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Good starter processor

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by thxgoon, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. thxgoon

    thxgoon
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    I just got my A52, hooray! For now I am running it out of my old denon 5700 as a preamp. I'm looking for a pre that is under 2 grand, new or used and my only requirements ar that it be THX certified and have balanced connections. My head is spinning with all of the options, does anyone have any good suggestions? (or bad?) Thanks.
     
  2. rOAdeh

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    any reason why you require THX?

    meridian 568.2 would be my bet for best proc under 2k though it only has the front 3 as balanced connections. 2nd hand parasound halo c2 if you're lucky enough to find one?

    then again at that sort of price range there arent too many options with completely balanced options. other normal suggestions for around that sort of price (well i suppose a fair bit below as well) include the lexicon mc1 and the tag av32r (with various levels of upgrades) - though neither meet your other requirements.

    The situation may have changed since i checked in the summer but i think you might struggle at the moment with that budget for those requirements.
     
  3. thxgoon

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    I have a THX speaker package so the THX crossover is important in my situation, besides that, I believe in THX and I like what they stand for so I require it for a processor in my systekm. I'll check out the meridian, that's not something I'd heard of before. Thanks. :thumbsup:
     
  4. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    So did I until I saw it plastered over the front end of an x-box game and on some poor PC speakers :rolleyes:
     
  5. thxgoon

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    I agree on the THX PC thing, I thought the whole THX 'select' standard was a bunch of crap.

    After reading substantially on Lexicon products, I have decided that balanced inputs may be worth giving up in return for better processing and it looks like I can get a used DC-2 or MC-1 for a very reasonable price. What do you all think? What is the primary difference between the two besides multi-zone and 'improved logic 7'? Is it worth the upgrade to the MC-1? Anyone have any experience with these or alternative suggestions? Thanks again.
     
  6. Thunder

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    For 2K you might be able to pick up a Tag AV32R DP, it has THX Ultra2 and all current processing formats including Dolby PL2x. The biggest bonus however is its room EQ ability that make it into a real giant slayer :devil: Remember Lexicon have only just made this feature available on the MC12 and thats in a price range way above the Tag :D As long as the interconnects are balanced at one end it dosnt really make any difference, TMA did a lot of research into this. Just get some RCA to XLR cables :thumbsup:
     
  7. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Sorry to say this but that is not correct. For a cable to be balanced it must have a balanced connection at both ends. If you have an RCA to XLR cable then it is an unbalanced cable!
    I can be confident saying the above as I have about 15 years experience as a part time sound engineer working with balanced mics etc. I was trained by a BBC sound engineer (who now spends most of his time working on Eastenders, but we wont hold that against him :D ).

    Mark.
     
  8. Thunder

    Thunder
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    I believe the Tag RCA to XLR cables are wired differently to standard balanced cables. I know this as when I had Mark Grant make me a pair up I had to send him the wiring diagram :) If you go on the TMA website and have a look at one of the manuals (available on PDF) for one of theyre power amps it explains the reasoning along with a wiring diagram for it :thumbsup:
     
  9. Thunder

    Thunder
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    As quoted from the TMA 250MR manual "It is important to realise that a balanced output on the sending unit, the preamplifier or processor is not required to gain the benefits of a balanced input. A single ended RCA output is just as good, so long as the unbalanced to balanced cable is wired correctly. Tag Mclaren provides a special version of its analogue interconnect manufactured with an RCA connector at its input and a XLR connector at its output.
    The Appendix (diagram) shows how an RCA to XLR analogue cable should be wired to provide ground loop hum suppresion."

    The diagram of which is in the PDF manual for theyre 250MR amplifier on the IAG website :thumbsup:
     
  10. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    'ground loop hum suppresion' is one thing, but it is not the same as 'balanced'. A balanced cable is resistant to more than just ground loop hum. In a studio or live stage setting the mic cables are often layed along side mains cables etc and still need to keep the signal clean. Now trying to remember how it works as its been a long time - there are 2 signal carriers, one is inverted. The signals are then received and the inverted signal converted back and the 2 compared. Any differences are then ignored. To do this you need a second signal carrying cable which is why a 2 cable RCA connection can not be balanced.
    I've not looked at the Tag web site but from what you say their wireing of the RCA is not standard and therefore may not work on all equipment :confused: . To get the full benefits of a balanced connection both ends need to be connected by XLR or another type of balanced connection.

    Mark.
     
  11. Thunder

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    Have a look :)
     
  12. cameronl

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    hi there, my ex-demo Halo C2 cost me £1995 from CRT projectors....it is a lovely processor, is Ultra2 certfiied and hopefully tomorrow parasound are bringing out the Pro Logic IIx firmware upgrade.

