Good choices in a used A/V pre-amp?

I'm slowly re-building a home theater. My amplification is about the only thing set -- a B&K TX4430 (200w x 3) for the fronts, and a B&K EX442 (200w x 2) for the rears.

Now I need a DTS pre-amp, and I don't feel any need for 7.1 (or should I?). I'd like to try to stay around $500 or under, hence going used. I haven't made any firm decisions in the speakers I'll be driving, a project for another day. This is a home theater system only -- no music listening. I'm re-building because I'd broken up my rig long ago for a dedicated 2-channel high end system for another room.

Is my $500 price point enough for a used a/v pre-amp? What are some key features I should look for? Brands and models?

IMHO, a B&K Reference 20 would be a nice fit at that price point, or for just a few bucks more. It would blend very nicely with your amps. It really is a very nice prepro that sold for $2,500.00 just a few years back. Good Luck, Mike.
There are few better dedicated home theater preamp/processors on the planet at any price, but certainly in the $450 - $650 range, better than a Lexicon DC-1 with v2.1 or better (DTS,DD,Logic7, THX). Remember, this unit did retail for about $5,495 just a few years ago!
Gotta love $0.10 on the dollar!

This unit can NOT be beat, it is the hands down, best processor around. Some of the best theater steering around, and with sides and back speaker options, you will be covered for a very long time. One caveat, these units have 2 COAX and 2 OPTICAL digital ins (several analog sets) just one of the few gripes about these units since day one.

Check it out!

The Angstrom 200. I just picked up a second unit for $300. For DTS, pro logic, simple matrix, IMO it outperforms just about every other processor I've heard including all the big money units. Exceptional for music as well. For the formats listed above, I prefer it to my Lexicon MC 12B.
Madhf -

The Angstrom 200 smokes in 2 channel, doesn't it? Fabulous unit for a combo HT and 2 channel. So you got a 200 with DTS, nice. Not all had DTS. Did you get the 205, additional unit that decodes DD? Those are VERY difficult to locate.

Let's not forget the Harman-Kardon Signature 2.0 - I've seen 'em here and on FleaBay for $250-300. Lot of bang for the buck...

I'd second the Lexicon DC-1 - absolutely wonderful on movies. No analog pass-thru for a pure audio signal on 2-channel music, but nice sounding nonetheless, and it does "surround" sound from 2-channel sources as well or better than anything on the market. User friendly, at least considering it's age, too.

In responsze to your question on 7.1, I highly recommend auditioning a properly set up 7.1 system before finalizing any decisions.

In my own case, when I expanded from 5.1 to 7.1 I found a significant improvement in surround envelopment, so much so that I'll never be satisfied with 5.1 again.

The Lexicons recommended above will give you the ability to generate 7.1 outputs from any source. An alternative that is now coming into more widespread use is DPLIIx.

Good stuff. Gives me a short list to work with. The 7.1 vs 5.1 argument is worth further consideration, too.

How picky do I need to be for sub-woofers for a relatively small room (~11' x 20' with the listening position forced to be in the long part of the rectangular room, ~10' from the front speakers)? Was thinking a Sunfire Jr or an HSU. Again, this is not my music-listening system, so I don't need to find something that serves both needs. What would you all recommend I put on the short list for a subwoofer?
Another vote for the Lexicon DC-1. With Logic 7 processing, it was designed for 7.1. DTS capable as well as Dolby Digital. One of the easiest processors to program on top of that. I still know of one that was installed in a million dollar theater(I'm not joking) in Mendocino that is only now slated for upgrade.
I neglected to mention that I obtained my DC-1 v2.1(DTS,DD,THX,Logic7) for only $500. This is an absolute bargain by any standard of measurement.
I actually have 3 Angstroms--2 w/dts and the 205 and one just pro logic. Moffit was way ahead of his time. Too bad MML had to close; who knows what he would have come up with!
I use on of the Angstroms in my main system sharing time with the Lexicon MC-12B. The other is for the second system. I'll save the third one for parts, etc. I do not use the 205 at the moment; it's kind of a pain in the butt to set up and use. I just use the Angstrom for dts and matrix (mostly for sacd 2 channel-the lexicon won't process the 2 channel in surround). IMO this pre-pro performs with the best of them at about any price. By the way, there's a 200/205 combo for sale on this site for $895; alittle pricey but still worth it. When I see a good deal on the 100, I'll get it for DD.


The 200 is that good, certainly. I love it. Agreed, $895 is too much, though if someone is willing..............

I would spend about $500 for the pair, DELIVERED! And would do so happily. Until then, the Golden Theater GTX-1 is the best 2 channel/processor all in one for 2 channel alone!

With regards to the Lexicon, can someone give me a primer on the "versions?" Thanks.

Best way to learn about Lexicons is to go