Re: High end processors VS low end processors/receivers, hardware differences?
Interesting thread...I don't know how I'd do in a DBT, but I do know there is a difference between the Onkyo Pro 886P processor that I currently own and the Integra Research RDC-7 that it replaced when listening to music.
I had an Audyssey SE connected to the RDC-7 and it was professionally calibrated by the same guy that calibrated the Audyssey on my 886P. Since getting the Onkyo a few months back, I find myself listening to music less (most music is played through my Sonos system w/ a ZP80 digital out connected directly to the processor -- was connected the same way with the RDC-7).
True, I didn't switch one pre/pro out and then connect the other and go back and forth, but, to these ears, the Onkyo is a bit more fatiguing (same speakers all around with Paradigm Active 20s as the mains supported by a couple of Paradigm UltraCube 10s).
I notice a considerable difference (improvement) when I play a CD through my Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD via analog outs and the Onkyo set to mutichannel direct. The soundstage is better, as is the imaging and the music is much more involving...my wife notices it too. I have read some discussion groups that jitter from the ZP80 is a contributing factor to the fatigue, but I just had it modded by Cullen so that can't be an issue. Unfortunately, the 09FD doesn't have digital in so I can't run the Sonos through its DACs.
I think the Onkyo has a great picture and sounds great on TV or DVD -- high def or otherwise -- but I'm seriously considering getting an analog preamp for music -- Parsasound P-7 or Wyred4sound STP -- and get an outboard DAC to do the D/A conversion instead of the Onkyo. Problem then, though, is that I don't have my Audyssey SE any more, so if I get one of those, I'm looking at about $4K investment and then another $1K minimum for the DAC...might just make more sense to get a used Anthem D2V....