Reference quality 7.1 preamp/processor on a budget - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 05:47 PM
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Their prices are ok, but there are cheaper cables which work just as well.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #32 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

Have you thought about keeping the 885 and adding a 2 CH preamp with HT Bypass? I have had several in my system and I feel it gives you the best of both worlds. I currently have a Parasound 2100 which is far from reference but sounds great to me. I think the Parasound P7 would work quite well with 2 7.1 M/C inputs and HT Bypass. I have seen them as factory refreshed at Audio Advisor for $1499.00. I bought my 2100 from AA as an open box which was actually never opened.

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=2PAHAP7

Bill

Thanks for your comments, Bill. I do have a 2 CH preamp with HT Bypass (Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE). It is excellent and what made me think to change from the 885. Even though I use it primarily for music, I sometimes prefer playing movies through the STP in stereo rather than 7.1 b/c the sound quality is noticeably more transparent.

I considered the Parasound P7 and in the end chose the Bel Canto b/c I was able to get a great deal on it. And, I do trust Kal Rubinson's subjective opinion, who indicated that the Bel Canto was sonically the better performer.
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post #33 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Their prices are ok, but there are cheaper cables which work just as well.

Actually, let's keep this thread cable-free. Sorry for mentioning it.
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post #34 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbuoni View Post

Thanks for your comments, Bill. I do have a 2 CH preamp with HT Bypass (Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE). It is excellent and what made me think to change from the 885. Even though I use it primarily for music, I sometimes prefer playing movies through the STP in stereo rather than 7.1 b/c the sound quality is noticeably more transparent.

I considered the Parasound P7 and in the end chose the Bel Canto b/c I was able to get a great deal on it. And, I do trust Kal Rubinson's subjective opinion, who indicated that the Bel Canto was sonically the better performer.

Matt,

Thats great you got the prepro you wanted. I had a Bel Canto PRe3 and I thought it was a great preamp and John at BC is excellent. Its funny that you have the STP SE as I was going to suggest that as well. There is one for sale over at av123 in the classifieds. I almost bought it but I just ordered new speakers and it would have been a stretch cash wise. Plus I really want a sub output with bass management as the 2100 has. I look forward to your thoughts on the Pre6 and how it compares SQ wise with the STP SE for 2 CH music.

Bill

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Denon 4311 (in preamp mode), Parasound 2100, Boston Acoustics A7200 amp, Oppo BDP-103, Consonance CD120, Panasonic TC-P60GT50 plasma, Panamax 5100EX, Salk Song Towers, Song Center, ADS 300C (surrounds) and two Rythmik F12SEs.
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post #35 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

I'm not sure what you're implying by your winking smily, and I'll assume you're using "A/V Controller" as a synonym for the more common term "pre/pro" (preamp/processor). Apparently about 2/3 of the currently available (new) HDMI-capable pre/pros have two HDMI outputs, although not all of them have both active at the same time. See the list in the thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940065

Is any Anthem a "budget" processor? The cheapest current Anthem pre/pro seems to list for about $6K -- certainly not what I would call a "budget processor"!

First A/V controllers are a rather pathetic lot, just like front projectors. Too small a market for most manufactures to care about. The best choice is a the Bel Canto, a product which is long discontinued.

What is a pre-amplifier? Does it amplifier the signal like in a phono stage? They used to amplify but now DAC's generate sufficient voltage. No need for pre-amplification. In fact the volume control typically reduces the gain.
So continue to call them pre-amplifiers, just as 2% milk is allowed to be called "low-fat". I don't care

Second there is no such thing as a budget A/V controller. There could be, but none has been sold. It could consume ~25 watts and be quit slim, with HDMI and S/PDIF inputs and XLR outputs. (Current A/V controllers contain a lot of air. They are big boxes only because of the legacy analog inputs which no-one uses). Throw in bass management and time delay and you could have reference performance for $1K. But that is too logical of a concept for today.
Instead wait for hand-me-downs from receiver technology.
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post #36 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 09:26 PM
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I believe some volume control chips can generate some gain. But I guess that's being nit picky

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #37 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 10:56 PM
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What about an Arcam AVP700? It got rave reviews only a few years ago and can be found used for well under $1k.
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post #38 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I look forward to your thoughts on the Pre6 and how it compares SQ wise with the STP SE for 2 CH music.

I will be sure to post my thoughts on how these two preamps compare. It will be easy to do a rapid A/B comparison using the HT bypass on the W4S pre and I now have a SPL meter that measures to 0.1 dB accuracy, so level matching will be precise. Also, my wife has offered to help me switch so I can compare blindly.
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post #39 of 41 Old 06-27-2010, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, so I’ve had the Pre6 (Gen II) in my system for a few days and it has completely lived up to my expectations. First of all, there is no contest between the Pre6 and the Onkyo 885 with regard to sound quality. The Pre6 digs deeper into movie soundtracks and reveals subtle sounds distinctly, where the Onkyo would render such sounds present but veiled. A few examples are: insects buzzing around, the operator speaking on a phone off the hook in another room, individual voices within an audience at a concert, distant conversations that aren’t the focus of a scene, etc. Dialog is rendered through the Pre6 with better articulation and texture, giving voices more character and making quiet conversation easier to dintinguish. Dynamics are as good as I’ve heard, but the Onkyo is very good dynamically as well. To summarize, the Pre6 presents a transparent, neutral and dynamically alive sound that immerses you in a movie like no other preamp/processor I’ve experienced.

For two channel listening, I compared my Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE to the Pre6 by feeding the pre-outs of the Pre6 into the HT bypass input on the W4S pre. Volume level was matched to within about 0.1 dB and my Denon 3800bdci player fed both preamps (2 channel out -> W4S pre, multichannel out -> Pre6). Comparisons were made by switching inputs on the W4S pre between HT bypass and the Denon input. These two preamps were difficult to tell apart. Both were highly transparent, neutral and dynamic. The subtle differences that I observed were: 1) the W4S pre has a slightly lower noise floor (only noticeable with my ear close to the tweeters), although both are very quiet, 2) the W4S pre has just a touch of warmth to the tonal balance, whereas the Pre6 seems dead neutral, 3) the Pre6 provides a more precise level control especially at low volume, whereas the Wyred pre uses a resistor ladder network that forces larger jumps in volume level. That said, I could live with either preamp and consider them both reference quality in my system and to my ears. For now, I will keep both.
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post #40 of 41 Old 06-27-2010, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbuoni View Post

To summarize, the Pre6 presents a transparent, neutral and dynamically alive sound that immerses you in a movie like no other preamp/processor I've experienced.

In no small part because it is not a preamp/processor but an analog preamp.

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #41 of 41 Old 06-28-2010, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

In no small part because it is not a preamp/processor but an analog preamp.

Yes, thanks for the clarification Kal. And thank you for your comments that ultimately led me to selecting this incredible unit!

Matt
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