Two systems? Why?

I mentioned on another thread that I have two completely different systems, one for HT and one for music. I wonder how many of y'all have taken that approach. Anyone care to comment on your systems and how they differ?

I'll start off.
My HT system: Paradigm Reference Studio 100 v2 mains, Reference CC, Reference ADP surrounds, and Servo 15 sub; Parasound 2500u pre/pro; Parasound 2205AT amp; Toshiba SD5700 DVD; Sony CX90ES CD jukebox; Monster cables.

My music system: JM Lab Mezzo Utopia speakers; Belles 350A amp; Rega Jupiter 2000 CD; various cables. No vinyl and no tubes (gasp).

Persons familiar with this gear will see clearly that I am seeking two quite different goals with these systems.

Others take a moment to share?
I have 3 at home, plus one at work. Main audio; HT; and a small combination Audio/2 channel HT in the home office (bedroom). HT is for the family; Main Audio system for me; and the den/home office system for when working, when the HT is in use, or when my wife wants to do some work and listen to her music. The Main Audio system and HT system are on the same floor with no sound buffer, so they cannot be used at the same time.

Different sound need and goals. The home office combo audio/2ch HT system has an integrated amp, turntable, tuner, tape deck, VCR, and has a Stan Warren modified DVD player, so it works well with music and for movies when going to the Sony TV.

The HT system is modest but does the job; Onkyo HT receiver, B&W 302s all around with CC3 center and a REL Q100E sub; plus DVD player, VCR and a Laserdisc player.

The Audio system is too complex to list in detail. It is by far the best of the bunch.

I believe the Champ is Jeff in Montreal with 5 systems at last count. (I suggest he needed one in his bathroom too #6).

I do not have an HT system as I don't have to much interest in that direction. But I agree that they are totally different in orientation and design goals. Listening to music is quite different than being enveloped with a movie sound track. You have done a nice job on the music side even though I have a penchant for vinyl and tubes. I think it's to bad that so many and so much of the industry are moving in one direction down the HT path. Although sometimes I think I just want something to fuss over.

Sincerely, I remain
I have two systems:


Paradigm Studio 80v2
Paradigm Studio 40s
Studio CC
Outlaw 750
Sony ta9000es
Sony DVD player
JBL powered sub


Dynaudio Confidence 5
Classe CAM-350s
Arcam FMJ-Cd23
Classe Omega preamp
Wireworld gold eclipse III cables
Exact Power 2000 (2)

The HT system is for background music and watching movies in the family room. The 2 channel is in a dedicated listening room. Bedroom system is next.
IMHO it’s a matter of priorities and allocation of spending funds. If one is willing to compromise quality of the stereo setup, then integrated system is OK.
For myself, after painful attempts to build an integrated system I finally decided to have 2 separate ones – the best-I-can-afford stereo and OK HT.
Stereo(vinyl and tubes!) : Kuzma TT with Dyanvector cart/BAT phono,cd,pre,amps /Avalon speakers .
HT: EAD prepro/B&K amp/KEF speakers/Sunfire sub/Pioneer Elite TV, LD and DVD.
Both setups work great for what they are without interfering with each other.
I have at least 3 currently set up , with enough gear to put together at least 2 more if I had the space.

Kitchen system: Linn Classik, Rega Vulcan sub, M&K S-80 speakers.

Theater/bedroom system: (can be used as 2-channel or 5-channel home theater) - Rotel/Aliante/Sony/HK/Yamaha, etc.

Big Rig 2-channel system: SET monoblocks, ML CLS, stereo subs, BAT, Sony, etc.

Extra crap that could be another system: 47 Lab gaincard, Aerial 5s, Sony ES CD player, CJ Prem. 5 monoblocks, extra DVD player, etc.

When I get a bigger house will probably set up at least a 4th system. Have thought of even setting up 2 in different sides of my existing listening room.

