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post #121 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

You may this find the Oppo SE is better than the Compli Blu Ray because the Oppo upgrade to the standrd unit for $400 appears to be more substantial than what Theta will do for $2500 extra. If you own a CBII you are in a bit of a bind because it wont control a Six Shooter, but if you own a CBIII, getting a six shooter is a far better strategy than ditching the Casablanca and getting a mid fi SSP.

I don't plan to get the Compli-Blu now That I see what it's made of; Im very happy with the Oppo SE. I'm really on the fence about the Casablanca. One thought is to get the CBIII upgrade and buy a used SS when everyone else upgrades to the HD version (assuming it's better than the Six Shooter). Considering I don't use CBII for 2 channel, it's not worth the money to me to upgrade all the way to the HD as I would need all new DACs. Upgrading to the CBIII+SS would be a little more expensive than a mid-fi SSP but it wouldn't leave the Casablanca sitting in the closet. On the other side, I really like some of the more modern features of newer SSPs.

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post #122 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 09:11 AM
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I assume you mean the SS is better than the Audio Research MP1? the MAP1 is the McCormack. (not sure what is up with naming of multi channel preamps. Conrad Johnson has a MET1).

Yes the MP1 and not the MAP1.

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post #123 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Armand07 View Post

IAt least I can say that my current preamp is far, far better in all areas than my previous Theta GenVIII (mkI).

I would prefer, if possible, not to have mc preamp and surround proc. in two different boxes so if I could replace my Cary Cinema 11a sometime in the future with a top notch surr.processor I would be happy. I have also heard very good reports about the Krell processors, the 707 and also the s1200, when it comes to the analog section. The 707 is too expensive I think, so I am mostly interested in the s1200 and to know how the new Theta CB will compete with this.

The Six Shooter is better than the Gen VIII MkI but not the MKII from the reports of owners. With the GenVIII MkI the best sound is from running it through a Six Shooter with fixed output. However when guys had the upgrade done, they reported the the MkII now had the advantage. NO surround processor is close enough to give you every thing that you want. I have been reading for over 10 years about how this model is or that model was a good as a separate pre-amp, but so far it has not been true. The Six Shooter actually has the same internal parts as the Casablanca. However, sticking it in a separate box and away from the digital circuits of the CBIII shows exactly how much of an effect having everything in one box has on sound quality. I know of several two channel pre-amps better than the Six Shooter, all are above 10k in cost. It is is a bargain for a Casablanca owner who also does two channel and it's better than most of the pre-amps in the 5k range that I have tried. The Burmester reference pre-amp is like 40k? I would be extremely pissed if it did not clobber the Six Shooter and the Gen VIII either version which are a fraction of it's price.

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post #124 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SamKVA View Post

I don't own a Six Shooter as I'm still in the Theta dark ages with a CBII but I did own the AR LS25 MKII for a few months and was not impressed.

Sam

I believe the MP1 is based on the LS25MkI which was not as good as the MKII.

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post #125 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Wonder why the designers at Theta and Lexicon could not upgrade the DACs themselves (Not sure if Ayre replace the DACs), if Oppo can do it adding just $300 to the cost of the unit. At this point the best price/performance bet may be the Nuforce upgraded SE, but we'll soon find out when Norm does the shootout between that player and the Theta.

That's why I like Charles at Ayre. He will give you the straight truth about the dacs and the reasons why or why they were not changed. With many other companies, it's like pulling teeth to get the truth.

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post #126 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SamKVA View Post

. One thought is to get the CBIII upgrade and buy a used SS when everyone else upgrades to the HD version (assuming it's better than the Six Shooter). Considering I don't use CBII for 2 channel, it's not worth the money to me to upgrade all the way to the HD

It's likely the CBIII with HDMI will not sound better than the Six Shooter. The current Meridian 861 and current CBIII do not. A few years back, I compared the Meridian 861 against the Six Shooter with an older Marantz SACD player and the Six shooter clobbered the 861,IMO with CD even with the 861 employing room correction. A VTL 7.5 pre-amp also in the same system clobbered both of them. You may want to consider the Premium dacs, they are the same build quality and maybe better than some, from what I have seen of the internals of many current surround processor. Depending on what two channel pre-amp and how much you like the sound, it would not surprise me if the SS can beat your pre-amp especially if it's one that cost below 10k.Much of the over 10k stuff is better. One of my friends brought over his two channel pre-amp and was certain that it would be better than the SS, I mean it's just this ugly black box. The difference was significant if favor of the SS. He cursed me and said I had "set him up," and has not been by my place since. Still, much of this is personal preference and there may be a certain quality your 2 channel pre-amp has that the SS does not. I am considering getting a better pre-amp for 2 channel than the Six Shooter but have not been able to so far justify what it will cost.

