Anthem vs Krell vs Meridian

Has anybody done a direct comparison between a Anthem D1,
a Krell HTS 7.1 and a Meridian G61, G68 or 861? I don't need video switching. I am just trying to get the best sound out of a processor. Any info on these processors would be very helpful.
I have compared the D1, 861, G68, MC12, and a few others. To my ears it wasn't even close - I ended up with an 861.

The G68 is good - but not as good as the 861 - not to mention the fact that the 861 is modular for easy upgrading.

I thought the Meridians were much better than both the D1 and MC12.
I had the Anthem avm20 and Krell hts. I prefered the anthem in two channel. It seems a bit more neutral.
Since these are surround processors, my guess is you are using this exclusively for home theater processing I would suggest either the Lexicon or Meridian. I doubt VERY seriously you or 98% of us are going to hear differences between a Lexicon MC 4/8/12 and a Meridian 861. We may THINK we do, but it is doubtful.

Forget the Krell, though it isn't bad, just a step below the Lexicon/Meridian, imo.

Between the Lexicon and Meridian, the Lexicon is easier to set up, easier to buy (don't have to worry about configuration, etc) and is readily 7.1. Meridian is custom designed/purchased based on the purchasors system and gear. Buying the wrong set up can be VERY costly to get it to where you want it.

Since it seems like you are in the sub $5,000 range, preowned 861s are in the $4,000 to $10,000 range and modifications from here (additional cards, analog cards, etc) can be $1,145 per, which can be pricy.

Lexicon MC-4, MC-8, or MC-12 are starting to be a bargain now. And no one does processing better than Lexicon and Meridian. For 2 channel, alot of folks ding the Lexicon, but the MC-12 (I use a JBL SDP-40, aka MC-12B) and I personally feel it is fine - feeding JBL K2S9800SE.)

I also own the Levinson Media console #40 and the #51.

Dan -

I would like to clarify that my comments about the MC12 were primarily related to 2-channel not multi-channel.

I am probably 50/50 HT/2-channel so I spent quite a bit of time comparing them. I still feel the 861 is significantly better in 2-channel than the Lex.

Both are fine processors - and you are correct about the complexity and card cost of the 861. With that said I am still very happy with my decision.

My experience was dramatically opposite from Freemand's [I hate when people do this in one of my threads!]. Perhaps he is referring to another HTS and not the HTS 7.1.

I got a smokin deal on an HTS 7.1 while I owned an AVM 20. My intention was to flip the 7.1 and make $2K profit [$1.5K if I wanted to sell it overnight] and give much of it back to the guy I bought it from because he is a friend.

For kicks I stuck it in my system right next to the Anthem. The difference was outright huge! The anthem sold a couple of days later. The 7.1 had a ton more bottom end and was just crystal clear in my side by side comparison...and just on two-channel pass-through. I have had several pieces of gear come through and my 7.1 keeps proving its mettle much to my chagrin [I want a change…and I think it’s ugly as sin].

I did have a Meridian transport as a demo once. It was extremely impressive and makes me confident to say if you went with Meridian you won’t likely be disappointed. Just as a transport it bettered a lot of other players. Again, the HTS 7.1 was my DAC for it, and it was still breathtaking. I can only imagine what is would be like with gear it was designed to work with.

FWIW, at the time I did the AVM 20/HTS 7.1 comparison, was using a Lexicon RT-10, Legacy Focus 20/20 speakers and monoblock amps. The system was very strong in the bottom end until it began to roll off at around 16 Hz. So bottom end was very easily discernable at the time. Since then, my system has become much more resolving and the 7.1 is still very good, but it is admittedly the weak link in my system.

I would certainly hope the D1 is a significant step up from the AVM 20.
Thanks for the feedback. I should have been more detailed on what I need. I want the processor for 80-90 percent movies and 10-20 percent multi-channel music.

I will play 2 channel music thru a system consisting of Oracle, Tri-Planer, Lyra feeding a Pass Labs Xono, Esoteric DV50S DVD player(Highly modified by Reference Audio Mods) Pass Labs pre amp, Pass X-600 monos and Legacy Focous speakers. Milti-channel speakers are also from Legacy and a 5 channel amp from Pass Labs. All cables are Synergistic.

