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Ultimate Tweak-Upgrade to Theta Casablanca 2!!!  

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Its almost here - soon, soon. But Theta doesn't give an exact date, still beta testing and getting the kinks out. But Theta Digital's website now has a list of Casablanca 2 features:]


Features which I particularly interested in at additional cost:
1. optional anodized aluminum cover (better sound and vibration control and better heat dissipation)
2. optional PC control software (so you can save entire control to your PC or program via PC if you want)

And features included in cost include:
1. Jitter Jail, digitally stores audio samples in a buffer, then clocks them to the DACs using a high-quality crystal oscillator section
2. 12 channel capability, including side left and right, and center rear; and you can have subwoofer outputs for left front, right front, center front, left surround, and right surround.
3. If you get Superior balanced DACS, each Superior DAC will be 96/24 - but for now, as there's no 96/24 multi--channel digital input standard, and as Circle Surround won't work in 96/24, we're limited to 96/24 stereo.

I talked with Mary Cardas of Theta today with many questions to sort out what I want for my upgrade to Casablanca 2. Mary explained some of the stuff I mentioned above. Mary explained that the Casablanca 2 is actually 1/2 shorter, I'm not sure what dimension, probably width, so it will rack mount; and that my Casablanca will simply receive new internal cards, etc. so that it will be a perfectly functional Casablanca 2 albeit actually 1/2" I think wider.

Mary has also agreed to be a special guest here at the Tweaks forum, once Theta starts formally producing the Casablanca 2 and/or upgrading the Casablanca to Casablanca 2. And she'll even put in a good word with her dad, George Cardas, about appearing here, too (if you guys, and gals, treat her reasonably decently)!!!

[This message has been edited by Steve Bruzonsky (edited June 12, 2000).]
post #2 of 16
do you listen to much music with your Theta and if so what type and what do you think of the sound, what is you cd transport? do you listen to Vinyl? what is your Vinyl stepup device? how much is the update? thanks.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Theta hasn't posted its upgrade or Casablanca 2 price list yet. From what I've heard on the street, just the basic upgrade from Casablanca 1 to 2 is probably $1,500.00 or less.

Do I listen to music? First, lets all keep in mind that even if you are straight video, video often has a lot of music and the better imaging and more resolving your system, the more you appreciate it.

I probably listen to straight music, as opposed to video, about 10-20% of the time. I have a Theta Voyager DVD/LD/CD player which I use for music CDs. I will be glad to get the Casablanca 2 upgrade as I'll finally be able to use the digital out (Theta Single Mode, a proprietary bandwith limited optical) for 96/24 stereo, instead of currently having it downsampled.

I really haven't focuses on vinyl. At times I have hooked up my 1979 Dual 604 turntable (its not hooked up right now), but frankly, vinyl and the changing LP sides isn't for me right now. I do appreciate that if I got an excellent turntable, cartridge and preamp, and if I wanted to play some LPs
(I have an extensive large collection in my cabinets dating mostly from 1070-1980), that it would sound awful good!!!
post #4 of 16
Hey Steve, Did I read correctly that the Casa II will do 24/96? And does the voyager already pass this signal? One other question, do only certain cds or dvd have 24/96? As you can tell I'm still learning! Thanks for your help.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
The Theta Voyager, based on a Pioneer DVD/LD/CD combo player, does output a digital 96/24 signal, if you set the menu for this. If you have Superior DACS in the Casablanca for front left and right channels, then the Casablanca 2 upgrade will make them 96/24. Then you can play 96/24 stereo CDs digital out of Voyager into Casablanca.

