Pre Pro Recommendations

ATC & other makes of Home Cinema equipment
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Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Muser » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:53 pm

I'm thinking about adding a higher quality preamp / processor to my system and taking the leap to surround sound and would like input on a preamp/processor.

I bought an Onkyo 885(b) as a first step, but the video board is failing. Do I pay US$400 to fix the board and wait for it to fry itself or try another pre/pro? The repair is an obvious stop-gap choice as the video board seems to overheat itself and the repair won't remove that design flaw. Naturally, Onkyo pre/pros aren't on my shopping list.

My criteria are:
Superior sound quality with room correction, not just bass management.
Only need to support one video monitor
I don't think it matters if the processor works on the video signal as I'm not very particular about video.
3D picture quality is of no matter
Audio / video inputs for four components

Brands that I'm thinking about are : Marantz, NAD and Anthem.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
ATC SCM20-2A, Onkyo 885(a) preamp processor, YBA 1 Alpha preamp, Amazon Model 2 tt, Moerch DP6 arm and Dynavector XX2MkII cartridge, Oppo 105, Twisted Pear Audio Buffalo 32S DAC (balanced out) Kubala Sosna Expression cabling. Two 15" Acoustic Elegance subwoofers, powered by QSC RMX 2450 amplifier w/ minidsp equalization.

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby MevDinc » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:24 pm

Hi Larry,

I have the Marantz SR7005 and I'm very happy with it.

Best.
Mev
Audirvana+3.0 - Mac Mini, Lindermann Musicbook 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL (with the ATC tweeter!)

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Muser » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:22 pm

Mev:
You've got a high rez setup with the Voltikus. How does the Marantz compare to that as a "preamp?"
In the background, I'm contemplating selling my tube preamp to simplify my system, but don't want to go too far backward, soundwise.

In advance, thanks for sharing your experience.
ATC SCM20-2A, Onkyo 885(a) preamp processor, YBA 1 Alpha preamp, Amazon Model 2 tt, Moerch DP6 arm and Dynavector XX2MkII cartridge, Oppo 105, Twisted Pear Audio Buffalo 32S DAC (balanced out) Kubala Sosna Expression cabling. Two 15" Acoustic Elegance subwoofers, powered by QSC RMX 2450 amplifier w/ minidsp equalization.

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Shadorne » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:51 am

I have an Anthem DSP (old model) and I am very happy with it. Extremely flexible and highly configurable DSP. Plenty of inputs and outputs. Not the last word in sound perhaps but for movies or concerts - perfect!
"ATC. Always The Champion. I will not record without them. The best studio monitors. Period." ~ Lenny Kravitz

Benchmark DAC3, 2 x ATC SCM EL150ASL, 1 ATC SCM 0.1/15, 2 x Genelec 8020, Roland TD-30 Drums, Pearl Ref Acoustic Kit, Ludwig brass & Pearl Ref snares, Gibson LP Supreme, Fender Precision Bass

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby spacey » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:36 am

JRMC19/Gizmo - Resonessence Labs INVICTA MIRUS - ATC SCM25A Pro's

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby MevDinc » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:46 pm

Muser wrote:Mev:
You've got a high rez setup with the Voltikus. How does the Marantz compare to that as a "preamp?"
In the background, I'm contemplating selling my tube preamp to simplify my system, but don't want to go too far backward, soundwise.

In advance, thanks for sharing your experience.


Larry,

I actually use the Marantz for movies only, I did listen to music through Marantz a few times and although it's very good, Zodiac + ATC combo is so much better.

There are better processors like Lexicon and others out there but in terms of value for money, it's hard to beat Marantz IMO.

Good luck.
Mev
Audirvana+3.0 - Mac Mini, Lindermann Musicbook 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL (with the ATC tweeter!)

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby paul_riordan » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:28 pm

I've been using the Anthem D2v for nearly two years. I use it for some surround music - DVD Audio and SACD and for me it works very well (unfortunately it does not process native DSD so you have to convert to PCM on the source, but I guess you can't have everything). I also use it for movies and it is excellent for that, especially with active ATCs all round!!!! I actually use a separate pre-amp (with a unity gain input - to deal with the front channels in the surround setup). So my stereo inputs are managed through my pre-amp - Mark Levinson 380s. The D2v has a built in scaler etc. so would probably be overkill for what you are trying to do (and it is not the cheapest processor in the world). Before the D2v I had an Onkyo processor which worked pretty well but again I was using the Mark Levinson for the stereo side of things.
Source: Auralic Aries Mini + Mytek DAC 192
Video source: Oppo BDP-93 blu-ray/SACD/DVD-A
Pre-amp: Mark Levinson ML380s
Cinema Processor: Anthem D2v
Speakers: ATC SCM50ASL (Front and Centre), ATC C4 (Sub), ATC SCM20A-2 (Rear)
Screen: Pioneer KRP-600A

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Muser » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:13 am

Mev wrote:
I actually use the Marantz for movies only, I did listen to music through Marantz a few times and although it's very good, Zodiac + ATC combo is so much better.


