Anyone try and compare the Halcro SSP 100 or 80?

I have heard good and bad things about these Halcro SSP and my dealer really recommends it over the other lines he carries like Meridian, Lexicon and Theta.

Has anyone out there had one of these ssp's in there system to compare?

I currently have a Meridian G68 XXX and I really do like it but the video switching and what my dealer tells me is better audio has me thinking about an upgrade.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


I'm also very interested in what any owner might be able to share about his experience with this Pre/Pro. I've spoken to someone that says it is sonically superior to the Krell HTS 7.1 and Halcro does have a good reputation for it's two channel gear, so this has all made me very curious. I'm also looking toward the future with the video switching. The only other Pre/Pro that does HDMI switching, the Krell Evolution 707, is $18K. That is a bit much for me to justify spending on my system. Well, I hope someone can help us out.........John
I recently changed my Lexicon MC12B to Halcro SSP-100 and sonically it is a definite upgrade without a doubt. Here is a list of improvements over Lexicon MC-12B version3.
1. Much better 2 channel music separation and 3 dimentional sweet sound.
2. DVD 5.1 DD& DTS sound more punchy, louder, clear and surrounds are so dominant that I heard many sounds I haven't heard before in my favourite clips with sounds crossing over my head in a new dimention. You just have to experience it.
3. Eventhough unit has just a single balanced subwoofer output (you could use side axis channels as stereo subs), the bass is tighter than Lexicon.
4. For 2 channel/ TV viewing Lexicon's Logic7 goes head to head with SSP-100's PL2 or Neo 6, but after playing extensively I settled on SSP 100's Neo 6 for both 2 channel music and 2 channel and 5.1 channel dish network viewing. There are very few units which make Neo 6 sound better than PL2x and the only other brand I have come across is Yamaha RX-Z9. Neo 6 in SSP-100 sounds so much better than Neo-6 in Lexicon MC-12 and after many years I replaced my music listening from stereo to Neo 6. Center channel gives more punch to the voice than stereo mode and surrounds are not dominating or distracting with more defined bass.
5. External 7.1 channel input for SACD/DVDA: SSP-100 actually gives balanced and unbalanced 7.1 inputs. I haven't seen any SACD player under $10,000 with even 5.1 balanced outputs and probably no unit is out there with 7.1 outputs. But it is good to know that my unit has it in case some one comes with DTS-HD player with balanced outputs. The biggest problem is SSP-100 doesn't offer Bass management with is seen these days in cheap Denon players. So this unit has nothing to do with your 5.1 channel music but simply controls volume. Lexicon is more advanced in this aspect with full bass management. There is no way to assign external 5.1 analog inputs to any source like Lexicon and 7.1 mode in SSP-100 simply overrides the existing source and you have to press it again to get back to the source. Suppose I want to see the track info/pictures that come with my DVD-A/ SACD, I first have to change the front panel display to my universal player source first then engage the 7.1 mode to listen the sound and also see the display simultaneously.
6. Front panel display: It is extremely useful to see all the information veiwing in DVD-A discs without turning the projector on and to do adjustments with my Velodyne DD-18 digital EQ. I also used it to monitor my mini DV recordings to DVD recorder. Lexicon has no plans to offer a display in near future. Let us just say it looks beatiful with countless uses and you can turn it off to be less distracting. The display doesn't work with HDMI or Component inputs and you need to connect the equipment with S-video or RCA video cable ( I had to dig into my basement for these long gone cables). It is adding more cables to the HT system and I wish they change it in future.
7. Auto distance and level st up: This worked very well with the included mike with no error messages like "no speaker found". No room EQ is available with SSp-100 as seen with Lexicon which may or may not add to sound quality after spending $4000.
8. HDMI switching: Lexicon now offers 6 to 1 switching but this unit also offers built in scaler. Since my Benq PE 8720 projector is incompatible with SSP100 HDMI output I can't comment on the units HDMI quality. I am more interested in HDMI 1.3 upgrade which should bring DTS HD and DD true HD decoders all in one package which brings out uncompressed sound from all the movies which I can't wait to hear. For now I am using SSP-100's component video switching which flickers a little and goes blank for few seconds when source is changed and is not as smooth as Lexicon.
