What's good used 5.1pre/pro for $1500 or less

Hi there,

This is my first posting here. Currently,my simple system is following,

Acurus ACT-3
Carver TFM-25
Mega Sony CD changer
Maggie 1.6
Cardas twinlink

My plan is to upgrade both my pre/pro and amp.

I am going to get an used classe amp but not sure wich pre-pro will provide worthy step up (from Act-3) and synergies going forward. My proiorty is 70/30 between music/HT. Some of the gear I see on the used market are, Encore, Classe25/30, Proceed. Any suggesstion is welcome. Thanks.
___ Depending on what features you need there is an avm2 (Sonic Front.) in the used. right now. I think the asking is around 1250._____Then loose the twinlinc at least for your front 3 channels. There's a lot of better ics or speaker wires out there in 'used-land'.
I second the Anthem AVM-2. I owned one for over two years ans moved to the AVM-20. It was a lateral move. Also, they have a pass through for stereo listening.

Good luck,
I have the Anthem AVM-2, and it is a terrific piece at the price, but, if you don't need a tuner, which the Anthem has, I would go for a Proceed AVP, with S-type outputs. I believe it is a superior unit, the DAC's for the 2-channel are the same as the Levinson, and it is dirt cheap used because Madrigal stopped making it, though they will support it.
for that amount on money you can get yourslef an EAD pre/pro. I would think it would be much better than many pre/pros out there. good luck.
I would look at EAD or Krell.
Because the EAD TM8800 pro was recently released...there are absolutely incredible deals right now in both the used market and also directly from EAD on used or refurbished TM8000 pro units. I am thinking about picking one up for my downstairs system. Sonically, these units are unparalleled (except for the 8800pro which is better). I also noticed that Frank Boelen of Boelen electronics is doing some cost effective mods to these units with BlackGates and high speed soft recovery diodes.
If you want something really amazing and cheap, consider the Proceed PAV/PDSD combo, they went for $10K new, and sell now for ~1500 used. They are built like tanks and sound far better than the AVP they came out with later.... I won't say anything bad about EAD (considering an 8800 pro myself) but yopu will only be getting the significantly older stuff for $1500 and they weren't so user friendly then....

Agree that the PAV/PDSD was a great unit...but it is significantly dated at this point....but for $1500 would still be a great deal.

In terms of EAD...of course for $1500 he's not going to get the latest. But an Ovation8 or 8000 or 8000pro is a great unit and I didn't find it difficult to operate at all.

Bottom line: If one knows what they are doing these days they can set up an awesome theater with older equipment like Proceed or EAD.

How about the EAD Encore? I can live with 5.1
I like the encore...but if you could stretch for an Ovation.....it has better DACS. But the encore was a VERY solid performer.
Find yourself a Meridian processor and you will never regret the purchase. I have found none to be more musical and the home theatre performance is outstanding.
I personally own a Classe' SSP25THX and although I haven't heard everything out there, I can tell you that this is a worthwhile piece. The quality for movie reproduction is quite good. However, you have pass through for analogue reproduction and if you want, you can use the Classe's internal 24 bit DAC's which are as well extremely good. I have never been disappointed with this piece. I will one day replace it but for the money, don't know what I would even consider.

Good Listening,

Steve Bachman
Phoenix, AZ
Hmm, it would be a tough call. I like the Classe products The Anthem sounds good as well. EAD stuff is always a solid performer.

I dont want get you too far off your initial topic but, since 70% of your listening is music. Do you listen to 2 channel or multi channel? Some Processors are better at one and not the other.

Secondarily, the Sony Changer as a source may not reveal weakness. Just an idea, but upgrading the changer to an inexpensive single play CDP might give surprising results and set you up for more prescient future upgrades.

As far as DACs. The PCM1702 (EAD Encore) and the PCM1732 (EAD Ovation) arent that different. I believe (not 100%) taht the 1732 adds HDCD over the 1702. Anywho, the 1732 is a very common DAC, found in literally dozens of CDPs. I have them in a Rotel and they do sound good. The performance gap in these DACs is close and better yet, you can attain the DACs in a sub $300.00 player.

The bottom line is, the surrounding parts play a bigger role than the DACs themselves.

Since I am on the topic of DACs. I had chance to listen to the fairly new Cirrus (crystal) 43122 DACs in a Bryston Preamp and they were stunning. I know Harry will probably get a smile out of this one, the EAD TM8800pro uses this very DAC. Bryston does return over 40% percent of them because they have a very tight tolerance for performance. So it is cream-of-the-crop DACs, however, I suspect EAD has a similarly tough tolerance regime.
Thanks for everyone's input. Distortion, your input on DAC's is particularly interesting.

I will hold off on the multi-channel for now as it's relatively new.

I use the Sony as an transport only so I will completely rely on the pre-pro's DACs. From your thoughtful inputs, it seems that ead Encore is a worthy consideration. At around $900 in Audiogon, I think it looks increasingly more attracitve. However, Anyone knows if that will be a worthy step up from my current Act-3?
Classe SSP-50, better sounding than SSP-25/30, very close to SSP-75, also a great preamp, you may find used for under $1500.
I am looking to upgrade my pre/processor from a B&K Ref 30. I need a processor that supports multichannel sacd/dvd audio BUT I listen to a lot of music in two channel which is very important to me. My budget can go a little higher than $1500.00. What pre/processor combines great two channel sound along with good multichannel capabilities?

I believe the EAD Encore used the Crystal Semi CS4226 20-bid delta sigma. Hence, the sound was quite a bit different from the Burr Brown in the ovation.

I searched through a little reference materials on the two EAD products. I am now unsure which DACs went into what. It seems that only the "signature" model got independent PCM DACs.

It appears these two models (Encore and Ovation) use a single chip for A-to-D and D-to-A. So with that in mind, Harry may be on to something. The more the signal is manipulated by the DAC obviously the more important the quality of the DAC becomes. Though, I still stand by my original assertion that the quality of the total package is more of a factor than the model number of the DACs.

Nevertheless, I will leave the comparison of the two EAD products (Ovation v. Encore) to those who have more experience with them. I have heard the Ovation, and I am pretty sure I have heard the Encore. Not serious listening, just in passing. I remember liking what I heard. Dont recall if it was through the built in DACs though.

There are a few other questions worthy of looking at. Do/will you need a 5.1 analog input for SACD/DVD-A? What about PLII? What is/are the Subwoofer controls, especially for 2 channel?

I got really really close to buying a Classe SSP-30. It was a nice sounding unit. I would bet the SSP-50 that Johnc mentions is a serious contender in this price range. I believe that was Classe's top Processor at the time.
The differences between the Ovation, Encore, Theatermaster, Theatermaster pro, and Signature series can be a touch complex...but important because they do have different sound and features. The website (www.eadusa.com) has a section on past products that outlines the features of each. My first unit was an Ovation-8 with upgraded Theatermaster 8000pro software. It was sonically outstanding, but not as good as the 8800pro. None of the older units have PLII which was introduced on the 8800pro.

If you post specific questions about the different models here, perhaps owners of those models can provide some input.