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post #1 of 44 Old 01-06-2012, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently own a Meridian 861 V6 w/ HD621 and looking to get into another processor that has an analogue bypass for optimal 2 channel sound. It is apparent from reading these forums that the Theta CB3 and the ADA Mach 1V are rated among the best. Can anyone offer some advice as to which unit is better ? I heard the new CB3 HDMI that is coming out is suppose to have even better dacs than the Extreme D2's....How is the preamp in the Theta CB3 ?
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post #2 of 44 Old 01-06-2012, 11:25 PM
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You'll probably get a lot more replies at their respective threads.
Theta and ADA. One other that fits in that small group would be the SSP-800.

And while I understand about analog bypass being coveted for its minimalist approach, that is often not sufficient in real rooms and systems that need bass management and some form of EQ. Maybe you are one of the 1%.
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post #3 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Roger....Yes you make a great point that bass management is a key factor. I like to run my subs with my fronts when i'm listening to 2 channel.
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post #4 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 11:09 AM
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Might also look at the new Bryston SP3. As a processor, it's all audio, with video switching. True analog 2ch and 5.1, 7.1 analog bypass and multiple digital modes. No EQ, however.

Steve
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post #5 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyZ06360 View Post

Thanks Roger....Yes you make a great point that bass management is a key factor. I like to run my subs with my fronts when i'm listening to 2 channel.

Do you use the MRC in the 861? How do you like it?
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post #6 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes the Bryston SP3 was in my considerations for the longest time but it took forever to come out and then it didn't have any video scaling...I guess that doesn't matter in the skeem of things though. At the time the people I talked to all said that the new Meridain 861 V6 wa bar none the best in the world and that I wouldn't have to worry about the 2 channel becasue it was that good plus it had the Trifield which I do like but not enough to keep me in it. I love Bryston stuff....I think their very underated. They have been winning awards for their stuff left and right. But everyone I speak to says that Theta is in another league. So now I am entertaining it.
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post #7 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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As far as the Room Correction in the Meridian. It is very good...but I set it all up myself because I bought the unit from the west coast so I couldn't get it installed professionally. I don't believe I'm hearing it's true capabilities. I think I need someone to dial it in if I'm ever going to hear what it can truelly do. But I am getting ready to get a new audio server and dac and want to run it true 2 channel thru a unit that will allow me to such as the Theta. I wiah the Meridian had an analogue bypass.
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post #8 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyZ06360 View Post

As far as the Room Correction in the Meridian. It is very good...but I set it all up myself because I bought the unit from the west coast so I couldn't get it installed professionally. I don't believe I'm hearing it's true capabilities. I think I need someone to dial it in if I'm ever going to hear what it can truelly do. But I am getting ready to get a new audio server and dac and want to run it true 2 channel thru a unit that will allow me to such as the Theta. I wiah the Meridian had an analogue bypass.

If you are planning to use bass management and your subs with the CBIII you will not have an analog "bypass" either, because I am pretty sure the CBIII crossover and DSP only operate in the digital domain and therefor needs to convert analog to digital. If you want to have an true analog bypass and bass management, you need an SSP with an analog Xover. The ADA Mach IV has both a digital and analog Xover, so this is closer to an analog "bypass" than either Meridan, CBIII or Classe. (technically this is not even a true "bypass" because the signal still runs through an analog filter)

Another complicated method to achieve your goal of staying in the analog domain, yet applying bass management is to get a 2 channel preamp with HT bypass and an external analog crossover. However this get a little complicated because you need to be able to use your subs for the LFE channel in multi channel application and for the L/R low pass in stereo application. The NHT X2 (no longer in production) Crossover will allow you to do this, and Marchand will custom buld you one that does it as well.
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post #9 of 44 Old 01-07-2012, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyZ06360 View Post

As far as the Room Correction in the Meridian. It is very good...but I set it all up myself because I bought the unit from the west coast so I couldn't get it installed professionally. I don't believe I'm hearing it's true capabilities. I think I need someone to dial it in if I'm ever going to hear what it can truelly do. But I am getting ready to get a new audio server and dac and want to run it true 2 channel thru a unit that will allow me to such as the Theta. I wiah the Meridian had an analogue bypass.

You might also have a look at the Classe CP-800. It has analog bypass with simultaneous active subwoofer feed (and EQ), among other attributes. It is a stereo unit, so for the surround functions it would allow choosing a separate processor that addresses those requirements, probably a lot cheaper.
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post #10 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyZ06360 View Post

But everyone I speak to says that Theta is in another league. So now I am entertaining it.

