Originally Posted by Captain Stereo
Kudos on the turntable and committment to analog! Excellent. And don't get me wrong, all things being equal, of course one would want TrueHD & DTS-HD MA. Of course, not all things are equal and THIS is where I have an issue with folks who harp on if something has this chip or that chip or whatever the case may be instead of focusing on things that fundamentally affect the performance regardless of the chipset. Very unsexy things like circuit layout, noise grounding and isolation, power supply robustness and quality, chassis rigidity and freedom from resonance and vibration, implementation of the chip being used. These are far more important than just having a name chip or 'x' feature, and this is where high-end units earn their reputation and make their name. If all you have to go by is that you have "Dark Chip 4" or "True HD" or whatever, what then do you have when the next thing comes along????......an obsolete piece of mass marketed electronics that has little value. Our SSP-800 replaced an SSP-600 (no HDMI, no new format decoding) and compared to the Integra DTC 9.8, it still WASN'T. EVEN. CLOSE. The 600 playing back garden variety Dolby Digital and DTS walked all over it sonically, even with the Integra playing True HD and DTS-HD. There you have it.
Again, was the Audyssey in the Integra properly calibrated and on when you did your comparisons? With analog sources, like VHS tapes, this is, of couse, not possible on the Integra, since it cannot EQ the analog inputs. It would seem that perhaps you also did the 5.1 comparisons the same way - via analog in. This is going to play exactly from the strengths of the Classe to the greatest weaknesses of the Integra. I do not think there is anyone who would debate the weakness of the Integra via analog, or the strength of the Classe in this regard. See my previous postings in this forum. So, if analog sources is your thing, then you have made a wise choice. By all means, enjoy it.
Analog is not my thing any more. Contrary to your suggestion, this is not based on having the latest and greatest buzzwords as logos on my pre/pro. It is based on extensive listening to SACD's and DVD-A's via HDMI through my Integra. 80% of the use of my system is in this mode with classical music. Again, see my previous postings in this forum. So, for me, the opposite choice from yours is optimal. Like all things in life, it all depends...
I am a high ender, have been for 50 years, most of that in the analog-dominated era. I am not going to name drop my system, nor am I saying it is any better than yours. But, it was a quite revealing system before I upgraded from 2-channel to multichannel. All I can say after hearing multichanel SACD's of live Philadelphia Orchestra concerts I actually attended is that I am overwhelmed with the greater sense of musical realism and emotional involvement in the performance than I ever have been with any analog source material.
So, I am happy and you are happy. Ain't life great?