Meitner, Audio Research, BelCanto made them.
Yes, Theta's six shooter would be great if Theta processor was not required.
I need a device that will allow me to connect 6 balanced inputs and take out 6 attenuated balanced outputs, as simple as that.
It may have more than a single set of 6 inputs (as is the case with EMM Switchman), but the point is that I need a master volume control for six balanced channels, so by simply looking at the back panel of devices such as Bel Canto Pre6 tells me it does not fit the bill, it does not have 6 balanced inputs and outputs.
Is this the drill?
You'll take the digital out from a disc player or server to a digital x-over unit that outputs 3 pairs of digital out: stereo digital high, stereo digital mid, and stereo digital low. From there you want to use (the equivalent of) 3 stereo DACs that output a balanced analog signal: one for the the stereo lowpass, one for the stero mids and one for the stereo highs. Then you want to take those 6 balanced analag outputs into 6 balanced inputs on the preamp you're asking about. You need a single volume control to move the 3 stereo signals in unison.
The idea being that you want to keep volume control out of the digital domain to retain resolution.
I think that the top model Tact and DEQX units offer both the dig x-over and analog preamp sections that you're seeking in a single box, and both are available with XLR out. There are a bunch of good pre-pros that also offer this as an integrated solution.
FWIW, philosophically, this feels to me like a great way to go. I've been looking at a related approach using 2 way speakes similarly tethered to subs, but that still leaves one analog x-over in the path. I like your approach even better, but I'm not ready to do the the DIY thing and there are few commercial choices (Merdian, Salk?) available employing this approach.
Good Luck and keep us posted on the progress of your project. It sounds interesting.
It is exactly what I want to do.
And I am aware of DEQX, in fact I plan to use DEQX but with its digital output board, so that I can do DA conversion outside of it using higher grade DACs. From DACs I would then go into this multichannel volume control. So far only EMM Switchman MKII fits the bill.
DEQX would be used only for what it does best, crossover function using FIR filters, and maybe DRC if needed in lower octaves.
Meridian DSP controlled speakers are good, but you can do far better with your choice of drivers, DA conversion and amplification.
Reason I want to take this direction is that the more time I spend with various active speakers the more I am convinced that going active is the only way, and especially so going with DSP crossover.
Just a few weeks ago I made my last attempt at convincing myself that passive can be as good, so I went to hear what is arguably among the best speakers on the market today, Magico Q5. No way would I ever take that over well executed DSP controlled speakers.
Not all that convinced that FIR is inherently better than IIR, espescially at lower frequencies, but mostly due to pre/post ringing. More interested by digital Bessel filters.
If you just want a digital I/O xover, look at Xilica, which is one of the best in pro gear but no automated correction.
If you're going from the ground up with a speaker, I think this project with the Digmoda 552 is intriguing although I would do a few things differently.
Had similar idea a while back and considered a DIY modular DAC/pre with dual Wolfram DACs and BB PGA2213 chip attenuators on plug-in boards. Rejected series relay attenuators for the expense. Possibly even a 4X3 touch screen LCD or smart phone/bluetooth interface. No way would I have the time for a project like that.