Looking at Anthem preamp. Do I need it? Also the Innuos Zenith (Zen?) and or Lumin T2?


So much to say, I will definitely NOT get it all out here now. 

I am not an audiophile but would like to get better sound from my system. As good as I can get it for my needs and budget. I have a 5.1 System with 2 subwoofers.

Anthem MRX 720 receiver
2 Rythmik 15 inch subwoofers
Paradigm Persona 3f speakers
Parasound HCA2205 AT amplifier (5 x 220 wpc)
I recently added an Anthem STR power amp for the Personas.

Ease of use is right up there with SQ. I love turning on my receiver and having everything there for me. I don't have a source really. I'm not that thrilled with Playfi. I tried Tidal on it, but I think it was just the small screen of my phone that made me not want to use it. I will probably go with Roon and if I could view the menus on my TV screen with anything else, that would trump anything else. SQ will have toi take a back seat to that. I just prefer hard button remotes to touch screens because of my poor eyesight.

I loved the sound before upgrading to the Anthem str amp. I only say this because I did not recalibrate the system as a whole yet. So the settings are still for the previous Parasound amp. I do hear a difference between the Parasound and Anthem. I had the system calibrated professionally, if you will. I don't have the knowledge or the patience to do it. I absolutely loved the results.

So, I want to ONLY stream music now to my 2 front speakers (and subs)  when not watching movies etc... Do I need both the Innuos type product AND the Lumin T2 AND an Anthem preamp? Can I get away with just one or 2 of these products? That is a lot of money for me to spend on just streaming Qobuz or Tidal etc... Maybe even Amazon HD if that ever gets settled. I want to decide and purchase over the next several months and just keep the system for many years. Definitely will be buying used. After that, I will look into speaker cables, IC etc.. But this comes first, I guess. 

Also, where will my bottleneck be if these pieces are selected? Can I get away with the Zen instead of the Zenith? D2 instead of the T2? Can I just buy the T2 and go directly into my AV receiver? One piece would be great! and more affordable of course.

The reason I'm looking at higher priced units is I do not swap out components after purchase.... ever. So, they will stay for a long while.

Thanks for reading.

Also, is there one unit I should buy before the others? I think I made a mistake in buying the amp first. Maybe the Innuos? I may like it into the 720? I doubt it.

Thanks
cissado
Cissado, unfortunately almost  all modern streamers use an Iphone, Android or Table to control the device.

Just curious to what you don't like? The sound quality of the Blue Sound is decent but a far cry from a higher end device. 

None of the major devices give you a TV output, you could run a laptop or PC into the TV and run Roon to give you a TV display, you would still need a table or phone to control the computer however.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
So, I wanted to try a lower priced box to get my feet wet and see how I like the phone and tablet remote control. I bought a bluesound node 2. I'm using that straight into my Anthem AVR. Sound quality is OK but I had the intention of getting the str preamp and maybe the Zenith.

Well, I dont like the phone or the tablet control, so I've pretty much given up. I'll stick to roku/youtube with worse sound I guess. I'll revisit when I get the itch again, or if/when hdmi into a TV is a little more common.
Thanks again.

PS I've had the bluesound for over a week and will keep it, but dont use it much, if at all. 
Guys
can anyone send me the right direction to purchase a  New Anthem MCA-525 at great price? What will be a good price? 
@cissado  Since you are starting out (in the areas you are asking about) I highly recommend a dealer for someone in your situation.  As @audiotroy  mentioned, you can source used and demo units from a dealer. In your case, I believe a dealer would be truly beneficial and helpful. 

You are lucky in that you have good access to dealers in the metro areas in and surrounding NJ. I'd take audiotroy up on his offer. I suggested him in a previous post because you own a number of the components he represents and is familiar with. He is also well versed in streaming / computer based audio. 
Been looking at the N100h, but now my heads spinning. Back to the drawing board...
So, the direction I go with is probably streamer, no dac, into the dac of the str preamp. 
So, will that eliminate the need for a server or what the Innuos was doing? I dont have a computer with music files on it. Can I just plug straight from my router into the n100h or similar unit?

Thanks again
Try a Str preamp and a used Aurender N100h The Aurender will give you the ability to store local files and is a rock solid streamer. If you want no storage a N100 can be had fo 1300-1400. Just use the dac in the Str.  Room correction a big plus in the Str. 
Ha! Yes, Audiotroy, you are correct,  you never know if you don't look.. . What I said above was in general terms. I pretty much only buy used stuff, so I didn't want to go to stores/dealers. It is unfair to the dealers imo. No big deal. I do appreciate all your advise. It has certainly helped me along the way. I live in NJ, so we're not too far.

