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Thanks. Here’️s my dilemma: if I’️m doing a full 5.1 with Excites [plus Atmos and maybe Auro eventually], will I be wanting to do as much as if not more all channel music listening than 2 channel? ....bc if that’️s the case, the money for the integrated amp would be better spent on a 3-5 channel power amp, no?

It's kind of a preference question. Do you like listening to stereo music processed through a surround encoder? Some do, some don't. I don't. Even when I was big into the SACD and DVD-A craze, I usually preferred to listen to the stereo mix than the discrete multichannel mix. So I always put my money into the front L&R channels first and compromise on the rest. But if you like surround processing and prefer to listen to music and watch shows in surround, then it makes sense to invest more equally on all the channels.
it would actually be 5-channel stereo rather than through the surround processing. I can’t stand listening to music in surround mode.
Not having listened to music through an integrated amp for a comparison, I’ve preferred all-channel stereo or 5-channel stereo to 2-channel stereo through an AVR.

I’m not much into classical, jazz, or symphony, and there are days that I like to play loud [which suits the all-channel stereo mode].... but I’m sure there will be times when I’ll want to appreciate music in 2 channel listening. I know that I’ll need some form of external amplification that much is certain. If I go the integrated route, can I have my cake and eat it too— still be able to listen 5-channel stereo when I want but with the integrated still powering my fronts to lessen the AVR’s burden?
 

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I've done that a few times. In at least three iterations of my HT system, I used a high quality 2-channel integrated with a unity gain/HT bypass input, along with an AVR with pre-out for the front L&R channels. I had my stereo sources going direct to the integrated, and multichannel sources going through the AVR. For me, the priority was to get better sound out of the front L&R channels.
 

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Let me save you some time and money. If you don't listen to music the way it was intended (2 channel stereo), then just power everything by your receiver.

The reason it is being suggested to power your two main speakers with a quality amplifier is because 2 channel music listening can be highly improved with a quality 2 channel integrated. If you are just listening in surround sound, then adding an additional amp will have limited benefits. All these "home theater" 3 and 5 channel amps are barely better than a quality receiver to begin with.
Most modern AVRs don’t have enough juice to power music in 5 and 7 channel stereo without clipping. Therein lies the crux.

As far as “listening to music the way it was intended” goes, to me I’ve always found that remark to seem a bit condescending and elitist in nature, no disrespect.
Firstly, we all have our own genre & listening preferences. If you have nights where you want to recreate a live band in a bar, or a concert at a large venue, or a club type feel, then 2 channel stereo isn’t necessarily “what’s intended”, at least not if your fronts are bookshelfs. On that front, 5 channel stereo can fill my room with a level of sound that 2 channel simply can’t touch, to the point it seems like everything is 3D if all is calibrated correctly.... but I almost get the sense that some audiophiles interpret it as “cheating” if using more than 2 channels to accomplish one’s listening goals.

Secondly and contrary to your claim, music was not created to be listened to through 2 channels of operation I’m sorry to say; it was created to be listened to LIVE. Therefore, in music’s truest analog form, you would have each instrument group and vocals being played through their own personal discrete channels, rather than having everything crammed into 2, making your premise flawed from the start.
I get it though— it must be a fun addictive quest chasing that elusive state of having just 2 channels of music tricking one’s brain into believing it’s actually listening to the real thing, but where any deviation from that form of 2-channel trickery being perceived as cheating.
 

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I've done that a few times. In at least three iterations of my HT system, I used a high quality 2-channel integrated with a unity gain/HT bypass input, along with an AVR with pre-out for the front L&R channels. I had my stereo sources going direct to the integrated, and multichannel sources going through the AVR. For me, the priority was to get better sound out of the front L&R channels.
Thanks Red. In that case, should I be wanting an integrated amp capable of streaming its own music [for nights of 2-channel listening], while having my other streaming source running through the AVR for the times I want multi-channel stereo? .... or can I run a single streaming source through the AVR and still have it used by the integrated amp in 2 channel stereo?
 

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the two that I’️m looking at both do. Marantz 6013 or Integra DRX 4.2.

I would just need to know then which 3 or 5 channel amp pairs well in the $800 range.

