Pre-pro advice

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by LarrySkelly, May 11, 2003.

  1. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasn't planning to buy a new pre-amp this soon, honest. I've been using a pretty decent receiver (Marantz SR8000) to drive three Martin-Logan's and a pair of B&W's in the rear. This week I took delivery of a Bryston 4BST to power the fronts, using the SR8000 as a pre-amp. Was planning to get a pre-amp in a year or so.

    I'm very happy with the amp, however the amp has pointed out a problem in my receiver. The indicator LED on the Brystons glows red when they detect a problem with the input signal - typically excessive distortion or a short. The signal from my receiver starts out ok, but goes bad within a few minutes, possibly as the unit heats up, flickering on and off and degrading to the point that its continuous red.

    Nothing is noticeable in the sound quality. But I've also noticed a slight popping sound in that channel as I increase the volume; at the point it pops the indicator turns red.

    So I have undoubtably damaged my receiver driving such a hellish load, oddly enough the pre-amp section is affected, not the power amp. In any event I'm considering buying a pre-pro, a bit prematurely, but I don't want to operate in this mode for too long from fear of damaging the M-L's which would be a real disaster.

    Thw wife and kids are quite conderned with this read light deal so I have a real opportunity here. :wink:

    What pre-pro would you recommend? Requirements:
    - 7.1 support
    - excellent 2-channel sound quality (50% of the usage is music only)
    - not sure about other features, just staring to do research

    I'm not too concerned about a lot of bells and whistles for HT. I'd like a good solid HT processor with an excellent pre-amp section for 2-channel sound.

    Max price $2K US, new or used. Preferably less, if I can still get good sound.

    Recommendations?

    Thanks,
    Larry
     
  2. John Beavers

    John Beavers Second Unit

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  3. Ted Pugh

    Ted Pugh Stunt Coordinator

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    If you listen to music 50% of the time give the Classe SSP30mkii a listen. Super SS and awesome preamp section for music.

    TP
     
  4. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    I used to know a Ted Pugh from Washington, NC.....
     
  5. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Ted, I'll look into the Classe.

    I found your thread useful, where you were looking at the B&K, Parasound and in the end I believe you settled on an Integra. It had some good info in it.

    With the amount of time I have to listen to music these days I just cannot justify that kind of spend, especially with other projects on the go. But its nice to dream!

    The other thing I'm thinking about is a used MC-1.

    Larry
     
  6. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    Steve
    Larry,
    The used MC-1 is fantastic for Ht and if you are picky about music and don't like the LEX sound for 2 channel you can use the expansion port and Pre-amp that will pass through like the Sony TA-P9000. The MC-1 can be had for around 1600. Once you hear Logic 7 you'll be hooked.
    Steve
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Something doesn't sound right here. The system plays fine minus the Bryston but with it you get a red light. Give Bryston a call with your observations and have them get back to you.
     
  8. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Chu,

    No its not the Bryston. I had the problem before but never noticed it in HT use.

    I can hear very low level distortion in the bad channel, without the Bryston. Without the indicator light on the Bryston to tell me, I did not know it was there.

    Now that I know its there I'm going to discontinue using it, as much as possible, until I replace it.

    Larry
     
  9. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    Further to my other post:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=139989

    one of the options I'm considering is picking up an inexpensive pre-pro like the Outlaw 950.

    Can anyone tell me how it sounds - how good is the sound really? 2-channel? What have you heard that you can compare it to?

    Thanks!
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Gotcha! ML's can be a bitch to drive properly although I'm not familiar with the impedance curves of your units.
     
  11. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

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    Come on - those of you who have heard the 950 - how good is it?
     
  12. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    I'm curious about that myself. I'm one who cares more about sound then looks, but I think the Outlaw is just so ugly and doesn't match any other components. So with that said it must have to great sound processing for people to buy it and it not look like anything else on their rack.
     
