Originally Posted by Roger Dressler
If you want all the features of the Integra and superb sound quality, the Denon AVP-A1HDCI ($7,500) was that. That being out of production, their sister's new Marantz AV8801 could be a good bet at just under half ($3,600).
I completely agree that the Denon was a landmark piece. Even used these things are still fetching $5000 - $6000 from what I have seen which is out of my budget. I should have been more specific with model numbers in my previous post, but on my current shortlist was the Marantz AV8801, the Denon AVR-4520CI, the Integra DHC-80.3 and the Emotiva XMC-1 (when released). I'd love to consider the Denon AVP-A1HDCI, the Theta Casablanca, the Anthem D2v or any of the other truly high-end preamps available but they are just not in the budget since all of that money will most-likely be heading into QSC equipment.
If you like to define multiple virtual inputs with different speaker setups and channel balances (L/R full range stereo music vs. L/R crossed over for movies), or for lone listening vs room full and such, I still think the SSP-800 is tough to beat in flexibility and ease of use (if you are within reach of the touch screen). Not as easy via the remote and OSD. But once it's set up, no need to mess with it much. OTOH, it is no frills design, in the same vein as the Bryston SP-3, which doesn't even have EQ. Quite a spectrum of choices out there to explore. You can see what I mean about the SSP when you drop by in Feb.
I love the sound of Classe equipment and that SSP-800 is a beast, but not having any surround decoding or streaming capabilities is a killer for me with this piece. I know you can bypass this issue with an external Bluray or other device that can do the processing, but I will be settling into a streaming system for all media content (at full resolution I might add!!) and my preference is for decoding in the preamp vs. through a lower-cost streaming client which could cut the Classe off "at the knees", acoustically speaking. Even a Dune HD Max doesn't have the processing capabilities of the Classe at the level of the Classe and that is really the best quality streaming client I am aware of.
Be advised, I'm in Bend, central OR. Let me know if/when you're in town.
I may be in Portland. The 3.5 hour drive to Bend may be a little beyond my schedule this time around, but I will let you know if things change via PM.
I have no experience with IB subs. I cannot see why they would be harder to integrate except they are permanently mounted. For that reason you should plan on using two at minimum. Mid-wall locations, either the two sides or front/rear. One sub, no matter how good, will not work as well as two subs (or four)!
I recall reading Kevin Voeck's (Harman) white paper on the optimal number and placement of subwoofers in a home theater to get the smoothest bass response. If I remember correctly, the optimal number was four with placement at the midpoint of each wall. And like you suggested above, having two subwoofers placed at the midpoints of the front and back walls is recommended. Procella has their own white paper
which recommends that you use two subwoofers in a baffle wall, with the left sub located between the left and center speakers and the right sub located between the right and center speakers. A handful of the professional builds I have seen using Procella setups supplement bass at strategic spots in the room with additional subwoofers either from Procella, Triad (low profile) or Velodyne (low profile).
As it stands now I have planned four Fi Car (gulp!) Audio IB-318 subwoofer drivers
driven by 4000 to 6000 watts of amplification either from Crown or Behringer.using the same wiring topology found in Crutchfield's wiring schematic below:
As of now (i.e. design stage) one pair will function as a left sub and the other pair will function as a right sub - both of which will be located in a front baffle wall with a sealed IB chamber immediately behind. There is ongoing discussion about the number and location of any potential balancing subwoofers going into my room with the most-likely location being the midpoint of the back wall. Here I will have to use some sort of conventional subwoofer as there is no room for an IB baffle chamber anywhere but on the front wall. I'll keep you and everyone else posted on this as the plans develop. One other point FWIW....the subwoofers are configured in two separate arrays facing the room and not the back-to-back manifold designs you may see here on the forum from time to time.
Thanks again for all of your input!