Meridian electronics are always top tier. I would be surprised if this is actually true. I have seen owners switch in both direction. I would keep the Meridian and pick up a 2 channel preamp.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #11 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 02:54 PM
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I required an all in one and the SSP-800 has met my expectations and beyond.

Other pro/pros might be as good or better for stereo reproduction but I would love to hear them to confirm. I think the Bryston would also be a great unit to audition as well.

My experience and auditions rested with Classe, Arcam, and McIntosh. I opted for the Classe. Fantastic unit.

Rick

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post #12 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post

I required an all in one and the SSP-800 has met my expectations and beyond.

Other pro/pros might be as good or better for stereo reproduction but I would love to hear them to confirm. I think the Bryston would also be a great unit to audition as well.

My experience and auditions rested with Classe, Arcam, and McIntosh. I opted for the Classe. Fantastic unit.

Rick

"I think the Bryston would also be a great unit to audition as well...."
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The Bryston SP3 2ch bypass is pure analog, not sure about Classe, etc., also wanting bass management adds an interesting problem. An all in one processor/bass management with a "pure" analog signal path could be done with the Bryston (Classe?, etc) and a Bryston 10B Sub crossover.

Steve
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post #13 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 08:55 PM
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Does anyone know if Classe will have anything other than PEQ's for room correction any time soon? Love their products but there are a number of room correction systems that if implemented on the 800 platform could really move this product to the very top of the heap.
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post #14 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for all your input. I really appreciate it. I have a Bryston BP26 preamp with seperate power supply that I am not using because I thought I could eliminate it with the Meridian. Would it make sense to hook it back up again for pure 2 channel ? Should I incorporate the Bryston SP3 with it ?
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post #15 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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The Bryston SP3 looks impressive. I probably should have gone with this from the get go.
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post #16 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

Does anyone know if Classe will have anything other than PEQ's for room correction any time soon? Love their products but there are a number of room correction systems that if implemented on the 800 platform could really move this product to the very top of the heap.

Classe has said they preferred PEQ over automatic methods, but that was several years ago. Thus far, I have to agree. It is the least invasive on the signal path. Having said that, I am very keen to see what Harman has cooked up for the new MP-20. That could change my mind.

I have a Trinnov Pro system sitting here that I really need to fire up to see what that is about. I also tried the Dirac Live in an AP-20, and was very pleased with the tuning it did. I was not able to evaluate the finer aspects of the sound vs. the SSP because the hardware was not representative of current production, nor of the new RS-20i. That might best be determined via the impending CBIII HD upgrade. I hope to catch a whiff of that at CES.
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post #17 of 44 Old 01-08-2012, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I have a Trinnov Pro system sitting here that I really need to fire up to see what that is about.

Do tell; which unit is it?

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post #18 of 44 Old 01-13-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyZ06360 View Post

I currently own a Meridian 861 V6 w/ HD621 and looking to get into another processor that has an analogue bypass for optimal 2 channel sound. It is apparent from reading these forums that the Theta CB3 and the ADA Mach 1V are rated among the best. Can anyone offer some advice as to which unit is better ? I heard the new CB3 HDMI that is coming out is suppose to have even better dacs than the Extreme D2's....How is the preamp in the Theta CB3 ?

I own 861v6 and agree with Kal's review in stereophile- it is best processor I have heard till date and sonically I prefer it to CB3HD as of now. This is a preference issue- and I believe it is more lateral than a significant step-up. However my system is in flux and I plan to add additional components (like Gen8DAC, CB3 upgrades)-and this may change my impressions later. There are other folks who have preferred ADA Suite to 861 in their systems

But I am more curious about your need for analog bypass- if your room+speaker interaction is good enough without need for bass management/EQ then fantastic- a dedicated 2 channel preamp will suffice...but I have found that once you take measurements you can see the gaps/deficiencies which need to be addressed and possibly without need of a dedicated preamp.

There are many ways to go about it- ultimately it is your ear and your system/room-interaction and synergy which counts.

Regards,
Kishore
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post #19 of 44 Old 01-13-2012, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

I own 861v6 and agree with Kal's review in stereophile- it is best processor I have heard till date and sonically I prefer it to CB3HD as of now. This is a preference issue- and I believe it is more lateral and significant step-up. However my system is in flux and I plan to add additional components (like Gen8DAC)-and this may change my impressions later. There are other folks who have preferred ADA Suite to 861 in their systems

Kishore, just out of curiousity. Do you prefer the 861 because of the EQ ("icing on the cake" as Kal said in his review) feature? Have you compared the two processors without applying EQ and did you have the same preference for the 861?
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post #20 of 44 Old 01-13-2012, 12:56 PM
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Hi edorr-I did not use any native EQ/MRC of 861 {but used ext. DCX2496 for Sub EQ} so it was apples to apples comparison. I will be adding 2 (gedlee) bandpass subs and calibrate again later.
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post #21 of 44 Old 01-13-2012, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post

Do tell; which unit is it?

