|The question I have with Mark's response comes to the features. With the exception of the Meridian and the new Theta, most separate prepros don't have anywhere near the features of the top of the range receivers.|
I have to disagree Steve. See below.
|Very few even have 5.1 inputs let alone 7.1 inputs.|
My Lexicon DC-1 has a very sophisicated 7.1 algorithm -- among the best there is. It can also extract 7.1 from 5.1 and 2.0 sources and does an exceptional job. Lexicon is the undisputed kind of processing. Meridian has their version, which is also decent and Theta has their circle sound algorithm. None of the high-end receivers seem to apply algorithms as advanced as these. Maybe that will change in the future...
|Very few have an anlog bypass.|
EAD, Theta, and Classe are examples. CAL?? Others will add this feature in the future.
|Which ones have 24/192 Dacs.|
Theta, Meridian -- actually does upsampling, and the Lexicon MC-1 all have these DACs (or at least 24/96). Remember, the DAC is just one simple aspect of the D/A process -- the digital filter is a very significant aspect of the process and you cannot quantify the sound given this data...Case in point: My Lexicon DC-1 w/20 bit Crystal DACs sounds better than the Denon flagship receiver with 24/96 DACs (5700). In the end, regardless of the DACs you find in the top-of-the-line receivers, high-end preamps will sound better due to other factors.
|Too few have adjustable crossovers.|
Bass management is one of the areas where separates significantly overpower receivers...Theta offers 1Hz increments + adjustable slopes + up to 4 subs + many other features; Meridian allows 1Hz increments with several subwoofer types (mono, LFE, etc) and various other details; EAD allows 1Hz increments; Lexicon allow you to choose 40,80,120,or none but also adds a special algorithm called Bass Enhance and many other advanced management features -- like the ability to set separate crossovers per speaker and the ability to set separate subwoofer levels per 20+ effect modes or the ability to alter the management mode based on effect type, etc. I don't know the specifics of Classe, Krell, Proceed, CAL, etc.
|How many have EX/ES or whatever you want to call it.|
Actually, I didn't mention this, but since you brought it up -- I've had DD-EX support in the Lexicon DC-1 since last fall. That's right, this was the first preamp, to my knowledge, to support such functionality. And I know that it will support whatever comes next as well. Receivers are just hitting the steets with this functionality, almost 1 year later. Not impressive.
|The majority of the separate prepros out there have sigificantly fewer features than some of the better receivers, are less upgradeable and cost a whole lot more.|
I disagree. The majority of the (high-end) separate prepros have more features, far better bass management, better audio specifications, are significantly more upgradable, and in the end offer superior sound for more money.
Which receiver is flash upgradable like the Meridian line of products?
Which receiver has a daughtercard architecture like the Meridian line?
Which receiver has a digital backbone like Lexicon?
Which receiver offers EPROM upgrades like my Lexicon?
Which offers continual upgradability like the Theta line of products?
High-end preamps are more software and hardware upgradable than receivers have been in the past...
|I have separates (Citation 7.0 & Technics 500) but I have to say that unless you are willing to spend Meridian and Theta money, today's receivers would make better prepros than most of the dedicated prepros out there.|
I have no comment about the Citation; however, I wouldn't limit it to Theta and Meridian.
How about: Theta, Meridian, Lexicon, EAD, Krell, Proceed, CAL, Classe -- off the top of my head. Or, any of the high-end HT preamps...
Mark C. Davis