Originally Posted by kennyt
I am curious to see what you all think of this.
I have had some of the best pre/pro's ever made, including my reference Meridian 861v4. I have also had many reference level pre/pro's along the way, going back to the Proceed PAV/PDSD combo, Linn 5103, etc....
Clearly, the pre/pro market is one of the fastest changing markets in audio, and has been for a long time. New audio and video formats have outdated older units quickly and greatly dropped any potential resale value. The best of the best pre/pro's from only a year or so ago are completely outdated now because of HDMI and all the new HDM advanced codecs.
So I ask you, is it worth buying an ultra high end AV preamp or should we all just buy the new Denon or Integra pre/pro and save our money until this crazy ride stabilizes?
Kenny - you know what I am going to say, but I'll say it anyway. Yes, of course you should. I really do not think you give up that much, if anything on sound quality for the newer main stream high rez input formats, if the higher end pre/pro even has them, like lossless 7.1 or SACD via HDMI. For the sake of argument, I'll concede the point that the Meridian is the end-all, be-all with DVD-A, but that does not do much for most people, including me. Also, Redbook CD can probably be best on the highest end pre/pros, like the Meridian. But, I do not think the Integra, Denon, etc. give up that much in this regard. It's a subjective call. To each his own. The biggest differences might be on analog inputs - vinyl -where the Integra and Denon are weakest. But, as I have said before, I do not think any pre/pro can deliver vinyl nearly as well as an all-analog line-stage.
My bets are already hedged with the Integra. I get, by my standards, awesomely satisfactory sound quality in high rez digital, very good CD quality, plus HD-FM and satellite radio, if I want it(I don't), and it cost $1,600. If, due to new features obsolescence, the resale value goes to about about $0.50 on the dollar across the board, my Integra sure looks a lot more attractive than a Meridian, Classe, Anthem or even a Denon. How about the new Levinson? Yeah, how about the defunct old Levinson or the obliterated Theta Casablanca?
You guys here in this forum are tough on it, but I also get Audyssey. I cannot say enough good things about what this does to the sound of the Integra. You can treat your room until it's blue in the face, and Audyssey will still make the sound better. Audyssey is an equalizer in more ways than one. It equalizes for many (not all) room abberations, it voices all channels(except the sub) as identically as they can possbly be and it time aligns the entire system as a function of frequency (not just as a function of speaker distance). The net result is that a pre/pro with Audyssey steps up and is more sonically competitive with the traditional big boys who don't have it. The playing field, itself, gets equalized by those pre/pros that are Audyssey equipped. The jury is still out on Anthem's new EQ. But, Meridian, Krell, Classe, etc. cannot boast of EQ that is anywhere near as capable as Audyssey.