9. Only 2 Optical inputs: These are still the only digital outputs used with all satellite receivers, X-box/PS. I wonder the reason is they welcome consumers to use HDMI for audio and video. But when I tried my DVD player and Dish VP612 audio via HDMI, it sounded less detailed compared to the usual optical or coaxial outputs. So much for the hype that a single HDMI cable will get rid of all other cables in your HT system.
10. User interface: this is no way comparable to beautiful Lexicon's or Anthem's interface and I wish Halcro just copied them. For starters, you can't assign a dedicated sound mode to each source (like stereo for CD player and Neo6 for TV or THX-games for X-box etc.)but you can choose up to 4 modes to be added to all the sources where you can modify the channel output levels and lipsync. Lexicon does it in a much easier way and lets you do it for each mode rather than just to each source.
11. THX Modes: This unit has all the THX modes more than Lexicon offers, but I have never liked THX in my HT set up as it never sounded better than PL2 or Noe6. I am sure there is something wrong with my ears as many top reviewers love THX modes.
12. Party mode: This is one amazing sounding mode included in SSP 100 which brings surrounds into action with a punchy bass and is great for party music. I haven't heard any thing like this before with any other processor.
13. Balanced outputs: I wish they are at the bottom of the unit like Lexicon so you could use shorter interconnects to the amplifiers which are always close to the ground since they are heavy. Lexicon offers few more balanced outputs like total 3 subwoofer outputs and also side axis outputs.
14. Stereo subwoofer hook up: Lexicon is a winner as it routes bass from left speakers and center to left Sub and right speakers and center to the right sub. With Halcro you have to sacrifice side axis channels to achieve this but I am still not clear if it does the same thing as Lexicon. I wish Halcro offered more Balanced outputs and cut down on balanced 7.1 inputs.
15. Remote control: One of the worst remotes ever designed and I boxed it after programming MX-950. There is no discreet on/off commands as expected with a hign end processor and also there is no direct access to some of the sound modes like PL2, Neo6 or Party and Stereo modes except for accessing the useless THX mode. So each time I want to change the sound mode to any of the best modes I have to turn on the front panel display then go through mode+/- button till I see them. I can't even macro it reliably as there is not even a single default mode access button on the remote.
************ But at the end of the day gentlemen, the sound which comes out of this unit is jaw dropping and is better than Lexicon>Anthem D1>Bel canto> Mcintosh >Krell> Arcam> Rotel and various other processors/receivers I tried in my life. I never had the opprtunity to try Casablanca 3 or Meridian so I can't say this unit is similar sounding or better than them as the lesson I learned is never to assume unless you test in your own home (I have had my share of surprises when $150 Black mountain cables sounded way way better than Cardas golden reference interconnects and $300 Synergestic research cables sounded slightly better than Nordost Quattro Fils).
For under $10,000 there is nothing else in this world comparable to the SSP 100 sonically and I am hoping that Halcro will soon release a upgrade to address some of the issues I mentioned above.
##### A word about SSP-80: While it saves money to someone who doesn't need scaler properties of SSp-100 but you also miss one HDMI input, no 5.1 balanced inputs but you still get stereo balanced input. The main thing you miss is no front panel colour display and I heard from my dealer that the processing power is less than that of SSP-100
$$$$$ Here is my equipment:
1. Halcro SSP-100
2. Theta Dreadnaut 2 7 channel amplifier
3. Nordost SPM front 3 speaker cables
4. Synergestic research active X2 interconncts and Black mountain interconnects
5. Nordost Vishnu and few Shiva power cords.
6. Martin Logan theater center, Odyssey front and Aeon surrounds
7. Velodyne DD-18
8. Benq PE 8720 projector with 115" firehawk screen.
9. Nordost Wyrewizard 10M HDMI cable and audioquest cinema2 component cable

%% I hope my review helps you guys to make a decision regarding your next pre/pro purchase.

