Emphasis on stereo but need a complete solution.

So I started trying to fix my stereo output from apple music and have ended up realizing I need to replace the middle of my system.  I only have two real sources of audio video, Firestick and a streaming music service.  

For tv/movies, I don’t care all that much.  Mostly watch baseball, nice if movie sound is decent. Only source is Firestick 4K

For stereo, I do care.  I want the Totems driven as well as possible.  Source Tidal, Qubuz, Apple???

I have a 30 year old NAD 2 channel 2100 amp- I could use for the Totems but willing to replace.

Also have Yamaha – RX-V375 Receiver which I could use for the surrounds.  I don't want it in the signal path to the mains (Totems)

So I care most about the DAC, Preamp, and 2 of the 5.1 channels of the amp(s)

Would rather have the amp(s) separate from the digital stuff.

I used to know audio but stopped paying much attention years ago and somewhat confused by the digital side.  I am a programmer but just don’t keep up with audio formats much.

Cost is definitely a factor.  Used stuff is ok with me and usually more cost effective.  Would like to stay under 3k-ish.

I think I’m breaking the problem down correctly but chime in if not.  Mainly just want to figure out how to break out the components.

What do I put in the middle where it says  ***(What goes here???  


Existing system:

Video source:FireStick 4k  ->  

TV:  4K HDMI Input ->  Sony 85" Class X90CL Series 4K  -> 4k HDMI output ->

***(What goes here???   Decode HDMI, Streams Tidal, preamp, amp) ->

Mains: Totem Winds for left/ right mains  - 80-250 watt, 4 ohms, 87 dB sensitivity, 24-21 khz +-3db

Surrounds: Energy center, rears  -No specs, decent, not very important to me

Active Sub (maybe removed if the Winds can handle the lows for movies, don’t need sub for music)


If the “Audio Out” on the back of the Yammy is just a front L/R line out you will only need a stereo preamp to do what you’re looking for.  IF that audio out is what I described you just hook that from the AVR into into the HT bypass (or other unused input) on the stereo preamp and also hook your streaming source into the stereo pre and you’re pretty much done.  Your 2-channel will be completely separate from the HT signal path, and all you need to do to switch between stereo and HT is switch to the appropriate input on the stereo pre and that’s it — it’s a beautiful thing.  A preamp with an HT bypass input makes this easier and more seamless to do as no volume matching is required between the AVR and stereo pre.  Alternatively you could retire the NAD and get a good integrated amp — again preferably with an HT bypass input — and that’d work too.  Hope this helps, and best of luck.

@soix  "If the “Audio Out” on the back of the Yammy is just a front L/R line out you will only need a stereo preamp to do what you’re looking for."

The audio outs on the yamaha are for recording.  They don't respond to volume and according to other posts by owners, shut down when the source is hdmi.  The manual tells you not to use it for input to anything other than recording.  Weird.

" Alternatively you could retire the NAD and get a good integrated amp "

Actually, the NAD is currently retired.  Sitting on a shelf for 15 years.  It's just available if needed (even if temporary while I source another amp).

The RXV375 is useless in terms of what you’re trying to accomplish so I’d just cut bait and sell it to partially offset the cost of getting something that’ll actually work for you.  If I’m you I’d take a good look at this highly regarded Hegel H190 integrated and Yammy Aventage AVR that fall within your budget, will do what you’re looking for and will likely sound excellent in your system.  Just one idea FWIW.



So, basically replace the rx-v375 with a model that has pre-outs, connect them to the Hegel H190 for the mains and use the Hagel for the streaming input, dac, preamp, and amp for stereo.  Not a bad idea.  

I was kind of hoping to keep the amp portion of stereo separate from the streaming/dac/preamp.  Just because the digital stuff goes obsolete faster than amps.


I was kind of hoping to keep the amp portion of stereo separate from the streaming/dac/preamp.  Just because the digital stuff goes obsolete faster than amps.

So then just get an integrated amp with no DAC/streaming capabilities and a separate DAC and streamer to plug into it — this setup still works great.  I still wouldn’t overlook the H190 though as it’s a great integrated amp and has the juice to drive your Totems.

@soix I just found an open box H190 for 2k.  Read the pro reviews, a lot of good reviews and seems perfect for my use.  I bought it.  Now I'll look for the Yamaha RX-A2A or equivalent.  Great suggestion, thanks.

Wow. Great find and congrats! Definitely consider the link I included above for the Yammy. Many people here have bought from them and they get high marks — great prices for basically new gear with full warranty is hard to beat, and you avoid the potential risks of buying used. BTW I’m a big fan of Yamaha AVRs for both their sound quality and, very importantly, their reliability. Happy hunting!

Incidentally, the streamer/DAC in the H190 are decent and certainly very capable of getting you going, but there’s definitely more to be had with a better separate streamer and DAC down the road if you so desire, and the H190 is a good enough integrated to that it’ll scale up and grow with it if/when you decide to up your streaming game. Looking forward to hearing what you think once it’s up and running and after it has at least 100 hours of break in on it. 🤞🤞🤞.  Oh, forgot to mention I’m also a big fan of Totem speakers — one of my faves.

