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Old 08-31-2008   #139
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Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

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Originally Posted by fitzcaraldo215 View Post
Empirical facts? Sorry, but from everything you have said, that does not seem to be the case at all. The fact is you preferred the Classe. That is a subjective asessment. Once again, was Audyssey properly calibrated and engaged during your listening sessions? That is a simple matter of fact.
The post after yours makes a good point that bickering is pointless. I must say that I remain dumbfounded at the argument. To directly address your point, as I did not have any kind of EQ for the Classe, I did not engage the Audyssesy for the Integra so they were on even footing, both just doing their base job as a source switcher and format decoder with speaker settings and levels exactly matched. One could also make an argument that a Geo Metro going 60 mph is a better experience than going 60 mph in an S-class Mercedes Benz and declare it a matter of opinion. I have found that those to hold on to arguments that cheaper equipment is either better than or equal too higher-end product either cannot afford higher end product and therefore feel compelled to justify the value of what they do purchase or compare specs and if they are similar or the same declare them to then SOUND the same, with the cheaper product then being the more authentic piece and the higher priced unit a rip-off. Well, a Geo Metro is not better than a Mercedes, but for someone who cannot afford a Mercedes it may well be the thing to get. But it would be transparent to anyone were that person to then go around declaring their Geo to clean the clock of any Mercedes and that Mercedes (BMW, Audi, whatever) was a rip off. I do hope you enjoy your Integra since as I mentioned it is indeed a fine preamp and a world beater FOR ITS PRICE.
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Old 09-01-2008   #140
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Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

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Originally Posted by faberryman View Post
Should we give your subjective opinion any greater weight than his subjective opinion. Why don't we call it a draw. You stop posting how great the Integra is and he stops posting how great the Classe is. As a matter of fact, why don't we just shut down the thread altogether since its title calls for a response in the form of a subjective opinion. This bickering is just silly.

By the way, it's funny no one responded to my post a few days ago. The silence is deafening. Care to weigh in on it?

"Did we hear a difference between high end units and low end units with respect to two channel lossless, i.e. CD. I think so. No reason to think otherwise with respect to 5.1 and 7.1 lossless. You may have to wait a bit for the high-end units but patience is generally rewarded."
I have never purported my opinion to be anything other than subjective. Thank you.
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Old 09-01-2008   #141
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Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

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Originally Posted by fitzcaraldo215 View Post
I have never purported my opinion to be anything other than subjective. Thank you.
I didn't say you had. I inquired as to whether we should give your subjective opinion any greater weight than his. This is particularly pertinent given the FACT that you did not even consider high-end units and therefore have no basis for a similar comparison.

Last edited by faberryman; 09-01-2008 at 05:12 PM..
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Old 09-02-2008   #142
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Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

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Originally Posted by faberryman View Post
I didn't say you had. I inquired as to whether we should give your subjective opinion any greater weight than his.
No, you should not. However, you should consider the conditions of Captain Stereo’s test and see if it matches the source format and listening/viewing conditions under which you yourself would be using a pre/pro. You should also understand my own mindset and sonic priorities. Aside from the lossless codec issue, I wanted to be clear, as is obvious, on the extent to which Audyssey EQ on the Integra was used. The Integra without Audyssey is, frankly, nothing special. It's adequate, but clearly no match for the Classe. I say this as a knowledgeable owner of the Integra since last November. But, Audyssey is the Integra's sonic secret weapon that elevates its performance considerably. It does not make it the end all/be all of pre pros. I do not think I ever said that. I think I said best I had heard. I have not heard the Classe 800 or a lot of other newer things, but I did extensively audition the Classe 600, among other high end pre/pro's, last year before buying my Integra last November. Also, now having experience with Audyssey, I am a true believer in its considerable sonic merit. I would never again be without Audyssey (now upgraded to Audyssey Pro) or some comparable EQ in my system.

