In search of pre/pro recommendation

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Mitrook, Dec 15, 2001.

  1. Mike Mitrook

    Mike Mitrook Agent

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    After searching the forums (lurking) long enough, here it goes. As many others I am in the market for a new pre/pro. In anticipation of the usual follow up questions: I currently am using a combination (Rotel RSP-960 for dpl and Sony EP9es for dd) of pre/pros to get the job done. I’d like to move to a one box pre/pro solution with a $1000 budget limit. I have been looking at the Acurus ACT-3, B&K ref20, Rotel RSP-985 (all used but in mint condition with the B&K still under warranty for another 4 yrs). Maybe the Sony TA-E9000? As much as I like thinking about B&K ref30s or Marantz AV9000s and such, they are out of range for me. Don’t know if I’m willing to wait on the Outlaw 950.

    Okay, so what is important to me… I’d say listening is a 60/40 split with movies/music. I’d like good sound both with movies and music because of this. The balance of my HT audio is a Rotel RB-985 amp, MB Quart speakers all around (d45s, CTR and balconies) and a Sunfire TrueSub mkII. A tuner would be nice. And one of the reasons for the interest in the first place, once setup the system should be easy to use (WAF). Don’t plan on getting into SACD or DVD-A anytime soon. I’ve got a collection of CDs that I’m not replacing anytime soon and good o’stereo still works great for me.

    Looking forward to your responses.

    Mike
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    IMO, with the Outlaws already taking reservations (and looking like it will only be about 3 weeks till they ship), you would be hard pressed with that budget to at least see what they have to order. It's loaded with features, meets your price point and has a 30 day return guarantee. If you DON'T like it, I would say go with the B&K on reputation only as I haven't first hand heard the other units.

    I too NEED a Pre/Pro. I'm in the middle of an upgrade right now and have the amp (Anthem MCA 5), but am giving Outlaw the benefit of the doubt before I continue my search if I'm dissatisfied. I have a hunch I won't, which I think is contrary to most posters on this forum. I think everybody is a little dubious. I'll decide for myself.
     
  3. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    The $1000 limit is a bit on the low side. Most decent prepros start at around $2000+. The B&K Ref30 and Anthem AVM2/AVM20 come to mind. If you want to go used, perhaps you might be able to approach the $1000 limit. Otherwise, Rotel makes some lower end prepros, such as the RSP985/972 series. Parasound also has an older prepro, the 1800 if I remember correctly, that is pretty cheap. They aren't the most musical prepros out there, but they should be closer to, if not within your budget.
     
  4. Richard Burzynski

    Richard Burzynski Second Unit

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    Mike:

    For $1000, there are several good full-featured receivers (with all necessary preouts) that many people use as prepros.

    These receivers also usually have the "newer" features that prepros lack. The soon-to-be Outlaw would be the exception. It has most (if not all) of the newer features and has the magic pricepoint as well.

    Good luck.

    Rich B.
     
  5. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

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    Hi Mike

    Welcome to the Forum.

    I went from a Sony 30ES receiver about a 1 1/2 year ago. And a dealer let me use an Acurus Act-3 and I ended up buying it. It has worked very well for me with it's now build in limits. It only supports 5.1 DD, DTS,no AM/FM or analog bypass which is needed for such equipment as SACD players. The first thing I liked about it was its sound. Very good in two channel music and still has one of the best bass management abilities. The bass mod is however the only and last upgrade that Mondial has incorporated in the unit. I bought it and added a Denon TU1599-RD AM/FM tuner. The only Pre/Pro around the price range I paid was the Marantz AV-9000 which is also a fine piece even today. But still in today's options outdated as far as 6.1, PLII, EX, ES..etc..etc. I've seen the Marantz new on the web for about $1500. But may be less if you look around. The Act-3 is no longer being supported by Mondial and is going to be replaced next year at some time by Mondial. With a trade-in upgrade option by Mondial. At least that's what they are telling people on the Klipsch forum web site. It's beginning to look like the value of current unit doesn't lend itself to much of a trade-in but anyone who has one of the Act-3 today may have an option in the future for their newest piece. We'll see?! But, if your looking for a starter piece that has proven to be dependable and quite flexible within it's limits the Act-3 is for the money a good choice as long as you know and accept it for these limits.

