HT bypass with Proceed PAV

I really like the sound of my Proceed PAV/PDSD pre/pro for 2.1 and 5.1, but would like the HDMI and DRC offered by modern processors. As far as I know, the PAV has no HT bypass capability. Does anyone know of a fix that would permit a modern processor to control the volume when the PAV is used for analog stereo? Would the PAV XLR input to the new processor or the processor to the PAV?

Ag insider logo xs@2xdbphd
you can use any of the analog inputs on the PAV, and plug your pre/pro main outs into that input. When you calibrate your HT, just pick a baseline volume setting for the PAV and any time you go to HT mode, select that input on the PAV and set the PAV volume at the baseline setting (eg., 75). Away you go . . .

btw . . . I agree the PAV is a great 2 channel preamp. Interestingly - it beats the hell out of the Proceed Pre - which was their 2 channel preamp that came out on that platform.

It hadn't occurred to me that you might be able to control the level of the output of the PAV by controlling the level of the signal input to it. I had assumed preamps have a fairly limited range of acceptable input levels, but that assumption may be incorrect. Does varying input level over the range needed for volume control lead to distortion?

Just to be clear, in the setup proposed by Bdgregory the PAV would drive the amps for the main LR speakers and the HT processor would drive the amps for the center and surround speakers. Is that correct? The Velodyne SMS-1 and HGS-15 could be driven by either.

Personally, honestly, I say it's time to DTB!!!
I say that Proceed is wwaaaaaaaaaay outdated...obsolete...archeic like, ya know...
Basically, you're holding onto the PAV for it's 2 channel prowes. And, honestly, there are a bout a million dedicated 2 channel preamp choices out there on the used market alone, which are far supperior overall to your PAV!
Now I'm not saying it's not a good sounding piece - just that it's not some special sounding 2 ch piece on it's own, that's some highly desired piece on the market, to be true...destroying all comers in the analog world, basically. I mean let's be realistic.
Yes, I say it's time to move on, move up, and clean out your equipment rack. After all, it's all for sale eventually. And that piece's time has come, I say. But hey, that's just me. That's the way of AV equipement. None of it lasts forever, nor was it designed to...
I say 21st century pre-pro for you, and darn near world class 2 ch analog dedicated pre for the stereo = logical way to go for you, plus best of both worlds.

I'm aware that although the PAV was A-rated much of the cost went into what was at the time SOTA video processing, and that as a preamp alone the PAV would be rated a high B. But, of course, it wasn't a preamp alone.

A strong argument for separates is that amp technology changes slowly if at all whereas processor technology changes rapidly. The same argument can be made for separating the preamp from the processor.

It would be more helpful to suggest "near world class" analog preamps with HT bypass than rant about the vintage PAV. The least expensive Stereophile A-rated preamp is the Parasound Halo JC at $4K, but no mention about HT bypass. Anyone know if it has HT bypass?

The guru at the local high-end shop tells me I have to step up to the Classe SSP 800 to match the sound of the PAV/PDSD if I want a modern processor, but I think a fine preamp coupled with something like an Anthem D2 might be a better solution for me.

Does varying input level over the range needed for volume control lead to distortion?
no distortion. You're simply using a different volume control.

Just to be clear, in the setup proposed by Bdgregory the PAV would drive the amps for the main LR speakers and the HT processor would drive the amps for the center and surround speakers. Is that correct? The Velodyne SMS-1 and HGS-15 could be driven by either.
that's correct, except for the sub. The PAV doesn't have an analog sub input, so use your pre/pro to drive the sub, use the PAV only for the Main L/R.

