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CBIII vs. Halcro SS100 - Page 3

post #61 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Oh, c'mon Bulldog, your starting to sound like Allen.

The guy is just giving his opinion on what he heard in his own system - not a conclusive double blind study, etc. No need to feel wronged.

I gave my opinion as well. I prefer the Halcro HT sound to my old Lexicon, Meridian, and CBII (trial piece I had for a month). It's not fact...just opinion.

BTW - Ones opinions are always valid (unless the opinion is unfavorable to what you have in your rack or you sell it).

Let's be serious. DIFFERENT SPEAKERS? That is a far cry from asking for a double blind test which I have never once done. He is giving the opinion of what he heard in two different DEALER systems. One of us can not read.
post #62 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

I gave my opinion as well. I prefer the Halcro HT sound to my old Lexicon, Meridian, and CBII (trial piece I had for a month). It's not fact...just opinion.

BTW - Ones opinions are always valid (unless the opinion is unfavorable to what you have in your rack or you sell it).

The CBII is outdated and the original Superior dacs are inferior to at least a couple of different surroud processor that I have heard in my home system. The CBIII is much improved. The Meridian stuff you owned dated from the 1990's. The Meridian 861 is a very formidable processor. Hear that piece before you judge Meridian. The Meridian 861 is one of the best on the market and a piece that I would be happy to own. If you are going to try to make brand comparison, I think you should do it with current top of the line models from these companies. Guess I am asking too much?
post #63 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

The CBII is outdated and the original Superior dacs are inferior to at least a couple of different surroud processor that I have heard in my home system. The CBIII is much improved. The Meridian stuff you owned dated from the 1990's. The Meridian 861 is a very formidable processor. Hear that piece before you judge Meridian. The Meridian 861 is one of the best on the market and a piece that I would be happy to own. If you are going to try to make brand comparison, I think you should do it with current top of the line models from these companies. Guess I am asking too much?

Agreed. The older Meridian processors (while very good) are quite a bit different from the latest iteration of the 861.

It's like saying my '07 Camry is soooo much better than the '90 Lexus LS400 I test drove, therefore Toyota > Lexus.

Just throwing a little fuel onto this fire.
post #64 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Swantko View Post

Agreed. The older Meridian processors (while very good) are quite a bit different from the latest iteration of the 861.

It's like saying my '07 Camry is soooo much better than the '90 Lexus LS400 I test drove, therefore Toyota > Lexus.

Just throwing a little fuel onto this fire.


Bulldogger has some issues with protectionism of his equipment. Always has....

I really laughed when I read his posts. He seems so serious.

If it were that good...I'd own it!
post #65 of 249
Forced to jump into the discussion after a long sideline life.... having both the 861V.4 and the SS100... I can offer some insight.... different sides of the same coin.... The V.4 is leagues ahead in analog.... digital is somewhat more subjective.... I am running the Meridian unit with 5200's in a HT seutp.... would sound different (really) with non-Meridian gear.... I know this as i swapped the 5200's for the JM Focals (Micros) that I am utilizing in 2 channel.... i bought the SS100 to check out the video signal processing... i would probably want to utilize and external scalar (with the many optional features) if going this way again...some time in the future i will swap out the SS100 for the V.4 to see the difference... both are really great units... i must confess the Meridian has been my standard since letting go of my 12B and Genelec setup a couple of years ago...The good news is that both mfg's have been very attentive to my needs though their dealer network.... i like em both...for different reasons...
post #66 of 249
I let me 12B go as well for the Halcro. THe SSP-100 is a remarkable unit for HT surround. I found it far more dynamic and natural sounding than my 12B. They have really a special unit in the SSP 100 aside from the ergonomic quirks.

You are right, the scaler is pretty useless.

I have a Lumagen Radiance coming hopefully in a few weaks to ameliorate that problem.
post #67 of 249
Wow...seems as though there are a number of us who abandoned Lexicon for other pastures..personally I went from Lexicon to Meridian and now own a Meridian 861V4.24 and COULD NOT be happier...okay, I could, it would be nice to have an on-screen userface a la Lexicon as programming the unit with a PC is a bit of a PITA..
post #68 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Center View Post

Forced to jump into the discussion after a long sideline life.... having both the 861V.4 and the SS100... I can offer some insight.... different sides of the same coin.... The V.4 is leagues ahead in analog.... digital is somewhat more subjective.... I am running the Meridian unit with 5200's in a HT seutp.... would sound different (really) with non-Meridian gear.... I know this as i swapped the 5200's for the JM Focals (Micros) that I am utilizing in 2 channel.... i bought the SS100 to check out the video signal processing... i would probably want to utilize and external scalar (with the many optional features) if going this way again...some time in the future i will swap out the SS100 for the V.4 to see the difference... both are really great units... i must confess the Meridian has been my standard since letting go of my 12B and Genelec setup a couple of years ago...The good news is that both mfg's have been very attentive to my needs though their dealer network.... i like em both...for different reasons...