In regard to "No room EQ is available with SSp-100 as seen with Lexicon which may or may not add to sound quality after spending $4000", my experience is the Lexicon room correction EQ definitely improves the sound quality. Bass is cleaner and midrange has more clarity. Whether this is worth the cost is a personal issue, but the Lexicon system is easy to set up, works without glitches, and to me is a sonic improvement.

"I have heard good and bad things about these Halcro SSP and my dealer really recommends it over the other lines he carries like Meridian, Lexicon and Theta."

Meridian is the best processor on the market, your dealer like most Meridian dealers probably does not understand how to take advantage of of all the Meridian's power. A very unfortunate but common reality. An example of its power, is I can mimic other processors with the Meridian and although I haven't tried, I'm sure the Halcro is not the exception.

The Lexicon does not sound as good (unfortunately) but from a setup/software stand point maybe the only processor on the market competitive with the Meridian. Personally if you took the Halcro and theta hardware and add all the Lexicon's software, that would be an awesome processor!

But that's not in the card right now. :(

The theta is primitive and really just not a very good processor, they do not get "it" and continue to leave out critical adjustment capabilities.

The Halcro is an Anthem on steroids (that for those who know anything about surround sound is a huge complement), it sound good from a 2 channel perspective but it is still very primitive versus the lexicon and meridian

I would rank the prepros like the



PS: Feel free to email me for any Meridian setup tricks, stuff i do is over the head of the Hitchhikers board, most of the members there use about 60% of the machines potential. I would gladly share what I know if you care to ask.

thank you very much for the detailed analysis. I heard the same comments from my dealer in respects to music and movies. I may have to take him up on the home trial just to satisfy my curiosity.


I am definately going to take you up on your offer to e-mail you about set-up tricks.
I really love the Meridian G68 for music but feel something is missing for movies. I think it is lacking the punchiness and bass slam for movies that made the Meridian 561 so much fun. The 561 was not even close when it comes to music but it's flaws made movies a lot more exciting. I even prefered the 561 to the 568 when it came to movies.

The Perfect Vision echoed my dealers comments on the Halcro about music and movies and the review came out a few months after (he did leave out the ergonimic quirks though)

The qualities that most of us look for in music does not always match what we like for movies and vice versa. I suppose that is why a lot of people still have a seperate music and movie system like I use to have.

I now must cope with one system that does both equally well.......sigh. Hopefully either D_edwards gives me the magic solution for the Meridian or the Halcro fits the bill.

