What are you getting for $12k in a pre-pro?

First of all, I have no need for the 2-channel section in a pre-pro..period.

However, I am in the market for for a processor with 5.1 analog inputs. I am currently using a Sunfire Theater Grand II. To me, it sounds outstanding with digital coaxial connection...but, I understand going with a processor with a direct 5.1 analog hookup will be better with my hi-def dvd player.

I am considering a Theater Grand III because it has the 5.1 analog inputs.

What puzzles me is, for movies, how much better will a $10-12k processor be than the Sunfire Theater Grand III for showing movies? Please don't talk about 2-channel attributes here, just the ability to play back the audio on a dvd for movies. For several years I have been content with the sound I've been getting listening to movies. Now with all this hi-def dvd stuff going on, I'm wondering if I'm missing out on anything. And, for the life of me, I can't help wondering what a $10k and up pre-pro will do for a dvd that a $3500 pre-pro will not do, or how much better it will be.

Please, I just want to understand what's going on. I'm very new to the high-end on home theater and I just need to know what I'm missing, if anything by not having one of those $10k and up pre-pros.

Also, do the people that have $10-12k pre-pros generally use them for their primary 2-channel listening also? Or, is that $10k just for the playback of dvd's?

Please, I am not one of those people that bash others for spending large sums on their gear...lord knows that I've spent my share too. I just want my money's worth.

Please see my system page to see the associated equipment.

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Can you please tell us which hi-def player it is? If it is the HD-A2 then it omits the multi-channel analog outputs. Only the x model has them. This would negate your need for the multi-channel inputs.
Another commment, I thought the sunfire grand II had a db-25 input on back for connection to a external processor or dvd player?
My player is the Toshiba HD-XA2 with the 5.1 channel outputs.

The Theater Grand does have the db-25 6-channel input on the back, but there is no db-25 output on the dvd player.
"The Theater Grand does have the db-25 6-channel input on the back, but there is no db-25 output on the dvd player"

Many cable makers, will make you a cable....rca's on one end, db-25 connection on the other...no big thing.

Can't help with the rest, sorry.


Well I can't answer your question exactly, but I can tell you what the difference was for me when I went from a $2000 pre/pro to $6500 pre/pro. The more expensive pre/pro had fewer bells and whistles, fewer settings and options, a very basic user's manual....and MUCH better sound: clearer, more dynamic, more resolved, more involving. You name it the sound was better with every source, analog or digital, movies or music, whatever.

I don't miss tweaking all the settings that I was always playing with. And I appreciate the added enjoyment that comes with higher quality sound and less fiddling.

Hope this helps.
What you get if buy something like Meridian 800 series is card based architecture which will allow you to build the processor to the needs of your system. It can also expand if need be. The unit can be upgraded with new electronics and connector types as they evolve. Almost any hi-end pre/pro without HDMI connections is going out of date fast. At this level you are also getting the best audio/video DACs and pre-amp stages short of very high-end 2 channel gear. In some ways the 5.1 soundtrack is as more of a limitation then the gear.

I am not up on the latest analog out vs digital, but it seems like it would depend on which had the better DACs. Unless your DVD player is on the very high end I would say the processor is going to do better.

If I had a 10k+ processor it would be going in a dedicated theater room. As for 2 channel use, I am sure some do and some don't.
I think right now is the WORST time to upgrade pre/pros to handle the digital data stream from Blu-ray or HD DVD. Until they offer full digital video and sound processing from HDMI inputs, you're buying obsolescence.

So the interim solution is to make use of your analog DB25 5.1 input on your Sunfire. Here's Wireworld's offering of the DB25-to-RCA cable SoGood51 was talking about: http://www.gspr.com/wireworld/rainbow.html

Straightwire, Cobalt Cable, and several others used to make them. Maybe a vendor still has one lying around. You might also contact Sunfire or Aragon (who also used the DB25 input) for a wiring diagram so you could "roll your own" if Wireworld no longer offers theirs.

Pe3046... you for pointing out that the Theater Grand II had the db25 input on the back. I had lost the manual and had seen the input on the back but had no idea what that "thing" was for. Before your post, I was negotiating to buy a Theater Grand III because it had the RCA inputs for 5.1. You saved me $1,000. A Crutchfield receiver with HDMI and 5.1 inputs arrived yesterday. I am returning it unopened for a full refund. I don't need it anymore because I can get the 5.1 inputs from my current pre-pro.

I did buy a db25 cable and it will arrive shortly. However, after all the wrangling, I found out from a review of the player that the Toshiba HD-XA2 was having issues with the 5.1 output. I'm going to give it a try anyway. If it is too much hassle, my digital coax cable has worked just fine all these years.

...thanks again to everyone on this thread and I really appreciate your contributions here.

The denizens of AudioGon have been a tremendous help to me in setting up and enjoying my systems.