Integrated amp w/ HT bypass for mains and sub

  • Thread starter TheloniousEllington
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T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
Hello,

I realize there aren't many integrated amps that are in the niche market I'm in. Parasound has an integrated with the HT bypass for the mains and sub, but there is too much going on with the phono pre and extra stuff. I have a phono preamp, so I don't need the Parasound hint. I'm looking for a good sounding Integrated amp that can bypass the home theater for the front 2 mains and the sub; so mainly the sound and the bypassing. If it has a good DAC chip in it that's fine, but isn't necessary to have one.

I really don't want to manually adjust the integrated amp volume to match the receiver volume as an option. Price range can be between 2500-6k, but hopefully in the lesser range. Let me know if you have any ideas or know of any gear that fits the description. Thank you!
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Hello,

I realize there aren't many integrated amps that are in the niche market I'm in. Parasound has an integrated with the HT bypass for the mains and sub, but there is too much going on with the phono pre and extra stuff. I have a phono preamp, so I don't need the Parasound hint. I'm looking for a good sounding Integrated amp that can bypass the home theater for the front 2 mains and the sub; so mainly the sound and the bypassing. If it has a good DAC chip in it that's fine, but isn't necessary to have one.

I really don't want to manually adjust the integrated amp volume to match the receiver volume as an option. Price range can be between 2500-6k, but hopefully in the lesser range. Let me know if you have any ideas or know of any gear that fits the description. Thank you!
There are many choices, but if you are willing to spend up to $6K, why not just get a high quality AVR or AVP and use it directly with a power amp? I can't think of an integrated amp that has better verifiable specs than the likes of the 2020 model mid range and up Denon AVR, or AVPs such as Marantz AV8805, 8805A, Anthem AVM 70 and a few others. Integrated amps are often overrated, and in general, are high margin products that rely on hearsay from the past, that's just my opinion based on specs, measurements, and experience. If you must, then at least get one that has been reviewed and measured so you don't have to rely on subjective reviews that may or may not give you the "good sounding..." that you are looking for.
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
There are many choices, but if you are willing to spend up to $6K, why not just get a high quality AVR or AVP and use it directly with a power amp? I can't think of an integrated amp that has better verifiable specs than the likes of the 2020 model mid range and up Denon AVR, or AVPs such as Marantz AV8805, 8805A, Anthem AVM 70 and a few others. Integrated amps are often overrated, and in general, are high margin products that rely on hearsay from the past, that's just my opinion based on specs, measurements, and experience. If you must, then at least get one that has been reviewed and measured so you don't have to rely on subjective reviews that may or may not give you the "good sounding..." that you are looking for.
That's a very well thought out answer. I'll look into the ones you pointed out. I'm thinking of also looking for a well maintained used avr, avp or integrated. Time and research are handy, so it's good to have a push in a direction like your list of avr and avp's.

I'll still look for the integrated ones, but I haven't had much luck seeing any that have the HT pass on the back for L/R and sub, without all the extra stuff in the signal (phono pre, ect...).

Thanks again.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
Hello,

I realize there aren't many integrated amps that are in the niche market I'm in. Parasound has an integrated with the HT bypass for the mains and sub, but there is too much going on with the phono pre and extra stuff. I have a phono preamp, so I don't need the Parasound hint. I'm looking for a good sounding Integrated amp that can bypass the home theater for the front 2 mains and the sub; so mainly the sound and the bypassing. If it has a good DAC chip in it that's fine, but isn't necessary to have one.

I really don't want to manually adjust the integrated amp volume to match the receiver volume as an option. Price range can be between 2500-6k, but hopefully in the lesser range. Let me know if you have any ideas or know of any gear that fits the description. Thank you!
The trouble with most integrated amps, is that they are low powered and in general offer limited functionality.

The one exception in terms of power in a small package is the Creek i20, which offers 240 watts per channel into 4 ohms.

However to tme the big issue is that these days you so often want a picture with your audio and vice versa. Now there really does not need to be any conflict here, and there is absolutely no need to build an audio only system to get good audio. HT demands good audio every bit as much as stand alone audio systems. In fact the audio demands and requirements of HT require the highest standards of audio engineering. This is because clear and natural speech only comes from the finest audio systems.

I personally have not used integrated amps. Since the evolution to HT I have used AV pre/pros and separated power amps. All of my systems are AV capable, even though I do listen to music without a picture often.
 
wldock

wldock

Enthusiast
From $2500-$6000 there are many Integrated amps with features from mild to wild. One just has to determine what features, power, etc. they are after.

Audio is subjective! Many will say AVR's, integrated, separates sound the same, etc., etc. One has to have their own experience to know if they hear a difference between components.

