HT Bypass Vs Input selection Integrated Amp

Hi Folks, i am looking to supplement my HT receiver with network streamer +DAC. Today I have the marantz receiver (SR 5015) running preamp outputs to my 2  channel Parasound power amp, which power L/R. I also do however listen to a lot of stereo music and want to add a network streamer (Arylic or Node or Wim pro), and an outboard DAC (geshelli labs j2 or Topping E30). I have been looking into solutions like the Schit Sys which seems to be cheapest, quality means to switch between two analog inputs.

I'm also now learning of HT Bypass, which some integrated amps support. That said, why can't I just get a regular integrated amp and toggle between input 1 vs 2? What is the difference between one vs the other? Thank you!

Post removed 

If you have an integrated amp you can plug the front L/R preouts from the AVR into an input on the integrated and plug the DAC into another input.  To toggle between HT and stereo just change to the appropriate input, and when you’re listening to 2-channel the AVR is completely out of the circuit, which is a huge benefit for 2-channel.  A HT bypass input on an amp is nice because the volume control on the amp is bypassed so all volume for HT is controlled by the AVR.  But, even if the amp doesn’t have a HT bypass this can still be done by just setting a reference volume level on the amp (I used to use 12:00 to make it easily repeatable) when setting the channel balance for HT.  So you’re absolutely on the right track in your thinking and thought I’d just flesh it out a bit in case it’s helpful. 

Hello @soix, thank you for the recommendations (and validating as well). I feel like the analog input switcher may be a simpler solution for now, given that my amp is not integrated! But I am getting an integrated amp soon, so I will check that out setting it up for at 12:00. And does that mean its just a reference volume level on the integrated amp and you still get volume control not he receiver? 

Totally get it on the analog input switcher and may well be the best way to go for now although I’ve never used one so can’t say much, but you’d need a way to control volume when running the DAC unless it has its own volume control. If you get an integrated with HT bypass the reference volume is a non issue — sorry if I wasn’t more clear. If you get an integrated without HT bypass its volume control remains active, so when you balance volume for HT channels you need to have the integrated’s volume set to the same volume level for playback as it was when you originally set the HT channel balance or it’ll throw off the volume balance for the front L/R channels, hence the need for a consistent and easily repeatable “reference” volume level on the integrated for HT. Now, if the integrated has a tape loop you might be able to use that as a viable input alternative for the AVR’s preouts, but I’ve never done it so can’t really speak from experience there. Sorry to be so wordy but just trying to be specific and hopefully helpful.

@soix thank you! Will look into tape loop. Also the little schiit sys does have volume control! Appreciate the detailed descriptions. 

@tony1954 i actually did come across this very same list! So many great options out there! I experience musical fidelity in the local store. Hard to form an opinion on a brand just listening to reviews. 


I have the Musical Fidelity M6si and I like it, but there are certainly a lot of good options depending on what you need and like.

You want a PREAMP with HT bypass.  Parasound makes several, among others.  :) Problem solved.

@erik_squires is absolutely correct unless you don’t want to add another box (and corresponding set of interconnects) to your system and/or you’re not thrilled with your current amp.  If you’re happy with your amp I’d just add a good stereo pre.

Thank you folks! Seems like a pre-amp is just what I need, as I do like my amp! 

Another thought is to sell the amp and get a good integrated amp - do I spend X for preamp or just spend x + 50% and get something like the M5Si from musical fidelity. Options galore in the world!! 

What Parasound amp do you have and what improvements would you like to achieve with a new pre or integrated amp?  Also, what speakers do you have and what cables/interconnects are you using, and what’s your budget and are you looking for new or used? All this will be very helpful in making targeted recommendations for your particular tastes and needs.

So here is my setup, and WHY I went down the path of an added source/DAC.

  • Speakers: Dali Oberon 7
  • Amps, I have two: Parasound 2125 V2 and Parasound A23. I like the A23 better, it details highs betters.
  • Interconnects: Audioquest Forrest

The Why: The Dali have wonderful vocals, have a warm, big sound, but aren’t that great at resolving finer detail, especially at lower volume. So I went down the path drive by curiosity as to what a better DAC can do - and lo and behold - A quality streamer/dac transformed the experience (Hifi Rose rs 250). Details are nice, sound stage has improved and im very happy.

So the objectives are three fold:

  1. integrate the streamer/DAC into the mix (pre amp or integrated)
  2. Consider whether a better integrated amp bring out more from the speakers, vs a preamp.
  3. add a record player, near term

Budget, im fine spend $1500, but would prefer to spend less, especially if gains are going to be minimal and the sound is good with just a preamp capable of HT bypass.


@soix the cheap solution is working out great for now. 50 bucks for the Schiit sys takes two inputs just fine and passes it to speakers, it has passive volume control which I leave on full, and use either receiver’s or the streamer’s level controls. Works great!! Thanks for the input and help. I do think I will get a pre-amp at some point! 

Thanks a lot for the follow up, and congrats on finding a solution that’s working well for you.  Enjoy!