Wells Audio Majestic (no HT Bypass) vs. Integrated w/ HT Bypass - Help!


I'm looking to add a 2 channel amp to my AVR setup. I have a Cambridge Audio 651r. It has pre out for the L and R, so I can connect an external amp. Here is my dilemma. I can get a Wells Audio Majestic for 1700, and all of the reviews say it would be an amazing amp for 2 channel stereo.  However, it doesn't have HT bypass.  Would I be better off buying an integrated amp with HT bypass for a similar price but maybe compromise a little on 2 channel stereo?  Would there be a huge difference in sound between an integrated with HT bypass at 1500 dollars vs. the Wells Majestic that retails for 3600 or is it diminishing returns? The reviews I've read say the Wells is amazing sounding. Thanks in advance. 
boneius
You don’t need a HT bypass — it’s just a convenience.  Hook the front L/R preamp outs from the AVR into an unused input on the integrated, set the volume knob on the integrated to the 12:00 position and set the channel balance as usual with the AVR.  Every time you switch to HT mode just turn the volume knob on the integrated amp to 12:00 and you’re good to go.  Personally I wouldn’t put the convenience of a HT bypass over sound quality and preferences because the workaround is so easy, but that’s me.  Best of luck. 
Um, no, do not use AVR pre-out. It will work. But it will be sending the signal through the worst component you have (AVR) into the best.

What you will find is the sound with that integrated (either one, ANY integrated!) is so much better than AVR you will migrate away from HT entirely. What I did. Long ago.

What you do, for the best sound:
Connect your sources directly into the integrated. Connect your stereo speakers to the integrated.

Notice the Majestic has fixed outs? Connect that to your AVR. This way you will be running clean signal to the integrated, and using the AVR for surround only.

It will be a bit of a hassle with movies but only if you are anal about your surround volume. I ran just like this for quite a while using two separate amps until I realized its just not worth it. Surround, I mean. Once you get used to how good stereo with a proper integrated sounds you will probably come to the same conclusion.

Anyway, usually people tend to watch movies about the same volume all the time. Set the AVR for that. You'll still be able to adjust the main volume on the integrated. Try it and see.
Oops.  Forgot to mention in my prior post that, as @millercarbon stated, you’d now connect your primary stereo sources directly to the integrated rather than the AVR.  So basically the AVR is totally out of the playback chain unless you’re using HT.  Apologies for any confusion. 
HT bypass is accomplished through the preamp's input. I like using my HT bypass because it allows me to have two separate systems without compromising either,
I have a Luxman CL38U-SE preamp that has no HT pass through. I hook up my Bryston amp to the Luxman w/RCA connections and the Balanced to the Krell preamp. Just flip the switch on the amp.
Thanks for all of your feedback. @soix , I'm thinking about doing what you are suggesting because the Majestic doesn't have HT bypass. @millercarbon , I'm confused about what you are suggesting.  If I'm playing a movie through my AVR, won't the AVR need to be connected to the integrated so that the movie's audio makes it the L/R speakers? According to the manual for the AVR, I can turn off the L/R and send the signal untouched to the integrated.  Does anyone have any thoughts on the level of quality between a 1500 integrated and the Majestic.  It isn't just a matter of being twice as expensive. I know that doesn't always indicate quality. Does anyone have any experience with the Wells Audio amps?
If I'm playing a movie through my AVR, won't the AVR need to be connected to the integrated so that the movie's audio makes it the L/R speakers?

Yes. But that's exactly what I told you NOT to do.

Movies, whether from CD, or Blu-Ray, or laptop, whatever, L/R goes straight to the integrated. Obviously that would be via RCA. Your movies probably go HDMI from whatever into the AVR. Whatever. That's one reason HT sounds so crappy. HDMI. Twenty hair thin wires, video and audio, all crammed in tight together. Sheesh. No wonder it sounds like crap. Convenience over performance.

Anyway its HDMI from your movie source to your AVR. Connect only surrounds (and center if they talked you into that one, sorry)  to the AVR. Do not connect stereo speakers to AVR. Then L/R audio from your movie source goes straight into your integrated. Connect L/R speakers to integrated.

Now use the integrated for main volume. Set your main volume where you want it. Then use the AVR to set surround volume. You will NOT need a center channel, that's what stereo is for, so if you have it connect it or don't, whichever you like. 

Use the AVR to adjust surround volume to what you like when the mains are at a good volume level. If you turn the mains up louder the surround will be a little less. I doubt you will notice unless you are really trying. The minute you stop trying and actually watch the movie you'll forget all about it. If you turn the volume down a lot the surrounds will be a little loud and annoying. This is actually a good thing. The combination will gradually over time make you aware of just how gimmicky they are.
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@millercarbon I'm getting my content from an Apple TV, so there aren't RCAs to plug into the integrated amp.  Just HDMI to the AVR.
@boneius — I used the same hookup for a couple years before we moved and I was able to use the basement as a dedicated 2-channel listening room, but that hookup worked great and was like having the best of both worlds and super easy to operate. 

As for the integrated, Wells is highly regarded and rarely come up used, and I’d think you’d have a tough time bettering it performance wise for the price assuming it fits well with your tastes and system.  BTW, what speakers are you using?
@soix I have a pair of Quad 23L floorstanders.
I'm getting my content from an Apple TV, so there aren't RCAs to plug into the integrated amp. Just HDMI to the AVR

That's a shame. Oh well. Use the other option suggested above. It will suck. But it will work.

At some point you should find some way to get a clean signal direct into the Majestic, uncorrupted by AVR, just to hear and understand what HT is doing to the sound. Its just such a waste to pay for what seems to be a quite good integrated and then feed it through a AVR, easily the worst audio quality in all of audio.

AVRs in general, I mean. Not the one you have. You may have the best AVR on the market. Talking about all of them. Have a listen. You will see.
@millercarbon , if I buy the Majestic, I'll be playing my vinyl through it directly, which is what I use my listening room for 80 percent of the time, no AVR, . This compromised AVR sound will only be used a fraction of the time when I watch a movie or TV.  I think I'll be pleased overall if I buy the Wells, which is to incorporate better 2-channel sound into my system. Thanks for your help.
Good. That's the way to do it.

If you ever want to find out you could use an HDMI to RCA adaptor to see how the Apple TV sounds direct to the integrated. Or run the phono stage through the AVR. 

Haven't heard that Majestic but just looking at it, to my eye it just looks like the kind of thing only some small seriously dedicated fanatics could make. So it probably sounds the business. Good luck.
I just purchased a Wells Majestic a few weeks ago to replace a Rogue Sphinx. This is a terrific amp, period. The Rogue sounded very good driving my Salk speakers but this is just something else altogether, as it should be for the money. It's a serious big boy amp and I cannot imagine anyone not being thrilled.
Confused newbie here as to how to make connections.

I have a Denon AVR x4400h. I just got an NAD c658 (which will be ethernet connected).

I would like to put an external amp into the equation to drive the L and R front speakers.

I think I understand what millercarbon is saying, but if I do want to try hooking these all up together can I/do I go RCA from the Denon L/R preouts to the NAD line in and then from the NAD audio preouts to the external amp and then from external amp to speakers?

The NAD has fixed/variable volume which I assume I would set to fixed. Is this the same as HT bypass (or whatever other name it’s known by)? If so, would the external amp also have to have HT bypass?