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Pre & Power Amplifiers for my home theater system

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christosm

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The system will be a major upgrade and will include a pair of Summits, as the main left and right loudspeakers, a Theater i, as a center loudspeaker, a pair of Vantage, as the left and right rear loudspeakers and a Descent as a subwoofer.
Now, there are three possibilities for the pre & power amplifiers of that system:
1. A Krell EVO–707 Surround Sound Preamp/Processor, a pair of Krell EVO–600 monaural power amplifier as the amplifiers of the two ML Summits and a Krell EVO–403 three-channel power amplifier for the two ML Vantages and the Theater i. The new EVO–525 Progressive DVD/SACD/CD Player will be the the player of the system for this case.
2. A Halcro SSP 100 Surround Sound Preamplifier and Processor, a pair of Halcro dm88 monoblocks as the amplifiers of the two Summits and a Halcro MC30 three-channel power amplifier for the two Vantages and the Theater i. The new Halcro EC1000 DVD/CD/HD player will be the the player of the system for this case.
3. A Parasound Halo C1 controller Surround Sound Preamp/Processor, a pair of Parasound Halo JC1s monaural power amplifier as the amplifiers of the two Summits and a Parasound Halo A51 Power Amplifier five-channel power amplifier for the two Vantages and the Theater i. The Lexicon RT-20 Universal Disc Player will be the the player of the system for this case.
Does anybody can assist me, with an opinion about the optimal case of the three? Or any other combination of amplifiers for the specific ML home cinema system?
(My present system includes a pair of ML Clarityas the main loudspeakers, an ML Fresco as the center loudspeaker, a pair of ML Mosaic as the left and right rear loudspeakers and a ML Depth subwoofer. My present amplification system includes the Parasound Halo C1 controller Surround Sound Preamp/Processor, and the Parasound Halo A51 Power Amplifier five-channel power amplifier. The Denon DVD a-11 is the current player).
 

jfm

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Faced with the same choices, this is what I would do...

Regarding choice 1, Krell: I've had Krell gear and liked it, but I wouldn't put that much investment in the surround processing and DVD part of a system, given the rapid rate of change we're facing with the coming of HD and the new Dolby and DTS formats.

About choice 2, Halcro: Not familiar with Halcro gear, but I would be worried about all the quality control issues related to their multichannel gear (reference AVS forums)

Choice 3 would be about where I'd land, knowing that ML themselves used the Parasound to demo the Summits, and -- I am guessing here -- this would not cost as much.

Having said that, I'd still save bucks on the surround processor and video source, and invest instead on something like an ARC Ref 3 preamp and Ref210T monoblocks and do an HT bypass.

But that's me.

Good luck, sounds like a super system in the making. What will you be using for a display?
 

twich54

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Awesome sounding set-up. How big is your Theatre / room ? It's obviouslly large given your choice of using the Vantage as a surround. Given your three scenarios are I'm in agreement with #3.
 
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christosm

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jfm said:
Faced with the same choices, this is what I would do...

Regarding choice 1, Krell: I've had Krell gear and liked it, but I wouldn't put that much investment in the surround processing and DVD part of a system, given the rapid rate of change we're facing with the coming of HD and the new Dolby and DTS formats.

About choice 2, Halcro: Not familiar with Halcro gear, but I would be worried about all the quality control issues related to their multichannel gear (reference AVS forums)

Choice 3 would be about where I'd land, knowing that ML themselves used the Parasound to demo the Summits, and -- I am guessing here -- this would not cost as much.

Having said that, I'd still save bucks on the surround processor and video source, and invest instead on something like an ARC Ref 3 preamp and Ref210T monoblocks and do an HT bypass.

But that's me.

Good luck, sounds like a super system in the making. What will you be using for a display?
Concerning the (video) display I am thinking either Qualia 004 projector, or VPL-VW100 projector, or finaly Sharp XV-Z20000 projerctor (my present displaies are a Sharp XV-12000 and a Sony 42 plasma).
Thanky you for your reply.
 
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christosm

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twich54 said:
Awesome sounding set-up. How big is your Theatre / room ? It's obviouslly large given your choice of using the Vantage as a surround. Given your three scenarios are I'm in agreement with #3.
Thank you for your reply. My home theater space is going to be 6 meters by seven and a half meter (about 18 feet by 22.5 feet).
 

