistic sound qualities attained through this combination of Ayre components seems unlikely to be matched by the combination of your Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp with the NAD M22 class D amp. 
     I've never listened to a system with this combination of Ayre components and, of course, only your opinion on this matter is relevant anyway.  If you prefer utilizing the Ayre components and Ref 1s for both music and Ht due to sound quality advantages, however, I realize this eliminates the energy savings resulting from utilizing the very green class D NAD M22 amp for HT usage.
     Is consuming a bit more energy for the sake of improved sound quality on music and HT acceptable to you? Only you can determine whether being incessantly ridiculed and persecuted by your fellow SoCal residents for your perceived porcine-like consumption of energy, and your inevitable resulting ostracization along with all the typical egging and teepeeing of your house and property, is worth bearing for increased system performance.
     Please let me know if you want to eliminate the option of using your NAD M22 for powering your HT front mains.


Tim
Tim,

I use the Oppo 205 and M22 for watching TV, and the Ayre QX-5 digital hub, KX-5 preamp, and VX-5 amp for music.  I also have an Ayre DX-5 DSD disc player.  The source for music is mostly Roon to the QX-5 via ethernet.  I've decided to connect the Oppo balanced output to the Ayre preamp, unbalanced to the NAD M22 and C 268 amps, and disconnect the trigger from the Oppo to the M22 to make it easy to switch between the two setups for HT other than TV.  The  Oppo will connect to the Velodyne SMS-1s, so subs will be available HT.

Indeed the 5-Twenty series Ayre stuff has a special sound that makes music seem to just flow without electronic intervention.  Surprisingly the microRendu/Ayre Codex and A7e driving LS50s share a good deal of that Ayre magic 

I appreciate your help in guiding my thinking this through.  I've been involved with audio since the early '50s, but a poke always helps.

db
Correction:  The last sentence of the first paragraph should be the KX-5 will connect to the SMS-1s, not the Oppo.
Hello DB,

     No problem.  I can tell you know what you're doing, we all need a bit of assistance once in a while. 
     Lastly, I would just suggest you configure your system so that you can use your future 4-sub DBA system with either music or HT.  It really performs exceptionally well and, besides, you always have the option to turn it off if you'd prefer.
     I'll continue to monitor this thread and I hope you post occasionally to update your progress, request assistance if you have any snags or questions and describe your final impressions of how it all performs.  You can also send me a pm if you prefer.
     And please don't try to move those big subs on your own, just hire a local mover.


Best wishes,
    Tim
Tim,

By connecting the Ayre KX-5 to the Velodyne SMS-1 the subs will be available for either music or HT.  The NAD M22 will be used with a pair of LS50s for watching Cox TV.  Side and rear surround will be available for either music or HT with a pair of NAD C 268s driving 4 LS50s.

db