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Another processor dilemna....

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by UrbanT, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Guys, some thoughts would be much appreciated on this dilemna. I have searched and read many threads on the processor subject, but I'm still confused/uncertain.

    The dilemna is that I may well be able to have a 7.1 set up soon, where at the mo I only have 5.1. I want the following:
    . 7.1 (obviously)
    . an analogue connection for my CD23T which I love
    . a 5.1 input for DVDA/SACD

    Tag Mclaren
    Pro's
    . already own an upgradeable unit
    . great in movies
    con's
    . cannot use bypass for CD and DVDA/SACD at the same time
    . questionable bypass ability
    . expensive upgrade

    Meridian 568.2
    Pro's
    . affordable 2nd hand
    . already 7.1
    . great for movies
    Con's
    . no bypass for CD23?
    . no inputs for DVDA/SACD

    Arcam AV8
    Pro's
    . affordable new with discount
    . already 7.1
    . best as music pre-amp?
    . seperate input for DVDA/SACD
    . video options
    Con's
    . not as good as other 2 for movie decoding?

    I'm trying to gain a balanced system for movies and music, both are important, and its not practical to have 2 seperate systems.

    It should also be taken into account that at the same time, I might buy my first projector and HTPC. I have no knowledge on either subject so have no idea how this may effect any opinions, other than if I had to lose DVDA/SACD as I didn't have the 757 anymore, so be it.

    All equipment in my sig, looking forward to some healthy comments :)
     
  2. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    Same boat.:D

    You list all the things exactly as I view it.

    Only I'd not bother too much about DVD-D/SACD on any of them. Also, I'm not totally convinced using a bypass is always the best way for CD.

    I'd bet you'd be very hard pushed to be able to tell between them all for stereo performance. By that I mean it'll simply come down to preferences rather than abilities. (So please don't get excited anyone that just read that last comment:)).

    There is a fully loaded 568.2 on EBay right now which no doubt you have a sneaky eye on.:rolleyes:

    My personal preference is probably the Arcam. That could easily change. The main reason is cosmetic over the others in that I have a FMJ DV27.

    They are all very good performers, each having certain strengths and weaknesses, as do many others you haven't mentioned here.

    No easy answer is there.

    I'll buy an Arcam, and next week a 568.2MM will appear for £1000, Arcam will release the AV9 with Tag selling cheap kit again. I'm always lucky like that.:laugh:
     
  3. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    P.S. How affordable would you say an Arcam could be?
     
  4. brendank

    brendank
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    same boat too:rolleyes:

    just wondering UrbanT

    would you care to elaborate a bit more on the discount you could expect on a new av8

    also regarding the Meridian 568.2 have i not read somewhere that its kinda tied into having meridian active speakers for the full 7.1


    :)
     
  5. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    A 7.1 passive system will work fine on the 568.2


    Adz
     
  6. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    It's the 561 which is only geared up for 5.1 using passive speakers, for 7.1 you need 2 x DSP speakers or an external stereo DAC.

    The 565 and 568 are fine for 7.1 into normal amps/speakers.

    It's a pity more power amp makers don't follow the system on my MF308 power with 2 seperate phono inputs so all I do to move from my hifi to my AV system is press the button on the front.

    The last two 568.2MM to sell on ebay made £2250 and £1680, as the G68 takes over then 568's should get to be more common and I guess sell around the sub £2000 mark.

    UrbanT - I think the Tag upgrades are now overpriced, it makes more sense to sell and buy a new one just like with all the other manufacturers. What about the Bryston Pre/Pro, does that not tempt you?

    Gus
     
  7. rags

    rags
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    £2500 sounds about right.
     
  8. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    I would be suprised if many people could tell the difference between the Tag and Arcam bypass in reality. Plus, the Tag is a great pre-amp in it's own right. I have demoed a newer Tag than mine (7.1 192) against the AV8 and I did just preffer the AV8 I think but would get a Tag if it was £100 cheaper.

    The machine I'm after is the Bryston with the optional video switching unit. Looks the dogs but I guess I'll have to travel to the smoke to get a demo.

    With Tag 192 7.1's going for around £1500 it seems a good stepping stone and will be my next move. As has already been said, why would I pay Tag £700 to upgrade my AV32R 5.1 when I can probably get a grand for it and buy a newer one for £4-500 more?
     
