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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is something that I have been thinking about for about a year now. If you have a player that supports DTS, DVDA/SACD, Dolby..... and it does an adequate job for speaker delay and crossovers, why do you need a costly processor? My TV has inputs for 2 component and 3 other video formats.


I am at the point where I have been delaying upgrading my Proceed AVP 1 because it is an expensive upgrade and I am not sure that it is really worth it. Suppose I could get an outstanding analog preamp with one or two 5.1 channel inputs.....


Now I haven't heard the McCormack MAP-1 ($2300) http://www.mccormackaudio.com/ and I know that Sony has a lesser expensive model ($900). But I am a bit intrigued.


Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes I read the review and sent e-mail to the reviewer. He could only compare it to his Herron which he said was better but didn't embarass the McCormack. McCormack has a good repuation of very good sounding equipment. Now that they are owned by Conrad-Johnson, I expect the build quality will be first rate.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Valere
I haven't heard it too, but it seems very interesting.

Did you read the review? http://www.hometheatersound.com/equi...rmack_map1.htm


All that you need is a dvd player with very good DD/DTS decoder and a good SACD player.



Valère
That may be all some people need but many listeners prefer to have the option of processing stereo only program sources through a surround mode such as Logic 7 or Pro Logic II. You won't find those modes in the typical DVD or SACD player. The analog output stages in the typical DVD player with built-in 5.1 decoders typically aren't in the same league as those in any number of high quality AV processors. You won't have the flexibility on filter settings, time delays, EX/ES processing, crossover configurations/settings, much less THX, if that is of interest to you. Finally, older matrix encoded Dolby Surround tracks will not be able to be decoded. Quite frankly, I find the tradeoffs unacceptable.


Charles Wood

Fosgate Audionics
 

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Cwood, you didn't read the review!!!

The map-1 have one surround mode call the AVM (ambiance retrivial mode) wich can process stereo only sources and matrix encoded material.It is an analog processing.

And some dvd players (Denon for example) wich are DVD-A capable has very decent analog output stages and delays, bass management etc....

About EX/ES processing, i agree with you. But some people don't care about ES/EX or don't need it.

i think this kind of product ( the MAP-1) is for music lovers first who want 5.1 input for dvd a/sacd or dvd with on board decoder without compromising hifi quality.

The reviewer note that the MAP-1 is a fine 2ch preamp. All of the ht receiver and pre/pro are not is this case by a wide margin.

Just my opinion


Regards


Valère


"sorry for my english, i'm french!!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Charles,


Thinking about the trade-offs is part of the decision process. My present DVD unit does sounds better than my AVP for stereo and I am looking to replace it for something substatially better. I won't assume the same for 5.1. If (and I say IF) I have units which are supposed to be outstanding audio products, say EAD's most recent product and Sony XA??? and IF I don't feel the need to have an infinite number of processing options, why doesn't the McCormack make sense?


I would love to have a truly high-end Universal player that does everything and just push the analogs out to a classic pre-amp. Simplifies my life.


Alternatively, I would love to have a truly high-end Universal transport and push the digital outs to a truly high-end Universal AV processors. Will this ever happen?????
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Valere
Cwood, you didn't read the review!!!

The map-1 have one surround mode call the AVM (ambiance retrivial mode) wich can process stereo only sources and matrix encoded material.It is an analog processing.

And some dvd players (Denon for example) wich are DVD-A capable has very decent analog output stages and delays, bass management etc....

About EX/ES processing, i agree with you. But some people don't care about ES/EX or don't need it.

i think this kind of product ( the MAP-1) is for music lovers first who want 5.1 input for dvd a/sacd or dvd with on board decoder without compromising hifi quality.

The reviewer note that the MAP-1 is a fine 2ch preamp. All of the ht receiver and pre/pro are not is this case by a wide margin.

