Best Pre for up to $5000?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Schamis, Jul 15, 2001.

  1. David Schamis

    David Schamis Stunt Coordinator

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    I am thinking about replacing my Sony 9000ES and I'm getting tired of waiting for the new Sony TA-E10.
    I would like it to include:
    - Multi-channel SACD capability
    - DPL II
    - Many coax and optical inputs
    - Balanced analog outputs
    On the other hand, if there is good reason to wait (digital SACD capability?), I would be happy to.
    Thanks in advance,
    David
    [Edited last by David Schamis on August 02, 2001 at 03:04 PM]
     
  2. MannyE

    MannyE Stunt Coordinator

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    Well the only thing that comes close to what you need is the Anthem, but it probably won't be able to help you with SACD right away... and will be missing the "lots of inputs" you are looking for.
    I would give the Anthem and the B&K Ref 30 a look. The Anthem is more musical and "tubelike" they say (although I won't say I heard a "tubelike" presentation...it handles two channel stereo better than any other 5K and under pre/pro I've ever heard). But the B&K Ref 30 blows it away in the HT arena. It's the first product I've bought that is still feeling current and "new" after almost a year of owning it. and is currently DVD-A compatible.
     
  3. Stephen Dodds

    Stephen Dodds Second Unit

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    The Integra prepro has everything you are after and is within your budget. A DPL2 upgrade has recently been released.
    Steve
    ------------------
    Steve's Toys
     
  4. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I've heard excellent things about Primare. I understand it is now being distributed in the US by Sumiko,www.sumikoaudio.com. I've heard it is $3,500.
     
  5. Burke Strickland

    Burke Strickland Second Unit

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    Over the past few months, using some of the same criteria as you, but with a personal emphasis on quality of two channel music reproduction in addition to surround formats and features, I looked at a number of pre/pros, including models by Theta (Casa Nova, Casablanca II), B&K (Ref 30), Meridian (561), Parasound (AVC-2500), Lexicon (DC-2, MC1), Anthem (AVM2), Tag McLaren (AVR32EX) by specs and write ups only; didn't actually see the Tag in person since it is the only one without a dealer in Houston, and Integra Research (RDC-7). Value delivered for $$$$ paid ranked pretty high on my criteria list, too. :>)
    I actually lived with an Anthem AVM2 in my system at home for a week. While it has a number of appealing features, I found it to be lacking in a number of significant areas, as I've discussed at length elsewhere. (Please e-mail me if you'd like more of that info.)
    My final choice? Integra Research RDC-7 For even twice its $4,000 list price, it would be tough to beat.
    This one basically "has it all", incuding your "must have" list:
    - Multi-channel SACD capability via 7.1 analog bypass
    - DPL II (via $49.95 upgrade kit which is now available and which includes a CD-ROM with the program updates and an RS-232 cable to interface between your home computer and the RDC-7)
    - Many coax (5) and optical (3) inputs, plus an AC-3 RF input (for laser disc Dolby Digital 5.1)
    - Balanced analog outputs on all eight channels
    It also has a lot of other great features, including:
    - 24/192 DACs on all eight channels,
    - selectable upsampling on digital sources and
    - selectable "direct" mode on analog sources (not just on the 7.1 analog bypass input),
    - world class antijitter technology,
    - flexible assignment of most of the digital inputs to any video source (the sole exception being the LD AC-3 RF input).
    It even has a phono stage, if you still have (or plan to get) a turntable to play vinyl records. Its built-in FM tuner is first rate, easily the equivbalent of stand-alone tuners costing >$1K. (It also has a decent AM tuner.)
    The unit is also upgradable via an RS-232 port by the owner (using factory kits) instead of having to send it in or take it to the dealer, and the first update has just been released with Dolby ProLogic II, DTS ES Discrete and DTS Neo 6 (user installable) which add to the already built in 7.1 THX surround. And its user interface is very easy to master and navigate.
    I have been more than pleased in a month's experience with the unit in my system for both music and movies. Its resolution, detail, vivid dynamics, etcetera, put it in the top rank of pre/pros, holding its own in comparison with far more expensive units. (Stereohpile Guide To Home Theater gave it a "AAA" rating in its Recommended Components feature this past March, which rank it shared in its category only with two much pricier Meridian models.)
    The only "shortcoming" I know of is its fixed subwoofer crossover at the THX-standard 80hz. (It is THX-Ultra-certified.) This point held me back from choosing it at first, until I tried the Anthem unit, which has a variable crossover, found that, for me, the bass management issue was really just "icing on the cake" and it was far more important to have the right "cake"!
    Overview:http://www.integraresearch.com/articles.cfm?id=12
    Photos:http://www.integraresearch.com/products.cfm?id=1
    Owners Manual (requires Adobe Acrobat):http://63.148.251.141/files/own_manuals/rdc7_e.pdf
    DP II upgrade offer:http://www.integraresearch.com/articles.cfm?id=3
    Stereophile Guide To Home Theater review:http://www.guidetohometheater.com/showarchives.cgi?8
    Enjoy!
    Burke
    PS -- While Integra Research specifically prohibits Internet sales, they do allow authorized dealers to serve customers via phone/mail contact in areas where there are currently no dealers (after the dealer confirms this as OK in each case with the factory). However, as you might expect, they are represented in New York: :>)http://www.integraresearch.com/show_cities_bystate.cfm
    [Edited last by Burke Strickland on July 15, 2001 at 11:52 PM]
     