I for one found a sound difference between AVR's that I've owned. My previous flagship Onxyo TX-NR5008, TX-NR3008, TX-SR8006, Pioneer Elite SC-05, SC-25, SC-65, and entry Anthem MRX 300 have differences.

Playing 2 channel direct, I noticed a sound different between some of these units. In the end, I liked the entry level Anthem MRX 300 for all around HT and music.. even though the power and features does not match the BIG Onkyo or Pioneer. Nothing about the overall HT and music detail is entry level with this unit. The sound was less colored to me than the Onkyo or Pioneer. It seems to bring out more detail compared to the Onkyo. The Pioneer was the more powerful and forward sounding AVR that I'm sure some love. I plan to move to one of there newer units as some point.

Even further, 2 channel audio on the Anthem is good but not as good as I've heard it with some other 2 channel audio components. So, for me the goal is to have both and I'm currently planning to add either an integrated to my HT setup or an amp / preamp combo with HT bypass to the system.

I've considered something like a Schiit Audio Freya+ preamp mated with a powerful 3 channel Parasound, B&K amp. This way I get to have the same high power across the three front. I've also considered using an integrated. These have caught my attention even though they are different, they all have something to offer:

  • Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated (Built with the awesome Pascal class D amps)
  • Musical Fidelity M3si, M5si (Or any Musical Fidelity!)
  • Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 (RoomPerfect™ room correction )
  • Classè sigma 2200i ( direct digital connection between the preamp section and the amplifier)
  • Atoll IN200SE (Dual mono design, picture below)
IN200sig-int.jpg



There are tons out there with HT Bypass built in, here's a running updated list:

Also, there are many integrated that allow HT Bypass use by turning the volume all the way down to achieve unity gain.
 
Last edited:
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
The trouble with most integrated amps, is that they are low powered and in general offer limited functionality.

The one exception in terms of power in a small package is the Creek i20, which offers 240 watts per channel into 4 ohms.

However to tme the big issue is that these days you so often want a picture with your audio and vice versa. Now there really does not need to be any conflict here, and there is absolutely no need to build an audio only system to get good audio. HT demands good audio every bit as much as stand alone audio systems. In fact the audio demands and requirements of HT require the highest standards of audio engineering. This is because clear and natural speech only comes from the finest audio systems.

I personally have not used integrated amps. Since the evolution to HT I have used AV pre/pros and separated power amps. All of my systems are AV capable, even though I do listen to music without a picture often.
Thank you. That all makes sense. I'm thinking of just purchasing a nice power amplifier for now and getting an upgraded av preamp later. I own a Yamaha aventage 1060, which would really benefit from something like a benchmark power amp.
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
From $2500-$6000 there are many Integrated amps with features from mild to wild. One just has to determine what features, power, etc. they are after.

Audio is subjective! Many will say AVR's, integrated, separates sound the same, etc., etc. One has to have their own experience to know if they hear a difference between components.

I for one found a sound difference between AVR's that I've owned. My previous flagship Onxyo TX-NR5008, TX-NR3008, TX-SR8006, Pioneer Elite SC-05, SC-25, SC-65, and entry Anthem MRX 300 have differences.

Playing 2 channel direct, I noticed a sound different between some of these units. In the end, I liked the entry level Anthem MRX 300 for all around HT and music.. even though the power and features does not match the BIG Onkyo or Pioneer. Nothing about the overall HT and music detail is entry level with this unit. The sound was less colored to me than the Onkyo or Pioneer. It seems to bring out more detail compared to the Onkyo. The Pioneer was the more powerful and forward sounding AVR that I'm sure some love. I plan to move to one of there newer units as some point.

Even further, 2 channel audio on the Anthem is good but not as good as I've heard it with some other 2 channel audio components. So, for me the goal is to have both and I'm currently planning to add either an integrated to my HT setup or an amp / preamp combo with HT bypass to the system.

I've considered something like a Schiit Audio Freya+ preamp mated with a powerful 3 channel Parasound, B&K amp. This way I get to have the same high power across the three front. I've also considered using an integrated. These have caught my attention even though they are different, they all have something to offer:

  • Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated (Built with the awesome Pascal class D amps)
  • Musical Fidelity M3si, M5si (Or any Musical Fidelity!)
  • Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 (RoomPerfect™ room correction )
  • Classè sigma 2200i ( direct digital connection between the preamp section and the amplifier)
  • Atoll IN200SE (Dual mono design, picture below)
View attachment 53331


There are tons out there with HT Bypass built in, here's a running updated list:

Also, there are many integrated that allow HT Bypass use by turning the volume all the way down to achieve unity gain.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. Yes, there is always speculation on audio, but discussions like this are always beneficial one way or the other. Good insights on the pioneer and onkyo.