  13. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I don't have any complaints. [​IMG] And I've compared it to the Sony TA-E9000ES I had previously, and a 2 ch analog Nakamichi pre-amp before that. I'm currently in the process of comparing it to a Lexicon MC-8. In terms of pure sound quality alone (forget about all the DSP available on the Lex), they are quite close considering the difference in cost. If you want the *best* 2 channel sound you can get from the 950, just use it in 2 ch bypass mode. Essentially becomes a 2 ch analog preamp. With the latest model and all of the hiss gone, I find it transparent enough for 2 ch listening. I do prefer the 2 ch sound out of my DVD player (Burr Brown DACs vs the Cirrus DACs in the 950), but, the difference isn't large enough such that I usually just leave the D-to-A conversion to the pre/pro anyway.
     
  14. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    As an analog preamp is pretty impressive,I agree with Kevin that it's DA converters aren't the best,but certainly good for decoding and enjoying MC movie soundtracks.
    I think you have to spend quiet a bit more to gain meaningful performance difference.
     
  15. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Like KB I find it superb in 2-ch as an analog preamp. Interestingly enough (personal thoughts here only).
    The Outlaw was raved about in early reports for its multi-channel HT duties (and by professional reviewers who in two reviews that I read stated they had not heard it bested in that area (I think one said by ANY unit). At the beginning the jury seemed out or reserved on its 2-channel side.

    I see a growing respect for its 2-channel performance the longer its out. (bit of a flipflop) I have been completely satisfied by its performance in both areas past my initial trails to current date.

    I have always felt the Outlaw to be very very clean in performance [and] transparent. And an incredible bargain in its rank: Separates-pre. I have not preferred any Super Receiver I have heard to date (all, -in the large B&M’s)
    There are a larger percent of the pre’s I have not had opportunity to compare it too.
    So far nothings attracted me. The 950 is too good of a deal does too well of a job for me to be currently enticed away.

    Although highly sensitive to fashion (after all…I am…of course. Some of my 'fashion' sense you guys would not be caught dead [wearing] [​IMG] ). Unlike many of the men, I prefer its Spartan looks. I have a thing about my ‘rack’ drawing eyes away from the display during its HT duties. I prefer the black reserved look of it all.
     
  16. charles mix

    charles mix Stunt Coordinator

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    I had the 950 and ended up sending it back. It sound fairly clean and musical. I got the 45tx instead. I use it as a pre amp only. I think it sound better than the 950. The 950 does not do surround sound nearly as well as the pioneer elite. Hope this helps.
     
  17. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  18. Ted Pugh

    Ted Pugh Stunt Coordinator

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    Larry, beware of the high noise floor the Outlaw has. There have been numerous posts on the forums concerning this. I think you could buy a nice high end receiver like the Denon 3803, the Pioneer or even the HK and get a better sounding system than the Outlaw. You could then add a seperate amp if you do not already own one which would allow you to upgrade easily. Just my .02 worth. I have been researching which pre/pro to buy for months and have finally decided to purchase the Parasound C2. In the last 2 days I have auditioned the Lexicon MC8, the Parasound
    C2, the Tag 32R, the Anthem AVM20 and the B&K Ref. 50. All nice units but the Parasound just sounded better to me.

    TP
     
  19. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    Ted, I believe the high noise floor was due to the hiss problem on some of the first units. This no longer plagues the 950 as that bug was solved quite a while ago.
     
  20. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Larry,

    If you want to maximize your 2 channel on a 2k budget, you can get a 7.1 receiver for $900 new and a 2 channel preamp with HT unity gain bypass. A 2 channel preamp like the Rogue 66 magnum or Adcom gfp750 (both $650-850 used on audiogon, retail 1400-1600) will equal or best just about any prepro under 5k as a 2 channel analog preamp.

    The preamp would sit *between* the receiver and your Bryston 4B-ST. With a flick of the unity gain switch to ON, either the preamp is ON and the receiver is out of the 2 channel loop, or with the unity gain OFF, the preamp's inputs and volume control are virtually invisible in the system.

    This approach also increases system flexibility as you can upgrade/change the preamp or receiver without any affect on the other.
     

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