  6. David Schamis

    David Schamis Stunt Coordinator

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    Burke,
    I will check this out myself, but does the Integra have HDTV switching?
    This is one other feature I should have listed on my initial post.
    David
     
  7. Burke Strickland

    Burke Strickland Second Unit

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  8. David Schamis

    David Schamis Stunt Coordinator

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    What about the new Lexicon MC-12 - does anyone have an opinion on this yet?
    David
     
  9. keith fox

    keith fox Agent

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    Update to the AVM-20 (new, not AVM2)
    -100mhz (1080P) component video switching
    -analogue bypass on all channels
    -bass management for SACD & DVD-Audio (this may be unique right now?)
    -24x192 DAC's
    - balanced analogue and digital input's
    - simultaneous live RCA and balanced output
    -lots more
    No DPLII or DTS-ES because not available on Motorolla Digital DNA ... waiting on Motorolla to update.
     
  10. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Screenwriter

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    David,
    You mentioned in your Subject line:quote: Best Pre for up to $5000?[/quote]The MC-12 runs $8,995 and the MC-12 B is $9,995.quote: What about the new Lexicon MC-12 - does anyone have an opinion on this yet?[/quote]There has been no sighting of the MC-12 to date, though Lexicon originally projected the release for July.
    Hope this helps.
    Paul
    [Edited last by Paul Hillenbrand on August 02, 2001 at 11:49 AM]
     
  11. Curtis_Edwards

    Curtis_Edwards Stunt Coordinator

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    I am very curious to see if the new Anthem AVM-20 (release date is Sept. 2001) will sound any better than the AVM-2.
    I too am in the market for a new Pre/Pro but am unsure since many manufactures claim upgradability in both hardware and software and then it only turns out to be software. Later you have to purchase a whole new unit because the upgrade of hardware is not feasably and there is not trade-in policy.....(B&K Ref 20 to Ref 30).....(Anthem AVM-2 to AVM-20)... and I am sure there are others.
    I think I may look closely at Integra Research piece and hold out until the Anthem AVM20 comes out to do a side-by-side compare.
    ------------------
    -- CUE
    "Without Struggle There Is No Progress!!"
    [Edited last by Curtis_Edwards on August 02, 2001 at 01:26 PM]
     
  12. Curtis_Edwards

    Curtis_Edwards Stunt Coordinator

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    From a feature to feature comparison, the Anthem AVM-20 seems to be very close if not a little ahead of the Integra Research RDC-7. With the major difference.... on paper... being that the RDC-7 can currently have DPLII etc.
    I guess bottom line will be the sound of each.
    ------------------
    -- CUE
    "Without Struggle There Is No Progress!!"
     
  13. David Schamis

    David Schamis Stunt Coordinator

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    The AVM-20 looks amazing - from a features standpoint I think it is much more attractive than the RDC-7 - the question is how good will it sound?
    What was the feelings on the AVM-2?
    Anyone know who carries Anthem in NYC?
    Does the RDC-7 claim to do bass management on SACD? This may be the first "feature" that can actually trump a "higher-end" system.
    David
     
  14. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Easy:
    Integra Research RDC-7 w/DTS-ES and PL II Upgrade. $4,000 retail. Class AAA product from Stereophile Guide to Home Theater.
    Evan has FireWire and can be upgraded to support at least a digital input version of DVD-Audio.
    Dan
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    Stop HDCP and 5C-- Your rights are at risk!
     
  15. keith fox

    keith fox Agent

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    The Outlaw ICBM will add DVD-Audio/SACD bass management for $249.00 to any receiver/pre-pro...shipping... anyday now.
     
  16. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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  17. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    What's the warranty on the Integra Research?
     
  18. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    When I talked to Integra Research I was told that these units will come with a 3 year P&L warranty (Pre-Pro & DVD)
    KyleS
     
  19. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Has Integra Research told anyone that they have firm plans to offer a variable crossover below 80 Hz? It sounds like Anthem will make DPLII and the other DTS modes as soon as Motorola gets the code written, and they say that Motorola is definitely working on it.
     
  20. David Schamis

    David Schamis Stunt Coordinator

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    Has anybody seen any reviews on the Anthem AVM-2 or the AVM-20?
    I really like the specs vs. the RDC-7.
    David
     

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