Would a 3 x 200 for LCR [letting the AVR power the rest] be better than going with a 5 x 120 and letting the AVR power the rears and heights?
Sounds absurd but the monoprice Monolith multi channel amps are repackaged ATI amps made in California and very high quality for a decent price.

200 watts in a quality amp with earnest ratings is quite a lot for most applications.
”quite a lot for most applications” as in overkill for Dynaudio bookshelfs and thus better to go with 5 x 120 at similar cost, or quite a lot as in just what the doctor ordered?
 

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Can we add a quality integrated amp to an older outdated AVR, or does the AVR need to be upgraded in order to achieve the full potential? I can only purchase one or the other right now and then circle back for the leftover in a month or so.
 

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Let me save you some time and money. If you don't listen to music the way it was intended (2 channel stereo), then just power everything by your receiver.

The reason it is being suggested to power your two main speakers with a quality amplifier is because 2 channel music listening can be highly improved with a quality 2 channel integrated. If you are just listening in surround sound, then adding an additional amp will have limited benefits. All these "home theater" 3 and 5 channel amps are barely better than a quality receiver to begin with.
I'm kinda with MED here. More, my opinion; is by trying to fold good 2-channel and good HT...into one system. Compromises both.

Sure...if you have mad money to throw at it; it can be pulled off. Though, I am in the camp...that what you're looking for, from the 2; is very different.

I understand; not everyone can have a dedicated 2-channel system...and dedicated HT.

But maybe more than anything TD; you seem to be in a real rush...to the "next" thing. No sooner...than you're declaring your newly-arrived X18s; as CM2 killers...than you're looking at S40s.

Look; some people may say, I'm the last person...to be trying to slow someone's journey down. But, as they say: no zealot, like a convert.

I've been in your shoes, a bit. Work it backwards: do you HAVE to have, HT? Sounds like yes. That leaves an IA out; and either an AVR or Pre-Pro. Then...if the question is; what power-amp, will do your X18s "justice". I'll second Aschen; ATI makes the guts...of some pretty hi-end kit. The Monoliths might be worth a shot.

Another school of thought: while they're hard to find...3 channels, keeps so much current; from pulled apart...5 or 7 different ways. Might try, an old anchor of an amp; like an HCA-1203 or 2003. Or an Aragon 8008.
 

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Though, I am in the camp...that what you're looking for, from the 2; is very different.
And to illustrate my point...because I know a lot of you disagree. And...no offense; but for HT. I'd take a pair of these



Over like, C2s...any day (and at a mere, $3300/pr)
 

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Anyone leaving their amps on 24/7? I left mine on for a day and I could swear it sounds a little bit purer. Not a huge difference by any means but interesting. So I looked into my manual and they do recommend leaving it on all the time for best performance. It does pull about 140 watts at idle though. Gets pretty toasty too. Not sure if it is worth the wear.

I have Pass gear and without a doubt leaving it on all the time is better. In the summer I try to warm the amp up an hour or so before listening; however I agree with you drewTT, it is just not at the same level as being left on all the time.
 

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Let me save you some time and money. If you don't listen to music the way it was intended (2 channel stereo), then just power everything by your receiver.

The reason it is being suggested to power your two main speakers with a quality amplifier is because 2 channel music listening can be highly improved with a quality 2 channel integrated. If you are just listening in surround sound, then adding an additional amp will have limited benefits. All these "home theater" 3 and 5 channel amps are barely better than a quality receiver to begin with.
I'm kinda with MED here. More, my opinion; is by trying to fold good 2-channel and good HT...into one system. Compromises both.

Sure...if you have mad money to throw at it; it can be pulled off. Though, I am in the camp...that what you're looking for, from the 2; is very different.

I understand; not everyone can have a dedicated 2-channel system...and dedicated HT.

But maybe more than anything TD; you seem to be in a real rush...to the "next" thing. No sooner...than you're declaring your newly-arrived X18s; as CM2 killers...than you're looking at S40s.

Look; some people may say, I'm the last person...to be trying to slow someone's journey down. But, as they say: no zealot, like a convert.

