EAD is popular too. Nevertheless, I prefer the Bryston SP-1.7 over them all so far! (The Bryston's great 2 channel performance wins me over)
With 90% Movies you may prefer something else altogether. I am thinking the Lexicon. It has always impressed me with its strong multichannel performance.
Add the Anthem AVM30 to your list. Balanced outs and 7.1 channels.
I would recommend that you listen to a Meridian 568. I have owned some of the other processors in your list and to my ears, the Meridian is just far superior in sound quality.
Add Bel Canto to your list!
in my opinion anthem avm 20 or 30, is the best.
proceed avp2+6 is in your price range.
Ditto on the Meridian 568. For less than $3K you should be able to get a 568.2 (newer or upgarded model with even better sound). No other processors come close in this price range. Few come close at any price.
I've got the Arcam AV-700 and couldn't be happier. It sounds fantastic with music and movies. The FMJ is supposed to be even better. The only other one on your list that I've heard was the Integra and it wasn't even close to my 700.
Ditto the meridian 568 and bryston! Forget the lexicon compared to these two.
I own the Anthem AVM 30 and I feel the upgrade path is superior. I like most of the others that have been mentioned but, I feel Anthem offers better Technical support and upgrade path.
I'd like to know about the rest of the system and associated gear really. Also, the room setup would be very hepful. Basically, if you have a difficult speaker/seating setup (especially if one or other, or both are or or against the wall), you might consider one of the models with Parametric room EQ. I've found this absolutely essential in problem setups,...which amazingly most people end up with!
You said you watch 90% movies. This gives you even more options really, as you don't have to be as critical with the music portion. Please specify your "variables?"
Meridian owners, isn't the setup difficult for non-NASA types? I have romanced a 568 v. EAD Ovation, and have had reservations re the "rocket science" rep of the Meridian.
I did not need balanced outputs so I'm using a Lexicon MC-4
with two Linn AV5125's equipped with Aktiv cards. I've been very happy with it for both music and theater. It
compares quite favourably to the ARC/Proac system I have upstairs.
If you can operate a computer then you can program a Meridian 568.2. It is really very simple. Go to the Meridian Website and download there software setup for the 568.2. Then you can play with it and see how you like it. Also I have found the people at Meridian to be fairly helpful even when talking about used equipment.
Thanks, Doug. I needed some input from someone who is familiar with Meridian.
My advice is to order an Outlaw 990 for their 30 day trial for $1099 and pocket the difference (while all the various formats duke it out - you'll ultimately be faced with an expensive upgrade with the HE processors). Trust me - I've had the Krell HTS, EAD Signature, Proceed AVS, and Sony TAE9000ES thru my system (all 5.1) and the Outlaw is the best of the bunch (newer chips). As stated, the Anthem AVM30 is a good contender but to my ear doesn't justify the added $$'s. YMMV as always.
I'll take Tag McLaren for 800. :)
IMO, I would take 6 and 3 in that order. However, I would definately consider Meridian to go to the top as well. The 568 is a smokin component.
Yeah, I just came from my 2nd demo of the new Audyssey outboard EQ today, at a speaker engineer's home. WOW! this thing is EASILY the most potent room correction/EQ on the market right now, period! This thing is a MUST HAVE for anyone serious about setting up superior home theater/audio systems.
While I've not yet been able to try one in my own system, nor compare it to other high end parametric EQ's (like Rives PARC, and TACT system's, which I'm familiar with), I must say, this thing does INFINITELY more than anything out there for the home market right now! It corrects for things that only extensive room acoustics and engineering, even equipment upgrades would only have fixed/adressed in the past. It appears to be a modern miracle of engineering for electronics/acoustics.
I'm surely going to delve much deeper into this matter, and see where my travels go with the Audyssey.
Right now, I'd pick the better sounding pre's on the market, and add the Audyssey!
http://www.outlawaudio.com/ For the money...
Not a bunch of features but it provides what you need
I home auditioned the Outlaw 990 to replace my Proceed AVP2/CVP2 because the Proceed is no longer supported (at least no more software updates) and because the Outlaw offers a complete set of balanced outputs and HDMI switching. I discovered there really is a difference between a $6000 processor (that I bought used for under $3K) and a $1000 processor. There was just no comparison. So I sent the Outlaw back. They were very easy to work with though - and they paid the return shipping.