|Adcom GTP-880 AV Preamplifier|
|Home Theater Preamplifiers AV Preamps|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Saturday, 01 May 2004|
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The most glaring omission, an understandable one given the price and age of the GTP-880, is its lack of a direct digital connection via DVI or HDMI. I hear people in the industry saying that if a preamp does not have this type of connection, then the product is obsolete and it’s not worth owning. I disagree with that statement, because as much as we like to believe the whole world is going digital, there are still a great number of people who have already invested in TVs and other displays that do not have the ability to accept a digital input via HDMI or DVI. Add to that the fact that only a few DVD players currently have digital outputs and you are talking about a relatively small number of consumers who are ready for this feature. Sure, the number is going to grow and there will be a time when a preamp without a direct digital signal switching will be obsolete, but that is at least several years down the road.
Looking at the balanced XLR connectors on the back of the Adcom amplifier made me wish that it had balanced outputs like those on the back of the Sunfire Theater Grand III and IV. These are more expensive units, so it’s understandable that they would have more features. However, it feels like a bit of a tease by Adcom to have an amp that has balanced inputs while one of their best AV preamps doesn’t have balanced audio outs. Of course I want full balanced operation for the preamp, but that is likely just too much to ask for in a $2,400 AV preamp that is already loaded with features.
With a price tag of $2,400 the Adcom is priced exceedingly well and competes favorably with products such as the more expensive Anthem AVM20 ($3,199) and Sunfire’s latest Theater Grand IV ($ PRICE?), but if you are making the move up from an all-in-one receiver, the price of purchasing the preamp and a separate 5.1 or 7.1 amplifier may still give you a little sticker shock. You’ll want to have an excellent component DVD player, such as the matching $999 Adcom GTP-850, so you’ll need to budget for that as well. You will also have to make extra room in your rack for two or three separate components, but the added price and small inconvenience of adding an amp to your system will pale in comparison to the performance benefits that you will get.
The list of features that you get in this AV preamp for less than $2,500 is mind-boggling. The clean lines and intuitive layout of the GTP-880 make it easy for the weekend warrior to hook up and your custom installer will be able to make it jump though just about any hoop you need. The amount of inputs and outputs will satisfy the needs of almost every consumer and the ability to run the preamp to a second room makes it that much more valuable.
The remote is simple to use and, as I have found with all of Adcom’s current products, the instruction manual is topnotch. Simple wiring flow diagrams take much of the guesswork out of doing complex installations. Just about every scenario that I could think of is covered in the instruction manual in one way or another. When you are ready to move up from a receiver that is underpowered and has run out of inputs, pick up a nice multi-channel amplifier and audition the Adcom GTP-880 AV Preamp.