Thoughts? 26' rectangular room -- 2 channel on one short wall, 5.1 on the other

I'm interested in your comments or experience about this proposal to combine 2 channel listening with home theater. I have good tube amps, sources, speakers and another system with a modest AVR and A/V capable speakers. I have plenty of subs.

Here's the situation:

I'm about to finish out a basement that is 26' x 16' x 8'.
I was thinking of trying to have the 2 channel on one wall and the A/V on the other wall.
Two couches, back to back, would divide the room and the mid point.

Doing it this way, I would get the 2 channel set up to optimize the sound, hopefully in conjunction with the home theater, which would only need to accommodate a 65" OLED TV.

I've posted a photo of a diagram (including ideas about dedicated lines — comments welcome there, too) on my system page:

The other way to do it would to be to have everything on one wall. I'm less inclined to do things this way.


I have a very similar setup for many years:

one room, 2 channel at one end; listening chairs in the middle of the length; they rotate 180 degrees and become the side chairs of my 5.1 HT that is sideways across the other end of the room.

NOT back to back. My music system is not firing at the video opposing, iow NOT firing toward a flat screen and/or firing into the woofers of the other speakers which can/will make sympathetic vibrations. Importantly that will give you options on how to treat the far wall.

Note: all my chairs are ’open back and open arm’ design, so sound flows thru nicely.

My heavy 2 channel speakers are on 3 wheels to move in/out as dining space is needed, and to adjust toe in for single imaging or wider center imaging for 2 listeners.

photos here:

Waste of $..Why split the budget between 2 systems..IMO go all in on a 2 channel system that will give you 90%+ of the surround stuff & slay on music videos & other formats..
 Elliot, Thanks for the reply -- and you have a delightful looking system. Good pointers to keep in mind and much appreciated.

@freediver  Waste of $$'s is a non-sequitur -- I already have the two systems. So, trying to distill something relevant from your post. I suppose, if the two-system room gets too complex, I have no problem with getting rid of the 5.1 stuff. I would probably just need to combine the AVR and the tube amps on a rack.

just to add, my HT, rear surround speakers:

are on their backs behind the sofa, firing up, using the space between the sofa and wall as a sort of transmission guide. surprisingly successful, and no need to solve where they or their wires would go if your systems are ’back to back’. Window/drapery locations luckily worked out and I have a light blocking shade in the window with up/dn chain just behind my head!

my HT SUB is actually at my end of the sofa facing the video and main speakers opposite. I’m essentially not aware of it unless I turn it off. It’s for Jurassic Park; Black Hawk Down; Movie Domino (what a sound track), the mains have 12" woofers.
IF you want an integrated high quality 2 channel with a HT,

you need HT BYPASS

on your 2 channel preamp or integrated amp. It is an INPUT, it takes the AVR’s FL and FR output directly to it’s amps. The AVR controls the front volume along with center/surround volume speakers that it drives.

Thus the better equipment ALWAYS drives the FL and FR (any source 2 CH or AVR and always drives the FL and FR speakers.

I had it backward, soix and others set me straight big greg’s diagram quite helpful

big_greg4,837 posts07-14-2021 9:32am
Why HT Bypass? Shortage of Inputs?
Why? Because of space limitations I have a combined 2 channel / home theater system. I don’t want to use the AV processor for two channel listening.

When listening to 2 channel, it looks like this: Source --> Preamp --> Amp --> Speakers.

The HTBP allows me to use the same amps and speakers for the front two channels. The volume control on the preamp is disabled and the signal from the source goes to the AV processor, which controls volume, room correction, etc.

When listening to home theater, it looks like this: Source --> AV processor --> L/R outputs --> Preamp --> Amp --> Speakers.

As the name implies, the signal bypasses the AV processor and goes to the amps/speakers with the simple push of a button, allowing you to share the amps for the front speakers between two separate systems.

acoustically, dividing the room makes a ’rear wall’ right behind you, earlier reflections even if diffused

and dividing limits the space others can enjoy, audibly and visibly. I or a friend and I sit in the mid focused ’imaging’ spot when listening, meanwhile Donna is behind on the sofa. others in chairs (video end, video off),

imaging limited to prime spot, yet the sound is very good anywhere in the large room, and without a divider the music can go out to the porch, bounce around corners into the kitchen ...

my somewhat large room (nj not texas standards) is the feature that turns this small split level house into a winner. When I visit houses, i.e. ’Open Houses’, often a much bigger home does not have a room that works as well.

