Pre/pros with good bass management?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ken Woodrow, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    The more I analyze my upgrade options, the more I realize that my needs for a pre/pro center around (1) sound qualityand (2) available bass management options.

    My current configuration can be found in my sig, but basically consists of a HTPC (used as a DVD player), DSS with digital out, a Sony DB-930, and a LLano 3-channel amp driving my front channels. Speakers are Speakercity Aria 5 kits (front) and Madisound Vifa A/V kits. I'm using a 42" plasma connected to the PC and have no need for video switching.

    My needs, in order of priority:

    1. Sound quality, both in the digital processing and in the direct analog stage.

    2. Direct analog pass through for at least 5.1 inputs.

    3. Flexible bass management for digital inputs and the option for bass management on the analog inputs.

    So, what pre/pros have the best combination of sound quality and bass management options? Esp. in terms of adjustable crossover points and slopes, individual channel gain and delay, etc.?

    OR, is it better to handle bass management in the analog realm with an Outlaw ICBM? If so, why?

    Oh yes -- my budget is up to $2000, which probably puts me in the used market.

    Thanks,

    Ken
     
  2. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    Now if B&K would be a bit faster with the upgrades

    I'd say the Ref 30 has some of the best management features available. As also posted on AVS the B&K gives you slope selection of 6 or 12db/octave on high pass and 12 or 24db/octave on low pass. X=over points are selectable in 10hz increments from 20-200hz.

    I just checked my Ref 30 and it's selectable in 5hz increments from 20-200hz.

    The Outlaw only has a few fixed points to select from.

    Also the Lex MC-1. Both of these can be found for your target price.
     
  3. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    The Anthem AVM-20 has great bass management but seeing as it was just released a few months ago it may be hard to find a used one. You can probably get a new one for a little bit more than your budget with haggling. The Outlaw 950 has pretty good bass management for half of what you are planning to spend.
     
  4. ClaudeD

    ClaudeD Extra

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    A used (or heavily discounted!) Theta Casanova would handle your needs except for the 5.1 passthrough. There's an option for that, but it's expensive.

    Theta has arguably the best and most flexible bass management of any of the pre-pros. 3 xover types, multiple slopes, multiple hinge points; someone once counted 144 choices per speaker.

    Sound quality is first rate. If passthrough is a showstopper, Theta is probably not a budget choice.

    Claude
     
  5. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    The new Rotel pre/pro will go $1500. It seems to have the same bass management as the Outlaw/AT/Sherbourn pre/pro. If I'm not mistaken it's crossovers are adjustable from 40 - 120hz.
     
  6. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Does the Rotel let you configure main, center, and surround, each at different xover frequencies like the Outlaw? i.e. mains @60Hz, center @80Hz, and surrounds @100Hz

    IMO, this may have a large influence on the quality of the soundfield. Enabling you to match each speaker to a xover frequency that optimizes the transition to the sub.

    I don't buy into this one-for-all xover methodology used by many processors with adjustable xovers (lazy programmers or not enough processing power).
     
  7. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    Bruce,

    According to Tim at Rotel it does. I'll have to wait and see when it comes out. I also can't stand the one crossover fits all approach
     
  8. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Wow, if the Rotel can do that it will end up being a player in this market. As far as I knew, the Outlaw was the ONLY pre/pro in the market at any price point that had this triple crossover feature. Even the brand new Anthem AVM-20 lacks this feature.
     
  9. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    For me I only need the mains and center to have individual adjustable crossovers. I use surround subs and they control the crossovers on my surrounds.
     
  10. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

     
  11. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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  12. Tony Lai

    Tony Lai Stunt Coordinator

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    This crossover thing is a major issue?

    What about the Denon 5800 with 80Hz fixed? Or any THX unit with 80Hz fixed? Or the Yamaha 90Hz? I'm also pretty sure Marantz had a fixation with 100Hz?

    I don't know why it's such an issue NOW that the Outlaw 950 has a few deficiencies?

    Yeah I dunno, the Sony stuff usually has reasonable management. Perhaps Rotel can get it right...

    T.
     
  13. BillG

    BillG Agent

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    I also am interested in pre/pro with flexible bass management. In my case, I need something that has no sub output from any two-channel source. My main speakers are NHT 2.9 and have pretty decent bass all by themselves. The center and surrounds (NHT AC-2, NHT 1.5) need a sub.
    I also want analog passthrough ohn the 5.1 inputs. The problem with this is that most processors do bass management in digital domain, which means there is absolutely no bass management of any kind on the 5.1 input. You either get bass management or you get analog passthrough - but not both!
    The Rotel 1066 looks interesting. I'm itching to get a chance to read the owners manual. Rotel doesn't have it on their web site yet.
     
  14. ClaudeD

    ClaudeD Extra

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    Unless you have all your speakers equidistant from the listening position, bass management on the 5.1 analog inputs is not the biggest problem. Not being able to set delays turns music into something-other-than-music.

    I experimented at home, and discovered that I could listen well enough to bass-deficient 5.1 music (i.e., no sub at all), but that sounds from the surrounds arriving too early made music unlistenable (with sub or without).

    SGHT (or was it another of the mags?) finally wrote about this issue; it doesn't get much press.

    Claude

    PS Delay is always done in the digital domain (doing it in analog is prohibitively expensive).
     
  15. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    So, I guess a question for those wanting to use their 5.1 inputs for DVD-A or SACD: what players have good bass management and time delay settings? I believe the new Sony 777ES, reviewed in this month's Perfect Vision, is pretty good in this area. Others?
     
  16. ClaudeD

    ClaudeD Extra

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    Ken,

    Only pre-pros that digitize their 5.1 inputs will have time delays. Anthem has an option for digitizing, and I assume time delays are operative then. I don't know of other pre-pros that digitize, and there are many people who would consider it blasphemy to go through D-A A-D D-A to get DVD-A or SACD with time delays. The real answer, obviously, is digital output from the new format players; that won't happen in a mass-market way for quite some time.

    As far as time delay goes, I'm under the impression that it is relatively trivial in the digital domain, and everyone does it about equally well. The trick is getting into the digital domain.

    Claude
     
  17. ClaudeD

    ClaudeD Extra

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    Ken,

    I just re-read your post. I thought you were talking about pre-pros and their delay capabilities. AFAIK, NO players, none, nada, not a single blessed one, provides delay settings for SACD or DVD-A. If there is one, I would probably buy it.

    Claude
     
  18. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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  19. ClaudeD

    ClaudeD Extra

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    Jerry said
     
  20. Jerry Klawiter

    Jerry Klawiter Screenwriter

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    I have not had much time to play with it.

    I just stuck it in the rack, set it to direct mode.

    I need to play with it some.

    I think it's really only multichannel bass management and level control without any delay functions.

    I'll play with it some and get back.

    I just placed a B&K Ref 30 in the same rack and my extra time has been there.
     

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