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Trinnov Alt16, Parasound Amps, Martin logan speakers, 120” screen, SVS subs and dedicated media room
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,


I wish I could do a poll, but I think this is the next best thing. I am considering the two processors for home theater use only, and unfortunately don't have a dealer in the area who has the Meridian (who can get it to work correctly).


Anyway, I would like people's opinion on sound quality ONLY - what are your thoughts?


I'd like to know:


Did you compare both processors prior to purchasing (CBIII with Xtreme DACs & Meridian 861 V4)?


Which did you choose and why?


What associated equipment you have?


If you were to do it over, would you choose the same equipment?


I have a 12 x 19 x 9ft room, martin logan front speakers with a Bryston 9BSST amp, and running dipoles in the rears (7.1 setup).


I know all about the upgrade issues with each, so I'm more interested/concerned with people's opinions who have been able to listen to both units with the same sources.


Thx all - I appreciate your inputs!
 

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No I have never compared it to the Meridian but I am a CB fan. I have listened to the Meridian but only with Meridian speakers? I have listened to CB and Logans several times and was OK with the sound ( Not totally impressed). Might of been the Logan set up in the room .... Seems the only people I know have a complete Meridian setup so I have no experience with them and other speakers. This seems to be the case where I live. I'm not sure but I would also like to hear if anyone in the forum has a Meridian 861 with speakers other than Meridian and what lead them to this?


Remember to play with the placement of the Logans no matter what you go with.
 

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I've used Meridian's products exclusively with non-Meridian speakers.


568.2MM/598DP with:

Soundline Audio


861v4/598DP with:

ELAC 200.2

Soundline Audio SL-2, SL6-6, SL-3

Magnepan MG-1.6, MGCC3, MGMC1

PSB Platinum T6/C2/S2/M2

Eggleston Works Fontaine II


I understand the impetus for dealers that sell Meridian gear to couple them with Meridian DSP loudspeakers.


If we were to add up the costs of 5 DSP5200s (just announced and shipping in the next month or so) fairly, which is to say including the amps to drive the Egglestons, we would be looking at:

5x DSP5200s $27,500

5x Fontaine IIs $16,250 + Edge G4.5 (x2) $8000 == $24,250


So the cost savings is modest when you compare the "full price". If we add in the costs of higher-end speaker cabling, the price differential would be even smaller, or even swing the other way.


I have considerations that a lot of Meridian owners won't have. If I were to go the DSP loudspeaker route, I would still have to have an amplifier(s) for reviewing analog loudspeakers and analog loudspeakers for reviewing amplifiers. So there's little gain for me.


IMO, loudspeakers are the single most subjective component in the system, and what is shrill and piercing to one person is extended and airy to another. One must decide for themself if the Meridian DSP loudspeaker sound is what they desire. Even if Meridian's DSP loudspeakers isn't your taste, by adding high quality amplification and a loudspeaker system that you like nets you an incredible sounding system.


Another point in favor of Meridian's system is ease of hookup, and an active loudspeaker (DSP or not) has inherent advantages.


Cheers,

Edited with a litle more info.
 

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There is no way to go wrong with either one.

I would personally never spend that much on a pre/pro unless I was really interested in being meticulate with the room decor, and/or actually cared about some of the more esoteric surround standards they offer. Since I promise you that sonically, neither unit would be distinguishable from something like the Rotel 1066. If sky is the limit on your budget then no problem, otherwise, on the audio part of a system, I would invest the majority of my budget on better speakers, rather than electronics. But that's me:D
 

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Ignore those that say there is no difference. They know not what they say.


As for Meridian, it is best with its own speaker system, but good without. The sound is very different from the Theta. I would call the Meridian more "clinical" and extremely "accurate".


The Theta on the other hand is more flexible in its configuration, albeit with more complex software (BTW: not saying the setup for the Meridian is easy - it isn't - it is easier however). I would call the Theta more "musical" and "detailed".


See, isn't that easy now :D


I auditioned them both, and I am a Theta owner, though I am still very impressed with the Meridian. I liked the sound better on the Theta (preference) and thought the upgrade path better.


To each his own.
 

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I have a Casablanca II and superior DACs art home for trial. I'll have it for 3 weeks. The dealer does not have a III in stock and uses the II for home trial.


I look forward to comparing it to my Lexicon MC 12. I am still going thru the manual but things seem intuitive enough to set up.


Any suggestions from Theta owners?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Thebland,


I would be very curious to know what you think of the Theta Vs. MC-12 for movies!


Please post again once you have had ample time.


Since I have had them before, I would suggest you pay special attention to the crossover types - Linkwitz, Butterworth, or Phase Perfect. They can have an impact on sound.


Also, if the unit has Circle Surround, pay special attention to what inputs will use what Circle Surround mode - non-encoded, and two others - which also can have a dramatic effect on sound.


