HT and 2-channel music setup - New Ideas?

I have a Thiel CS2.4 as main front speakers, CS1.6 rear surround speakers, MCS1 as center and SS1 as subwoofer. Thinking of using Pass Labs X5 as amplifier. I have the following options for pre amp:
Bryston SP1.7
Simaudio Stargate
EAD Threatermaster 8800pro
I am into serious HT and 2-channel music. Any experience with the above?
I prefer the EAD Theatermaster pro over the Bryston. I've done a/b comparisons. There was a pretty nasty thread comparing the two a while back. I'd recommend you get a listen to both. Haven't heard the Simaudio so I can't say anything about it.

Harry, thanks for your comment.
Do you think the Pass labs , EAD 8800pro and Thiel speakers will be a good choice? What's about McIntosh C45 and MC252?
Can I please urge you to check out the Theta Dreadnaught Amp?

I Have Thiel 2.3 and an MCS1 center as well and I just purchased the Theta (here on Agon!) and it is really, really NICE!). Not to mention it is the most beautiful amp I've ever seen (I know its not important....but it is!).

I started looking at Theta because I noticed so many others doing the same and saying that they worked well together. Then I found out that Theta uses Thiel in their demo systems...The rest is history! In fact I was so impressed with Theta, that I also purchased a Casablanca and a Miles CD player (yes I bought those on this site as well!)
I love the EAD, because in my experience, nothing is as good at both 2-ch and HT. Many of the high-end pre/processors usually do the HT great, but have a skinpy 2-ch. delivery. Given that I (and most people, I assume) listen to much more music than movies, the 2-ch. reproduction is very important, and EAD delivers on it.

The system is also very user friendly and remarkably adjustable and agile. Having gone through numerous pre/pro's over the last ten years (including Fosgate, Acurus, Aragon, Parasound), since I found the EAD 3 years ago, I know I would never go back.
Harry again failed to mention that he only uses the EAD for HT. It sounds to me like you want a processor for double duty (HT and 2 channel). Though, ultimately listening to both is the best advice.

Here is link to the thread in which I posted opinion after A/B'ing the Bryston and EAD.

I dont know the Sim very well, so I wont comment, though it is well respected.

It wasnt that nasty, sometimes you just have to stick up for a product, especially one that you like. Bad advice is bad advice and I call 'em like I see 'em.
I will chime in for the Sim Attraction (5.1 version only). excellent 2-ch and a low noise floor when run balanced (I also used a Theta Dreadnaught as well- superb HT amp). The EAD 8800 Pro may be a step up though. Some of the EAD's use a special Arlon board, and btw, the Attraction uses EAD digital internals. Re: Stargate- better features; but the Attraction is the winner on sound quality (I know someone who has compared both).
Distortion et al:

Sorry i "failed" to remind everyone that I use my AV processor primarily for AV processing and not 2 channel listening.

It is true that I isolate my two channel path so that it doesn't travel through the AV processor when I'm listening to stereo. I can explain how to do this very simply if anyone has interest in it.

But I did test the Bryston vs. the EAD in 2 channel and stereo mode when I had them both together. To my ears, the EAD is superior. In fact, even though I don't use it in this manner, the sonic superiority is more apparent in 2 channel mode, since pcm stereo is a purer, uncompressed source than DVD anyway.

I'd probably take an EAD, Theta, or Meridian over the Bryston, even though I still view the Bryston as a pretty good pre-pro.

Thank you, guys. Having heard all the wonderful comments I'm going for the EAD.

Nice choice. If I can help you with setup or problems, don't hesitate to contact me at

Thank you, Harry