I am looking for a bit of advice. After constant nagging from my friend that I wasn't experiencing movies as they should be experienced because I didn't have a surround-sound setup, I finally caved in and looked at the options. I did a fair bit of research and settled on the Onkyo TX-SR608 as the hub and got some Mission surround and center speakers to complement my existing Mission floorstanders (which became the front L+R). This was at the right price point for me as movies are an occasional affair, not a passion.
As soon as I got the new kit home I realised I'd overlooked something really obvious and painful, I was going to have to chop my Arcam Alpha 10 out of the loop because the Onkyo doesn't have pre-outs. For a few short hours I convinced myself that 20 years of technological development would have got the 'entry-level' circuitry in the Onkyo up to the standard of my 1990 built Alpha 10. Couldn't be more wrong. Whilst the Onkyo does a deft job with movie soundtracks and really brings my Blu-Rays to life with Dolby and DTS multichannel tracks, its performance on stereo music is simply appalling. The soundstage is flat, the frequency extremes seem compressed and listening to music actually becomes laborious, tedious and no longer enjoyable.
So as I see it, my options are:
1. Return the Onkyo to Richer Sounds, forfeit the 15% restocking fee and save up another few months to get something with pre-outs. My query here is, how much damage is the pre-amp circuitry in the receiver doing? Will just tacking my Arcam onto the pre-outs get me back to the same level as running the components direct to the Arcam?
2. Buy another set of speakers for AV use and have 2 completely separate setups. I am not completely adverse to this, but clearly it adds clutter which I would rather avoid.
3. Run both amplifiers through the same front speakers using some sort of switching device - this seems like an ideal compromise. My only issue here is that I cannot find the product that will do this. Firstly all the switching products out there seem to be geared to have 1 amp driving 2 selectable speaker sets, which is the opposite of what I want. Now obviously I could just reverse the 'ins' and 'outs' but as far as I can tell, in most cases this could be dangerous as they seem to allow both 'outs' (which I would be using as 'ins') to be switched in at the same time which could spell amp disaster. Secondly, there doesn't seem to be a single product on the market that supports bi-wire connections on a switch-box.
So, does anyone know if the bi-wire switching product that I need exist anywhere? Or do I need to look more seriously at the other 2 options?