Out of curiousity, what size is your room, and what associated equipment are you using?


Thx,


E
 

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Click on my link, I have too much gear to list. Htat said, it is a high performance, high resolution set up. I am a nut for home theater performance and am really curious to try this piece out. I have never felt that after a certain threshold of performance that the processor made too much difference relative to DVD soundtracks...That said, my mind is open as if it really kicks as, I am going to keep this Theta. Room size is 17 x 32 x 9.5.


My room is movies only. The pieces are similarly priced (within a few thousand). It does have Circle surround (at least I saw a reference to it in the manual).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by thebland
I have a Casablanca II and superior DACs art home for trial. I'll have it for 3 weeks. The dealer does not have a III in stock and uses the II for home trial.


I look forward to comparing it to my Lexicon MC 12. I am still going thru the manual but things seem intuitive enough to set up.


Any suggestions from Theta owners?
YES - If you keep the CB2, be sure that you do not say on this forum that the CB2 sounds better to you than the Lexicon MC-12. If you do, Philip Brandes will never ever let you hear the end of [email protected]@@:D :D :D


The CB2 with Superior DACs vs the Lexicon MC-12 is a fair matchup due to comparable costs. The Lex V4 of course does give you an advantage

regarding low frequency EQ - though if I recall correctly you are already EQd and don't need that feature anyway!


With the CB2, set it up, the bass crossover can make a huge difference.

I suggest you talk with Mark Seaton , who setup your Contrabass stuff, as Mark really knows his stuff and he can suggest what bass crossover stuff to try.


In my room 18' X 12' X 25', I run all four Aerial 10Ts and CC5 full range.

I also use low pass to each of three Aerial subwoofers set via the CB2

at 40 Hz 12 dB. This sounds best.


If you do a search at the Tweaks forum, you can find my CB2 setup thread from a few years ago which will really help you setup much quicker and better.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mburnstein
Steve, go back and start tweaking again! :)!
Only tweak occasionally with new gear, like the Lumagen VisionPro HDP beta model, which I luv!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Steve,


Good to know.....Do you remember the year you posted this? Name of the thread???


BTW - I have QSC DSPs for all my channels and would never use the Lex software. I am going to compare surround sound only!



Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by thebland
Steve,


Good to know.....Do you remember the year you posted this? Name of the thread???


BTW - I have QSC DSPs for all my channels and would never use the Lex software. I am going to compare surround sound only!



Thanks!
Keep in mind that in the past few years AVS has changed the archiving system several times. The thread might be with last post during 2003 or 2002, do a search for "Theta CB Setup" or something like that.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Bruzonsky
Only tweak occasionally with new gear, like the Lumagen VisionPro HDP beta model, which I luv!!!!!!!!!!


And your new Mercedes SLR and SL 65 AMG combo!!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterS
Ignore those that say there is no difference. They know not what they say.


I realize you disagree with my viewpoint, but was the insult really necessary?


If you enjoy spending $15,000.00 of your hard earned Dollars on the placebo effect, be my guest. You might find the following bit of old history interesting.


At the 85th AES Convention (Los Angeles, Nov. 3-6, 1988), a workshop entitled "Esoteric Audio: Can You Hear It?" was held: three days of controlled listening followed by a panel/audience session on the fourth day (disclosure of results, discussion of issues and PUOSU ultimatum).

At issue, representative controversial effects: the audibility of distortion, tube sound vs. transistor sound, and audible differences between speaker cables. Three separate listening rooms were set up and run by assigned room captains:

1) loudspeaker cable room by Ian Eales, a recording studio owner (whose studio is wired with cable of the same brand as tested) and proponent of specialty cables;

2) tube-vs.-transistor amp room by Michael Fremer, a contributer to some underground audio mags and proponent of "tube sound";

3) distortion room by Peter Sutheim, professor and audio talk-show host.


For speaker cables, the comparison was between 12-gauge zipcord and cables from a well regarded exotic brand. The amplifier comparison was between a ("bad sounding", ugly looking) Crown transistor amp, a Threshold transistor amp and a VTL tube amp. Switching between the DUTs (for both amp and cable tests) was done by manual cable swap (probably not to have the "obvious" differences burried in the "audible" added distortion, and other "veiling effects", of a good switcher...)


The listeners were convention attendees (at the invitation of workshop Chairman David Clark), by all means experienced and critical listeners since AES conventions are usually attended by professional audio people, recording engineers, designers, ultra-serious audiophiles,... With such a large, educated listening panel, no doubt if there were "obvious" differences, they would be heard, and even the less obvious that would elude most RAO readers... (no insult intended here, just acknowledging reality)


Before announcing the results at the panel session on the fourth day, Chairman Clark asked those in the audience to express by a show of hands whether they believed that well designed power amps (measuring well in standard tests) sounded/would likely sound different from each other in level-matched listening comparisons (units operated within specs).