In my limited experience, you're not likely to find a SOTA 2 channel preamp that has remote control and will best the PAV without spending a good deal more than the worth of the PAV. I did use my PAV this way for a short time as an experiment because I like it so much for 2 channel. I ended up going back to the TAD 150 Signature I'm using now, but the TAD sells used for more than twice what a PAV sells for.
Dbphd, just to reinforce here, I am presuming here that you would like to stay all high/higher end gear, from your comments and suggestions? That said, maybe we can clarify a few points that were touched on.
First, it's all subjective, of course, and everyone goes differnt directions on this stuff. So there's no one answer for all, or we would all end up with the same systems! And it's certainly quite the opposite in my experience.
Ok, One, the PAV's Video cirquitry (although likely great years ago) is way outdated, and much much better can be had now for pennies on the dollar-even from cheapo av receivers on the market - from compared to what you're PAV cost! Am I right here? I'm pretty sure here. Two, the PAV being rated as Stereophile class A is going to be as a standalone AV process, compared to others at the time - best of class. That's about right for what it was. But as far as being "Class B" rated for analog preamp, I would stronly have to differ! My two decades in and around the high end av business suggests that that Proceed would not legitimately belong in Class B Stereophile's ranking, IMO. Great as an AV piece, with good refinement for what it is, but not as good as the dedicated analog stuff. I'm gunna take most any Class B rated Audio Research, Bel Canto, Krell, Pass Lab's, Copeland, Cary, whatever 2 channel pre rated Class B over your Proceed for 2 channel dubties, I'm quite cetain.
But really, honestly, putting so much legitimacy on ANY mag's ranking system has to be taken without much weight, really. I mean bottom line is they're all "selling soap"! Agenda's and incentives will dictate a lot of that. It's always been that way. Products get rated Class A, then drop to class B, down to C over time, and so on. I mean you can't tell me that the $250 dollar/pair of B&W Dm302's were a legit Class C Stereophile rated piece, nor did the any of the Bryston stuff deserve Class A, the Parasound stuff and Mirage speakers getting Class B, and so on! And to say the Halo piece deserves a legitimate A rating as a 2 channel pre?! I'm quite certain a $4500 CAT preamp will destroy a Parasound ANYTHING! I'm sorry, but someone paid someone here. That's all I'm going to say.
As for the use and integration of a "pass through" or direct in on a 2 channel pre, now that's a legitimate feature! But still, you can use auxilary or other in's and get great results by looping a dedicated AV pre/pro through the pre, sure. And, in you're case, I'm recommending just that - that you loop some av processor through a 2 channel analog preamp, and switch that way.
As for buying a very expensive Anthem D2? Well you can ofcourse go that route. You can even go Theta with Gen III DAC's for 10's of thousands if you like! But will you get the return for movies? I doubt it. I'd stay reasonable av pre with all the latest, and focus on your 2 channel pre quality, if it where me. The quality of the digital processing, and overall sound for what it does/offers is exceptional right now, for not much! You're only going direct digital, and processing all the digital in the outboard pre with these new tech's. Analog connections can be left to your 2 channel preamp connectivity.
Anyway, that's my 3 1/2 cents.
It's all good though...

1. Your point on video processing is well taken. I take the output of my HD-DVR and PS3-80 via HDMI to a DVDO Edge where video is split off and sent via HDMI to my projector in naive 1080p. Audio from those sources is sent via digital optical to the Proceed PDSD.

2. Regardless of its rating, the Proceed PAV/PDSD is part of a system that provides a sense of air, timbre detail, and soundstage that satisfies me, whether 2.1 or 5.1. I paid about 10% of their $10K MSRP, and have owned the units for years, so using them for audio is essentially free

3. I played 3 discs that I use as test cases on a system that included an Integra 80.1, then 15 minutes later played them again on my system. I cannot conclude that the much poorer timbre detail and soundstage of the test system was due to the 80.1 and not the associated equipment or his setup. If the sound had been equal to that of my system, I could have at least concluded that the 80.1 was not a impediment to achieving a level of sound quality with which I would be happy. But an 80.1 supplemented by my PAV as Bdgregory suggests may be all that's needed.

4. I've never heard of a CAT preamp; is CAT an acronym? Where's the list of "near world class" preamps, and do any have HT bypass? You suggest I can't trust the reviewers at Stereophile (nor I assume Absolute Sound), so whose judgement can I trust? I like to buy discounted used components from Audiogon listings; thus, listening before buying is rarely possible.

"You suggest I can't trust the reviewers at Stereophile (nor I assume Absolute Sound), so whose judgment can I trust?"

