Processor hunt....does this animal exist??

OK, I’m having a really hard time finding the processor I want. All I want is;

1. At least one 5.1 analog input, two would be better
2. Only needs to do 5.1 DD/DTS as I have no desire to go to 6.1 or 7.1, 5.2 would be a plus though…
3. Solid analog section, none of this converting my analog to digital and back again
4. Would like DPL II but could do without
5. Prefer single ended and balanced outputs with at least one balanced input
6. Discreet remote codes for power…….
7. DC triggers/phast connectivity
8. Upgradeable power cord
9. No video on the unit, they all look cheesy to me, but I could defeat this if need be
10. OK, I’d like it in black, but would buy whatever color it comes in
11. Can’t be bright or harsh… spent too much time and funds to get rid of that sound, don’t want it back… (sorry, for me this rules out Bryston, Aragon, and I’m still not real impressed with Lexicon, though they’ve come a long way)

What I don’t need;
1. Video switching…all video goes straight to the TV, and if need be I’d use an external DVI switcher
2. WAF (she lets me buy any stereo gear I can afford!!!)

The rest of the system is an active Linn 51 with an Esoteric DV-50s, but will be progressing to a Revel (Salons/Voice/Studios) with likely Proceed HPA’s until I go to ML 436’s…..

Does someone make this for less than the cost of my house???? Bueller??
"sorry, for me this rules out Bryston." SP-1.7?

You should listen to it before you rule it out. Once in your system if it still sounds bright then... Look at cabling or room reflections and absorption to tame those Revels. The SP-1.7 is definitely not bright. Its very neutral in 2 channel bypass and very relaxed to slightly warm with its internal DACs.

Maybe your looking for a warm colored sound? The Krells, although cooler sounding than the Bryston, have an EQ which allows you to taper the highs.

Also I havent heard the newer Cary Cinema, but I have heard its an excellent processor.
If you're willing to go used / older model, you could find an EAD Signature 8a. Or one of the newer 8000 or 8800 series. I know definitely that the 8a has almost all of the features you want. It has only one 12v trigger, but no DPL II. Everything else is there. It is a great sounding unit. Sadly, EAD is no more, but Boelen continues to offer repairs / upgrades for this gear. Even still, you find EAD prepros mentioned often here for recommendations on a great sounding unit.
Have you ever tried the Anthems ?
Yes, it is called the Meridian 861! Smokin' good I might add!

i'm thinking EAD as well. if you can't swing the 8000 or 8800 series, you at least need an ovation-8 (or an ovation and extra $$$ for the ovation-8 upgrade). the signature-8 would be even better. i'm not 100% sure if they're out of business. i've heard that rumor, but they're site is still up:
Check out the Primare processors. I think they've got everything you need and are quite smooth and natural sounding. Unusual in the used market, but definitely a good buy at A'gon prices if you do find them.
Oh, Poschecab, the Meridian converts all analog inputs to digital and back... sorry, a likely one, but doesn't do a seperate analog.

I had considered a Classe SSP 75, which does most of what I want too....

Tough choices..
What about a Linn Kisto or Kino? I know the Kino has 5.1 input, cant remember whether the Kisto has it though. I am not sure about the conversion requirement either (no A to D back to A). Either way, you're sure to keep that polite Linn sound.

I cant argue with the Classe, though I am not sure you'll like the analog preamp section. It's pretty neutral sounding (very good IMO). The EAD 8800pro spent a few days here at my house. Its a nice piece. But its 2 channel performance and lack of flexibilty didnt warrant an address change for my current piece! But its definately worthy of audition.
Had a kisto in the syswtem, really nice, but thte remote was so poor as to really turn me off to it. Sound was fantastic, but I hated the way you had to select inputs....and the $13K price for it, but given that I am considering the Meeridian stuff, $13K isn't too bad....
Kgturner, I can confirm that EAD is no more, at least in the sense that they've closed their doors. Whether there is a move to bring it back to life is something I don't know. But the doors are definitely closed.

Distortion, I agree that for pure 2 channel performance, an EAD is only pretty good (IMO), but not as good as a nice two channel preamp. But then, that's true (if not worse) for many multichannel prepros. At least the EAD has analog bypass. I find I keep my two channel preamp in line and I can easily switch between the two. That may not be acceptable for some, though.

What was it that you found less than flexible with the EAD?
Tony, I couldnt agree more. I am certain I will move to a better and separate preamp in the near future. My current setup is sufficient for now. Of the Pre/pros I have brought home, the Bryston has dispatched them all. Not all easily though and there are plenty more that I havent even seen, much less heard. Its probably due to my specific use, mostly 2 channel bypass with three sources. The fact that the SP1.7 has a complete and separate Bryston 2 channel preamp built in probably helps. Some say its the BP-25, others say its the BP-20, I dont know, but it has something no other Pre/pro has so far matched.

