The 2.0 was very very good when it came out. Now, it is almost obsolete except as a 2 channel pre amp. In my opinion, $200 is too much. The Sig 2.1 amp is still great though.
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Obsolete in what sense? lack of 7.1, DTS-HD, HDMI switching, etc? I currently have four speakers and it will be a while before I even care to buy a center channel, so basic DD and DTS will be plenty. As long as it's clean and has excellent presentation. I'm more concerned w/ delivery of music than having latest features. Video switching, etc is very nice but not a must. As mentioned, if the difference in presentation is significant b/w a surround pre and stereo pre, I'm willing to just forget surround altogether.
I've done some more research last night and am now heavily considering Sunfire Theater Grand III processor. If I can be confident that the difference in sound presentation b/w this unit and the highly regarded GFA-750 is marginal, I'll get the Sunfire. Furthermore, if the same is the case w/ the Sig 2.0, I'd be even happier.
I recall many reports of people having issues with the HK unit. You might want to run a search on hometheaterforum and audioasylum.
Shopping for a "2ch centric" home theater precessor of yesteryear is fun as hell IMO. You can get really awesome soudning stuff.
You see Meridan 561/565 come up every once in a while for well under $500. A Proceed PAV/PDSD combo went for $550 on ebay last week. Also- Angstrom stuff comes up every once in a while. The 100 is pretty basic but incredible sounding with Theta designed DACs. Lexicon Dc-1 can also be had for under $500 but I see that is a more HT centric product.
Thank you for the great suggestions! I'm not going to bid on the Sig 2.0. One of my "nice to have" requirements is a rotary volume control so I looked into your Proceed suggestion and stumbled onto the AVP unit. From first glance, their 2ch SQ is same. As for the remaining channels, if there's even marginal decrease in quality, it would likely be better than anything else I've looked at... especially at this price point.
There's an AVP-S unit listed for $800. I'm assuming that's all I'll need, but I'm not sure what the more expensive units (+6, etc) offer. What do you think is a fair price for a used AVP unit?
The AVP is very clean sounding with great dynaics and separation. May not be as detailed and transparent as I remember the PAV/PDSD combo, but way more practical. The AVP2 is a big step up as a preamp. Fantastic sounding, but all of these are pretty much obsolete with the new formats having emerged. I too considered revisiting these units, but having limited selection of surround modes would just spur the upgrade bug.
AVP2 (incl +6) is a bit more than I want to spend right now. And as mentioned, I'm just looking for basic surround. I have a GFA-5200 waiting for the rear set-up and it'll be a while before I drop more money for the center channel driver and amplification. The original AVP seems to be just right in many regards. Thank you for the feedback!
Robr45 -- you're definitely right... there's plenty of equipment to be had for a good value. I'll just have to wait and see if a pre-pro can match stereo abilities of a dedicated pre.
If you are in the $800 range, my choice hands down is the Anthem AVM-2. Amazing sound and quality. Very nice remote. I like the sound much better than the "sterile" sound of the AVP2.
Either one will blow away the 2.1 WHICH IS OBSOLETE. Nice DACs, lots of digital and balance inputs/outputs, good on screen displays.