Oh, just the original studio unit. Not the new ones. But the operation is identical to what ADA is showing.
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post #22 of 44 Old 01-16-2012, 04:07 PM
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I recently demoed the Casablanca III HD. The demo was only for 2-channel music and admittedly a bit unfair as I was comparing it against a 2-channel only preamp (Linn Klimax Kontrol).

I was really excited about the Theta but was left disappointed. I did not find it to be pleasing at all musically.
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post #23 of 44 Old 01-16-2012, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.Bear View Post

I recently demoed the Casablanca III HD. The demo was only for 2-channel music and admittedly a bit unfair as I was comparing it against a 2-channel only preamp (Linn Klimax Kontrol).

I was really excited about the Theta but was left disappointed. I did not find it to be pleasing at all musically.

How much does the Linn Kimax Kontrol list for MSRP?

No one here has opined that the CB3 HD with Extreme DACs will be as good musically as an outstanding stereo preamp - unless you add the Theta Gen 8 Series 3 DAC, or perhaps another top notch not inexpensive DAC, or a top notch stereo preamp with home theater bypass.

Also, Theta gear needs a lot of burn in to sound at its best. When I bought well used Theta Gen VIII DAC, it took a few weeks playing it frequently before it sounded at its best. Same is true in my experience with the CB SSP in each of its itinerations that I have owned since 1997.

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post #24 of 44 Old 01-29-2012, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

Hi edorr-I did not use any native EQ/MRC of 861 {but used ext. DCX2496 for Sub EQ} so it was apples to apples comparison. I will be adding 2 (gedlee) bandpass subs and calibrate again later.

I have a couple BRYSTON SP-3 guys using (as sacriligious as it sounds) external LF EQ/RC devices like the ANTI-MODE 8033 too, and find it sufficient.

Regards,

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post #25 of 44 Old 01-29-2012, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

But I am more curious about your need for analog bypass- if your room+speaker interaction is good enough without need for bass management/EQ then fantastic- a dedicated 2 channel preamp will suffice...but I have found that once you take measurements you can see the gaps/deficiencies which need to be addressed and possibly without need of a dedicated preamp.

I agree. OTOH, if the OP insists on an analog route, I suggest the Parasound P7 which permits passing the L/R as well as subwoofer, iirc.

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Originally Posted by bioforce View Post

I have a couple BRYSTON SP-3 guys using (as sacriligious as it sounds) external LF EQ/RC devices like the ANTI-MODE 8033 too, and find it sufficient.

Ha! I put in the AM 8033 with the SP3 just yesterday.

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post #27 of 44 Old 01-29-2012, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bioforce View Post

I have a couple BRYSTON SP-3 guys using (as sacriligious as it sounds) external LF EQ/RC devices like the ANTI-MODE 8033 too, and find it sufficient.

I am using the SVS Sub EQ unit, which I believe does more or less the same thing as the anti mode. However, I have a hunch I can get better sub/mains integration and EQ in sub 300Hz territory, so I am on the lookout for a Tact 2.2XP and see how the two approaches compare.
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post #28 of 44 Old 01-30-2012, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyZ06360 View Post

The Bryston SP3 looks impressive. I probably should have gone with this from the get go.

Going by initial feedback seems like SP3 is a winner (SP2 got rave reviews for clean bypass).

However there is no auto-EQ and IIRC (as of now) James Tanner mentioned he would prefer to opt for a tool for managing low-freq/200Hz (more of traditional purist/audiophile philosophy IMHO). Meridian's EQ capability is also for lower frequencies.

Kal- are you doing a review of SP3-if so when will it be published? Hope you can test it in same system as 861 (or compare to 861?)

Bobby-If you are looking at CB3HD I recommend bundling that with Gen8 DAC S3 (it is an excellent preamp as well).

Regards,
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post #29 of 44 Old 01-31-2012, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

Kal- are you doing a review of SP3-if so when will it be published? Hope you can test it in same system as 861 (or compare to 861?)

May issue.

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post #30 of 44 Old 01-31-2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishore View Post


Going by initial feedback seems like SP3 is a winner (SP2 got rave reviews for clean bypass).

Kishore

The Bryston pre/pros have the best analog bypass of any of the processors I have tried. Have not yet heard the SP3. Where they were not tops was in digital to analog playback.

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