I try to be as objective as I can, though admittedly I do like Bryston gear and have had nothing short of great customer service from them.

Specifically the EAD did not allow multiple analog bypass's. Not really a big deal, but being able to analog bypass any input, of any source, at any moment, is really quite handy. Its a real shame about EAD going under. They really turned out great sounding gear.

Kenny, Wow, I knew those Linn's would be expensive. They're top quality and the price reflects it. Thats a shame about the remote, I bet the synergy was great! Isnt the new Linn AV controller (Kinos) about 8k retail? Maybe it has less finicky controls.

I enjoy the V4 Lexicon mc-12B. Once the microphones are used to dial in the room, the music is very close to an acoustically good room sound.

You can do many changes to the room such as adding new components, accessories, or speaker positions and dial in the room within twenty minutes. This is a stopgap measure until I get the money together to do a room from the ground up. It does really speak volumes on a good sound.
What about budget?
Just get a used Krell HTS, and have it moded by MSB tech for a 5.1 input($395). So, for $1700 range total, used, you get world class 5.1, and inputs, plus XLR in's/out's, lots of features...and most importantly, world class refined 5.1
Krell HTS series, Meridian (pricey, but really reall good), Parasound C2, Anthem AVM 30 (D1 if you have the budget)!!
What do folks here think about the McIntosh MX119 and/or MX135?
The Meridian 861 can meet all your needs listed above and then some! It seems expensive at first but once you consider all that it can do plus how very easily upgradeable it is now and will continue to be into the future, it is a great investment!
What about looking for a Krell HTS2, not the current 7.1 but the 5.1 previous model, the sound is very good, and you can pick one up for around 3 grand or under. I replaced my stereo preamp and separat processor combination for this unit alone and am very happy with the results, hope that helps

I currently use the Krell HTS 7.1. Not a popular piece here at AudiogoN, but I tried a MX119 and returned it. It was not even close. I was very disappointed because the "touch/feel" of the McIntosh gear is so much nicer than the industrial look and feel of the Krell. But, I just couldn't ignore the superior sound of the Krell. It is way under-rated IMO.
FWIW I we4nt with the Meidian 861 v4... decided if I was to spend the amount of $$ on a pre/pro, I wanted it to not need to be replaced in the next few years....

Yes, it is expensive, and likely I'll also add a Meridian player to it to take full advantage of the MHR link, but......
Sorry, but the first thing I'd do if I were you is look at your speaker selection. Revel's are your the bright link in your system. I find them to be colored, harsh and fatiguing. There are so many better options to choose from.
Why not go the way that I did. Meridian 568.2 with a Aesthetic Calypso Preamp. Best of both worlds.


I have been looking at the Integra Research RDC 7.1. Have you considered that? I can't say it meets all your needs, but its configurable via plug-in modules and may be a viable option. FYI, there are reviews of this unit in the Jan/Feb issue of The Perfect Vision, and a review in Ultimate AV in Dec 05, that were very favorable on its AQ.


Already took the plunge on the Meridian... wife OK'd the purchase... that was all I needed.... Now I need new racks and a TV stand.... it just never ends!
Dawgbyte, I'm confused by your contradition in stances on the sonic merits of audio gear, in direct comparison to professional audio mag reviews. Here your stating that this gentlemans Revel Studio's/Salon's are "Bright, and you find them sonically harsh, colored(?), and fatiguing, etc. And yet EVERY PROFESSIONAL REVIEW on these states that these specific speakers are simply ultra high end, even "Stereophile Class A rated" designs, the anti-thesis of your claims.
On another post(Act3 Vs. Lecicon) where you claimed the lexicon's sonic merits were directly in line with all the "glowing reviews", you said my credibility was surely shot, in that I contradicted the magazine's review, of which you gave me some references(I felt they said nothing personally).
So how do you respond to the fact ( has all the mag reviews on Revles) that Revel Studio's/Salon's are obviously reviewed by the highest end mags/reviewers as simply wonderful, even world class passive speakers,(I've heard the Revels, and they're are nothing you're stating, they're very transparant and refined actually.) when you're stating credibility issues with others who contradict what you feel are great reviews of other products? This does seem somewhat hypocricial. Surely you must concure. Your clarificiation here would be appreciated.

I couldn't have, and didn't initially, respond better!

I then went through Dawgbyte's posts and saw I was not necessarily dealing
with the most reputable source, so I pulled my initial reply and held quiet.....
I also noted his system wasn't posted...... FWIW I agree with you, and find the
Revels a great speaker and very to my liking, thus why I will have them soon.

BTW the 861 came today, should be up and running by Monday (going tile
shopping with the wife tomorrow in Orlando so....)