Safe to use surround amplifier with only two of its channels?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by CMT, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Santa Rosa, CA
    Stupid question, I imagine, but, wanting to isolate myself from other family members while listening to music, I got out an old CD player I wasn't using and I've hooked it up to an amplifier someone gave me (a cheap Harmon Kardon HVR 1510, I think it is), which seems to be designed for surround sound. Looking at the manual online, it seems to expect more than two speakers and you might have to configure it in some way? Just wondering if simply hooking up speakers to the right and left front speaker connections (ignoring the two back connections and the subwoofer connection) could in any way hurt my speakers? It's a nice pair of KEF LS50s. I've been trying to sell these, but no one's shown interest, so I thought I'd try to use them in a thrown-together second system in the bedroom. Just don't want to hurt anything. Thanks!
  2. F1nut

    F1nut Forum Resident

    The Mars Hotel
    You won't hurt a thing, but you will have to configure the AVR for the best 2 channel results.
    BruceS, fluffskul and Adam9 like this.
  3. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Santa Rosa, CA
    And what does that mean?
  4. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Dublin, CA, USA
    there might be a setup where you configure it for stereo, but even if you can't find that, I bet it'll work just fine.

    Looks like there's buttons on the front "Surround Mode" that I bet one of the choices is 'Stereo'. If not ... try the other buttons?
  5. fluffskul

    fluffskul Forum Resident

    albany, ny
    Some of the old amps have all these choices like "jazz hall," "stadium concert," if there's an option for "EFFECT OFF" or "NO effect," that should do it.
    Rick58 likes this.
  6. BruceS

    BruceS El Sirviente del Gato

    Reading, MA US
    According to the manual for the HK AVR1510, the Surround Mode Category button should offer you a Stereo setting. That ought to do it. Seems like a nice-enough setup for a 2nd system in BR.
    Rick58 likes this.
  7. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Yes, perfectly safe. I used to use my then Onkyo TX-NR818 AV amp in this mode and selected for Stereo Only mode. As outlined above, you should be able to scroll through the menu settings on your remote to get this.
    Rick58 likes this.
  8. frcnorth

    frcnorth Forum Resident

    Reno, Nevada
    I’ve done the same thing with a Denon 5803. It’s no longer viable to use an a modern day AVR (no HDMI), but its build quality, sound characteristics, power (170 wpc), and subwoofer out have made it an excellent choice from which to build a 2.1 analog system. I have it connected to a turntable, reel to reel, 8-track and cassette (since these older AVR’s allow for a multitude of connection options). As for the playback variations, I have the option to choose stereo, stereo direct and pure direct. All sound great.
    rodentdog and Brother_Rael like this.
  9. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    San Francisco, CA
    I know this question was about a solid state amp, but just in case someone extrapolates this information to a tube amp -- do not turn a tube amp on without either speakers or a dummy load attached to the speaker outputs.
    chili555 and empirelvr like this.
  10. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    Midwest USA
    I've been doing that for years, no problem. The digital board on my Arcam AVR300 failed years ago, so now I use it as a two-channel analog receiver for my home office system. For the analog source I use a Logitech Squeezebox touch configured as a Roon endpoint into an Arcam rDAC. The only problem now is that the Arcam AVR has a digital volume control and that's now starting to fail too, so I might be looking for something else.
  11. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes

    I had an AVR that had a Pure Direct setting for two channel that bypassed the audio processor to theoretically give a better sound. I think minimizing the signal chain is always a good idea.
  12. Kevin j

    Kevin j The 5th 99

    Seattle Area
    NO! you'll burn the house down, summon the aliens, sterilize every virgin, and pollute every waterway within 5000 miles. DON'T DO IT!!!!
  13. Razakoz

    Razakoz Well-Known Member

    You forgot catch the beerflu

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