Originally Posted by moosik
I have a Casablanca III with one Xtreme DAC and an old superior DAC. I will need to upgrade the Superior to get the HDMI option. I priced the total upgrade cost about $8K.
I am aware that this will always be the case with Theta equipment. While the processor is upgradeable, each upgrade costs around $5K. I heard that even better DAC is planned and also room correction. So more upgrades in multiples of $5K are ahead.
Before putting any more money into the CBIII, I was wondering what my alternatives are. My main reason for owning this unit is the Xtreme DAC. The sound is what I care about most (especially out of the front channels) I would be perfectly satisfied with video processing capabilities of an average receiver/processor (e.g. Sony, Denon).
What other HT (up to 7.1) processors are there with DAC performance that would match the Xtreme performance or better it? I asked about the Integra 80.3 but was told by several members that the DAC is far worse than Theta's.
Thanks for suggestions of other equipment I could look at.
Moosik, no matter how good the Xtreme card is, I totaly agree sinking a few grand into a DAC card that is over 10 years old just for surround/sub duties, makes no sense, especially when a new card has been announced.
The good news is, one of the best kept Theta secrets is the upgrade will actually work with the old superior card (check this thread for more info - I beleive around october 2011). So you could shop around for a good deal on the upgrade (which you can be had substantially below MSRP), to get into the HDMI game, and wait for the new DAC card to be released. At that point you probably also need to get the Dirac upgrade with the new 96/24 board, and you are looking at as significant outlay (may be 8K street price). But that would give you room correction, a new DSP engine and a brand new DAC card.
Considering the progress that has been made in digital technology this should be the mother of all SSP's. I have heard some 2 channel DACs that put the Xtreme cards to shame, that are very compact. I always wondered why no one could fit six channels of these into a SSP. If the new Theta DAC card does just that, it will trounce all else on the market.
Bit of a gamble, and you may end up waiting a long time, but if just upgrading for less than 4K and using the Xtreme card gets you at par with the best on the market today, that move would make sense in its own right, and the new card would be just icing on the cake.
I personally went a step further and sold my Xtreme cards and still use my analog player with six shooter. Once a new card comes out, I will look into getting my Theta up to specs agains.