Why not get a preamp with a HT passthrough like the Audio Research LS 25, or any number of others. You hook the pre-pro through the pass-through input and the cd through it's own input. From there, it's a simple matter to switch to the cd input for listening to music. Switch to the HT passthrough when listening to HT. The signal from the preamp goes to the main amp and the main speakers. The beauty of using the passthrough is that relative volume is still controlled by the pre-pro when in passthrough mode, so you don't have to worry about the recalibrating volume. Worked well for me when I just had one combined system.
Just turn your computer off. Don't ask questions, JUST DO IT!
If you are still reading and asking questions, do so at your own risk...
I was exactly in the same boat about 6 months ago asking the same questions. I also had the Studio 60's, PW2200, Studio CC, etc. for my HT. If I bought a new preamp for two channel only (bypassing the Denon 3802 receiver for better sound), how do I integrate? Can I buy one with HT bypass, and if not, what is this "set to unity gain" stuff I was being advised on? A long story short, I pretty much sold all of my home theater equipment (except for the TV and DVD player) and went two channel only as I found that although I started out at 50/50 HT/music, I went to 10/90 HT/music quickly. You can definately still have a HT but it will be based upon 2 speakers instead of 6 (including the subwoofer). Very easy to use now.
To answer your question, Sonic Frontiers preamps as well as others offer HT bypass (I have the SF Line 2 SE).
And finally to make you weep, after selling off most of the HT gear, I bought the Revel F-30 and they are indeed wonderful (I read you "system" link).
If your two channel pre does not have hometheater pass through you can still hook it up and it will still work fine. This was asked yesterday and I explained how to do it in that thread.
Oooohhh...I must bow down to the Revels ;)
Well I have sold my B&K Ref20 pre/pro. I think my first route will be to buy a pre/pro like the Aragon Soundstage or the Classe SSP25...both of which have a genuine analog pass-through. If this doesn't satisfy then I suppose I'll just have to go the preamp with HT pass through...and if THAT doesn't satisfy then I guess it's 2 channel HT for me ;)
A few questions regarding the preamp with HT pass thru hookup, (can you tell I'm in the learning stages?):
1) Everything still hooks to the pre/pro "in's" as usual except the CD player right?
2) The pre/pro "out's" to the main speakers run through the preamp? The preamp in "HT bypass" mode?
3) I would need an additional set of interconnects to go from the preamp to the mains? (previous pre/pro interconnects to the mains went straight to the mains but now they will go into the preamp)
4) When I play a CD, I will not even need to turn the pre/pro on right? Just turn on the preamp, set it CD and control the volume through the preamp?
Do I have this correct?
If so I could spend a little less and buy a decent older pre/pro for the 5.1 processing and get a nice (for my budget) preamp with HT pass-thru.
Let me know if I am on the right track.
Great thread . Could have used it when I was struggling thorugh the same issue. Here's what I ended up doing (and it works great for me).
First some basics: I have an EAD Signature 5.1 pre/pro with no analog bypass, a Lamm L1 preamp (no bypass again) and an EAD PM2000 amp which has both SE and XLR inputs for the front two speakers.
When listening to my CD's, I don't even turn my EAD pre/pro on! The CD is connected to the Lamm direct inputs and out from the Lamm via XLR connections to the amp. I simply toggle my amp to balanced and voila - music.
When in HT, I don't turn my Lamm on, as the DVD is connected to the EAD pre/pro. which in turn is connected to the EAD amp via single ended connections. All I have to do is toggle back the amp to SE mode. The only watch out is to set the gains for the various channels appropriately, but I only have to do this once.
The only "hassle" is the toggling of the switches from SE to XLR and vice versa, but given my setup, that takes 5 seconds. (And the Lamm is to die for - I had the LL2 before, but the L1 ahhhhh!).
Bottom line, I think is that there are several ways to make this work, with bypass being the easiest as discussed before, but if you really want to go another way (say for equipment like/dislike purposes), there are ways.
BTW, I too have got rid of my rear speakers; thought they were a waste. So all I have are my fronts, the center channel and a sub.
