Theta CB III HD in the house (with my ADA Mach IV)! - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post


Why would they? Specs Shmecks. I've never found them relevant as the manufacturer is the one one who supplies them to the public. They always put their product in the best light and there's no easy way to refute them. Until there is a true third party that does the specs (never happen), they are useless.

It just industry practice. Everyone publishes them. Third parties do test. Stereophile for example measured the Gen 8 series 1.

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post #182 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

It just industry practice. Everyone publishes them. Third parties do test. Stereophile for example measured the Gen 8 series 1.

Ture but at 12 issues a year... they probably get to 1% or less of new stuff.

It's like the wild, wild west out there in specs land. ADA giving specs is no more useful than me telling you that my theater is better than anyone elses.


rhbblb1's post above is a great example on how a $2K receiver is even better for movie sound than a decked out CBIII (non-HD). As he put it, everything was improved.

"*Even before implementing Audyssey room correction, the improvement over the Theta was huge. *Surround envelopment was greatly enhanced. *Center channel dialog was improved -- everything was just better. *And once I figured out how to get Audyssey up and running (I used Audyssey Pro), the improvement over what I was previously hearing was staggering. *Not even close."


This is why I bet my QSC / ADA combo will beat the CBIII HD! Even at 48/16


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post #183 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

rhbblb1's post above is a great example on how a $2K receiver is even better for movie sound than a decked out CBIII (non-HD). As he put it, everything was improved.

Especially ironic since this 2K processor has been dismissed by you as an unlistenable piece of garbage.

Goes to show there is no substitute for actually listening to gear, and "opinions" are pretty useless. Even at that different conclusions can be reached in different listening environments.
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post #184 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #185 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 06:35 AM
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this is what they do not understand.

Like it or not the ThetaHD is digital. I found a IBM AT computer from the 80's a while back and I marveled at the quality of the parts and case. Wonderful build quality and it should be for $6000 or so. This means nothing compared to the cheapest POS emachine now does it. Digital preamps done right can be very cheap and the R&D is much more important than the capacitors/chips/parts used for the final outcome.

All of this being said I am still interested in the Theta vs. ADA testing and what the conclusion is.
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post #186 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Especially ironic since this 2K processor has been dismissed by you as an unlistenable piece of garbage.

Goes to show there is no substitute for actually listening to gear, and "opinions" are pretty useless. Even at that different conclusions can be reached in different listening environments.

Agreed. I think it speaks to the significance of room correction. Great DACs can't do this type of stuff and give this sort of experience on Blu Ray movie tracks.


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post #187 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by virusc View Post

this is what they do not understand.

Like it or not the ThetaHD is digital. I found a IBM AT computer from the 80's a while back and I marveled at the quality of the parts and case. Wonderful build quality and it should be for $6000 or so. This means nothing compared to the cheapest POS emachine now does it. Digital preamps done right can be very cheap and the R&D is much more important than the capacitors/chips/parts used for the final outcome.

All of this being said I am still interested in the Theta vs. ADA testing and what the conclusion is.

Then built a PC and pit it against the prepros. The cheap AV receivers are new and use the same dacs as the mega-buck prepros. Maybe he can get the Onkyo and it will sound just as good if it's solely about the digital. Better yet, get the Integra.

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post #188 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post


Agreed. I think it speaks to the significance of room correction. Great DACs can't do this type of stuff and give this sort of experience on Blu Ray movie tracks.

Except he thought the Integra was better even before Audyssey. So one can conclude that both the surround algorithms were better and/or the DACs were better.

R 8:28


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post #189 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by audioguy View Post

Except he thought the Integra was better even before Audyssey. So one can conclude that both the surround algorithms were better and/or the DACs were better.

I read his post as the lossless decoding via HDMI offered on the Integra was superior to the CBIII (non HD) - perhaps due to newer DACs or improved dynamics with the lossless track - but when Audyssey was engaged he pronounced the improvement as 'staggering' - meaning the room correction took it to a new level. Perhaps he'll comment again on it.


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post #190 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I read his post as the lossless decoding via HDMI offered on the Integra was superior to the CBIII (non HD) - perhaps due to newer DACs or improved dynamics with the lossless track - but when Audyssey was engaged he pronounced the improvement as 'staggering' - meaning the room correction took it to a new level. Perhaps he'll comment again on it.

Obviously the non HD CBIII cannot play the new codecs so what was compared to what is not entirely clear. It is also not clear what caliber DAC cards were installed in the CBIII.
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post #191 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Obviously the non HD CBIII cannot play the new codecs so what was compared to what is not entirely clear. It is also not clear what caliber DAC cards were installed in the CBIII.