Just my opinion


Regards


Valère







"sorry for my english, i'm french!!"
The ambience retrieval mode has no steering logic, thus separation will be only 3 db between program material mixed pure left/right channels and center back. While adequate, with some level adjusting for music, it is inadequate for film tracks with matrix surround encoding.


There also seems to be a myth, widely propagated, that pre/pros for some inexplicable reasonable, are incapable of high quality stereo-only reproduction. Autosuggestion?


:)


Charles Wood

Fosgate Audionics

ROCKFORD CORPORATION
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Valere
Cwood, you didn't read the review!!!

The map-1 have one surround mode call the AVM (ambiance retrivial mode) wich can process stereo only sources and matrix encoded material.It is an analog processing.

And some dvd players (Denon for example) wich are DVD-A capable has very decent analog output stages and delays, bass management etc....

About EX/ES processing, i agree with you. But some people don't care about ES/EX or don't need it.

i think this kind of product ( the MAP-1) is for music lovers first who want 5.1 input for dvd a/sacd or dvd with on board decoder without compromising hifi quality.

The reviewer note that the MAP-1 is a fine 2ch preamp. All of the ht receiver and pre/pro are not is this case by a wide margin.

Just my opinion


Regards


Valère







"sorry for my english, i'm french!!"
I did read the review! The ambience retrieval mode has no steering logic, thus separation will be only 3 db between program material mixed pure left/right channels and center back. While adequate, with some level adjusting for music, it is inadequate for film tracks with matrix surround encoding. Additionally, it is incapable of producing stereo surrounds. The review used Pro Logic as the comparison, however Pro Logic is now considered obsolete by Pro Logic II, and Pro Logic II is a quantum leap beyond Pro Logic in all performance aspects.


There also seems to be a myth, widely propagated, that pre/pros for some inexplicable reasonable, are incapable of high quality stereo-only reproduction. Autosuggestion?


:)


Charles Wood

Fosgate Audionics

ROCKFORD CORPORATION
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Charles,


If you spend the money (I did) you can get an outstanding pre/pro. That isn't the argument here. And yes the ambiance retrieval mode in the MAP-1 is decidedly rudimentary. What it does is very simple: allow you to connect two 5.1 analog inputs with (I hope) no degradation of signal. If you like things simple and have a high quality player, this may be the thing for you. If not, then its not. I agree with most of what you have said, but may not want to put more money into an expensive pre/pro and a lot of money in an expensive player with many (not all) features duplicated and for all practical purposes indistinguishable.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by robertawillisjr
Charles,


If you spend the money (I did) you can get an outstanding pre/pro. That isn't the argument here. And yes the ambiance retrieval mode in the MAP-1 is decidedly rudimentary. What it does is very simple: allow you to connect two 5.1 analog inputs with (I hope) no degradation of signal. If you like things simple and have a high quality player, this may be the thing for you. If not, then its not. I agree with most of what you have said, but may not want to put more money into an expensive pre/pro and a lot of money in an expensive player with many (not all) features duplicated and for all practical purposes indistinguishable.
I understand your goals and I don't disagree with them. What I am saying is that for $2-3K (not an unreasonable amount of money by some pre/pro standards) you can find units available with analog 5.1 loopthroughs and analog bass management plus all the features I noted in a previous post that I would personally prefer not to be without.


Charles Wood

Fosgate Audionics

Rockford Corp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Charles,


This turns it around to quality of sound. The new EAD DVD-A costs 8k loaded an excellent Sony SACD costs around 2k the same tier pre-pro costs run from 6.5k and up. Thats a lot of k for a lot of duplication. I would like to reduce that and get the same quality of sound, but of course I have to give up some of the features.


You are quite right that this may not make much sense (does any of this talk about spending big bucks really make sense) when lower costs and expectations are considered. It is probably a no brainer to go your route.
 

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Let's expand the discussion into the video side of the processor- Most units don't do a good job switching the video signal or can't pass a full bandwith HD signal, it's built in there for the guys that want to be able switch everything with one button. The best way to do this function is through a scaler like an NRS. So, there's some more parts and pieces we have to buy but don't need.


