I helped you with one of the 7.1's. Now you want more!
Mayby a RA CD50. Also you might grab a CD55 if you're really lucky or a EMC-1 I. Probably more like sub 2k.
The Lexicon MC-1's are selling at 2K and are tons better than the DC-1's. The DC-2's are in your range. Look for a verson 4.0 software with the DTS feature.
Here's what I'd do, for what it's worth. The Cambridge should make a very good transport, so I'd recommend an Electronic Visionary Systems Millennium DAC II($1050, www.tweakaudio.com) that will be very tough to match for any used $1k CDP. You can try it for 30 days and if it doesn't blow you away just return it.
Since music is the priority in this system I'd get an Adcom GFA-750 that has a Home Theater pass-through feature that will allow it to blend seamlessly with your pre/pro. This way you can use your current pre/pro for surround processing, but for more critical 2-channel listening the 750 is the only preamp in the system. Any used pre/pro you pick up will likely not have the latest processing capabilities and will certainly not match the 750's performance in stereo.
So this way you get all new equipment(I'm pretty leary of buying used CDPs especially) with true high-end 2-channel performance, and you can continue to use your current equipment and don't have to worry about selling it. Anyway, that's what I'd do. Hope this was helpful and best of luck.
Any interest in SACD? Might get a used 777 in your range, or think about a new multi-channel player since you have an integrated system. I don't think you'll improve the 760 much for 1-1.5k for a pre/pro, but could with a separate 2-ch pre integrated with the 760. Might do better dropping down (in price) to the new Outlaw 950 for $900, and put the rest in the front end or 2-ch pre.
Since Soix brought it up, Here's another question I have. Is the music capabilities of a fairly good pre/proc up to par with the sonic capabilitirs of a straight pre-amp? Does a Lexicon DC-2 equal an Adcom GFP-750 in music?
In answer to your question...NO. I had the opportunity to compare a DC-1 with a couple other pre/pros that I would not put in the same league sonically as the GFP-750, and the DC-1 unanymously came in dead last even in that comparison(it was a blind test by the way). If you're serious about 2-channel do not get the DC(does anyone know if the DC-2 digitizes all analog inputs like the DC-1?).
Basically with a pre/pro you're sending a very delicate, low-level signal through an electronic obstacle course that is very difficult to shield the signal from(I'm not sure but my guess is that in general the power supplies are better and less strained in a good stereo preamp than in a pre/pro, which if true would also make a big difference in performance). There are some pre/pros in the $6k realm I've heard that do a respectable job for stereo listening, but nothing in your price range is going to come close to the performance of a preamp at the level of the GFP-750, at least in my experience. In my opinion(again, for what it's worth) the preamp is too crucial to the performance of a system to make a compromise here. If you can accomodate another box in your system I strongly recommend you at least try a good stereo preamp with an HT pass-through in your system. Best of luck.
I DEFINATELY do NOT want to compromise 2 ch. performance so there is absolutely room for another box in my system. I haven't really been exposed to this way of going about it, but it seems to be an excellent way to go (pre/proc. and a seperate 2 channel pre-amp) Do I need to look for something in particular when shopping for the stereo pre? I'm assuming I need something called HT pass-through. Anything else to look for? Any problems with going this route? What are good pre-amps to look for with this feature?
My cdp has already been sold so I won't be able to use it as a transport; I therefore still need a new one. Anyone know of any really good synergies out there between:
X-cdp, X-pre-amp(with HT pass-through) and my Citation amps?
ANY pre-amp will work ... the HT pass-thru or processor input just makes it more convenient (you don't have to return the preamp volume setting to the "reference/calibrated" setting). If music is 90% of the use, this may not be a big deal for you, and will keep the field wide-open.
How do I hook up a pre/proc to a 2 channel pre-amp? I'm assuming that I should hook up my music cd-player to the pre-amp and my DVD player to the pre/proc(yes?,no?, maybe?) Do I then use any particular imput jacks on the back of the pre-amp to hook the pre/proc into? Probably dumd questions but I'm clueless and I surely don't want to be plugging stuff into places it shouldn't be plugged into and blowing up my system
Your digital or video sources are connected to the prepro, analog sources (including DAC outputs from digital sources)to the 2ch pre. The amp (or amp channels) feeding the L/R mains are fed from the main-outs of the 2ch pre, the amp/channels feeding center and surround speakers are fed by the outputs on the prepro. If the 2ch pre has a processor loop, you'd hook up the L/R main-outs from the prepro to those preamp inputs and simply select that source when viewing sources connected to the prepro. Selecting this processor source bypasses all the pre's circuitry including the volume control. If you do not have a processor loop/input, you can use the tape loop input. However, this means the 2ch pre's volume control is still in the circuit as well, so to maintain correct calibration of the multi-channel setup, you must pick a convenient volume setting on the 2ch pre (say top dead center), and do your calibration and then all subsequent viewing/listening thru the prepro at this same 2ch pre volume setting. Make sense? There's a thread originated by Thomas in Preamps/amps entitled "Well, another preamp/HT integration question ..." you may want to read. Good luck!
Inscrutable; many thanks for a very clear explaination, I think this will be a great way for me to go.
Any suggestions/recommendations for a quality pre-amp in the (used) $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 range?
Sorry if I'm being repetitive here, but the Adcom GFA-750 is widely considered to be an outstanding stereo preamp and it offers an HT pass-through. Very dynamic and transparent. Unless you're looking for tubes I think this one will be tough to beat, and you can get one new for a street price of around $1200(used for around $750 although I wouldn't recommend it) and not have to worry about buying a used preamp. Plus you can probably demo it in your system to see if it works for you before you buy it.
Also in the solid state realm is the McCormack RLD-1 which also has the pass-through feature and is a little more tube-like than the GFA-750. Levinson/Proceed offers a pass-through but I don't know if you could hit your price target even with a used unit. Without the pass-through I'd consider something used from Pass Labs or maybe the Musical Fidelity A3CR.
On the tube side you can find stereo preamps with pass-throughs from Sonic Frontiers, Rogue, BAT, Audio Research, Conrad-Johnson, PSE, VAC, and probably a few others. My top recommendation would be the Adcom for performance, value, and ease of use in an HT application. Hope this helps and best of luck.
Tim(the other Tim)