Only the 8801 has balanced inputs as far as comparisons check out the forums over on AVS!
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Use Audessey pro witht the AV8801. You will get a level in surround what will be stunning. It is by far the most convincing roomcorrection I have heard so far. Lyngdorf makes the sound like dead. There is no emotion anymore. But this does all you ever could dream of. I have done a lot of tests with Audessey. It is not an easy system to use. But after many tests we have stunning results. Before this I was not interested in surround. I was always listening to flaws. Mostely roomacoustic problems. Surround including subwoofer never have been this good. Life in surround is better than ever these days!
There is one advice I want to give to you. I sold a lot of Nordost, Valhalla in particular. Wenn you use Nordost loudspeakercabel with interconnects you will always loose individual focus. Instruments and voices are in real very small in dimension and sharp focused. Combination of Nordost loudspeakercable and interconnect togheter you will always get a less sharp focus. I have done these tests many times. Wenn you use a brand which can give a sharp individual focus, a fewlso important parts will add to your system. Brands like Kimber and the latest Audioquest will improve this. Also depth will increase. At all the tests I did with Nordost I had the same results. You also will loose depth. Wenn you focus on the overwhole sound, you will loose involvement in the mid freq. by using just Nordost.