I originally set out to combine both systems, even got a pre with pass trhough. But after hearing how good the 2 channel sounded, I decided to deticate a room solely to it and leave the HT out in the Florida Room.
I'm conentrating solely in improveing the 2 channle, the HT is more than adequate for movies and such (Denon 5700, vr3's front, NHT 1.5 back and NHT center). It can even play a little music if you choose to do that, but why bother with the dedicated system one room over?

Reading your gear lists really gives me the drools! :)

Re vinyl: I agree that the sound is delicious. As is the bacon that I always hear frying in the background. Yummmm.

Re tubes: Just prefer the analytical sound of SS.
Why not I have 3 and can possibly have a 4th setup.HT and the 2 channel setup is in the living room for now,so cannot listen to them at the same time.Bedroom system is broken up for now as I trdede of 2 of the components,but I have a MAC 2105 and c-26 that can replace but it would be overkill.Also have an extra reciever laying around and an extra pair of speakers and sub.So are we as audiofiles insane YES....
In order to have a system that does both, it requires using either a front projector or a plasma display. I used to have two systems because sticking a television between my front speakers was nothing more than a sin to music reproduction... so I split them out...

Well, I got tired of having to go to two rooms and the video was suffering when I knew I could get the best of both worlds once I bought a front projector. The system is now optimized for music but it frankly blows people away on the video in great part to the quality of the front channel reproduction capabilities.

System: B&W Signature 30, B&W HTM2, Magnepan MG1.6 (these were from the other system), REL Storm III sub, Jadis Defy 7 amp, Marantz MA-500 amp, Marantz PM-94 amp, Goldmund Mimesis 2 preamp, Audiolab phono preamp, Michell Gyrodec/SME IV/Van Den Hul One/, Krell HTS processor, Sony 7700 DVD, Genesis Digital Lens, Forsell D/A, Marantz VP-8000 projector, various cabling... and you cannot forget the XBOX.
Yea, it's a bit crazy. We set up a DD sorround system in the bedroom, where we watch most movies. The living room HT is usually for when guests come over. The stereo system is for 'quality time.'

2 systems is the way to go.
There is something about a tv in the Middle of speakers that just makes for lousy 2 Channel reproduction.
Put 80% in 2 Channel rest in HT.
I have a house with only one room big enough to put the stereo or HT in & had to make a choice. I returned to 2 channel after trying out HT for a year. It was OK but lacked the quality for those times when I wanted to do some serious listening. (Pass/Ayre/Meridian/VR)

I also put together a strictly bookshelf system in the back bedroom that will eventually be my boys when he goes to college in 3 more years. I've already started on the upgrade path with it from a vintage Kenwood receiver to a MF X-A1 & E-624. I just received some new Virtual Dynamics PC's today for it & put their IC on it to check them out. Very smooth right out of the box. These PC's are huge & you won't believe how inexpensive they are. Another bonus aspect to this is we listen to different cable changes together. Just another way of relating.

I also have a stereo in the garage but it's just a receiver right now. I've had cassette decks & CD players out there but they usually die after a year or two. This is the place where the MONSTER CABLE goes. Great for the garage & easy to hang on nails!

I would like to have enough room to have a dedicated HT system but it's just going to have to wait until we move into a bigger house.
Multichannel is still the domain of recording engineers and college boys- lots of fun, buzzes and whistles but nothing real. It's too young to be great.

Main- LINN
HT- Paradigm/B&W w/Marantz and Toshiba.

When did a mulitchannel ever give you shivers or tears?
The HT was something I got a bug to do for the family. So, I put a room in my unfinished basement, pirated my old stereo, bought some new stuff and voila, my HT. Well, about a year later, I was sitting upstairs on a nice spring day, and I thought. This really stinks to have to go in the basement to listen to music, so voila again. Now, the HT gets a lot of use, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of my two channel. Can't imagine doing anything to the HT, but my mind is always working on the next upgrade for my 2 channel as the funds become available.
I envy all you who have two systems. My dilemma is space, I have no room for a second system. I had no choice but to try to accomplish both in one system. I still get the same enjoyment when I upgrade and swap out different components. My equipment is as follows:
Theta Digital Casablanca II with Superior DAC's
Theta Dreadnaught
Theta David II Transport
Wadia 27ix & 270
Wilson Audio Cubs II
Wilson Audio Watch
Wilson Audio Watchdog
Nordost SPM
Quattro IC
BMI Whale Elite power cords

I would never argue that my HT system sounds as good as a DD System, but it sounds pretty darn good.
I'm going to go out and get me a Bose lifestyle system for home theater. It is small, unobtrusive and is good enough for watching a movie. And what is a movie for but to enjoy the story not focus on the sound track, AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE?

