Hey Pre/Pro Manufacturers-Here's What We Want!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 03-17-2001, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Since going through the recent process of selecting a pre pro for music and home theater, I realized most high end manufacturers are behind the technology/features curve and thought maybe we could help them understand what a well informed buyer wants in today's market.

Here's my list.

I want;

1. One box that does it all.
2. 7.1 outputs (sorry Krell, I didn't even consider your $6500 5.1 unit.)
3. 7 channels of analog pass thru (hey Lexicon, Proceed, Krell; DVD audio is coming)
4. Timely software updates (Proceed, your response about THX EX being available just "sometime in the future" swayed my decision away from your excellent unit)
5. All current available surround formats.
6. At the very least, 24/96 DACS
7. Balanced Outputs
8. Flexible crossover/bass management
9. Audiophile two channel play
10. Room for future hardware updates so I don't have to replace my unit next year.
11. Excellent sound.

Charge what you will, I'll pony up the cash providing I have some confidence I won't be going through the same routine next year.

Now add yours......

Duaneadam
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-17-2001, 08:20 AM
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Do not forget Fully Software driven via Rs232 updates.
(Guys this is with "real and timely updates" as needed and market dictated)

I am absolutely amazed how many of these companies state "UPGRADEABLE" yet fail to upgrade anything, but hell they will sell you a new box (model).
I could have spent 15K+ keeping upgradeable over the past 3 1/2 years.

I have got to admit that this was my reasoning when I brought a Meridian 861 for my main theater.
Its "bloody expensive" but thanks to Meridian it has worked out to be pretty cheap compared to the throw away boxes that everyone else dishes up.

Its just I can not put another 861 in my family room with my new DLP otherwise it would work out far too expensive (mainly because my wife would sue my ass as she walked out the door)

DavidW



[This message has been edited by David Wallis (edited 03-17-2001).]
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-17-2001, 08:35 AM
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Add extended frequency response to match the frequency range of the new formats. My processor only goes 20hz to 44khz which is better but not even half of the frequency response of dvd-a. If supposedly the extended frequency response is contributing to better sound, why are surround processors chopping the signal at the knees.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-17-2001, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Like the rest of you, though, I want the ultimate pre-pro that won't require replacement
</font>
I don't mind getting a new pre-pro now, and replacing it in three years,
if both of them are NEAR state-of-the-art, since I can be pretty sure
the one in 3 years will be better than an upgraded 3 year old pre-pro.
Heck, it would probably be less expensive to go this route as well.
The "ultimate" pre-pro's that "promise" the future cost too much and
honestly, nobody can know what the state-of-the-art will be in
3 years.

Buying a NEAR state-of-the-art pre-pro every 3 years will probably
be more state-of-the-art over the long term, and cost less,
than buying a so-called "ultimate" one today and then buying
upgrade after upgrade, to a once "ultimate" but inevitably
dated design.

To me, buying a pre-pro with the expectation that it will
be upgraded to stay state-of-the-art over the next ten years
is a little like buying a new PC with same expectation.

Just my $0.02


[This message has been edited by Will (edited 03-17-2001).]
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-17-2001, 09:15 PM
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Great ideas, guys.

If you don't mind, I would recommend your venturing over to http://www.outlawaudio.com/ and checking out, under Latest News/New Products, Outlaw's upcoming Processor/Preamps. Many of your suggestions will apparently be incorporated into their new models.

It would be great if you would then go to their Outlaw's Hideout/Outlaw Saloon/New Product Suggestions area and tell them all the features you would like to see, as you've done here. From what I understand, Outlaw takes such feedback seriously, and this would go a long ways toward assuring an ideal (or near ideal) pre-pro when these new models are released.

No, I don't work for Outlaw. Like the rest of you, though, I want the ultimate pre-pro that won't require replacement within 1-2 years. Thanks for your help!
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-18-2001, 06:22 AM
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Hey guys, this is an important thread, but also tell us what pre/pro you have purchased. I recently went through a simlar analysis of desired benefits for a pre/pro. In my price point, I purchased a B&K 307 receiver. I like the Ref 30 pre/pro and the internal amps, therefore, give me time to upgrade the amps later, if necessary. My best friend purchased the Anthem pre/pro and we are both happy with our equipment.

Greg
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-18-2001, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Greg H

After two months of serious shopping and a budget of $6K, I ended up with the Integra Research RDC-7 which I purchased for $3,800. In my opinion, of the units I listened to it was at the top in both two channel and surround sound quality. I A/B'd it last night against my Lexicon DC-1 and it pretty much wiped the floor with it except for in music surround modes, the Lex is still my favorite in that department. I considered the Integra because of the reviews and the endless features, but I bought on the spot because of its sound quality. I felt the B&K was very good for its price range although my second choice would have been the Proceed AVP with the Lexicon MC-1 just behind the Proceed.

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post #8 of 24 Old 03-18-2001, 07:20 AM
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I still have not gotten around to hearing the Integra. I agree totally with your assessment of the other pre-amps, so I have to give weight to your opinion of the Integra. I will go to a dealer and check this unit out on Tuesday. It certainly has more features than anything on the market.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-18-2001, 11:58 PM
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What I would like:

7 analog inputs with optional analog bypass

1 Phono input with decent phono stage & optional analog bypass

Headphone Jack: I work nights, on my days off I'm up late listening.

2 sets of 5.1 bypass inputs: 1 for DVD-Audio, & 1 for multichannel SACD, prefer RCA Jacks instead of DB-25 connector for 5.1 inputs !

