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Aragon Soundstage review


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Charles Gurganus

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Posted April 07 2003 - 12:38 AM

I never thought I would replace my Sony TAE/TAP combo. I used the TAE for 4 years and the software just kept getting better and better. I was never happy with analog music with the TAE (it does fine with digital input from a CD player though)so I purchased the TAP about 2 years ago for the analog bypass. This improved my system by a lot and I thought I was all set UNTIL Ricky T told me about his Aragon Soundstage he was going to sell for a Stage One.

Ricky was nice enough to send me his Soundstage BEFORE I sold my combo in case I wanted to keep my combo. Suffice to say I have already sold the TAP and the TAE should be right behind. I really like to live with a preamp (or any new piece) for a while before posting thoughts and I've used the Soundstage for about 1 week.

What really sold me on the Soundstage was MUSIC. This is a great 2 channel analog preamp FIRST and foremost. It's 6 channel analog input is at least as good as the TAP's but music invokes a warmer feel than before. The bass is so real. I think that was the biggest improvement. My turntable sounds better than using the TAP as well. There is an extra layer of transparancy while at the same time, a warmer sound. Almost sounds impossible but thats how I can describe the sound.

For movies, things are a bit closer. The TAE really has some GREAT DSP's and sounds fantastic with movies. The soundstage gives up nothing in vanilla DTS and DD to the TAE. Indeed, the Soundstage's extra layer of transparancy with movies it apparant over the TAE but the TAE kind of pulls even with some of its great DSP modes.

Just the overall package of 1 preamp this good with both movies and music makes me keep the Soundstage over the Sony Combo. The Sony combo is one of the biggest diminishing returns products out there IMO and the Soundstage certainly is not worth the 4k retail original price over the Sony's $2400 original price. But I didn't pay 4k for the Soundstage. Posted Image Indeed, I am probably going to get within $100 or so for my combo for what I paid for the Soundstage.

What really puts the Soundstage in my A list is how flexible it is with bass management. I have my home theater BM setup like this...Front main NHT VT2's 30hz, NHT VS2a 80hz, NHT VT1.2 35hz with the Atlantic Tech sub low pass from the soundstage. However, I am also able to use the 6 channel input and tell my DVD player I have 5 large speakers and high pass the center at 80hz. So I have no BM problems with SACD or DVD-Audio.

I would say anyone who is a big music freak like myself but also loves movies, you can't go wrong with the Soundstage in a 5.1 setup.
Charles

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   John Tompkins

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Posted April 07 2003 - 01:29 AM

Nice review Charles,

I thought you would like the Sounstage, happy to hear it worked out for ya. It is dynamic as hell isnt it(especially on quieter movies) low noise level as well.Have you tried dvd-audio or sacd with it yet ? I still havent gotten that 25 pin cable..its on the to do listPosted Image

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Ricky T

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Posted April 07 2003 - 01:42 AM

Charles,

I am glad you like the Aragon! The musicality and transparency is amazing. I think it is quite an accomplish for a prepro to sound better than the excellent TAP for different types of analog sources.

For those wondering how Charles can set his 5 speakers to large on the dvd-a/sacd player AND highpass his center at 80hz, his center is hooked up through his single subwoofer (which does the highpassing---is that a word?).

#4 of 23 OFFLINE   Charles Gurganus

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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:20 AM

Yes John, I've probably done more SACD/DVD-Audio playing than anything else on the Soundstage so far. The 6 channel input is very good and the Onkyo converter db-25 cable seems to work great. I WOULD like to compare one to the DB-25 cables that are terminated by 6 RCA's on one end and a DB-25 input on the other end, which would remove the converter cable. HOWEVER, these are at least $100 for a 1 meter length so the $20 Onkyo converter looks and sounds good. I pm'ed you a question BTW.
Charles

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Craig Robertson

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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:48 AM

I'd like to try SACD on my Stage One. where at onkyousa.com can I find the db-25 to 6rca converter? i couldn't find it.

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Ricky T

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Posted April 07 2003 - 03:04 AM

Craig,

You have to call them. It's $13 plus $6.50 shipping.

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Craig Robertson

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Posted April 12 2003 - 07:46 PM

do you have a part number for that?