I do 7.1 and need a surround processor to employee post-processing like Dolby Digital pro-logic IIx to expand 5.1 to 7.1 which is why I will get the upgrade. I am not buying it because I think it will sound better. The new version of the CBIII with HDMI may sound better than the current model because the power supply is being improved in it as well.

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post #127 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by SamKVA View Post

I don't plan to get the Compli-Blu now That I see what it's made of; Im very happy with the Oppo SE. I'm really on the fence about the Casablanca. One thought is to get the CBIII upgrade and buy a used SS when everyone else upgrades to the HD version (assuming it's better than the Six Shooter). Considering I don't use CBII for 2 channel, it's not worth the money to me to upgrade all the way to the HD as I would need all new DACs. Upgrading to the CBIII+SS would be a little more expensive than a mid-fi SSP but it wouldn't leave the Casablanca sitting in the closet. On the other side, I really like some of the more modern features of newer SSPs.

Upgrading the CBII to CBIII with the intent of using it as a Six SHooter controller only is not cost effective. The best strategy is to either buy a non HDMI compliant CBIII (going for about 3K), but better still is to get a used HDMI compliant CBIII, sell the cards and (trading in old cards to put back into your own unit). For example, there is a CBIII with 2 Xtreme cards listed now on A'gon. If you get it for say 5,500 and sell the two cards for about 4,500, you got yourself a CBIII that can serve as a six shooter for 1,000 - far less than upgrading your CBII. Add a used Six Shooter for 1K, and you got yourself a SOTA multi channel preamp for 2K (and a bix black box wasting rack space). I own a CBIII with Xtreme cards and Six Shooter. If the HDMI upgrade blows the Six Shooter out of the water I will upgrade. If not, I will sell my cards and use the CBIII as a six shooter controller, and processor for my satallite receiver. Only problem with this strategies is that given the less than stellar reliability of the CBIIIs, buying used and messing with cards is not risk free.
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post #128 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

I do 7.1 and need a surround processor to employee post-processing like Dolby Digital pro-logic IIx to expand 5.1 to 7.1 which is why I will get the upgrade. I am not buying it because I think it will sound better. The new version of the CBIII with HDMI may sound better than the current model because the power supply is being improved in it as well.

Why not do the 7.1 processing in a capable source component and stick with your two six shooters? This would work out far cheaper.
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post #129 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 10:39 AM
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I believe the MP1 is based on the LS25MkI which was not as good as the MKII.

Actually, I think the the MP1 is based on the Reference 2 MKII and LS25MKII preamp technologies. The LS25MKII was my first experience with AR's hybrid designs but the MP1 is all solid state and I have not heard (or even seen) one. While I've had many tubed preamps and power amps from AR over the years (SP3, SP11?, D76, D90, VTM120), I never liked their earlier solid state designs. Those products always led me towards Levinson and Stax. Not all great companies make all great products for everyone's taste. This is an incredibly subjective hobby; especially, at this level.

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post #130 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

It's likely the CBIII with HDMI will not sound better than the Six Shooter. The current Meridian 861 and current CBIII do not. A few years back, I compared the Meridian 861 against the Six Shooter with an older Marantz SACD player and the Six shooter clobbered the 861,IMO with CD even with the 861 employing room correction.

