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Thread: Looking for suggestions on a Surround sound preamp

  1. #1
    Member Midnight's Avatar
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    Looking for suggestions on a Surround sound preamp

    Well, Am just starting to look for a Sound surround preamp. There are a lot of stuff out there to choose from. I am looking for something that I can use for the home theater but also for just music. I am aware of some nice stuff like the Bryston sp1.7, and the Anthem avm20.
    I really like the Sp1.7 because it as a analog side that stays totally analog for things like the old turntable. The problem is the price tag. Here in Canada , its sells for $5.500. Thatís a lot of money for a preamp.
    I was just wondering if anyone would have any recommendation or suggestions.
    Its still early in my research and any help would be appreciated.

    I know that this is not a Jbl subject but it will be use to drive my 4435, for what its worth.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    This should be posted in the "Off Topic" section.

    In any event, in answer to your question... it doesn't exist! There is no affordable preamp that sounds as good as a dedicated two-channel preamp that also has surround processing capabilities and costs under the 4K to 5K price range.

    In one of my systems I run two completely redundant sets of electronics... costly, a visual clutter, and inconvenient. In my other main audio system I use a dedicated stereo amp and preamp to drive the left and right speakers. I feed the stereo preamp the outputs from the processor to one of it's aux inputs. In 5.1 mode I have the stereo preamp preset at a level that matches the other channels and for CD or phono I run them directly to the stereo preamp and leave all of the other gear off. It can be a bit of a hassle, but my wife seems to be able to navigate it and the improvement in the two channel sound is huge.

    In this system I am using a fairly pricey ($2750) B+K receiver as the processor and amplifier for center and surround channels. The B+K has an all analog choice for stereo... it still sounds like crap. I bought it hoping to avoid all of the clutter, I lived with it for a few weeks and never could enjoy the music with the grungy veil the cheap opamps and clumsy circuit design put on top of it. In the standard digital mode it was even worse! For movies it is fine, but for really listening to music, I find I need to go back to a traditional 2 channel set-up. There are a few multi channel processors that have high quality analog circuitry, but so far they are all quite pricey.

    If anyone has found a processor with a super clean all analog line level section let me know. The ones I have tried from Parasound, Yamaha, Integra, Pioneer Elite, Lexicon (only digital), and B+K don't cut it!

    Widget

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Widget I agree so much so that..............

    I hurled the wonder box completely and feed the analogue Front L + R 5.10 outputs of my Pioneer 626 DVD straight into the line input of the BOSOZ (Pass Balanced line stage). The Rear L+R go direct to a power amp with pre set input levels.

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    Senior Member JBLnsince1959's Avatar
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    Midnight:

    "it doesn't exist! "

    Widget, You hit the nail on the head. I also run two completely different systems. As yet, I've never found a good sounding processor.

    If it's made for HT, it's not good enough for 2 channel listening, period. No reason to search for the "Holy Grail" all in one wonder box that will do both.(IMHO)

    If it were me and looking to spend that much money, I'll put most of the money into 2 channel ( if that's your real passion, mine is) and then go to Best Buy or some other retail outlet and spend a $1000 to $2000 for a HT wonder box with processor and amps. I personally use a Marantz AV9000 preamp for HT ( in my good system - retail about 1900 then). Pretty good for HT, but really bites for 2 channel.

    It's a b***h switching back and forth, but worth it.

    Good luck


    rick

  5. #5
    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    I hope you guys arn't dashing my dreams. I've had my eye on a Parrasound Halo C2 for some time now. After I get all my speakers, amps and supporting electronics set up I was (am?) going to fork out some $ for one. Right now I'm on stereo, run through a small Mackie mixing board.

  6. #6
    Member Midnight's Avatar
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    I hope not

    Yes your right Widget, I should have posted this in the off topics. Sorry guys. I donít know of a way to move the thread. Hopefully the forum moderator can move it over.
    You guys are now putting sticks in my wheels. My plans are to finish the basement into a sound room and home theater. It does not include having two different systems, witch is something I may have to do. I will not give up this easy do.
    There are some great reviews on the Bryston SP1.7 I have yet to hear it. I think its time to get to the store and find out a little more about it. The problem with this unit is the price. They always roll out the red carpet for Bryston equipment. I was hoping that someone else out there makes a product that does both job well. You may be right and I may be disappointed with this preamp.
    I will let you know.
    Here is a review done by Audio and Video magazine on the Bryston website. I know that this doesnít mean anything but it does sound good.
    Bryston SP1.7
    Last edited by Midnight; 02-01-2004 at 09:37 AM.