    CaM
     
  13. gizlaroc

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    My money would be with a Meridian 568.2, absolutely stunning performance, I sold mine for £1650 a few months ago.
    I like the C2 as well, friend was using it for a while and it is a very good unit, I nearly went with one before I went for the MC8, personally prefer the Meridian though, in fact I probably think the Meridian has got the edge over the MC8 when it comes to music.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about with THX, I have the Kef THX package and it used to be good (the processing) with older processors and cheaper intergrated amps to help came the top end down a little, get rid of that edgyness, but with things like the parasound, meridian, lexicon, bryston, proceed etc. you don't have to worry about that, there are as smooth as a babies bum ;)
     
  14. Thunder

    Thunder
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    I will agree with you on the THX matter, I never use it. THX ULTRA 2 music was quite good as you could generate quite a good 7.1 surround sound field to 5.1 sources without rolling off the top end on the fronts. But since PL2x has appeared it does a much better job when applied to a 5.1 soundtrack. Room EQ is a biggy for me now, I just couldnt live without it. It makes so much difference :)
     
  15. thxgoon

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    I spoke with the parasound rep who sold me my A52 (awesome amp, very pleased) and he said that the A52 and C2 are semi-balanced, meaning that like Krell, they are balanced internally end to end, not just through the connections. I'm guessing this is why all of the reviewers have been surprised when they switched to the balanced connections. As for the meridian, it is out of the question because it only has 3 balanced outputs, and on the A52 you have to switch one or the other for the entire hamp. So this has steered me away from Lexicon and more towards something completely balanced and THX. So far the AVM20, Reference 50 and the C2 are my top choices. Maybe I'll just wait a while until I can affoard the C2.

    I'm bummed to hear such dis-interest in THX. It kind of saddens me, it's like the extinction of a great spicies. I usually leave it off unless I'm listening to a movie very loudly, or if the movie is very busy, it helps with listening fatigue. But I feel it's a mark that must be there. Maybe its nastalgia. Thanks for all of your input.

    -Dan
     
  16. rags

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    THXGoon - I have a C2 and I never switch on the THX mode. I hate it with a passion - it makes everything sound so unnatural.

    Just straight DD or DTS for me.
     
  17. thxgoon

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    Rags, I'd also say that your speakers are calm by comparison to mine. Either way, I think that spending a couple of grand on a quality processor, THX is a requirement.
     
  18. rags

    rags
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    Thxgoon - I was running M&K S150's before I bought the B&W's. I have only had the B&W's for 3-4 months. Either way the THX button didnt get any use.
     
  19. gizlaroc

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    I would say that once you spend a couple of grand on a quality processor THX should no longer be necessary.
     
  20. Thunder

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    Surely its better to buy speakers that integrate with your system better in the first place rather than use speakers which sound too bright and then have to use post proceessing to correct it :confused:
     
  21. alexs2

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    Like so many others here,I have a THX certified processor(AV32R),but never use it in that mode,as it just isn't necessary.
    All of the other gear isn't THX rated,either due to age(the Krells)or other reasons,but as has been pointed out before,you have to remember that THX is simply a set of technical specs,and not a guarantee of sound quality,and also that there are lots of amps/receivers/speakers that easily exceed THX specs,but arent certified(often because the manufacturers can't be bothered to pay for it),and certainly older Krells will easily exceed the spec,as will Wilson speakers for example.
     
  22. thxgoon

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    Man, I'm bummed to hear all of this anti-thx speak. Isn't anyone a believer anymore? It's almost as if some take pride in the fact that their stuff is better than THX spec, and it is, so is mine, but that doesn't mean you don't still take advantage of what THX does for you and has done for you. Ah well, my soap box.
     
  23. alexs2

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    It's not that I take any pride personally in mine being better or worse than THX spec....simply that whilst a spec is useful,it is simply that,and it doesn't determine sound quality at all.

    In my view,anything that raises sound quality is great,but as I said,for me,in my system and house,I just don't use the THX post-processing,and I can see why some manufacturers take a similar view when it comes to licensing the name.
     
  24. cameronl

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    i have a C2. I use THX mode on THX certfied movies like starwars and on 5.1 DTS movies. Once I get the Pro Logic IIx upgrade though i'll never use it on 5.1 DTS movies.

    does it make a difference...er, i'm not sure :)

    CaM
     
  25. lowrider

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    I never use THX post processing on my Krell Showcase, same in my previous TAG processor, or Onkyo receiver... :hiya:
     
  26. Thunder

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    You make it sound like a religion :laugh:
     
  27. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    isn't it? ;)
     
  28. lowrider

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    To be fair, a couple of years ago, it was safer to buy THX, you never new what to expect from non THX gear, regarding bass management, power specs, etc... :lesson:
     
  29. danny daniell

    danny daniell
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    Doesnt THX do more than just curtail the higher frequencies? I thought it also routed all bass below 80hz through the subwoofer....oh & it does that de-correlation thing.(whatever that is :confused: )

    Dan
     
  30. gizlaroc

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    You can route all the bass through to the sub below a chosen crossover point with just about any amp, but THX specifies that anything below 80Hz has to go to the sub.
    It also rolls the frequencies off at the top end, personally though, unless it is a very harsh sounding amp, I do not like this, I think dialogue can sound a little compressed.
     

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