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Old 08-14-2008   #59
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 68
Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

Originally Posted by kennyt View Post

I was thinking about this today and I came on something. ...

Whoops. I hit send to soon on the last post. Yes, Kenny, you are absolutely right. This is my first extended experience with multichannel and with SACD using source material of my own choosing. I had been listening to high end stereo SACD at dealers going back to its inception. I thought it had promise then, but I did not bite. More recenly, I had also auditioned it with several high end pre/pros last year. Unfortunately, auditioning multichannel at even good dealerships is very, very difficult. It's still relegated to the video room. And, because of the setup complexity, it's very, very hard to hear 2 competing pre/pros in the same setup. You are right, though, it does rock my world. Nothing I have ever heard sounds as much like the real thing. It's not even close. I have not been this excited about a sonic development since my own first, hand-soldered Dynakit stereo 50 years ago.

It's not a total surprise that the traditional, music-listening focused, high end audio mags - The Absolute Sound and Stereophile - who claim to be pursuing the very best sound, neglect hi-rez multichannel almost entirely. The only exception is Kal Rubinson in Stereophile, who is excellent. But, even he will not just say this is the very best sound reproduction that is available commercially. I suspect his bosses would not like it. The traditional mags have become part of the high end establishment which is still heavily dominated by stereo only, tubes, vinyl, and the like. It's where their advertising and loaners come from. It's also where they have built their subscriber base. Old traditions die hard in audio.

Though I have not heard it, I am just as excited as you about Blu-ray music. I think it is going to be even much better than SACD/DVD-A. I am very aware of the 2L recording "Divertimenti". I am just waiting a bit for the Blu-Ray player issues to sort themselves out between the 1.1 and 2.0 specs. I have a hunch that Oppo, which is working feverishly on BR, is going to bring out a stunner by the next CES. Fortunately, I waited for multichannel pre/pros to sort themselves out to a critical "tiping point" , so I have not yet had to endure the frustrating and expensive features obsolescence "game" that you and many others have gone through. Some new, whiz-bang features, such as many on the Denon pre/pro, are totally superfluous to me. I do not see myself ever wanting or needing to use a lot of them. So, why pay for them?

I have a lot of respect for Anthem. Kal will be reviewing the D-2 in an upcoming Stereophile, together with its proprietary EQ, based on Dr. Floyd Toole's years of lab research at the Canadian Research Council. His work on speaker testing and listener preferences has enabled Canada to become a formidable producer of quality speakers. He is now, of course, in charge of all speakers for Harman, including the incredible Revel's. His research is rivaled only by Audyssey's, going back to THX. The 2 EQ approaches are quite a bit different from one another. Based on their background, one would expect Audyssey to be focused more on movie sound, while the Anthem/Toole approach would stress music reproduction. Who knows, when the Anthem D-3 finally comes out with HDMI 1.3, I might be tempted to move on up.

Happy listening!
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