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Old 08-16-2008   #84
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
Perhaps it is my interpretation, but many of your posts have pointed to this (your) system as the be all end all TOTL now, and many comments I have made back were met with disagreement. I want all the readers of the magazine and the forum to have accurate information presented to them, therefore I have been correcting you throughout this post so as to accurately represent the reality, as I see it, in the world today.

Like I said before, I am very happy you are thrilled with this set up, but I have felt you have pumped it to unrealistic heights, and I wanted to keep it all in perspective for the readers and members of this site.

Please take none of this negatively, it is not intended that way by any means. I am very happy you have this level of satisfaction from your rig, I am in fact jealous!!!!

Well, it happens that the Integra is a great sounding unit that happens to have all the essential features for all multichannel formats right now. The high, high enders cannot say this. But, If you go back and read my posts, you will see phrases like "there may be better", or "best I've heard".

I do not claim to have heard every single pre/pro, and I have admitted it. It is also well-nigh impossible to hear them properly set up or in comparison to one another at dealerships. Also, much of the super high end stuff was simply not of interest to me because of lack of essential features, outrageous cost, proprietary architecture, etc. I do not want to get trapped by obsolescence issues or to wait who knows how long for the brand I own to get around to implementing essential new capabilities, if they ever do. This is the pickle you are in. I did my research and avoided this trap.

I think what I have really been trying to say is more about the hi-rez multichannel formats. If well implemented, and they clearly are by the Integra, among others, hi-rez multichannel - currently SACD or DVD-A, soon to be lossless 7.1 - is, by an overwhelming degree, the very best sounding format for the delivery of music in the home. While my credentials in evaluating multichannel gear may be second-rate, I feel that I am pretty credible in evaluating the Integra in multichannel versus the very best of alternative 2-channel sound - vinyl and CD. High, high end 2-channel is where I came from. I have been a high ender for 50 years. My own stereo was truly an outstanding system before I upgraded to multichannel, and I had listened to countless other top-caliber stereo setups. What I feel I can do extremely well is evaluate a sound system and a recording against the sound of the live experience.

I do not have a bone to pick with you. As I said before, my beef is with the high-end journals I have been reading for decades - TAS and Stereophile - the mouthpieces of the high end. Except for Kal, they almost totally ignore all things multichannel. They and their "ditto head" subscriber base and dealers continue to zealously advocate that vinyl, tubes, and many stratospherically priced CD rigs deliver the most true-to-life sound you can get. I am here to tell everyone that they do not. Hi-rez multichannel trumps that stuff in spades, at least to my delicate ears.

So, after all these years, I have a deep credibility issue with almost all things high end these days. It's like the fable of the Emperor's new clothes. I am now off the high-end bandwagon as much as possible. Like all high-enders, I used to look down on home theater for music reproduction, and there used to be good reason for that. No longer. I learned that an Integra DTC 9.8 plus a cheap Oppo player - under $2,000 combined - could vastly improve my music enjoyment over plain stereo, even at its best. This price is unheard of in high end circles. Never before have I gotten a dramatic sonic upgrade for a much lower cost than the equipment being replaced.

This, then, is the cause for all my excitement about the Integra and the Oppo. I discovered them myself even before Kal's review in Stereophile. If there is better than this, fine. There is always something better, or there soon will be. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the very best sound I have ever heard anywhere. Plus, I am pretty much ready for the next set of new formats. So, I can live quite happily with this gear for awhile. Your jealously is well placed.
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