I ended up adding the Sony TA-P9000ES in front of my Krell HTS so that I could get the SACD and DVD-A signals in analog from my 47Ai DVD player, solving another issue with more equipment! The Sony is a great unit, and really inexpensive; I spent more for the cables to hook it up than I did for the unit.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by NormP
Let's expand the discussion into the video side of the processor- Most units don't do a good job switching the video signal or can't pass a full bandwith HD signal, it's built in there for the guys that want to be able switch everything with one button. The best way to do this function is through a scaler like an NRS. So, there's some more parts and pieces we have to buy but don't need.


I ended up adding the Sony TA-P9000ES in front of my Krell HTS so that I could get the SACD and DVD-A signals in analog from my 47Ai DVD player, solving another issue with more equipment! The Sony is a great unit, and really inexpensive; I spent more for the cables to hook it up than I did for the unit.
There are now several processors under $3K that pass full bandwidth component HD signals with outstanding S/N performance, that are essentially transparent in the signal path. Also, a number of the projectors now available have excellent internal scalers, making an external scaler almost redundant.


Charles Wood

Fosgate Audionics

Rockford Corp.
 

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Bel Canto design and Accuphase carry multichannel amplifiers, too.

www.accuphase.com ?


I don't remember Bel Canto's webaddress, though. Note that both are quite higher-end than Sony/McCormack, and they actually have 6 or 8 channels of BALANCED XLR outputs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Any idea about pricing? I am assuming that the Accuphase is pretty pricy. I've heard Bel Canto products and have always been very impressed. Interesting indeed. Bell Canto is at http://www.belcantodesign.com/
 

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I happen to own a low-end solution; an early 1990s Yamaha MVS-1 volume control. Actually, some of the cost-cutting is very clever. It's a passive 6-channel volume control, but two of the channels, presumably your fronts, can be connected by jumpers to a stereo three-source switcher. I haven't been able to measure if there's any frequency rolloff in the treble yet. It's sounded great with a Link DAC in 2-channel, and with an ada DTS processor, but not so great with a Panasonic RP82, which may just not be a very good DVD-A player. It cost me $91.
 

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Now that a number of respected manufacturers have come out with SACD/DVDA players with decent DACS and base management, maybe the McCormack MAP option should be reconsidered. The question is whether a pre/pro can pass through analog information as well as the MAP or if the pre/pro can convert the digital information to analog better than the transport. These questions will be even more important when pre/pros that can convert digital signals to SACD or DVDA become available.


You could reduce redundancy by only having a DVD player, the MAP, and the amp. The DVD player would supply the CD/SACD/DVDV/DVDA material and a relatively cheap receiver or even the Outlaw 950 could be added if video switching, Pro Logic II/DTS stereo conversion was important. The cost would be substantially less than some of the higher end pre/pros and the music reproduction might be superior-if you believe those audiophiles who say a simple analog preamp is superior to the complex, multipurpose pre/pros available.


What do you think? Is it better to have one component that does everything or seperate components for each step?
 

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As I've sold my Lexicon MC12 primarily because I was unhappy with its two channel music performance, I've been considering the same idea proffered here as well. McCormack is coming out w/a universal player soon for 3K which I would expect to be very good. Match this w/the MAP and now we're at $5300.


So how does this setup compare sound quality-wise w/6K or so spent on a player(s) for music and movies? I'd love to A/B it, but that's probably impossible. Feature-wise and convenience-wise (video switching being a big deal to me here) I'd expect the prepro to win, and its this convenience issue that will probably push me to wimp out and go for a prepro. But I wouldn't be surprised if the McCormack (or other brands, same idea/ solution) sounds better. And I could probably add a video switcher, which would add another grand or so. If you're primarily concerned w/sound quality, this is really food for thought.
 
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