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11k to spend on a pre/pro. Any suggestions ?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by zcaps57, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. zcaps57

    zcaps57
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    Hi.

    I've decided to take the plunge and invest about 11k for a pre/pro. Movie watching as well as listening to music is important.

    Tag McLaren AV192R
    Above average sonic performance (compared to other high-end processors), second to none proven upgradability/service.

    Lexicon MC-12B
    Fantastic with movie - Logic7, but not so good with music/sonic performance.

    Meridian 861
    Well.. probably the best processor in terms of upgradability and sonic performance. It's major drawback is that it has to be coupled with 800 DVD/DVD-A/CD player. And 861/800 combo is currently out of my price range. 20k+ :(

    Theta Casablanca II
    I don't know much about this if not at all. But it seems to be out of my price range.

    Mark Levinson No.40
    Ok. I know this is obviously out of my range. I'm not gonna even think about it. :D

    Are there anything I'm missing ?? I must be missing many. :(
    Any suggestions/opinions would be appreciated. :)
    Thanks.
     
  2. Phil_Yeoman

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    Don't overlook the bryston pre. I would disagree with your findings on the lexicon. IMO it burys the TAG in all aspects. I did have a Mark Levinson No.40 in my system for over two months and it was VERY good but only very slightly better than the MC12. At this level it become very subjective. The Tag is an excellent processor but definitly the odd one out in your list.

    In all honesty I have never been an advocate of dual purpose systems at this price level. Better to have one Hi-Fi and one AV. The demands on these systems are very different and no manufacturer has come close to covering both fields with one product:)

    Phil
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  4. Flimber

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    Firstly, it's far from an "investment"; more like burning money.

    Secondly, a 'cheap' (£2k) unit and £9k of DVDs or an awesome projector would be wiser.

    Unless you're a lottery winner or something in which case ignore me.

    Phil, did I sell you a Sony 930 once ?

    Mike.
     
  5. CounterWhine

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    Yeah, send me a cheque ;)

    What about the Chord DSP 8000 AV?

    I think it's about £10K.

    D.
     
  6. Gambit

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    Can I blow it on two channel please? The Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista pre/power combo is out toward the end of the year and will cost about £12,000 and I want one. Please?
     
  7. NicolasB

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    I'll second that. Bryston SP1.7 is a much-overlooked but rather nice piece of kit. It's a quite perceptible step up in quality from the likes of the Tag AV32R and Arcam AV8. It has no video capabilities at all, of course, but that (if you believe Bryston) is a conscious design decision rather than a cop-out - lack of video circuitry means no high frequency interference.

    Its abilities as an analogue stereo pre-amp should not be underestimated, either. I've not heard Bryston's own BP25, but the SP1.7 is supposed to be comparable.

    Upgrades are a little uncertain, but according to Bryston's tech support people there is likely to be a DSP upgrade in the first half of next year. The analogue circuitry is good enough that it's difficult to imagine what you'd need upgraded, unless 7.1 channels aren't enough for you. The DACs are (in hardware terms) capable of operating at 192kHz, although the software doesn't yet support this. There's likely to be a software update in a few months which will offer THX Ultra 2 certification as well as a couple of other tweaks.

    There are two significant downsides:

    1) There are no interesting proprietary DSP modes - no Logic 7, no Trifield.

    2) Hardware upgrades will be expensive if you live in the UK, because they involve the unit being shipped across the Atlantic to Bryston's factory in Canada, and then shipped back again. The upgrade from the SP1 to the SP1.7 costs £1200 - roughly double the US or Canadian price. The DSP upgrade should be a bit cheaper. (Software upgrades are done by replacing a plug-in EPROM module. This can be done by the user. Software upgrades are typically distributed free.)

    Or, if you don't fancy Bryston there are plenty of other possibilities. Besides those already mentioned there's the Lexcion MC-8, Theta Casa Nova, Proceed AVP2, Krell Showcase, McIntosh MX134, Anthem, Parasound....


