I can't make up My Mind Please Help...

I am going to be upgrading PRE/PRO within next week. Im looking to spend 3-5k. I have narrowed down to two units. The Aragon stage one and the EAD theatremaster 8000pro. My logic behind picking these two is they are supposed to be very good/great performers for 2ch along with all the other stuff. I listen about 70% 2ch and rest DVD-A and movies. And i care much more about music quality than movie playback. I am limited for space and dont have the option for seperate systems.

A couple of things i think worth mentioning:

The Aragon has analog pass thru for 2ch w/bass managment in analog domain along with analog pass thru for SACD and DVD-A. And also different crossovers can be set for 2ch and all

The EAD has the ability with analog pass thru for 8ch's
so a DVD-A 6ch can be used along with a SACD for 2ch. It
also has ability for stereo subs which could be very useful.

I would love to hear any comments on those two?
I am teetering on the fence and cant make up my mind.

My system consists of:

YAMAHA RX595 using as a pre/pro (this is what im replacing)
YAMAHA CDM-900 Redbook
MONSTER POWER HTS-1000 (video only)
Hughes oval dish for Direct TV.
TERK TV55 for terestrial HD signals.
Of the two units you listed, I'd probably go with the EAD. Not to complicate your decision, but I'd add a third candidate to your choices: The Bryston SP-1.7, which sells for $4200. If you have not considered it, I think you should before you make a purchase. Bryston products are superbly made, offer great sound, have a 20-year transferrable warranty, and provide perhaps the best repair/customer service in the industry.

Click on the attached link to the Bryston Web site for more info about the SP-1.7:
For the record, either of these two units are going to have likely similar potential as analog preamps. They're still going to be ultimately surpassed by better dedicated 2 channel preamps in terms of sonic purity, musicality, soundstaging, etc.
The features you mentioned regarding "stereo subs" and such might be something you want to keep for you music and HT needs, depending. IF that's the case, it would make that set up convenient going with the EAD I suppose..assuming the Aragon doesn't have this feature.
For me, the only 2 channel attraction between the two units would be the stereo subwoofer set up scenario offered by the EAD...and of course, you'd get excellent DD/DTS capablity and 6ch in(or "dirrect digital in" capability if you use that route for other sources, and out of your DVD player). But you'd STILL BE GETTING BETTER 2 CHANNEL PURITY with an outboard 2ch quality preamp! Even using a lesser ambitious pre/pro for your movies or 6ch dubties, you could still buy a used high end preamp for 2 ch, and get better all around potential results ultimately. But, everyone's needs and desires are different.
If you used both 2 ch and multi ch from only one pre/pro, then I like your choices you're concidering, indeed.
If you wanted to maximize both multi channel and 2 channel, you'd get the best of both worlds using something less expensive, yet excellent sonically, like Classe SSP30, and use the extra money for a dedicated 2 channel high end preamp for 2ch dubties!..It's a thought. (you'd then simply
use an auxillary or "processor through" on your preamp when you wanted to use your Pre/pro for movies..simple.
I doubt you'll lose with either of those potentially fine sounding pre/pro's if that's what you decide. My gut say's you might be happier with the EAD ifyou went that route however...
Good luck
If 2-ch is your priority I would do it differently. I would buy a 2-ch only preamp with unity gain input/control for pure 2-ch playback. I would keep the Yamaha as surround processor and connect its two front channels to the preamp. With this setup, you will get the best 2-ch playback without having two separate systems. No matter how good analog pass through is, a surround processor cannot complete with the best preamp at the same price.

There are many great preamps to choose from in the 3-5k range, both tube and ss. If you are willing to buy used, you can even get some top-of-the-line state-of-the-art ones.

BTW, I have a Yamaha DSP-A1 connected to a BAT VK-50SE. In a direct comparison, it outperformed a fully loaded Theta Casablanca in 2-ch.
THANKS for your reponses...