Interesting as I was under the impression that digital was the real strength of Meridian gear and not analog - not to say it's bad, but not a particular strength. Would appreciate some clarification on a few things:
-- more specifc commentary around analog vs digital performance
-- based upon your commentary, have you found Median gear to be far less effective when utilized with non-Meridian gear?
--please spell out what you see as the (different) reasons you like both of them

Thanks
post #69 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Bulldogger has some issues with protectionism of his equipment. Always has....

I really laughed when I read his posts. He seems so serious.

If it were that good...I'd own it!

No never. If fact Shawn Fogg has validly pointed out all of the criticism that I have made about Theta in the past. Those criticism still stand. I am out for ME. Brand loyalty interferes with you being able to buy the best performance which is why I own several brands. You want to over-simplify things by making it appear that you have made a comparison between Theta , Meridian, Lexicon and that the Halcro was superior. The truth is that had you compared the current Meridian gear to the 1990's vintage stuff that you owned your observations would be much the same as the improvements that you report for the Halcro. The same applies to the Theta. Had you in fact compared a CBIII with the newer dacs to the older CBII with original Superior dacs you would have noticed a similar improvement. I know you what it to be simple but it is not. To offer valid comparison you really have to be completely truthful. That means clearly stating that you do not have any experience with the most current flagship products from Meridian, Theta, and perhaps even with Lexicon's MC12HD. Truth be told, at moment,ultimately the MC12HD should be able to outperform any of these processor since it is the only one capable of accepting a digital 5.1 24/96 signal . Now you have switched processors and want to declare the new brand better than ever thing else on the market. If you want to accuse me of brand loyalty, then make that accusation about California Audio Labs, that stuff still competes with everything that I have heard and it is 7 years old! To bad they went OB because the were really producing great products for the price. The Cal SSP2500 easily beats a Theta CBII with original superior dacs on DD and analog two channel bypass. Current price , 1000 to 1300.00 . I sold my Cal audio MCA 2500 amp to a guy with Mcintosh MC501 monoblocks who promtly sold the MC501s. Price for that 2000 to 2500 for 500 watts time 5. Feel free to call me a Cal audio labs fan boy.
post #70 of 249
I think you are reading too far into my comments.

I am only saying that in my system, the Halcro is the best yet.

I have never set up scientific A/B experiments nor do I declare I did. The new Meridian is I am sure a fine piece but never have I said it wasn't (i have never actually heard one).

I really don't care which processor would come out on top if a scientific analysis was done. I only care about what I am hearing in my own theater. My Halcro is better sounding than my Lexicon. There is no denying that under the conditions in my theater, that it is true. No brand loyalty here...I change brands like shirts. If it is good, I keep it.
post #71 of 249
The Bland, you know you and I can go back and forth forever. Let's agree not to turn this thread into another debate. If you read the original thread, I was actually excited by Halcro. I remain excited. Competition is good! The person who started this thread is a CBIII owner. The expectation was that Theta was going to be way behind on the HDMI thing and a lot of guys were looking to jump ship. Count me in that bunch too. If fact, I'd say there has been quite a bit of behind the scenes discussions on whether this would be a good processor to switch to. Of course not Steve though, Steve would never switch. I do not believe you would ever switch to Theta either, no matter what. As they say,"time will tell." Time has made many realize that Halcro faces the same challenges as Theta and they might as well stick with Theta. If you are an audiophile like me, the Six Shooter, which i did not own when I first became interested in the Halcro, becomes the deciding factor and the ability to upgrade the processor . I waiting to see if in fact Halcro releases a SSP120 with NO upgrade path for SSP100 owners. Maybe it does not matter to you but it will to some. That's why although I like Mcintosh products, I would never buy one of their surround processors because you have no upgrade path. I see that Parasound appears to have a new pre/pro in the works? They use the same platform as Halcro so I am expecting new pre/pros from both of these companies.
post #72 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

"The Pre/pro cannot receive these new lossless formats unless it has a HDMI 1.3 input plus the necessary decoders."

They can't receive them in the bitstream compressed format but they can received the decoded audio that is bit for bit identical to the source.

"With the HDMI 1.1 and 1.2, the formats are unzipped in the player, and sent to the pre/pro in the form of LPCM."