Thanks all for the comments.
Few more updates on my Halcro SSP100 after few weeks of critical listening:
1. It does offer bass management with ability to choose direct vs. DSP for the ONLY FOR BALANCED INPUTS. So if anyone out there fortunate enough to own discontinued EAD theater master DVD audio player with balanced outputs they could really use this processor for the best possible sound. Ofcourse, you could always use RCA to XLR adapters to use existing 5.1 outputs from usual DVDA/SACD players which may help with bass management issues.
2. I am currently using resolution audio CD55 via stereo balanced outputs to SSP100. While the CD 55 sound is extremely transparent and clear, it lacks the bass response I love in music CD's when I set up SSP 100 in bypass mode. When I use the SSP 100's DSP mode for balanced inputs, it dramatically changes the bass dynamics without affecting the wonderful sound generated by CD 55 and it quickly became my default mode for all my cd listening. CD 55's bass output is surprisingly weak since I have to increase the output of my Velodyne DD-18 by 2 times to get the same punch I get from my $130 Sony CD changer via optical output. But sonically CD 55 is superior to Marantz SA-1 & Quad CDP-2, I recently auditioned in my house and I can't wait to see if there is any noticeable improvement with their new Opus 16. While the CD 55 can't come close to the construction quality of the 50lb beatiful Marantz SA-1, again sound is light years ahead and is well worth it.
3. SSP 100 also has extreme processing power that it can be used for a movie theater. Compared to Lexicon MC 12 which gives you a maximum front speaker distance of 30 feet from seating position, SSP 100 gives you up to 63 feet. Even with test tone speaker output levels Lexicon maxes out at 12db and SSp 100 goes upto 15db, but the output generated by lexicon at 12 db is surprisingly achieved by SSP 100 at only 4-6db. None of these observations are really important to most home theater set ups but I just wanted to mention in case some one has a very long room with specific needs.
I will post again if anything else changes!
I have another shocking discovery I wanted to share with my friends in audiogon. Few days ago I mentioned the wonderful sound I heard with CD playback via balanced and RCA inputs from various high end Cd players like CD-55, Marantz SA-1, Quad CDP-2. I was playing around with the digital inputs of SSp-100 to evaluate the performance of unit's own DAC and I was shocked to see that music playing from my $130 Sony SCS-CE595 CD/SACD player via optical output sounded identical to the other high end CD players I mentioned earlier. While the SSP 100's digital processing is the best I have heard to date for music and DVD playback, this also rises a possibility that their balanced inputs are not doing a good job even in bypass mode, since the bass sounds extremely weak with CD playback. I never had the chance to use balanced inputs for CD use when I owned MC-12 since it doesn't offer them. If anyone is planning to purchase SSP-100, I advise them to make use of its digital inputs for music playback and invest in a CD/ DVD transport rather than a player with balanced outputs. I am going to sell my CD-55 to buy a transport myself. I also urge every one to audition Sony SCS-CE595 CD/SACD player before wasting money on other expensive CD players. I am going to compare all my future transports head to head with this cheap and wonderful player and keep you posted.


I was speaking with Smitty at XLO Cables yesterday and we were discussing Balanced cables. He said that machines made in the US vs machines made to european specs have the two pins in the XLR reversed.

According to him if you connect via XLR a U.S. made product to a european made product (ie Halcro) your units will be out of phase. He said that they often make custom XLR cables to use between US and european products.

Do you think that this might have had something to do with the balanced inputs sounding worse?
I am considering a Halcro SSP 100 or Meridian 861 v4...used to have Lex MC8B...terrible on music...Meridian G68XXV...much better....but moved to analog Ayre K5ex...with old Meridian 565 for processing...presently don't need any video switching...and I am concerned about what HMDI 1.3 will do to things once it works....

so anyone have analog judgement between SSP 100 and the 861?


I have a SSP80 in on audition. From what I can tell so far is that the analog portion is pretty good. Maybee close to the best, if not the best that I have heard in a pre/pro. It's not as good as my dedicated pre-amp, but it is definitely musical sounding and enjoyable. I have not tried it yet for movies, only two channel so far. I was using an Arcam DV79 for the source and it seems that connecting digital to the SSP80 was a little better than going in analog. I think it is mostly due to better DACs in the Halcro. You had to listen for it, but the voices were a little more clear going digital in with the DV79.

I not 100% sure, but I think Meridian processes all analog signals, so it is not a straight pass through? I have never heard the Meridian analog so I can't comment.
Meridian is the best? Hmmm... I sold my G gear after a few months... I have owned EVERYTHING!!! The Halcro SSP100 has no peer with regard to purity of sound. The Lexicon is easier to setup, yes. But if you want your HT to double as a close to reference audio system, then Halcro is the answer.

I know that the word 'referece' is subjective... so please don't beat me up for using that word.

Halcro HT is the best of the best.
Xfactor what was wrong with the G series? Since you have experience with both.

I won't argue if you want a 2 channel pass through that the halcro may be better but who listens in two channel when you have a Meridian right?

Halcro HT is the best of the best.
what speakers do you have ?

If you're going to call me out you going to have to earn it cowboy:)
I had to finally chime in again on this thread since I started it.

