HT setup + Stereo setup, pls some knowledge Hawk,Derek anyone


Hi all
I am just about sick of using my AVR for movies and music.
I own the Marantz SR4300 and I use if for HT with JBL satellites (I know Marantz is a kind of bad decision for HT but it was discounted 50% 2 months ago so it was a real bargain).
I own the klipsch RF3 and I wanted to set them up dedicated for stereo listening in the same room,since there is no mutlyroom in this toy receiver (my prior receiver was HK) my options:
1. I can save my money get a decent speaker A/B splitter and use it. How much sq will I loose?
2.Get a dedicated Integrated stereo Amp probably Marantz as well in order to complete the set and for the sound quality. Is it true that dedicated stereo amps watt ratings are actually much more accurate hence powerful than HT receivers?
This option wont be too expensive but I will have separate control on each unit.
3.Get a power Amp (it will not be marantz)and connect it via pre outs to the 4300 and use it for the stereo channels.
This will be more expensive but I will have full control over the hole system through the SR
I would very much appreciate your help

None of the three options are the same as Multiroom because you still must listen to the same source as your main system. Option 2 is the closest though.

If your Marantz has independent Record Out, get an integrated amp and connect it to the Tape Out. You will get full line-level audio, control over the volume and the ability to listen to different sources.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Derek
I'm sorry maybe I didn't explain myself too good.
I actually have no need in listening to different sources, I just want to keep my satellite system for my HT and have my floorstanders for only for music, from my three options what I really wanted was your opinion on using an external speaker A/B switch.
If not that then integrated or power amp ?
Thanks a lot

The Integrated will give you separate volume and maybe tone and switching. All things being equal the Integrated should cost more than a straight amp.

Does the Marantz have an A-B switch built in? If not save your money and buy an A-B switch.


I would not denigrate the Marantz 4300--it has a lot of stregths for its price point and I have recommended it numerous times for tight budgets. BTW, I actually compared it directly to a Yamaha receiver that costs almost twice as much for HT applications and the Marantz was a clear winner in a HT! So, it is pretty good gear.

I have been exploring doing the same thing--separating my HT system from my system for music. Interestingly enough, I have learned Derek is wrong to assume that a power amp would be cheaper than an integrated amp (although logical, I have not found it to be true empirically). It seems power amps start pretty high (no little "cheapies" like the old days as power amps today all have gobs of power), whereas you can get a very nice musical integrated amp for as low as $200 (check out the Cambridge Audio Model 300 integrated amp at which is priced at $199.99).

If you went the integrated route (I would recommend this), you would connect your CD player and any other musical sources to the integrated and the speakers would also have a direct connection.

thanks guys
I know I have found the integrated amps to be cheaper as well, so I will be going in that direction.
Is it true that stereo amps watt ratings are actually much more accurate hence powerful than HT receivers?
Hawk, you said to buy an A/B switch, wont it downgrade my connections?

The measuring of Watt ratings may vary by manufacturer, but I wouldn't say they vary according to being separates or receivers. In other words, a Marantz 100 watt stereo amp and a 100 watt Marantz stereo receiver are probably measured the same way.

The main benefits of separates are you can usually get more powerful amplification, you have the flexibility to buy whatever pre-amp you want, and you separate the potential of electronic interraction (hum or other interference) of the amp and the pre-amp or other components.

Since I presume your receiver doesn't have a second zone, I am sure you can get an inexpensive Niles 2 zone speaker switcher. This way you can use your receiver and not pay for power duplication. The switch has far lower distortion than the speakers have so I wouldn't worry about any introduced sonic anomalies by the switcher (unless it is defective) :-)

So generally are you saying that pre-amp+amp has less potential of interference than an integrated amp? or the opposite?
And once again, if I use a 2 zone speaker switch (I can get Vivanco made)it will have no decrease in quality?

A well made speaker switch should have no audible speaker degradation. There are lots of audio-videophile set-ups that use multiple speaker switchings with no audible degradation.

