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!

All I can say is that Outlaw 990 is a solid performer that can be had for less than $400 today and is worth every penny, provided you have the space for it, for it's a huge unit.
I have one (which I use for my HT system only) and have zero complaints. It could have very well served for music duty, for it sounds very well, had I not had a dedicated stereo system in a separate room.
I have compared it with a few recent Yamaha integrated units and it was by far the better unit.
It has everything you need and then some, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
I have mine paired with an Outlaw multichannel amp.
If you are going with older units that do not support hdmi look for a aragon soundstage or stage one.. very nice analog output..but for that kind of money you could buy a used onkyo or integra that will support hdmi along with room correction software and good bass mangement
You can get an Anthem AVM20 even cheaper and the difference between that and the avm30 is an additional component out and on the AVM20 on screen menu for setup is via s-video. I've had the AVM20 for years and cannot say enough good things about it for both multichannel and 2-channel.

Moreover you can set the Anthem to auto-detect an LFE channel.

You also get separate bass management not only for each speaker channel but also by source so you can set both "music" and "movie" settings and set different crossovers for the CD input and the DVD input. The anthem also has a notch filter to help tame a bad frequency range. It works GREAT. While it is not full blown room correction it helps tame a bad frequency which every system will have. Especially in the bass it works great. You also have 2 sub and 2 center channel outputs that offer you a ton of flexibility and growth.

The anthem will even take an analog source, apply DSP bass management to it and you get all the benefits of digital processing and bass management through the analog ports!

I also use my LP on the tape inputs of the anthem. You can set the input volume levels of each analog source and you get a real-time bar showing you the input signal.

So, everyone has their preferences and you will get 5 different recommendations. They will likely all be good if not great. But if you are looking for great, granular control the Anthem is my system of choice. It does what it does extremely well with solid, quality parts, service and support.

Finally there are some dealers who still have AVM30 demo models within your price range and therefore they would still potentially be under warranty. Email me offline if you want one that I know of that has an anthem AVM30 and AVM40 for sale.

Have fun with the process. You are looking at great brands and you'll have fun no matter what you choose.

It's not obvious how to email you offline. I have a question re AVM50 v Cary 11a. I'm
I REALLY appreciate everyone's input so far - thanx for wading through my post.

Internetmin - interested in contacting you per above, but unable to locate your e-mail address?

Thank you!
My posts are not being approved any longer? What happened? I don't understand?
All there doesn't appear to be a way to email privately.

I told the moderators when my post with my email address was rejected.

Not sure why unable to email within audiogon
Internetmin - leaning towards AVM20 or AVM30 at this point due to price and availability, flexibility, etc. Only concern about the 20/30 is the s-video only output for On Screen Display (OSD) - no s-video in on my Panasonic P60ST30 60" television - possible way around this using an s-video to composite-yellow adapter (for OSD the avm20 manual says both s-video and composite-yellow and avm 30 says s-video only). Any way to use the VCR line in for the on-screen display if the vcr composite-yellow video out also flows thru the Anthem (would this create a feedback loop)? I have 2 composite-yellow video devices I would have to switch thru the anthem as only have 1 composite-yellow video-in on the TV.

Would VERY much appreciate it if you could get me info on the dealer(s) that you are aware of that may have "new demo" AVM30 units still available so I can explore that. jmwebuser at yahoo dot com Also what do you think would be a fair price for both buyer and seller on avm20 and avm30?



I'll email you on that. The Anthem faceplate has everything the OSD does. So I would not be as concerned. The anthem manual is great. I'll shoot you the other info via email.

Been using an Arcam AV-8 since new(5 years or better)
no problems works and sounds great.
AV-9's go for around 11-1200 on here and they have HDMI.
I have owned the Anthem 30. IMO it is not priced well right now. Many asking $800 still(sold mine for $800 back in 2007.

I would look for a Onkyo 886, I have seen them under $600 often lately. I owned the 886 after the Anthem and it didn't give up much at all in performance and offers a lot more in features! The AVM 20/30 is very dated IMO.

If you don't like the Carver, look at a Emotiva XPA 5, or some older B&K amps.

If you dont care about HDMI/ HD audio, and newer room correction features I would look at the B&K 50 S2 you mentioned. I have seen those as low as $350 shipped!

Hope this is helpful