And Clueless, I agree with you "A penchant for vinyl and tubes". Home theater is a breeze compared to getting music right. Indeed what is the fuss about anyway? Damn, call me old fashion I just don't get this home theater biz.
Three+ systems:

HT: Lexicon-based solid state surround with Tannoy PBM6.5s (CLR), Spendor LS3/5As (far LR), Def Tech bipolars, and Janis W2 sub system. (all Monster cables)

Studio: Soundcraft board, Hafler Pro 2400 (ss), and Tannoy NFM8s with Janis W1 sub system. (all DH Labs cables)

Music: CAL Delta trasnsport, Bel Canto DAC, AE3 sig pre, AE25 sig amp, Moth Audio Cicada spkrs, with Janis W3 sub system. (all Van den Hul cables)

Misc: Bottlehead Paramours . . .
I have three:

Reference home system:
Sony SCD-1 SACD, pass labs aleph P & 2 monblocks, quattro-fil & audio physic avanti's, carver tx-11b, arc ph-3, rega 25.

Home office:
Sony XA7ES cd with BAT vk-5i, ARC vt100, quattro-fil & spica tc-60's. Phillips cdR-880 used as d-A and a-d converter from computer which has soundblaster with spdif. Purpose: very occasional use. Mainly a boneyard for that which is not being used right now.

I tend to swap the tube / pass labs stuff in and out of the main system every six months or so. Both sets represent my favorite equipment from either genre. Every time I go to sell one, I listen to it and leave it in ! It used to be that I would sell the solid state or tube stuff, miss it, then go back and buy more. I think I'll always own a set of pass labs solid state equipment. It has a clarity that I haven't heard in any other equipment. It's also nice to have something you can listen to without worrying about tube life.

Work Office:
Sony D-465 battery powered cd w/ Senn 580's & sony SAVA-7 powered surround speakers. IBM Thinkpad T-21 for listening to MP-3's (thinkpad's actually have pretty good headphone outputs!). Small 25 year old GE clock radio.

Guess what ?! I do 51% of my total listening on the small clock radio.
Like yourself, I love two channel. When I want to listen to music, I go to my two channel system. Fortunately, in my home, I have enough space so that I can have a dedicated music room set up quite nicely, and a dedicated theater room as well. I am not "wealthy", and so I designed and constructed these rooms myself. It wasn't tough, because this is how I make my living. Coming from a construction backround, it was affordable to do this in my humble home. It also helps to have friends and associates who owe you favors.
However, please realize that there are those of us who love film very much. A properly set up Home Theater system will draw you much more deeply into the experience of a film, and I am not pinpointing the audio aspect of such a set up, but the video reproduction as well. And this applies not only to film, but to sporting events and concerts as well.
There are those who are afraid of change who may make statements about the "Great Unwashed", that they lack imagination and that is why Home Theater attracts them so. I beg to differ! There are those who care about the renovaton of classics from "Citizen Kane" to "A Hard Day's Night". Also, I doubt that I am alone in my critisism of the botched "Godfather" trilogy. A travesty in too many aspects and not worth the price of admission. Of course, there are the great films that wouldn't be what they are today if not for the excellent soundtracks and photography that accompany them. Films such as "Contact", "The Sound Of Music", "Yellow Submarine", "Das Boot", "The Matrix" and a host of others too numerous to list here. Can anyone on this web-site tell me with a straight face that they prefer to watch these movies and listen to them through the crappy little speakers on their television instead of on a Home Theater system? And if you can, how can you call yourself an audiophile, or audio enthusiast? It makes no sense......................
What does make sense is asking yourself what MATTERS to YOU. If you are like me, then both matter and you want to enjoy them as best as your funds will allow.
Audio System:
Electrocompaniet AW250 DMB Power Amp
Electrocompaniet EC 4.7 Pre Amp
Electrocompaniet EMCP-1 Phono Stage
Wadia Model 8 Transport
Perpetual Technologies P1A/ P3A Dig. to Dig/ Dig. to Analog Convertors (With Modwright Upgrades)
Basis 1400 Turntable
Rega RB-300 Tone Arm
Benz Micro ACE Low output Moving Coil Cartridge
Talon Audio Peregrine Speakers
Talon Audio ROC Subwoofer
Stealth Audio Balanced/ Single Ended Interconnects and Speaker wire (Silver)
Richard Gray A/C Filtration