    But like anyone in this hobby upgrading is never far away. I'm looking at selling my Act-3 and Denon tuner together to move to a newer design. Such as the Intergra RDC-7. It's a considerable jump in price and performance. My room still doesn't allow me to add too many more channels especially rear channels considering my dining area behind my couch. But 5.1 works just fine for movies. If you decide on the Act-3 and are interested in a used piece e-mail me. Maybe we can work out a fair price.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker Second Unit

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    I own a Sony TA-E9000ES and it is a lot of bang for the buck at approximately $900-$1000 street price (lower if demo or used). I have been most pleased with it and have been happier with it over my old Lexicon DC-1. I'm not a big believer in "all" of the reviews on audioreview.com (lot's of erroneous posts) but the 9000 has more reviews than any other I've read. It also has a forum: Sony TA-E9000 Forum which you can use to help you make a decision. There may be other forums there on some of the other units you are considering.
    SP
     
  7. Mike Mitrook

    Mike Mitrook Agent

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    Thanks for the welcome and for the input thus far.

    Evan - The Outlaw 950 sure seems tempting. It’s just that I’d be passing up on a couple of current options if I wait. Not that new opportunities won’t present themselves…

    Sihan - One of the reasons I’m looking into the used market is the chance to get a $2000+ pre/pro for the discounted ‘broken in’ price…

    Richard - Even though I read about so many using receivers for their pre/pro, many of the features are ones I know I wouldn’t use. Very tempting to try though, just not sure which ones.

    Darrel - So many formats, so little time. Since I’m still interested in the Act-3 at this point, you’ll hear from me.

    Sonnie - I’ve read all the posts on audioreview regarding all of the pre/pros I’m interested in (I agree some of them are a waste of time). Of course the TA-E9000ES was one of the first processors I thought of because I’ve been so pleased with my EP9ES. Does it really run as hot as some of the posts say it does? What about two channel sound quality? I’d be interested in you thoughts there.

    Mike
     
  8. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker Second Unit

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    Mike,

    As far as the unit running hot....never had a problem! It is warm at times but not frying eggs hot. The only reason I've checked it is because of reading reviews like you did. Of course my unit has several inches above and beside it in my cabinet and is ventilated well from an open front and partially open back.

    I hate to say this here but I very seldom listen to 2 channel stereo....mostly (90-95%) HT. The times I have I believe it sounded okay to me but I'm not sure if I'm qualified to say it sounds right. I would suggest posting that question on the 9000ES forum link I gave you above. I'm sure someone will know and can give you good advice. Maybe someone here will help you also.

    If there are any other questions that I can answer I'll be happy to.

    SP
     
  9. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Mike: If you can do without 6.1/7.1 and DPL2, you can get a brand new Sherwood Newcastle AVP-9080r pre/pro plus a new SN AM9080 5x120w amp for under $1000 RIGHT NOW! Look HERE and scroll down to Home Audio quickly, before they sell out. I just picked up the pre/pro for $309 and the amp for $429. I don't know what I'm gonna do with them yet, but I know how nice and clean these pieces are... and I just can't pass up a bargain.
    Otherwise, IMO, I'd wait for the 950. You've waited this long, it just doesn't make sense to rush your decision and spend more money, than you have to, for a used, possibly inferior unit.
     
  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I also have a Sony TA-E9000ES. It does run pretty hot. Should be OK if you don't stack anything on top of it though. I've had mine for almost exactly 3 years now, with no failures of any kind.

    But if I was in the market now, I think I'd probably wait for what is said about the new Outlaw...

    Just too many things the Sony doesn't have: (THX) Surround EX/DTS-ES, DPL II, 5.1 analog inputs, etc.
     
  11. Mark C.

    Mark C. Supporting Actor

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    Mike:

    I'm using the Rotel RSP-976, the lower priced pre/pro from Rotel. I use it primarily for home theater along with casual music listening. I chose the 976 over the Acurus mainly because the ACT-3 is lacking in S-video inputs (only two). If not for that, I would have gone Acurus.