With the right mix of source formats, for me, at least, the Integra is arguably competitve with some much more expensive pre/pro's. Perhaps I have not made the basis for my own enthusiasm for the Integra clear, though I have tried here and there in prior postings. I am an 80% classical music listener. My previous system was 2-channel with no SACD. Though my stereo was high end and cost over $50K, and although I have heard much, much more expensive and prestigious 2-channel systems, the Integra with Audyssey (now upgraded to Audyssey Pro) was a revelation. With multichannel SACD’s or DVD-A’s, I find the Integra to provide the best, most realistic musical sound I have ever heard anywhere. There may be better, but I have not yet heard it

Forgive me for using a $169 Oppo player. That seems to have created some controversy. I believe there are only 4 SACD/DVD-A players on the market that will output hi rez multichannel via HDMI to the pre/pro, including the Oppo 980. I think this is extremely important sonically, since it eliminates extra D-A, A-D conversions, analog connectors and cables. I will soon be auditioning what is, I think, the highest priced, HDMI-out SACD machine on the market which is a Pioneer Elite DV 58 at all of $500. Also, I do not yet own a Blu Ray player, as I await music in this medium to come to fruition and the technology to mature.

So, my excitement and enthusiasm is really just about music reproduction in hi rez multichannel, as opposed to 2-channel vinyl and CD’s. I have a huge collection of 2-channel music going back 50 years and very good equipment to play it on. Movie sound is just a bonus I use occasionally. While the Integra is more than sonically satisfying to me on movies, I am not interested enough in it to compare it to other pre/pro’s in that regard. In general, I do not think I have a good enough basis in real life to determine whether something sounds more faithful to the original than something else in movie sound. I do not think anybody does, except the guy who did the audio mix for the movie. So, music – accurately recreating the sound of acoustic instruments in real space, plus that elusive emotional involvement factor – is the sonic criterion I use. My feeling is that if this is done well, everything else will fall into place sonically. I have a real life basis for music, because I go to many live concerts. In fact, it was live SACD’s of Philadelphia Orchestra concerts I had attended that convinced me that hi rez multichannel played via HDMI on my Integra with Audyssey EQ was better than even the most expensive and revered 2-channel sources I had ever heard. There is, of course, tremendous subjectivity in this view, and it involves potentially tricky issues of acoustic memory. But, this is how I have been evaluating musical sound for 50 years.

As a footnote, and since I am baring my soul here, I will concede perhaps a certain potential prejudice against Classe. I respect and admire their analog-domain products – amps, preamps, etc. As I was considering the Classe 600 last year, I had some email exchanges with Dave Nauber, a key VP at Classe about the 600’s architecture and where it was going. I think it’s fair to say that Nauber led me down a garden path about what was going to happen in HT. It’s when I finally figured out HDMI, lossless codecs, etc, that I realized buying a 600 would have been a big mistake. Perhaps I still harbor some unconscious vendetta against Classe for this, but I try not to. I still do not particularly like the architecture of the 800 in many ways that I think are objective and rational. But, it probably sounds really terrific with the right source formats.

Does that help you understand where I am coming from?
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Old 09-02-2008   #143
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Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

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Originally Posted by fitzcaraldo215 View Post
But, Audyssey is the Integra's sonic secret weapon that elevates its performance considerably. I think I said best I had heard. I have not heard the Classe 800 or a lot of other newer things, but I did extensively audition the Classe 600, among other high end pre/pro's, last year before buying my Integra last November. Also, now having experience with Audyssey, I am a true believer in its considerable sonic merit. I would never again be without Audyssey (now upgraded to Audyssey Pro) or some comparable EQ in my system.
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. http://www.laphil.com/

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.

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Originally Posted by fitzcaraldo215 View Post
I still do not particularly like the architecture of the 800 in many ways that I think are objective and rational. But, it probably sounds really terrific with the right source formats.
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.

Last edited by wes; 09-02-2008 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 09-02-2008   #144
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Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

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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. http://www.laphil.com/

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.
Comparing the Integra to the Classe is like comparing a Chevelle to a AMG Mercedes. Different worlds. Would someone, anyone, please just compare these two and stack the deck against the Classe by using the Integtra's Audyssey and by using it to do True HD and DTS-HD and then compare it to the Classe, un-EQd and doing standard DD & DTS and explain how much better the Classe is please? My comparison apparently didn't do the trick.
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