True, but even with HDMI v1.3 the only difference is the pre-pro *might* do the decoding (unzipping) of the new formats back to LPCM. And depending upon what happens that may or may not happen based on advanced content/coding on discs which currently requires decoding in the player.

Shawn

Thanks for the update Shawn; I have few questions on these formats. I see that only bluray discs offer uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio in addition to the dolby/DTS. I don't think HD DVD offers it in that format.
When I tried to use PCM tracks on my PS3 while playing the movie Dinosaur-blu ray it sounded horrible compared to the wonderful DTS track(bitstream). It should be because my SSP 100 can't receive multichannel PCM over HDMI yet. I see most DVD reviewers craving about uncompressed PCM track and I wanted to enjoy it once in my HT set up. I guess it is not possible since there is no 5.1 outputs from PS3.
Let us say I have a bluray or HD DVD disc only offered in DTS HD format and there is no pcm track offered. I thought, the only way I will still be able to send it via HDMI 1.1 is if I have a built in decoder in the player which converts it first to analog and either you choose to send it via 5.1 analog outs or HDMI 1.1 for single cable convenience. This info is like DVD-A or SACD signal coming to the SSP 100 and you can choose to either keep the signal analog(bypass) or convert it back to digital then change it to anaolog via DSP. I thought the only direct way to keep the siganal digital is via HDMI 1.3 with new decoders in SSP 100.
My LG BH 100 is coming to house on 2/2/07 and I am going to use its analog outputs to run to my SSP 100. I want to see how it sounds different with DTS-HD with my favourite bluray discs "behind enemy lines" and X-men III. Since it is HDMI 1.2, it is not a long term solution unless I like what it does decoding future formats and how my SSP 100 takes it.
Please let me know if you have any corrections/tips.
thanks
Pramod
post #73 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

What dacs in the CBIII? This make a TREMENDOUS difference. Good review though. Honestly if it is not in the same system, comparisions are not really valid. Room acoustics, different speakers and amplifiers. Any of the differences that you noticed could be attributed to these factors. Sorry to give you a hard time but you really gained little from this comparison. Using different speakers alone invalidates it.

The DACs I heard in CB III were the expensive extreme DAC's with my favourite DN II amplifier paired with Nordost cables and B&W 800 speakers. That was one of the most expensive set up I ever heard in a show room. When I left the show room to go to audition Halcro SSP 100 (with cheaper Audioquest cables, Earthquake amp and martin logan speakers), I had very low expectations but was pleasantly surprised by the sound dynamics. I am sure something is wrong somewhere, but I just wanted to share my experience with fellow AVS members. It is almost impossible to convince these dealers to allow me to audition these high end prepros at my home to compare head to head.
Finally, I have nothing against CB 3 or Meridian 860 as I dream to own one of those before I die to see how they sound in my house. I just wanted to help out those who are willing to spend under $10,000 to narrow down their choices.
Pramod
post #74 of 249
"I have few questions on these formats. I see that only bluray discs offer uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio in addition to the dolby/DTS. I don't think HD DVD offers it in that format."

HD-DVD does not have uncompressed PCM 5.1. However they do have Dolby True HD which is a lossless compression format. So once it is uncompressed it is bit for bit identical to the source. In other words the quality level is right there were the uncompressed PCM on BluRay, just that it can be stored/transmitted in less bandwidth.

"I see most DVD reviewers craving about uncompressed PCM track and I wanted to enjoy it once in my HT set up. I guess it is not possible since there is no 5.1 outputs from PS3."

Not possible in your system. Those that can accept LPCM over HDMI can.

"Let us say I have a bluray or HD DVD disc only offered in DTS HD format and there is no pcm track offered. I thought, the only way I will still be able to send it via HDMI 1.1 is if I have a built in decoder in the player which converts it first to analog and either you choose to send it via 5.1 analog outs or HDMI 1.1 for single cable convenience."

The signal sent over HDMI is NOT analog. It would be the uncompressed LPCM signal.

In the studio they start with say a 6 channel LPCM soundtrack. For distribution it ends up getting compressed.... by Dolby THD, DD, DTS...etc..etc. The compression reduces the storage/bandwidth requirements and depending upon how it is compressed may or may not effect the quality of the soundtrack. No matter what at some point a compressed soundtrack needs to be uncompressed back to LPCM. That is an absolute requirement to be able to listen to the track. If the decompression occurs in the player after it is in LPCM (digital) format the player can either spit the LPCM out over HDMI or it can convert the LPCM back to analog with its own DACs.

What happens to either the LPCM or the analog signal at the pre-pro depends upon what the pre-pro can and can not do.

"This info is like DVD-A or SACD signal coming to the SSP 100 and you can choose to either keep the signal analog(bypass) or convert it back to digital then change it to anaolog via DSP."

