Advice on a 2-channel system


New member
Username: Alessio

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-05
I an looking for advice on a new system to be used primarily for music (mostly Jazz)though HT is in my future sometime down the road.

My budget is about $2500. I am thinking about $1500 for speakers (front runners are PSB Silver, B&W 604, Acoustic Energy Aelite3 and I may take advantage of 120 day home trial with the Ohm Walsh 100 MK-2) and about $800-$1000 on the receiver or amp.

I am a bit confused about where to start, that is, do I get a A/V receiver or seperates?

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3299
Registered: May-04

You have no need for an AV receiver in a stereo only system and would compromise the quality of the system with such a purchase.

Do you require a phono section or is the system to be CD/DVD based?


New member
Username: Alessio

Post Number: 3
Registered: Mar-05

Thanks for your message.

I moved away from vinyl a long time ago, so I do not need a phono hook up.

My only reason for considering an AV receiver was in case I do move into a home theater set up. Besides, it seems that unless you go into the higher end products, nobody makes stereo receivers anymore. Your point up compromising on quality is one of my concerns, that is why I am wondering if I should just go with seperates (integrated amp, tuner, etc).

I like the HK 3480 that is mentioned in the Stereophile article you sent. I also looked at the Yamaha 777. John Strohbeen from Ohm Walsh recommended the Yamaha for his speakers.

Have you had any experience with any of the speakers I mentioned (PSB Silver, B&W 604, Acoustic Energy Aelite3 or Ohm Walsh)?



Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 257
Registered: Jan-05

I'm one who struggled with whether to have an a/v receiver with multi-channel and HT capabilities or to have a music-centric system. In the past year, I've gone from a NAD T763 a/v receiver to an old Mac MA6200 integrated amp to a new Onix 2 channel tube amp. It is a widely held perspective that separates will give you better quality and a more musical sound. But, that isn't to suggest you can't get a nice musical sound from an A/V receiver. I thought the NAD a/v receiver had a nice, warm musical sound. I just found through experimentation that I preferred two channel.

One thing I might suggest is having a 2 channel system for music and a separate system for HT. This might not be as costly as one might think considering some of the technology on the way. For instance, for $1499 msrp, you could have HT via something such as this (and, you would save yourself the cost of center and surround speakers):

Yamaha DSP

In the link Jan sent, the HK was also paired with the Magnepan, MMG speakers. These speakers have a 60-day money back guarantee and I decided to give them a try. I'm in love with them (paired with my Onix tube amp) and they are particularly well-suited to jazz music. Here's a link to some of my comments about the MMG's.

I personally have not heard the PSB speakers but the feedback I've seen is generally very positive. In my office system, I have B&W CDM 1NT speakers paired with the MA 6200 and I like the openness and detail they provide. A fellow forum member, Rick Barnes, has the Ohm speakers and has spoken very highly of them. I'll ping him to look at this thread and maybe he can give some feedback.

Another forum member, Kegger, is using tube amps to drive a 7.1 multichannel system and HT. So, he gets the benefit of the tube amps for both 2 channel listening as well as HT.

So, there are a lot of options to consider.

New member
Username: Alessio

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-05
Wow, you certainly gave me a lot to think about .. and I am trying to narrow my choices !! :-)

The maggies are great speakers, I heard them years ago and was blown away by their sound. I am very curious about the Ohm Walsh as well ... to bad there isn't any place to go listen to them (just to save on return shipping costs).

I like the idea of seperates. I have a chance to get a Onix A120mkii Integrated Amplifier at a low price. That would certainly do the trick and leave open the option to build an HT in the future.

I would love to hear from the Rick barnes about his experience with Ohm Walsh, not just the sound but also his dealings with the factory.

Thanks so much for your input. If you think of anything else, I am really open to suggestiions :-)

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 992
Registered: Dec-03

Go to archives under SPEAKERS. I did a post titled Audiophile Speaker Epiphany, dated April 19, 2004.

The factory is great to deal with. You will need all of the home trial period. The Ohm's take a long time to break-in but well worth it.

