I'm still in the same boat as you in the fact that i'm looking for a preamp / processor that does both HT & music at a reasonable price. I've tried several of the "mid-fi" processors ( Parasound 1800, Marantz 9000, Denon 8000, Carver, etc..) and had no luck so far. In order to get the results that i'm looking for, i think that i'm going to have to break down and spend more than i was hoping to.
Out of curiosity, how does you Sunfire Mk II perform on 2 channel ? I was thinking about giving one of those a try. Besides the fact that it has a phono, the cosmetics ( like that's a big deal ) would actually match my two Sunfire Sig's that i'm running for amps in that system. I assume that you like the Perreaux better in this aspect, otherwise you wouldn't have it still hooked up. Then again, i've never really liked any of Carver's preamps in the past and that is what is holding me up from taking the plunge.
I'm currently using my Marsh MSD-P2000 in place of a surround processor in that system and so far, i'm not really missing the effects. The 2 channel and movies sound better than ever with this combo even though it is only running on the mains. Sean
Have you looked at them Anthem AVM2? It has analog pass through, 24/96 dacs does a good job with home theater and can be had for less than 2K.
Sean - the sunfire isn't bad on two channel, especially when hooked up via the digital out of the source, but again, it doesn't compare to my perreaux. it does have a lot of features and convenience. the one aspect i dislike is that even with the latest base management, you can't set the crossover at less than 80hz.
dhodges - haven't checked out the anthem. i'll take a look. thanks.
Actually, ther is an answer..the Theta CasaNova or Casablanca. If you get the version with digital out, you also get an external black box that is used for volume control. Your output (e.g. from your DAC) can be directly connected to the "black box" whihc only contains outstanding Vishay resistors for volume control. If you want to do the surround/home theater things, you can go through the actual processor itself. The processor also has a direct analog pass through that is not digitized if that is what you would like to do but that won't be as transparent as using the black box directly.
dbw1 (& sean) - do your preamps have separate tape-monitor loops? if ya use a tape-loop for yer processor, then the only drawback is the need to use the wolume controls for both the pre & the processor, when doing that wideo-ting...
YBA is releasing a new Preamp in their less expensive Audio Refinement line. It will be about $1295, AC-3/DTS/ 6 ch input, analog pass thru's, and the unrelenting sound quality that Yves is known for. This promises to be a killer.
Doug, i've been "halfway" looking for a decent processor to try with the Marsh via the tape loop. I am aware of having to do the "dual volume balancing act" using this method. Given the results that i've gotten using this preamp for two channel use as compared to the other processors that i've mentioned, there is NO comparison. This is not to say that the Marsh is the "end all" for preamps by any means, but that it simply works quite well in this specific system.
Dbw1, thanks for the feedback. I too would want to go lower than 80 Hz on the subs if possible. The "new and improved" Sunfire HT preamp will probably be out by the end of the year from what i was told by the factory. Maybe that will give us what we are looking for.
As to Dhodges and Sounddood, thanks for the tips. I was somewhat interested in the Anthem piece but was unable to find one locally. I've since found a shop that has got them in stock and may need to give them a shout. As to the YBA piece, i would be quite interested in that piece also. Maybe it has been a good thing that i haven't jumped the gun on anything yet. Could be bigger and better things on the horizon. Then again, isn't there always... : ) Sean
Musical Fidelity also has released a new pre/pro.
there *are* several "audiophile grade" pre's that offer an h-t loop - arc, vtl, bat, sonic-frontiers come to mind. but, if ya awreddy really like yer current pre, the tape-loop dual-wolume-control thing may be the way to go...
There may be something I'm not getting about using a tape loop. Is there a difference between using the tape in and any other input? If you use the whole loop, where does the tape out go? You've got the tape out AND the main out...
dbw1, ya need to have *all* yer sources, including the h-t ones, plugged into the perreaux. then, run from the tape outs of the perreaux to the inputs of your processor, ie - where ewe would normally plug in your video input sources. then, when ya wanna watch a movie, your source plays thru the 2 main speakers getting signal from the perreaux, the tape outs of the perreaux send the same signal to the processor, which sends signal to the center/surround channels. while i am not into movies, myself, i see no reason why this woodn't work...
hope this helps, doug s.
ya know, now that i tink about it s'more, depending on yer processor, ewe *may* even be able to run a line from yer preamps' *main* output to yer h-t processor (if ya don't have extra main outs, then ya need a 1-into-2 rca plug). if yer processor can handle the main outs' signal, then, once ya get the wolume levels/effects adjusted, for the most part, ewe will be able to yust use the main preamps' wolume control for everyting, as it will now control the gain going to the processor.
on my main rig, i have a 4-channel audio-only surround-sound processor hooked-up to to my preamps' main outs. the processor has 20 stored programs of real venues that have been mapped for their ambient-sound characteristics. so, the surrounds only play this ambient info to give you the feel of the hall/church/club/pavillion, etc. anyway, cuz it's hooked up to the main outs, the preamps' one wolume control also controls the surrounds. of course, if i wanna adjust the level of the surrounds in relation to the main channels, i have to go to the processor's controls. i'd almost forgotten about my surround set-up - since i've gone to a toobed pre, i can't remember the last time i've used the surrounds, the 2-channel has such good soundstage, surrounds are no longer as effective as they used to be... ;~)
If you don't want to deal with tape loops and volume mismatches just dump the Perreaux and buy an Adcom GFA-750. It is one of the better stereo preamps around bar none, and offers a dedicated HT processor loop to seemlessly integrate with your Sunfire. I think you can get one for $1200 to $1300(less whatever you get for your Perreaux) as they seem to be discounting now. McCormack's new RLD-1 also seems promising if you want to stick with solid state but don't like the Adcom for whatever reason. Someone else mentioned most of the tube alternatives, although I'll throw in Rogue as another option.
As for the pre/pro option, with so many balls still up in the air with the new formats I would not sink a lot of money into a new pre/pro. You'd have to spend a lot more to get a piece that rivals better 2-channel preamps and you have the potential risk of future incompatibility even if they say it's upgradeable(we've all heard that one before). It's just too early to jump in to a pre/pro in my opinion, especially when you can get state-of-the-art performance from the Adcom for so little while milking your excellent Sunfire unit for all it's worth until the dust settles on the new stuff. Best of luck.