About 3/4 of the audience believed so, and this despite several carefully conducted/controlled listening tests (very likely well known to them prior to November 1988) that have indicated that sonic differences between amps are at best very small, if any.


For _both_ wire and amplifier comparisons, results indicated that these professional audio people (forming a large scale listening panel) were doing no better with their ears than they would have done with a coin to tell audible differences, with an average score very close to 50%, indicating that audible differences were extremely small, if there were any at all. I'm pretty sure the room captains tried to influence listeners with their biases but their efforts were randomized anyway

(matched levels and blind calling).[Listening, Mr. Dickson?]


The discussion panel was divided into two groups: the "men of faith" (the room captains and Noel Lee [Monster Cable]) and the "men of science" (Gene Pitts [then at Audio Magazine], Prof. John Vanderkooy [then at the U. of Waterloo, Ont., Canada], Prof. Dick Greiner [at U. of Wisconsin] and Floyd Toole [then at NRC of Canada]). The discussion extended to

the audience and became very lively at one point (to put it mildly ).


It is clear from the audio tape that Noel Lee didn't (want to?) know what he was doing and had no technical facts to offer to support his claims (not even a lame attempt a la MIT), but faith in what he believes a.k.a. personal opinions. He avoided as much as he could the issue of blind listening at Monster Cable. The scientific side of the panel argued solidly that, if there are real audible differences, they must be audible in controlled listening and if these differences are audible, they must be measurable in some way (cause ---> effect).

--

,

Sebastien



Sources: - 85th AES Convention Report, JAES, Vol.36, No.12, Dec. 1988.


Audio tape of "Esoteric Audio: Can You Hear It?", Workshop 18, 85th AES Convention (available from: Mobiltape, 25061 W. Ave. Stanford, Suite 70, Valencia, CA91355).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ludwig
I realize you disagree with my viewpoint, but was the insult really necessary?


.........


Sources: - 85th AES Convention Report, JAES, Vol.36, No.12, Dec. 1988.


Audio tape of "Esoteric Audio: Can You Hear It?", Workshop 18, 85th AES Convention (available from: Mobiltape, 25061 W. Ave. Stanford, Suite 70, Valencia, CA91355).
What does an amplifier/cable test have to do with the differences in processors with different processing algorithms? If you want to say that it is difficult to tell the difference between a reciever decoding DTS or DD and a Lex/Meridian/Theta then I would agree with you. But there are definitely differences between Logic7, Trifield and Circle Surround.
 

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thebland,


Looking forward to hearing you thoughts on the Theta compared to your MC12 as well; when you watch movies, do you use the Logic7 modes for DD and DTS?


In the event that you do prefer Circle Surround to L7 though, it would be cheaper to get one of the products that have it and loop it in to your system:

http://www.srslabs.com/ProductsByCategory.asp?CatID=1#3
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Bruzonsky
.. The CB2 with Superior DACs vs the Lexicon MC-12 is a fair matchup due to comparable costs...
Why bringing up the cost?? If the Meridian 568 processor beats both the Lexicon and the Theta for half the money, are you ready to say it is unfair to them??
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Richie Duroseau
Why bringing up the cost?? If the Meridian 568 processor beats both the Lexicon and the Theta for half the money, are you ready to say it is unfair to them??
The originator of this thread asked about comparing the Theta CB to the Meridian 861. Please go back and read the start of this thread.
 

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I already had a CBI when I checked out the 861. Unfortunately, they were using the Meridian speaker setup with it and I felt like they didn't do the processor justice. The sound was okay but not what I would consider as great. So I sold off the CBI and went with a CBII w/ one xtreme and 2 sups [believe it or not the cost worked out better that way].


Since installing the CBII, I've gone back and listened to the 861 setup. This time, they were using a set of Wilson Sophias. Since I was there to audition speakers [I wanted to hear the WATT 7s], I mostly just sat there and listened to music. Again, the sound was okay [certainly better than with the Meridian speakers, IMO] but I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything with the CBII. Part of this could be user bias. I've been doing Theta for over 10 years now. Prior to that, I was using Meridian.


If I had to do it all over again would I do it all the same way?.....I'm not sure. In a perfect world, there are a few things I would change but they have more to do with the divergence of 2 channel vs multi-channel listening. I went with a pre/pro because I thought I could get good 2 channel sound while also having a great theater system. At this point, I no longer hold that view.....and I miss tubes. Perhaps that means that if I had to do it all over again, a "pure" processor teamed with a separate tubed preamp for 2 channel would be more suitable for my taste.....hard to tell. As this issue relates specifically to the pros/cons of the CBII vs the 861, I feel I made the right choice.


Also, John Kotches wrote:
Quote:
Magnepan MG-1.6, MGCC3, MGMC1
On a side note John, what do you think of the CC3?

Javry
 
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