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  1. #1
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    Integrated Amps with HT bypass?

    I'm looking to purchase an integrated amplifier to match with a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s. I would like to limit my search to those with HT bypass, throughput, pass-thru, or whatever it's being called these days.

    My budget is around 1K used so any models that retail for 1500-2000 might be ok too.

    It's hard to find a list of amps with this feature so I'd like to hear about any models that have an HT bypass, even if your not too keen on the sound.

    Thanks for any and all input.

  2. #2
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    what do you mean with that HT bypass?

    because you want an integrated amp, which is stereo, and has no dsp effects, nothing else that links it to HT use.

    the only thing that I can think of now is a pre in, where you use your integrated amp as a power amp.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    what do you mean with that HT bypass?
    Though I am somewhat new to this and I'm hoping someone else can explain it better, my understanding is that HT bypass is an input that passes unaltered thru the amp, so you can run your surround, center, and sub channels from the AV receiver direct and use it as a pre-amp out to the integrated for the front channels.

    Please forgive me if my explanation is lacking or even incorrect as my understanding of all of this is rudimentary at best.

  4. #4
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    You probably...

    Quote Originally Posted by portraitinjazztv
    Though I am somewhat new to this and I'm hoping someone else can explain it better, my understanding is that HT bypass is an input that passes unaltered thru the amp, so you can run your surround, center, and sub channels from the AV receiver direct and use it as a pre-amp out to the integrated for the front channels.

    Please forgive me if my explanation is lacking or even incorrect as my understanding of all of this is rudimentary at best.
    ...should give us some info on what you want to have and what you expect to accomplish when all is said and done...You already have a receiver ...An integrated amp is basically a receiver without a tuner containing a pre-amp and power amp on one chassis, so there is a bit of redundancy in connecting them in the manner you seem to describe...Further up the chain are complete separates consisting of two individual units on two separate chassis: pre-amp and power amp and then there are pre-amp processors which in turn need amplifiers for each channel...

    Do you have an A/V receiver and want more power for your fronts? In that case all you need is a power amp, however you need to have pre-outs on your A/VR to do this...in which case your receiver will function as a "hybrid" pre-amp/processor/control center/amp for everything but the fronts which will have their own outboard amp.

    You'll need to be a bit more specific in your ultimate plan. Make and model numbers will help...

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  5. #5
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    An integrated amp is a unit with a power amp and a pre-amp integrated together.

    HT bypass means you're using only the power amp portion of the integrated. It's usually because you don't want to have to readjust the level of the integrated every time you switch to the home theater.
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  6. #6
    Demoted to Low-Fi Registered Member Carl Reid's Avatar
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    Krell 400xi retails for $2500... but I think the older the 300i also had ht bypass and that one can be had for 1k used....

    Also check out Integrateds from Musical Fidelity and Marantz... I think some/all of their models have a feature for bypass....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    give us some info on what you want to have and what you expect to accomplish when all is said and done...
    Sorry for the lack of info in my post.....I've been accused of being too detailed in the past, so I was trying (unsucessfully) to economize.

    To elaborate, I currently have a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s and a Cambridge Audio D500se CD player. As of today I have no power supply at all (amp/integrated/receiver, etc), so my system is currently dormant.

    I would like to get an integrated amp (for budgetary reasons) that will satisfy my need for quality 2 channel music but will also allow me to add an AV receiver and more speakers later on down the line when my budget permits.

    I previously had only a Denon AVR-2807 for both music and HT but was dissatisfied with the dull sound and lack of detail w/ 2 channel music. So I got rid of it and am now looking for an integrated amp. Given my budget of approx. $1000 used or new, I feel I can get great 2 channel sound now with an integrated, and later add an AV receiver to handle the processing and the additional speakers for my home theater needs. Therefore, I would like to take a look at whatever integrated amps have an HT bypass feature (I know there are not many), in order to make the future upgrade easier.

    Thanks again for any wisdom in this matter.

  8. #8
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    First things first...

    Quote Originally Posted by portraitinjazztv
    Sorry for the lack of info in my post.....I've been accused of being too detailed in the past, so I was trying (unsucessfully) to economize.

    To elaborate, I currently have a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s and a Cambridge Audio D500se CD player. As of today I have no power supply at all (amp/integrated/receiver, etc), so my system is currently dormant.

    .
    ...Have you heard Bill Evan's Portrait In Jazz? If you haven't and you're into jazz (I assume so from your moniker) I highly recommend it.