Home Theater:
Pioneer Elite PRO 620HD CRT Monitor
Pioneer Elite DV-37 DVD player
Mitsubishi HS-U776 VCR
Comcast High Definition Digital Cable Box
Anthem AVM-20 Pre/Pro
Monarchy SE-100 Deluxe Mono Blocks X 8
Monarchy Audio 24/96 Dip X 2
Paradigm Studio 100 Left/ Right Front speakers
Paradigm Studio CC Center Channel Speaker X 2
Paradigm SA-35 In Wall Left/ Right- Side and Rear Effect speakers
Sunfire Signature Architectural Subwoofers X 2
Tributaries Interconnects and Speaker wire through out

I wouldn't call HT a breeze... getting the audio soundtracks right for HT is a breeze... that is definitely true... getting the video right...well...

Keep in mind that as much as we play around with our turntable setup and tubes, getting the best picture from your projector... well now you start talking about scalars, quadruplers, projector calibration, home theater computers, what color to paint your room, ambient light, what screen to use, it too becomes a never-ending battle for the perfect picture... and the prices of some video processors and projectors can be simply breathtaking... the cost to simply get into the game has a very high price tag associated with it.
you guys and gals are sick 3,4,5 systems. what are you junkies are what. what a minute i must have at least 4 operating systems. i must be sick as well,damn. oh well. i enjoy movies alot, but two channel is awsome. my two channel got most of the money but i am trying to upgrade my main theater right now. if you do not run a projector with at least 100 inches ht may not interest you guys. but once you see a good ht it is very enjoyable.hell i run tubes in my ht.
I agree with most of the comments above. Multiple systems offer far greater versatility along with the opportunity to stretch things out a bit. You can easily "flavour" different systems for different goals. With five different systems in my house, i have done just that. Why limit yourself to either tubes or ss, 2 ch or multi-channel, etc... when you can have ALL of them. While none of mine are "small" or "simple", it can be done and done quite tastefully. Just don't go overboard*. Sean

* AH - HAHAHA. Yeah, right...

We are all sick, why else would we be here? ;-) Judging from your gear you must be at *least* as bad as anyone who posted in this thread, (is CFB in here? he's pretty out of hand too it sounds like... ) LOL

Yeah, I dont' get too much crap for having 3 systems set up in my house (and I live alone), but damn I get a lot of crap for owning 5 cars! What's up with that? I could have bought all 5 of those cars (nothing newer than 1993) with the $ that's in just the biggest of the 2-channel systems... of course most people don't know that...

Bet that -930 refers to something with positive manifold pressure too...

Please don't misconstrue my take on this matter. I too feel that the video is where the focus should be. The audio portion is much less important and is no big deal was my point. After all it is just a bunch of processed information and beyond a good 5 channel receiver, 5 small speakers or even 2 good main speakers and maybe a sub or 2 it wouldn't be important to go beyond that, to me.

