Ideal Preamp/Processor for 2-Channel & Phono Stage

My speakers (Zu Definition Pro) require bi-amplification becuase the front speakers are not wired to the rear speakers. Please don't focus on this, or the merits of Zu speakers, or room treatments. I'm looking for advice on a Pre/Pro to use in a 2-channel set up. No video necessary.

I need to equalize my room/system, so I am going to use a pre/pro. This is the only viable solution I'm considering because of the separate signals going to the front and rear speaker arrays.

Right now I'm using a Rane PEQ 55 for the rear array, but having the Rane in the signal path to my rear speakers can't cover the full tonal spectrum because it is only in the path to the rear speakers.

So, why am I only considering a "high-end" Pre/Pro in a 2-channel set up?
Inherint in the models I'm considering is the ability to equalize the front speaker array separately from the rear speaker array. How? By using the "front" speaker outputs for the front array and the subwoofer outputs for the rear array.

The Pre/Pro filters the low-frequency signal for subwoofers, so I would use that signal for the woofer array on my speakers. The front speakers output could be filtered for the front array. Then I can use the controls/software in the Pre/Pro to properly equalize my system/room.

The Integra DHC 80.1 has two mono subwoofer outputs, and the Classe SSP-800 has two stereo subwoofer outputs. Mono bass below 80Hz is not a problem since we cannot localize bass at that frequency or less.

My goal for this post is to get feedback from people who have listened to some of the high-end Pre/Pro equipment for a 2-channel system. Meridian is really nice, but outside my price range and I'm pretty confused with all the cards and versions. Other manufacturers would be greatly appreciated. If you're selling something, please contact me using my email address.

My turntable set up is really important to me and I don't want to sacrifice any (or at least as little as possible) of the benefits from it, so I'm looking for a Pre/Pro that also has an awesome phono stage.

I'm trying to stay away from using the word "best" because "best" is subjective and means different things to different people and threads with "best" spin out of control with questions like what are you trying to do, what do you want out of your system, etc... All helpful questions, but not the goal of this thread.

The only practical solution I'm willing to explore right now is to find a Pre/Pro that will allow me to equalize my room/system (using a mic would be ideal), has two subwoofer outputs (can be two mono or stereo outputs) with a great phono stage so I don't lose the benefit of my analog rig. Pretty straightforward.

My system:
Yamamoto A-08S driving the front speaker array
Berhinger EP2500 driving the rear woofer array
Canary CA-903 Line Stage
Canary CA-400 Phono Stage
Ayre CX-5e CDP
Avid Diva 2 TT
Zu Definition Pro speakers (MTM front 20kHz-50Hz, & 4-10" woofers rear 1kHz-15Hz)

Try Classe SSP-600 or SSP-800 together with a Velodyne SMS-1 (allows separate LFE equalization, chaining of subwoofers, etc...). As you pointed out the SSP-800 has two stereo subwoofer outs while the SSP-600 does not however with the Velodyne SMS I've found superior equalization and handling on both single and multiple subwoofer configs...
I think you may do much better with an active line-level crossover. I can see EQing below 200Hz but why do you think you need to equalize higher up. Or did I read that wrong?

"Mono bass below 80Hz is not a problem since we cannot localize bass at that frequency or less."

Oh, I beg to strongly differ with this statement.
Dan_ed, I had a difficult time understanding the active line-level crossover for my configuration because there is not one signal, but two signals. Maybe you can contact me off-line or post a URL I can read to better understand it.

I MAY need to equalize higher up based on my room, though I won't know until the person setting up my system measures my room. Having that functionality available in my unit will be critical when the guy is here measuring and setting up my system. He travels to do this, so I need to accomplish as much as I can while he's here.

Why do you feel that bass under 80Hz can be localized? How would that be accomplished? What would I use to localize it?

Zephyr, I contemplated the SSP-600, but the 600 lacks the controls required by the person doing my set up. I also considered the highly regarded SMS, but I believe the frequency limit for the SMS (> 26Hz) is well above the bottom end of my speakers (10Hz) so I don't think it would fit in my setup. Also, my goal is to have only one processor in the chain so I don't add any more latency that is inherint in my speaker design with the front and rear speaker arrays.

Please keep the suggestions coming. They are extremely helpful.


take a look at this article on the Definition Pros. If they are bi-ampable, you can run a line-level crossover.

6 moons review

A bass guitar can reach down to ~30Hz and I'm sure we've all heard a bass player move around the stage. There are plenty of spatial clues in these low registers. You should be able to hear that also with the Zu's if you feed stereo signals. Localize bass? I'm not sure what you mean by that.
You might consider a different approach by buying a digital room connection device such as the COPLAND DRC-205. Then you wouldn't sacrifice losing quality you are now getting with your current pre-amp with a surround sound processor See their website for connection options. I own the COPLAND and I have been very happy with it.

I'll have to research the DRC-205 more, but my concern (as you addressed in your post) is the connectivity between the unit any my front and rear speaker arrays. Again, I'll look into it deeper because it looks like another viable option if I can run the signal to both arrays.


I know that article backward and forward (I also own the Yamamoto), but I missed the line-level cross over unless your referring to the Rane PEQ55 which I also own.

Take a look at this article about localizing the bass signal:
I apologize. I have no idea why you're trying to do what you're doing with your phono stage. Thanks for the link and the education. I don't agree with everything he says, but I'm obviously coming at music reproduction from 180 degrees out of phase.

No need to apologize. I appreciate your feedback. You stated my "phono stage". My goal is to equalize my system/room using the pre/pro for all of my sources, not just my phono stage. I don't think using a pre/pro is the ideal solution, and I may not need to EQ the entire frequency range. However, my speakers require a unique configuration and solution. Thus, I may not be able to get the ideal or what I want...I may get what I need.

I hear what you're saying. I'm debating something similar in regards to my analog playback. I'd like to add active crossover and EQ for the bass to improve my horns, but it seems counterproductive to process that signal much. I guess buying some used gear and giving it a shot is the only way to know.
If you add a line level x-over (I use the NHT x-2) and take the sub out signal from there into a "bass only" DRC unit (I use a Velodyne SMS-1, but the SVS/Audyssey unit will work, too) and then on into your bass array, you'll get where you want to go. The x-2 is benign (to my ears) and the A/D - D/A conversion in the DRC system only hits the signal to the subs, where it's less troublesome (again IMHO).

The combined cost of the NHT ($300) and Velo ($450) leaves some room for a phono stage of your choosing. If you want the SVS/Audyssey DRC unit instead of the Velo, you should add another app $400. All sold direct w/money back trial period.

BTW, technically you don't need the x-2 with the Velo, but I found it's high pass filter function for the main speakers both inflexible (fixed at 80hz-6db/octave) and a bit sonically intrusive. The SVS unit requires a x-over ahead of it.