What is the best way to add a 5:1 system

Ok..totally new in this forum but not new to Mac equipment. Just got my first new system in 30 yrs.! MC 402, C46, MVP 871, 4 B&W speakers. Still using my MR77 tuner and an older turntable for present. Planning on picking up a sub soon as well. This has led me to consider setting myself up for some 5:1 down the road. I know I need a center speaker and 3 more channels of amplification, but not sure how best to integrate this with current set up. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. It was reading much of the discussion on this forum that led me to choose the new system.

regards to all
There are many, many threads on this. It's very easy to do, you just need to hook up the pre-outs from your HT processor or receiver for the front mains to an input on your pre amp.(except phono) If your pre has an HT pass through, that's even better. If not, all yiu need to do is make sure the level setting is the same whenever you use HT.(and when you calibrate the speaker levels)
You should also invest in a sound level meter, Radio Shack has them for around $30. This too me is a must have and I'm not as picky as many others

. . . what Jeff said. This is how I did it and it works great. It's also key that you choose a center channel speaker and amp matched to your mains. Likewise (but less so) for your surround speakers/amps.
Thanx much for the tips. It will be a while before this happens, but thought I would get a vision for it should look like. Sounds like I will need a processor and another amp with 3 channels, or would it be easier to have one amp for the 5:1 and the 402 strictly stereo? That is how most of my time is spent.

It sure is nice to be back into new listening. Am actually keeping all of my previous system for another location. Can't bear to part with it!

I'm attracted to the notion of an Integra 9.9 processor for surround SACD via HDMI and newer codecs for films, but I'd still like to use my Proceed PAV/PDSD for stereo music. (Maybe the PDSD would be redundant.) Just to be explicit, are you saying I could take the pre-outs from the 9.9 to any unused input of the PAV? I assume the PAV (or PDSD) XLR outputs would still go to the Proceed Amp 2 for the front LR speakers, but the 9.9 XLR outputs would go to the Amp 3 for the center and surround speakers. Am I understanding you correctly?

db . . . it will work fine. I have a PAV that I use for Stereo (amazing stereo pre) and I moved it to my HT, using my Lexicon MC-1 for 5.1 input to the PAV. It worked fine, but because of ventilation issues in my HT rack it over heated so I had to move it to another system.
Thanx much for the tips. It will be a while before this happens, but thought I would get a vision for it should look like. Sounds like I will need a processor and another amp with 3 channels, or would it be easier to have one amp for the 5:1 and the 402 strictly stereo? That is how most of my time is spent.
I would go with your best/most favored amp for stereo and add another 3 channels of amplification for the surround. depending on your configuration you can get a 3 channel amp for the ctr/rears, or if you're like me and like to use short speaker cables, get a mono amp for the center (somewhat matched to your 402), and a pair of mono's or a stereo amp for the rears. If you get a 3 channel amp you'll need long speaker cable runs to your rear channels. Of course alternately you need long interconnect run.

The problem with getting a 5 channel amp for 5.1 is you need to swap cables, which is a big pain.
Hey Bd,

Good suggestion. I had thought about the cable switch concern and was wondering, since I already have a high power selector box for selecting combinations of front, rear and an outdoor set, if there is a way set up something to select the current set up or a 5:1 system with 5 channel amp that could be arranged w/o the cable swap. Essentially two discrete systems sharing selected speakers with selector boxes instead of swapping cables, which I agree is a real pain!

I figure if not, then a 3 channel amp plus the MC 402 would work, but I do listen to much of my music with front and rear and wish to keep that ability.

Regardless of what I wrote in my previous post, I actually use my Proceed Amp 3 for LCR, with 14' XLR lines running from the PAV/PDSD pre/pro to the amps. The amp sits between the LR speakers and behind the center speaker. In stereo mode, of course, the center amp is inactive. The Amp 2 sits next to the rack and drives the surrounds.

I have no idea what a used 3 channel equivalent of the MC 402 might cost on Audiogon.


Well, I see a MC 303-3 on Audiogon for $7K, so bd's suggestion of buying a mono amp for the center looks attractive. I assume your B&Ws are inefficient and require lots of power.

Thanks Dp,

Saw that add as well! This addition will need to wait a bit but thanks for the heads up!

Still curious if anyone has thought through a way to add a 5:1 amp for that purpose yet keep my current arrangement intact without swapping cables. (see previous post regarding selector boxes)

The B&W's can handle much power, but surprisingly they have full dynamic range with much less power than expected. Plus I must live in the same house with my very understanding wife!

Happy listening,
RR, your speaker switch should work fine. The only concern I would have is what it does to the sound quality of your MC202.
If Stereo is you main concern, I would purchase a surround receiver for listening to movies and save your equipment for stereo. It can get very expensive trying to do 5 channels of high quality sound just to watch movies.
Hey All,

Thanks for the continued information. I agree that the movie piece will be just fine with a quality 5:1 amp/pre. The speaker selector boxes I will be using will not be in the "protection mode" which means both, good generally unimpaired sound quality for the MC402, and concern given to insure good impedance match. How to utilize the existing speaker cables and the additional adds down the road without having to swap cables manually is still the on going question.

As a start you could get a 5.1 AVR with pre-outs and use the pre-outs connected to your C46 for the LR channels and use the amps in the AVR for the center and surrounds. If you want to upgrade the center, you could then add a monoblock for the center. Or add a 3 channel amp to drive the center and surrounds.

For casual use of a 5.1 system, having center and surround amps equal to your 402 is probably overkill. The AVR will not be close to the quality of the C46 so why should the amp be of the quality of the 406? Something like an ATI 180.3 would probably be fine as an add-on amp, unless you are going set up a high end movie system. Purists will say that everything needs to be matched, which is true if you are primarily watching movies or doing multi-channel music. But for a hybrid system with part time moving watching, having better quality LR is probably fine.

For example, I use Sonus Faber Cremona speakers with a Classe pre-amp and a Levinson 432 amp for stereo. For movies/TV I have an AVR with the center and surrounds driven by an ATI amp and the LR feed to my Classe pre-amp. My Classe has a HT bypass, but you can simulate that with your C46 by just knowing what level to set the C46 for moving watching. Just have to watch the levels so as to not accidently overload the sereo system when doing HT.

With a 7.1 AVR you might even be able to drive your outdoor speakers with zone 2 of a 7.1 AVR.

This type of hybrid system takes a little time to set up but can be very cost effective in the long run. A programmable remote with lots of macros can make it easy to run on the macros are set up.
Much of the above is right on the money. Using your processor in/outs and a surround sound reciever with pre outs should get you where you want too be down the road. At any rate, mostly wanted to add my congrats on your getting your new Mac gear. I finally got a Mac 6600, after wanting MaIntosh gear for thirty years. Even two channel for TV/movie is great, especially with a nice stereo system. You may not miss SS much. Happy Listening. Glen