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Discussion Starter #1
Interested in hearing opinions on preamps (new/used/whatever). I'm looking for something:

Supports > HDMI 1.1 to allow multichannel PCM input.
Has excellent DACs, must sound good in 2 channel mode with digital sources

Analog audio input quality not critical
Video processing not critical (no upscalling needed)
No HDMI switching or number of inputs required (other than 1...)

It seems like the majority of gear out there is stuffed full of "features" that I don't necessarily need. I try to follow the whole "keep it simple" philosphy.


Thanks
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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The Emotiva seems like a good candidate. A little light on features, but good on sound quality. It's also cheaper than it's ultra-feature-packed brethren.

I've been looking at the Onkyo Pro line (SC-885/886), Integra (DTC 9.8), and the latest Marantz offering. All have very good DACs in them as they are brands that got started in true HiFi and kept the audio quality as a priority.

Supposedly Outlaw has a new model coming. It's been Vaporware for about a year now. It will be competitive for what you mentioned. All are able to turn off the video processing and other stuff you won't need (but most of them will come with it).

Good luck.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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I'm going on Emotiva's reputation there. And they published the specs on it, so it is a bit light on video processing and room correction features compared to the other competing units.

I guess it's still vaporware too . . . :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I like the fact that Emotiva actually has photos of the case opened up. They aren't trying to hide anything... Of couese that doesn't mean they actually have optimized signal paths or well engineered component layouts, but at least you can SEE it all.
 

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And when are people going to start ditching the composite, S, and component video inputs??
Wont happen, Far to many people even the A/V nuts still use them for things like Laser disc and even VHS. Analog is here for the long run.
 

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Its a large DVD format but analog not digital Lots of info here Very poular in the 90s and still popular in the UK.
 

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To get back to the OPs question -- what is your price range?

For example, the Marantz AV8003 pre/pro has gotten excellent audio reviews and lists for $2600.

And I think you should be interested in HDMI V1.3, since that's what's needed for support of the DD and DTS lossless audio formats on BluRay discs. One can hope that a significant number of audiophile quality recordings will start being released in those formats, since they're a much larger potential market: "everybody" will have them and there won't be a need for specialty SACD/DVD-A players.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've heard that HDMI 1.1 supports LPCM for trueHD and DTS-HD. Is that not the case? Not sure it matters...

Price range is <$2k, but I'm looking for best bang/$.
 

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I've heard that HDMI 1.1 supports LPCM for trueHD and DTS-HD. Is that not the case? Not sure it matters...
According to the Wikipedia article, the HD sudio formats were added in v1.3.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI#Version_1.3

Price range is <$2k, but I'm looking for best bang/$.
I've seen online pricing of the AV8003 for well under $2k, but I don't know if they're authorized resellers. Good pricing can usually be negotiated with local A/V stores that sell Marantz. The premium that they charge (compared to the lowest online pricing) can well worth it when there are problems.
 

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I've heard that HDMI 1.1 supports LPCM for trueHD and DTS-HD. Is that not the case? Not sure it matters....
Only if your player will decode these formats to LPCM will that be useful.
 

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Hello,
You could certainly get a much more expensive SSP if not needing HDMI 1.3. I would want at least an HDMI 1.2 Processor so that SACD can be sent via HDMI. All the same, you can get into a much higher Dollar Processor for a fairly large discount by picking up a pre HDMI 1.3 SSP.

The problem is there are not too many pre HDMI 1.3 Processors available. There are insane discounts on Processors which omit HDMI entirely. It is amazing how cheap some formerly 5-10K SSP's are listed for on Audiogon sans HDMI.

The best example I can think of is the Rotel RSP-1069 which is HDMI 1.1 and is heavily discounted.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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There are insane discounts on Processors which omit HDMI entirely. It is amazing how cheap some formerly 5-10K SSP's are listed for on Audiogon sans HDMI.
Isn't that telling us something about the value of having HDMI today?
 

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Hello,
I agree wholeheartedly of the importance of HDMI. Especially 1.3 and have been using a 1.3 processor since introduction. HDMI is going to become more and more important as Content Providers are doing everything possible to make Component Video and spdif a thing of the past. In the near future, Component Cable output will be restricted to 480p if they are even offered on BDP's.

Given that so many younger folks are accustomed to all media being free, I can completely understand mandating the HDCP protection being built into HDMI. It really is a difficult situation. CD sales in in the gutter. As are DVD sales. With so much media being available for free via bit torrent, it has got to be a nightmare for Content Providers.

Part of me feels the enhanced capabilities and convenience of HDMI are the Trojan Horse of making copying of media all but impossible. I felt the same way about SACD/DSD and DVD-A though I still enjoy and supported the formats.

All of this aside, it is a wonderful thing to have one cable handle High Definition audio and video. It makes setup so much easier. Especially for those starting out on building their first HT. It is not exactly intuitive to go to a onscreen menu for both audio and video connections and to match them up.
Having just one cable really does simplify hookup. And makes for much cleaner hookup.

In the earlier days of Universal Players, it required running 6 analog RCA's, a Optical or Coaxial Cable, and 3 Component Cables to have everything connected. It is a wonderful thing indeed that one HDMI Cable can do all of this.

All the same, if you are into Vinyl and have a primarily 2 Channel preference yet still want the ability to enjoy HT as well, the pre HDMI High End SSP's offer tremendous value. What was once 10 thousand Dollars can be purchased for practically Pennies on the Dollar. And many of these SSP's offer fantastic analog performance and build quality.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Hello,
I agree wholeheartedly of the importance of HDMI. Especially 1.3 and have been using a 1.3 processor since introduction. HDMI is going to become more and more important as Content Providers are doing everything possible to make Component Video and spdif a thing of the past. In the near future, Component Cable output will be restricted to 480p if they are even offered on BDP's.

Given that so many younger folks are accustomed to all media being free, I can completely understand mandating the HDCP protection being built into HDMI. It really is a difficult situation. CD sales in in the gutter. As are DVD sales. With so much media being available for free via bit torrent, it has got to be a nightmare for Content Providers.

Part of me feels the enhanced capabilities and convenience of HDMI are the Trojan Horse of making copying of media all but impossible. I felt the same way about SACD/DSD and DVD-A though I still enjoy and supported the formats.

All of this aside, it is a wonderful thing to have one cable handle High Definition audio and video. It makes setup so much easier. Especially for those starting out on building their first HT. It is not exactly intuitive to go to a onscreen menu for both audio and video connections and to match them up.
Having just one cable really does simplify hookup. And makes for much cleaner hookup.

In the earlier days of Universal Players, it required running 6 analog RCA's, a Optical or Coaxial Cable, and 3 Component Cables to have everything connected. It is a wonderful thing indeed that one HDMI Cable can do all of this.

All the same, if you are into Vinyl and have a primarily 2 Channel preference yet still want the ability to enjoy HT as well, the pre HDMI High End SSP's offer tremendous value. What was once 10 thousand Dollars can be purchased for practically Pennies on the Dollar. And many of these SSP's offer fantastic analog performance and build quality.
Cheers,
JJ
Well said. I am in the process of comparing 3 universal players via their analog outputs (for various reasons) and have reconfigured my main system by replacing the digital prepro with an analog multichannel preamp. Despite the mare's-nest of cables and the clumsiness balancing/setup, the sound is quite superb. So, I am not opposed to someone taking this tack if they have good reasons (such as those you mention). That said, I will not delay the return to my "standard configuration" as soon as these trials are concluded.
 
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