I've been in your shoes, a bit. Work it backwards: do you HAVE to have, HT? Sounds like yes. That leaves an IA out; and either an AVR or Pre-Pro. Then...if the question is; what power-amp, will do your X18s "justice". I'll second Aschen; ATI makes the guts...of some pretty hi-end kit. The Monoliths might be worth a shot.

Another school of thought: while they're hard to find...3 channels, keeps so much current; from pulled apart...5 or 7 different ways. Might try, an old anchor of an amp; like an HCA-1203 or 2003. Or an Aragon 8008.
not really in a rush per se, even if it might appear that way ostensibly. I’m definitely keeping my X18’s for a few years at least. I was just curious on the difference between those and the S40’s.

For the rest of it, I just want to get it all up and running, and I have a fixed budget to work with that won’t be able to be supplemented for at least a year, if not two, so it’s not like I can parse this project out over the next 6 months to allow better upgrades. I am, however, only going with 5.1 for now so that I can max out my main speakers, and I’ll worry about rears and Atmos later. I figured the X18’s are perfect bc I got a great deal on them, and if I want to upgrade my fronts down the road, I can move those to side surrounds and move the sides to the back.

HT was initially my main priority, but I don’t necessarily see any of this as a compromise, as I won’t be buying any lesser HT components or any greater stereo components no matter how I do this. I’m still buying one of the mid level 11.2 capable AVRs for $649-$699 regardless [the Integra or the Marantz 6013], as soon as one’s available. I see no reason to double that price for negligible gains. I’m still getting the same main 5 speakers no matter what [X14 for surrounds and either X18 or X28 for the center]. I already have my sub. My only real option to skimp on one thing in order to upgrade something else would be to pass on the X14 surrounds, find something cheaper with a similar sonic signature, and use those savings elsewhere, like on the amp or a 2nd sub [which I don’t think I need]. But then if I want 5-channel stereo capability or Blu-ray concerts, I think I’d want the X14’s over whatever improvement that an additional $300-400 in the amp can provide. How much more can a $1200 amp give me over an $800 one verses going with X14’s over a pair of budget speakers?

So the question really only comes down to what form the necessary external amplification comes in. I need at least 2 extra channels to make the full Atmos operational, and no matter how I do this, I will not be spending more than $800-1000 on an integrated amp and won’t be spending more than that on a power amp either, so this isn’t a scenario where I’d be even contemplating wanting to spend the entire $1600-2000 on one amp. I have absolutely zero problem with a comprise. You might view it as a compromise, in a negative light, but I simply look at it as— I’m getting dramatically better HT and music than I previously had, and that’s my goal. I’m not looking to sacrifice one for the other. I want good both... rather than great one, mediocre the other.... and I really don’t NEED my music to sound spectacular. I don’t NEED to spend a few grand to chase that extra 10% increase.

I mean, still remember a time when my music was listened to via cassette player on a boom box. Dyns with a premium AVR, even without an integrated amp, is a massive step beyond that and also beyond what 99.9% of the rest of the population listens to. Heck, I thought it was a huge upgrade 10 yrs ago when progressing to an Onkyo AVR with the KEF egg satellites in a box, and the Excites put that experience to shame. It kinda feels at times that some audiophiles treat this like, “unless you throw bookoo dollars into your system, all speakers will sound exactly the same and money spent on good speakers will be wasted”, but that’s just not the. This $800 pair of Excite X18’s on a 15 year old receiver, playing Pandora and Spotify for the time being, are a revelation compared to the same rig with B&W CM2’s and have me actually enjoying music enough to amend my HT/music ratio from the previous 95-5 to something like 70-30... and perhaps even 60-40.

So, back to my dilemma. I’ll need at least a 2-channel amp to get full Atmos and to be able to play 5-channel stereo without clipping. If I can accomplish that with an $800-1000 integrated that can allow me to stream my 2-channel music directly through it while still being able to stream 5-channel music through the AVR with the integrated amp remaining operational in this mode, and with the integrated also being able to power my fronts during HT usage, then to me that would seem like the ideal solution, not a compromise but being able to have my cake and eat it too.


Thanks on the amp recommendation by the way.
 