    Most integrateds that I'm aware of have little or nothing to do with HT or any sort of HT bypass feature...Most are aimed at the stereo crowd (like myself) who eschew that sorta' stuff in favor of interconnectivity...Are you quite sure that you haven't mistaken Pure-Direct or some other mfrs. name for their tone control circuitry bypass feature? I mean you could send a processed signal from the pre-out of any A/VR so equipped to the input of any amplification device...You then get into redundant volume controls, etc. however...

    Denon has it's PMA-2000 looks to be a great unit, unfortunately it has an MSRP of $1200...

    Marantz has it's PM-7100 @ $649 MSRP and has the connectivity of the Denon above. Like the PMA-2000 it has pre-out/power-in jacks and tape monitor ckts. which makes for superior connectivity, unfortunately both have the switch that separates the pre- from the power amp on the rear panel, not particularly convenient for everyday use.

    Yamaha's AX-497 @ $449 MSRP doesn't have pre/pwr jacks...which limits expansion to some degree...

    Pioneer's Elite series A-35R @ $200 MSRP also has limited interconnectivity...

    NAD and Adcom are other possibilities...

    There are some 2ch stereo receivers from HK, Denon, Marantz, and Outlaw that have great flexibility in how you can wire things together; all have the pre-/pwr jacks, which in my mind (along with tape monitor circuits), are the most important features in audio gear.

    Yes there's other stuff to be had, but the prices rise substantially and things like tone controls and phono pre-amps are left out...I have a sizable vinyl collection and certainly some of those disks can benefit from a judicious tonal tweak now and again...Halo by Parasound, Cambridge Audio, Creek to name a few...

    You can also simply have two dedicated systems and use a proper switching device to send their respective outputs to the same set of front speakers when required...The Russound AB-3.2 is ideal for this function.

    jimHJJ(...That's about all I have...)
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  9. #9
    Demoted to Low-Fi Registered Member Carl Reid's Avatar
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    Seems I got missed

    Quote Originally Posted by portraitinjazztv
    Sorry for the lack of info in my post.....I've been accused of being too detailed in the past, so I was trying (unsucessfully) to economize.

    To elaborate, I currently have a pair of Paradigm Studio 20s and a Cambridge Audio D500se CD player. As of today I have no power supply at all (amp/integrated/receiver, etc), so my system is currently dormant.

    I would like to get an integrated amp (for budgetary reasons) that will satisfy my need for quality 2 channel music but will also allow me to add an AV receiver and more speakers later on down the line when my budget permits.

    I previously had only a Denon AVR-2807 for both music and HT but was dissatisfied with the dull sound and lack of detail w/ 2 channel music. So I got rid of it and am now looking for an integrated amp. Given my budget of approx. $1000 used or new, I feel I can get great 2 channel sound now with an integrated, and later add an AV receiver to handle the processing and the additional speakers for my home theater needs. Therefore, I would like to take a look at whatever integrated amps have an HT bypass feature (I know there are not many), in order to make the future upgrade easier.

    Thanks again for any wisdom in this matter.
    Since my original post was in your other thread and got blended with this one by the admin maybe it was missed.

    YES - there are Integrateds that have the exact feature you are looking for. They are designed to be used in tandem with a HT receiver so that the integrated will serve as just a Power amp during HT but when you want to listen to reference quality 2 channel, the pre and power sections of the integrated are used and the HT receiver has no involvement.

    Both Krell and Musical Fidelity produce Integrateds with HT bypass (note: this has nothing to do with tone controls)... and Marantz also has a version of bypass but it's not accesible by remote. you actually need to flip a switch on the back of the PM 7001 to bypass the preamp...

  10. #10
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    The Krell 300i definitely has the "Theater Through" feature you are looking for. All Krell integrated amps has this and most of their preamps.

    The 300i is a seemingly endless 150x2 with Class A preamp section and true balanced circuitry. You should be able to find one used for $1k give or take and thatis a steal. I also have a 500i for sale which has much better sound and 250x2 and a 280cd cd player. If interested, send me an email from my CP.

    You have the right idea though. I used to connect all my 2 channel sources to the Krell which made for a killer system and then used the Krell as a slave to run the fronts from my HT processor. Off the top of my head I'm not sure what other amps offer the bypass but it is becoming a popular feature as people actually understand what it's for.
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  11. #11
    Demoted to Low-Fi Registered Member Carl Reid's Avatar
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    Let me do a quick explanation of what HT bypass is (experts feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)....

    Integrated amps are a combination of a Pre-amplifier (essentially a volume control and input switcher) and a Power amp (drives the speakers)....

