AragonStageOne? Other processors? Bass Management?

I am new to home theater and I am looking into purchasing a surround sound processor for ~$3 to $4K. Other than information on the website, there is not a lot of information (reviews) on the Aragon Stage One. Any thoughts on this processor? or on other surround processors I should consider?

Also, how important is bass management in a surround sound processor?

The answer to you quesition about recommending a pre/pro would depend on the rest of your gear, plus your system needs! Do you need a pre/pro that does 7.1 or has DVDA processing capabilities from a digital in, 24/196 dac's, whatever? Also, are you doing music only from a digital in, or are you using analog inputs from a favorite cd player or whatever? Doing music also?...or only movies?
The Stage One is an excellent, clean sounding pre/pro indeed. It has a lot to offer sonically, as well as for flexibility and features. I used to own/sell the Act 3 and Aragon Soundstage as well. Both were excellent at their price ranges for certain.
How important is the Advanced Bass Management feature that's becoming more frequently utilized in pre/pro's? Well my experience suggest that depends largely on the rest of your system! I personally have found, that
set up properly, a standard "passive" speaker system with sub(s) whould be using the "80hz" crossover or "small" setting for the vast majority of situations, including full range speakers and mini's alike!! Why?...because passive speakers are largely much too dynamically limited/challenged to handle DD./DTS bass full range! An ACTIVE POWERED woofer should handle that bellow 80hz I've found(just as Lucas Film THX recommends and dictates). Get the crossover right for your speaker locations and sub, and the integration should prove excellent.(like anything else, set up will be critical for proper sound).
The only exceptions I've found to this are when you simply "CANNOT" place your speakers where they couple well at 80hz, and where, say 65hz or 90hz*(or whatever) proves to be more effective due to limitations. Other than that, other exceptions would be using full range speakers with "powered subwoofers" where the powered woofers can already handle the bass better on their own. Then using a lower crossover point might be a better consideration to tinker with(especially with powered speakers that have smaller 8" bass drivers or whatever, and limited extension), thus letting a powered subwoofer handle the very very bottom.
In short, my experience suggests that, with most systems, the standard "small" or 80hz crossover is more than adaquate to do the job right! Also, I don't know if the Stage One(like most) can still do bass management for DTS, or for 6 channel input sources such as SACD or DVDA???? I think it might only do full range for those, leaving out bass management anyway. But I'm not sure.
If it does, that might also be a very helpful feature.
If you're just looking for great sonics in a standard pre/pro, and you'll only be using standard CD's and DD/DTS movies in 5.1, you might consider the excellent Classe SSP25, Krell HTS, Proceed AVP, EAD, Affordable little Thule, even budget Acurus ACT3! All are superb sounding, very uncolored, detailed, refined, and audiphile grade sounding from either digital in or analog in's!(especially the Classe!). If you're after only new, there's others to consider that will do 6.1, 24/192, ABM, etc. The Aragon is one. the Krell Showcase is another to consider. The Classe SSP30 has some dynamite sonic attributes to conser as well.
All of these are not too much, and sound fantastic. I'm not sure about the Anthem AVP20, and haven't heard it.
Good luck
Hope this helps
I recently did quite a bit of research on the subject...
The Aragon does do bass managment for everything expect
the 6ch analog bypass. One unique thing is the Aragon also
does bass managment on its analog pass thru for 2ch which
could be very benifical for someone without "full range"

The bad news is it doesnt have balanced in/outs.

The Krell is a nice unit also. It does have balanced in/outs
but does not have bass managment for analog pass thru. It
does however have an EQ for all signals that come in digital
and could be usefull for room tuning.

I believe the best performance you could get is with the Aragon running an outboard DAC between your CD source and
the Aragon. Or if you have a good CD source go right into
analog pass thru. A good outboard DAC will perform miracles.

And any SACD or DVD-A worth buying should have full bass
managment built in. Most of them do now.

As far as bass managment most PRE/PROS will handle that
for the dolby digital/dts ect... The one you mentioned will.

