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THX vs. Non THX? Classe SSP30 vs. Classe SSP60, B&K Ref. 50 and Denon 5803 (1 Viewer)

Ted Pugh

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Jan 13, 2003
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108
I was wondering if a pre/pro or receiver makes a big difference if it is THX Ultra 2 certified or whether it has been certified at all by THX. I have been looking at the Classe SSP30 which is not THX certified the Classe SSP60, The B&K Ref. 50 and the Denon 5803 which are all THX Ultra 2 certified. Is there a huge sonic difference when using THX. I currently own a Denon 4802 which is THX certified and I listened to a non THX movie last night and changed between DD and THX and too be honest I could not tell a difference. I like the Classe SSP30 for $3K vs. the others because of pricing and sonics. But I will consider spending more for the Classe SSP60 if THX Ultra 2 is worth the extra 2k. Please educate me.

Ted
 

Kevin_R_H

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Jan 3, 2002
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Ted,

My advice is to continue listening to ensure you have a good understanding of any audible differences. Possibly the movie you watched did not put the THX to the test.

However, how these pieces sound in your system is the only "spec" that matters. The fact that someone can cite theoretical advantages of one over the other doesn't mean a thing.

Therefore, if you can hear an extra $2,000 worth of "sonic bliss" (and you can afford it), then spend your cash. It doesn't really matter what any of us think. The only "ears" that matter are "your ears".

Good luck,
Kevin
 

Michael Reuben

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Michael Reuben
Please educate me.
In addition to the discussion of THX in the HTF Beginner's Primer and FAQ (link in my signature below), the following existing threads deal with the subject of THX, including Ultra 2. They are all findable through the search function, but I've saved you the trouble:

Is the THX worth $200

Is THX Ultra 2 worth the extra cost ?

THX: Is it REALLY worth it??

I'll leave the thread open for further discussion of the specific models you're considering, and I'll edit the title accordingly.

BTW, the effects of THX processing in a receiver have nothing to do with whether a DVD is THX certified. IOW, you don't need to play a THX-certified disc to hear the differences. Just choose a disc whose soundtrack you know very well.

M.
 

GordonL

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Michael,
Problem is, there is as much bad information (maybe more :)) in those threads as there are good.

Ted,
A large part of the price difference is due to the feature set. The SSP60 adds 1 pair balanced inputs, 7.1 balanced outputs, HD component video switching, separate power supplies for analog & digital circuits, automatic calibration with supplied microphone. Seems like you get a lot for that $2k difference.
 

Michael Reuben

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Problem is, there is as much bad information (maybe more ) in those threads as there are good.
The same could be said of any internet site, Gordon. :) In any case, there's no reason to believe that a newly posted thread will attract only "good" information (in fact the opposite is the more likely scenario), so I routinely refer people to what already exists. Besides, when one is talking about preferences, much of it is subjective.

Still the best source for hard information on THX is their website:

http://www.thx.com/

And I'll stand behind (a) the HTF Beginner's FAQ and Primer, and (b) anything I've posted in the prior threads.

M.
 

Yogi

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I frankly dont feel THX adds anything of value to your hardware but meets certain stringent specs on power ratings S/N ratio etc that most of the decent amps and preamps surpass anyway. Try putting that 2K on speakers and be amazed at what a difference you will hear. As long as you have Cinema EQ you dont need anything more that THX has to offer.
 

Nick V

Second Unit
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May 7, 2002
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421
I think the SSP-60 is well worth the extra money. Along with the benefits that Gordon mentioned, I believe one of the biggest differences between the two is the sound quality. The 60 uses discrete output devices, while the 30, and most other mid-priced pre/pro's use op-amps. I don't know if this is where the substantial sonic difference comes from, but it is very possible.

BTW, I listened to both in a treated room with a Classe CAV-180 amp along with 4 B&W N802's and an HTM1. Fantastic system!!
 

Geo

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BTW, I listened to both in a treated room with a Classe CAV-180 amp along with 4 B&W N802's and an HTM1. Fantastic system!!
I want that system!
I view THX certification as a kind of insurance policy.
I can live without it, but it's very nice to have.

Regards,
geo
 

Nick V

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BTW, I thought I should mention that I don't think THX certification means that much. I'm the kind of guy who listens to 5.1 movies in 5.1, and 6.1 movies in 6.1. I'm not all about post-processing. I don't think the sound difference between the two pre-pro's was at all related to THX certification, but more related to the superior parts in the SSP-60. For those who enjoy 7.1 post-processing, the Ultra II certification is a bonus.

