Anthem Statement D1or Aragon StageOne

I have read that an Aragon StageOne is better for two-channel music than an Anthem AVM 20. However, it has not been directly compared to Anthem Statement D1. I would like to have both the best in two-channel audio and multi-channel music and cinema. If I had to choose, I would say the cinema sound is more important. If anyone has compared these two let me know, or if someone has auditioned these and something else that they feel is better, let me know and please try and explain what is better about each one.

My reference unit for both for 2 channel and multi-channel playback (in a pre-pro) is the Bel Canto Pre pro. Has the most impressive dynamic range I've ever heard in a pre/pro and this really had a profound impact on both 2 channel and multi-channel music. The highs were incredibly high and the lows were very low. This is a good thing for SACD/DVD-A since theoretically both formats have the capability of reproducing higher frequency ranges/sampling rates than redbook cd.

The Bel Canto is therefore extremely dynamic but also has a very low noise floor. It is also very transparent and revealing but still has a liquid feel to the mid-range and highs that is not in the least bit edgy, harsh or fatiguing. Truly a reference pre/pro. There are better dedicated pre-amps out there but then you lose processing for HT. But the Bel Canto will hold its own even against many dedicated pre-amps.

I have listened to the stage one in a direct comparision to the AVM 20 and I would say the stage one is better (in 2 channel) but the difference is not huge. The difference is the Anthem is very clean sounding while the Stage One has more air on top and some of that liquidity I associate with the Bel canto (but still not anywhere close to the sound of the BC). The AVM 20 is probably more transparent while the Stage one adds something (maybe coloration) that makes it sound more musical.

A big drawback for me with the Stage One was a lack of an On-screen menu. It also is not quite as flexible as the Anthem in terms of HT (number of inputs/outputs, bass management, etc).

The D1 (which I currently own) does have a better pre-amp section than the AVM 20 but the difference is only 10-15%. Where the D1 has a huge advantage over the AVM 20 is the digital processecing. The D1 automatically upsamples any incomming digital signal to 24/192. The surround steering is much better and it sounds more dynamic than the 20. Its also even more transparent than the 20.

I would still give the Aragon the slight edge in 2 channel over the D1. But when you consider overall features and flexibility the D1 kills the Aragon. I did not listen to the Aragon for multi-channel music or HT as my primary concern is always 2 channel first.

Hope that helps!

Thanks for the input Avguru. I will have to audition the Bel Cantro.