I am also saying that it is easier for a manufacturer to isolate power supplies (for obvious reasons) in separates and thus reduce the possibility of hum and/or other interference. That said, there are plenty of well-made receivers and integrated amps that have well protected and grounded power supplies along with properly coated wiring so they have no audible interference.

Thanks G-man
I will go for the switch, do you know VIVANCO?
I will save my money to get a good stereo power amp in the future.
Thanks again

Gal--You are welcome. Can't say I am familiar with VIVANCO. I have a multi room switcher by Niles. But I am sure the VIVANCO is fine. It is a very simple device afterall.


It is hard to generalize about the quality of the power from integrated amps versus receivers. I will agree with G-Man, at least to a point, in that I agree that they are measured the same when offered by the same manufacturer. However, it must be said that what is different is the load on the power supply, which may mean that the integrated amp has more useable power than a receiver of the same make and rated at the same power.

I love to point out the example of the Yamaha RX-V730 receiver, rated by Yamaha at 75 wpc (six channels), which was tested by Sound & Vision magazine. S&V found that the 730 was only capable of 37 wpc when all channels were driven. Now Yamaha, like most other mass market receiver makers, cheats a bit by testing the channels separately rather than all cheannels simultaneously. Look at the spec sheets and you will see they rate it as L+R: 75 wpc; Center Channel: 75 wpc; surround L+R: 75 wpc; and Rear Center: 75 wpc. What this means is that they never tested more than 2 channels at one time. The weakness in most receivers is the power supply, which generally cannot provide enough current to the output stages to get anywhere near the rated power. Now, they are honest in rating their receivers into 2 channels into an 8 ohm resistor, but speakers are not 8 ohm resistors--they vary in their resistance by frequency.

Integrateds, however, only have two channels to drive and the makers of integrateds tend to put in better quality power supplies so that there is some decent "dynamic headroom." That is, short transient power that exceeds the units rated power. NAD, for example, is famous for having integrateds that had 3 db of dynamic headroom. That means that for short musical transients, a 50 wpc NAD integrated amp is capable of 100 wpc (note: this was certainly true of many past NAD models--I have not investigated the current line-up, but use this only as an example). Thus, you will often see integrateds rated into 4 ohms as well as 8 ohms--usually a good sign they have overbuilt the power supply.

The net effect of this is that an integrated will often have more effective power for the same power ratings since the power supply of the integrated amp generally will not be as taxed as that within a HT receiver. That mean that an integrated will often sound louder or cleaner (or, more often, both) than a HT receiver.

If you notice in what I wrote above I did stipulate that the same manufacturer will measure a STEREO receiver the same as a STEREO amp. They will measure with both channels driven. It is often true that many manufacturers will measure multi-channel a/v receivers with only 2 channels being driven. This ends up often being an inflated spec as Hawk mentioned above.

I remember that quite a few weeks ago Hawk posted a web address (I think from Sound & Vision) that had a fairly good listing of receivers stating watts and actual power envelope performance. It was a very interesting resource--so Hawk if you still have access to that I am sure many (myself included) would appreciate seeing it again, as it deals significantly with this question.

Absolutely G-Man! Here is the link:

Thanks guys
Hawk, you said that you wouldn't denigrate the Marantz 4300. Its just that I have never had Marantz equipment before and the things I "knew" were that they were one of the best in the world, locally there Receivers were always expensive until now when suddenly the 4300 costs 1/2 price.
I owned a HK 500 which has DTS,DDL 80*5 and for some crazy reason I decided to sell it so I can add a bit of money and buy the Marantz. Only after selling my HK and buying the Marantz I started reading posts here and I understood that I made the mistake of my life.
Please tell me this isn't true, or is it?
Thanks, Gal


I don't believe you made the mistake of your life! Query: do you like the Marantz? If you do, then that is the end of the discussion. It is a very good receiver for its price point and it has some things, like dolby Pro Logic II, that are really nice to have and not available on your old H/K.

The Marantz was probably 1/2 price because new models are going to be arriving shortly; however, I am hard pressed to see what the new 4400 has that the 4300 doesn't have, so I would worry about that, either.

Enjoy the music--that is what counts!

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