I think that Fosgate is building an all tube surround pre-amp, but have no first-hand experience.
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Get the 2 channel tube preamp you like that has a pass-through for a separate HT processor. Only then will you really have the best of both worlds.
Many high-end companies will add a processor loop by special order, so don't assume any tube preamp won't work. Check with the company or a dealer first.
I am a Blue Circle distributor, so if you would like information on their tube preamps let me know. (Yes a processor loop is available on all models).
Sugarbrie makes an excellent point! I have a BAT VK-3i which has a "Unity Gain" setting, whereby it will pass two channels (L/R) directly to the power amp without attenuation or gain. This allows a separate processor to send its L/R signal through my pre-amp to the power amp > speakers. Of course, you would need separate amplification for Center/Surrounds and that amp would get its signal directly from the HT processor.
My experience with the likes of the Fosgate, is compromised overall extremes. Also, no DD/DTS processing. This is a dynamic compromise to say the least, as you must process DD/DTS from your dvd player! This is not ideal, at all!!!
I've yet to come across a processor that's bassed on tubes for the preamp section, or whatever. That said, I'd still stick with the old tube preamp or amp for 2 channel, and loop in a standard 5.1 digial av pre/pro for my movies. This works, why screw with it?! You'll just have compromises all across the board, for certain!!!
Flrnlamb: "My experience with the likes of the Fosgate, is compromised overall extremes. Also, no DD/DTS processing. This is a dynamic compromise to say the least, as you must process DD/DTS from your dvd player! This is not ideal, at all!!!"
Not ideal at all? Why so? Do you believe the DACs in DVD players are inferior to those available in popularly priced pre/pros? I'm using a 6-channel, all-and-nothing-but-analog preamp in my multichannel-audio/video system (see my system) and am VERY pleased. My discplayer, a Denon 2900, sounds so good and works so well, I just bought another one to use while I get my original fixed*.
The only way to get full resolution from SACDs and DVD-As is thru the player's analog, 6-channel outputs, so one is stuck with the player's DAC. And for DVD-Vs with their already-lower-resolution-audio, why bother to use an outboard DAC or one in a pre/pro when one already has a perfectly fine one in the player? (Obviously, some of us have more than one multichannel digital source, some of which do not have DACS, so a separate one is REQUIRED, but no one has indicated that requirement exists.)
I love the sound of my all-analog-after-the-player, lots-of-vacuum-tubes multichannel system, but of course it could be better, and I trust conrad-johnson so much, I just ordered a 6-channel MET1 that is indeed all vacuumtubed**. But my improved 6-channel Audio Refinements Pre 5 sounds VERY good. A GEA friend and I just compared it in my system to a newest-version H-CAT 2-channel preamp that has about 500 hours on it. Both of us thought the H-CAT was slightly better in soundstaging but that the AR was slightly richer in the lower-midrange and had more-attractive (meaning, in this case, slightly 'softer') treble. I was thrilled!
Have you heard the Fosgate, Audio Research, or any ohter high-end 6-channel preamp?
* Its audio and video outputs 'stutter'.
** All Voltage gain is done by one stage, a 6C4/M8080/EC90 single-triode tube (times 6); the output stage uses solidstate buffers to lower its output impedance.
For the record, Sugarbies answer is probably your best solution! I've used that many times, it's the best solution for 2 channel and HT, with no compromises that way, yes.
Jeffreybehr, in response to your questions, it's not just a matter of whether or not the DAC's in these DVD players that process DD/DTS are as good as the one's in the "pre/pro's, but rather a combination of factors! Believe me, I've tried it many many many times the way you're doing it, and IT DOESN'T WORK FOR dd/dTS even remotely as well sonically!!!! If it did, I'd SURELY dump the pre/pro and just go dirrect multi-channel connection from the DVD player to my amp or multi-channel analog preamp!!!
Really, yes, I think most of the processors in the players fall far short of what's being used in the separates pre/pro's. But also, the analog output and buffering stage of the DVD player isn't up to snuff, and doesn't give enough gain to really offer the DYNAMICS needed/intended from the DD/DTS!
I already know how your system sounds for DD/DTS movie material this way...it's shy on dynamics, impact, and 3 dimmensionality, even ultimate detail. The big difference however, is DYNAMICS!...or in your case, lack-there-of.
That's just how it is. If you think not, just pick up a used Acurus ACT 3, and switch it out for your existing setup for movies....not even close!!!!
Only way to "have both" is to "have both" - HT processor and a tube preamp with an HT bypass or "unity gain" - don't chase this down a rabbit hole - HT processors are computers and 2 channel tube preamps are "analog" machines - there are many combinations which will give you the best of each format (otherwise one will ultimately hurt the other IMO). Hard to recommend without more info on your system and tastes. YMMV as always.
As far as I know DVD Players do not decode the DTS audio track but do DD just fine. I ran digital out to the HT processor for years, then fooling around w/ the audio outs of my DVD player I discovered how MUCH smoother, so much LESS harshness, less edge AND I get ALL the dynamics from the DD track (because I'm running all 5.1 channels - no downmixing of the channels). This was a fundemental change and I do not see ever going back to digital out to a processor.
Sorry for resurrecting this thread.
If what Drcruz said was indeed true, the word would indeed be spreading all around about not needing an outboard av pre-pro! This is not the case in my experiences. If someone want's to invite me over to check out the superiority of their system "without using an outboard pre-pro for dd/dts)", and then let me try a "swap-out" to compare, I'm there!!! It just simply doesn't do it right from my experiences with hundreds of these setups.
I re-read my post and I counted the use of the word "I" (me, myself, I) 6 times. No where in my post do I say that "Flrnlamb is wrong" OR "everyone else should do what 'I' do". I just wrote down "my" personal experience.
Also, it seemed to me that reviews of DVD/Universal Players focus on the "anolog" audio outs and not the digital out. Which is one of the reasons "I" did the experiment.
I live in Oceanside California. You can come and laugh at my system anytime you want (bring a good movie and "I'll" buy the Guiness). AND I'm serious, when you see my system you'll get a chuckle (inexpensive system w/ NO WAF for major improvements)
To my mind, there is only one answer: SUPRATK!! Either a Supratek CHENIN model tube preamp, at $2900 with phono stage, or the less expensive CHARDONEY, without phono stage, at $2100. These are world class preamps at VERY reasonable prices. They will definitely make your system sing. Both have the surround sound bypass feature that you'll need.
Good luck and Godspeed, firstname.lastname@example.org