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Old 09-02-2008   #146
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
You know this is very interesting as I have been debating between Integra DTC 9.9 soon to be and the Classé SSP-800. I wished Classé had incorporated the Audyssey Pro, but they said it doesn't work !! Like you I love SACD multichannel music for classical music. My point of reference is the LA Philarmonic playing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Having said this, I want to hear both units before making a decision on spending my hard earn money. I have a few Classé amps and think they work very well. I also have an old Integra Research RD-C7 and it works fine but I wanted to get a new pre/pro with HDMi 1.3 and DTS Master Audio as well as Dolby Digital Tru HD as I am a big movie buff. I wished high end companies would be less snobs when it come to technologies from other established firms. I guess they figure if you can spend 8K for a pre/pro you can fork an other $2500 for Audyssey pro if you really want it! You know what is interesting is that they had in the SSP-600 an Automated EQ system as well. I guess they are trying to cut corners.

You said you have not heard the Classé SSP-800 but say that you don't like the architecture what do you mean.

Classé uses Texas instrument 64 bit DSP chip where as Integra uses three TI 32-Bit Processing DSP Chips. I think that Classé is using a lot more powerful processing which of course does'nt mean it is better but still. Again I am looking to hear both and make a decision for myself.
Well, I think Classe is being disingenuous when they say Audyssey does not work. Unfortunately, that has been my recent experience with them, as I described in my earlier post. There are too many really good reviews out there on Audyssey. I am thinking Stereophile, Absolute Sound, etc., the real music listener magazines. Plus, Wisdom Audio is now behind it in a very big way on speaker systems costing upwards of $30K. I also do not think Denon and Onkyo/Integra are idiots, whatever you might think of their gear. You know what I think. My system sings with it on. Pro is even better as an upgrade.

My main concerns about the Classe 800 come down to 7.1 lossless to be delivered later and lack of video processing. I know you use an Oppo 983 with excellent video processing, but I would also want it for TV from my cable box. I think it's a non-issue with Blu ray. The Integra does not process Blu Ray, just pass through. I think most pre/pro's do it that way. It's a great pre/pro, except for these things, and ...

There was some news about a Classe home-grown EQ to be delivered later. It was going to be "installer calibrated". I am not a fan of that, at all. I also do not trust EQ unless it has a lot of research behind it. Only Audyssey and Anthem's ARC impress me with their credentials. Nobody else really comes close. Also, I do not like EQ in standalone boxes. They are much more expensive and are analog in, analog out, meaning extra A-D, D-A conversions.

Bottom line: to me the Integra sounds really good and it has the features now. Even if you decide later you want to upgrade to something better, you are not going to take a bath fnancially, because it is in such strong demand.

I do not know how much better the Denon is with even more features (most nonessential, IMHO) for a lot more $$. Reviews seem a little luke-warm. If Anthem would only get HDMI 1.3 working, they might really have something. I got Stereophile today, and Kal says it's a better sounding package with ARC than the Integra. Curiously, he did not compare it to the Integra with Audyssey Pro, which he has on his Integra. Then there is the over $10K stuff. I would not go there because of potential obsolescence factors. That's too much money to risk. And, are they 5x, 10x, 15x better than than the Integra? I do not see how this is possible, but others might disagree.
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