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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I would post to share my little discovery. For background I have had a few receivers and processors come and go. These include a Classe SSP25, B&K Ref 30, Denon 5600, and have been using a Denon 5800 as a pre pro for the last six months. All of them did the job, non of them made we want them for a long period. I've wanted and come very close to buying a Theta Casablanca II with extreme dacs but I always held back. I really believe (thought it would be long ago) that a digital connection would be settled on for SACD and DVD-A. In my mind this is the only way these formats make any sense and I hate sending something back for an upgrade. I don't like my odds when shipping and really resent a unit being out of my system for any time.


A few weeks ago I was checking Audiogon and noticed a failed auction on a Tag McLaren AV32r bp-192 with bypass. The unit was only four months old and barley used. As I frequently do I sent an email to the owner asking what he would be willing to sell it for. We settled on a price of 60% off retail so I purchased it. My thinking was that after the holidays the unit would bring a nice profit that I'd put in my Theta fund.


Let me qualify by saying that I am no reviewer, EE, golden ear, or did any DBT testing. Just had a passing interest in how the unit sounded.


Well when the unit showed up I hooked it up to see what it could do and soon my draw dropped. The sound was very similar to the Theta's, clear, involving, huge sound-stage, and for lack of a better term fast. I'm not saying it equaled the Theta, I didn't have the two together but it evoked the same emotion. I sat down to listen to some music and didn't turn the unit off until 2:00 am to the complaints of an unhappy wife.


Ever since Buzz had left the company and stopped posting Tag had completely left my mind. I only purchased it as I saw an opportunity to make some extra cash next year when audio sales picked up. A silly side hobby but I enjoy it.


Just to add I had a couple of issues (humbling, stupid errors on my part) setting the unit up. I sent an email with questions to Tag England and received a response from Mark in the US office. Instead of a long email exchange he had me call the 800 number and answered all of my questions. Then he stayed on the phone with me to be sure everything worked. Not only did he know what he was talking about but it became evident that he is passionate about A/V gear and TAG. I really enjoyed talking to him, it was the best customer service contact I've made in years.


If you are thinking of a pre/pro in this range you owe to yourself to audition the Tag. It delivers more for it's price than anything I've found to date.


In closing let me say that this unscientific review is from a 50+ year old pair of ears with a nice but modest system. Aerial LR5s, CC5. and two SW12s powered by Classe CAM 350s up front and an Earthquake Cinnenova for the rears.


Thanks

Ken Stokes
 

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nice. I own a Ref30 and I have been thinking about stepping up to the next level. Maybe Tag might be within my horizon.


Congrats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would urge anyone looking in the 5k range to find and audition one of these. I know that the TAG has been out for some time but this last upgrade put it right in line with all the new units coming out. The sound really is amazing.


Ken
 

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Ken, can you tell it that the back speakers should be the ones to play the surrounds in the 5.1 analog bypass mode, and not the side speakers?


I'm thinking specifically for DVD-A.


I will have a 7.1 setup, but DVD-A only uses 5.1 and wanted the rears to be used for this and not the side surrounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Marbles you can assign which speakers in 5.1 you wish to use. In fact there is a great deal of flexibility in the setup.


I don't know about the AV30r, maybe Mark could help if you wanted to call him.


Ken
 

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Ken thanks for the awesome review and The Very kind words. I am Blushing.


TO Answer MAB's Question. The AV30 is available in the USA and has been for a few months now. The Price for the AV30 without options is $2995.00 and $295.00 for the EX option that can be purchased at the time of ordering or may be purchased at a later date. the same goes for the Sync lync option $495.00. and the action switch $245.00


have a great day
 

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Mark


I looked at your site for info about the new AVR192 and it mentioned a place where you could configure it and get a price estimate. Is this available yet because I couldn't find it? I am very interested in this piece and would love to learn more about it.
 

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Kris,


Where it states "Details on how to do this can be found in the Club." Click on "Club" and you will be taken to another page to sign in. I entered as a guest. From there enter the "Configure your AVR192". Base price of the AVR192 is US $10,599.
 

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Kris,



Micheal is Correct there is a spot on the website that will allow you to configure a new AV192.