Robin

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Pre/Amp Possibilities for an amazing ML speaker system...

christosm said:
The system will be a major upgrade and will include a pair of Summits, as the main left and right loudspeakers, a Theater i, as a center loudspeaker, a pair of Vantage, as the left and right rear loudspeakers and a Descent as a subwoofer.
Now, there are three possibilities for the pre & power amplifiers of that system:
1. A Krell EVO–707 Surround Sound Preamp/Processor, a pair of Krell EVO–600 monaural power amplifier as the amplifiers of the two ML Summits and a Krell EVO–403 three-channel power amplifier for the two ML Vantages and the Theater i. The new EVO–525 Progressive DVD/SACD/CD Player will be the the player of the system for this case.
2. A Halcro SSP 100 Surround Sound Preamplifier and Processor, a pair of Halcro dm88 monoblocks as the amplifiers of the two Summits and a Halcro MC30 three-channel power amplifier for the two Vantages and the Theater i. The new Halcro EC1000 DVD/CD/HD player will be the the player of the system for this case.
3. A Parasound Halo C1 controller Surround Sound Preamp/Processor, a pair of Parasound Halo JC1s monaural power amplifier as the amplifiers of the two Summits and a Parasound Halo A51 Power Amplifier five-channel power amplifier for the two Vantages and the Theater i. The Lexicon RT-20 Universal Disc Player will be the the player of the system for this case.
Does anybody can assist me, with an opinion about the optimal case of the three? Or any other combination of amplifiers for the specific ML home cinema system?
(My present system includes a pair of ML Clarityas the main loudspeakers, an ML Fresco as the center loudspeaker, a pair of ML Mosaic as the left and right rear loudspeakers and a ML Depth subwoofer. My present amplification system includes the Parasound Halo C1 controller Surround Sound Preamp/Processor, and the Parasound Halo A51 Power Amplifier five-channel power amplifier. The Denon DVD a-11 is the current player).
christosm,

Welcome to the ML Club!
I take it, you have auditioned these three choices already? You are now attempting to narrow it down, correct?

Given your room dimentions, the ML speakers, the choices of Pre / Amp and source players. I would advise to "trust your ears", as ultimately, my ears will not be listening to your system day-in and day-out. ;)

Of your above choices, I have read some marvalous things about Halcro audio electonics, though I've never heard Halcro Pre / Amp.'s or source players. I do wonder what the components your've listed in #2, would sound like...

Personally, my ears love the sound of the Anthem Statement D1 (coming soon - D2) processor and the Anthem Statement P5 and P2 amplifiers, because I have thoughly audition and compared - "Anthem Statement" gear won out over-all for me.

I am waiting patiently a few months for the latest High-Definition Blue-Ray players to come out in June to choose a DVD/CD/SACD source player.

By-the-way I love your ML speaker choices. What kind of trim will your system be in Piano Black? or Maple? ;)
HTH
It is good to have you here... :D
 

Spike

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The thing to keep in mind about the Summits and Vantages is that they come with internal bass amplifiers optimized for driving the woofers already. With this approach, you have the option of focusing on a good, clean amplifier for driving the panels only. Also, with the more efficient panels (than the older ones), an amplifier with 50-100wpc is more than you'll need. Given the above assumption, plus that you already have the top-notch Halo equipments, the JC1 is the most natural (and excellent) choice that most people would be envied of.
I'd keep the Halo surround sound processor and spend the $$ on the JC1. Other amplifier choices are Plinius, Pass Labs, Monarchy Audio (hybrid), Aria, etc... just to widen the field, not necessarily better choices than the JC1. Maybe after looking around, you'll come to appreciate the Halo line a lot more :) Your thread only mentioned about home-theater as your interest so I won't even mention... the magic glass-bottles of tubes :D

Spike
 

kwr

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christosm said:
Does anybody can assist me, with an opinion about the optimal case of the three? Or any other combination of amplifiers for the specific ML home cinema system?
QUOTE]

Could I suggest another approach. The budget level you are talking about gives you a lot of choice. There are some virtues in using a manufacturers line (ease of turn on, single remote etc) but I think you can do better. Clearly you are aiming at a stellar system and are seeking a high level of quality with your sound.

If your system is single source in terms of video ie dvd only I would be biding my time on the video front and see where high definition is heading. My call would be to concentrate on sound and worry about video later.

To that end the quality of your sources out put stage or the processors output stage really counts. Simplicity of signal path still applies even in home theatre and getting rid of a processor goes a long way towards this.

