Surround Processor Upgrade to improve surround music?

I currently have an Integra DHC-80.3 for surround duties. I have TRL Dude preamp to handle my two channel sources (Lumin A1,  Technics SP10/Basis Vector). I am currently using an Oppo 103D to stream the surround music (SACD and LPCM) that I have ripped to my Synology NAS. The Oppo is transmitting DSD via HDMI to the DHC-80.3.  I am considering upgrading the Integra for the sole purpose of improving the quality of surround
for music.  I have been thinking about a Bryston SP-3 or Classe SSP-800/CT-SSP. Of course those processors
do not support DSD so I would need to decode upstream to analog or LPCM.  I am trying to decide if the
improvement would be significant or minor. My other downstream equipment is reasonably high quality(Green Mountain Continuum 3 mains and center channel, TRL Samson L-R amps, EAD PM-1000 for center and surrounds ,2 x Seaton Submersive subs).
   So this may be a Kal kind of question. But has anyone moved from the DHC-80.3 to Classe or Bryston and can comment on the level of improvement for audio?  I know this will be very system dependant. I am just trying to figure out if it is worth the $ and effort. In concert with that I might upgrade the oppo to the 205 if decoding to analog in the Oppo was the best route.  I do still need a surround decoder as I have other digital sources (Tivo,
Apple-TV, etc). Thanks for any insights.

Okay, just for information, any sort of PCM audio through HDMI is never as good as through s/pdif COAX.  HDMI is a poor interface for clocked audio sources, such as PCM or DSD.  The sound of PCM through HDMI lacks dynamics and sounds very compressed.  I have also found that it has a blare or shouty effect in the upper midrange as well.  If you really want to play surround SACD, I would highly recommend upgrading to Oppo 105/205 and then use analog output with some very good interconnects.  Alternatively, you can do PCM through digital COAX.

For the surround pre/pro, the SP3 has extremely good audio stages.  Fully discrete Class A circuits for BOTH input as well as output.  The Bryston is somewhat laid back in sound, so keep that in mind.  In my opinion the Bryston digital/DAC board is not up to par.  Looks like there is one on Audiogon for $3k.  I tried the Bryston out in my system and I just did not feel that it was good enough.  The movie sound was laid back and lacked excitement, attack and dynamics.

I would also look at Krell S1200U 3D.  It is an excellent pre/pro.  Fully discrete Class A analog output stages.  It does use OPA2134 op amps for the analog input stage, so resolution is okay.  If you use COAX for 2-channel PCM, the Krell will automatically down-convert anything to 44.1/48 sampling frequency before sending to DAC (this includes stuff such as 24/96 and 24/192).  It's just Krell behavior.  However, 2-channel PCM audio still sounds awesome!!  I own the S1200 and it's my favorite out of this list.  There's one on Audiogon for $3595.

The Class SSP800 is also a nice device.  It's very clean sounding.  However, it uses LM4562 op amps for all analog stages (no discrete or Class A circuits).  Classe has gone out of business, so there will not be any support for this item.

I have the same DSP. Have you calibrated with Audyssey XT32? I think the advantages of a good calibration are the most important - especially as you have different speakers in your setup which rarely works well. I like XT32 for surround and had good results in a 7.1 setup with all matched speakers and matching sub. For two channel I would bypass the Integra and go with a good separate DAC - easily done if the DAC doubles as a preamp and has an HT bypass feature.
  Thanks for your insight. It seems like moving to the Oppo205 would be a good first step using the analog outputs and then evaluate if that is far enough
    I do have a separate preamp and streamer/DAC (Lumin A1) for two channel digital. I did initially experiment with Audyssey XT32 and was not happy with the results. My center channel is also Green Mountain Audio and as the same tweeter/mid as my main speakers.  My rears are a combo of Green Mountain Europa (rear) and M&K Tri-poles (side)...Perhaps I will experiment with Audyssey again over the holidays since it has been a long time since I used it. Thanks
Well, if you want to go absolutely nuts, and don't want to quite get to Theta Casablanca levels, you could get an Oppo 103 with a coax mod board. It outputs all 8 channels on discrete, 2 channel SPDIF coaxial connectors, letting you buy 3-4 DAC's of your choice, with your choice for DSD, depending on board.


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