RF Digital Input for my Laserdisk player

3 coaxial & 3 optical, digital inputs, 1 coaxial & 1 optical out

7.1 channel out

Dolby digital, DTS, DPL-2, Dolby EX, Dolby ES

RS-232 port for software upgrades

I don't care about video switching, but should have 1 video out for on screen display setup & calibration

Flexible bass management

Decent programmable/learning remote control

Optional CD upsampling would be nice feature
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 04:35 AM
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I found interesting enough that nobody requested video switching! it shows that (almost) nobody cares about it, it is hard to do it right with all RGB/YBR/Svideo sources, and at the end they just 'crowding' back of the reciever. Yet a lot of manufactures go great lenght to implement it! May be it should have an interface to some separate video switch, but it is not necessary!
Basically, removing video switching will improve quality, reduce costs, etc. Marketing gimmicks will work for Circuit City customer, but not for high-end processor shopper!
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post #11 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 05:01 AM
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I know what I do NOT want. DSP modes! I'd take really good bass management over DSP modes anyday.

Lynn Olan Little
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post #12 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 08:37 AM
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I assume that the requests for rs-232 updates are really requests for the processor to be updated by the user without having to remove it from his system. Thats what I would really like and it does not necessarily have to be rs-232 it could be firewire or usb or anyother cable hook-up or a replacable e-prom etc.

joe

"Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy." Frank Sinatra
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post #13 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 08:45 AM
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I can't remember where I read it, but sometime in the last 3 months I read about a Pre Pro that rec'd it's firmaware upgrades by playing a special CD "through" it. You heard music, but the Pre Pro rec'd new code.

I like that a lot better than plugging a laptop or PC into my Pre Pro...

Lynn Olan Little
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post #14 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 11:14 AM
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The Proceed in a nice sounding pre-amp. I think is worth extra money considering the amps and speakers that you own. I would buy a used one though and then have it upgraded at the end of the year when Proceed offers the upgrade.

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
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post #15 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 03:52 PM
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You guys should check out EAD, www.eadcorp.com

They just announced a big upgrade/new model that should take care of most of your considerations.

Rob

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post #16 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 04:59 PM
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All of the above plus 24/192 DACs all around. Forget about video switching.
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post #17 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 09:01 PM
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I really wanted to take a look at the Integra Research RDC-7....but the closest dealer is over a 3 1/2 hour drive away.....
I looked at the Anthem AVM2... looks nice... sounds nice...its a contender...
Gonna look at the Tag AV32R this week maybe.... no analog bypass for my SACD though...
Also saw the Proceed AVP... Love that one....looks terrific... sounds terrific... Is it worth the extra $ over the Anthem ?
Oh well..... isn't this fun though.....

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post #18 of 24 Old 03-19-2001, 09:43 PM
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I would listen to the EAD unit, but according to their website, they don't even have a dealer in Florida.....
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post #19 of 24 Old 03-20-2001, 01:01 PM
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There's your queue! Start one!

Rob

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post #20 of 24 Old 03-21-2001, 12:55 AM
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Tag McLaren are starting to leak info on a 192 bit upgrade to their AV32R and DVD32R. Looks like it could include an onboard Video scaler! Very sketchy info at the moment.
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-21-2001, 08:47 AM
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I would want

Good analog section for all channels after the D/A. It is too easy to overload with features and do quickie op-amp output stages due to lack of space/time.

Fully balanced from Input to Output(Dual diff conversion, balanced analog.)

How about a balance control for situations when you are not sitting in the middle and you don't want to fiddle around with the speaker adjustments.

Dump DSP, Video switching
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-21-2001, 12:06 PM
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Here's a sleeper.


How about digital room compensation? So we don't have to
place speakers in just the "right" place, and have to have
"baffles" and "room treatment" in order to get excellent
frequency response in ordinary rooms, so the sound is good
whether the room has hardwood floors or lush carpeting.
The room itself is without a doubt, currently the weakest
link in most sound systems, but the room itself could be
digitally compensated for, by the pre/pro.

I'm not talking about mere equalization here, I'm talking
about full-fledged digital room compensation.


Will

[This message has been edited by Will (edited 03-21-2001).]
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post #23 of 24 Old 03-21-2001, 01:17 PM
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It is beyond the capabilites of any processor to correct for most room problems. Particularly in the case of too much reflective surface area (glass, floors etc).
Digital EQ is still in its infancy.

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post #24 of 24 Old 03-21-2001, 02:14 PM
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As pre/pro's get more capable, digital room compensation
is the type of processing they can and should do. Maybe not
doing it perfectly, but at least making an attempt. And over
time doing a better job at it. Someday, good digital room
compensation may be standard in most pre/pro's. Hopefully, the
first pre/pro's with digital room compensation will be out
before too many years pass. When that happens, it will begin
to revolutionalize the listening experience in "real" rooms
by addressing what is without a doubt the weakest link in most
people's home theater sound -- the room itself.

I'm posting this not to give anyone a difficult time
but instead to suggest that digital room compensation is
the type of audio processing that someday but not today,
may be "standard" in pre/pro's.

Yes it takes processing power, but that's ever-more abundant.
Remember this is audio not video. In general (but not always)
video has higher bandwidth and more inherent complexity, than
audio. Even today home theater components like STBs,
DVD players and HDTVs process video. That's what pulldown,
de-interlacing, stretching and zooming, artifact reduction,
upconverting between 1080i and 720p etc., is all about.


Will


[This message has been edited by Will (edited 03-22-2001).]
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