If you don't care for video switching,Add the Bryston SP1.7
to your list,2Ch audio is Excellent.I audition the REF 50 and Sunfire MK III .I also had as Loaner's from my dealer The Krell Hts 7.1 and The Lexicon MC 12.I preferred the Bryston over the above mentioned.Also saved quite a bit of money.
The Aragon Soundstage, sells for $1400 used, is an excellent two-channel performer, with analog bypass.
Don't leave out Classe' in your search. I have the SSP25 with analog bypass. Great performer as a processor and excellent two channel with the analog bypass. Anthem also has analog bypass and has received excellent reviews.
Best of luck...
Thanks Guys. Good advice but I do need video switching with 3 component inputs.
Joejr, how would u rate the Ref 50 and Mk III?
ARAGON STAGE ONE See my system for details
Integra Research RDC-7, MSRP $4500, all the major magazines raved about it. I am very happy with the way mine sounds with 2 channel music, both as a processor and a Pre-Amp w/2 ch. bypass.
Ive had the Integra Research RDC-7 for two years, and Im still in love !
After listening to the Sunfire, B&K Reference 50, Adcom and Bryston 1.7, It was the Bryston by a mile. If you want good sound and don't need the TV switching it is the perfect unit-Simple and straight forward and quiet. Beware the B&K Ref 50. The units themselves have a very pronounced hum-I saw three samples. B&K couldn"t remedy hum. But worse, the sound from the speakers has a audible whine from the DSP's. At quiet passages it will drive you wild.
I was under the impression that the Bryston does not have the ability to configure 2 channel sound without the subwoofer. In other words, if you prefer to listen to 2 channel with large speakers without the "assistance" of the subwoofer in the system, this is not an option. It is possible that this has changed in the Bryston but I would verify this if this is an issue.
The local dealer in my area sent the Bryston back because it did not have this feature.
No offense, but who buys bryston preamps these days?
Thought to ponder...
I've owned the Soundstage, Sunfire TGII, Bryston SP-1, and Anthem AVM-20, which were all terrific sounding two-channel units in their own ways and ranked in the order listed. But the best sounding two channel I ever got out of a pre/pro was with the EAD Ovation Plus. It doesn't feature analog bypass or component video switching, but I thought I'd give it a nod anyway...
Good luck in your search...
P.S. You might want to check out the Cary Audio pre/pros as well...
i don't know what everyone else is talking about. i've got the ref 50 and i become more pleased each day that i purchased it!
No offense, but who buys bryston preamps these days?
A good number of the recording studios that record, engineer, and ultimately market the music that you and I buy.
And a few guys who like the sound and appreciate the warranty.
Who buys Bryston - Mi Casa Studios in LA and they r responsible for New Line Cinema Platinum DVD releases, like Lord Of The Rings, James Bond Warner Bro DVD special Edition ,Chicago, Terminator3,Hulk etc.
Response to Keithr:
One of the problems with the high-end audio hobby, as I see it, is that we tend to pass along less-than-accurate comments that often have no objective or first-hand basis. Instead, we merely assert our own opinions or biases as fact.
In the interest of providing factual, useful information to our Audiogon readers, your comment about "who buys Bryston preamps?" needs to be addressed. Therefore, it may be helpful to our members and readers to note the following points:
A number of major recording stars with in-home studios use Bryston equipment, as do many of the major studios. Here is a partial list:
Sony Mastering Studios (New York)
Abbey Road Studios
BBC Radio and BBC TV
Capitol Records (LA, Calif)
James Newton Howard
Master Mix, Nashville, TN
Polygram Studios (New York)
IMAX Theaters (worldwide)
A more complete list can be found on the following Bryston web page: http://www.bryston.ca/newsletters/42_files/vol4is2.html
Further, a substantial majority of the hit films of the past several years have been recorded and/or mastered using Bryston equipment. (The various Bryston newsletters -- see their Web site at www.bryston.ca -- have a laundry list of these films.)
As Videohydra notes, Mi Casa Studios has recently chosen the Bryston SP-1.7 for use in mixing the DVD soundtracks for major films (see Bryston's current newsletter for more info: http://www.bryston.ca/newsletters/73_files/vol7is3.html).
One of the major audio equipment reviewers for TAS, Robert E. Greene, also owns a Bryston BP25 as his long-term reference preamp.
Last point, directed to the originator of this post: Bryston now offers an excellent, outboard video switching unit. In designing the SP-1 and the current SP-1.7, Bryston deliberately chose NOT to offer on-board video switching due to its negative effect on the audio frequencies. Their new video switching unit adds that capability.
So, in short, a LOT of people and professional recording studios use Bryston equipment. Infact, I know of no other high-end audio manufacturer whose products are more widely used or accepted than Bryston's.
You go, Sdcampbell!
Tvad (Bryston BP-25/14B SST user)
Well, that is news to me, and I appreciate the words.
I have always thought of bryston as a pioneer of ss amplification at real world pricing, but never hear much about the preamps. Seriously, doing searches here and at aa don't bring up that much on the preamp. That may be because tube preamps are the preamp du jour these days.
That said, the amount or number of recording studios using stuff has no impact on my buying decision, and shouldn
t be for others. Ears are what count...
My personal opinion regarding the topic is get a separate 2 channel preamps and work into your favorite pre/pro. And yes, the Krell HTS7.1 has a much different analog output stage than the Showcase to answer your question. Similar to the KCT preamp.