Stereo vs Home Theatre


New member
Username: Chris_g

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-05
I'm building a new system. I'm torn between a music system and a home theatre system. I want something that can accommodate both without being a three-headed six-eyed illegitimate beast. I've made inquires here on this board about KEF vs. B&W for in-wall mounted speakers (my assumption is B&W, but I've never heard them, and I'm very found of the sound of KEFs).

I have a Technics SL-Q30 turntable that I need to replace (and a semi-large vinyl collection, 500+). Sounds great, but the dust cover hinge is broken (it's not visible when not in use, but I have to remove the dust-cover completely to play albums).

I have an NAD 512 cd player that I need to replace. The front panel LED has shorted out and from what I've inquired, repairing it will cost as much as the value of the unit. It plays beautifully, but if I want to play, say, track six, I hit the skip button while I count to myself, "1,2,3,4,5,6"... it's gotta go.

I have an NAD 1300 pre-amp that also needs replacing. The volume knob has a short that crackles when I adjust the volume between 1 and 2 on the dial (volume above that, and the crackle goes away.)

I recently replaced a Carver power amp, one of the only components that actually had no problems! ... with a mint condition used Proton AA-1150 dual mono unit... The Proton is a beauty. I bought it with the plan to buy another and use them to power speakers on a surround system.

If I were only build a stereo stand alone system, with no regard to video/surround, I know exactly what I would do.

I would get

Krell KAV-400xi integrated amp:

Krell KAV-280cd compact disc player:

and find a good used late model B&O linear tracking turntable:

and be done with it.

But that doesn't solve my home theatre problem. How might someone build a good stereo system that does double duty as part of a home theatre without compromising everything to the needs of the theatre system... NOTE: I live in New York (Manhattan) where space is a major premium. There is no spare-room to build a theatre in. Stereo/Den/Living-Room/Home-Theatre are all the same room, just one room, and it has to exist esthetically as a well arranged living space first and foremost... all else second.


New member
Username: Chris_g

Post Number: 6
Registered: Mar-05
Oh, I remembered why I was posting this under Amps... let's say I get an amp like the Krell KAV-400xi, which is only stereo. Can this amp run the main speakers, and work in combination with some other power amps to produce the needed channels for a surround system? ... can the basic system be bridged in, so to speak, to be part of a larger system that is a home theatre? What components would be needed?

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 427
Registered: Sep-04
Not a fan of the brands you've chosen so I won't comment on their presentation styles. You have options on this issue though:

1. Music wins out - forget surround sound!

Just get yourself a good integrated stereo amp, plug in a good DVD player using just its stereo outputs and plug the amp into your speakers. You won't get surround sound but you'll get pretty decent replay.

If music is of major importance, do the above, but make it a cheaper DVD player, and get a dedicated CD player as you mentioned above (I don't care much for Krell but the principle is the same). This will give you the best possible CD replay and pretty reasonable DVD replay too.

2. Surround sound is important if not as important as music.

You could use the system as described above the integrated amp to drive the main front speakers. Add a surround receiver for surround duties. If you choose sensibly, the integrated amp will have a unity gain feature on one of its inputs (say, A/V) which means that the volume control on the integrated is disabled when switched to that input. Therefore, when playing DVDs, the surround receiver would have to be switched to DVD, the integrated switched to A/V and then use the surround receiver for all volume duties when playing DVDs. For music from a CD player, the CD player would simply be connected to the integrated amp through its CD input, so that works in the usual way.

The downside of this means you'd have 1 DVD player, 1 CD player, 1 surround amp and 1 integrated amp (and 5.1 speakers dotted around your room).

If that's too many boxes...

Well, there is the fully integrated surround solution. A DVD player playing into a surround sound amp/receiver - just two boxes. That said, the surround receiver is a large box that needs adequate ventilation above it - typically 3 inches or so. It's the neatest solution, but more compromised. For my taste, Arcam make the most musical sounding equipment of this kind. The DV79 is a fabulous DVD player for the money (although the FMJ DV29A is the best by a long shot, both musically and otherwise) and so too is the AVR300 receiver. For best music results, plug the DVD player's stereo outputs into the CD input of the receiver and switch to CD for stereo playback. Switch back to DVD for surround sound.

Finally, I recently played with an M&K sub/sat speaker system which is discreet and very convincing both in terms of music and in terms of surround sound. It's a full bandwidth system, going all the way down to 20hz seamlessly. This is one of the few speaker systems of its type thatI have found to be convincing. I strongly recommend a listen if you can get one. They also make in-wall speakers so you can hide them.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Your question has too many answers to give a definite "do it this way" answer. The first problem in directing you toward a suitable solution is not knowing what you value in a good stereo system. If you are mostly interested in the overall tonality of the system and not too concerned with things such as deep, wide sounstages with performers occupying a finite space and the "palpable" presence of space between the performers, you might find a good separates based system with a suround processor to your liking. If detail and nuance are not your thing a top line AV receiver can certainly offer pretty good stereo for basic listening needs. If what you want is a better stereo system, a decent two channel system will go a long way toward making movies, and especially TV, more interesting than nothing but the TV's speakers. Unfortunately, if you are trying to assemble the best stereo money can buy and movies and TV are minimal on your scale of interest, the problem you will always have when trying to integrate audio and video will be the big box that gets placed betweeen your speakers. I have yet to hear a stereo system perform as well when there is a TV chunked down bewteen the speakers as when there is no TV.

I'd definitely forget the B&O table. They where all looks and no performance when new. They were one of the most unreliable products I ever sold and B&O long ago abandoned supporting their tunrtables with parts or service. Buying a linear tracking B&O table would be the same as buying a used AMC Pacer.


Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 429
Registered: Sep-04
Ah yes, forgot to mention turntables - I agree with Jan I'm afraid. The B&O is great to look at but not much kop performance-wise. If you're interested in a turntable that looks good, have a look at decks from makers such as VPI, Michell Engineering, Project or Rega Research. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the above makes each have quite different looks so you should find one that works for you.


New member
Username: Chris_g

Post Number: 8
Registered: Mar-05
thank you

Bronze Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 47
Registered: Dec-04
I might buy your old Carver.

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 31
Registered: Apr-05
Jan, those old beogram tables were cute though, no? I always said B&O was sexy stuff. Never thought it sounded very real though.

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3672
Registered: May-04

"Jan, those old beogram tables were cute though, no?"

Oh, yes, indeed they were! All the g@y guys that came in where I sold wanted to hear show tunes through the B&O. Despite the generally crappy sound, they bought them anyway. I have several stories about B&O deliveries that the administration would not allow on the forum. No matter their sexu@l orientation, their purchases always amounted to a good commission check. B&O = Bad sound & Overpriced.


Bronze Member
Username: Sethmckiness

Des Moines

Post Number: 18
Registered: May-05
Yep, sounds about right, was the same way back in the day at the store I work at. I unfortunatly have one that happens to still work for some reason. I would love to find a thorens, or if I get an inheritance from an unknown rich relative a rega..
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