Where to go from a B&K Ref 30

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob Santos, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. Bob Santos

    Bob Santos Agent

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    I am thinking of swapping out my Ref 30 for a different pre/pro. Looking at whats available today there doesn't seem to be many choices.

    So far this is what I came up with.

    1. Lexicon MC-1. Yes not a current model with all the bells and whistles, but I have always wanted to give Lexicon a try. Sonically it should be a step up from the B&K, and I can always eventually use it as a trade in towards a newer Lex model. I really like the idea of a trade in program.

    2. Lexicon DC-2. Probably more of a side step from the B&K.

    With this I can give Lex a try without laying out any more

    money than what selling my Ref 30 would bring.

    3. Aragon Stage One. Will cost more than the other options,

    but will have all the latest technology. I would ofcourse have to wait until comes out. Should be soon. Aragon also offers trade ins toward the latest models.

    4. Anthem AVM20. Again after the upgrade is done will offer all the latest. Not sure if this is really a upgrade from the B&K.

    So far thats about what I have been thinking.

    The rest of my system is:

    Definitive BP30/ CLR2000/ BPX, and PF12TL Sub (sub is high on the future upgrade list)

    Two Citation 7.1's (on the way)

    I am currently running 5.1, but I will have the amplification, and speakers to do 7.1. With my couch up against the rear wall I'm not sure it I will benefit to much from it. I would have to use ceiling speakers or something.

    Any advice or thoughts would greatly be appreciated.
     
  2. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    Bob,
    I anxiously await responses to your question. I could have written almost the exact same post in some respects. I'm going through the same thought process as you for processors, but you're a step ahead of me in that you have the Ref30. I still have an integrated amp (Yamaha DSP-A3090) and am looking to move to separates.
    I run DefTech speakers, though I'd like to upgrade them as well, and SVS subs(one, or maybe two of 'em) are also high on my upgrade list. And like you, I want to get into 7.1 but right now my couch is nearly up against the back wall (you can see my layout on my website - link is in my signature).
    I've also been seriously considering the Outlaw 950, but in as much as I primarily use my gear for HT, it just seems like Lexicon has the processor to beat as long as they have Logic7. From my research, I'm led to believe that no one else has any 7.1 DSPs that even come close. However, I can't get over the price-to-performance value that the 950 seems to have - though it does lack some configuration flexibility and CES7.1 sounds like it is not as good as Logic7.
    I hope you get lots of good responses!
     
  3. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Bob: If you are looking for an upgrade from the Ref 30, I'd recommend any of 1, 3 or 4, but not the DC-2. The unit I had was problematic and noisy(grainy)and I heard none of that with the MC-1 I got just after it.
    I hate to say it, but you might want to try the Outlaw 950 too before you spend another few grand.
    Finally, here is my rear HT setup and I found 7.1 playback quite enjoyable with only adding a sofa table, with speakers, to the back of my sofa. Still, calibrate those rear channel carefully... [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bob Santos

    Bob Santos Agent

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    Thanks for the reply merc.

    Not a bad idea putting the speakers like that.

    I do have a bow window behind me, and a set of Definitive

    Pro Monitor 100's I can set up temporarily to see how it sounds. My side surrounds are however pretty much hanging where dolby say's to hang them. So having the sides up on the wall above the listeners head, and the rears right behind may make for a strange effect when sound pans behind. I can always try.

    As far as the pre/pro. I do really like the Ref 30 alot.

    Actually before that I had a Theta Casa Nova. I actually prefered the sound of the B&K in my system. The Theta bested the B&K in 2 ch hugely though. I use my system for HT probably 90% of the time, so thats not a real high priority. For HT the B&K sounded smoother in my system.

    I did put myself on the Outlaw waiting list last month.

    If there are enough reports of other users going from more expensive units to the outlaw, and liking it better I will get one and see for myself.

    Right now the MC-1 is high on my list if I decide to change. Having such a great reputation for HT sound I feel safe purchasing possibly a pre owned unit, or a new one if a good price can be found via the internet.

    The others I would definately have to listen before I purchase. That would mean buying localy. If I sell my Ref 30 I will have about $4000.00 budget. It sure would be nice to not have to spend it all on a pre/pro though.

