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To bypass the AVR or not ... that is the ????

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So I'm hopefully taking possession in a short little while, courtesy of one of the friendly folk on here, a second hand W4S ST-500 power amp that I intend to use to drive an also recently acquired pair of vintage Celestion SL6 speakers - which are quite tight and need a v.solid power source to drive.  

I've currently hooked these up via my Denon X3000 Zone 2 amp which also allows the Denon to run as my DAC and pre-amp / amp for any of the inputs.

I also have an Audiolabs MDAC that is used specifically for a set of Beolab 3s and is fantastic.  


With the arrival of the ST-500 power amp, my signal path will change and am wondering whether I still use the Denon as the pre-amp using the Zone 2 pre-outs or go the dedicated pre-amp path and run a second out from the MDAC to the new pre-amp to feed Sonos.


I am toying with the idea that I can switch a few settings on the Denon and potentially run the speakers as a another set of surrounds for Movie watching etc whilst retaining the flexibility but just wondering if I'm going to be tarnishing the music aspect.  Not after audio-phile outcomes and a turntable may soon be on the cards to listen to via the Celestions. 


Keen for thoughts if you have the time to share them.

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definitely preamp with ht bypass

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26 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

definitely preamp with ht bypass

Thanks for comment - do you mean use a preamp that has Home Theatre (HT) bypass (not sure what that is as I would not send HT “inputs” to the preamp) or more simply just bypass HT AVR with use of a preamp?

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Something similar to this. Music source in your case would be the DAC. Allows you to run surround and good 2 channel music in same system without changing cables.


A preamp like Parasound P5, Primare i22/i32 and i think w4s have ht bypass too. Many others also out there


There is a few threads here on how to do it and plenty of others online too


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How much music vs movies? And are you serious about music?


An AVR compromises music and should only be considered when you want a one box solution, have space limitations.  You appear to have no problems with space nor additional boxes. Suggest getting a preamp for music...

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48 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

Something similar to this. ...

Thanks for the suggestion - my only problem is X3000 AVR only has zone 2 pre-outs which means I can't setup these speakers as the primary R+L for HT usage.  Can configure them as extra surround speakers (haven't checked if can also do this via the pre-outs, suspect not and can only via the amplified speaker connections). 

I should probably do some A/B testing between running them via the Denon DAC vs my audiolab DAC to see if the DAC differences are discernible over the Denon AMP (which is quite good at 105W per channel out of Zone 2).

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@citrusvodka I just did a quick search and looks like it has preouts for L+R



Also looks like your DAC has volume control so yeah maybe do some tests first with it straight from dac to w4s amp. It will be a lot better than through avr


best of luck

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10 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

looks like it has preouts for L+R

yep but this is Zone 2 - I can specifiy an dual front A+B HT setup in the Denon settings so maybe that would work via the w4s amp. 

Regardless some fun to be had experimenting, although feeding those bloody speaker wires into the connectors at the back of the amp which sits in an entertainment unit is a PitA! 


Thanks for suggestions and will report back once the W4S arrives and is properly setup

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Posted (edited)

I simply use a Beresford TC-7210 speaker switch box so I can run music via DAC and class A integrated amp while sharing the speakers with my AVR for movies. It sounds FAR better than running through my AVR, and the AVR sounds better for movies. Whoda thunk it  ;)

Edited by MattyW

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