Best Pre/Pro in the $3K range

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnCro, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. JohnCro

    JohnCro Extra

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    Greetings,
    I am looking to upgrade my Home Theater. I am using a Denon 3803 as a processor powered by a Adcom 7500 amp driving Martin Logan speakers. Scenarios/Theater/Scripts, and a Sunfire true Sub. I am using the Denon to power 2 surround back speakers. While I am aware that I will lose the 6/7.1 capabilities switching to a dedicated pre/pro and a five channel amp that is not a priority for me. (I can always add a two channel amp at a later date). My priority is upgrading the sound quality. I mainly listen to music (DVD audio & Satellite radio) followed by TV and then DVD music/movies. Sunfire III, Anthem AVM20 & B&K50 are what I have been looking at. Anyone out there have any experience with these or other suggestions. Also please discuss the remotes with these models. Thanks
     
  2. Roger Kaufmann

    Roger Kaufmann Stunt Coordinator

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    John,

    I took delivery of a Ref 50 this week so I am not in the position to give real in-depth overview. I am using it with a Earthquake Cinenova Grande 5 channel amp, B&W Matrix 805's LRC, Sunfire True Sub and NHT surrounds. The Ref 50 replaced a Sony STR-DA333ES receiver that I was using as a pre-amp. First impressions are the Ref 50 is very flexible and easy to set up. Next is the sound, my jaw dropped when I heard the difference in detail and warmth compared to the Sony. Next is the remote which is a MX-700, I am selling my Marantz RC-5000 after using this. It's very easy to set up, has intuitive software and once I got the hang of it (about 30 minutes) had the remote programmed to work with my components. I will be fine tuning by adding macros that fit my needs.I have listened to a variety of sources, including DirecTV (through Tivo SAT-T60), DVD in DTS and DD, FM radio and of course Cd's. Each source is totally transformed from the previous setup.

    Doing setups on the Ref 50 can be done either via on-screen setup from the Ref 50, the remote or the included software which can be connected on your home network. I chose the remote method and found that extremely easy.

    Prior to purchasing the Ref 50 I auditioned it at 3 different dealers all with different setups, though all were using B&K amps. In honesty I think my setup sounds better than any of the dealers, this was a total surprise to me. I also auditioned the Tag McClaren AV32R, Anthem AV-20, Proceed AVP I, the Lexicon MC-12 and the Rotel 1066. Prices on those products range from $1499 to $8500. I could afford in the $3000 range but wanted to listen to the other products. My $.02... I thought the Ref 50 was impossible to beat. The Anthem is a fine processor but what I didn't like was it's remote and how difficult it was to set up. The Lexicon is very cool but I thought a bit analytic however I did love Logic 7, the Proceed is a jewel but out of my price range, the Tag I found a bit bright and definitely didn't like the expense of sending it to Europe for upgrades, and the Rotel I just flat didn't like it's sound, I thought it was bright as well. So that's my opinion, my advice is get out and go listen to all of the products you are interested in and have fun doing it!

    Cheers,
    Roger Kaufmann
     
  3. Dave Ma

    Dave Ma Stunt Coordinator

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  4. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Its outdated currently but Theta's reps are talking about a major overhaul soon (late 2003), but you can get the Theta CasaNova new or used in your price range depedning on all the options you want.

    Theta's processors and Meridian's $20,000 800 series processor are the only truly upgradeable processors on the market.

    Theta is not known for great remotes however, because I think they feel that most people buying their stuff would be getting some type of universal remote. Basically theirs is non-universal, but it has few buttons so it is easy to navigate.
     
  5. Dave Ma

    Dave Ma Stunt Coordinator

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    Food for thought> Rotel's are upgradeable!
     

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