Upgrade my Theta or move on?

Need advice on which seems smarter at this point.I currently own a casablanca 1(basic DACS)and am thinking of either upgrading to CAS 3 or looking at the anthem 30 or the EAD.Upgrade on the CAS is mighty steep!Would like to keep cost below 4K.Can upgrade to the 3 for 3K but to get the better DACS (extreme dacs) it's 3K more. Any idea's?I listen to 60% music,40%HT.Thanks
MY System
aragon amps-3002&3005
Mirage speakers(3si)fronts,Mccsi-center,OMR2-rears&BPSS210 Sub
Pioneer elite59 DVD
Cardas cables
Might also consider another world class DAC ... Audio Logic 24MXL ... $4K I think
Just curious, since the 3002 is only a two channel what is the purpose of 500w? I cannot imagine what kind of speaker load you could be dealing with.
The CAS III is amazing and so are the extreme's which will kill everything else mentioned. The volumen control is extremely transparent. I have an earlier EAD signature and it is extremely musical for 2 channel but it is still a better 2 channel than the current EAD which is better for multichannel. I'm not sure if the anthem would be a lateral move. you could just move up to superior DAC's and buy a better transport! that might be a better compromise.

The only other one I would seriously consider is the new Meridian line!

Didactically- The Mirage 3si's require a ton of juice to control and play them for Hometheater SPL's. Plus can you ever have too much?
What do you mean by excess amp power to 'control' the speakers. 'Play' I understand. If too little you get no volume for listening. But too much only puts the drivers in jeoprady, and accomplishes absolutely nothing.

At best, a little over the mfgr min recommended range for 'sense of ease' at higher levels. Otherwise it is just money that could be spent on somethig useful.

It is a myth that more power provides 'better' (whatever that is upposed to be) sound. The only 'sound' involved in amplifiers is audible distortion. Where a distortion free amp has no sound, and that is what you want. Otherwise it is just power.

Once the speaker drivers are operating as designed, any additional amplication capability just sits there in the amp only potentially useful if additional drivers are added to utilize the excess.

It is even worse when someone misunderstands that bi-amping is somehow going to improve sound. When it is just a way to add power if too little is available in the one amp for drivers of the system.

The notion may come from 'a little knowledge can be dangerous' of higher end systems that are multi channel and use two, three, or even more amps for the individual channels resulting from an active crossover (?)

Anyway, if it makes you feel better, as the wife may say :-)

Thanks Cytocycle.Boy i can't beleive you hit on two of my top choices.I love the new Meridan line,(heard the GO8 thur a CAS3)last night with superior DAC'S.Sounded SWEET!Listened to some arcam's as transports but was disappointed after hearing the Meridans.Any idea's for a transport not as much $ as the Meridan.Yes the Mirage's suck up that power!!!Liked the G98 for a DVD transport but also a little steep.Kevin
Didactically-Let me explain my amp set up.I had been using the 3002 with a acurus 200x3.I then got the 3005 and planned to set up my Casablanca in a 7.1 setup(300x7)Hope this makes sense.I mentioned both amps because i planned the upgrade.I must admit my lack of knowledge has kept me from posting on this forum for a long time.I could use your advice and hope to hear from you.
I see, if youve got em... just be careful. It is serious over-kill. You probably only need 50wpc, 100 at most if the drivers are grossly inefficient. At 50 that is 350w total, while the 3005 = 2100w (gulp).

My advise is to check out the Surround Sound link at http://www.linkwitzlab.com which is valuable resource for truth in all things audio.

There some interesting papers at the LINKS link as well.
Upgrade. I upgraded my I up III with 2 extreme dacs. Sounded pretty good. But then downloaded some new Theta software for the DACs, absolutely amazing. But I sure wish Theta would be more customer friendly.
I was in pretty much exactly the same boat--I had a Casa I with basic DACs looking at about $8K for an upgrade. In my case, I ended up realizing that most of what I listened to was 2 channel anyway--I had no center (Casa set to phantom center) and rarely turned on the VT60 powering my rear speakers. At the same time, the idea of decluttering my living room (rear speakers) appealed... so...