I'll into the ones you mentioned. I also was on that page you sent a link (audiophile.no) and I couldn't find several that had the HT feature, like all of audio analogue for instance. Maybe I am missing something on the back of their features...

From all the advice so far, I'm thinking about looking into a benchmark power amp for my 2 channel front speakers with my Yamaha aventage 1060. Eventually I can get a higher end (for my perspective) av preamp.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
From all the advice so far, I'm thinking about looking into a benchmark power amp for my 2 channel front speakers with my Yamaha aventage 1060. Eventually I can get a higher end (for my perspective) av preamp.
In that case, I would say welcome to the "separates" club!

If you mean the Benchmark AHB2, it is a great amp for sure, but I hope you would consider some of those Hypex or Purifi based amps build by a few small companies that offer excellent performance or power to price ratio.

Also keep in mind that the AHB2's gain is relative low so you probably should figure out your actual power requirement first before pairing it with the RX-A1060 that likely won't do too well at output higher than 1 to 1.3 V.

Even when set to "High-gain", the AHB2 will need 2 V input to output 100 W into 8 ohms.
 
wldock

wldock

Enthusiast
I'll into the ones you mentioned. I also was on that page you sent a link (audiophile.no) and I couldn't find several that had the HT feature, like all of audio analogue for instance. Maybe I am missing something on the back of their features...
Everything listed on the site is supposed to have an input that could be used for a HT Bypass. Its been around for several years so I'm sure its pretty accurate and up to date. What units are you looking at?

From all the advice so far, I'm thinking about looking into a benchmark power amp for my 2 channel front speakers with my Yamaha aventage 1060. Eventually I can get a higher end (for my perspective) av preamp.
Wow, that's a jump up! The Benchmark AHB2 is a $3000 amp and its pretty awesome. I had a chance to listen to it, mated with their DAC2 HGC and SMS1 monitors at the AXPONA audio show in Chicago some years ago.
P1040395.jpg

Its on my want list but out of my range right now. A used Parasound Halo, or Vincent Audio is a little more in reach.

If two channel audio means that much to you, I would just continue to use your Yamaha for HT, then when you get the AHB2, consider using Benchmak's DAC3 HGC dac/preamp. It has a HT Bypass and would be an awesome front end for music! The combo would set you back $5200! ....however a really good HT preamp/processor would cost the same. Only you know what direction works for you .

https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/digital-to-analog-audio-converter/products/benchmark-dac3-hgc-digital-to-analog-audio-converter
 
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CajunLB

CajunLB

Senior Audioholic
Everything listed on the site is supposed to have an input that could be used for a HT Bypass. Its been around for several years so I'm sure its pretty accurate and up to date. What units are you looking at?

Wow, that's a jump up! The Benchmark AHB2 is a $3000 amp and its pretty awesome. I had a chance to listen to it, mated with their DAC2 HGC and SMS1 monitors at the AXPONA audio show in Chicago some years ago.
View attachment 53351
Its on my want list but out of my range right now. A used Parasound Halo, or Vincent Audio is a little more in reach.

If two channel audio means that much to you, I would just continue to use your Yamaha for HT, then when you get the AHB2, consider using Benchmak's DAC3 HGC dac/preamp. It has a HT Bypass and would be an awesome front end for music! The combo would set you back $5200! ....however a really good HT preamp/processor would cost the same. Only you know what direction works for you .

https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/digital-to-analog-audio-converter/products/benchmark-dac3-hgc-digital-to-analog-audio-converter
So you havelistened to the Benchmark AHB2 ? What are your impressions? How did it sound?
I usually listen to my speakers, but maybe your on to something.:D
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
In that case, I would say welcome to the "separates" club!

If you mean the Benchmark AHB2, it is a great amp for sure, but I hope you would consider some of those Hypex or Purifi based amps build by a few small companies that offer excellent performance or power to price ratio.

Also keep in mind that the AHB2's gain is relative low so you probably should figure out your actual power requirement first before pairing it with the RX-A1060 that likely won't do too well at output higher than 1 to 1.3 V.

Even when set to "High-gain", the AHB2 will need 2 V input to output 100 W into 8 ohms.
I'm still new to completely understanding matching, especially with impedance. What do you think about the Nord Three 1ET400A dual mono stereo amp? Might work or what avr will work with the Benchmark? Thank you!
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
Everything listed on the site is supposed to have an input that could be used for a HT Bypass. Its been around for several years so I'm sure its pretty accurate and up to date. What units are you looking at?

