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Old 09-30-2008, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I was wondering if anyone has done an A/B comparison with these two. I have narrowed it down to these and I am not sure. I am looking for a used CB3 with extreme dacs up front or a g68 xxv. They are about equal in price points.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Le Patron View Post

I was wondering if anyone has done an A/B comparison with these two. I have narrowed it down to these and I am not sure. I am looking for a used CB3 with extreme dacs up front or a g68 xxv. They are about equal in price points.

I believe CB3 is in a higher price bracket compared to the G-Series. The CB3 is in the MC12HD price territory while the G-Series is in the Classe / Anthem price range give or take a couple thousand bucks. To my ears the CB3 sounds better than the G series but the 861 sounds a tad better. It wasn't an A/B comparison. Different set-ups. A lot depends on the speakers and amps used as well
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually there is a used CB3 for 5500.00 used and there is a g68 xxv used for just about the same price. The CB3 had extreme dacs for the front card the rest were standard. I am using a Pass 350.5 for the two nautilus 802's and a Pass X-5 for the four 805's and the htm1 B&W's with a REL Stentor 3 for my sub.
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:27 AM
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Hi

I did the a/b comparison with a CBIII and a Meridian 861 a couple of days and bought te CBIII.
Reason was purly on musical differences.

Rob
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Le Patron View Post

Actually there is a used CB3 for 5500.00 used and there is a g68 xxv used for just about the same price. The CB3 had extreme dacs for the front card the rest were standard. I am using a Pass 350.5 for the two nautilus 802's and a Pass X-5 for the four 805's and the htm1 B&W's with a REL Stentor 3 for my sub.

I had the G68 XXV and Pass X150 X3 combo working with VR 5 modded Von Schweikert VR4 Gen II's and was happy with the results. I haven't heard the CB3 with the extreme dacs, but if it can be upgraded with the HDMI board Theta is working on, that is something to consider.

Did you happen to have the X5 on your mains before getting the X350.5? I'm curious about the degree of improvement a change like that might bring.
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Old 10-01-2008, 08:55 AM
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I think it really depends on what you want to do or where your priority lies.

Meridian is very good when it comes to all digital sources and I think it's hard to beat. When I made my decision, I went the 861 route. My priority was all digital sources, back then from CD, DVD and DVD-A. If you have any analogue sources, then I think the CBIII is a better choice than a G series or even the 861. If you're into 2-channel music and that's a priority for you, I'd probably pick the CBIII.

Then again, if you're really serious about 2-channel music, you should add a dedicated 2-channel pre-amp to either the CBIII or the G68/861. A really good 2-channel pre-amp (like a Ref3) will beat anything Theta or Meridian has to offer, but it also sets you back another $10k or so.

You might want to think about HDMI as well. Theta has announced a HDMI solution, Meridian has given no specific date. They're also not too happy with HDMI, so we'll have to wait and see if their HDMI box ever arrives.

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Old 10-01-2008, 11:42 AM
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They sound totally different. Theta has a very neutral, delineated presentation with impactful dynamics. Meridian adds just a touch of warmth and a bit of air making for a slightly softer presentation but with a larger soundstage and more sense of the backgrounds, air etc. in the original recording. I'm not going to argue which is right, comes down to what you like.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:05 PM
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One of the nice things about the Casablanca is that you can intergrate the Gen VIII into the mix which will give you your high end 2 channel. Theta just upgraded it as well. Another piece to think about in your search.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all your responses. I am very confused about all the hdmi issues I dont know wether to jump now or to wait. But right now i am using a denon 5800 for my pre amp and really want a change.
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Patron View Post

Thank you for all your responses. I am very confused about all the hdmi issues I dont know wether to jump now or to wait. But right now i am using a denon 5800 for my pre amp and really want a change.

Wait!

Either one of these companies will release their HDMI updates and may be fulll of bugs. It took Halcro 2 years to eliminate theirs.... and it's just HDMI 1.2.

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Patron View Post

Thank you for all your responses. I am very confused about all the hdmi issues I dont know wether to jump now or to wait. But right now i am using a denon 5800 for my pre amp and really want a change.

I think you could end up waiting years for all the HDMI issues to get worked out with hiend pre/pros. As long as you are buying used (ideally, already depreciated for use and features) then I see no reason not to act now. If your choice ends up being less than you need, you can resell and likely not lose much $$.