    That being said, I am very satsified with the Rotel. I bought it as a floor demo for just under $1,000. I have B&W CDM 1SEs for mains, the matching center and B&W 601S2 rears. I also have the Sunfire True Sub Jr. I'm powering with the Rotel RMB 1075 5-channel amp. It's a great system. Even my wife loves it. The 976 has the multi-channel inputs if you desire to go SACD or DVD-A, although, like you, I have no use for this feature at this time.

    Rotel has a reputation of offering value for your money, and the 976 is a great example.
     
  12. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Mike,
    If the Marantz AV560U(DD/DTS) with RC2000MkII remote interests you, checkout this link below. The auction has ended but the dealer has more than one(he did when I bought from him). Unit comes new in box. You should be able to get it for $400-450(plus shipping) if you e-mail him.
    Kevin
    http://cgi.ca.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayIS...tem=1305528199
     
  13. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I am/was in the same boat as you and ended up buying a used Sony 9000ES. Since it hasn't arrived yet (any day I hope) I can't comment yet on my own expericence but from what I've read (nearly everything I can find) everyone's comments on its 2 channel performance has been that it is greatly improved when you update the firmware to the latest version (either 2 or 2.5) I'll report back when I finally install the Sony
     
  15. Sonnie Parker

    Sonnie Parker Second Unit

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    Kevin,

     
  16. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

     
  17. Mike Mitrook

    Mike Mitrook Agent

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    Well, after leaning toward a new in box ref20 I was able to find for under $1000 I guess I’ll look into my options a bit further.

    Larry - You stated my fears. The 2 channel sound from the Rotel RSP-960 is very nice and I don’t want anything less. The only problem I’m having is that my pre has developed a hiss in the center and rear channels that is very noticeable in 2 channel mode and seems to be getting worse. I could keep saving my pennies…

    John - I’ve seen the Anthem, too much $$ and too busy a face plate for easy WAF.

    As far as the Sony goes, it’s has the highest visual WAF and seemingly good performance to go with it. Of course no local dealer has ever carried that unit. When you’re spending that kind of money it’s nice to try it out.

    I know, patience, patience…

    Mike
     
  18. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    The Sony's solution to the 5.1 analog inputs is the TA-P9000ES which is their add on analog pre amp that mates seemlessly with the digital pre amp. If you shop around you should be able to find the TA-E9000 for $800 or less new and a little less on ebay used (they hold their value very well). The TA-P9000 analog add on is going for around $450 from oade.com and will allow you to have a true analog by pass with two sets of 5.1 inputs. I think there's a review in Stereophile about this unit and from what I hear its getting favorable reviews.

    The Sony won't likely ever offer PLII but they might if (big if) their new pre amp has similar firmware to the older unit. The firmware higher then 2.0 include sony's virtual 6.1 mode where it simulates a rear centre channel from the two rears. For those that don't have the room for a true rear centre this might be the best you can hope for anyway.

    What the Sony does offer is tons of flexibility in setting up 5.1 with good bass management and built in eq etc.
     
  19. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Must be patient for the Outlaw Model 950. I know I want to read user testimonials and thorough reviews... yesterday, but I still have high hopes that it will at least be a good bang vs. buck in the sense it has a lot of features and there aren't any other pre-pros in its price range (yet) that have all of the latest bells and whistles (just not DTS 24/96) plus some sort of adjustable bass X-overs...

    And the hope (possibly slim chance, I know) that it can be upgraded.

    Dan
     
  20. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    John- Bite your tongue! [​IMG]
    Sony uses 32-bit SHARC chips by Analog Devices, not Moto.
    Sonnie, you can also add an external box for DD EX/DTS-ES, but again, because it would require the hardware for that rear center channel, there's no software solution for the E9000ES. (I am using a DPL processor to get the rear center channel, and like the effect very much.)
    If you cruise the Aussie forum, there's rumors to a TA10ES, but it might not be out even until 2003.
     

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