What to upgrade in an exsisting HT setup

Hello, I have posted few threads up here and not really sure where to start. I currently have a home-theater setup that consists of audiowise, an Odyssey Stratos Extreme for my 2 main stereo channels/HT fronts, a Parasound HCA-855A for my center and surround channels, an Outlaw 950 for my pre-processor-tuner needs, an Adcom GCD-575 CD player. For speakers I have Infinity Kappa 8.1's series II for the front 2 channels, Infinity for the center, Klipsch Synergy B3's for my side surrounds, and Bose Acoustimass double jewel cubes for my rear surrounds. For my sub I am getting ready to replace, looking at an SVS 10" sub.

Now after saying all of that. I want to open up the detail of my music to get closer to the musicians per se. I have had an idea of adding a Belles Soloist 3 as HT Bypass, but not sure that I want to swallow $750 price tag. MY QUESTION is what would be the best idea on how to open up the music detail or what do I upgrade first? I am leaning and wanting something that is neutral in the sound. Maybe looking for other alternatives other than the Belles. But also keep in mind I have come from an Adcom amp to the Odyssey amp, I want to KEEP the Odyssey and build the system around that. Does Odyssey build a pre-w/HT Bypass? Any ideas? Anyone?


You are in the right direction by deciding to go with a preamp with HT passthrough (or unity gain, which is a similar end result). You are sitting good with the new amp and I am assuming you are looking to get more from 2-channel and hence this consideration.

There are quite a few good preamps that offer the unity gain or HT passthrough that you can consider. Since you do not require balanced, this opens up your selection even more.

However, your stated budget of the sub $750 level leaves me with no specific recommendations other than to look for the best preamps in this range that offer the HT passthrough feature. On the used market, you should be able to find some pretty good pres within this budget parameter. The key is to use a 2-channel pre to improve upon your sound vs. the pre/pro approach that you are presently using.
Try Walker SST contact enhancer on all connections. Also, give the DakiOm feedback stabilizers a try for your DVD player and amps; they are surprisingly effective at opening up a system's clarity and detail-without-harshness/brightness. And, they have a 30-day money back guarantee so you an send them back if you find they don't add the improvement you're seeking. I am not a DakiOm seller; just a satisfied customer.
You dont need HT bypass......yes it does make it a bit simpler but I have a Sonic Frontiers tube pre tied into my HT (Rotel Processor) which has no HT bypass and all I do is place volume at 12 O'clock so I know where my speaker levels match and simply switch pre from music inputs to the input I wired the Tube pre into. Thi salso gives me a bit of tube bonus for movies as the tube pre is always in loop (most tube pres with HT bypass are still on and burning tubes no matter what).
Could your issue be at all related to placement and position of your speakers?
Well after reading these replies and with what I did a little research on, I am kinda thinking of contacting Klaus at Odyssey about the Tempest pre possibly with or without the HT/Bypass. Hence the fact that it might be just what I need is to match an Odyssey Tempest to my Stratos Extreme. From other things I have read and others that have told me that, yes, it might take Klaus some time to do what I am looking for, but I am not in a huge hurry to do this.

WHAT are some other options for the Pre with the HT/Bypass, other than the Belles and maybe Odyssey??

As far as my budget goes, not really sure what I should set it at to do this addition/upgrade. I will say I don't want to spend much more than $750-800 to do this, and the less money spent the better. I know if you want quality and for it to be something you don't want to be replacing in 3-6 months, but something kept for a very long time, one will have to spend maybe a little more than wanted.

As to what features and specs I should be looking for in this piece, not really sure other than I know I want to hear more detail, with deeper extended bass response, highs that are not harsh, with a good balanced midrange. Something that has a good neutral sound with out killing my bank account. The most bang for MY buck.

If I am going to spend the money to get a 2 channel pre, being that I have options, I am going to find one or have one made that does the HT/Bypass. Not sure that speaker placement can have much to do with opening up the music detail more, as I don't have that big of a space to move them around in. In fact where my speakers are, is the only place I can put them. I have heard that a cubed room is the worst for music response. I don't have that problem, I have angled ceilings all through out my "above a garage" apartment, which from what I under stand is better for the sound. By having the speakers facing into the longest length of the room, is also better for the music response, not much else I can do for placement, that I know of.
With regard to placement, you can impact the sound very substantially via speaker placement. If you are getting your initial reflections at your seating position based on the present location of your speakers, you will loose potentially quite a bit of detail due to the smearing type affect. Frequently this can be addressed with rather minute changes in the speaker placement (inches) and also via toe-in to eliminate some of these initial reflections/timing issues. Cheap and easy to play around with and sometimes the impact is huge. If you adhere to the Wilson rule of speaker placement, incremental moves of even less than an inch can have noticeable impact/change to the sound.
Oh, okay, I didn't know that. I will angle them slightly toward my chair. Right now they are facing straight forward. Thanks for the tip, Ckoffend. We'll see how that sounds.
Boat, you want the side wall reflections to cross paths either behind you or well infront of you. If these reflections cross paths at your seating position you brain will have a more difficult time adjusting for this and the counter phase signals will cancel each other and you will get smearing. Between toe-in and other very small incremental movement you can correct for this and then determine if you really need more highly resolving equipment or if it was just placement.