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Old 10-01-2008, 06:37 PM
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I'd bet that when Meridian comes out w/their HDMI solution, it will work w/o bugs. Won't get released until it's ready. That's my experience with and intuition about Meridian anyway. Having said that, I'm going back and forth between Theta and Meridian too. Used to own a G68 and may go back to one.

As an aside, Onkyo got HDMI right w/the 9.8, no issues.
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rblnr View Post

I'd bet that when Meridian comes out w/their HDMI solution, it will work w/o bugs. Won't get released until it's ready. That's my experience with and intuition about Meridian anyway. Having said that, I'm going back and forth between Theta and Meridian too. Used to own a G68 and may go back to one.

As an aside, Onkyo got HDMI right w/the 9.8, no issues.

Thats right, I have NO ISSUES with my Integra 9.8 period.

The Bland had two years of torture with his Halcro surround processor and now is starting to enjoy without so many bugs. That's his Halcro experience.

ATI is using top notch companies like Momentum to do the software and help in integrating HDMI 1.3 audio with the CB3 DACs. As ATI also manufactures its own ATI products as well as components for many companies, I would think that what ATI does in Theta trickles "down" it line and manufactured components. I am confident ATI-Theta will get it right the first time.

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:59 AM
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Steve,

"I have NO ISSUES with my Integra 9.8 period."

Consider yourself lucky then. There has been a speaker damaging issue with Onkyo/Integras.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post13404617

Shawn
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

Steve,

"I have NO ISSUES with my Integra 9.8 period."

Consider yourself lucky then. There has been a speaker damaging issue with Onkyo/Integras.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post13404617

Shawn

Corrected with a DSP update. I think Steve has done his also. Update files available here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1013565
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

Consider yourself lucky then. There has been a speaker damaging issue with Onkyo/Integras.

Well, at least they got the HDMI right

One thing that impresses about Meridian is that everything is done in house -- there's no reliance on Momentum Data Systems, for example, who Theta and Classe among others employ.

As I'm likely going to return to vinyl after many years and get a separate tube preamp, I'm leaning toward the G68. Though I found it a bit flat vs., say, my Audio Aero DAC for music, the G68 is capable of a terrifically enveloping soundfield that has a lot of parameter adjustment for customization. Haven't heard them side by side, but I wonder for HT how much better the 861 or the CBIII really are.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rblnr View Post

Haven't heard them side by side, but I wonder for HT how much better the 861 or the CBIII really are.

I don't think G68 gives up any ground to 861 where sound quality is concerned - and I have owned both! The advantage you get with 861 is architecture flexibility (presumably relating to upgradeability) and an expectation that it will be first to get innovations. IMO, a used G68 offers excellent value.

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Old 10-06-2008, 02:27 PM
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The sound quality that the new formats deliver is just to much to ignore. I would only choose a processor that could either be upgraded to HDMI or currently has HDMI. In your case, at your budget, I would wait or consider other brands. If you can budget more money latter, then you can have the CBIII upgraded but likely the cost would be about what you pay initially for the CBIII on audiogon. If you don't want to spend more latter, I would suggest waiting for other processors that can provide HDMI audio at your budget. The Merdian G68 only has a 5.1 analog bypass so you could not use that for 7.1 DTS Master Audio. I see that you have a 7.1 set-up. With such a nice audio set-up, you need to be able to enjoy the newer higher resolution audio formats that HDMI can provide.

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Old 10-06-2008, 04:01 PM
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"The Merdian G68 only has a 5.1 analog bypass"

It has a 5.1 analog input, it is not an analog bypass.

"With such a nice audio set-up, you need to be able to enjoy the newer higher resolution audio formats that HDMI can provide."

The Meridian's can take in the high resolution audio formats digitally. They just need the right source(s) to output them over multiple S/PDIF outputs.

Shawn
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Old 10-06-2008, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

"The Merdian G68 only has a 5.1 analog bypass"

It has a 5.1 analog input, it is not an analog bypass.

"With such a nice audio set-up, you need to be able to enjoy the newer higher resolution audio formats that HDMI can provide."

The Meridian's can take in the high resolution audio formats digitally. They just need the right source(s) to output them over multiple S/PDIF outputs.

Shawn

Perhaps, but still limited to 5.1. Guess Le Patron has to decide if that's a deal breaker.