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ToddDavid
5 channel stereo is just making the most amount of noise you can with what you have. I NEVER play anything in this mode. Concert bluerays I play in DTS master, which sounds like a live performance, the singer appears on stage wherever he/she is standing in the show. The surround channels are mainly used for the ambient sound of the venue, or the audience. You lose all the work that the recording engineers did to make you feel like you are actually there when you use 5 channel stereo. You said something about “elitist attitude” When MakeEmDance was trying to give you good advice, which is not true, he is trying to help you, but you seem to be ignoring what anyone tells you anyway. Take it from someone who had an extreme 7.2 dedicated home theatre, two channel stereo is where you will end up.
Good luck.
 

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ToddDavid
5 channel stereo is just making the most amount of noise you can with what you have. I NEVER play anything in this mode. Concert bluerays I play in DTS master, which sounds like a live performance, the singer appears on stage wherever he/she is standing in the show. The surround channels are mainly used for the ambient sound of the venue, or the audience. You lose all the work that the recording engineers did to make you feel like you are actually there when you use 5 channel stereo. You said something about “elitist attitude” When MakeEmDance was trying to give you good advice, which is not true, he is trying to help you, but you seem to be ignoring what anyone tells you anyway. Take it from someone who had an extreme 7.2 dedicated home theatre, two channel stereo is where you will end up.
Good luck.
The vast majority of people who listen to music are not self-identifying “audiophiles”, so whenever I hear the phrase jabbed in, “the way music was intended to be heard”, it just rubs me the wrong way. Music is intended to be heard however the particular individual wants to hear it, PERIOD.... which is why there are so many listening modes available beyond 2 channel direct.

Respectfully, I honestly couldn’t care less about your feelings on 5-channel stereo or the way in which you seem to turn your nose up at it. For me, “the most amount of noise from my receiver” is precisely my goal at times. I listen to all sorts of music, but occasionally I simply covet maximum energy over accuracy and finesse. When was the last time someone walked into a club, or sat in a large venue concert, or listened to a loud local band in a bar and thought to themselves, “Man this isn’t in purist 2-channel stereo with .000014 THD, I’m outta here!”??

Additionally, my listening habits will not be affected by the efforts that the recording engineers put in. They were paid for their work. If I happen to want to listen to something in 5-channel stereo, I care not if it affects someone’s delicate sensibilities on the matter.... but I would pay dollars to donuts that the artists I choose to listen to 5-channel music in, would most likely understand the desire to have their s**t cranked than to suppress its energy through 2 channels of bookshelf speakers.
The stuff I play in 5-channel is stuff that’s MEANT to be played loud, and not everyone has X44’s.

I seem to be “ignoring what everyone is telling me anyways”?? That just sounds bitter. I bought my sub based on a direct recommendation from here. I’ve fine-tuned my AVR choices and price range based on input here. Had I not read through this thread, I would’ve stuck with the NHT C3’s rather than continued my search for a great deal on X18’s, so this place has positively influenced my speaker decisions as well. I followed advice from a wise poster here to focus on maximizing my 5.1 setup first before moving onto rears and heights. I also followed advice from here to not go overboard on amps for HT use..... and it now looks like I’ll likely be following the advice to change from a power amp to integrated if it’ll still allow me to play my redheaded-stepchild 5 channel streaming music sessions through the AVR while the integrated amp handles the 2 channel stereo stuff. So your assertion of me ignoring others anyways couldn’t be more unqualified my friend.

But yeah, when it comes to HOW I listen to my music, I don’t need to be told how that needs to happen. If I want energy, or if I’m cooking dinner, or cleaning, I’ll crank it through all channel stereo. If I want relaxed and pure, music that’s more delicate, I’ll listen to 2-channel. If it’s a BluRay concert it’ll be played in the format it was intended. Don’t take everything so literally. I’m not buying an 11.2 receiver to listen to movies in all-channel stereo, so why would I do it for a concert on DVD? 5-channel is for streaming music only, and only when I want it loud, but that’s probably 50% of my music listening. Not everyone’s library consists solely of classical, jazz, opera, and easy listening.
 

