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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Seeking Advice on System Integration

    I do not have an existing AV receiver or surround sound system. My existing system is a mix of recent purchases and older / vintage technology which still workd very well.
    front speakers - B&W 801
    Preamp - Bryston 2B
    Power amps - 3 x Bryston 4B amps (only 1 used for 801's, 2 spare units)
    DVD - Onkyo
    CD - Adcom
    Cassette - TEAC
    Tuner - Yamaha
    T/T - NAD

    Products I am considering to purchase to build a surround sound system:
    Denon 3803 AV Receiver or Onkyo TX-SR800
    B&W CC6 center speaker or Audio Research AR4C
    B&W DS6 Surround speakers
    B&W ASW 1000 or Axiom EP 350 or Cambridge Cube 15 sub woofers

    I have read many AR reviews on the above products but integrating/matching my existing system to the new products will be an " investment" which and I do not want to make any costly mistakes.

    Any comments, suggestions or insights from the audiofiles and techies which you would like to share?


  2. #2
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    there are several things you could do with the equip. you already have, use the amps for the front soundstage or additional zones, trade it in for the new gear, etc...
    alot of times when we're installing a home theater system, we may ( depending on condition,capabilities, etc..) utilize exsisting equipment for a separate audio only or whole house audio system; in your case a separate 3 zone audio system could be acheived.
    I would stick with the B&W s (including the sub) , i would personally go with the Denon but the Onkyo having the better remote and being certified makes it a tough contender - check the features of these two to see which better meets your needs. also upgrade the dvd player, your choice in receivers and the type of display device you'll be using will determine the new model

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Swerd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Gaithersburg, MD
    The gear you already have will make the heart of a very good HT sound system. You will need to purchase speakers for the center and rear channels, plus a receiver or a preamp/processor to handle the digital surround sound, and of course a TV set.

    You already have 3 Bryston 4B amplifiers that can provide 6 channels of high powered and high quality amplification. Why are you considering either the Denon or Onkyo receivers that certainly will be less potent than the Brystons? Why not buy a less expensive HT receiver that has preamp out jacks and connect it to your Bryston amps. You would be using the receiver only as a preamp and digital processor. If you want to spend the extra money, you might consider a separate preamp/processor, but they cost considerably more than a receiver.

    As far as speakers go, the choice in center channel speaker is more critical than the rear channels. The center channel in movies has most if not all of the dialog and much of the sound effects too. The center channel speaker does not need to handle low frequencies as well as your main speakers, and many people successfully use center speakers that have the low frequencies cut off.

    If you plan to use your B&W 801s as the front speakers for your HT system, listen to various center channel choices along with them. Bring the 801s to the dealer, or bring the center channels home. The ability to smoothly blend sounds from side to center to side is important. Often people achieve this by choosing a center speaker that has similar or identical midrange drivers and tweeters as in their front left and right speakers. Auditions of center speakers working with your 801s should make it clear what works well.

    After you find a suitable center speaker, it should be much easier to find the rear speakers. Like the center speaker, the low frequencies do not need to be reproduced by the surround channels.

    Good luck searching.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Swerd
    Bring the 801s to the dealer
    You speak of bringing the 801s to the dealer as if the speakers are laptop computer size instead of the gigantic, gorgeous behemoths that they actually are.

    All kidding aside, you have a nice set up right now. If your DVDp can decode DD/DTS, you can use the multichannel outs to connect to your preamp and thence to your separate amplifiers - which is what I'd do if you're pleased with your current preamp.

    As for a center channel, you should see if the 801s have a matching center. That way, they will be timbre matched. The surrounds, IMO, don't necessarily need to match. There's very little sound that comes out of those speakers compared to the front/center. Of course, if you're doing DVD-A or SACD in multichannel, you may want a bit more detail considering your front end, but even in those formats where the requirements on the surround speakers are more demanding, the front 3 speakers still dish out most of the sound.


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