So far as full range speakers for surrounds with large subwoofers in a home theater application it is just conspicious consumption marketed to folks that can afford and want it. Although I can well afford it, I don't want it. I have heard some of these super systems that for the most part sound bombastic and unless watching an epic type film with lots of sound effects it is just overkill. Just a personal preference.

When Audio Magazine went under they switched my subscription, which I had just reupped for 3 years, to Sound and Vision. Half the time I don't even open it.
Maybe this is another thread: which is more important in HT, the audio or the video? Tubegroover and Slartibartfast argue for video but that isn't the case for me. When video freaks start in about their chrominance plots and their line doub--uh, trip--uh, quadruplers and individually adjusting each of the 16 trillion mirrors on their DLP chip, my eyes glaze over. Come to think of it, that's the same glaze I see in the eyes of non-afiles when we get a good squabble going over cable terminators or time domain errors in speaker design, or the pros and cons of OTL amplifiers.

I can tolerate nearly any old TV if the sound is good. If the sound sucks then, for me, even the finest video is wasted cuz I won't sit through the movie. YMMV, of course.

Anyway, have fun.

I have two systems for one simple reason: I like to listen to music while I work (home office system) as well as while I'm not (living room system). In my case, I have no TV and, obviously, no home theatre. Both my systems are plain, two-channel audio.

LR System: Thorens TD-125 mk II with Grace 707 arm, Reson Reca cartridge; Sony X779ES CD player; SAE tuner; Meitner PA-6i preamp; Meitner MTR-101 monoblocs; Tannoy System 12 DMT II speakers; Museatex cryogenic interconnects and speaker cable.

By no means ultra high-end, price-wise (everything but phono cartridge and some cables purchased used), but satisfies me.

Office System: Pioneer PD-91 (as transport); Monarchy 18B DAC; Bryston 11B preamp; Meitner STR-55 power amp; Tannoy System 12 DMT I speakers; XLO Pro 1200 speaker cable; Belden and Canare StarQuad cables for interconnects.
I have 2 systems

Main Home System:

Pass Labs x-250, x-1, Thiel 2.3's, Sony SCD-1

Bed Room System:

Grado RS-2, RA-1, Denon dcd-1650ar
yes ed the 930 is a car. i have 2 cars one 91 911 turbo and an 85 928s . i love cars as much as stereo, but that hobby can get even more out of hand than audio, because of mantenince and tire wear, etc. i bet you have alot of fun running on the track. thanks for your response on my email as well.
I'm ENVIOUS Kirk930 ! I have a poa-boy '97 miata (red w/chromewire wheels) and a '96 tippy-trooper.

Strangely, I find that hustling the high revving stick-shift tippy-truck through city traffic is ALMOST as much fun as driving the miata. Probably the best driving instruction in the world. It's done wonders for my sense of throttle and chassis balance.
After trying to make a hybrid system work, I separated the music gear from the HT. My two systems are as follows:

Pioneer DVL700
Sony SAT Tivo/DSS
Marantz AV550
ATI AT1505
NHT SuperOnes and SuperZeros

Theta Pearl transport
Bel Canto DAC 1.1
Blue Circle BC21
Blue Circle BC22
ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures

Both systems share the same NHT SW3P subwoofer. I just switch cables and adjust the crossover when I bounce between movies and music.
Well, the reason why I have two separate systems is because of more practical reasons. It's not going to look all that good to have a long run of cables going from the living room to the bedroom all of the time, just for the sake of saying that you have integrated an audio system and a home theater system together. I'm not saying that it cannot be done altogether, because believe me, it can be done. It's going to be expensive as hell, but it can be done. I could spend about $3,200.00 in a system expansion (I prefer to call it an "expansion" as opposed to calling it an "upgrade" because in reality, I have not changed any components in the existing audio system, all I would have done in the end was add a S/S Processor, a Multi-Channel Power Amplifier to power the additional speakers that I am going to acquire while I continue using my existing Stereo Power Amplifier to power the existing speakers that I already use when I am listening to music. Get me a center channel to match my existing speaker system in timbre, as well as get a suitable pair of bi-polars or di-polars for the surrounding channels, and then get me a suitable subwoofer to match the rest of the speakers), and then spend upwards to about $10,000.00 and get me a plasma television and mount it high up enough on the wall in order to both, give me a satisfying picture when I am watching a movie without having my head bent backwards for about two hours or so, but can be out of the way when I am listening to music so that it cannot interfere with soundstaging effect of the system (something that can be VERY hard to do). But also, all that would do then is to make my system needlessly complicated, and then the system performance is going to suffer anyway. So, in integrating my audio system then, what do I expect to gain when I am trying to integrate an otherwise good audio system, only to bring its performance level down by integrating it with an OKAY home theater system???