Good luck.. its a PRE/PRO jungle out there!
I am also looking for a new PrePro and have the same questions as you. Glad to see someone finally commenting on the sound of the Stage One- there are very very few comments/opinions on that unit on the forums that I read and I don't understand why, unless very few Stage Ones are being sold(?).

I am very interested in bass management for DVD-A and SACD sources. I have a sub/sat speaker system and need to separate out the low frequencies by the time they exit the PrePro. How well the various DVD-A and SACD DVD players do this is still a mystery to me. I've read the outboard Outlaw unit does a decent job.

Ideally, any DVD player, including DVD-A and SACD, should send encrypted digital bit streams to the PrePro for de-encrytpion and decoding, but copyright fears are holding this up. This would not only solve the bass management issue, but would simplify component inter-connections and address time alignment, etc. for multi-channel speaker systems. I read where DVD-A has reached an agreement on doing this, but have seen nothing on SACD. Whatever happens, one feature that I desire in my next PrePro is to be (potentially) upgradeable to do internal de-encrytpion and decoding of DVD-A and SACD digital sources.

For other than DVD-A and SACD sources, (DTS/DD 5.1, 2 channel, etc.) I plan to use digital inputs and use the PrePro's internal bass management. I do not use analog pass through and do all my listening in surround sound independent of source material.

Another aspect I am very intereted in is the PrePro's ability to synthesize 7.1 outputs from any input source (true 7.1 source material may not come about). I currently have a Lexicon DC-1, and with Logic 7, I am a true believer in a 7.1 channel speaker system. Going from a 5.1 to 7.1 set-up in my room made a big difference for me.

In the past, Lex's Logic 7 seemed to be the only real way to enjoy 7.1 channels. Now, with the advent of such as DPLII and THX Ultra II ASA, there are alternatives available. I would love to have a Lex MC-12, but don't want to invest that much in a PrePro.

Units of interest to me are the not yet released Lexicon baby MC-12, the Aragon Stage One, and the Anthem AVM20 with the new software that provides DPLII and THX Ultra II. A possible candidate is the TAG McLaren AVR32-192 although it does not have component video switching.

I ruled out the Krell Showcase because it does not have THX Ultra II's ASA (manual says it simply feeds a duplicate of the side speaker signal to the rears in some modes), and what seems to be a poor track record in surround sound and upgradability.

Again, my criteria does not include 2 channel listening and analog pass through, so others may judge these units differently.

Are there any other PrePros in this price range that others would recommend?

Any experiences with other than Lexicon/Logic 7 units on 7.1 channel performance?
I want to clarify something. When i was speaking of best
sound using analog pass thru with a DAC... That is for 2ch playback. I kinda got off track on my last post.

Most SACD and DVD-A players will allow you to set your
speakers to small and pass LF to sub. The new Pioneer
universal player, The Yamaha DVD-920(I have one) and some of the more pricey ones do have the ability to do so. If
not you can use a Outlaw bass manager.
The AVM-20 is the only PRE/PRO (I know of) that will take
the 6ch input from a SACD or DVD-A and "digitize" it so
bass managment can be achived. This is at the cost of another A to D conversion of course.

Hope this helps...
A salesman told me the Lexicon MC-12 can also digitize the DVD-A/SACD analog input signals and do bass management, time alignment, etc. Yes, its at the expense of an additional A/D and D/A conversion. I would be curious to know how much audible difference this makes compared to a straight pass-through. Or how this difference in the MC-12 compares to that in the AVM20. Being a middle aged male whose hearing has lost some its acuity over the years, I expect the differences would be less noticeable to me.
The Integra Research RDC-7 does it all. Someone is selling one on audiogon now. I am not affiliated with them. Ive had mine for about a year and love it. Except for going on vacation, I cannot think of a single day I have not turned it on. Balanced outputs, Stunning 2 channel stereo with upsampling, Apogee digital clock, 24/196hz converters and surround sound that rates with the best out there. Good Luck.
The description for this Integra says "HDTV ready..."..what does that mean to us?