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Old 10-06-2008, 05:29 PM
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"Perhaps, but still limited to 5.1."

Which can then be expanded out to 7.1 using DPLIIX.

"Guess Le Patron has to decide if that's a deal breaker."

As opposed to having the ability to input none of the high resolution formats in any manor into the processor for processing out to 7.1?

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Old 10-06-2008, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

"Perhaps, but still limited to 5.1."

Which can then be expanded out to 7.1 using DPLIIX.

"Guess Le Patron has to decide if that's a deal breaker."

As opposed to having the ability to input none of the high resolution formats in any manor into the processor for processing out to 7.1?

Shawn

DSP modes are no subsitute for discrete formats. You have stated a desire fro 7.1 as well.. One way is looking backwards, never going to have 7.1 discrete. The other is looking forward, certainly going to have 7.1 discret. If you don't believe Theta will have 7.1 discrete, we can make a wager right now.

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Old 10-06-2008, 07:32 PM
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"
The Meridian's can take in the high resolution audio formats digitally. They just need the right source(s) to output them over multiple S/PDIF outputs.

Shawn

And I'm sure you are more than willing to sell him your mod.

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Old 10-07-2008, 12:44 AM
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I wonder how many BR releases with a 7.1 soundtrack will show up?
IMHO, the number of people with a 7.1 set-up is way too small for the studios, so they are not really willing to do the effort.

I hope I am wrong here, as I like 7.1 myself:-)

Regards,

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Old 10-07-2008, 04:31 AM
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It's assumed that the forthcoming external Meridian HDMI to MHR (Meridian High Resolution/encrypted SPDIF) box will output 7.1. The guess is that a firmware update will allow one of the non-MHR digital inputs on the G to be configured for 2 additional channels of input. This plus the three existing MHR input at 2 channels each will yield 7.1. The fact of only 5.1 analog inputs should be a non-issue down the road.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:29 AM
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"DSP modes are no subsitute for discrete formats. "

That is a matter of opinion, esp. when we are talking about the difference between two discrete surrounds expanded out to four vs. four discrete surrounds.

"One way is looking backwards, never going to have 7.1 discrete."

Don't count on it. The rumor at Cedia was that Meridian was considering expanding their MHR input to 4x S/PDIF.

Shawn
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Old 10-07-2008, 02:33 PM
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Don't count on it. The rumor at Cedia was that Meridian was considering expanding their MHR input to 4x S/PDIF.

Shawn

Or perhaps a new input on a speakerlink conncection (cat5).

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Old 10-10-2008, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

"DSP modes are no subsitute for discrete formats. "

That is a matter of opinion, esp. when we are talking about the difference between two discrete surrounds expanded out to four vs. four discrete surrounds.

Well it's one we share because I'm sure you will upgrade to 7.1 discrete as well.

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Old 10-10-2008, 03:17 PM
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"Well it's one we share because I'm sure you will upgrade to 7.1 discrete as well."

If I cared that much about it I would already have an 8 channel input on my Lexicon.

I don't.

Shawn
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
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They sound totally different. Theta has a very neutral, delineated presentation with impactful dynamics. Meridian adds just a touch of warmth and a bit of air making for a slightly softer presentation but with a larger soundstage and more sense of the backgrounds, air etc. in the original recording. I'm not going to argue which is right, comes down to what you like.

I've heard the CB with Aerial Acoustics and I felt there was air in a very exciting and exhilarating way. Theta CB works exceptionally well with Aerial IMO. I think it's a no brainer combining the two. In my humble opinion it does leave a lasting impression if set-up well.

Meridian too, is excellent. The added benefit of Meridian is that right now it is a more organized company with a larger set-up and more stable than Theta that is in the middle of a transition phase.

Not revamping their website [Theta] even in this day and age really is disappointing IMO. It should have been down by now for sure. Theta's website is arguably the worst one out of all manufacturers. A website IMO shows how much passion and attention to detail a company has. It's not the end all and be all but things like this matter a lot. I look at the minute details and companies like Wilson Audio, Revel, Anthem and Paradigm etc. have got really nice websites that send a very strong message across to the reader.

Saying that, Theta has an incredible SSP. The remote control definitely could and should be improved. If Meridian can do it then there is no excuse for Lexicon and Theta to come up with a better remote for something that costs over 10K even if the general assumption is that Crestron or AMX will be controlling it.
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