I took the plunge and picked up a Halcro SSP-100 and have been using it for about a month now.

I have to admit to being a bit skeptical about the great things I have been hearing but boy were they right. Pramod1969 observations were pretty much right on and I have to thank him for being so thorough.

Compared to the Meridian G68XXV I replaced the Halcro can sound a little thin with some music. The G68 was an excellent pre/pro for music and had a warmer full bodied sound compared to the Halcro. The problem with the G68 is that it also sounded warm and full bodied with movies as well when I wanted dynamic and distinctive. The SSP-100 gives me dynamics that can scare you and surround envelopment like I have never experienced before.
While I did prefer the G68 slightly more for music the Halcro is no slouch and can be very good with the right recording. The Halcro does make my speakers disappear better than Meridian when listening to a good recording. The Natural DSP on the SSP-100 brings the music back down to earth and gives it a fuller body when compared to PLIIX and Neo6 music settings. I came home late one night and decided to listen to one of my favorite CD's with all the lights off. I really enjoyed this experience and realized that I could not localize were any of my speakers and sub were. I have to admit that I have never had my all my speakers and subs mesh together so well for music and movies.

If music is your first priority than you may be better off with a Meridian or Theta. The Halcro is not far off but the other 2 have a slight edge with music as I feel the music is more fleshed out. The Halcro can sound spectacular even in 2 channel with a great recordings but the Halcro does no favors for just OK sounding recordings.
For movies though I have not heard a better pre-pro for dynamics and surround envelopment. Just to clarify before someone chimes in the surrounds are not distracting either. I am using just one set of surrounds right now while my amp is being repaired but it sounds like I have surrounds all over. With your eyes closed you cannot make out were the surrounds are located (side mounted tri-poles) but you hear things right behind you and sometimes it seams like sound is coming from above you.
Dynamics are just killer too. I just watched Layer Cake on Blu-ray and when the sniper fires off the warning round we both jumped, a few seconds later he fires another warning shot and we both jumped again. At first I thought my sub was too low but when it is called upon you really feel it. Action movies take on an almost amusement ride feel now and it is a lot of fun.

I have tried a ton of pre-pro's but I finally feel I have one that will be with me for a long time.

Thanks to all that lent there advice, I really appreciate it.


I tried using the Balanced Inputs on the SSP-100 and get no sound from my sub. I verified this with 2 different sources (via test tones) and I loaded Avia and confirmed.

With Balanced Inputs, I get no sound from the sub, and it appears the sub signal is getting rerrouted back through the other speakers.

I talked with Halcro support, and they said my unit must be defective. It appears we have the same or similar issues.

Did you get your unit serviced. Or maybe you sold it and I bought it. I got mine used recently. ;-)

what are HDMI switching capabilites for Lexicon vs Halcro vs Meridien? I saw a review Halcro somewhere they encountered some issues...some players working some not, like the nwe Toshiba HD DVD players. Can anyone comment on the three unit's performance in this regard?

or, (hey I am a novice at this) is it better just to get a sep HDMI switcher and route audio signals to the pre/pro in general?

I can only speak about the Halcro. It has HDMI video scaling and switching capability. The scaler is not very good, and many people just use it as a video switcher.

For HDMI Audio, the Halco will do DD, DTS, and only 2CH High-Res.

So, if you are using an HD-DVD player, you will have to use the Analog Outs of the player.

05-07-07: Henryhk
what are HDMI switching capabilites for Lexicon vs Halcro vs Meridien? I saw a review Halcro somewhere they encountered some issues...some players working some not, like the nwe Toshiba HD DVD players. Can anyone comment on the three unit's performance in this regard?

Most of the glitches were in the first year and a half with HDMI. From what I have heard lately, in the last year or so they have not had any problems. The scaler is good with the SSP-100, but it is not state of the art. Sonics are the main strenght of the Halcro. Sorry, can't comment vs Meridian and Lexicon, maybe Mjaudio and pramod can? I believe Mjaudio has a Toshiba HD player as well?
I used to track Lexicon closely when I owned an MC-12. They came out with an HD version of the MC-12, which handles audio and video via HDMI inputs. IIRC, it does video switching, but not scaling, and is rated for up to 1080i, but not 1080p. I would suggest going to for user experiences with Lexicon.

