Help selecting used 7.1 Pre/Pro
If you are willing to wade through this diatribe, and have insight, would VERY MUCH appreciate your thoughts on my situation! Heart of the matter: Will my system sounds as good as or better than the yammie alone did if I go with the Sunfire or Outlaw or one of the others mentioned below? See details below for the rest of the system and my needs. Thanx!
So the DSP board on my Yamaha DSP-A1 integrated home theater amp (5 channels x 100w) went out and cannot be fixed. (I bought this integrated av-amp thru Audiogon in approx. 2001) It was a reasonable performer - not anything close to top end, but definitely passable - clean sound, decent imaging, pre-outs/ins so I could run the external Mirage LFX-3 crossover and direct/control the crossover/low frequency to my twin Mirage BPSS-210 subwoofers and have the Yammie internal amps handle 63Hz and above driving my Boston Acoustics T1030 mains, 80hz and above Boston Acoustics 525v center, and (not fabulous sounding but they pass the spouse and space tests) Boston Acoustics VRS dipole surround speakers. I liked a few of the Yammie's DSP settings for movies (such as 70mm spectacle or SciFi or 70mm adventure and such), but much preferred the unadulterated 2 channel approach for music (except for the Carver c-9 sonic holography unit I had in-line after the external crossover - love the expanded soundstage and imaging the C-9 provides even if it adds an ever so slight bit of background hiss (but only detectable in the quietest passages, if at all - perhaps I just ignored it since I liked the effect so much). I also liked that on the Yammie I could direct the LFE channel to the mains (which would be handled by the Mirage subs) given the non-existent bass management the Yammie provided. Do not have to have the DSP functionality going forward even if it did spice it up a bit.
I have decided to go separates so that in the future when some IC chip goes out on the processor I am not having to replace amps as well - plus separates generally sound better. Budget basically requires that I go with used gear (I am a stay-at-home dad, so have to ask the wife for assistance with the funding). I would LOVE really high end gear, but budget, life circumstance (6 year old running around), and debt-free life-style trump the inner audiophile.
To that end, I just picked up a cherry Carver AV-705x 125watts x 5 channel THX amp for $300 shipped (hope I did not pay too much!). I expect this amp will sound as good as or better than the yammie (hopefully not too bright - have my fingers crossed because I am not able to listen to this stuff, but it seems from the reviews I have read to be decent. I know it is not a Bob Carver design...)
So now I need a Pre/Pro. Want good bass management (ideally individual crossover points for each channel). For ease of use by the family, all video related audio goes from the 60" Panasonic 3D Plasma TV optical to the Pre/Pro so do not have to have powerhouse video switching. Due to limitations on # of TV connections, will probably run VCR composite video thru pre/pro for the 1x month or less we watch some foreign film or whatever from the VHS collection) - and the monitor out for the on screen display to one of the video ins of the VCR. Coax digital from the Adcom 5-CD carousel. Phono for the Bang & Olufsen turntable that gets occasional use. BluRay and game consoles connect to the TV, then TV to pre/pro as mentioned above.
So I am thinking about (all used) a Sunfire Theater Grand III or IV (prefer 4 because newer) or an Outlaw 990, or possibly an Anthem AVR30 (but no phono) or B&K Reference 50 Series 2 (but no phono). The NAD gear looks to be a bit rich for me (but no phono), and not as flexible on the bass management. Arcam is appealing as well but no phono and not as flexible on bass management, from what I can tell.
Will my system sounds as good as or better than the yammie alone if I go with the Sunfire or Outlaw? I absolutely do NOT have to have the absolute best, but I do have a very good ear and at least want it to sound as good as or preferably better than the yammie did (although I know and am able to hear that both the yammie and this new system will not sound as good as the higher end stuff out there, I am perfectly content to live within the limits that my budget and lifestyle choices dictate). Also, what would be a reasonable price to pay for the Sunfire IV or other options mentioned above? (I have aline on a Sunfire Theater Grand IV for about $800 - is this reasonable? Also, $800 is about the top end of the budget for a used pre-pro)
Incidentally, I intend to continue to use the external Mirage LFX 3 crossover/subs for the mains - just love those amazingly clean and deep subs so much, and the flexibility the crossover gives me. Plus I could direct the LFE sub out to the unused input on the LFX-3 (it has Left Right and Center inputs) so I would have the best of both worlds for 2 channel bass management AND full LFE effects. Or I could just use the Def Tech Super Cube II 8" sub for LFE only for movies and keep the 2 Mirages for subs for the mains and 2 channel - so many options! (and yes, I am a bass nut...)
Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanx again!