Best All time 5.1 Pre/Pro


I’m working on upgrading my Linn AV5103 Pre/Pro, and am considering several units available. First, let me say I don’t need HDTV Switching, that is already taken care of. Second, I only want 5.1 surround, no need for more advanced formats other than DTS. The speakers/amps are all Linn, 7xAV5105’s, all active to 4xAV5140’s and one AV5120 as a center channel, AV5150 sub. I love the amp/speakers, but would like to change out the pre/pro, for several reasons, the second delay locking on to digital signals is annoying. Love the sound, but it has no multichannel inputs.

I’ve got several units I’m considering, and would love more input as to recommended units…

Several things I’ve considered are;

1) Cal Audio SSP 2500
2) Theta Casablanca I/II with superior DAC’s
3) Meridian 8 series…though probably out of my price point..
4) Proceed PAV/PDSD…still love the classics..
5) EAD theater Master 8000
6) Chiro 800/5.1
7) Classe SSP-75

I don’t particularly like Lexicon…to digital for me, and don’t like the harshness of Bryston/ B&K (probably annoyed several folks putting these two together but…)

I’m curious what else you all would recommend…….5.1 channel inputs are a big plus….though this system is mostly used for HT.

Ken
kennyt
The Cal Labs CL-2500 SSP is one fine sounding processor but it doesn't have a 5.1 input. You might check into the Fosgate FAP-T1 or T1+.
How does Meridian G 68 stack up?
I have owned four of the above mentioned processors, and found each to have their own personalities. Please bear in mind that I used the processors purely for movies, as I have a large Cello system for music. The Cal SSP-2500 is a VERY nice sounding unit: very natural and not at all "digital" sounding. My primary reason for parting with the unit was that Cal was bought up by Sonic Blue, and the few guys left at the company didn't know anything about the product - too bad, it was a great machine (it ran very hot). The Aragon Soundstage has a wonderful reputation, but I was never impressed with it. I felt it lacked dynamics, and always sounded "mushy". The Theta Casa Nova seemed to be a fairly decent machine, but suffers from sounding a bit "over-processed" and digital, and it is definately the most difficult machine to operate thats out there. My "current" processor is the Integra Research RDC-7. This is surprisingly a very nice sounding unit. Very dynamic and natural, not at all a "digital" sound. For the money (used about $2400) it's a steal. My only fault with it is that the buttons on the front panel are impossible to read in dim lighting (they should have put LED's in the display above the buttons), and the lights around the buttons are too bright when watching movies. Having said that, when you consider all the bells & whistles you do get with the unit (including a lip-sync adjustment that very few other processors have, but should...), the RDC-7 is my current favorate. Ken G.
YOu know in thinking about it, considering "Kgproperties" assesment of the Soundstage (Aragon), I do seem to remember that it was indeed a bit soft on dyamics compared to others. Infact, I remember that I ended up keeping my Acurus Act 3 for that very reason! The Act 3 was more dynamic than the soundstage, if a bit noiser with noise floor. HOwever in my room/set up, it was not an issue, and I chose the sonics of the ACT3. Yes, the Aragon was slighly wamish sounding, and a bit slow compared to some others, esecailly the sonically gorgeous Krell digitally!
I've also heard the Proceed AVP was more dynamic, if a little dry sounding. Also, assesments of the CAL are about right as well. Infact, the more pre'pro's I listen to (haven't heard the Integra), the more I like the Krell pieces for pre/pro's!..very detailed, clear, and dynamic!!!!!...very much so.
Thank you all for the input!!! I'm still shopping around, and trying to decide if I really want to go with multichannel music...I've been very happy with my current system (Linn 5103, 4x5140's, 5120 and 5150, all powered actively by 7x 5105's).....don't even remind me about setting this system up, or like last weekend moving it around! It's an all day affair... I do miss the Ikemi I had, but sold it for various reasons I now regret.

As for the recommendations....

1) I've had Aragon equipment before (24K pre/4004MkII) was a little bright for my liking, that may have improved, but I found such an improvement in my system when I went to Linn amps and then pre/pro (had various speakers before but ended up with the 5140's as I already had the 5120 and loved the center, that started the Linn pursuit that led me to where I am now)

2) I'm somewhat interested in the Cal as it sounds from all my reading to have a sound that is what I like. I'm slightly concerned buying a pre/pro that may be difficult to repair, should anything happen to it, and it doesn’t have 5.1 inputs….which after reconsidering, I think I would just keep my 5103 if I’m not going to go multichannel and buy a better source. Besides I still have 3.5 years of warranty on the 5103.

3) I'm surprised no one had anything good to say about the Theta...

4) The EAD and Classe’ are still high on the list, having listened to the Classe’ SSP 75, might go that route....it's really a nice piece.

5) I haven’t heard the Integra…I’ll need to go look for that one.

I’ll keep looking and see where it goes from here……..

Ken