I realise this is idiosyncratic (you may all yell and say idiot - I will not be offended) but for source I would get one of the modified Denon 3910 universal players and use the onboard processing for channel delay, levels etc. There are other suitable dvd players i.e with onboard processing but the modded 3910s are getting alot of positive comment in the forums. I would output analogue via a highgrade multichannel preamp into the power amps of choice.

How to pick power amps. I would audition first with music in stereo only. Find a power amp you like and then amplify with others from the same manufacturer. Again my personal pick is to my taste - I would be playing with the Plinius line. SB 300 (x3) all around or Odeon plus SA201 for Summits

Another suggestion. Use a retractable perforated screen, buy a set of Summits for mains, and two pair Vantages. Use one Vantage as a centre behind the screen and the remaining three as surrounds and one rear. Do not buy subs at this stage. Wait and see if you really need them for the crashbang effects. I would run all speakers as large

This does not have the ease of a prepro but shifts your budget in favour of sound quality and a system that will be sensational for surround sound as well as ht. Also you can hedge your bets on the direction processing and high resolution video is going.

Love spending other peoples money. Please keep us posted on how you get on. Remember to trust what you hear rather than anyone telling you what you are hearing. I will reiterate though to initially keep it simple and select amps based on stereo listening.

Kevin
 

tonyc

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I am in total agreement with jfm. As the proud owner of a Ref 3 I can tell you that with the Lexicon and a Ref 3 you will watch much less TV and listen to much more music. I'd go with option3.
 

jfm

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tonyc - wow - what's the rest of your system, if you don't mind my asking? am just in the dreaming stage as far as the Ref3 goes, but I do like ARC gear.
 

tonyc

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jfm, I am lucky to have two systems. One is a ML based HT system (Aeons, Logos, Scenario,Descent) with a Lexicon RT-10 universal player, Myryad Pre/pro, Proceed Amp5). Wonderful on surround music and TV alike with my Dish 921 and Mitsubishi Diamond 65" HDTV. My "big rig" is based on Apogee Divas which I bought used about 10 years ago. It is fronted by a VPI HW 19 Mk4/Graham 2.2/Koetsu Rosewood Sig into an audio research PH5 phono stage (big bang for buck!). Digital is an Ayre C5xe (sometimes ran into a Sonic Frontiers SFD Mk 3 with NOS Siemens tubes for CD only via its AES/EBU output). Preamp is the arc Ref 3 which i bought about 6 months ago and which is without a doubt the finest preamp I never heard (I took out a loan to buy this baby!). Amp is a Rowland 8T. Cables include a mixture of Cardas Golden Cross (phono), Audioquest Cheetah (phono stage to Ref 3), Sky (Ayre to Ref 3 balanced), Purist Audio (6 meter balanced, Ref 3 to Rowland) and Nordost SPM speaker. I also have a Magnum Dunalab FM tuner with Kimber KCAG. Digital cable is balanced Kimber Orchid. AC cables are ESP Essence except for Ref3 which is a 20 amp Shynyata Python. This is a wonderfully musical system but the speakers are really too large for my 16 x 14 music room. I am hoping to sell the Divas and get a pair of Summits as soon as I pay off my Tweeters card! AC conditioning is a Monster HTPS 7000. I have loads of fun listening mostly to classic and alternative rock on this system. If you ever bring the Ref 3 home YOU WILL mortgage your loved ones so beware!
 

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Whata Amazing Pre-Summit System...

tonyc said:
jfm, I am lucky to have two systems. One is a ML based HT system (Aeons, Logos, Scenario,Descent) with a Lexicon RT-10 universal player, Myryad Pre/pro, Proceed Amp5). Wonderful on surround music and TV alike with my Dish 921 and Mitsubishi Diamond 65" HDTV. My "big rig" is based on Apogee Divas which I bought used about 10 years ago. It is fronted by a VPI HW 19 Mk4/Graham 2.2/Koetsu Rosewood Sig into an audio research PH5 phono stage (big bang for buck!). Digital is an Ayre C5xe (sometimes ran into a Sonic Frontiers SFD Mk 3 with NOS Siemens tubes for CD only via its AES/EBU output). Preamp is the arc Ref 3 which i bought about 6 months ago and which is without a doubt the finest preamp I never heard (I took out a loan to buy this baby!). Amp is a Rowland 8T. Cables include a mixture of Cardas Golden Cross (phono), Audioquest Cheetah (phono stage to Ref 3), Sky (Ayre to Ref 3 balanced), Purist Audio (6 meter balanced, Ref 3 to Rowland) and Nordost SPM speaker. I also have a Magnum Dunalab FM tuner with Kimber KCAG. Digital cable is balanced Kimber Orchid. AC cables are ESP Essence except for Ref3 which is a 20 amp Shynyata Python. This is a wonderfully musical system but the speakers are really too large for my 16 x 14 music room. I am hoping to sell the Divas and get a pair of Summits as soon as I pay off my Tweeters card! AC conditioning is a Monster HTPS 7000. I have loads of fun listening mostly to classic and alternative rock on this system. If you ever bring the Ref 3 home YOU WILL mortgage your loved ones so beware!
tonyc,