OP is planning a basement, more easily divided temporarily, while mine is a light filled space (luckily with easy light control for video during a bright day).
Sorry, I should have specified that my post was for the OP

By the way , I use an integrated amplifier with a HTB  and it is 
fine with me.

I should have waited till Hilde responded to your suggestion, sorry, just got caught up with my thoughts about it.

I just learned about HT Bypass, it’s a very good idea for a single integrated system. In the past, I would have benefitted. New Video System: I would definitely get AVR with FL & FR Preout, and then try and keep or return a 2 CH Front Stereo System with HT Bypass. 

Someday I may upgrade my HT with new 2 channel front system, it would be for better quality 5.1, not for 2 CH, that exists other end of the room.

I could pull out my PC (needed before Smart TV’s), and the idle VHS (kept for the wedding tape, and all my illegal Mike Tyson Boxing Tapes I don’t watch), to make room for an Integrated Amp next to the/an AVR.

Coordination of TV/Blu-Ray/AVR/2CH remotes would be of paramount consideration.

How do you handle your remotes now?

OP, others

HT BYPASS is an INPUT on the separate Preamp or Integrated Amp

The AVR must have PREOUT for FL and FR to go to that input

my Sony AVR doesn’t have PREOUT

so I would need to change both for 'how much better' if just for Video Content (5.1 or 2 CH)???


I’m done with ’Theoretically Better’ after buying/trying/selling Oppo BDP-105. It couldn’t better sound in 2 ch system, couldn’t better video or sound in 5.1 system. Research, buy, drill holes, balanced cables, wife in the crawl space, rca cables, equip in/out, list, sell, lost a few hundred.


My Integrated amp. with HTB , my HT processor , my DAC/Streamer and my cable TV  , have apps that I use with my IPad.

AVR calibration, does that get properly sent to the front preouts?

Surround System: Auto Calibration using AVR Front Preouts to HT Bypass inputs:

Do AVR's boost/cut the signals to it's many preamps (presumably-thus boosts/cuts the signals going out it's front preouts)

or does it cut the power to the speaker wires another way (front speaker wires not being used)?

I just did a full AVR reset: then a manual surround speaker type/size/distance/test tone volume adjustment.

Then I used the supplied Calibration Microphone, and let the AVR run Auto-Calibrate. Interestingly Auto did a better job.

IF the front signals go out the AVR Preouts, to a separate Amp, if you hear front volume changes during calibration, all is well, then it will stay calibrated at any volume change via the AVR.

'Loudness' if used for low volume listening: For 2 Channel it needs to work when the AVR is OFF.

"Loudness' for Video? AVR would need to have a feature of some kind.

Of course, I’m so old school, I don’t even talk to my Smart TV’s.

I am still mad at Apple. I saw the CUBE introduced at Javit's Center, holy smokes, bought some stock. Holy Smokes was right, damn things burst into flames, down went the stock. Sold it, should have kept it.

sorry to detract from your thread which asked about

I’m strongly inclined NOT to try to combine the electronics, first, but to aim for two distinct systems.
Be sure and plan your monitor’s height and center speaker together.

I like my center just below the TV, keep the dialog locked to the image as best as possible.

we made temporary stacks of books until we got a height/neck angle/ceiling reflection combo that worked for us both when viewing (I’m 6 ft; Donna’s 5 feet tall).

then I built a ’riser’ from some of the matching wood from the original tall TV cabinet I chopped down, and had a glass shelf made, the Center speaker fits below the glass shelf.

I just changed from original Bose to Klipsch Center, happily it just fit (no rear port).

@elliott Don't know why it's not working. I've already spoken to the electrician, incorporating what advice I could. 
your diagram shows up using the link I posted.

your link has 'edit' added, that's the problem,

my copy of your system link without edit works.

what's the wall construction? hung ceiling? crawl space?

a few spare boxes and empty conduits or drag lines to the ceiling won't cost too much, i.e. cover the alternate layout in case you try both.

in another discussion, many people are saying any inexpensive cable is good enough for subs.
not for your 2 independent systems, but for others thinking about a single integrated 2 channel front system and AVR with front preouts, this popped up, it's on sale, has HT bypass

I like the looks, size, power of it, just passing it on
Thanks, Elliott. I think I'll leave the more expensive option for subs just in case I move stuff around.