The Six Shooter only sounds as good as the signal you feed it, so it does not do any clobbering on its own. If Theta's HDMI implementation takes the HDMI interface related degradation out of the equation, and the Six Shooter eliminates 95% of the analog preamp related signal degradation, SQ difference would be almost entirely the result of difference in quality of the DACs in the CBIII and the source component. If 10K worth of Xtreme DACs can't beat $400 worth of DACs in an Oppo SE something is very wrong.... If on the other hand it turns out the HDMI interface related degradation cannot be engineered out of the equation the $400 DACs may still rule. We'll see.
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post #131 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Upgrading the CBII to CBIII with the intent of using it as a Six SHooter controller only is not cost effective. The best strategy is to either buy a non HDMI compliant CBIII (going for about 3K), but better still is to get a used HDMI compliant CBIII, sell the cards and (trading in old cards to put back into your own unit). For example, there is a CBIII with 2 Xtreme cards listed now on A'gon. If you get it for say 5,500 and sell the two cards for about 4,500, you got yourself a CBIII that can serve as a six shooter for 1,000 - far less than upgrading your CBII. Add a used Six Shooter for 1K, and you got yourself a SOTA multi channel preamp for 2K (and a bix black box wasting rack space). I own a CBIII with Xtreme cards and Six Shooter. If the HDMI upgrade blows the Six Shooter out of the water I will upgrade. If not, I will sell my cards and use the CBIII as a six shooter controller, and processor for my satallite receiver. Only problem with this strategies is that given the less than stellar reliability of the CBIIIs, buying used and messing with cards is not risk free.

You are correct, the only advantage of upgrading my CBII vs. buying a used CBIII is the reduction of black boxes in closets and maybe(??) a slight advantage of being the original owner of my current CB. Your comment on reliability of the CBIII is interesting. I'm so over software glitches and having to reach behind the cabinet to cold start the CBII cause something doesn't work right. If the CBIII is no better than the CBII in that regard, I once again lean towards a mid-fi SSP and closet the CBII (it can rest with its other Theta components that don't work anymore and can't be fixed). MC sound only has to be good to very good for me as I have a great 2 channel path and that's all I use for serious listening. That being said, I understand the importance of the initial signal processing to get a good final output.

Sam
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post #132 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 12:27 PM
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You are correct, the only advantage of upgrading my CBII vs. buying a used CBIII is the reduction of black boxes in closets and maybe(??) a slight advantage of being the original owner of my current CB. Your comment on reliability of the CBIII is interesting. I'm so over software glitches and having to reach behind the cabinet to cold start the CBII cause something doesn't work right. If the CBIII is no better than the CBII in that regard, I once again lean towards a mid-fi SSP and closet the CBII (it can rest its other Theta components that don't work anymore and can't be fixed). MC sound only has to be good to very good for me as I have a great 2 channel path and that's all I use for serious listening. That being said, I understand the importance of the initial signal processing to get a good final output.

Here is another option. If you use a mid-fi processor you need to either run the Oppo SE through a multi channel analog bypass or use HDMI in which case you loose all the benefits of the excellent DACs in the Oppo SE. So why not get a single box - mid-fi analog multi channel preamp? You could get a Parasound, but if you're interested I have a McCormack MAP1 for sale. I ran multi channel audio from my Pioneer 09 Blu ray over HDMI into an mid-fi processor (upgraded Onkyo 885), also used the MC analog bypass in the Onkyo, but going through the McCormack sounded better than both these "mid-fi processor paths". The Six Shooter I am using now takes things up another notch, but this is a lot priceyer and takes up a lot of rackspace - not to mention reliability concern induced stress.
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post #133 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 12:47 PM
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Here is another option. If you use a mid-fi processor you need to either run the Oppo SE through a multi channel analog bypass or use HDMI in which case you loose all the benefits of the excellent DACs in the Oppo SE. So why not get a single box - mid-fi analog multi channel preamp? You could get a Parasound, but if you're interested I have a McCormack MAP1 for sale. I ran multi channel audio from my Pioneer 09 Blu ray over HDMI into an mid-fi processor (upgraded Onkyo 885), also used the MC analog bypass in the Onkyo, but going through the McCormack sounded better than both these "mid-fi processor paths". The Six Shooter I am using now takes things up another notch, but this is a lot priceyer and takes up a lot of rackspace - not to mention reliability concern induced stress.

I need to think about this option from a HT-wide perspective. Two channel was/is so much easier!!

Thanks!

Sam
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post #134 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 03:07 PM
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I was waiting forever for this player from Theta.
Now that I have read though the posts here, I think I will stick with The Oppo SE.

