Best Processor Choice...

I'm soliciting opinions. I'm looking for a new (or used) processor. So far, I've begun narrowing the list to a Cary Cinema Six or Meridian 568 (v.1). As you might guess, my budget comes in at around $2,000 to $2,500 hence the v.1 Meridian.

My pro/con list boils down to: Cary is more current having enough analog inputs for DVD-A and SACD (which I do not currently have), but has less experience in digital/solid state world and may not support product long term (no upgrade path, software, etc.). Meridian has Trifield as a standout item, the company knows digital, has additional THX foo-faw for HT but I'd be looking at a used/older model that can't support DVD-A/SACD (except from Meridian player).

I've listened to the Meridian...mmmmm, tasty. I have not listened to the Cary (my local dealer only stocks tooobs) but the limited reviews suggests the Cary possesses the musical qualities I'm interested in.

The Rotel 1068 is still in the hunt but running third (although it is more attractively priced). I've listened to and eliminated Anthem, B&K and Sunfire from the list. All that said, I'd be interested in hearing opinions on:

* Other processors to consider (in roughly $2K price range)
* Benefits of either the Cary, Meridian or Rotel
* Deteriments of any of these
* Individual experience (especially with the Cary)
* And, anything else you'd like to throw in.

For the curious, I'm running a Rotel 1095 five channel amp (320 watts into 4 ohms) and five (4 ohm) near-field monitors. I'm in a small to mid-size room (13x15x9), have a wide range of musical taste and honestly listen to about 65/35 HT/Music, but lie to myself that it is more like 45/55. :) My system runs slightly bright (mostly from a weak bottom end) and is very detailed and precise. I'm hoping to calm the sizzle a bit without losing the detail (Yes, a new sub might help, but it is lower on the "I want" list). I took the Sunfire off my list because it was too "sludgy" and the Anthem because it was bright.... sterile (at least for my taste).

So, there it is.....I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Thanks.


PS: Sorry for the length of the post, but I wanted to answer as many of the stock questions/responses as possible.
Obviously, critical listening between the three is the way to go. But, for my money, I would get the RSP-1068. I own an RSP-1066, and when I do upgrade, it will either be to a 1068 (as an intermediate step), or more likely to a "final stop" pre/pro, like the Krell HTS 7.1 or EAD Theatermaster 8800 Pro. Of course, if Theta Digital ever comes out with a redesigned Casanova, that would probably make my short list, too.

I'm sure that you've read all the positive reviews of the RSP-1068. It tends to get compared to units costing two or more times its price, and so far, it has fared very well against even these more expensive units.

Please note, though, that I have not heard the Cary or Meridian products. They are not readily available for audition in my neck of the woods. I am sure that they are worthy contenders, though.

Good luck, Tom.

I own a Meridian 568 and all I can say is, it's the most beautiful sound I've ever heard from a processor. Definately in another league than the Rotel - I don't know the Cary product at all. I strongly suggest you audition one if you can - it'll make a believer out of you. Many agree also that, once you've heard Trifield, you won't go back. (I listen to CD's most frequently in Trifield).

Meridian is da bomb to quote a familiar friend. Rotel is my amp currently with a meridian pre/pro. I feel the meridian is in another class really. Cary is great but still out classed. Now, Krell and Theta are good to compare against. Additionally, the .1 is all you need unless you have a very complicated 7.1 system and plan on using a meridian 598 dvd player.

Thanks for the comments, guys.