The Voyager was state of the art 18 months ago. Sonically, it still is. Picturewise, I'm still very happy. But Theta's progressive DVD upgrade, at $2000 or $2500 if your player has the older chassis (mine does) is an awful lot of bucks for only 480p, and just doesn't make sense for me given my outstanding external Dwin Transcanner line scaler.
post #6 of 16
It would be great to have Mary as a guest. Even better yet, her father. I love his website and have found that for my room his speaker placement formulas work very good.
I was under the impression that, other than the cosmetic option, all the upgrades would be done when we sent in our Casablancas for about $1500.00. Are you sure we can pick and choose upgrades? I thought it was all or nothing. I beleive we do have to buy additional standard DACs for the upgrade to take place. This is for the side and rear channels.
I use my Casablanca much more for music than movies, and I have an extensive vinyl collection. I use a Clearaudio turntable and a homemade phono stage. For CDs I mostly use my Theta Data lll, although I also have a Miles and a DaViD. I obviously like Theta products but, if you are only interested in music, there are better preamps and cd transports for the money.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
The basic upgrade from Casablanca to Casablanca 2 is about $ 1,500, which will include Jitter Jail, new programming software including for DACs, and some replacement cards. I'm not sure what the deal is about whether they replace any DACs already onboard - I do know that all Superior DACs will be 96/24 but regular DACs will not do 96/24. My understanding is that if you want to add DACs for side and rear channels or any subs, to your existing Casablanca, that you can do so, but you must pay the going price for any additional DACs. I don't think the $1,500 upgrade price will include the least expensive single ended DACs for side and rear speakers, you would have to order a DAC card for this purpose.
post #8 of 16
Steve, or anybody:

Im in the market for a pre/pro. I was considering the Krell HTS. But I see alot of support for the Casablanca II. In your opinion, would it be a better buy? I already own Krell's KAV-3. I know it's generally a good idea to match manufacturers, but if the casablanca is *better*, or just as good, but cheaper(I have not even priced the casablanca), then I wouldn't have a problem seeking out the casablanca. Thank you in advance.


[This message has been edited by Jmartin (edited June 16, 2000).]
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm not here to knock the Krell HTS. Several forum members absolutely luv it, and I respect their opinions. But the HTS reportedly has very limited bass/subwoofer management, which I feel is absolutely critical at least in my own setup, and the Casablanca 2 is KING in this regard. I have my own bias and it says CASABLANCA 2 all the way. Look, only $1,500 and I can now upgrade to the new Casablanca 2. WOW! Those who bought that other Krell surround processor for more than $12,000 two years ago, with all its reported bugs and whisles, are out in the cold, aren't they? Or will Krell offer an upgrade program that I haven't heard of?
post #10 of 16
Does anyone know Meridians plan for any 861 upgrades?
Will Meridian let Theta one up them or do they have plans to match or exceed Thetas Casablanca 2?
post #11 of 16
Meridian plans? Well, they already exceed the Casablanca 3! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif (Just poking fun at you Steve.)

Their limit to the # of outputs is currenlty DSP. The current DSP in all of their products are 8-channel. Once DVD-A gets out the door (they have spent too much time on MLP) then I think we can see them move on and start working on 8+ channel support.

They have had memory based de-jitter since the beginning. EX will probably be the next software upgrade. They have had 3 analog output updates since its initial release. They have also had a few software upgrades for the 861 as well on thier website. They also offer upsampling. (limited to 4-channels) current DSP is 8-channels of 48/24. In order to do 96/24 they must use two channels per channel. Future DSP upgrade should fix this as well.

Of course the above is just my opinion who only they know thier future.

As a note about the new casa2, its side and rear center will not be superior dacs at this time.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Stacy, its my understanding that you can order a Superior DAC card for any channels, including sides and rear, but of course a Superior DAC card is I think $1900 for two balanced Superior and $2300 for a card with three balanced Superior DACs. That's a lot of change!
post #13 of 16
Can you give me some typical examples where the superior base management of the casa2, in your opinion, exceeds that of the Krell? I don't think you will get heavy rebuttal, but as a Casa owner and a great "tweaker" (from what I have gathered)I'm sure interested in what you have to say. Anything else other that base management you feel would sway me toward the Casa over the Krell??

post #14 of 16
My friend that is beta testing it says no superior cards for the sides and rear center at this time. Perhaps later on down the road.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Stacey. If your friend has a beta model, then he knows what he's talking about - or maybe that's just the beta and this will be solved when the real edition comes out!?!!!
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Re bass management. I have read on the web, as I have not played with the Krell HTS, that its lowest crossover point is 80 Hz 24 dB a la THX. I have my Theta Casablanca set at 50 Hz 6 dB which with my three Aerial subwoofers
(high pass filtered bass summed per all speakers and LFE) and five Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofers (high pass filtered bass, per each speaker, only)easily sounds the very best in my room and system. I understand that the Casablanca 2 will have even more bass management features!
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AVS › AVS Forum › A/V Control & Automation › Tweaks and Do-It-Yourself › Ultimate Tweak-Upgrade to Theta Casablanca 2!!!