Incidently, anyone interested in a like new pair of Theta CITADEL 400Watt monoblocks or Theta Gen VIII DA/Preamp?

I am selling mine for less than 1/2 the new price!

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post #135 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 04:13 PM
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GoFRO,
Nice setup. I have once had the exact same. I have sold the Theta gear but still have my 20Ts (now mkII). I see you have replaced the original cones under the head unit with some other cones. Is it BDR cones or what is it? And also about the plattform you have placed the speaker on. Is it the BDR The Shelfe? I would appreciate if you told more about this.

Also, what are you planning to replace your Theta gear with?

Thanks,
Armand
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post #136 of 401 Old 02-12-2010, 07:38 PM
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The Aerail 20T speakers - I tweaked a little with BDR cones under the midrange, brass screws on all woofers, brass tip toes on granite slabs.
BDR Source shelf under the transport and Theta VIII components.
Have since sold the 20T speakers and will be setting up some Evolution Acoustic MM3 speakers.
I am trying a 1060 Boulder amp.

As you can see I cannot stay with anything for very long!
That is why I need to sell the Theta CITADEL 400Watt monoblocks or Theta Gen VIII DA/Preamp at such a drastic discount.
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post #137 of 401 Old 02-13-2010, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by GoFRO View Post

The Aerail 20T speakers - I tweaked a little with BDR cones under the midrange, brass screws on all woofers, brass tip toes on granite slabs.
BDR Source shelf under the transport and Theta VIII components.
Have since sold the 20T speakers and will be setting up some Evolution Acoustic MM3 speakers.
I am trying a 1060 Boulder amp.

As you can see I cannot stay with anything for very long!
That is why I need to sell the Theta CITADEL 400Watt monoblocks or Theta Gen VIII DA/Preamp at such a drastic discount.

That is a handsome looking system GoFro.

Sean
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post #138 of 401 Old 02-13-2010, 04:28 PM
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Wonder why the designers at Theta and Lexicon could not upgrade the DACs themselves (Not sure if Ayre replace the DACs), i

Yes, Ayre is replacing the dacs. The thread on his player is extremely interesting. Best read in a long time.

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post #139 of 401 Old 02-14-2010, 04:36 AM
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From reading the thread, Charles also seems to think the power supply is a bigger deal than the dacs. Seems like he thinks based on design that the Theta player may sit between his player and the Oppos.

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post #140 of 401 Old 02-14-2010, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by GoFRO View Post

I was waiting forever for this player from Theta.
Now that I have read though the posts here, I think I will stick with The Oppo SE.

Incidently, anyone interested in a like new pair of Theta CITADEL 400Watt monoblocks or Theta Gen VIII DA/Preamp?

I am selling mine for less than 1/2 the new price!


Thanks you for posting this picture. It's like and audiophile's version of porn. Excellent.

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post #141 of 401 Old 02-18-2010, 06:15 PM
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I have decided to just sell the Theta CITADEL amps and keep the Theta GEN VIII DA and upgrade to the Revision 2.

Made a deal on this monster Boulder Amp that is coming in next week.

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post #142 of 401 Old 02-18-2010, 07:06 PM
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From reading the thread, Charles also seems to think the power supply is a bigger deal than the dacs. Seems like he thinks based on design that the Theta player may sit between his player and the Oppos.

In fact, I appears he thinks the biggest favor Theta and others can do to HDMI audio quality is implement HDMI 1.3a standards based ARC (Audio Rate Control). Wonder if Theta is actually planning on doing this between their Compli BR and the forthcoming CBIII HDMI upgrade. May be interesting to ask them.
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post #143 of 401 Old 02-18-2010, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

In fact, I appears he thinks the biggest favor Theta and others can do to HDMI audio quality is implement HDMI 1.3a standards based ARC (Audio Rate Control). Wonder if Theta is actually planning on doing this between their Compli BR and the forthcoming CBIII HDMI upgrade. May be interesting to ask them.

Yes, I have been wondering about this. It would be sweet1

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post #144 of 401 Old 02-19-2010, 05:01 AM
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In fact, I appears he thinks the biggest favor Theta and others can do to HDMI audio quality is implement HDMI 1.3a standards based ARC (Audio Rate Control). Wonder if Theta is actually planning on doing this between their Compli BR and the forthcoming CBIII HDMI upgrade. May be interesting to ask them.