Can the SSP 100 process on a multichannel analog input? I thought Thebland has posted at one point that it couldn't process a 6 channel source?

"I thought the only direct way to keep the siganal digital is via HDMI 1.3 with new decoders in SSP 100."

That is mistaken. You can keep the signal digital to a processor even with HDMI v1.0. That is assuming of course that ones pre-pro can accept LPCM over HDMI, few can.

Shawn
post #75 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod1969 View Post

The DACs I heard in CB III were the expensive extreme DAC's with my favourite DN II amplifier paired with Nordost cables and B&W 800 speakers. That was one of the most expensive set up I ever heard in a show room. When I left the show room to go to audition Halcro SSP 100 (with cheaper Audioquest cables, Earthquake amp and martin logan speakers), I had very low expectations but was pleasantly surprised by the sound dynamics. I am sure something is wrong somewhere, but I just wanted to share my experience with fellow AVS members. It is almost impossible to convince these dealers to allow me to audition these high end prepros at my home to compare head to head.
Finally, I have nothing against CB 3 or Meridian 860 as I dream to own one of those before I die to see how they sound in my house. I just wanted to help out those who are willing to spend under $10,000 to narrow down their choices.
Pramod

I agree with Bulldogger that until you compare side-by side in the same system one cannot make a final judgement but only assumptions based on sonic preferences or memory. It is extremely difficult to do that in a dealer set-up (unless they are flexible)-but at least you made the effort to compare .

Your conclusions are not surprising though.. there was a reviewer (Perf Vsion mag?) who preferred Halcro to Theta CB3 w extreme DAC for digital sources in the SAME system.

Anyway I think next year will be lot more fun and with HDMI/all digital formats in play, the gap between a mid-priced pre-pro & hi-end is almost gone. Ultimately more power/choice to us

Cheers,
Kishore
post #76 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder View Post

Interesting as I was under the impression that digital was the real strength of Meridian gear and not analog - not to say it's bad, but not a particular strength. Would appreciate some clarification on a few things:
-- more specifc commentary around analog vs digital performance
-- based upon your commentary, have you found Median gear to be far less effective when utilized with non-Meridian gear?
--please spell out what you see as the (different) reasons you like both of them

Thanks

I have not come across a HT pre-pro which can come close to a dedicated preamp Meridian's ADC is good enough, BUT if you use Trifield aka 3 Ch for music (assuming u have a good center), then I highly recommend it.

I used to use Meridian with analog speakers and they work fine- DACs of 861 are pretty good. Room correction was a positive enhancement in my room. The meridian sources could offer upsampled digital input to meridian pre-pro using MHR Link...but now with HDMI you have other choices for digital source.

Concerning speakers besides 7000 & 8000, I don't think Meridian speakers offer good value for $$. There is only so much you can do with an inferior driver...but I have to say Meridian has been far ahead of the curve wrt active/digital speakers and flexibility/tweakability in digital domain.

Cheers,
Kishore
post #77 of 249
Halcro SSP 100 can apply DSP to multichannel inputs only via balanced inputs rather than the common RCA inputs. I have some cables terminated with RCA at one end and balanced at the other for the sake of convenience rather than to use adapters. I wish SSP 100 will make future processors able to apply DSP to both inputs.
post #78 of 249
"Halcro SSP 100 can apply DSP to multichannel inputs only via balanced inputs rather than the common RCA inputs."

That is a bizarre limitation......???

Shawn
post #79 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfogg View Post

"Halcro SSP 100 can apply DSP to multichannel inputs only via balanced inputs rather than the common RCA inputs."

That is a bizarre limitation......???

Shawn

RCA is pure pass-thru while ADC is applied for XLR (for multichannel input)??

Cheers,
Kishore
post #80 of 249
I know it sounds very confusing, but that was the great design idea Halcro engineers came up with! Every one has a SACD/DVD-A player with RCA analog outputs but SSP 100 won't let DSP applied to analog multichannel inputs. Since it does DSP to XLR inputs, I had to order such cables to connect my equipment.

After EAD theater master DVD video/audio player has been discontinued (which had six channel balanced outputs), I haven't heard of any other player which offers such connections. I think Esoteric has one SACD player for $20,000. So I exactly don't know who would use balanced 7.1 inputs with SSP 100.

That is why I recommend SSP 80 which comes with the commonly used balanced 2 channel inputs.

Pramod
post #81 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

I have not come across a HT pre-pro which can come close to a dedicated preamp Meridian's ADC is good enough, BUT if you use Trifield aka 3 Ch for music (assuming u have a good center), then I highly recommend it.