    Many Integrateds eg NAD have Pre amp outputs (so you can use the preamp section of the integrated to control an external power amp AND Power amp (Main in) input (so you can use just the power amp section of the integrated, which would be controlled by an external pre amp eg... a HT receiver)...

    Note: for NAD etc... the preamp ouput has a small connector used to connect it to the power amp input... which you would need to remove if you want to connect the NAD to a an external pre or power amp.

    So if you had a Denon HT Receiver with pre-amp outputs you could connect them to the power amp input on the back of a NAD integrated and hence use the Denon as pre amp and the NAD as power amp... this is one (very inconvenient) way to do a bypass for HT. this would require changing the connections on the power amp input of the NAD everytime you want to change from Music to HT and vice versa.

    What Marantz PM7001 does is that it has preamp out and power amp input like the NAD... BUT they don't have an external connection to join them... there is some kind of additional internal connection and you can just flip a switch on the back of the unit, to bypass it. Hence, you can keep your Denon preamp output permanently attached to power amp input of the Marantz... So this option is slightly less inconvenient... BUT you will still need to get up and walk to the integrated everytime you want to change from Music to HT and vice versa.

    The best option is remote controlled version of what the Marnatz has, which I believe it what Krell and Musical Fidelity have. So you keep the preamp output of the Denon HT Receiver permanently connected to the power amp input of the Krell/Musical Fidelity and you Simply press a button on the remote when you want to change between music and HT..


    Anyway, I hope that longwinded explaination helps...

  12. #12
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    Which...

    ...is all well and good if you have the $2500 for the Krell KAV400xi or whatever-it-costs for the Musical Fidelity variant...

    A thousand pardons for my beer taste and beer pocketbook...I live on planet Earth...

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  13. #13
    Demoted to Low-Fi Registered Member Carl Reid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    ...is all well and good if you have the $2500 for the Krell KAV400xi or whatever-it-costs for the Musical Fidelity variant...

    A thousand pardons for my beer taste and beer pocketbook...I live on planet Earth...

    jimHJJ(...and rarely travel to Altair lV...)
    LOL... Good point...

    But on the cheap and within the original 1k buget you can get a used Krell KAV 300i. or a new Marantz PM 7001 for just $650 (though you wouldn't have the remote functionality)...

    P.S. The scenery is much nicer on Altair IV

  14. #14
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    If you are trying to form a cornerstone for future expansion, you should seriously consider the flexibility of separates. Finding an integrated 2ch amp with HT bypass is going to limit your options, not to mention empty your wallet. Consider buying a used pre/pro and separate amp. A quick perusal of audiogon.com noted multiple pre/pro's from Adcom, Paragon, Marantz and others that can be had for under $500 and there are a TON of great 2 channel amps that can be fit under your budget. Adcom, B&K, Threshold...you get my point. Going with separates will not only afford you more options, but it will allow you to tailor the sound exactly to your liking while offering the ultimate flexibility.

    Consider it. You can save a lot of money buying gear off of "gear geeks." You know who I'm talking about; people with a terminal case of upgradeitis.

    Hope this helps.
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    However, an Adcom preamp can't hold a candle to the 300i preamp, and I doubt his budget would afford anything comparable the 300i's power section. If performance is the goal the Krell is the way to go. I'm not familiar with MF but by rep that may not be a bad way to go either. MF would give a warmer presentation than Krell.
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  16. #16
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Oh, I agree wholeheartedly that Adcom and Krell are in two entirely different classes. That said, if he's looking to expand to multi-channel in the future, which it what it sounds like, it'll be a lot easier to do so with a separate pre/pro and amp. Besides, I've never been a proponent of spending more on your source than the speakers, so a Krell or MF would appear to be overkill for a pair of Studio 20's.
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  17. #17
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    Topper, I agree your components should be balanced as to their ability BUT I don't agree with your backward (as in direction) approach to a hi fi set up. You, should, put the emphasis on your source. You start with the best source possible and then maintain it until it reaches your ears. A nice set of speakers isn't going to reproduce nothing that wasn't in the source signal in the first place.

    I'm sure there is an exception somewhere but it seems that a stereo preamp typically yields better 2 channel sound quality compared to a similarly priced HT preamp, or even one a little more expensive.
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  18. #18
    Demoted to Low-Fi Registered Member Carl Reid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Topper, I agree your components should be balanced as to their ability BUT I don't agree with your backward (as in direction) approach to a hi fi set up. You, should, put the emphasis on your source. You start with the best source possible and then maintain it until it reaches your ears. A nice set of speakers isn't going to reproduce nothing that wasn't in the source signal in the first place.