I do not want a tube preamp, but we can certainly see what you have when I figure out what I need and if you have it. 

Thanks


OP first of all always give a dealer a chance on earning your business sometimes we have demos or open box units which may be a bit more expensive than used but not always way more expensive.

The T2 is excellent and can sound fanatastic with the Personas just depends on the entire chain.

The Anthem STR preamp is very good and makes an excellent match for the STR power amplifier, the dac in it is very good and you really need a preamp/dac you you can use the analog bypass function to gain access to your Anthem MRX 720.

For roughly 4k we could provide you with a demo tube preamp and an excellent dac streamer with an trade up in a year deal to get a better dac.

Considering we sell, Cary, Lumin, Anthem, Paradigm, Innuous, and Parasound wouldn't we be the logical choice to assist you with this project?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor 
Thank you both for the replies.

David_ten, I see, so I certainly want to use the dac inside the T2 and not my AVR or integrated for that matter. If I do get the Anthem str preamp, then I might just as well get the Innuos and go directly into the Anthem without the T2 in the middle. Just trying not to be redundant.

Benzman, I did read your findings on the T2 and switching to the Carty Audio dms600. I did actually look at that to purchase, but when I connected my Anthem str amp last week, I saw that it was more "warm" than I thought it would be. I did not want to keep going in that direction, so I thought the T2 might be OK after all. I do appreciate your thoughts on the 2 units and will revisit the Cary. I hope I can PM you with a couple of questions about it. 

I'm sure either the T2 or DMS600 would not disapoint me because I am not as critical as most people here. I'm coming from an Onkyo AV receiver, to the Anthem 720 AV receiver, now this jump I'm sure will be "good enough" for me.

I just wanted to know if I could get away with buying one or two of these units instead of having to buy all 3 for my setup. I will eventually have them calibrated by the same person who did it the first time. He really made my system sound excellent. I now know because of how the different new amp sounds in the system without correction. I miss it. I guess I can ask him, but he is more concerned with the final result and not as interested in the individual pieces. 

Thanks again
if the T2 connects to an integrated amp, I assume it does not use the DAC inside the amp [???].

The T2 needs to be connected to a Preamp, therefore it would go into an integrated amp via it's analog outputs. In this scenario, you would be using the DAC in the T2. If you need to go Digital OUT, see below...

The T2 offers USB and BNC Digital Outputs (I believe). You would use one of those to your Receiver (which I assume has a built in DAC). This would bypass T2's DAC function.
Stay away from a Lumin T2. Not a good match for the Personas. Trust me I have 5f’s and a T2 and could wait to get rid of it. Good player but not for the Personas. Look for something that uses a AKM chipset. Much warmer and a much better match for the Personas. 
I've seen Audiotroy's posts. He seems very informed. But since I plan on purchasing used, I would not want to waste his time in that manner. I am only able to get into these high dollar pieces because I buy them used at a discount.
Quick question about the post above, if the T2 connects to an integrated amp, I assume it does not use the DAC inside the amp. It is just a passthrough to the amp then the speakers? If so, can't I do that with my AV receiver by taking its DAC out of the equation if connected to the T2? Thus eliminating the need for the str preamp?

Reach out to @audiotroy


Thank you for the reply.

I recently saw someone with a Roon playing and he just "sent to TV" or something like that. The only thing I saw was the "now Playing" picture on the screen. I doubt there would also be a menu as well. That would have been great. The picture went from his phone straight to the TV screen. 

So, the T2 doesn't look bad. I don't know if I could connect it to my AVR or if I would have to purchase the Anthem STR preamp as well. 

I don't use a NAS or a library anything else. It would pretty much be like listening to Internet radio or streaming radio via Tidal or Qobuz, etc..

In case it matters, I would be using room correction with everything when it's done. I also use a MinidspHD right now.
I'm a satisfied T2 owner. It is a one box solution that incorporates a DAC. To my ears, the sound is detailed and natural tone sounding. The operating app is thoughtfully engineered and easy to use. It is a Roon endpoint device also.  I don't know how you would get "playing now" info to appear on your TV monitor from the T2. Innuos streamers require a DAC, except for the entry level model. So, I run my T2 direct into my integrated amp and have a simple, but high quality solution. Good luck on your search.