But since I don't have the money to do these things with anyway, it's all a moot point then, right????

So, it is for these very reasons that I prefer to have separate systems as opposed to having an "integrated" audio/home theater system.

When I finally move into a house, that situation may change then, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

So, until a system integration happens otherwise, here's what my systems look like, as well as what rooms they're located in.

Thanks for asking...............

AUDIO SYSTEM (in Living Room):
KEF Reference 102 Speaker System with KUBE Equalizer
Adcom GFA-545 MkII Power Amplifier
Adcom GFP-750 Active/Passive Line Stage with Remote Control
Monolithic PS-1 + HC-1 Phono Stage + High Current Power Supply (Coming Soon)
Thorens TD-165 Belt-Drive Turntable/Grado Prestige Gold Cartridge
Pioneer Elite DV-37 Progressive Scan DVD/CD Player (used as a CD Player..... Soon to be replaced by either a Sony DVP-S9000ES or Sony DVP-NS999ES)
JVC XL-M509TN 6+1 CD Player/Changer
Magnum Dynalab FT-101 FM Tuner
Terk AM FM Q Antenna
Nakamichi BX-300 Cassette Deck
MITerminator 2 Interconnects
MITerminator 3 Interconnects
MITerminator 2 Speaker Cables
Monster Cable HTS2500 Power Conditioner

HOME THEATER (in Bedroom):
Sennheiser HD-580 Headphones
Harman/Kardon AVR-210 Dolby-Digital Audio/Video Receiver
Toshiba SD-2700 DVD/CD Player (soon to be replaced by the return of the Pioneer Elite DV-37)
Panasonic CT-27SF37 "SuperFlat" Direct-View Television -- 27"
Monster Cable Video 2 Interconnects
Monster Cable Video 3 Interconnects
Monster Cable Component Video Cables (Connects DVD Player directly to the TV)
Monster Cable HTS1000 Power Conditioner

OFFICE SYSTEM (for use at Work):
Sennheiser HD-580 Headphones (the same ones I use with my home theater system when I am at home)
HeadRoom Total AirHead Headphone Amplifier (9 Volt Version)
Sony D-EJ815 CD Walkman
Straight Wire Short Portable Interconnect Cable
HeadRoom Leather Portable System Bag

Sony Stereo Clock Radio (11 years old)

Sorry, but I forgot to add my office system as well. After all, music listening with me does not stay at home. It continues when I am in my car, and at the office as well.

Next Project???? Maybe put a car audio system either in my 1999 Honda Accord EX (if I don't trade it in), or in my new Audi A4 3.0 later on (when I get one after trading in my 1999 Honda Accord EX). But that's so far down the line, I don't even want to think about that, or count that as a system right now. Let's just go with the three I have listed here right now and leave it at that.

Again.......... thanks for asking..........

I have a bedroom system and a main one. The main one is for serious music listening only, and there is only vinyl as a source. On the bedroom system, I have an Armstrong 626 receiver, a Sony 9000 CD/SACD/DVD player, and my old pair of Fostex single drivers that I replaced with the Lowther Voigt Pipes in my main system, and a TV. I used to use the Sony 9000 in the main system, but I see no need to run my tubes and Lowthers for background listening or watching movies. So this way, I can do the things that suit each system best, and I have entertainment in the 2 most needed areas of the house
Because sometimes you *can* be in two places at the same time ;-)