Originally Posted by BillP
Jmouse, what preamp do you recommend pairing with the A21? I have a pure 2-channel system, and am thinking of upgrading from a Rotel amp and preamp to Halos. I am thinking A21 with the JC 2 (it's hard for me to justify two JC 1's instead of the A21, although the JC 2 seems to state how it's made to be paired with JC 1's). Thanks.
I would highly recommend the Onkyo PRSC 5509 preamp.
I have owned the Onkyo 5507, and then moved to the 5508. The 5508 has been rock solid, not one problem. I went with the 5508 because it has the updated Audyssey XT32 room correction. I couldn't believe how much better it is than the previous version on the 5507. Well, both the Onkyo PRSC 5508 and the 5509 have the Audessey XT32 BUT, Onkyo has foolishly dropped Audessey from their next generation of preamps so I can not recommend you buy it. Wait for the 5509 to go on sale and be one of the fortunate few. IF, you "must have" Atmos... Then go with Denon's next generation preamp. It will cost a lot more than the new Onkyo preamp with Atmos BUT, and here is where Onkyo shot themselves in the face, not only does the Denon have Atmos, it ALSO retains Audessey XT32 room correction!
If Onkyo wants to remain competitive they will need to bite the bullet and return Audessey XT32 or better in their next Gen preamp because the 1 calibration system they are now going with doesn't cut it. They dropped Audessey as a cost cutting feature because they would have needed to ad an additional processor to keep it, like Denon has done. They were unwilling to do so and as a result, many, including myself are predicting their sales will plummet (I certainly won't be buying one because Audessey XT32 is outstanding and I am not willing to give that feature ( found on the 5509) up.
As for "Atmos"... I am not going to rush to jump on that band wagon... It may just be a gimmick to drum up lagging A/V sales. I already have a tremendous sounding 9.2 surround Home Theater. With Atmos you literally have to relocate your existing speaker set up (front-height ambient speakers don't work properly with Atmos) and add additional speakers to the ceiling! No thanks... I will wait for that to all shake out. "early adopters" with money to burn can be the ginny pigs.
Also, DTS is coming out with a new audio processor code mix... Again, I will sit that one out until it all shakes out.
Now the one thing that the 5509 doesn't do is 4K. But the simple answer to that is to get a Bluray player like the OPPO 103, 105 or Sony BDPS790, with two HDMI outs and run the audio to your 5509 and the 4K video directly to your 4K projector or TV. This is the route most on aVS are taking until the standards for HDMI 2.0 (and beyond) are finally and firmly established. Otherwise you end up, like those poor saps who bought the Sony 1,000 4K projector for $25,000 dollars who later found their 4k projectors were already obsolete because they couldn't play native 4k movies! They had to spend an additional nearly THREE GRAND in order to "upgrade" their 4k projectors to play native 4k,
which they were enitially promised they could do in written advertising in the first place!
So, wait until 4k and HDMI 2.0 (and beyond = 2.1, 2.2...) standards are finally agreed upon AND working/functioning properly in the real world before jumping on a "4K 'ready'" preamp and stick with what works. And what works is the feature laden Onkyo PRSC 5509.
For what it is worth, that is my advice. Hope it proves helpful.