Its funny you bring up the Bryston. I took a quick look
at it last night and then got sidetracked. I will take
a closer look. I had the Bryston amps rated very high
on my list when i was looking for amps. Cant argue with
20 year warranty and a great reputation either.



I was hoping to hear from you on this topic...

I will take a closer look at used Classe gear. I took
a quick look and it looks like the SSP30 has all i would
need to maintain the 5.1 and 6.1 duties. Unfortunately
i dont see one for sale on the Gon.

What kind of 2ch pre would you recommend also?

You really got me thinking now... If i do go with the EAD
or the Aragon i could always add a dedicated 2ch PRE if
im not happy with 2ch and still would have upgraded other
area's in a big way. Hummm...

I really like the stereo sub idea also.. Im thinking a couple of Revel's would work really nice with that unit.



I do want to upgrade all other area's also besides 2ch.
It is my highest priority but not my only.
Im amazed at how well the Yamaha has done for cost... But
its time for it to retire to mid-fi pasture (my sons room).

You guys really got me thinkin here maybe this is a two
step deal.. EAD PRE/PRO first and then who knows? I am pretty determined to get it all in place and get it right.

I am not surprised your Yamaha PRE performs well. Even
my cheapo reciever has done a admirable job.
Spetula, I'm not familiar off hand with the sound of the Infinitys you have currently. Are you changing them?
As for preamps, you can do a lot of things for 2 channel.
If you want to do solid state preamps, my experience(besides doing passive preamps like Pass L/P,McCormack TLC,etc) is that you'll have to spend some bucks to get a great high end solid state with some dynamics and refinement. You'll get much better deals on used TUBE PREAMPS that will sound excellent(beating up on any preamp section in an AV pre/pro) in the $400-$2k range. Anything from Golden Tube SEP1(cheap), Audio Research LS2/LS7/LS5/LS22/Ls16, Sonic Frontiers L-2/L-3/Line-2, Audible Illusiones Mod 3a, Copeland(excellent for $!!!), Any CAT preamp(excellent high end!), and I'm sure a lot of the CJ stuff or BAT can be worth a try if the price is right. Never the less, the choices are endless!
You really might read some reviews and give one a try...you can always sell it if you want to move on..
Good luck
I'm gonna back up what sidssp and forever were saying. You'll get better 2-channel performance, better value, and more flexibility going with a better stereo pre and a decent pre/pro. This way, you're putting more money into the 2-channel aspect of your system and less in the surround processing area while still getting great performance there.

One of the stereo pres recommended above(to which I'd add the surprising Marsh P2000 preamp offered in either tubed or ss versions in the $1200-$1500 range new) combined with something like Rotel's new 1066 pre/pro would give you true high-end 2-channel performance with excellent surround capabilities. Another benefit of going this way is that instead of being limited to 2 or 3 pre/pros that sound good in stereo(but who knows if they really synergize with YOUR 2-channel system), you'll have a huge selection of stereo preamps so you're free to find the one that really works best for your system in 2-channel -- NEVER underestimate the power of synergy. A combo like this could be much less costly than the expensive pre/pro route and offer potentially better 2-channel performance and greater flexibility now and when upgrading.

Okay, I've said my piece. Best of luck.
Listen, and trust yourself.


My speakers are the 2 way C.M.M.D Infinity's. They dont
have the active subs built in like Intermezzo's or the
Prelude MTS series. But when teamed up with a good sub
they do very well. I havent heard the MTS series but i will before i buy anything else... So far the Revels are number one on my list. I do have some room issues i want to deal with before i get new speakers also.


You guys convinced me on the seperate 2ch pre and pre/pro
issue. I am going to do the Pre/pro first and take some time
doing some research on the 2CH. Im looking forward to trying
some different ones. My amp is SS and is extremely quick and
dynamic im guessing if i can find a Tube Pre that can keep up it will be great.

I APPRECIATE all of your responses and will look at ALL
of your recomendations..