Lol. I presume the overall question here is "can the reviews be trusted from any or some of the otherwise well known, even highly respected pro reviewers, to basically tell it like it is, as close to reality and in perspective as possible, at all times and, more specifically, from the Mag's you suggested
Well honestly, you do generally find that reviews from those particular mags you mentioned to more accurately "tell it like it is", yes, and can generally review and critique products with enough specificity to help you assess what level of performance and quality your dealing with, sure. (more on that later). And they certainly are more reliable than the less niche specific mass publications that do reviews - especially the ones that do mostly mid-fi to entry level gear, certainly. In fact, with these later types of rags, the reviews are easily spotted for what they are, and that's skewed tow awards giving unspotted, overly enthusiastic and generally favorable reviews for products from large cap companies, that most always happen to feature ads several times in any one magazine! The reviewed products here tend to feature companies that have more money, feature much more aggressive advertising, and somehow never seem to get negative reviews. Go figure
But even with reviews from the magazines you mentioned, however, I've still- on many of occasions - have found many reviews over the years -yes, even from otherwise highly respected reviewers - which tend to loosen up their critiques somewhat, push otherwise good products up a category or so, generalize a bit more than usual, relax their critical positions, and paint a little less detailed picture than usual.
I mean let's face it, most businesses struggle at one time or another, and yet they still have agendas (like all of us) to pay their bills, keep up their lifestyles, and also keep their sponsors happy! (you don't really think magazine subscriptions and sales alone keeps ANY av magazine afloat, do you?) In the end, when push comes to shove, I 1000% guarantee you that it's all business baby! You can take that to the bank...because they do.
Now, all of that aside, the bottom line of reality for reading reviews, in an effort to sort out specific product applications, the actuality of it is is that any review will only get you in the ball park of trying to figure out product selection for your personal application! Even if you read an otherwise "right on" critical review of a given product, and think you have it all nailed down, as to what it is, and how you think it integrates into some system, the truth is you can only really find out how the product will perform IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR OWN SYSTEM, in your acoustical environment, setup, lifestyle, and how well it matches up and integrates with the rest of your gear. So it all depends, and things are relative, if subjective at best, yes.
I cannot tell you how many times I've taken Stereophile Class A and/or Class B rated gear, and matched products up, and got horrible performance! Basically, some pieces ultimately work with the other pieces in your system, while others will not.
Impedance matching issues, sound characteristics complementing or opposing each other - magnifying or balancing out potential issues - matter! Personal tastes and view points? Well we all own different gear ultimately, for a reason! To each his own. What you think is bright, might be considered accurate by someone else. What works in a reviewers system, to his tastes, might be the worst choice possible for what you have going on, and so forth
When you read a review, you always have to default to the fact that there are lots of variables to ultimately take into consideration, when you're trying to assess things, and make judgments. You must get your hands on the product, and see how well it works with the rest of the family of products and variables in play in your system. That's it!...bottom line.
So can you "trust reviews" from high end mags? Well I for one can't go there. I cannot blanketly read a review and know for certain that a specific piece of equipment, unqualified, is gunna be the piece for me, and end up performing exactly like I envisioning it doing, based on what what someone else suggests, coming from his/her perspective. I can only get a basic idea, and then I have to do my part if I think I'm interested. I mean if simply came down to finding articles that gave the best reviews, you could simply go down and buy all the most highly rated products in your price bracket, and buy them! - and expect to then have the best sound or performance possible. Well it doesn't work that way, not even by a long shot.
You of course can do as your wish. But my experience suggest that reading reviews is simply to gather information, search out potential candidates, and also for "ear candy" and enjoyment factor. In the end, I personally put limited weight on them.
It'd be like someone you trust telling you you're gunna like some kind of food, clothing, car, sporting good, vacation destination, mate preference, potential best friend, lifestyle choice, whatever! In the end, only you can tell by giving it a go for yourself.
Hope that helps clarify my perspective.

I agree with most of what you wrote, although I do think there can be separation between editorial and advertising interests. I became interested in "HIFI" in the mono days of the early 1950s, and have listened to lots of systems since. I confess to having been one of those kids who haunted the HIFI shops between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. I've built a number of mostly bad speaker cabinets and poorly assembled amp kits in my day. As a grad student, I had lots of experience with Mac MC 60s and Altec VOT speakers, both in the lab and with those I took home for a while.

I've pretty much used a cost/benefit approach to buying audio gear. My original Proceed PAV and Amp 2 purchase replaced a Marantz 18 receiver I bought as a post-doc. I auditioned the Proceed stuff carefully at a high-end shop in Palo Alto. Had cost and size limitations been no object, of course I would have bought the bigger than a breadbox Levinson amp along with the 3-panel maggies. But cost and size were considerations and the PAV, Amp 2, and KEF Reference 102.2 combination sounded very good to me. I did listen to a Krell amp and Martin Logans, and didn't like what I heard.

(The original PAV, Amp 2, and 102.2s are in a secondary system; the Marantz receiver, AR3a speakers, and AR turntable are in a closet.)

So when a PAV/PDSD pre/pro came up on Audiogon, I bought it. Same with KEF Reference 104.2s. I bought a Velodyne HGS-15 as a demo from our local high-end dealer, and the HGS-10 and SMS-1 through Audiogon. Bottom line: I have put together what to me are two very nice systems for little money.

Of course, I'd prefer to try any proposed new purchase in my setup, but that just isn't practical. So I read reviews and posts at several web sites. For example, I'm pretty convinced I'd like the sounds of a Cary Cinema 11a, but the long series of posts at AVS from 11a owners about how buggy they are has scared me away -- nearly everyone raves about the sound when they do work.

I also agree that preamps are at a very stable point of development compared to processors, and that if I were going to buy that is the place to put the money. But knowing my predilections, I'm more likely to do nothing, and just continue to enjoy what I have.


PS: By the time I did have the space and money to buy the bigger-than-a-breadbox Levinson amp and 3-panel maggies, my head was in Ferrari land.