    Does anybody know anything about this yet?
     
  8. Jeff

    Jeff
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    The new Parasound Halo C1 & C2 have started to get some good reports on AVS.
     
  9. zcaps57

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    Thanks for the input, gents.

    Phil, I confess, I have never auditioned Lexicon MC-12B myself. Only thing I've auditioned in my list are Meridian 861, and Tag AV32R-bp192. My initial comments regarding MC-12B were based on some of other users' opinions. Of course it doesn't reflect my opinion nor every Lexicon owners. I know it is highly regarded processor. :) I definately intend to audition it. BTW, you comparison of MC-12 and Tag, was it AV-192R or one of AV-32R ?

    Now, regarding the Bryston SP1.7 it is in my list now. :) Thanks.

    Gordon, thank you for the suggestion. Yours are some of my most respected.
    I've heard that Linn announced Kisto at CES 2003 (or was that CEDIA 2002?). Apart from this, I don't know a single thing about it. But I'll keep my eyes open, and consider this kit.

    David,
    It's funny you mention that Chord 8000 processor. I've been quite keen on this processor. :)
    I've actually auditioned it when I was in Korea on Christmas vacation. I watched, and listened to 'Diana Krall - Live in Paris DTS' DVD with Barco Cine9, Ayre D-1x, Teranex 3RU, Chord DSP-8000, JM Lab Grand Utopia. (forgot what amplifications were used). The sound was unreal. Live-like! Picture was also stunning. Life-like! :D

    I admit I do not know much about this processor. But I think future upgradability for this Chord processor is a question mark. :(
    At least that's what it looks like at the moment.


    Nicolas, interesting analysis on SP1.7 :)

    Jeff, I'll consider Parasound, too.

    Thanks.
     
  10. daninthemix

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    About the Chord - I haven't heard it but do recall a review in Hifi News or Hifi World (I forget which) that mentioned they felt it wasn't greatly better than the Arcam and Tag efforts, and a good deal of money was being spent on the design/build/name!...make of that what you will.
     
  11. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Kisto was shown at CES 2003: I'd have had pics of it but the one for show went missing in transit to USA. The other one was in a dem room that was always full of folk listening. This room was not conducive to good sound so I will not comment about that.

    I will say this though. The lead designer of said item is also the guy who was responsible for CD12. He did the 5103 as well. The 5103 is obviously out of date but at the time it was undoubtedly one of the best DD processors out there and very probably the best analogue pre-amp in that sort of group. The CD12 is unquestionably regarded as one of the best CD players made.

    The Kisto is MC12 sized and has ALOT of connectivity on the back panel. I would be very surprised if it wasn't a seriously good stereo/multi-channel analguoe pre-amp and surround processor. I look forward to audtioing it too. I believe its out in April so not long to wait.

    Gordon
     
  12. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    I hope it's good, seems to have every format onboard, THX Ultra II I think also, and I'm sure I saw somewhere that it had DVI in and out.

    ED: There's some info in Dutch on this site, got pictures too.

    http://www.hifi.nl/nieuws.php?keuze=2447
     
  13. zcaps57

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    This... Linn Kisto looks very promising, indeed. Designer of CD12. :cool:
    Have they(Linn) announced MSRP for Kisto ?? I'm scared to ask!!
     
  14. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  15. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Oh,

    And at the foot of that article it suggests contacting Malcom Latham, the Linn Distributor, for more details. Well, if Linn don't give any answers you might email Malcom as he's English (and a great guy) and the rest of his staff are very literate in English too so you'll probably get a decent response.

    Gordon
     
  16. zcaps57

    zcaps57
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    Gordon,

    Thanks. :)
    It looks like it's worth waiting for. Also the fact that it has DVI switching seems useful for me.


    @all
    Tag AV192R
    Lexicon MC-12B
    Meridian 816
    Chord DSP8000
    Theta Casablanca II
    Linn Kisto
    Bryston SP1.7
    Parasound Halo C1& C2

    Is there anything else I should consider ?
     