I guess want I want is a processor that will go with the rest of my system.

Thanks again for taking time to respond to this.
Thanks for the feedback. I should have been more detailed on what I need. I want the processor for 80-90 percent movies and 10-20 percent multi-channel music.

I will play 2 channel music thru a system consisting of Oracle, Tri-Planer, Lyra feeding a Pass Labs Xono, Esoteric DV50S DVD player(Highly modified by Reference Audio Mods) Pass Labs pre amp, Pass X-600 monos and Legacy Focous speakers. Milti-channel speakers are also from Legacy and a 5 channel amp from Pass Labs. All cables are Synergistic.

I guess what I want is a processor that will go with the rest of my system.

Thanks again for taking time to respond to this.
Hands down...Meridian.

IMO, the Anthem doesn't come close. The Krell is better than before. So many hated Krell because its "cold." The designers have revamped a few things and its products have really improved over the recent year or so.

However, hands down its the Meridian. Its, IMO the best anything out there. Be it 2CH (why you would even use it for 2CH is beyond me), MC, whatever. The gets no better! We won't even discuss Trifield. It was revolutionary in its inception some years ago. No one have come up with anything better to date. The 861 can be somewhat attention grabbing, but once you get the thing up and running....its all over.
I have a similar system as you. I used to have Focus 20/20s, but now use Whispers. Everything else is Legacy for surround as well as the subs. Even my source is an Upgrade Company improved DV-50. I think I have a pretty good idea how resolving your system is from my own experience.

With this in mind, I have more food for thought for you - The Krell HTS 7.1 has only one multi-channel input and it is a pass-through only with not even level adjustments. It does however do level adjustments, bass management and time alignment through the digital inputs.

Why do I mention this you might ask...?

I bring this up because although the new generation of blu-ray players has digital audio outputs [either coax or HDMI] the analog outputs are a huge improvement due to their higher resolution. My local A/V store did a demo for me with an HTS 7.1 and a blu-ray player, the difference in audio via coax and analog was gigantic [analog being the clear winner – pun intended]. This improvement is much more significant than the image quality improvement yielded from the Blu-ray disk...IMO.

What surprises me the most is that the Sony BDP-S1 I have sitting on my shelf right now for demo purposes has no adjustments [level control, time alignment, and bass management] from either its digital or analog outputs. This is something that your DV-50 does have to a limited degree…at least it has level adjustments for its multi-channel outputs. For me, this player is a no-go for this and some other reasons not related to this thread.

Thus, all this adds more complication if you "want it all." Not only might you have two multi-channel sources [the DV-50 for DVD-A/SACD multi-channel audio AND a new Blu-ray and/or HD-DVD], but if you need to adjust anything with the multi-channel pre-amp, then the HTS 7.1 isn't for you from a feature standpoint.

Also, HDMI connectivity should be seriously looked at, not for video, but higher resolution audio. This is something I really don’t know much about though, but could help to replace those multi-channel analog inputs for the newer sources. I believe there is a newer HDMI standard for these higher resolutions that are available with HD-DVD and Blu-ray, or will be some time in the near future.

I am sorry if I am confusing matters. It is all rather confusing even to me.
Dbld, sorry about the lack of clarity on my post.

It was the Krell at $3999. Maybe it was the showcase.

I would guess you have the krell processor that was retailing at $8,000 at that time. If thats the case it should perform more then a $3,000 processor.

For 2 channel the D1 and avm20/30 sounds close from what I gathered. I was going to upgrade to the D1 so I asked several D1 owners who replaced their avm20. None of their responses concluded it was much different in two channel. My salesman also said the same thing.

Is your MC system 7.1? Or do you plan to go to 7.1 at some point? If so, then you'll want to have DPLIIx and / or Logic 7.

Krell PrePros only have DPLII, not DPLIIx, and DPLII only suppports 5.1.