  9. rags

    rags
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    Urban T,

    The Bryston SP1.7 is not worth the money they charge for it (imho). A desperately needed upgrade is due this year. For movies an AV8 is better and costs a lot less. The SP1.7 costs £4.5K (?) without any switching and that brings it into Meridian G series / Lexicon MC8 territory where frankly its way out of its depth (for movies at least). Nice amps though.

    An Arcam AV8 will offer an improvement over your BP192 for movies and music. I dont think the difference will be huge but neither will the trade up cost.

    Not heard the Meridian but read a lot of good things about it.
     
  10. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Thanks for the comments guys. My gut feeling was head the AV8 route as it has so many advantages, good connectivity, good for music which should suit my CD23T well, relatively cheap in this company and 7.1 as standard. I may lose some future upgradability from Tag but its so damn expensive anyway that its almost useless for me.

    As for discount, I had nothing in mind specifically. I would have hoped to get 15% min off anything I buy, if I get the projector at the same time I would want a good deal on the pair

    I had excluded the modern Lexicon and Bryston due to cost and lack of any likely 2nd hand stock.

    I did see the Meridian on Ebay, very handy as its a local shop, but the lack of inputs is worrying, regardless of the sound quality.

    Decisions, decisions...... :)
     
  11. buns

    buns
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    I would disagree that the bryston is out of its depth up with the lexicon and co...... it all depends of what you are looking for.

    ad
     
  12. rags

    rags
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    Well for me it was primarily a home cinema processor and for movies it doesnt really compete. But as always it's just my opinion....
     
  13. buns

    buns
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    well it might not be as sharp at the rear, but most people seem to agree its front soundstage is exceptionally strong

    ad
     
  14. brendank

    brendank
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    heys rags

    just wondering how come you have not proposed your parasound as an option??

    have you sorted out the blue display yet??

    £2500 for the arcam av8 sounds okay are there any online outlets for arcam stuff.

    cheers;)
     
  15. rags

    rags
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    Ad - I pretty much agree, but for that kind of money I would be looking for sharp in the whole soundstage.
     
  16. rags

    rags
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    Well I am biased towards it - definately the best of the lot by a country mile :D

    Blue lights are still glowing strong (and I still hate them just as much!) although most people who come round like them as it goes reasonably well with the look of the case.

    I dont think there are any online retailers for Arcam stuff. Im guessing that you should be able to waggle 15% off.
     
  17. brendank

    brendank
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    :D

    maybe you should consider putting them in cabinet check my post in the arcam forum "looking for two way control of your av8 and much more" looks good and offers the opportunity to automate your lighting,heating,alarm etc through your pc using windows.they have also done a driver for the halo c1 so your c2 shouldnt be a big problem.

    they also have driver done for denon 3803 and lexicon mc -12

    danger is it might start a couple more projects

    sorry guys a bit off topic:eek:

    cheers

    :)
     
  18. buns

    buns
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    i guess that is fair rags..... i tend to prefer having superior performance at the front, the thought of having anything but fantastic at the front bugs me! :D obviously we have different preferences!

    ad
     
  19. rags

    rags
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    Ad - your right it's all down to preference. I had the option of picking up an SP1.7 for £250 more than what I paid for the C2 but I choose not to. The C2 front three performance wasnt noticeably poorer than the SP1.7 but it's rear channel performance was definately better and it immersed you in the experience a lot more. If I was going to step up it would have been for the MC8 at 50% more which I thought was excellent - however given some of the negatives I have read about the MC8 it shows how little I know....

    I know the SP1.7 is supposed to have a very good analogue bypass but my requirement was to buy the best HC processor I could afford and the SP1.7 with it's performance and to a lesser extent feature count wasn't it (and I know lots of satisfied SP1.7 owners will disagree with me but thats there prerogative at the end of the day :))
     
  20. Peter Baker

    Peter Baker
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    Hi guys,
    I'm a little late to this thread, but had to pick up on Guys comment that all high end processors are of similar quality for music, with differences being down to personal preference. I cannot agree, and many will know I have spent a great deal of time looking into this. In fact I believe the performance on HT is far more similar than that on music, with the complications of digital processing tending to create a more level soundfield. Some have better steering than others, and some are more dynamic, but all bring a similar, and highly impressive soundstage. Then it comes down to feature sets.
    On music, in comparison, the tonal differences can be dramatic. Whilst these are something of a personal taste area, I believe other areas, such as timing, are qualitative. I would urge any potential purchaser for whom music is part of the deal to listen to a number of the options using their own source component if at all possible.
    Of course, this is just my 2p
    As an update, I'm waiting to hear the new Meridian G series. The pre/pro is out, but not the matching 5 channel amp.