Wow, that's a jump up! The Benchmark AHB2 is a $3000 amp and its pretty awesome. I had a chance to listen to it, mated with their DAC2 HGC and SMS1 monitors at the AXPONA audio show in Chicago some years ago.
View attachment 53351
Its on my want list but out of my range right now. A used Parasound Halo, or Vincent Audio is a little more in reach.

If two channel audio means that much to you, I would just continue to use your Yamaha for HT, then when you get the AHB2, consider using Benchmak's DAC3 HGC dac/preamp. It has a HT Bypass and would be an awesome front end for music! The combo would set you back $5200! ....however a really good HT preamp/processor would cost the same. Only you know what direction works for you .

https://benchmarkmedia.com/collections/digital-to-analog-audio-converter/products/benchmark-dac3-hgc-digital-to-analog-audio-converter
Thank you for your thoughts. I was looking at all of the listed audio analogue integrated amps and didn't see any option for bypass on the backs. It's okay now, since I'm looking for a power amp, since I'll be slowly getting separates. I'll definitely consider the benchmark pre, eventually. Glad you had a good impression with the benchmark.

Yeah, two channel is more important to me than HT. I listen to music very regularly. I'm slowly upgrading my system. I might be going used to save some money, too. Thanks again!
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
So you havelistened to the Benchmark AHB2 ? What are your impressions? How did it sound?
I usually listen to my speakers, but maybe your on to something.:D
My receiver has to be at 65-75% volume to push my speakers, so I was looking for something to be cleaner and have more power for my kef ls50's. I'm slowly upgrading my system; I wish I could do it at once, but who doesn't?

I haven't heard it, but am in the market to find something good that is well reviewed, has been measured and will stand up for years to come. My speakers will be upgraded eventually too, but are serving their purpose now and for the room they're in, they are a proper fit and sound. Thanks your your reply.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I think the power amp route is a better one than integrated amps in general. They're as was said generally not impressive as far as power goes, they're expensive since few people buy them as well as simple economies of scale, and their feature set for dsp and subwoofers are quite limited. Better speakers would be a better way of going about it rather than overspending on electronics instead. Just what speakers and what sort of use (at what distance are you from the speakers, what are you listening to and at what volumes) are we talking about here?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
My receiver has to be at 65-75% volume to push my speakers, so I was looking for something to be cleaner and have more power for my kef ls50's. I'm slowly upgrading my system; I wish I could do it at once, but who doesn't?

I haven't heard it, but am in the market to find something good that is well reviewed, has been measured and will stand up for years to come. My speakers will be upgraded eventually too, but are serving their purpose now and for the room they're in, they are a proper fit and sound. Thanks your your reply.
AVRs are showing volume in dB, so how are you determining a percentage?
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
I think the power amp route is a better one than integrated amps in general. They're as was said generally not impressive as far as power goes, they're expensive since few people buy them as well as simple economies of scale, and their feature set for dsp and subwoofers are quite limited. Better speakers would be a better way of going about it rather than overspending on electronics instead. Just what speakers and what sort of use (at what distance are you from the speakers, what are you listening to and at what volumes) are we talking about here?
I'm in smaller room and the kef ls50 are perfect for near field. I'm about 4-6 feet from them. I listen to old jazz, classic rock, blues and classical mainly.
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
AVRs are showing volume in dB, so how are you determining a percentage?
I say the percentage, because it also shows a bar index on my avr as I turn up the volume, so it looks to be around 65-75% of the way up to push the speakers. DB wise, it's about -15 to -10. Maybe around 70-75 db from my reader on the phone. Thanks for your reply.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I'm in smaller room and the kef ls50 are perfect for near field. I'm about 4-6 feet from them. I listen to old jazz, classic rock, blues and classical mainly.
At that distance power requiremets would be minimal unless you're listening at extremely loud levels.....what's the volume level you're listening at? Did you calibrate the avr? Are you using a sub?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I say the percentage, because it also shows a bar index on my avr as I turn up the volume, so it looks to be around 65-75% of the way up to push the speakers. DB wise, it's about -15 to -10. Maybe around 70-75 db from my reader on the phone. Thanks for your reply.
The difference in power going from -15 to -12 on the avr's volume scale would be a doubling of power needed.....this is why the percentage thing doesn't work too well. Those are average levels on the spl meter?
 
T

TheloniousEllington

Audioholic Intern
The difference in power going from -15 to -12 on the avr's volume scale would be a doubling of power needed.....this is why the percentage thing doesn't work too well. Those are average levels on the spl meter?
I have an svs sub. In my opinion, the Yamaha has to be pushed too hard for how power hungry my speakers are. It's not awful, but that's why I'm looking into a power amp as separate.
 
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