I assumed he had a 6 shooter to get the HD via analogs. Unsure of the DACs.


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post #192 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Then built a PC and pit it against the prepros. The cheap AV receivers are new and use the same dacs as the mega-buck prepros. Maybe he can get the Onkyo and it will sound just as good if it's solely about the digital. Better yet, get the Integra.


That is my plan. HTPC + Lynx 16ch AES/BEU + Dirac Live softare + external multi-channel DAC. I hope this thing can better most units out there and remain future-proof (to a limited extent). At the very least it will be cheaper and more of a challange
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post #193 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:51 AM
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I assumed he had a 6 shooter to get the HD via analogs. Unsure of the DACs.

That would make absolutely no sense. With an analog player and a six shooter, you take the CBIII completely out of the signal path, so you would not be able to say anything about how the CBIII compares to the Integra sonically.
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post #194 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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That would make absolutely no sense. With an analog player and a six shooter, you take the CBIII completely out of the signal path, so you would not be able to say anything about how the CBIII compares to the Integra sonically.

I agree. But that is / was par for he course for many Theta users here at AVS! Haven't you read my old Theta comments, I never understood that either!!!


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post #195 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by HFGuy View Post

That is my plan. HTPC + Lynx 16ch AES/BEU + Dirac Live softare + external multi-channel DAC. I hope this thing can better most units out there and remain future-proof (to a limited extent). At the very least it will be cheaper and more of a challange

Although 8 channel, the Dirac live PC version is catering to the "2 channel sans subs" crowd, and does not do bass management. For most MCH applications this would be a dealbreaker.
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post #196 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 10:02 AM
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I assumed he had a 6 shooter to get the HD via analogs. Unsure of the DACs.

Stop it Some are comparing DD to DD True HD, and believing the improvement is because they have a new processor.

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post #197 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 11:32 AM
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Although 8 channel, the Dirac live PC version is catering to the "2 channel sans subs" crowd, and does not do bass management. For most MCH applications this would be a dealbreaker.

The audio decoder does the bass management, Dirac Live cannot tell a sub from a tweeter The real limitation I see is currently it is only 8ch.
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post #198 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 11:37 AM
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The audio decoder does the bass management, Dirac Live cannot tell a sub from a tweeter The real limitation I see is currently it is only 8ch.

In my estimation you will have so many very computing and memory intensive processes running on a single CPU, it will seriously compromise sound quality. Interesting expiriment though.
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post #199 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 11:39 AM
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That would make absolutely no sense. With an analog player and a six shooter, you take the CBIII completely out of the signal path, so you would not be able to say anything about how the CBIII compares to the Integra sonically.

I can find at least 100 posts from CBIII owners claiming the six shooter and CBIII were a golden combination. Even to go far as saying maybe HDMI wasn't needed. Guess not...

On another note, It seems the big advantage to the CBIII is it's dual purpose (HT and excellent music reproduction). Why not a good processor paired with a high end 2 channel pre with HT bypass? Like a VTL or other high end 2 channel preamps strictly designed for music. I would assume that combination would outperform a CBIII and cost less overall. No?


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post #200 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 12:43 PM
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I can find at least 100 posts from CBIII owners claiming the six shooter and CBIII were a golden combination. Even to go far as saying maybe HDMI wasn't needed. Guess not...

Still using mine with marantz ud9004. Not at all convinced the CBIII HD without the GEnVIII will beat it on SACD.

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On another note, It seems the big advantage to the CBIII is it's dual purpose (HT and excellent music reproduction). Why not a good processor paired with a high end 2 channel pre with HT bypass? Like a VTL or other high end 2 channel preamps strictly designed for music. I would assume that combination would outperform a CBIII and cost less overall. No?

Unless you need the switching, expensive preamps are a big waste of money in the days of DACs with very good volume controls (which are starting to hit the market). I sold my 10K tubes in favor of volume control on the DAC. Many others report similar experiences.
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post #201 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by adidino View Post



On another note, It seems the big advantage to the CBIII is it's dual purpose (HT and excellent music reproduction). Why not a good processor paired with a high end 2 channel pre with HT bypass? Like a VTL or other high end 2 channel preamps strictly designed for music. I would assume that combination would outperform a CBIII and cost less overall. No?

Gen 8 is in 10K preamp class. Multiple Gen 8a feed from and controlled by a Casablanca HD will set the standard. This is what was envisoned a decade ago but DD lacked the resolution to make it feasible.

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post #202 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

Still using mine with marantz ud9004. Not at all convinced the CBIII HD without the GEnVIII will beat it on SACD.



