Sharing a subwoofer between a Stereo and HT combination.

Looking to improve my Stereo playback in a limited space apartment.

Presently have a Denon AVR X3700H and I use it for Stereo in Pure Direct Mode for Stereo, and in a 5.1 configuration for HT.

Would like to improve the Stereo playback, and considering options.

1. Add a better stereo amplifier for just the Front L/R speakers.

2. Add a better Integrated with HT bypass for Stereo to the existing.

3. Add a Preamplifier with HT bypass and a Stereo amplifier to the existing.

Option 1 is obviously the simplest, and is the easiest starting point. Would use the existing pre of the AVR, and the bass management of the AVR and sub. Disadvantages are that the Pre is not the best and sub integration with the FRONT L/R with the separate amp likely not balanced at all volume levels in both stereo and HT modes.

Options 2 and 3 can provide better Stereo, but I am having trouble sorting out how the subwoofer integration will work for the Home Theater configuration.

Has anyone worked thru this and have any suggestions for subwoofer integration? Best Stereo integration, and reasonable HT integration at various volume levels. 60db to 80db average.

At the moment I am favoring Rouge Audio and Hegel as the component items for the Stereo system, either as integrated or separates. Would also consider Parasound and Anthem.  The Hegel integrated would require an additional unity gain pre to provide all the inputs I would ultimately like to accommodate.

Heard the Hegel H390 at my local dealer, and was blown away by the sound. Not sure I can afford to go that route, but am considering the Hegel H190 with the hope of the same sound. Adding a unity gain pre to get more inputs is a complication. As a result would consider the Hegel P20 and H20 to get the Hegel sound with separates.

Could not hear the Rogue Audio components in a similar configuration in the same room, but considering the Rogue Audio Pharaoh as an integrated, or the RP-1 and Hydra as separates. Maybe all the way to the RP-5 and Dragon as separates. Heard the Rogue Audio Sphinx V3 versus the Hegel H95, and liked the Rogue better with the same speakers (Revel Concerta2 M16). Also heard the Rogue Pharaoh with a Rogue pre, but a different configuration, speakers, and room, with different input, but liked the sound.

Have not heard comparable Parasound or Anthem configurations. Have an Anthem AVX 510 that was replace by the Denon when it went in for a repair. Like it’s sound, and used it as a test of the pre outs from the Denon into the Anthem for stereo, and that led to more exploration. I know, no amplifier ins on the Anthem, so not a sustainable configuration, but gave me ideas. The Anthem is outdated for video, so haven’t put it back in the main system. Looked at the Anthem STR integrated, but the HT bypass also shuts off the subwoofer integration. That is largely what led me to the issue of subwoofer integration with a multi use set up.

As I understand at the moment, it would seem that the best integration of the subwoofer would be to connect the subwoofer to line level outputs of the stereo system, and optimize the subwoofer there. Set the HT as a 5.0 and make sure the fronts are set as full range to use the Stereo as the front L/R with HT bypass.

Any hints or tips welcome. Note: I do not have the space for 2 separate listening environments, and do not foresee that in my remaining lifetime. If you look at some of what I have listed here, the price range goes from $2k up to $8-10K, so consider that a range. Tube pre OK, but not sure I am ready for all tube amp. Present speakers not optimal for tube. May update speakers, but will likely still be bookshelf’s as the space and room layout cause more issues with full range floor standers. Only path I would see to tube amps would be to go to single driver full range speakers.


Until you have more room to work with...what about a great sounding pair of headphones? Fidelity wise this might be your best band for the buck.  


First, disregard option 1 of adding a stereo amp — you don’t wanna leave the AVR’s preamp section in the stereo pathway so either an integrated or separates is the way to go. You should share what sound characteristics are most important to you and you’ll get better recommendations for one of those.

Adding a stereo amp would be a way to migrate to separates for stereo and allow a gradual transition. Easier to audition amps in the system to decide the sound I like best.

Included some sample devices that I liked for a sound reference. Heard the Hegel H390 with Revel Performa3 M105s. My present front and center are Ascend Acoustic Sierras that are similar to the Revel Performa3 M105s.

From what I have, am pretty happy with the overall tonal character. Would like the mids a little stronger; more soundstage depth and height; and better separation of the instruments.


Can’t quite wrap my head around what you’re doing here. I think the easiest solution might be to have a sub that can use more than one connection at once and use one for stereo and another for HT and optimize for stereo. Another option would be to get a 2:1 RCA switch and manually switch input for stereo and HT.

Sub can use more than one connection, but easiest is speaker level from the stereo and RCA LFE from the HT, but then the sub would get both signals when using HT bypass from the separates. Will see if that can be controlled in some manner from the sub maker. RCA switch on the LFE to the sub may be the only way to go.

Adding a stereo amp would be a way to migrate to separates for stereo and allow a gradual transition. Easier to audition amps in the system to decide the sound I like best.

Well, the only problem is the crappy pre section of your AVR won’t allow you to hear all that’s going on.  If you’re gonna do that I’d highly suggest auditioning a stereo pre with it so you better know what you can expect out of it.  I’ll make an exception — you can buy this with total confidence that it’s a near SOTA amp and can pair any number of preamps in the future and get unreal sound.  BTW, IMHO this is overpriced by at least $500, which is probably why it’s been on the market for a while, so should be some wiggle room on price, shipping etc.

Or you can just get it all done at once and get a good integrated.  Here’s a nice, reasonably priced Hegel H390, and by adding this everything will significantly improve on every level. And if not, you can turn around and sell it for little/no loss — almost kinda like a cheap in-home trial, which is kinda nice.

Here’s a good review just fyi…

If I’m you I’d drive a hard bargain on that McCormack and bask in its glory until you can find a good stereo pre that mates well with it.  Then again the Hegel is no slouch and a much easier proposition, and either way you’ll be on another planet sonically.  Just a couple suggestions FWIW. 

I have the same sub array for three different systems on the same room., one surround and two stereo. Just get a decent quality switch and maybe some level balancing electronic pots.

I kind of live in the same world as you do. Started with a Marantz sr5015, added a MM7025 amplifier for the left and right to improve SQ. That was a good move until I got a INNUOS pulse mini. That was a nice upgrade from the HEOS streaming app on the Marantz. Wanting to take the stereo game up a little more I started looking at pre-amplifiers with home theater pass-through and subwoofer integration. The best solution that I could find on the market currently is the Anthem STR pre-amplifier and power amplifier. Currently awaiting its arrival will report back after a few hours of playback. Good luck in your search