I know it is out of your stated budget but if you get a chance listen to the Cal ssp2500, I have logans all around also and it is the best pre/pro I have heard... Miles ps list is about 5400
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THE SONY TA-E9000ES HANDS DOWN. YOU CAN GET ONE IN THE $800-$1000 RANGE WITH THE 1.84 UPGRADE. YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND AND DON'T LIKE IT, I WILL BUY IT FROM YOU. IT WILL NEVER BE WORTH LESS THAN WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT. GO TO SONY'S WEBSITE AND CHECK IT OUT. BETTER YET GO TO AUDIO REVIEW AND LISTEN TO WHAT THE CURRENT OWNERS SAY, THERE ARE OVER 250 RESPONSES.
I just had to make the same decision you are pondering over see surrounded add in this same catagory below for my system equipment. My price point was a little higher but i agonized over this decision for months.I listened to many high end pre/pro Proceed avp ,Theta casonova,and the Meridian 561 i completely changed direction at the last second after hearing a demo of the EAD ovation+ this is simply a great preamp premium dacs in all 6 channels great sonics but the best news is i purchased it from audiogon, for $3,500 and its even the new version to boot!. Do yourself a favor if music is your thing along with movies look for a new version of the EAD ENCORE you can pick one up for around your price point or better yet a used EAD Ovation . All of the EADs are upgradable to the next level so you can buy an Encore now and when you get more money upgrade it to a OVATION are a Signature the key being technology will not pass you by my goal was to make a purchase i could live with for a while i feel i've done just that ! Oh and customer service at EAD is first rate they will discuss there products with you and answer any questions you may have and explain how the upgrades are done . I hope this helps you good luck ! Definitive .
You should add the Bryston SP-1 to your list. Although it's a new model, it looks very good. It has 6 digital inputs, 3 analog inputs, plus Dolby Digital and DTS processing. Bryston also makes Lexicon equipment, so the SP-1 starts with an excellent pedigree. If you decide to include the Bryston on your list, I suggest you contact Danny Oovlin at "Bestofdeal". He offers very good prices on Bryston gear, and I have found him to be very professional. The easiest way to initially contact him is by E-mail at: Bestofdeal@aol.com
In the response I just posted, I should have mentioned that I have an Adcom GTP-750 in my current system. On the whole, I am reasonably pleased with it. It is a totally digital unit, so you will need a phono pre-amp if you want to use a turntable. I initially had some problems with the new unit, and had to send it back to Adcom for repair. They repaired it and it has performed fine since then. The one aspect of the GTP-750 which I am very satisfied with is the processing of DVD soundtracks - it's clean, dynamic, and the "steering" to each of the speakers is excellent. If you can buy a used unit that is less than a year old and is selling for $1400 or so, I think the GTP-750 becomes a very good buy.
Of all you listed, Lexicon DC2 wins hand out. I own the MC1 and can't be happier. Their Logic7 is even better than the EX stuff, I think. Check out the new Home theater Magazine for the complete review of their Logic7. For all the reviews including EAD, Proceed, Adcom, Sony ,etc... Check this site out and just do a search for the brand name or model you're interested in. http://ecoustics.com/cgi-bin/search.pl?search=lexicon
I am also looking for a preamp/processor that will perform well in 2 channel. Currently I have Levinson 380s, Revel Salon front speaker, Linn center & surrounds, Linn Klimax Solo amps, Tara The 2 Cable. A Marantz SSP feeds through the Levinson for Home Theater. Is there a Preamp/SSP that will perform as well as the Levinson on 2 channel and do a great job on home theater as well?
The California Audio Labs SSP-2500 is probabely the best sounding hometheater preamp on the market. I compared it to almost all processor before buying it. Dick Hardesty of Widescreen Review said it betters ever unit that he has heard by substantial margin. But with that said, and I own the unit, it is not as good as the Levison preamps on 2 channel, no surround processor is. But is a hell of a lot closer than any other unit of its type. Meridian, Theta even the new Casablanca II, Proceed, Aragon, EAD or any other processor is going to offer you the very best sound on two channel. Cal Audio significantly closes the gap close enought that I love the unit. But, any number of 2 channel pre-amps I know of can beat any of the best surround processors.
All of the experience in the world cannot prepair you for this decision. Go with a unit that a reputable stereo reviewersuggests, then tear it apart! I mean to say, find out everything from that manufacturer you can. Call dealers, investigate it thoroughly! It's painstaking sometimes, but in the end "YOU" will have picked everything apart enough to where a clear decision comes to you. Don't be fooled by high prices. It doesn't mean the best unit! After doing this myself, because some units do better with theater, some with 2 channel. I settled for one that had all of the attributes I needed, including price. My choices were between the following. Denon AVP-8000, Parasound AVP2500, and of course the EAD Powermaster ovation. Good Luck!!
Brandon, the answer is yes. The Levinson 380S has a unity gain feature that allows a processor to be put through. The Levinson still feeds the front left and right but the volume is now being controlled by the processor. Unless your 2 channel preamp has this feature the system will not be balanced since you'll be fiddling with 2 volume controls, one for the 2 channel and one for the processor. I've been using a Marantz processor for a couple of years and it's fair at best. But with a good SSP you get the best of both worlds.