Suggestions for new AV Pre-Pro

I'm interested in purchasing a new AV pre-pro to replace my aging Outlaw 990. My speakers consist of the Focal 1027be, 1007be and cc1000be. My Simaudio I-7 is used for both 2 channel and also drives the front channels in 5.1. I have an Outlaw 7500 driving the center channel and rear speakers. I plan to use 5.1 analog outputs from the Oppo 95 into the processor and the hdmi directly into the tv so I'm not concerned about video processing. I also have the SB Touch with the W4S Dac 1 for 2 channel into the Sim, but I would also like to run a digital cable from the Touch into the AV processor for 5.1 sound. The processor should be comparable with the rest of the system.
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Showing 14 responses by ronrags

I made an offer for the SSP-600 and it was accepted. I'm thinking of purchasing a 5 channel Classe amp to match and sell the Sim I-7 and the Outlaw 7500. The reviews for Classe amps were all good but I'm not so sure how they compare to the Sim amps. I wanted to buy the Classe 200w amp but it will not fit in my unit due to its height so I may have to go with their 100w amp. My only concern is the 100w per channel with the Focal speakers in my 13x18 room. I usually to 2 channel at low to moderate levels and I'm not concerned in 5.1 since I have to 2 subs and leave the fronts to small.

Does my idea of the buying the Classe amp seem reasonable or should I stick with the amps I have?
KR4, Out of the 3 suggested, which would you say sounds the best.

Raks, Theta makes great products but it's over my budget.
Sparks81, I was waiting for someone to recommend a pre/pro that's more in line with my speakers. As I stated, I was hoping to obtain the sound quality I get with the Sim I-7 in 2 channel. The Sim will still power the front speakers in 5.1 but controlled by a good pre-pro.
Kr4, You stated both the 11a and 12 are not as capable in HT with regards to room eq. I'm not so concerned with room eq as with total sound quality especially in 5.1. As I stated, I'm using the Sim I-7 for 2 channel and driving the fronts in 5.1. Is the Marantz SQ as good as Cary?
Since you guys have either recommened the Marantz or the Cary, has anyone actually compared the two units?
Sparks81,I appreciate your reply. I was also told by a dealer that going with a Marantz is a step backward. I'm wondering if I buy a pre-pro like the Cary, would it pay to replace both the Sim I-7 and the Outlaw amp with a 5 channel Cary amp or similar?
Sparks, I plan on doing further research on the Cary plus these other brands you mentioned. Unfortunately as Kr4 stated, it's nearly impossible to perform an A/B comparison these days. The best advise is usually from forums like this. If these pre-pros sound that good in 2 channel, I'll probably sell the Wyred 4 Sound DAC 1 I just purchased 2 months ago.
Mike, good to here from you again. I appreciate your suggestion, but since I purchased the Sim I-7 for 2 channel, I've become a little spoiled with the sound quality of the Sim thru the Focal speakers. What I was hoping for was a pre-pro that comes close to the Sim in SQ. I've considered the integra and marantz but I doubt they have the overall SQ as the Sim. I still listen to sacd, dvd-audio and especially dvd concerts. If I could get this SQ in both 5.1 and 2 channel from another pre-pro and 5 channel amp, I would sell my existing 5.1 set-up including the Sim and the DAC 1. As I stated in the beginning of this thread I'm not concerned about video processing. I prefer to manually set-up the 5.1 and I still use the same acoustic treatment as you. As some members have stated, the quirks in the Cary seem minor as compared to the overall sound. I'm open for suggestions if there are any other systems in the same price range as the Cary.
I was researching other pre-pros and I came across the Classe SSP-600. The reviews were excellent and I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this model.
Mike, I'm leaning towards the Classe and probably make a decision shortly. As I mentioned, I plan to use the Classe dacs for the SB Touch so I just listed the W4S DAC 1 for sale and I'll use the funds towards the pre-pro. I also plan to sell the Outlaw 990 once I receive the Classe.

I plan to compare the analog outs from the Oppo with the Classe internal dacs for both 2 channel and 5.1. I'll let you know the results.
Mike, even though you heard the Classe thru B&W speakers, how would consider the sound? The Sim has great bass, the mids and highs are smooth. There is a review on the CA5100 in HTM and it basically states the same qualities, but it's hard to tell based on the other components used.

Sparks, I understand your concern with the power. The 1027be speakers have a sensitivity of 91db but do go down to 3 ohms. As I stated, I have limited height restriction in my unit. The 200w Classe is an inch too high. I could put off the purchase until I receive the SSP-600 and see how it sounds with the Outlaw 7500. Thanks
Mike, sounds good to me
Malon, I also believe in synergy among components and with cables but the problem is trial and error. It gets quite expensive buying and selling components and hoping it will sound best in your system. I happen to like the sound of the Sim I-7 and the Focal speakers in 2 channel. Unfortunately the Sim av-pro and 5 channel amps are over my budget. That is why I looking for components that are comparable to the Sim but not the cost.
Due to an unexpected home repair this past weekend I was able to place the purchased of the SSP-600 on hold. In the mean time I wondering if anyone has played digital files thru the 600 and how it sounds in 2 channel.