    I'm sure there is an exception somewhere but it seems that a stereo preamp typically yields better 2 channel sound quality compared to a similarly priced HT preamp, or even one a little more expensive.
    This really is a debate that we should have in another thread, but it's way too tempting to pass up...

    Source Vs Speakers priority

    The idea that speakers can't produce something that was not extracted from the original source material is clearly logical.

    BUT

    The reason many people choose to prioritize money on Speakers rather than CD players, is because they believe that even a basic CD player can extract most of what is in the original recording. So they question whether it makes sense to spend a substantial amount on a high-end CD player, if a cheap one will provide only marginally less sonic quality.

    While

    These same people believe that the differences in speakers is dramatic, and extra money spent on better speakers will far more significantly improve the overall sound of their setup.

  19. #19
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    I understand what you are saying Carl. I've heard CD players from a $149.00 Yamaha in my daughter's room up to a $20k LINN and only a fool would hold to the idea that CD players are all the same. Hopefully, newbs will take the views here as a start and do the research with their own ears.

    I didn't intend to get off on a tangent.
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  20. #20
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    Thanks everyone for the input, especially Carl for taking the time to explain the different options to me in such a straightforward manner. I found it strange that the few MF and Arcam dealers I called didn't even know which models had which features, and there are almost as many names for the bypass feature as there are manufacturers of it, which made Google a challenge.

    So far, in addition to the suggestions here I've come up with these models that have HT Bypass/Passthrough (a few are out of my budget):

    PS Audio GCC-100 Control Amp
    Musical Fidelity A3.5
    Musical Fidelity A5
    Sim Audio I3se
    Arcam FMJ A22 (no bypass but has input "gain adjustment"???)
    Krell KAV 300i
    Bryston B-100 ("reprogrammable pass through"??)
    Naim Nait 5i (unity gain)
    Arcam A80 ("software configurable AV processor switch"??)

    For now I am leaning towards the Krell, the MF 3.5, the Naim Nait 5i, or one of the Arcams, but I am going to keep an eye on things and take a week or two to decide.

    Any suggestions on which would be most musical with good detail with my Paradigm Studio 20s v3 for 2.0 or 2.1 setup?

  21. #21
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    I assume...

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Reid
    ...P.S. The scenery is much nicer on Altair IV
    ...you refer to Anne Francis...Hmm, another mason-jar of synthesized grain alcohol sounds about right...It must be five o'clock somewhere...

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  22. #22
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Topper, I agree your components should be balanced as to their ability BUT I don't agree with your backward (as in direction) approach to a hi fi set up. You, should, put the emphasis on your source. You start with the best source possible and then maintain it until it reaches your ears. A nice set of speakers isn't going to reproduce nothing that wasn't in the source signal in the first place.
    You clearly graduated from the Ivor Tiefenbrun school of audio. Which is more important, the source or playback? This, as Carl noted, has been debated ad nauseum for longer than either of us have been alive. Let's just say we're both right and leave it at that.

    To the OP,

    RE the Nait 5i, keep in mind Naim products are designed specifically to work with Naim gear, from source to amp to speakers. This is not to say it won't work wonderfully with the Studio's, only that to extract the ultimate performance will require eventually reconfiguring your rig. As far as which sounds best, you'll have to tell us. We don't have your taste, your room, or your ears.
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  23. #23
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    Which is first...

    ...the chicken or the egg?

    I fall firmly into the school of thought that dictates speakers first...

    They are the interface...if they don't sound good, ain't nuffin' gonna' sound good...

    They will also dictate the amplification required...We all know that power ratings into nominal loads can be problematic...Perhaps the speaker you happen to chose presents a difficult load that will only be addressed by a robust amp, capable of driving loads that may veer quite far from those nominal values...If you choose your amp based on specs, sound, cachet, price, cosmetics, whatever and it is ultimately incapable of driving the loudspeakers you then choose, you are literally back to step one...ergo...

    jimHJJ(...now I'll go back to my GPX port CDP>>$7 after rebate<< and my modded $6 SONY 'phones and see what inner details I can identify...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  24. #24
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    My Musical Fidelity A3.2 integrated has HT Bypass/Passthrough on it AUX2 input. They're turning up used for around 1000 bucks.
    Musical Fidelity A3.2 Integrated amp
    Musical Fidelity A3.2 CD
    Onkyo Integra T-4500 Tuner
    Marantz Model 6200 Turntable
    Energy 22 Reference Connoisseur Speakers
    All cables-Tara Labs RSC Reference Gen2

  25. #25
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    I'm a bigger fan of MF than I am of Krell, and I've owned both. Me, I'd lean towards the MF.
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