AFAIK, the other PrePros mentioned have DPLIIx, or in the case of Lexicon both DPLIIx and Logic 7.

FWIW, I evolved from 5.1 to 7.1 and found 7.1 provides a much better surround envelopment.

Bruce - the Krell HTS absolutely does support 7.1, even through the analog inputs, just not DPLIIx. It does Dolbly and DTS "ES" processing for the two extra surround channels, plus some other variations for those extra channels...I just don't remember the details.

Freemand – I think you listened to the Showcase. There is a good difference between the showcase and the HTS 7.1...thus the price difference.

FWIW - Krell is supposed to come out with an Evo pre/pro sometime.

As far as I know, there are no 7.1 sources available. The high def DVD specs allow for 7.1, but I'm not aware of any 7.1 discs having been released.

From the information on the Krell website, I don't know how Krell PrePros can take a 2.0, or 5.1, or 6.1 input and generate a 7.1 output. DPLIIx and Logic 7 have a proven capability to do that.

By 7.1 output, I'm not referring to sending a mono signal to both rear speakers, or duplicating the side surround signals in the rear surounds. Instead, I mean generating distinct signals (am not saying discrete by the way) to all 4 surround speakers.

Having the ability to accept 7.1 analog inputs is nice, and if / when there are high def DVDs with 7.1 audio, and the players output that over 7.1 analog outputs, then I can see how the Krell PrePros could do 7.1 as a MC preamp. But I'm not aware of any 7.1 analog feeds available today.

There is Krell Music Surround, but I can't tell from the website if that generates 7.1 outputs, and I have not seen any reviews or comments on how well that performs.

Bruce - The HTS 7.1 does do some sort of distinct processing for the 7.1 output with 5.1 source material. In addition, it recognizes 7.1 source material [albeit rarely available – like Star Wars I think] as “ES” processing [or something like that] for those extra channels. To be honest, I have one of these things and I used to understand all this off the top of my head, but I just cannot remember anymore. Once I set it up more than a year ago, I really don’t mess with it anymore. I am reasonably certain this is not simply sending the same surround signal to all four surrounds, or even just lefts and rights. It does something to distinguish between the surround channels as mid and rears. I would remember that…in disappointment.

Regarding the 7.1 analog input, I am with you on this…I too know of no 7.1 analog output from any source.

But what is nice about having a 7.1 analog input is those installations that use di/bi-pole speakers on the sides and direct radiating [?mono-pole?] speakers in the rear [like my system]. I can use all of these speakers for movies [particularly those with the "ES" designation], and yet be able to play multi-channel SACD/DVD-A material without the side di/bi-pole speakers.

Still, my point is more that right this moment a source like blu-ray is more capitalized upon if the analog outputs of the player are used…and yes, the one I had only had 5.1 outputs.

FWIW – to me – multi-channel music isn’t all that its cracked up to be, but that is still another thread.

Do you follow all of that? :-) Just imagine how I’d write if I had some alcohol!
I would also add that I wouldn't shy away from Meridian just because it digitizes all inputs. This used to be a hang-up for me. But if it sounds great...who really cares HOW they get it to sound great...just as long as it does.

Really, all these pieces should be demo'd before committing. They are all the top of the heap. Feature sets could very likely be the deciding factor over sound quality. I am sure they all sound pretty darned good.

I may need to do some more reading to better understand how the different PrePros generate 7.1 outputs from less than 7.1 inputs. I'm only familiar with DPLIIx and Logic 7. I'm still surprised, however, that Krell doesn't yet offer DPLIIx.

The Star Wars ES you mention may be the EX 6.1 format(?). As I understand, if the PrePro has EX processing, then it will send the 6th surround channel to the two rear speakers, but I don't know the details.

My bigger interest is generating distinct 7.1 outputs from 2.0 sources (movies or music) and 5.1 sources (movies or music).

I know different people have different preferences on listening in steroe vs MC, and 5.1 versu 7.1. Some are quite passionate about their preferences! In my own case, I much prefer listening to everything in 7.1.

I think we are on the same page with the ES stuff. Like I said, I just cannot remember the details.