I can send you more information by email if you like. please email me at [email protected] and I will send you as much info as I can
 

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I had heard the Tag McLaren coupled with the JMLabs Utopia speakers and was awestruck. A third dimension was very evident as every instrument could be placed within the soundstage. I had this feeling that I was right there at the reccording session, that I could reach out and touch the performers. Then I woke up when I heard that the MSRP for the combination was $35K, that was more then I paid for my new Saab 9-3 convertible. He wouldn't take it in a trade:mad:


Oh well, My question however is how much of this realism was the Tag Mclaren and how much was the Utopias?:confused:
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by David Guill


Oh well, My question however is how much of this realism was the Tag Mclaren and how much was the Utopias?:confused:
A system is only as good as its weakest link, they both are responsible .:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
David,

I would agree that all the components in the chain are responsible for the sound produced. On the other hand all things being equal a processor can make a significant difference. As noted above I don't have Utopia speakers but do have Aerials which are no slouch. The TAG definitely took the system to next level.


My son was over the other day and we put in some classical music. The CD is Eight Seasons, it's a Vivaldi/Piazzolla composition. If you are familiar with the music it is very complex and detailed. As this is one of my favorites I've listened to it on every piece of equipment I've owned. The instrument separation with TAG is remarkable. My son loves violins and said he had never heard it sound this good. We put in some Mark Conner immediately afterwords and the same involving sound greeted us.


I'm not a Brand loyal type of person, however I think TAG hit a home run with this unit. I have heard many pre/pros in this price range and haven't come across anything I'd consider switching for.


That said if someone has a Bose speaker array I'm sure their money would be better spent elsewhere.


Good Luck


Ken
 

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Ken Thanks again for the great review. I have also had many friends over and they are also amazed with the amount of detail that my TAG set up has over other systems they have heard.
 

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Mark, I just borrowed a tag av32r from natural sound in Framingham today, Larry was very nice and helpful. I think its great that tag provides a piece of equipment like this for people to demo, there is nothing like listening to gear in your home! I have been following this thread and saw your name and when I got the box from natural sound I saw your name on the box too I had laugh! anyways so far so good the setup is a breeze very informative, the styling and build is very nice and of course the sound is amazing esp two channel very nice. my ? is the av192 a noticeable difference over the 32? I would have like to hear the 192 but I wont complain:D also what would the 192 cost me ballpark (in us$) in england with the exchange rate fully configured of course! I have a family member that travels to London every year just a thought:rolleyes:



Btw I borrowed a classe' ssp 30 from another dealer this week so I have some serious jing in my av rack along with my own gear, needless to say Im havin fun:D



Happy holidays, Bob
 

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Bob Why are you laughing at me :) Glad to hear that you are enjoying The AV32R and are able to hear it in your home where it really counts. If you have any Questions about the setup of the AV32R give me a call or Drop me an email I am always more than happy to help out.



Have a great day
 

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Hi,


I too have just ordered a Tag AV32R BP192 EX 7.1


I don't have such a choice as you all do across the pond at this price point but feel the Tag will serve me well.


I would like to know which 6 or 7 speakers you could recomend again bearing in mind I am in the UK. I'm after identical speakers all round but at a much lesser price point than M&K, maybe I will upgrade to M&K in the distant future.


Many thanks and happy holidays

Bryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Bryan,

Congratulations on your upcoming TAG, you will be happy. Could you give us price range for speakers? I've never thought of M&K in the upper end of things but they may be more expensive over there. Are you looking for floor standing speakers or bookshelf and how many subs do you plan to use?


Good Luck

Ken
 

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Originally posted by mcs

Bob Why are you laughing at me :)



Sorry Mark I couldn't resist:D just kidding! seriously though just about all the high end audio stores employees say "what forums? no one seems to know anything about avs or htf :confused: or so they say, so when I saw your name on the box from wide screen review I though small world!


thanks again Mark I will give you a call at some point soon, Bob



Brian what ever speakers you have the tag will make them sound great! I am running paradigm studio 100s and they sound fantastic. At some point I would probably move up the ladder in quality but for now Im happy:)


M&k makes very nice speaker they have a new 850 system (I think) that has gotten some good reviews. I guess it all depends on your listening needs I started out 70ht/30 music and now its 30ht/70music not just because of the tag my current setup sound great as well.


If money is now object then you should consider snell acoustics very nice speakers but a lot money or you should consider the rockets they seem to be stirring this place up ;)



Good luck
 
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