I ended up picking up a dCS Purcell and Delius... Thought I could run 'em w/o a preamp, but ended up losing some slam, so I dropped in a pre from another setup. Although I'm still working out some kinks, I'm *much* happier...
I did upgrade.Sent my unit to theta on 11/11.I DID EXTREMES in the fronts LRC/sub and moved my standards to the rears.Just got the unit back on 1/4/05 and all i can say is WOW!Sounds like i have a new system!Now looking for cables since i now need balanced for fronts.Any ideas?What fun using all these settings!-Kevin
Just to clarify some issues about amp power. While the warnings about damaging your speakers due to excessive power have merit, it is very unlikely.

In almost all cases (certainly most of the cases that I've seen) damage to the voice coil of a cone driven speaker is caused by insufficient power. Though it seems oxymoronic, it happens all the time.

When your amp runs out of power, it will clip the signal. This turns the nice sine wave into a nasty square wave (OK, an approximation of a square wave). Moreover, the square wave has a lot of high frequency harmonics in it. Two things happen.

One, the voice coil of your cone speake is extended for the length of time it is trying to reproduce the signal. This causes the voice coil to heat up. It's the moving back and forth of the voice coil that helps cool it. By leaving it extended for long periods (relative to normal operation) the heat can't dissipate and the voice coil is in danger or burning out.

Secondly, the high frequency harmonics stress the voice coil while its already in this vunerable position. That couple with the first issue cause real problems.

The clipping characteristics of amps vary. Tube amps do not have that problem. They clip smoothly. Single ended amps also have much nicer clipping characteristics though there are very few high power single ended transitor amps on the market.

So, enjoy your powerful amps and do not worry about speaker damage. Your ears will tell you long before your speakers do that you're playing your music too loud.
Interesting, your system has some similarities to mine. I had a Rotel RCD971 CD player, Theta DaVid II DVD transport, Theta Casablanca II with "superior" front channel DACs, Sunfire AMP and Mirage speakers. I'm currently upgrading to Vandersteen speakers (3A Sigs, Vcc-1, VSM-1) from the Mirage's. This should add a huge improvement in imaging, detail and clarity. I'm planning to improve my music listening further by adding a good two channel pre-amp and better dedicated CD player. Movie soundtracks are satisfactory already. Based upon what I've learned from the "Audio Perfectionist" going this way will offer significantly better quality for the money than upgrading the Casablanca processor. I'm sure I will come back around to that but not until after upgrading to a dreadnaught amp and maybe better speaker cables.
Having had the CB and then upgraded to a CBll with extreme DACS, along with the DaViD, the Theta Data lll, 4 Vandy 3A sigs, the VCC 5 and two VSM on the sides, and two 2wq's I feel very confident in saying don't bother to upgrade your CB to improve your music listening.
Keep it as your HT processor, it is terrific for that. Then take your $4000 and buy the best 2 channel pre amp that you can find with a AV pass through. For that amount of money you can buy used or new and get a pre amp that will out perform the CB by leaps and bounds. You also need a CD player or a TT, the DVD player is great for movies but, for music, get a CD player or TT.
Monible-Funny you should mention the dreadnaught,I just sold my Aragon 3005 and am ordering a Dread11,I am also going this week to a local dealer to audition the 3A Sigs along with one of their centers.I might spoil myself and listen to the 5A's.When are you getting the Vandy's?
Agaffer-I already upgraded to the CAS111 with EXTREMES.I agree with you that i should have used the $ for a good PRE.I guess you live and learn.It is a great unit for HT.
I'm picking up the Vandersteen's this weekend. I've wanted them for quite a while and finally have the opportunity to buy them "used." I'm really looking forward to it. Of course now I'm already planning my next upgrades. I'm sure you know how that is. If I only had more money!
The 5A's are awesome, but way out of my price range at the moment.