Need Processor Input

Okay, I need some input. I have a Theta Casablanca I with standard dacs that has served me well. I run a Naim CDX CD player through the analog direct so reason the standard dacs have been good enough on movies for me. Unfortunately when I purchased my CBI, I didn't get the DTS board. Now with Blu-ray having so many titles with DTS, I'm wondering what to do. I could buy a used processor that does both dolby digital and DTS in lossy and save a lot of money and still have a good preamp for my CD player or buy an Integra for $2k which probably would force me to run a separate preamp proably for another $2k or slightly less if used.

I'm not wanting to get in a debate over lossless vs lossy but I read an article off the internet where a group of reviewers went to Dolby Digital Labs and DTS to hear sections of movies both in lossless and lossy in a controlled environment with expensive gear. Most could NOT hear any difference while a couple did but said it was very slight with lossless being a touch better. The improvement was described as being slightly fuller sound with slightly more surround information.

With this, I'm wondering if I should really get the Integra 9.9 that could do all the lossless but also have to buy a preamp or just buy a used processor for a fraction of the cost and still be pretty darn happy. I can tell with my CBI that the sound of blu-rays sound better than the same standard dvd copy but that could be due to a different sound mix. I just watched the Blu-ray movie of Nightmare Before Christmas in plain DD 5.1 and couldn't believe the improved surround sound and clarity of the songs in the movie. It sounded so good that I really wondered how much lossless or better dacs could really improve the overall sound. This was the big reason in the beginning for not spending so much on Theta's expensive upper end dacs and deciding the standard dacs would be pretty darn good for movies. As for movies and music, a couple of the biggest factors is the source recording and the listening environment besides the rest being the equipment.

Any thoughts from those that have gone from an older processor to something newer???
If the quality of your 2-channel audio/music listening means alot to you, I'd suggest finding a great 2-channel pre-amp that has a home-theater bypass capability and using the pre-amp together with a good processor. I've done this in the past and it elevated the main L/R channels performance in home theater and my 2-channel listening for pure audio pursuits to an even higher level than a great processor with balanced bypass capability (Classe SSP-600). This advice holds I believe regardless of the formats you are decoding with your processor...

Can you recommend some preamps with HT bypass?

db last post (12-21) once it is approved has discussion on balanced bypass. You were asking about HT bypass for which there is ample support from Classe procs and MANY others on the market.
I'm confused on what your asking and what a CBI is. However, I do have an old processor and a new bluray player (Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD). I use analog out from the 09FD into my classe ssp-600.

Then the classe goes to my McIntosh C500t pre-amp in home theater bypass mode.

It sounds fantastic!

I just got through doing homework on whether or not I will get better Blue-Ray sound by getting a processor that can handle the codecs. The answer is I have the best for my price point. I would have to spend around 7k+ for a processor to get better HT sound.

I hope that helps!
Hello Joelz,

The CBI stands for the Theta Casablanca I. It is so outdated that it doesn't have the analog inputs needed like you're using. I'm only using a coax digital cable for dolby digital. Maybe I should buy a used processor that has this since I have a Toshiba XA2 HD DVD player that has the 7 analog outputs and a Panasonic BD80 Blu-ray player that has them as well. I wasn't sure if the decoding sound in a new processor would actually sound better or not so your input is appreciated. Who told you that you would need to spend $7k to get better sound? I believe it since I've heard the conversion in the XA2 and BD80 is quite good. I've heard the tricky part is setting up the surround when using the analog outputs from the source player usually with the subwoofer sometimes having lower output for some reason.

I don't feel that I have to spend the money on a new processor with all the latest codecs to try and get close to the best sound possible for home theater. The reason I'm even considering upgrading is that I never had a DTS board installed in my Casablanca. Now that Blu-ray has won with so many titles using DTS only, the sound quality isn't as good with my Casablanca simulating 5.0 via a mode called special matrix where it take 2 channels of DTS and send them to my processor while the BD80 down mixes the other 3.0 channels to simulate the 5.0. It doesn't sound bad but not nearly as good as even simple 5.0 dolby digital.
Robert, my local audio store and a few folks on the internet (avsforum) are the ones I took advice from and think the BDP-09FD (analog out) + Classe SSP600 has very good sound as the 09FD is an audiophile grade player and the Classe is still fantastic sounding even though its the older generation classe.

The next gen (or current generation) Classe, the SSP800 is ~$8k, the top end Marantz and Denon HT procs (seperates) are $7k and there isn't many offering inbetween that I've looked at which would give better sound and cost less than 7k-8k.

I asked about the Integra (Onkyo) 9.9 and 9.8 used in conjunction with the 09FD via HDMI and the sound quality with that configuration and it still would not be an upgrade.

They didn't mention what grade of analog audio the BD80 had (I didn't ask about that one).

Thats right, there is no real need to get a proc with the latest codecs if you have a Blue-Ray player with good analog outs.

The Classe SSP600/SSP300 processor is nice, but it lacks bells and whistles (and lots of them). Perhaps thats why it sounds so good.
Robert I also have the Toshiba HDDVD player. I kept this because of the beautiful processing of regular DVD's. I would look into an OppO SE which gives you better up converting dvd and fabulous blue ray. I also have the Pioneer O5FD and like the Oppo better. I would think the Pioneer 09 is better but I have not compared the two. I am also using the Classe as an analog pass through and it sounds great. The nice thing about the Oppo is that you can set the individual levels of each speaker in the analog mode to a greater degree than I could with my Pioneer.
The SSP-600 is a great processor and sounds extremely good; it's 2-channel balanced bypass can take the place of a pre-amp for 2-channel listening if you don't have extra money to spend on the extra box. If you are using your player to decode the latest formats and routing them out the analog outputs, you can even get by with a 7.1 multi-channel pre-amp (there are few on the market from Parasound and other vendors) as well but you'll sacrifice video-switching and post-processing for DD and DTS 5.1, 6.1 'older' formats.
find the 5.1 input for your processor or get one with them.i run my blue ray thru the anolog outs to a nuforce avp17 anolog 7.1 inputs and with some room tweeking it sounds good with the dacs in the blueray . I just wish there were more 7.1 movies available. I did play one or two 7.1 movies with the new hd digital an hd dts and it is great..but most movies are in blueray 5.1 and its really no differ to me wether i use the coaxal out on blueray or the anolog outs..ive got some blue ray music and its great in hd 2 channel but it only feds 5.1 on most of them,