Mev, thanks. Good to know your sense that the Marantz isn't on par with the Zodiac.

Shadorne wrote:
I have an Anthem DSP (old model) and I am very happy with it. Extremely flexible and highly configurable DSP. Plenty of inputs and outputs. Not the last word in sound perhaps but for movies or concerts - perfect!


Thanks for your feedback on the sound quality of the 20, that's a pretty favorable rating given your discriminating "palette." You have me tempted to look at earlier used Anthem models, though I feel that (Audyssey or someone else's) room correction would be worth the extra cost - it surely upped the performance of the Onkyo. I don't seem to be nearly as discriminating with movies and concerts as with music, maybe that's true for a lot of people.

Spacey, thanks for the pointer to the Lexicon but that's a too rich for my blood.

Paul_riordan wrote:
I've been using the Anthem D2v for nearly two years. . . . So my stereo inputs are managed through my pre-amp - Mark Levinson 380s.


Paul, thanks. I've been thinking about doing what you're doing (HT bypass) with my tube preamp. Do I properly deduce that you think there is a noticeable (and not acceptable) dropoff between the Levinson and the Anthem? I can survive with the sound of the Onkyo for movies, games and with the squeezebox on in the background, but sitting down to just listen to music through the Onkyo is just boring - no particular attributes I can point to except a lower level of involvement, which is part of the reason for having the HT pro for movies. The stumbling block to keeping my EAR is that my wife and son sometimes leave it on for a few days and six expensive NOS tubes cooking away seems like a crime. Maybe I'll need to do a double swap, preamp and a separate processor.

Thanks for the responses so far, if any one else has something to add, or some one has more to add, I'm all ears!

Thanks,

Larry
ATC SCM20-2A, Onkyo 885(a) preamp processor, YBA 1 Alpha preamp, Amazon Model 2 tt, Moerch DP6 arm and Dynavector XX2MkII cartridge, Oppo 105, Twisted Pear Audio Buffalo 32S DAC (balanced out) Kubala Sosna Expression cabling. Two 15" Acoustic Elegance subwoofers, powered by QSC RMX 2450 amplifier w/ minidsp equalization.

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby paul_riordan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:58 am

Muser wrote:Mev wrote:
I actually use the Marantz for movies only, I did listen to music through Marantz a few times and although it's very good, Zodiac + ATC combo is so much better.


Mev, thanks. Good to know your sense that the Marantz isn't on par with the Zodiac.

Shadorne wrote:
I have an Anthem DSP (old model) and I am very happy with it. Extremely flexible and highly configurable DSP. Plenty of inputs and outputs. Not the last word in sound perhaps but for movies or concerts - perfect!


Thanks for your feedback on the sound quality of the 20, that's a pretty favorable rating given your discriminating "palette." You have me tempted to look at earlier used Anthem models, though I feel that (Audyssey or someone else's) room correction would be worth the extra cost - it surely upped the performance of the Onkyo. I don't seem to be nearly as discriminating with movies and concerts as with music, maybe that's true for a lot of people.

Spacey, thanks for the pointer to the Lexicon but that's a too rich for my blood.

Paul_riordan wrote:
I've been using the Anthem D2v for nearly two years. . . . So my stereo inputs are managed through my pre-amp - Mark Levinson 380s.


Paul, thanks. I've been thinking about doing what you're doing (HT bypass) with my tube preamp. Do I properly deduce that you think there is a noticeable (and not acceptable) dropoff between the Levinson and the Anthem? I can survive with the sound of the Onkyo for movies, games and with the squeezebox on in the background, but sitting down to just listen to music through the Onkyo is just boring - no particular attributes I can point to except a lower level of involvement, which is part of the reason for having the HT pro for movies. The stumbling block to keeping my EAR is that my wife and son sometimes leave it on for a few days and six expensive NOS tubes cooking away seems like a crime. Maybe I'll need to do a double swap, preamp and a separate processor.

Thanks for the responses so far, if any one else has something to add, or some one has more to add, I'm all ears!

Thanks,

Larry

Hi Larry

I do find that my stereo source sounds better through the pre-amp rather than directly through the Anthem processor. I guess you would probably expect that as the ML pre-amp costs nearly as much as the Anthem and is "only" a pre-amp rather than a multi-channel processor and video scaler. The analog inputs on the Anthem are pretty good, just depends on what you are comparing to. Sorry if that doesn't help much.

