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Old 08-09-2008   #53
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 68
Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

Originally Posted by wes View Post
With Digital Blu ray for video you want pass through direct no messing around with processing, for audio if you use DD tru HD or DTS HD Master audio it should also be pass through with no messing around. Now for DVD and regular CDs you might want the best DACs you can offer, I believe that is what Classé had in mind when they designed their SSP-800. We will hear how it works
Wes - I disagree. You are applying purist analog thinking to a signal that is in the digital domain. A digital signal does not get degraded by transmitting it around in a well engineered digital circuit. An analog signal is much more fragile. Besides, the bits have got to be transmitted from the BR player to a pre/pro anyway at least for volume control and DAC, if not also bass management, speaker distance compensation, format conversion (codecs,Dolby, DTS, THX, etc.). I do not think there is a BR player out there that can claim it does any of these latter things anywhere nearly as well as a high end pre/pro, not even the $2k Denon. So, for BR, which was the original question, lossless 7.1 included, I still think you are best off getting a minimalist BR player and a maximalist pre/pro hooked up with HDMI. Except for Classe, pretty much all the pre/pros on the market are maximalist right now or at least some want to be and they might be a few upgrades from now.

If you really prefer the sound of a 2-channel, analog-out DAC for CD's to the one that's in the prepro, you will get the very best sonic result by feeding the analog out to a completely analog preamp with HT bypass. Those fragile analog signals can get degraded by all the digital processing going on inside the pre/pro next to the analog circuits, even in a minimalist pre/pro. So, the pre/pro should be bypassed for analog. That goes for any pre/pro, no matter how expensive. Same hookup goes for vinyl, by the way. That's why Theta implemented the outboard, analog 6-shooter with combined digital/analog volume control capability to accompany their previously state-of-the art pre/pro. (Boy, am I glad I did not buy one of those Casablancas last year! It's virtually obsolete now.)

I think you are still drinking the overpriced, minimalist Classe Kool-Aid. Their approch requires a really expensive BR player (theirs to be announced) and a really expensive pre/pro (theirs). I am sure that's exactly what Classe has in mind to create product differentiation without accompanying technical merit. You wind up locking yourself into their architecture.
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