Also, I thought I should mention that while listening to movie soundtracks, the two pre-pro's were fairly close, with the 60 having the slight edge with a perfectly folwing soundstage, and slightly smoother sound than the 30. The biggest difference was when listening to SACD's in multichannel and two channel using the analog bypass. Especially in two channel going from the 60 to the 30, using the same volume, the soundstage height and width were slightly reduced, and the imaging suffered slightly. Keep in mind that if I had not listened to the 60, I would have thought that the SSP 30 was a fantastic product, and I still do, but the SSP 60 is just a little bit better in every way IMO. The sources in this demo were a Sony DVP-999ES SACD/DVD-V player for the DVD-V and Multichannel SACD part of the demo, and the absolutely FANTASTIC dCS Verdi/Delius/Purcell (I think it was those 3) SACD system for the 2 channel SACD.

Geo, I want that system too, but I might have to put it together slowly, piece by piece. Unless I win the lottery this week. :D
 

peter m. wilson

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Hi Ted
Any of these choices would be excellent. For myself once you get into that quality range it's the feature set that best suits your viewing and listening habits.

I have an upgraded Denon 5800. The upgrade to about 95% of the 5803's status was more than gravy to me.

If you are or plan to get into hirez music, there's no need to get a combi player because (prior to all the digital stuff being ironed out) the 5803 is the only reciever with 2 sets of 8ch analogs. I use entry level 7disc and 5disc dvd-a and sacd players and they sound awsome.

Late nite viewing is handled beautifully by Dolby Headphone. It's actually quite neat to be watching a movie in DTS and plug in the headphones and watch the face of the Denon go DTS + DolbyHeadphone.

If any of your dvd players have the RE-Master upsampling feature for your cds', the Denon will handel the upsample to 88.2/24 as well as 96/24.

Anyway, I'm just saying that you know better than anyone how you live your Home Entertainment life and all these products are excellent THX or not, so choose the right feature set and upgradeability path that suits you.

Peter m.
 

Ted Pugh

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Jan 13, 2003
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THX it seems is very controversial and I see both points that have been addressed. The key now is to decide between the Classe SSP60 and the Denon 5803. I watch 95% movies and 5% music but I just purchased a Denon 2900 DVD/DVD-A/SACD player so that might change a little. Might is the word. I have a 4 year old and not much time to listen to music but plenty of time for movies. Will I hear a huge difference in sound between the Denon and the Classe. I will be purchasing this unit within the next month hopefully.

Thanks,

Ted
 

Nick V

Second Unit
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May 7, 2002
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This is also a VERY touchy subject. The dreaded Flagship receiver vs. separates question. It is my opinion that the Classe SSP 60 + Quality multichannel amp combo will sound slighly superior in pretty much every way to the Denon 5803 using it's internal amps. I have never demo'd a Flagship with separate amplification so I cannot comment there.

The Key is to go out and try to audition a Denon 5803 along with a quality pre/pro (preferably the Classe if possible) in the same room with the same equipment (sources, speakers, cables...) and judge for yourself. You'll get opinions from people who own separates who say that they're better, and opinions from flagship owners who say that receivers are just as good or better. Do yourself a favor and go listen. That way, you'll never regret your purchase.

Me, I say go with the separates, but that's just one man's humble opinion.
 

Ted Pugh

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Jan 13, 2003
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108
Nick,

I am trying to work a deal to listen to both in my home. I would be using a 5803 with a B&K 200.5 amp and then use the back surround amplification for the back surrounds. I can get the Denon for $2950 from authorized dealer.

The Classe on the other hand will cost me around $4500 plus I would have to buy rear surround amplification to run 7.1. A B&K 200.2 will cost me around $1200 for a total of $5700.

Is there a $2750 sound difference between the Denon and the Classe. Let me know.

Thanks,

Ted
 

GordonL

Supporting Actor
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Feb 14, 2000
Messages
771
Ted,
Is there a $2750 sound difference between the Denon and the Classe.
If your only criteria is sound quality than it's really up to you to determine that. There are other intangibles that make the Classe much more expensive including warranty, build quality, customer service, manufacturing model, etc. Only you can decide whether those intangibles provide value to you.

If your budget is $4500, there are quite a few other choices to consider. Since you say you are 95% movies, you should put the Lexicon MC-8 at the top of your list. Logic7 is what differentiates it from all other processors. Others to consider include Bryston SP-1.7, Krell Showcase, Anthem AVM-20, Integra Research RDC-7, Arcam AV8, Sunfire Theater Grand III.
 

Nick V

Second Unit
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May 7, 2002
Messages
421
I'd have to say that there most likely isn't a $2750 sound difference between the two units. If it was me making the purchase, I don't think I'd be able to justify spending that much extra for the classe pre/pro. I'd definitely fight with it for awhile because the SSP 60 truly is an outstanding product, but I think I'd probably end up going with something like the Anthem AVM 20 or the Krell Showcase.

I'm personally going to go with the Showcase. I was going to pick it up in July, but funds have been a little bit tighter than expected over the last couple months. Hopefully by September I'll have a brand new Showcase along with a Classe CAV-180 in my home theater.
 

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