    Best regards
    Peter
     
  21. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    It took longer than I thought for someone to come in on that one.:)

    My point was a bit sweeping and stated pretty bluntly.

    If I'd written it correctly, it should have been a bit more detailed.

    I was trying to look at a package as a whole.

    I love my music too. There will be a compromise somewhere, for sure. I'm just not totally convinced it would be in the stereo/bypass performance.

    I haven't the extensive demoing under my belt as you
    Peter, but I certainly have heard a few processors. In my experiece it has been personal preference. Ie, I loved the sound of a Naim rig, very, very musical but my wife was smitten by the Parasound played right after it. I thought it was dull by comparison.

    It really is funny how we hear different things.
     
  22. lovegroova

    lovegroova
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    Having seen your front room (unless you've moved of course!) I cannot see the need for a 7.1 system, particularly as the 2 rears are relatively close together, and especially if you are thinking of buying expensive things like projectors and screens. (How many 6.1 films do you own?)

    DVDA/SACD don't see to be a massive priority (how many DVDA/SACDs do you own?)

    You say to love the CD23, this is presumably via the TAG bypass, so if you love it, it can't be that bad (personally I think it's great, not colouring the sound at all and sounds awesome with my Densen CDP)

    I would then spend the money saved on a better screen/projector/scaler/HTPC which means that you don't need the 5.1/2.0 bypass and you'll benefit from better PQ.
     
  23. lowrider

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    The KRELL Showcase does it all, plus EQ, and you can bypass processing for any of its several analog inputs, of course including 7.1 bypass... :smashin:
     
  24. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    How much?
     
  25. rags

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    Your wife obviously has very good taste :D
     
  26. lowrider

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    4.000 US$ in the states, a lot more in Europe, but there was a promotion, wich I didnt take advantage of... :rolleyes:
     
  27. Peter Baker

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    I do agree that a lot is down to personal preference. For example, from previous threads, it would appear that rags parasound setup is really aggressive and dynamic. I don't think this would suit me on music, but it suits him just fine.
    I would agree with you Guy, that the Naim sounds very musical, with GREAT timing. Soundstage, on the other hand, suffers a little.
    I have briefly listened to the Krell Showcase, and it is very interesting, being pacy and dynamic, but not as high end aggressive as many others.
    I also found the Bryston pretty good, with the most solid bass I have encountered anywhere.
    I'm still awaiting a second bash at the Arcam, after being very disappointed with it initially.
    It just goes to prove, beauty is in the ear..........
    Pete
     
  28. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    She does have tinitus in one ear. That might expalin it.:laugh:

    There isn't really going to be a 'best of' processor at this level by the looks of things.

    If the money was available, then no doubt Krell etc would come into it. Unfortunately, I'm doing my last ever upgrade (again) and need to stay below £3K at the absolute very max.

    So Arcam, Tag, Meridian and so on are the right place to be looking.
     
  29. UrbanT

    UrbanT
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    Hows things? :) You remember my front room well, which is why I'm planning a loft conversion just for HC use. :clap: The missus wants to move but thats a no go with a minimum of £120k ish required, so the loft will hopefully be converted and provide the space to finally get the room I need (want!).

    Its going to be a one hit project so I would need to wire in 7.1 from the start, so I wouldn't have to do it retrospectively. I would be happy to upgrade the Tag to 7.1, but at a cost of £500ish, it gives me options to consider other processors.

    If I saw a bargain on any of these processors, I firmly believe I'd be happy with them all.
     
  30. rags

    rags
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    Definately dynamic but not aggresive - in fact I would call it laid back. The aggresive or bright sound was down to my speakers which on Matts and others advice I have now changed to Nautilus 805s - a definate change for the better in my sparse room - the brightness has dissapeared !
     

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