2 channel preamp for music only system

Hello everyone,

I’ve been reading posts and responses and have been in awe at the quality and detail of responses. 
Recently I decided to repurpose my Adcom GFA 555 as part of a 2 channel music system using my HT receiver zone 2 as the preamp. The normal pre outs would require that I go into setup each time.  I quickly determined that I would be better off by adding a dedicated preamp to the system. 
When using zone 2 with the Adcom, I have no volume control, yet it doesn’t seem very loud. 
I guess my question is, with a preamp, could I expect more volume?  I’m streaming using a blusound node 2. Seems like a 200 watt per channel should play louder. 
For example, my HT speakers are Focals with a similar spl to the JBL’s, but play significantly louder than the JBL’s yet the amp is of a lower power.

2 channel system current configuration…

Pioneer Elite SC. LX 901 (using zone 2 as preamp)

Blusound Node 2i (streamer)

Adcom GFA 555 (power amp)

JBL L100 Century speakers

I’m thinking of adding either a Parasound or Adcom preamp (budget under $1k) but would love to hear suggestions from you or ways to make the Pioneer act as the preamp without having to change settings (turn off home theater speakers, change subwoofer volumes, etc.)  

thank you!




It sounds like the cleanest solution may be a pre-amp or integrated amp with home theater bypass capability. This is a feature of some Peachtree products, for example the Nova 150/300/500 and the PreDAC. 

Meanwhile you also could use the Node 2i as a stereo preamp (as suggested above), but AFAIK there is no way to connect it into a surround sound system with the home theater bypass option. The OP may want to do this, in order to have the option of using the JBL speakers either in isolation (with the pre-amp as volume control) or as left+right speakers in the home theater system (with the HT receiver as volume control and the stereo preamp/integrated in home theater bypass mode).

But if you don't want to integrate the JBLs into the home theater, then just try using the Node 2i as a preamp as suggested above (with the stereo system disconnected from the HT system).  In that case, if you control the volume with an app (Bluesound/Roon/ whatever), just be careful when shifting the volume slider to the right.  The Bluesound app may allow you to set limits. Or program the Node, via the BS app, to accept volume +/- signals from any IR remote control. This is a pretty nifty capability with the Bluesound products (if you prefer handheld remotes to software for volume control etc.)

I love my Parasound P3, but I have them with a Arcam amp (FMJ series) and Paradigm Prestige speakers, so it's partially the mix.  It is a bit warmer.   


Good luck 

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Question for pingstonsmile, who is Brian, I have some older and rare Adcom equipment I might want to update. All I have gout is musical fidelity and I like alternative options. I have the all white amp, pre, and tuner. I’m not currently using however they all work!!! Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.