Paul
Source: Auralic Aries Mini + Mytek DAC 192
Video source: Oppo BDP-93 blu-ray/SACD/DVD-A
Pre-amp: Mark Levinson ML380s
Cinema Processor: Anthem D2v
Speakers: ATC SCM50ASL (Front and Centre), ATC C4 (Sub), ATC SCM20A-2 (Rear)
Screen: Pioneer KRP-600A

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby spacey » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:46 pm

The Lexicon AV pres go very cheap S/H BTW
JRMC19/Gizmo - Resonessence Labs INVICTA MIRUS - ATC SCM25A Pro's

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Shadorne » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:28 pm

Muser wrote:
Thanks for your feedback on the sound quality of the 20, that's a pretty favorable rating given your discriminating "palette." You have me tempted to look at earlier used Anthem models, though I feel that (Audyssey or someone else's) room correction would be worth the extra cost - it surely upped the performance of the Onkyo. I don't seem to be nearly as discriminating with movies and concerts as with music, maybe that's true for a lot of people.

Thanks,

Larry


Larry,

The AVM20 benefited from a Power Conditioner (I tried a cheap Monster bar and finally went for an APC H15. Nothing else in my system benefited (or at least I could not hear any difference). So that tells you that the AVM20 power supply is possibly not as good as it should be. I have a Mac Mini plugged in the same house AC circuits and like most PC's it uses a Switched Mode Power Supply(SMPS) which are notoriously noisy on the mains - reflecting back loads of HF crap - I suspect that the mac mini is the culprit but a good DSP should be immune to noise on the power. i did not investigate further than trying a couple of power conditioners and deciding that both worked and made an improvement... so two cents.
"ATC. Always The Champion. I will not record without them. The best studio monitors. Period." ~ Lenny Kravitz

Benchmark DAC3, 2 x ATC SCM EL150ASL, 1 ATC SCM 0.1/15, 2 x Genelec 8020, Roland TD-30 Drums, Pearl Ref Acoustic Kit, Ludwig brass & Pearl Ref snares, Gibson LP Supreme, Fender Precision Bass

Posts: 580
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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby spacey » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:59 pm

JRMC19/Gizmo - Resonessence Labs INVICTA MIRUS - ATC SCM25A Pro's

Posts: 580
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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby spacey » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:14 pm

JRMC19/Gizmo - Resonessence Labs INVICTA MIRUS - ATC SCM25A Pro's

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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:06 pm

Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Muser » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:13 am

Spacey, thanks for the pointer on the Lexicon, but I'm in the U.S. Also, it appears the MC-8 doesn't Or not all have the room correction. I've been spoiled by the Onkyo 885(b) and have decided room correction is a necessary feature for my next pre/pro. But, again, thanks for the pointer.

Shadorne, thank you as well for your comment on power conditioners. I have a used Sound Application balanced power device. Did a very nice job of quieting the sound of things and decreasing the "granularity" of the sound. I can't say it worked on the speakers, more than the preamps or sources, the overall presentation was quieter, more relaxed and yet detailed. I like the SA device very much. Fool that I am, however, I'm looking at building a Felix/felicia power conditioner designed by Jon Risch, or to be more truthful, my dad is looking at building it. He worked in the area of engineered magnetics, which involved building amplifiers that could power city blocks, as well as the power conditioning needed for the system to operate. (that short description exhausts my knowledge of balanced power and engineered magnetics). :oops:

Larry
ATC SCM20-2A, Onkyo 885(a) preamp processor, YBA 1 Alpha preamp, Amazon Model 2 tt, Moerch DP6 arm and Dynavector XX2MkII cartridge, Oppo 105, Twisted Pear Audio Buffalo 32S DAC (balanced out) Kubala Sosna Expression cabling. Two 15" Acoustic Elegance subwoofers, powered by QSC RMX 2450 amplifier w/ minidsp equalization.

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Re: Pre Pro Recommendations

Postby Brad Lunde » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:25 pm

Muser wrote:Spacey, thanks for the pointer on the Lexicon, but I'm in the U.S. Also, it appears the MC-8 doesn't Or not all have the room correction. I've been spoiled by the Onkyo 885(b) and have decided room correction is a necessary feature for my next pre/pro. But, again, thanks for the pointer.

Shadorne, thank you as well for your comment on power conditioners. I have a used Sound Application balanced power device. Did a very nice job of quieting the sound of things and decreasing the "granularity" of the sound. I can't say it worked on the speakers, more than the preamps or sources, the overall presentation was quieter, more relaxed and yet detailed. I like the SA device very much. Fool that I am, however, I'm looking at building a Felix/felicia power conditioner designed by Jon Risch, or to be more truthful, my dad is looking at building it. He worked in the area of engineered magnetics, which involved building amplifiers that could power city blocks, as well as the power conditioning needed for the system to operate. (that short description exhausts my knowledge of balanced power and engineered magnetics). :oops:

Larry


Larry
If I may I ask, what caused you to decide you need room correction for sure, via the Onkyo?
Brad
Brad Lunde
Lone Mountain Audio, part of TransAudio Group
ATC Importers USA

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