Best pre/pro for under 3K?

Any thoughts on a good preamp processor with flexible bass management to run with Rotel or possibly Adcom amps?
I think the B&K Ref 30 (MSRP around $2,800) needs to be on your short list. I would hold off on buying one right now, though. Currently it does not have the hardware to process DD EX and DTS ES. It only has Surround EX which is a matrixed version of 5.1--not the better descrete versions. I'm waiting for the hardware upgrade before buying one myself. I currently have their older 3090 and have been very happy with it. Good luck.
Correction...Surround EX is a matrixed version of 6.1.
Used? New? you can do alot of damage for $3K used. See recent threads in H/T: "best 5.1. . ." and "best stand alone. .." The Theta CasaNova specifically has a very nice, fully customizable bass mngmt. system. Can get one of these for less than $3K easy used. Excellent performance-Plus software and hardware upgradable. Also agree the B&K is worth a look.
If you really intend to use the "pre" functions as well as the "pro" functions, you must put the Bryston SP-1 near the top of your list. It can purchased at discount for about $2800 (contact me for more info). It has separate analog and digital circuits (the only pre/pro I know of where this is true), and is built with Bryston's usual excellence (and 20-year transferrable warranty). If you want to spend a lot less, I'd recommend the Adcom GTP-760. I have recently spent a lot of time listening to this unit, and I was VERY impressed with it. It can be purchased discounted for about $1350 (again, contact me for info). At a price of $1350, the GTP-760 is MUCH better than it has a right to be. There is a review of the GTP-760 by Anthony Cordesman in "The Perfect Vision" (current issue, I think).
I wanted to confirm that the review of the Adcom GTP-760 (by Anthony Cordesman) I mentioned in my last post can be found in Issue 35 of "The Perfect Vision". If you are seriously interested in the 760, you'll want to read the whole article. Cordesman, however, wrote a very positive review. Here's a few excerpted remarks: "Behind its front panel, the 760 is a far better product than its predecessors...It has warmth, depth, and good harmonic integrity. Unlike most of its competition, it is not lean or hard and it does not over-emphasize the upper mid-range....I found all 3 Dolby modes to work well an to sound considerably better than they o with most A/V controllers in the 760's price range ($1800)....Guess what: you don't get $10K sound quality for $1800...However, the 760 did very well even on extremely demanding soundtracks....Low-level detail and ambience was quite good, and there is a good feeling of space with properly set-up speakers. Dynamic contrasts were both exciting and natural, and truly exciting dynamics came through clearly, while many units in this price range soften or compress them a bit...At the same time, there was a nice sense of nuance. Subtler and slower changes in volume were handled well in all five channels...." Cordesman's comments pretty well summarize my own impressions of the 760 -- it's a lot of pre/pro at MSRP, and at its discounted price around $1350 it's a hell of a buy!!
Sd, what does it sound like in two channel though ? Unfortunatly, i don't have access to the review mentioned. Sean
Used the Aragon Soundstage.The sleeper of the whole Bunch.Analog bypass,volume control in the analog domain,6;1 inputs,full bass management in HT and stereo,down to 30hz,Class A operation in and out,
modular design,fully upgradable,ect.Best part; it beats the pants off of some very expensive pre/pros.
Is there a good review of the Aragon Soundstage out there--aside from the one that you can get off their website?
Here's another option. Pick up a high-quality stereo preamp with a pre/pro pass through(this allows you to use the stereo preamp for 2-channel listening but seemlessly use another pre/pro or receiver with preamp outs for surround stuff). This will benefit in 2 major ways: 1) For critical 2-channel listening your signal won't be passing through all the electronic hoopla contained in a pre/pro and 2) With the introduction of DVD-A and SACD pre/pros may have to change once standards are set(i.e. digital connection, surround formats, etc.), so you may want to use what you have now or buy one of the cheap Marantz/Denon A/V receivers with preamp outs to hold you over till the dust settles. This way you can wait out the format wars but be assured you have the highest quality 2-channel performance in the meantime and going forward. Some stereo preamps offering HT passthroughs are: Adcom GFA750, McCormack RLD1, Sonic Frontiers(tubes), Rogue(tubes). If you really care about critical 2-channel listening and are worried about future compatibility issues with the new formats I think this is absolutely the best way to go, for what it's worth. Best of luck.