Home theater system configuration suggestion

I’m trying to build a home theater and 2 channel setup. I want to use PS Audio components in my setup such as power plants, directstream DAC, BHK preamp and amps, etc… But in not sure if the BHK amps would be overkill for my center and rears. Im going to have a 5.1 system with Martin Logan ESL through out. What equipment would y’all recommend? Or if I’m going the right direction?

For home theater the center often needs as much if not more than the left and right. As you suggest they might be overkill for the rears.

Sounds like you’ll have a nice system! Having the BHK monos for the front speakers and definitely the center channel would be ideal and probably the Stellar M700’s or even a stereo pair S300 for the rears. BHK’s for the rears might be overkill, honestly. They Stellars are voiced very closely to the BHK’s and you would probably not be able to tell a difference by having either 2 M700’s or a single S300 for the rears, honestly. It looks like the powered subs for those speakers are calibrated with ARC so they function as a full range speaker for 2-channel, right? Would that make that system a 5.2, BTW? Anyway, I’m pretty sure they can also integrate with bass management with ARC enabled preamp like the Anthem AVM60 (which I happen to have). It is a fantastic preamp that excels in HT but also in 2 channel. The Anthem is arguably not to the degree of clarity of the BHK preamp for strictly 2 channel, but you would have a harder time optimizing bass integration and crossover for both 2 channel and HT if you run a BHK with HT bypass to the Anthem unit (or other HT preamp). It’s hard to do elegantly and satisfy both 2-channel and HT optimally, if I understand things correctly. I briefly looked into it and decided it was more trouble than it was worth. I like the ARC and subs too much in my 2 channel listening and think the benefits of the ARC/room correction outweigh the benefit of the BHK preamp tone purity. Also with the Anthem, I can phase align the subs with the other speakers, which is huge. That’s just my experience, though, since my room is somewhat tricky to get right with full range speakers and no sub/DSP. I tried briefly with the Audio Research LS27 and it wasn’t worth it.

To give you and idea, current system is amplified by the M700 for front and center channel and a S300 stereo pair for the rears with my Anthem AVM 60. They drive my B&W 804 D3’s for the fronts with B&W HTM71 S2 center and Def Tec surrounds with dual JL Fathom f110 V2 subs. This is connected to my P10 which is maybe the best piece I own. If I were you, I’d look into the upcoming P20, which Paul says is even better! I have things dialed in so that 2 channel is spot on as well as HT. My buddy who is a PSA BHK fanboy and sales guy has listened to my system repeatedly and is stunned at how good the Anthem unit is at 2 channel (not to mention HT) and to leave things alone as I have them. And believe me, it’s in his best interest to sell me the BHK pre! Again, this is for my specific room, which is a PITA. Maybe if you have an optimal room and can get away without ARC, you should go with the BHL preamp. Hard to say. However you do it, it should be an amazing system. Good luck!!

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It sounds like you have a nice system yourself, amgradmd. :slight_smile: I plan to have a Martin Logan Renaissance 15A(Mains), EFX(rears), Illusion ESL C34A(Center) and two BalanceForce212(Subs). So It will be a 5.2 system. I’m just not sure on amps. I’m thinking I might use a MC207 for my surround and center, but I’m concerned it might be not enough power to match my center to my mains. I could also use it for the whole system but am concerned that it will not be enough amp for my main when listening to music. Since it is only a 200 watts a channel. I have thought of using a BHK 250 for my fronts but I’m concerned the tubes in it might color my HT but sound great for 2 Channel. Ive thought also about the BHK 300 monos for the fronts for my mains but am concerned it will be too much power for my speakers that will be 600watts max. I will be able to control the room size a little bit because I will be adding on to my house this year and my listening/HT room is part of it. I wont need the ARC because it is built into all of my speakers except for the rears where it wont really apply. I love the sound that tubes add to my 2 channel but think it would sound weird in my HT. I will also be adding a Directstream DAC for sure and all ready own a NuWave phono converter. I also will most likely use a Marantz pre pro for my HT unless I find one I like better to do the movie decoding. what do you think with that additional info? I need to go find a Anthem AVM 60 to listen to. Does it have a sweeter sound like tubes or is it more of a solid state sound? Sorry if my reply runs together a little to much. I was just trying to give y’all a idea of what Im thinking and trying to narrow it down to have more stuff to listen to and see how it sounds and then deciding after hearing it. Thanks for everyone help and Ideas.

It’s funny that you mention the MC207! I just switched from a MC205, which as you probably know was the same amp, just with two less channels, all at 200 wpc. I liked it a lot, but to my ear it lacked the punch, smoothness, and detail that I’m getting with the Stellar amps. The Stellars were definitely a step up, IMO. And the BHKs would be a BIG step up! I wouldn’t worry about the “tube sound” of the BHK’s as they are very neutral as a hybrid amp and not overly warm at all. As far as having too much power with the BHK monos, I wouldn’t worry about that, honestly. You are at more risk of clipping with a weaker amp than a stronger one and damaging the speakers. Plus, your ear will tell you if you’re pushing them too much. BHK monos for the front and center would be amazing, but then again so would be a BHK mono center with BHK S250 for the fronts. A good pre/pro can handle the difference in the amps easily. Speakers are hard to blow nowadays.

As far as the Anthem AVM60 versus the Marantz, I can tell you that the ARC of the Anthem is superior to Audessy in the Marantz according to everything I’ve read, although I don’t have first hand experience. My stereo and HT imaging are superb. I get the feeling that a new top of the line pre/pro by Marantz will offer more user friendly features like phone app integration and more consistent network connectivity than the Anthem, which can be frustrating on occasion when trying to connect to ARC on your laptop. So I would guess you would have a better sounding system with the Anthem, but it might be a little less friendly, technology wise. I know I had a Yamaha Aventage that was awesome to use and play with but it wasn’t in the same league as the Anthem sound-wise and the YPAO room correction is allegedly as good or better than Audessy. The video will likely be identical between the two. My guess is that you’d run the ARC of the ML’s and of the AVM60 and be in heaven.