  17. Lowrider

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    Why didn´t you consider the six hundred Meridian gear... :confused:
     
  18. ReTrO

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    Proceed AVP2 +6 with CVP component video switcher
     
  19. zcaps57

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    You mean 500 series ? :)

    Proceed... Good, but I've read many negative comments/opinions from the owners of AVP1. Their serivce, and upgradability seems a lot to be desired. But they make some top stuff. ;) Madrigal... :)
     
  20. Lowrider

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    Whatever, it does everything the 800 do, including DVD-A digital, and cheaper, still more than TAG 32...
     
  21. NicolasB

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    I sometimes think Meridian kit is a tad overpriced for what it does. If you buy a 568.2mm processor, 562V3 system controller and 598 DVD player you're looking at something like £8800. Compare that to an Arcam AV8 processor plus DV27 player - it does very nearly as much, but for a total price of only £4800 (if you include the forthcoming DVD-Audio upgrade). Certainly the Meridian kit is better, but I'm not entirely persuaded it's enough better to be worth paying that sort of premium.

    I don't know how low down the price scale Mr zcaps57 is looking, but if the Tag AV32Rbp192 and Meridian 568.2 are being considered then you should definitely check out an Arcam AV8 as well. Conceivably even a Naim AV2.

    I mentioned Krell, McIntosh and Anthem, didn't I?
     
  22. Lowrider

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    You only need the controller if you want to do video switching, most people don´t...

    By the way, I have TAG AV32R + Arcam FMJ27 + Bryston... ;)
     
  23. NicolasB

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    That's true, but my point was that if you do want to do video switching then the Arcam AV8 already has it built in. In terms of what it does (as distinct from how well it does it) I think the AV8 is more comparable to a 568.2 + 562V3 than to a 568.2 alone.
     
  24. Lowrider

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    Can you really compare them ? I have never heard either, but the specs, components, of the Meridian are ages ahead of the Arcam, so is the digital link, and the price... :p
     
  25. Nobber22

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    I thought Linn was based in Scotland? Surely everyone speaks quite good English up there?:confused:
     
  26. James45

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    have you ever been to Scotland?:p :laugh: :hiya:
     
  27. Nobber22

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    Yeah, but only to Edinburgh. Never had to ask anyone to repeat anything, thank goodness!:cool: :D
     
  28. ReTrO

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    I think he's the Dutch distributor.

    Linn disrtibute their own equipment in the UK.
     
  29. NicolasB

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    In sound quality terms I think there's surprisingly little difference between the Arcam and the Meridian. Meridian DVD players do a somewhat better job than the Arcam DV27, but they're also substantially more expensive - £3000 for the 598 vs £1600 for the DV27 (or £1800 with the DVD-Audio upgrade).

    There are some things that the Meridian kit can do that the Arcam can't, for example:

    - Direct digital output to Meridian digital speakers (dubious benefit IMO).
    - Trifield processing of stereo sources.
    - Digital link between player and processor.

    The digital link will, I suspect, prove very useful with DVD-Audio because it will allow the processor to do bass management which is sadly lacking on the majority of DVD-Audio players that have analogue outputs. It also allows the processor to upsample incoming digital signals, but whether that makes any audible difference in the particular case of a Meridian system is debatable.

    In terms of decoding DD and DTS film soundtracks, or acting as a stereo analogue pre-amp (in analogue bypass mode), both processors are excellent, and I honestly don't think the Meridian has much of an edge, if any.
     
  30. Spligsey

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    If there's one area where Meridian dont quite reach the heights, it would be their 'customer awareness' strategy

    They still haven't posted details of the 500 series upgrade on their website, although it's common knowledge amongst those of us with their kit, of their intentions.

    My 596 is currently @ Stukeley Meadows for a DCDI fitting.

    I have declined the DVD-A upgrade.

    Their 568.2 is an absolute corker of a machine.

    Adzman
     

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