Originally Posted by jdlynch
Well, I missed my opportunity to purchase one of the refurbished SP3's at audio advisor. I've been saving for a while, but to buy one now may be out of my reach.
I'm wondering though: for strictly home theater use how much sonic improvement will I gain over my existing Marantz 8801?
I'm mainly HT, but I'm also into music as well. That is what attracts me to the SP3.
Will the SP3 provide noticeable improvement for HT as well as music? I am considering maybe just going with a Bryston preamp with A pass through for HT.
Can't speak for the Marantz, but when I moved from my Onkyo PR
-SC885P pre/pro to the SP-3, I simply could not believe, how big a difference a pre/pro could make. I didn't recognize my speakers anymore, so much more open, more transparent and cleaner was the sound. The comparison, of course, is not fair. The PR
-SC885P was in the $1,500 range, while the SP-3 adds a zero in a significant area ($10,500).
Anyway, I attributed the incredible sonic improvement to the fact that those two products have been developed very differently:
The Onkyo was more or less the top-of-the-line receiver, where Onkyo took out the power amp and replaced it with a more elaborate pre-out section. The power supply was adjusted to meet the requirements of a pre/pro. The advantage of this approach is that the pre/pro inherits lots of features, bells and whistles from the receivers. The problem, however, is that the inheritance also includes all the limitations that the basic receiver design has (common components across the receivers starting at $200, i.e.) and that some of the features might even degrade the sonic quality.
The Bryston SP-3 does not have such an inheritance. In consequence, there are no bells and whistles and the SP-3 lacks some features which might be considered standard even in a $200 receiver. But Bryston could develop a new product with sound quality as the guiding principle in mind - without any limiting inheritance.
I might be oversimplifying things a bit, but it is like comparing a piece of high quality industrial furniture with a piece of hand crafted solid wood furniture. It's a different game and you immediatelly recognize to which group an item belongs...
Just my two cents!