If you have any other questions please post back.

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 2353
Registered: Dec-03
Anthony Zaun this is in no way saying you should do this, just what I did and why!

I picked up an anthem pre 2L tube 2 channel preamp with home theatre bypass.
($550 used from Great place to shop! Should find some pre 2L's.

Then got a nice 2 channel amp to power my front main speakers. (tube design)
Also got a universal player sacd/dvd-a, denon 2200 is nice, pioneer 563a cheaper.
And used the speakers I allready had.

Now that gave me a very nice 2 channel system with the knowing I would do surround.
Hence the reason for the preamp with bypass and the universal dvd player!

Now when I was ready to do surround I could get a reciever with preamp outs (most do)
and take the front outs of the reciever and plug those into the anthem preamp.
Now by doing this when I watch a movie or something in surround I just press
the button on the anthem remote and now my reciever goes out the front preamp
outs into my anthem and out to my 2 channel amp, volume controlled by reciever.

Then obviously you get the rest of your surround speakers and center channel/
sub if you don't allready use one for the 2 channel setup. The anthem has two
sets of outputs so a sub can be used with the 2 channel setup.

Now that is a very very nice setup where you have a great 2 channel system.
Anthem tube preamp/sacd-dvd-a player/2 channel amp and your favorite speakers.

Now by getting the 2 channel amp and having your fronts on it you don't "need"
a killer reciever to power those usually larger than the rest front speakers.
So you can go with a quality brand name reciever with maybe 60-85 watts a channel
to power your center channel and surround speakers. And it won't break the
bank because your not getting the top of the line model to power your whole system.

Also by getting a nice 2 channel amp (or a pair of mono blocks) for your
front speakers you've taken a major load off the reciever and it will run
much more efficient and should create less heat not to mention if you get
4 ohm front speakers you don't need a reciever to handle that load.

So my suggestion is get a nice 2 channel preamp that has H/T bypass like the anthem
then get a universal player like the denon or pioneer.

Now you need to decide what speakers you want, there way to "personal preference"
for me to tell you what to get, but once you decide then you can get a better idea of
what amp you may want to power them.

The reason I say this is say you get some really efficient speakers so you may
want to try a lower powered tube amplifier for some great musical satisfaction.
But if you decide on some speakers that really need some power to drive them you
may want to consider a higher powered solid state amp or splurge on a bigger tube guy.
Also if you get speakers that are a 4 ohm load you need to make sure the amp you
get can handle them properly and provide the power you want.

A system like that is very versatile and won't break the bank to create it
excspecialy if you do the 2 channel now and the surround later!

One thing I would say to keep in mind is if your going surround later then I would
suggest you think about the center channel when you buy your front speakers.
I'm not saying buy the center channel but try and make sure there is a good mate
to your front speakers in the center channel department! You'll be glad you did!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------

I took it one step further and instead of getting a reciever I got a "prepro"
(preamp processor with no amplification) B&K reference 3 with 3.5 upgrd.
Then I used all seperate amps to power my center and surround speakers.
Plus I went with all tube amps all the way around.

If you went with a prepro you don't have to get all seperate amps. you would
allready have the amp for the fronts so all you would need is a 3 channel amp
to do 5.1 surround or a 5 channel amp to do 7.1 surround.

But it's more expensive this way than using a reciever, that's up to you!

Good luck and hope this was some help for you!

New member
Username: Alessio

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-05
Thanks for all the feedback, you guys have been great!

Rick: I looked for the post you mentioned but I did not find it.Which Ohm Walsh speakers did you buy?

Do any of you have any thoughts on the Onix A120mkii Integrated Amplifier?

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 994
Registered: Dec-03

The Micro Talls. Check out the 6 Moons review.

New member
Username: Alessio

Post Number: 7
Registered: Mar-05

I read the review on 6moons a while ago, that is what turned me on to Ohm Walsh. I am looking at the 100 MK-2 because I would like something with a more bass.

Thanks for the suggestion.

« Previous Thread Next Thread »

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us