The HD version of the MC-12 was considered an interim product. The people who follow Lexicon closely expect a new PrePro with a new architecture to replace the MC-12 at some point in the future.


What are you using the SSP-100 to scale? I tried to let is upscale the Component signal from my SA 8300HD cable box, and it looked miserable.

That may be because it had to go from component to HDMI out of the Halcro, and to up-res from 480a to 720p. MY TV and cable box, both do this conversion better than the Halcro.

Can you share your positive experiences? I would love to get better scaling from my cable box.

The Meridian G68 has no HDMI switching but I believe they have a switcher that can be added for video only. I don't think the 861 has HDMI yet but I would suspect them to have it this year since Meridian owns Faroudja.

I have a Toshiba HD DVD player and a PS3 I use for Blu-Ray and both work perfectly with the Halcro. I also have a DirecTv HD DVR connected via HDMI and get great results.
I have not encountered any problems using HDMI with the Halcro.

I have tried using the scaler but it really is not very good. The SSP-80 is a smart choice if you can live without the preview screen and 1 less HDMI input.

I heard the upgrade to multi-channel LPCM HDMI is coming this June which would allow DTS-HD and Dolby Tru-HD to be played back by the Halcro. I have also heard that the upgrade will take the 2 channel high-res. to 7.1 channel high res. were the Lexicon will only do 5.1 channel high res.
A Halcro Tech told me that we should not expect HDMI 1.3 in High End pre-pro's until January. The HDMI 1.3 developer kits were just sent out about a month ago for High End Mfg's.

I have had my Halcro SSP-100 for about 2 months now and it still makes me say WOW at times. I really love this pre-pro.
Also interesting to see new pre/pro from Krell has come out...with same styling as their evolution series, and I guess above their showcase range...says HDMI capable but did not look into details....yet

The Lexicon (the new HD version), Halcro, Anthem are the HMDI capable ones I have seen so far though scaling as u say may differ in real abilites.

I starting to wonder whether I should get a separate HDMI capable scaler/switch and just use the pre/pro for audio. Choices would certainly widen then...for example there are the more analogue oriented multi channel pre such as CJ, Theta, etc

this is getting more confusing each time I think about it (how to build a sep home theatre from my current 2 channel system as I move houses)

The new Krell only does HDMI video, no Audio. It does sound very nice and I think your idea of using something like a Zektor switch would open up your possibilites.

My Halcro SSP-100 is in the shop right now, but when I get it back, my delaer says I can home demo the new Krell. That will allow me to hear them head to head.

Based on hearing them seperately in different environments, but with the same speakers, I THINK it will be pretty close sound wise.

The Krell is cheaper than the Halcro so Halcro better come out with their HDMI Audio upgrade if they want to keep the advantage.

thanks Darrell...let us know how things compare once you get a chance
I am still trying to decide if i should go with the HALCRO or CB3 for HT...
Has anyone tried McIntosh's new controller?
Anyone haveany answers on the Halcro -vs- Theta quesion?
Wow. No One?
Hey Jrunr,

I have a friend who replaced his CB3 with the Halcro as the CB3 had some kind of problem when watching satellite that drove him crazy.

He has said that the Halcro is better for movies but the CB3 was better for music. I believe he would have kept the CB3 if it was not for the problem.

If you are mainly into movies than go for the Halcro and save yourself some money. Get the SSP-80 as it sounds the same but does not have the lcd screen, scaler and one less hdmi input.

The Halco is the best movie pre-pro I have ever owned and it replaced a Meridian G68 XXV in my system. It is very good musically as well but the Meridian had a slight advantage there.

The Theta would probably serve you better if you are more musically oriented.

Good luck