Originally Posted by mikefl52
I too would be interseted in your comparison of the D2v and DHC-80.3 as I am in a similar boat. I currently have a D1 which I use with the SMS-1 (for the two subs) and a DVDO VP50 for the video side of things and have looked for a couple of years at replacing it with a D2v but always balk at the price which is tough to justify in this economy and with a 20 year old daughter. It is also pushing it into some serious competition with the Classe & McIntosch at the price and loosing it's niche position of "value" for money that it used to have. The price of the DHC-80.3 is much more palatable, but I worry about the audio side of things as I listen to a lot of music and the sound with my D1/P5 set up feeding my B&W 803Ds sound excellent imho. I could live with what I have but I am running out of HDMI inputs on the DVDO and every time I look at the cable and plug clutter behind my cabinet I sigh in frustration.
Also are you using the Audessy-pro as form Kal's follow up review it does appear to offer an improvement.
I have owned a 9.8, 80.1 and 80.2, hearing improvements with each upgrade, especially with the 80.2. I have no plans for an 80.3, because I doubt it will sound significantly different. It's mainly about features.
After I got my 80.1, I took my 9.8 to the home of a noted recording critic to demo and compare to his setup. At the time, it was an Audio Research analog controller fed by an Esoteric Mch SACD/CD player. I wanted to demonstrate to him the potential improvement a digital controller plus DSP-EQ could bring to his system. Fed by an Oppo BDP-83 via HDMI and using an Audyssey Pro calibration, the 9.8 simply blew his setup away. It did not take him 5 minutes of listening for him to decide to upgrade. At my suggestion, he got an Anthem D2V plus an Oppo. The reason was I thought the analog inputs on the 9.8 would not satisfy him, and he still listened to a fair bit of vinyl. So, I recommended a D2V, which was superior on analog. The rest of the system was very high quality with Wilson Watt/Puppies and Duettas, all with Pass Labs amplification.
After he got the D2V set up, he, another D2V owner and I came back to help him tweek his calibration and setup. I brought the previously calibrated 9.8 back with me. We listened to the tweeked D2V against the 9.8 and none of us could hear a significant difference on hi rez Mch SACD. They were essentially indistinguishable, somewhat to the chagrin of both D2V owners. But, that was their honest opinion.
I have not repeated the comparison to the the D2V with my newer units, but It is quite clear that my current 80.2 sounds significantly better than the 9.8 did on hi rez Mch music. I will leave you to extrapolate what that might mean vs. the D2V. I was able to A-B compare the 9.8, 80.1 and 80.2 in my own system.
I think Kal's review of the 80.2 makes it clear that it now sounds much better than its predecessors on the analog inputs. I, myself, do not know or care because I no longer listen via the analog inputs, or to stereo, for that matter. Hi rez, discrete Mch is all I listen to.
As to Audyssey vs. ARC, I think Audyssey has the edge in many ways, expecially XT/32. Pro enhances that difference, though it it is not day/night better than stock. It's more of a refinement over stock. But, I think for critical music listening, Pro is highly recommended, especially the ability to eliminate the 2K "midrange compensation" dip in the stock target curve. It sounds more true to life to me without the dip.
I have not recently heard a Classe, McIntosh, Meridian or Krell. We know Kal prefers the Meridian above the others based on extensive listening. But, he nontheless, puts the 80.2 on his Class A recommended list along with those much pricier units. It's the real bargain among high end processors. To a heavy classical music listener and active concert goer like me, I am as happy as I could ever have imagined with my sound right now after decades of searching for a satisfying approximation of live concert hall sound.