I Cheers,
Kishore

Six Shooter can beat any pre-pro that I have heard but of course it is an analog pre-amp too. Better still is that it beat most dedicated pre-amps that I have heard as well that cost around 5k my usual target range. Only thing better, that I have heard in the same system is the VTL 7.5. The 7.5 is SOOOOOO NICCCCCCCEEEEEE .
post #82 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod1969 View Post

. I just wanted to help out those who are willing to spend under $10,000 to narrow down their choices.
Pramod

You can match or exceed the performance of the plus 10k processors. I have done it before. The reason I did not buy the CBII with original superior dacs is because the Cal Audio Labs SSP2500 beat the pants off of it in 2000 and it only cost 5000 without the external video switcher. Halcro could do the same. Again competition is a good thing.
post #83 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Six Shooter can beat any pre-pro that I have heard but of course it is an analog pre-amp too. Better still is that it beat most dedicated pre-amps that I have heard as well that cost around 5k my usual target range. Only thing better, that I have heard in the same system is the VTL 7.5. The 7.5 is SOOOOOO NICCCCCCCEEEEEE .

Do you use the six shooter for movies or only CD, SACD and DVDA?
post #84 of 249
I am in the roughly the same boat. I am getting Wilson Duette's and have been wrestling with the Theta CBIII v. Halcro SSP100 decision. I will use the system with a Comcast HD box, CD's, DVD'c, an occassional SACD, perhaps a Blueray player, Sonos, and Sirius. Given this thread, and the availability of plasmas with great scalers and multiple HDMI inputs (like the Fuji and the Pio Elite) the Linn Unidisk SC is looking like a smart choice right now! The main drawback is with the limited no. of inputs. Any thoughts?
post #85 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdb001 View Post

I am in the roughly the same boat. I am getting Wilson Duette's and have been wrestling with the Theta CBIII v. Halcro SSP100 decision. I will use the system with a Comcast HD box, CD's, DVD'c, an occassional SACD, perhaps a Blueray player, Sonos, and Sirius. Given this thread, and the availability of plasmas with great scalers and multiple HDMI inputs (like the Fuji and the Pio Elite) the Linn Unidisk SC is looking like a smart choice right now! The main drawback is with the limited no. of inputs. Any thoughts?


The SC is an amazing bang for the buck. I have one for sale if you are interested.

(Please forgive the shameless plug).
post #86 of 249
It seems to resolve the interface issues discussed here. Am I missing something?
post #87 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post

Six Shooter can beat any pre-pro that I have heard but of course it is an analog pre-amp too. Better still is that it beat most dedicated pre-amps that I have heard as well that cost around 5k my usual target range. Only thing better, that I have heard in the same system is the VTL 7.5. The 7.5 is SOOOOOO NICCCCCCCEEEEEE .

I have not compared 6 shooter with other preamps but I agree that 'less is more' applies and Theta did great to offer this mini-upgrade for cheap $$. Since you are 2 Ch fiend you should try Gen VIII as your DAC for fronts in conjunction with your CB3. I think you will like it.

Cheers,
Kishore
post #88 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder View Post

Do you use the six shooter for movies or only CD, SACD and DVDA?

Oh yea - I use it for HD DVD via the Toshiba HD-XA1 and its fantastic. There's a thread at this forum discussing it in detail.
post #89 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder View Post

Do you use the six shooter for movies or only CD, SACD and DVDA?

I use the Six Shooter for Cd/SACD and for HD-DVD with a Toshiba player. In comparison to the Toshiba, the CBIII sounded bright. Many movie sound tracks are mixed this way and I believe the Toshiba is rolled off with a slight boost in the low end. Amazing how much more I enjoy with the sound with movies by employing the shelf EQ in the CBIII.
post #90 of 249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishore View Post

I have not compared 6 shooter with other preamps but I agree that 'less is more' applies and Theta did great to offer this mini-upgrade for cheap $$. Since you are 2 Ch fiend you should try Gen VIII as your DAC for fronts in conjunction with your CB3. I think you will like it.

Cheers,
Kishore

My concern is if the digital outs are still going to work when HDMI is implemented? Will the HDMI group allow Theta to pass 24/96 via the digital outs? I see a used Emm Labs Dac6 for sale. I am wondering how passing 6 channels via the digital outs to the Emm labs dac and then running the front two to a Gen VIII would sound?!!! If with HDMI you can still pass the signal to an out-board dac, then this still remains an advantage that the CBIII would have compared to the Halcro. Will the CBIII still work with no dac boards? I am thinking that I could sell my Superior II dacs and go with the Emm labs dac for at least six of the channels.
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