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    Sans Redundant A/D/A Signal Processing

    M,

    This is a well-built, reasonably priced, 6-channel analog only preamp:

    McCormack Audio MAP-1
    http://www.mccormackaudio.com/map1.html

    Regards,

    WHG

  8. #8
    Moderator / Treasurer/Marketplace Czar boputnam's Avatar
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    Hey, WHG...

    This looks great. Do you know of any that have balanced outs?
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  9. #9
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    McCormack Audio MAP-1

    That might be a good way to go. It won't have the convenience of built in bass management and switching between DTS, Dolby Digital, etc. but I bet there are work arounds if your sources are well chosen.

    How does it sound? If I remember correctly it is in the mid 2 grand price range. That just might be a good value.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by boputnam
    Hey, WHG...

    This looks great. Do you know of any that have balanced outs?
    AccuPhase CX-260
    http://210.166.208.10/photo/cx-260e.pdf

    The price of this beauty, depending where you shop for balanced I/O and all, is about $4,000.

    Regards,

    WHG

  11. #11
    Registered User MJC's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mr. Widget
    This should be posted in the "Off Topic" section.

    In any event, in answer to your question... it doesn't exist! There is no affordable preamp that sounds as good as a dedicated two-channel preamp that also has surround processing capabilities and costs under the 4K to 5K price range.

    If anyone has found a processor with a super clean all analog line level section let me know. The ones I have tried from Parasound, Yamaha, Integra, Pioneer Elite, Lexicon (only digital), and B+K don't cut it!

    Widget
    The Parasound Halos are in the $4k-$5k range. The C1 is the $5k unit. I've listened to them in the Good Guys, but that was in an all glass ht room! I'd like to hear what they sound like in my living room. I like the sound the B+K Ref 50 for ht, but not sure I'd like it for 2 channel music. I'm currently using a Marantz 880 receiver for the pre/pro, and a Parasound 5 channel amp. I haven't used just a 2 channel system for over ten years, the last was a Yamaha.
    The Sunfire Grand Theater III seems to have more of a "tube like" sound and it will output all channel stereo. So I haven't bought any new pre/pro yet, just not sure. My L212s are for sure, more musical that any ht speaker system.
    I keep seeing B+K, Sunfire, Aragon and others on ebay. Must be a reason that people keep trying to unload almost new units. Some, in fact are new, being sold by dealers.
    Last edited by MJC; 02-02-2004 at 09:55 AM.

  12. #12
    Moderator / Treasurer/Marketplace Czar boputnam's Avatar
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    AccuPhase CX-260

    Originally posted by whgeiger
    The price of this beauty, depending where you shop for balanced I/O and all, is about $4,000.
    Hey... (Sorry I missed this, in the throws of all the quarterly reportings right now...)

    We need a "drooling" smilie face. Wow. That looks like the ticket, but priced out of my range. I just sold a Soundcraft 24 channel FOH board for about half that - and it has many more knobs and inputs!

    Guess I better print this out - looks like good "on the can" material...
    bo

    "Indeed, not!!"

  13. #13
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    Re: AccuPhase CX-260

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by boputnam
    [B]Hey... (Sorry I missed this, in the throws of all the quarterly reportings right now...)

    We need a "drooling" smilie face. )snip(

    BP,

    Here is one the old fashoned way: (:-[...

    Regards,

    WHG

  14. #14
    Senior Member John Y.'s Avatar
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    Processing of HT Analog signals

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget
    This should be posted in the "Off Topic" section.

    In any event, in answer to your question... it doesn't exist! There is no affordable preamp that sounds as good as a dedicated two-channel preamp that also has surround processing capabilities and costs under the 4K to 5K price range.

    If anyone has found a processor with a super clean all analog line level section let me know. The ones I have tried from Parasound, Yamaha, Integra, Pioneer Elite, Lexicon (only digital), and B+K don't cut it!

    Widget
    Thought I'd resurrect this thread to see if there has been anything new to add to the topic in recent years.

    How about some of the latest units? McIntosh has the C45 which has analog processing of the 5.1 analog signals. The Lexicon RV-8 has the capability of bypassing digital processing of analog 5.1.

    Anyone (Widget, et. al.?) have any experience with these, or others in the current line of McIntosh or Lexicon units?

    J. Yo

  15. #15
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    My old Denon 5.1 AVR 2600 doesn't sound too bad for stereo and it still works just fine. I know it's SS but so are my car systems.

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