Unless you need the switching, expensive preamps are a big waste of money in the days of DACs with very good volume controls (which are starting to hit the market). I sold my 10K tubes in favor of volume control on the DAC. Many others report similar experiences.

I think that's the point I'm making. Where is the value in the CB3 now-a-days? Just a question..


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post #203 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 06:31 PM
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I think that's the point I'm making. Where is the value in the CB3 now-a-days? Just a question..

Theta is a solid product and being a SOTA processor with digital out provides great flexibility ESP when it will have built in DIRAC , so that all processing is done in digital domain, including room correction and then you can use external DACs if you wish to . Very few options are out their in that regard . Now the price / value is subjective decision
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post #204 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

That would make absolutely no sense. With an analog player and a six shooter, you take the CBIII completely out of the signal path, so you would not be able to say anything about how the CBIII compares to the Integra sonically.

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I agree. But that is / was par for he course for many Theta users here at AVS! Haven't you read my old Theta comments, I never understood that either!!!

That was the part that always cracked me up, even going as far as using Integra pre-pro's into the six shooter for BD's loss-less codecs
Oh lord, how blind were we to miss out on the glorious combination of a $2,000 pre-pro played through a ultra expensive switcher

You better have second thoughts on using a six shooter Jeff, if it could make an Integra beat all comers imagine what it will do to the ADA SB and BD will surely surmise that the ADA only sounded good because of the six shooter

"Half the world is looking for Jesus, and the other half is looking for more bass..."
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post #205 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mani View Post

I can attest that Aerials and theta combination are extremely good . I have heard it in Steve's theater.
I just find it silly , that people fight so strongly for the brands they own. We are here in this hobby to enjoy audio/video, not to lobby for the Av companies. I have gone through enough manufacturers and dont feel emotionally attached to any . If I was building a room for serious 2 channel listening I would for sure prefer Theta over ADA any day . For movies , the difference is slight and I actually prefer some attributes of ADA for movies. I built my theater for 95-99% movie use , and most of the times with my kids and family , so everything had to be hidden /inwall/ in separate equipment room etc so I dont have to constantly watch kids , so that they dont touch the expensive equipment and poke their fingers / toys in the speaker drivers/dust caps. For my purpose ADA/Seaton combo is unbeatable for the price. If price was not a concern , I would go with Theta / Genelecs. I prefer genelecs over aerials ... my taste.
If I had to build a 2 channel room I would also consider Von Schweikerts - Thats the best sound I have ever heard in a Demo ( just by memory - no AB comparison)- I havent been that impressed with any speaker so far -- I dont know if it was the combo of the recording, the integrated tube amplifier that was being used along with Von Schweikert's,...but that was ahaa moment for me whiel listening to music. It was 3-4 years ago so cant tell all the details of models etc.
If I have to build a multipurpose room ( movies more than music)- I would use fully customised CAT solution, if I can afford one. ( not just buying a CAT speaker and placing it in a room, I mean ground up design by CAT , with custom drivers and crossovers for that particular room and final tuning of the whole system by CAT engineers). Thats the room I have been most impressed with while watching movies.
Regarding specs...I dont believe I pay much attention to them anymore. Even $500 receivers use DAC's with more than 120 dB S/N ratio and if any one claims that he can hear difference between 120dB and 128dB S/n , is just bluffing. There are dozens of speakers who have flat frequency response from 20Hz to 20KHz, that doesnt mean they all soud the same. My Sim2 Lumis HOST has native contrast ratio which is very modest and from what I recall very unfavorable to JVC's which have very strong following and any one who owns Sim2 Lumis can attest that JVC cant hold a candle to Sim2 , esp on a larger screen. And another example is Kscape, I tried very hard to get details about their video processing / DAC's etc etc to no avail, but I like their picture better than oppo and DVDO VP pro and iscan duo. So no if a company doesnt want to share the details about components doesnt necessarily mean that their performance is bad. Eventually yuo buy what looks and sounds good to you, not what looks good on paper.
For movies , active monitors like Genelecs or Seatons should have advantage because they are much more effecient because of active crossovers as most of the power using conventional consumer based processors and passive speakers with passive crossovers is wasted , because your sound output is determined by the least effecient link which will be your woofer or low frequency driver, and it is well documented that peaks and thus the dynamic range in movies is higher , so active monitors should perform better at least for that attribute. However I did hear more nuances in Steve's Theta / Aerial combo . So that comes to personal preference /taste and financial state. At the end of the day , speand the money you comfortably can on what you like .

PS : just to add the best 2 cahnnel sound I have heard in my home was with B&W 802's with Pass Labs XP 20 stereo preamp with external power supply and pass labs monoblocks , but that was before I had kids..