Joew, to add a high quality two channel pre to a hometheater system is pretty easy, I will try to explain. You can add a tube/SS/passive pre of your choice, hook up is the same for each. Some pre-amps have a hometheater pass through input for more ease of set up, if you have one of these, this would be your input for R/L front preouts from your pre/pro. If your two channel pre does not have this, you can use any of its line inputs, Your two channel pre will need at least two sets of inputs: one for your CDP, and one for your pre/pro, you can switch between source on that unit. You can have as many source as you have inputs. All of these source will input to your two channel pre and thus bypass pre/pro. Unity gain is the point on your two channel volume control where it adds no gain to the sources input signal, your pre/pro will control volume for movies as it always does once you are set up. If your new two channel preamp does not have hometheater pass through then you will need this point on your volume control, with a passive pre you would use volume all the way up for unity gain. For an active pre most people use 12 O'clock setting on volume control. I guess you could say that this would be the harder way to achieve hometheater pass through, It does work fine and this is the way I have my passive pre hooked into my hometheater. Here is the hook up: Hook any source you do not want to run through your pre/pro to the new pre, you will not need your pre/pro turned on to play these source. Hook your front L/R pre-outs from your pre/pro to your new pre, set volume control for unity gain. Go into setup on your pre/pro and set overall volume with spl meter just like you did when you first setup your pre/pro. When you watch a movie you would always return your two channel pre's volume setting to unity gain setting as this is the point you will have set overall volume with pre/pro. Your front channel amp will now get it's input from the two channel pre and not the pre/pro. I may have made this sound hard to do, (It's not) It's harder to explain than it is to do.
I understand perfectly. It is as I had hoped. So, in essence, all I need is a preamp with HT passthrough (not necessary but convenient) and a fair to average pre/pro for movies (how bad can you screw up DD, 5.1 etc).
You have been a huge help. Thanks again!
One note Joew, you would always need to remember to turn the volume control back down before switching inputs on the two channel pre from movie to other source.
So probably the best idea would be to have a tiny stick-on marker to delineate the pre-calibrated volume level when using the HT pass through?
If you use pre-amp without pass through input you could do that. In my setup I use a Bent audio passive unit for two channel and sunfire theatergrand pre/pro, unity gain with the Bent passive is: volume all the way up, I have to remember to turn it down before I switch inputs for sacd. If you get a pre with theater pass through you won't have to do this. I wanted the pre that I wanted so I chose to put up with this little pain in my system. Lots of good pre's have the theater pass through now a days (tube and SS) so that is the easy way to go.
I am using an FT Audio which I guess will need to be done the way you and the others have described.The SS Proc. I have is a Lexicon CP-3Pro. Have not ever had it online and I really do not know what to expect .
I just got my dream speakers finished and they are more than I ever hoped they would be.I have a few XO Cap upgrades to do and to get a pair of Modifed NEAR M10's to use as my CC speakers and I will have completed my finishing touches.In the future I hope to beable to get a SS processor that has AC-3,but I am mainly in it for Stereo so I will be happy with what I have.
Abex, F.T.audio is a great passive, I may pick up a used one for my second system. Congrat's on the speakers, if your going to use the F.T. audio with pre/pro then I would just get a bang for buck model (outlaw, rotel, ect.) the top of the line pre/pro's cost so much more because they are also high quality two channel pre's. You won't need the extra cost as you'll have your passive for that.
The Lexicon CP-3Pro is really alot of processor if you had ever read the reviews on it. I would be willing to try another SS Pro. in my system to see what it could do ,but the cost is rather substantial after all the upgrading I have done in the last year. I shall be making a few finishing touches before considering the AC-3.
Still need to get the CC Speakers which will be a pair of NEAR M10's with Modified Drivers to match the Modified NEARs I have at present and upgrade the Crossovers by changing all Cap\Resistors for all speakers (Mains\CC\Rears)make DIY Sub and DIY Rack after getting everything else in order.
I still have a set of LeAmpII's on the way also.So this has been an extensive and long overhaul.So it will be awhile before getting another SS Processor,but you never know I might run into some extra cash down the line.
I have an integrated system using the Anthem AVM20 v2 as my HT pre/pro running into the Cary SLP2002 2 channel preamp. The Cary has a HT bypass input. The Cary can be found for under $2000 used and when paired with the right tubes it is to die for at this price. It also has a tubed headphone output which may or may not be of interest. It has both balanced and single ended inputs and outputs. I too was heavy into HT but once the HT started sounding better as a 2 channel system, things went the other way quickly. I will say that the 2 channel preamp is probably the key component next to good clean power to make the 2 channel really start to shine. Of course a good cd player, proper amplification and the right mix of cabling plays a part as wel, but a good tubed 2 channel preamp gives the system dynamics, depth and a huge presentation.
My plan is somewhat simliar to Seldon, where you have 2 channel on the balanced side, and HT on the single ended side. Only I'm going to try a CD player with a volume control and a digital input, with the balanced outs. The digital input will allow me to listen to concert DVDs,in PCM, through the better dac of the CD player. I can always add a pre/pro later (classe SSP 30) to improve the sound of my HT, or an active preamp, if that's necessary, a la Seldon. But for now I believe that the CD player (resolution audio) will end my search for sonic nirvana.