The Classe SSP 75 and the McIntosh MX132 are both excellent and have similar tonal qualities. Their DACs are fantastic too. I will go with one of these (probably the Mc for its cool look as an added bonus) when I go with HT. Good luck -
One you may want to consider is the Anthem AVM20 v2. This piece is very upgradable and has every connection you could want (including XLR inputs for 2 channel and XLR outputs for all channels), making it very flexible. The 2 channel performance is stellar for a SS preamp and also allows for direct bypass of all converters and bass management. The component video switching is tops in the industry allowing 1080p bandwidth. What made me jump on the AVM20 v2 was the price at $3400 new. This unit can be had for under $3000 saving money for all the cables and other components.
New Lexicon MC-8 should best everything mentioned so far.
YOu know if you're cd player(or source for music) has better dacs than your pre/pro's your considering. You might stick with the budget Classe SSP30(sonically superb for HT at the very least, plus music), and loop through a higher quality 2 channel tube preamp or something for your 2 ch dubties!! You won't surpas the sound if you're doing digital pre/pro's for your music as well! Although every situation might be a tad different, depending on variables, I think the way you're doing it now is good! You might just upgrade your pieces to better pre/pro and 2 ch pre!
I don't get into the Lexicons myself. I've sold Lex since 1997. Every year they come out with another "digital sounding", unrefined, "non-audiophile" piece! It's always sonically little better than the preamp sections of most receivers I've come across!...sterile at best.
Now maybe I'm pounding the "gadget-marketed", "surround mode oriented" Lexicons a bit much. But I've always been WWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAY dissapointed in the sound from those EXPENSIVE units! Now the MC12 is like 8 bagillion dollars or something. And I get better sound from a Classe SSP25(old) and 2 channel high end preamp(for light years less) than the MC12!!!!
Ok, so I have my beef's with Lexicons
While I've not heard the anthem, I would hope it would sound good. If you can find an excellent, audiophile sounding digital pre/pro for movies, I think you shouldn't loose with a better 2 ch pre for music. It's going to likely end up being cheaper, and get maximum results for both! Let us know how it works, and if you're happy with the sound either way. As, of course, there may be variables I've not considered, and better choices!..I'd be interested in finding out if so..
I own a Theta Cassanova and am thrilled with its performance.Its forte is its musicality making it ideal for 2 ch. and HT duties. Theta also has an aggressive program for updates.According to Theta their will be a new software driven processor card available in mid 2003 that will encompass sacd,dvd audio.They are waiting for the chip to digitize sacd. They say you will be able to receive software updates via internet with this new card.
anybody have any experience with the new audio refinement processor? retails for something like 1400
Im looking at the Bryston SP 1.7 and Anthem AVM20. In fact im going to audition both side by side on monday. The main reason im interested in these units is the analog bypass mode. This bypasses all the HT processing within each unit making a solid 2ch preamp.
The Anthem has internal high bandwidth video switching and VERY flexible crossover settings for each speaker. A huge +
The Bryston is "supposed" to have a higher emphasis on the 2ch analog mode equal to the bryston BP-25 2ch preamp. Although lacking video switching and crossover flexibility. Including the SPV-1 video switcher the Bryston path will set you back atleast $2000.00 more USD. Is that warranty (20 years) worth it?
Can anyone else add anything to this thread?
I'm very curious about your results. Living in Maine, doing an A-B is impossible for me. I'm more interested in the musicality of each unit. Let us know what you think. Thanks.
If you want the best sound for your 2 channel, you can use the Adcom GFP-750, which is about as clean as you will ever get and loop through for the surrounds. Adcom has some newer surround systems that are coming out I am anxious to hear. The engineers bought out the company, apparently, and are back to building the way they used to be. They don't have specs yet on their new GTP-880, which is going to be their new flagship, but it looks promising.
Well my result was inconclusive. Due to time contraints I wasnt able to audition each with the same amp. The Bryston was on a 4B SST running B&W n803's. We then moved the n803's over to the Anthem AVM20. Although the cd player was identical, the Anthem MCA 20 amplifier is not in the same class as the Bryston 4B SST. The Byston was clearly more resolved sounding through the upper mids and highs.
Im going back to audition each using identical amps on Friday. I will post my findings then.
Well... I wasnt able to A/B both units on the Bryston amp. However, I will say that using the Anthem AVM 20 with the Bryston amp produced clean and resolved upper mids - highs. Much like my experience with the Bryston SP 1.7 using the same amp. It seems the differences I heard during my first audition were the differences between the two amps.
Picasso: I cannot define for you the "musicality" of each unit. I was listening for specific results within specific songs which, in my current setup, annoyed me. Both are more detailed yet refined (smooth) through the upper mids and highs when compared to my Yamaha RX-V1 as a preamp. Although the speakers I auditioned with are identical to the speakers I have at home, I cannot comment on the base. In my experience this is one area that a B&W N803 changes most during the break-in process. The speakers at the dealer were nearly new and (from my experience) not broken enough (30 - 50 hours moderate usage) to get a definitive understanding lower frequency differences between each processor.
In the end I am choosing the Anthem because of its feature list over the Bryston. It has 10 balanced outs and crossover frequency adjustements (5hz increments) from 25hz up (Bryston is 60hz). Balanced 2ch analog inputs.
It also has on-board high bandwidth video switching which the bryston lacks, although video switching wasnt very important to me.
You should seriously consider the Meridian processors.The new 861 V3 is superb but very expensive, but you can find used 561 or 565? for a resonable price.Terrific sounding units.
Personally, I don't think either of the units you are considering for 'new' are even in the same leage as the Classe.
You might also want to consider a used Theta Casanova. Great sound and wonderful bass management - probably one of the most flexible out there. Also makes a great 2 channel preamp for music.
Bpape--Don't disagree, I am really leaning towards finding a used Classe and in fact am discussing one as we speak. I had the B&K in for an in home demo and while the HT piece was fine the 2-channel pre-amp fell FAR FAR short of the Classe CP-60 pre amp. Appreciate you taking the time to comment. If I can't work something out with the Classe. I'll check out the Theta.
I have a very fine 2 channel system....and recently added a EAD Theatermaster 8000pro for 5 channel. Very impressive component in terms of build and sound!!! I'd add this to your list.
The EAD was the other piece on my short list. I just didn't care for the ergonomics. The sound was great.
Appreciate all of the inputs. Listened to the B&K Ref 30 and while its a solid unit, (very solid for the price) it's come down to the Classe SSP75 and the Cal Audio 2500. Likely I'll go with the Cal and if it doesn't work out I'll post in onto Audiogon and seach out the Classe.
For what its worth I ended up with the Cal 2500. It's to bad these guys went out of business because the piece is simply awesome. The unfortunate part is that I now need to find a complimentary 5 channel amp. That can wait as the B&K amp is working just fine for now. Appreciated all the feedback generated previously. Thanks