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Craig Robertson

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Posted June 07 2003 - 04:19 AM

anyone have a P/N for the onkyo db25 to 6 rca adaptor and a phone # for Onkyo parts?

#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Ricky T

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Posted June 07 2003 - 06:43 AM

Craig,

The phone number is on the onkyousa.com website, and you don't need the part number to order. Geez man.....do a little work Posted Image

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Craig Robertson

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Posted June 07 2003 - 08:17 AM

Quote:
The phone number is on the onkyousa.com website, and you don't need the part number to order. Geez man.....do a little work


thanks for your help.

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Craig Robertson

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Posted June 09 2003 - 04:06 AM

the CSR was familiar with the product, but if anyone needs it the P/N is 2010386. current price is $13.25 plus 6.50 shipping.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   dpippel

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Posted June 18 2003 - 05:27 AM

Would any of you guys who've mapped the RCAs on this adapter care to share your info? It's got yellow, red, green, black, blue and brown connectors. What channels do they correspond to?

Careful man, there's a beverage here!


#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Craig Robertson

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Posted June 18 2003 - 05:59 AM

your rcvr/pre-pro manual should have a pinout diagram, compare it to this for the adaptor:

blue center to pin 1
blue shield to pin 14
green center to pin 2
green shield to pin 15
red center to pin 3
red shield to pin 16
brown center to pin 4
brown shield to pin 17
black center to pin 5
black shield to pin 18
yellow center to pin 6
yellow shield to pin 19

i don't know if the db-25 pinouts are standard for all rcvrs/pre-pro's but for mine it worked out to:

left blue
cntr green
right red
sub brown
L sur black
R sur yellow

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   dpippel

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Posted June 18 2003 - 06:05 AM

Thanks for the info Craig. I've got a Soundstage and there is no pinout diagram in the manual. I'll try your suggestion and see what I get.

Careful man, there's a beverage here!


#15 of 23 OFFLINE   BruceD

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Posted June 18 2003 - 07:18 AM

Anybody familiar with the crazy gyrations going on with Klipsch and Aragon as portrayed in this article?

Any experience with Klipsch support/service from owners of Soundstage or Stage One?

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Ricky T

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Posted June 18 2003 - 07:28 AM

I have been in contact with various Aragon Techies the past few months and have had only good, fast responses and experiences. Other current Aragon owners that I conversed with, are also happy with the customer service and product quality.

I understand the Audioholics comments on the new Aragon amps. The 200x series are probably rebadged Acurus amps, and most of the 300x series are new designs...probably somewhere between the Acurus and Classic Aragon amps. The new 8008BB and Palladiums seem like the only true Classic Amp carryovers.

#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Philip____S

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Posted June 18 2003 - 07:30 AM

I was interested in the Stage One but this article turned me off a little. Still, I'm trying to locate a dealer and it's very difficult. The closest dealer to me is in Texas according to Klipsch, which is 1200 miles away (I live in the Bay Area). Anyway, I've tried calling a few times to locate a dealer with no luck. I don't know if the lack of dealers is because of Klipsch or if Mondial always had a lousy dealer network, but as long as you can't buy the product it doesn't really matter how good or bad it is, imo.

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   dpippel

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Posted June 18 2003 - 07:55 AM

Craig - Your info was right on. Listening to a DVD-A as I type. Thanks a bunch!

Careful man, there's a beverage here!


#19 of 23 OFFLINE   gregD

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Posted June 18 2003 - 08:27 AM

I was interested in the Stage One but this article turned me off a little. Still, I'm trying to locate a dealer and it's very difficult. The closest dealer to me is in Texas according to Klipsch, which is 1200 miles away (I live in the Bay Area).
Try Harmony Audio Video in San Francisco: http://www.harmonyaudiovideo.com/

Haven't been there in a while, but am pretty sure they carry Aragon products.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Philip____S

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Posted June 18 2003 - 08:38 AM

Greg,
I came across them once in an internet search but never spoke to them as Klipsch and Mondial don't list them as a dealer. They may be one, but with all of the 'unauthorized dealer' warnings lately, I'm not sure I want to buy from a shop not recognized by the manufacturer, regardless of what the shop tells me. Thanks for the heads up though.