I still have my Von Schweikerts that I tried and failed to replace with the Aerial Model 9. At that time I needed a dual purpose speaker and the VS's just had a more lively and dynamic character with movies, the Aerials were more laid back.

I plan on doing a dedicated theater though and had a chance to try some QSC HPR153i pro audio speakers. I have to admit that for movies Pro style speakers are the way to go. I still love my Von Schweikerts but for movies I am sure your Seatons, which lean more to Pro style, blow my VS's away. They just play at another level were Audiophile speakers tend to strain and the dynamics are startling.

I have no doubts Jeff's theater will reveal the clear favorite for a movie pre-pro but for music it is like cutting a steak with a spoon, wrong tool for the job.

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post #206 of 271 Old 05-15-2012, 11:32 PM
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I think that's the point I'm making. Where is the value in the CB3 now-a-days? Just a question..

: That's a value question that each person has to answer. While waiting for the upgrade, some bought the Classe SSP. Then they got the Theta upgrade. All said the casablanca is a better performing processor. Is it twice as good? Certainly not. How much performance matters is a question we each have to answer.

What is the value of, "Made in America," or Canada, for example? For some there is no value in such a thing. Nearly every component they own is made in China without regard for what this will ultimately mean if not for them, their progeny. For you, the value is likely none as you don't appear to own many U.S. made products.

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post #207 of 271 Old 05-16-2012, 01:17 AM
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Why is ADA not publishing specs like SNR and THD?

Here are some provided by ceenhad (Neil, UK Distributor) on the other thread, they came up during a discussion about the differences between the standard and 'B' Balanced version:

Quote:


The balanced unit uses a regulated switch mode power supply stage and dumps all of the legacy video switching interfaces as well as adding the transformerless balanced outputs.

This combines to give the balanced unit a better SNR as noted:

For the Cinema Rhapsody and Suite 7.1 HD
Digital Input: 109dB THD: 0.00137%
Analog Input: 104dB THD: 0.00137%
Analog Bypass (direct 7.1): 105dB THD: 0.00070% (not on S7.1HD)

For the Cinema Rhapsody Balanced
Digital Input: 111dB THD: 0.00070%
Analog Input: 116dB THD: 0.00070%
Analog Bypass: 116dB THD: 0.00040%

Now on the meter these are distinctly different results with the Balanced being notably better.

I hope that is of some use.

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post #208 of 271 Old 05-16-2012, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by adidino

I think that's the point I'm making. Where is the value in the CB3 now-a-days? Just a question..

gettin pretty obvious how this review is going to go
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post #209 of 271 Old 05-16-2012, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mjaudio View Post

That was the part that always cracked me up, even going as far as using Integra pre-pro's into the six shooter for BD's loss-less codecs
Oh lord, how blind were we to miss out on the glorious combination of a $2,000 pre-pro played through a ultra expensive switcher

You better have second thoughts on using a six shooter Jeff, if it could make an Integra beat all comers imagine what it will do to the ADA SB and BD will surely surmise that the ADA only sounded good because of the six shooter

To be fair to my beloved six shooter, it is not an ultra-expensive switcher. It is a dirt cheap multi channel preamp.

You can use it as a switcher by setting it to unity gain for the ADA input and running the CBIII HD through the bypass input. It is so transparent that this will add or subtract so little from the ADA that it is an excellent way to do a double blind A/B comparison. In therory, the ADA is at a slight disadvantage, because it runs through one additional active circuit.

Unfortunately, there appears to be little appetite on the part of team Theta to contribute to Jeff's expiriment by volunteering a SS, possibly because it is easier to dismiss the conclusions of a flawed (i.e. sighted) shootout than a double blind.
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post #210 of 271 Old 05-16-2012, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by edorr View Post

To be fair to my beloved six shooter, it is not an ultra-expensive switcher. It is a dirt cheap multi channel preamp.

You can use it as a switcher by setting it to unity gain for the ADA input and running the CBIII HD through the bypass input. It is so transparent that this will add or subtract so little from the ADA that it is an excellent way to do a double blind A/B comparison. In therory, the ADA is at a slight disadvantage, because it runs through one additional active circuit.

Unfortunately, there appears to be little appetite on the part of team Theta to contribute to Jeff's expiriment by volunteering a SS, possibly because it is easier to dismiss the conclusions of a flawed (i.e. sighted) shootout than a double blind.

Don't you use a different preamp with home theater bypass for stereo? If so, why not send The Bland yours to use (and break)! Sorry, I don't lend out my gear. And although my Six Shooter currently isn't in use, since I can't get much for it, I am keeping it as a "doorstop", and it at some future point for whatever reason we want to demo analog gear, we could always use it then!

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:

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