    Scott.. The B&K is a wonderful sounding unit. If all the latests and greatest formats arent high on your priority list definately give it a listen. They can be had at a pretty reasonable price used now. Although I have seen Lexicon in the not so far over $2000 range lately. They are very enticing.
     
  5. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Bob, not to knock the Ref 30 in any way shape or form because it is a fine unit, but I have heard numerous responses on this board and others that say the Anthem is definately a marked improvement over the Ref 30. In fact, there is a member over at AVS named Fitsman who traded in a Ref 30 for the Anthem and is very happy with the upgrade.

    I would say that if you have a high priority for features and use your system mostly for HT, then go with the Lex. If you have a high priority for 2 channel music, go with the Anthem. Seeing as the Aragon hasn't been released yet, you will have to wait to evaluate that one, but according to reviews, if you want to save a penny or two and features are not that high on your list, go with the Outlaw.

    BTW, I am an Anthem owner and love the sound. You can get cheaper and you can get more features (DPL II and DTS ES), but I don't know how much better you can get for pure sound.
     
  6. John Morris

    John Morris Guest

    Bob: I'd agree with Evan that the Anthem is a step up from the Ref 30. Although I only auditioned the Anthem in a showroom for three hours or so, it was apparent that the 2 channel music playback was superiorly more neutral than the Ref 30. Still, stating that, I am just not sure that the Anthem is sonically superior to the Outlaw 950 beta unit that I've had for awhile. I think the Anthem's customization and setup options ARE superior to the 950s though. However, since I've had both the Ref 30 and the 950 in my own HT, I can say I preferred the sound of the 950 to the Ref 30. Heck, if you can afford the space on your CC, try them both and then decide. [​IMG]
     
  7. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Other prepros you should consider are the new Rotel RSP-1066, which is below $2000, the TagMcLaren AV32R-bp192, and the Integra Research RDC-7. The latter 2 should be around the same price range as the Aragon.
     
  8. Bob Santos

    Bob Santos Agent

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    Merc, At the time my number comes up with the Outlaws I will probably buy it no matter what is in my rack at the time. Just to see.

    Sihan.. I forgot those two. Back when I bought the Ref 30 I was considering the Tag. At the time no one around me had them to listen to. I tested the B&K and really liked it, so I opted to save some money, and buy the B&K.

    I have also read great things about the Integra as well.
     
  9. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    The Meridian will beat them all hands down. Your options would be the 561 or 568. Both will do 7.1 with DD-EX/DTS-ES materials. Plus its music modes puts all others to shame.
     
  10. JackIR

    JackIR Stunt Coordinator

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    I had always been a longtime B&K owner. I think the Ref 30 is a great product but recently I decided to do an upgrade. I went for the Lexicon MC-12 unbalanced. It is a excellent processor that is very flexible. The sound is wonderful. Sure it is more expensive but I didn't buy new, I bought it used. I think that's your best value. I just think if you are going to do an upgrade from the B&K Ref 30, then UPGRADE. Taking marginal steps doesn't improve your sound that much and it will cost more in the long run. I suggest that you find a processor that is significantly better than the Ref 30 and keep watching Audiogon, etc.. for a used one at a good price.
     
  11. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Jack:

     
  12. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Merc:

    Where are your side speakers?: Immediately to your sides, or somewhat in front of the sitting postion? If the latter, how far in front? (I posted a similar question on HTT last week, but didn't get as much of a response as I had hoped.)

    Larry
     
  13. JackIR

    JackIR Stunt Coordinator

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    Larry B,

    I paid $5,100 for the MC-12 and it was about 6 months old in perfect condition. I found the listing at Audiogon. I just bought a 1 1/2 year old EAD Powermaster 2000 to go with my MC-12. I paid $2,900 for the PM. Both of these units have retail prices that are much higher than my budget allows. I just wait for a used one.
     
  14. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Jack:

    Great deal!!! Enjoy them.

    Larry
     
  15. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    Bob, I lived with the Ref 30 for the last 16 months and 2 weeks ago sold it and the word is upgraded to a Lexicon MC1.

