I have successfully integrated an Arcam 550 with my main Naim system and no hum, Earth grounding or other problems.
My AV sources are connected by HDMI to the Arcam, rather than the optical feed that many swear by. I haven’t noticed any problems and the real win is that the rest of the family can use it without frequently asking me ‘how to make the sound work’!
As a bonus, I find the access to 4K feeds (well done the BBC for Glastonbury!) via the system gives me great sound / images without having to connect other external sources - my Mac for example.
I do wonder whether the grounding switch on the Naim source is the key to avoiding problems.
Nice comment, feeling_zen, very much what I think.
There are also technical issues related to out-of-sync image/sound, ground loops, and some pratical ones as you point out.
One more. If you connect the AV to the Naims by AV bypass/unity gain, you can blow up the louspeakers easily, you are listening CD ok in the Naim, you switch to AV then unpowered, then power up the AV and someone had rotated the volume dial to maximum. Pumm. $$$.
When I said AV I meant AV surround, other speakers/subwoofers.
Other thing is having the Naim substituting the TV speakers, like I have with the Qute2 and the Sony TV.
It´s wonderfull, TV, Youtube, Netflix, FM, upnp/NAS, Tidal, IRadio, all well managed with only 2 remotes.
What’s the difference with using the volume control on a naim pre or a marantz sound receiver. I don’t think this is a plausible possibility
Power off the AV. Rotate the volume dial to max.
Then listen to a CD on the NAIM. Switch to AV on the Naim.
Then power on the AV.
As the manual says:
Note: The AV Bypass feature must be used with care. It
effectively by-passes the preamplifier volume and balance
controls leaving any signal connected to an AV Bypass input to
be passed to the power amplifier and speakers at full volume.
In order to reduce the potential for inadvertent mishap, any
subsequent modifications to input assignment will automatically
disable previously set up AV Bypass inputs. Additionally, if an
input is selected which has AV Bypass enabled, the preamplifier
volume and balance handset functions will be disabled and
their indicators will turn off. This will be flagged by the volume
or balance indicators flashing if either handset function is
Ok you got me there. I guess nothing in this world is fool proof. If it was there is a high chance that a better fool can be found. Sorry but in nearly 15 years i have never had issues using a marantz surround receiver pre outs to the unity gain.
2 remotes is one more than I accept.
This is, however, not so different from
- Play a CD
- Do something else.
- In the meantime, someone turns the Naim volume knob to max
- Come back and press play on the CD
If is you only that touches the units and the remotes.
In this case, your scenario won’t happen either
What I mean is that (maybe) hifi is for you , av for the family.
I know Just saying that you can’t completely rule out accidents like this. All it takes is the Naim remote getting stuck under a bum on the couch. Check the volume.
And if I lived with a partner or family, I couldn’t imagine banning them from using the hifi.
Not banning them , in most cases simply not interested.
TV, Netflix, Youtube, etc…
Hifi is for the old guys like us…
Thou shalt not say ‘hey’ to the king of France whom liveth 800 years ago.
Ultimately this comes down to personal preference and perhaps your household situation. I think it is well established that you certainly can integrate with stereo system. A lot of users do that and are probably really satisfied with the result.
That said, for the arguments put forward in this thread, that simply might not be for everyone.
One thing I would add though, a discrete AV system, even with entry level loudspeakers can often outperform a high end stereo with a bolt-on AV integration setup. And almost always costs less too.
I had an epiphany many years ago when comparing watching DVD via my Linn setup with Linn floorstanders in stereo. Really good. Dynamic. Plenty of grunt. I had a bolt on Yamaha processor and Ruark centre and Mission rears.
Then I compared to totally non hifi Bose AM10 package and to begin with, I thought, “This isn’t anywhere near as detailed and nuanced as my Linn setup.” But then when things got hectic with bullets whizzing about and things blowing up it changed. It all hung together perfectly. Speakers vanished. Audio panning was seamless. Overall, it blew the more expensive hybrid system out of the water. And I then lived with a Bose surround package (using various AV amps) for 15 years after that and even as my main system got progressively higher end, it still couldn’t outperform the lower cost Denon/Bose AV setup I had for movies.
The thing is, if I had tried to integrate it, I’d probably had felt I needed to fork out for a PMC centre channel and certainly some decent rears. Just one PMC centre channel would have cost more than the whole Bose AM10 package and it still wouldn’t have been a good match. The amps wouldn’t be the same quality. So it would have cost loads more and still not worked as well as the lower cost alternative. Ultimately it is more important that all the bits work seamlessly together with identical voicing and amplification than it is that they are expensive and high quality. My new AV setup is totally entry level. All Qacoustics in-wall/ceiling. But matched. Driven by the same amp. Experience makes me confident it will make an amazing AV setup that my Naim system + whatever, just couldn’t match.
Speaker balance, aesthetics, practical implications, room acoustics, etc that other responders have provided are valid reasons to decide whether to integrate hifi and av.
Potential to blow up speakers imo is not one.
I’ve done similar multiple times in the past mixing Naim front channels using AV bypass and various AV amps such as Denon and Arcam.
I eventually consolidated the main TV system around a 2 channel setup with in wall Focal speakers and a Naim Atom as well as having a projector based system driven by a Linn Selekt DSM that covers all the bases for Stereo and multichannel in a single modular and configurable to suit ones needs box.
If you want a single system you should be able to integrate Naim kit to cover front channels relatively easily, I didn’t find it particularly complex to do so in my case.
I did have matched speakers for all channels though, using Dali and later PMC with positive results.
I’ve only ever had the patience to accomodate 5.1 having said that, once you get in to Atmos territory it can get complex to wire and install and potentially expensive but certainly possible if space and budget allows.
I successfully integrated 5.1 into my Olive set up recently and could not be any happier!
I was considering getting a new AV amp and 5.1 speaker package and keeping everything entirely separate. Added it all up and it was going to come to ~£3k. Wife said a big fat no and I was forced to think again.
I’ve ended up with an ancient Onkyo TRX876 that my brother-in-law had lying around gathering dust, bought a cheap DIN-Phono cable to send the front R&L pre-out to my NAC82 (which doesn’t have an AV Bypass feature), bought a used Monitor Audio Radius 200 for the centre and the Radius 90 for rears from eBay. The only new bit of kit I had to buy was the SVS1000 Pro subwoofer and that was only because it is a relatively new model and there weren’t any used models available on eBay.
Total cost was £950 (£639 of that was just the sub) and I must say it sounds absolutely incredible compared to the crappy Sony home theatre in a box I had been using for years. No ground loops or humming issues at all. Watching movies in my lounge is now just as enjoyable as listening to music.