I am guessing that they will not. Theta is using the same platform as Classe. I do not believe Classe has the ARC?

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post #145 of 401 Old 02-19-2010, 06:01 AM
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The Six Shooter only sounds as good as the signal you feed it, so it does not do any clobbering on its own. If Theta's HDMI implementation takes the HDMI interface related degradation out of the equation, and the Six Shooter eliminates 95% of the analog preamp related signal degradation, SQ difference would be almost entirely the result of difference in quality of the DACs in the CBIII and the source component. If 10K worth of Xtreme DACs can't beat $400 worth of DACs in an Oppo SE something is very wrong.... If on the other hand it turns out the HDMI interface related degradation cannot be engineered out of the equation the $400 DACs may still rule. We'll see.

No the Six Shooter does not do any clobbering on it's own. Still all surround processors have volume controls after the digital to analog conversion. The Six Shooter provides superior sounding volume control and clobbers that of any surround processor that I have heard. The new Theta does not have a chance at taking the HDMI interface degradation away. They are struggling just to get a working product to market. The problem that I see is that it's not just the Xtreme dacs vs the Six Shooter and player. You should try some of the other high-end processors too and see how that compare. Then I suspect you will have a long list of "something is very wrong."

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post #146 of 401 Old 02-19-2010, 06:06 AM
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Why not do the 7.1 processing in a capable source component and stick with your two six shooters? This would work out far cheaper.

Need the post processing of a surround processor to expand 5.1 to 7.1. I have done it the analog route with a Circle Surround EX expander to get to 6.1 but too much hassle. If there was a great blu-ray player that could expand 5.1 to 7.1 then I would not need the upgrade. I saw something about Oppo doing pro-logic but will it expand a 5.1 track to 7.1?

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post #147 of 401 Old 02-19-2010, 06:43 AM
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Is post processing of lossless 5.1 to 8.1 (my current theta setup) possible?
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post #148 of 401 Old 02-19-2010, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

No the Six Shooter does not do any clobbering on it's own. Still all surround processors have volume controls after the digital to analog conversion. The Six Shooter provides superior sounding volume control and clobbers that of any surround processor that I have heard. The new Theta does not have a chance at taking the HDMI interface degradation away. They are struggling just to get a working product to market. The problem that I see is that it's not just the Xtreme dacs vs the Six Shooter and player. You should try some of the other high-end processors too and see how that compare. Then I suspect you will have a long list of "something is very wrong."

It will be very interesting indeed to see what Theta comes up with. So far based on what I have read analog out will definitely rule for SACD. Folks that prefer HDMI for DVD/Blu Ray sources only do so as compared to the MC analog bypass in their processor, which is not at the same level of a six shooter. Thenagain, Charles Hanssen flat out said he expects the HDMI route to sound better for Multi Channel, because no player will have the multi channel analog performance of his two channel player.

Irrespectively, HDMI appears to be a fundamentally flawed interface for high rez audio if it takes the alledged industry leaders 4 years to (may be!) come up with something that sounds marginally better than a $1300 Oppo Nuforce over analog, for a multiple of the price.

I guess bass management, post processing and room correction and fear of cables will be the value proposition.
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post #149 of 401 Old 02-19-2010, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Folks that prefer HDMI for DVD/Blu Ray sources only do so as compared to the MC analog bypass in their processor, which is not at the same level of a six shooter.

That's it exactly.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #150 of 401 Old 02-20-2010, 07:42 AM
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If bluray/DVD via hdmi into a CBIII is inferior to, say, an Oppo SE into an SS, the update is a failure, particularly with either of the upper end DACs. If two channel music out of the SE via analog is better than coax into the SupII or Extreme, ditto.

Since the compli announcement. I've posted here about the hope of ARC w/the processor -- it's an obvious way to add value to both pieces and separate the system from the pack. Charles Hansen indicated it's not too difficult to do, but it doesn't appear Theta's done anything other than incorporate HDMI, no other value added. Maybe the power supply, but that might just be an HDMI card req. I think the superiority of the CBIII has always lied in the quality of the volume control, and it's digital 'voicing' -- remnants of the old Theta. We'll see what's up moving forward
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