Amazon had the Yamaha for 599$ new (not refurb).  I get 5% back so only 75$ more than the AccesoriesForLess refurb.  And I can walk into whole foods and return it without questions, shipping, etc.  Done.  Now just need to wait.

Nicely done!  I should have you audio shop for me.  A wise man once said “yeah the waiting is the hardest part.”  Do you have an additional interconnect to run from the Yammy’s preout to the Hegel’s HT bypass?

Good point.  It looks like the only choice is RCA unbalanced.  Fine with me for movies/tv.  I have a few decent one around.  I should pick up something short and good quality.  Not sure how much that cable matters???



Honestly, for this application I’d use anything you already have on hand unless you just feel like spending more $.

I suggested the H190, not the H120 cause ur gonna need the power.  Which one did you get?

@moverton99 , the one higher up from the RX-A2A....i.e., the RX-A4A is what you may need with preouts for all channels. It is on accessories4less for $799, full price is usually around 1400.



Fidelity levels will improve depending on how hifi of a power amplifier you will connect to those preouts, especially the front stage (front left, center, front right).

Here’s a decent power amp candidate with 120 W/channel class AB, all channels driven, which should make your speakers behave...


Other things you could consider doing for your Yamaha receiver/processor...

- Read the manual cover to cover

- Turn off bluetooth and wifi. Don’t bother with the antenna.

- Hardwire/Connect with a ethernet cable, use a IFI ethernet filter before plugging in the ethernet cable.

- Use a Audioquest power conditioner such as the Audioquest Powerquest 505 or 707. Plug your processor, amp, router, etc into it on designated outlets.

- If you are a cable believer, use Audioquest power cables, speaker cables and ethernet cables (even the fairly affordable base models should be fine).


@soix I did mess up it and bought the 120, they had both open box and somehow swapped without noticing.  I just changed it with the vendor to the 190.  Another 700$ but still good deal.  Thanks for the heads up.  Good catch.  


@deep_333 I don't need more than what the A2A can provide for the center and surrounds.  They are relatively tiny and I don't have any plans on something larger there.  I'm only moving the front left/right to the Hagel.

Whew!  Yeah there’s quite a difference between the 120 and 190 both on the amp and digital side so very glad you could switch, and yes that's still a very good price for an open-box 190.  Looking forward to your thoughts. 

So, I have this now:

  • Totem Wind left right
  • Energy Center and Surround
  • Yamaha RX-A@A receiver
  • Hegel H190 from yamaha preouts for mains

Music uses just the Hegel and Totems with airplay as a source for now. Will be adding Tidal or Qubuz at some point.

It took 6 hours for me to rewire, setup receiver, amp, etc. Lots of little menu’s and frustrations but mostly done.

It sounds terrific although my room has a lot of reflective glass and stone.

Some frustrations:

  • Yamaha only allows the sub cutoff down to 40hz. The totem can handle down to 24hz. I don’t use the sub for music anyway (Yamaha is out of the picture for music) so not terrible. Just wonder why Yamaha would assume no one has speakers than handle less than 40hz.
  • I think I am not getting the full low frequency to the Totems when playing music. I need to investigate that.
  • Hegel has an auto-shutdown, but does not turn on automatically. No trigger input either. So I just leave it on with display off.
  • Yamaha has a calibration mike but the cord is not long enough to reach the room with the speakers so I can’t use it, I have not fully setup the surround levels and distances yet. Sounds fine for tv/movies so far but should be adjusted.
  • I'm surprised the Hegel doesn't have a sub low level output.  Not sure I need it with the Totems but seems odd.


I'm surprised the Hegel doesn't have a sub low level output.  Not sure I need it with the Totems but seems odd.

A LFE or sub output is a feature you’d find more on a home theater oriented product.  You should be able to use the Hegel’s variable line level output with your sub if desired.  

@soix "You should be able to use the Hegel’s variable line level output with your sub if desired."

Ah, I didn’t think of that. Although I’m not sure how I’d hook that up. I do need it for the movie stuff so my sub is hooked up to the Yamaha. It only has one RCA input. But maybe I can just move it to the Hegel and whatever low frequency is going to the fronts will go to the sub. I just hope the Yamaha can be set to not filter anything from the pre-outs.

I rarely used the surround setup in our HT because of the bother, so I installed a Sony HT A9 SW5.  Now immersive surround is always available.  What I didn't expect was how good the HT A9 SW5 setup would be for music.  The sources are eARC via an 85" Sony, discs via an Oppo 205, Roon via a Nucleus, all HDMI.

I could be happy with that as our only system, but I use a KEF LS60 with a pair of KC62 subs and an Ayre DX-5 DSD in the living room,  I kept an Ayre AX-7e integrated, C5xeMP disc player, and Thorens TD 124/SME III to use with KEF Reference 1s for nostalgia.  I plan to sell racks of Ayre gear, the Bryston SP3 processor, and maybe the 3 Velodyne HGS-15 subs.

The point is, with new technology it's no longer necessary to spend lots of money buying lots of components to achieve very good sound,