    The Store I purchased it at made a mistake and sent me one with out the V4 chip in it but it arrived Friday and I will put it in eventually.I have a 7.1 setup and with the V1 the Mc-1 is sonically for Movies a step up, not huge but a step up.Sound and effects are deliniated much more precise.With Movies when there is a music score going on, lots of action, and dialoge, everything has its place.Vocals are intelligent,background noise is understandable and is where its supposed to be.With the Ref 30 sometimes I could understand what was being said in the rear speakers with ambient background noise, with the MC-1 I understand everything.I hear effects I have not heard before in familiar DVD's and DSS movies.I can't not gush enough about Logic 7 for DSS.I feel that about 75% of DSS movies are now in 5.1 when they are in 2.0.It makes that big a difference. The Ref 30 was nice when in 7 channel stereo mode but nothing compared to Logic 7.Others say the MC-1 is not musical but I feel it competes very well with the Ref 30 which garnered great reviews as being transparent and musical.Last thing is the Tweakability you could spend 8 hours a day for a year tweaking this thing to get the best possible sound.I have not scratched the surface and am still learning about the MC-1.For the same price I paid for the Ref 30 it is a no brainer buy.The only thing is no analoge pass through but with the Sony pre/amp this can be solved.For a unit that is 3 years old it competes well with alot of the products released in the last 6 months. I thought about the Anthem but with my preference being HT and DSS movies the Lex won out.Sorry so long.

    Steve M.
     
  16. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Steve,
    I'm glad the MC1 did the trick for your DSS and DVDs! And the dacs compare favorable in my system to the highly regarded Adcom GDA700 dac (99% of gdc750 cd player sonics); adcom seems better on vocals, MC1 has wider soundstage. I'll be looking for that dinner when I visit Houston around Thanksgiving [​IMG]
    For stereo analog bypass, the MC1 does have it, via the zone2 outputs (with volume control). John Tompkins just hooked up his sacd player this weekend using the Zone2 and a $15 Radio Shack analog switch box. Works fine. If you're interested, email him.
     
  17. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Steve,
    I'm glad to hear that they finally sent you that version 4 chip.
    I just bought a sony sacd ce-775 player at CC for 179.00! You can hook up a sacd player to the lex like ricky said, all you need is a 14.99 rat shack switch box. The thing is that you will only be able to play sacd discs in stereo, which by the way is what 90 percent of them are anyway. If you want to listen to multichannel you would want to use music logic anyway.
    Zone 2 doesnt do any a/d d/a . All the lex does is control the volume on zone 2 (keep in mind to you have to push the zone 2 button on the lex remote at the same time your pushing the volume button to control zone 2). It takes a couple extra cables and you have to push the a/b button on switch box but other then that it works great[​IMG] very happy.
     
  18. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    With the lex you have about the perfect HT pre-pro that is out there. What are its considered downfalls, well that would be no analog bypass(which you can work around) and two channel not considered to be strong point.

    Say you added a switch box for sacd then you have that bypass problem squared away that just leaves two channel.

    What if you added another switch box and went out and bought a great dac for two channel hooked up via the digital out of your sacd player? of course using the zone 2 bypass with the first switchbox. The second switchbox would be hooked up to the sacd player analog outs and the analog outs of the seperate dac and from there to the lex. Now you have excellant two channel, sacd and music logic what could be better ? and what would be a downfall of doing this, other then the fact that you have to push the switch button on two switch boxes?
     
  19. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    John I don't have SACD but DVD-A in the Rp-91.Any suggestions there?
     
  20. John Tompkins

    John Tompkins Supporting Actor

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    Hmm, well I dont know to much about dvd-audio, does dvd-audio have seperate two channel tracks ? if so I guess you could do the same thing as above.

    One other thing that I read over on the lex forum. Some say that alot of the qualities of dvd-audio and sacd are attributed to the fact that the discs are mastered very well, so even if you redigitized the dvd-audio with the lex you would have the benifit of an excellantly mastered disc. Not all the format has to offer though, but some. Some lex owners would prefer not to lose all the tweaks, bass management ,enhance etc. that they would lose with either of these formats.
     

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