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When was the last time someone walked into a club, or sat in a large venue concert, or listened to a loud local band in a bar .
Lol, about three months ago, and I can’t see this happening again for another year or so.:rolleyes:
 

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When was the last time someone walked into a club, or sat in a large venue concert, or listened to a loud local band in a bar .
Lol, about three months ago, and I can’️t see this happening again for another year or so./forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif
Got your TT up and running?
 

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Got your TT up and running?
Yes sir, I have maybe 15 - 20 hours on it. My dealer said the cartridge and phonostage will really open up after around 100 hours on them. The problem is I currently only have 4 albums worth playing, so I am into reruns just to get some hours on them.:p I am trying to swing a deal for a Nagra integrated at the moment, the dealer is really low balling me for my Cary gear and confidence Center, but I added a few other things to sweeten the pot, we’ll see what happens when he calls me later on. He is mostly a high end 2 channel dealer, so does not carry much home theatre gear. Basically I am bailing out on home theatre, and upping my game on 2 channel. I still have an old Denon AVR I can use if I want.
 

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Is anyone using a Bluesound Powernode 2i with Dyn speakers. It's rated 60 WPC @ 8Ω and I don't see anything said about performance (or stability) at 4Ω. I am thinking about matching one with a pair of Audience 52SE for an office system. It doesn't have to be loud but I would like it to sound pretty good (mostly classical music via Roon). I would love to just get a Naim Atom, but even a used one would be out of my budget.
It turns out a Naim dealer listed a demo Atom on A'gon yesterday, so I just bought that for a really good price.
 
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It turns out a Naim dealer listed a demo Atom on A'gon yesterday, so I just bought that for a really good price.
I saw that unit yesterday as well, I was going to post it here but saw it was gone. The problem I have with those small boxes, is they are more than a good Int. Amp. The good news I think the Atom sounds better than the NAD M10 as I tried both of them out but for my office system, liked the software better on the M10 but liked the Analog sound of the Atom much better. Since I have a computer sitting write next to me, with boat loads of music burned no need for either. I might use my KEF LS50 in nearfield position as I heard they do really well, just need to clean up some desk space and get a small speaker desk stand that can raise them a few inches. Or I just sell them and use what I have..
 

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Got your TT up and running?
Yes sir, I have maybe 15 - 20 hours on it. My dealer said the cartridge and phonostage will really open up after around 100 hours on them. The problem is I currently only have 4 albums worth playing, so I am into reruns just to get some hours on them./forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif I am trying to swing a deal for a Nagra integrated at the moment, the dealer is really low balling me for my Cary gear and confidence Center, but I added a few other things to sweeten the pot, we’️ll see what happens when he calls me later on. He is mostly a high end 2 channel dealer, so does not carry much home theatre gear. Basically I am bailing out on home theatre, and upping my game on 2 channel. I still have an old Denon AVR I can use if I want.
My 11 year old daughter went to the record store with me today. Her picks except Animals. That’s mine.
 

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My 11 year old daughter went to the record store with me today. Her picks except Animals. That’s mine.
Nice, an 11 year old into Nirvana is cool...and KISS, what can I say..I was a HUGE fan as a teen. They were the first concert I saw, in 1977 or 78 (can’t remember now) with my Dad and sister, at the Pontiac Silverdome...Cheap trick was the opening act.👍🏿
 

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I saw that unit yesterday as well, I was going to post it here but saw it was gone. The problem I have with those small boxes, is they are more than a good Int. Amp. The good news I think the Atom sounds better than the NAD M10 as I tried both of them out but for my office system, liked the software better on the M10 but liked the Analog sound of the Atom much better. Since I have a computer sitting write next to me, with boat loads of music burned no need for either. I might use my KEF LS50 in nearfield position as I heard they do really well, just need to clean up some desk space and get a small speaker desk stand that can raise them a few inches. Or I just sell them and use what I have..
I really had only planned to spend half as much on something. The Atom is overkill for my office, but it'll sound great with my Audience 52SE, so I will enjoy it. Also, I retire in a few years so after that I won't need an office system and can repurpose the Atom for use in the dining room or something like that.

I use those 52SE in a near field arrangement, like studio monitors. They are mounted up on the wall angled down towards me with the Dynaudio wall brackets I originally bought for side speakers in the AVR system.
 
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