My first post here. Thanks for being here, knowledgeable and respectful posters. It's so great when an unhealthy obsession can be made to feel normal by surrounding oneself with like-minded folks from around the globe.
My two questions are, what is the cheapest Pioneer Elite receiver model with the same video processing, in every respect, as the sc-55? Can the room correction be applied to the pre-amp outputs? Here are the details.
Our Onkyo receiver just died, so we are in the market. This is my wife's gig, used primarily for satellite based television viewing, so she gets final say. (She supported my setting up my dream system elsewhere.) So, she cares about look and I care about sound, not least because my hearing is not what it used to be. So far, we have auditioned in our system (with Sony XBR40 television) the Anthem 300, Pioneer sc-55, Marantz 6006, and Integra 20.1. In case anyone is interested, I'll describe my impressions of these below. For now, here's where I am. The Pioneer does something to the video that none of the others do, even the Integra, which has the same Qdeo chipset, as far as I can figure out. I would describe it as color saturation or increased vivid colors or something. This must have to do with what Pioneer calls proprietary video processing. I don't like screwing around with video, but as I say, this is my wife's gig and I can't convince her to care about the way "the director intended" for things to be seen. No offense to fans of Pioneer, but I am very disappointed in the sound. I felt like a genius when I came up with the following solution: we buy the cheapest Pioneer which offers that same video processing, and I set it up as a preamp with a 3-channel amp driving the kef 6000's. We are only set up for fronts and center so far, and may never add rear speakers. This room is too problematic to even consider going beyond 5.1. By far this television will be used to watch satellite television more than anything else.
In a nutshell, what is the cheapest Pioneer with the same video processing as the sc-55, the same room correction, and good enough audio processing such as Dolby, etc.? Is there anything wrong with my thinking on this? Will the Pioneer pre-amp significantly color the sound, limiting the performance of any amp I put in the system? Does anyone know whether the more advanced Integra's, which include IDT HQV® Vida VHD1900, supposedly offering all sorts of control, can be tweaked to replicate the Pioneer video my wife enjoys so much? Finally, are there any who believe the superior room correction of Audessey over MCACC (in a problematic room) would more than make up for the better amplification I expect to get with separates? Thanks in advance.
In case anyone is interested, here are my impressions of the receivers we have tried so far. The Anthem sound was terrific--so much information presented in relaxed style. With the Pioneer in the system, the sounds of books closing, clothes rustling, pots clanking in the background vanished. What remained sounded just fine, but in the comparison I could not ignore how much information was being lost. I was quite surprised by the Integra, which seems to be largely ignored on these forums when not dismissed as an installer's racket. I can't say whether the Onkyo would sound the same, but the Integra was extremely musical and detailed, less soft than the Anthem in a way that involves mere taste rather than better or worse. For me, the Integra was the first unit we tried that got me excited about listening to music. In video processing, the Integra offers much more, but the Anthem does a faithful job of pass through. We both expected to like the Marantz. Perhaps the trial was not long enough to be fair, but I was disappointed in the sound.