I would love to see your system after you add your Summits. IMHO, I think you should concider posting your system (with the Summits) on the "Member Systems" section of the ML Club with lots of photos. It would be a special treat to see all of your wonderful audio electronics, especially the ARC Ref 3... :D
 

aliveatfive

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tonyc said:
jfm, I am lucky to have two systems. One is a ML based HT system (Aeons, Logos, Scenario,Descent) with a Lexicon RT-10 universal player, Myryad Pre/pro, Proceed Amp5). Wonderful on surround music and TV alike with my Dish 921 and Mitsubishi Diamond 65" HDTV. My "big rig" is based on Apogee Divas which I bought used about 10 years ago. It is fronted by a VPI HW 19 Mk4/Graham 2.2/Koetsu Rosewood Sig into an audio research PH5 phono stage (big bang for buck!). Digital is an Ayre C5xe (sometimes ran into a Sonic Frontiers SFD Mk 3 with NOS Siemens tubes for CD only via its AES/EBU output). Preamp is the arc Ref 3 which i bought about 6 months ago and which is without a doubt the finest preamp I never heard (I took out a loan to buy this baby!). Amp is a Rowland 8T. Cables include a mixture of Cardas Golden Cross (phono), Audioquest Cheetah (phono stage to Ref 3), Sky (Ayre to Ref 3 balanced), Purist Audio (6 meter balanced, Ref 3 to Rowland) and Nordost SPM speaker. I also have a Magnum Dunalab FM tuner with Kimber KCAG. Digital cable is balanced Kimber Orchid. AC cables are ESP Essence except for Ref3 which is a 20 amp Shynyata Python. This is a wonderfully musical system but the speakers are really too large for my 16 x 14 music room. I am hoping to sell the Divas and get a pair of Summits as soon as I pay off my Tweeters card! AC conditioning is a Monster HTPS 7000. I have loads of fun listening mostly to classic and alternative rock on this system. If you ever bring the Ref 3 home YOU WILL mortgage your loved ones so beware!
When I bought my BAT VK51 pre, I also considered the ARC REF 2 mk II. They are both great sounding preamps. Just to let you know, I've heard really good things about the new PH 7 (just ordered one!) TT is an SME 10, Graham 2.2 and Shelter 90x. ARC VT 100 III (just discontinued) drives Summits.
 

garmtz

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I would go for option 3 (JC1 amps), but replace the Parasound C1 with a better surround processor, such as Meridian 861, Lexicon MC-12, Theta Casablanca or the Halcro. With this set-up, you won't be missing any stereo/tube pre-amps, believe me...
 

Spike

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garmtz said:
I would go for option 3 (JC1 amps), but replace the Parasound C1 with a better surround processor, such as Meridian 861, Lexicon MC-12, Theta Casablanca or the Halcro. With this set-up, you won't be missing any stereo/tube pre-amps, believe me...
I have the exact opposite experience with my system. I have the Meridian 565 processor, and I have tried the Meridian 861 and Theta Casablanca and these processors took the back seat to the ModWright SWL 9.0 pre-amp. To my ears, the sound coming from the processor(s) sound too processed, lifeless whereas the sound coming from the pre-amp is more alive, more energetic, especially in the mid-range area. These units are fine being top-rated surround sound processors, but strictly in terms of musicality in stereo mode, the dedicated tubed preamp is much better.

Spike
 

tonyc

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garmtz, I am afraid I have to agree with Spike. When my system was integrated I ran the front two channels of my pre/pro through my tubed linestage (1st a Sonic Frontiers SFL-2, then an audio research LS25II, before i got the ref 3) and got much better sound than running my pre/pro straight-even on DVD's and Dish TV. I thought the Parasound was a great sounding pre/pro tho I admit I haven't heard the Halcro (I have however heard the big Halcro preamp and mega buck mono amps driving Wilson X2's. What a relief I felt when the dealer switched to a cj ART). I haven't heard a prepro at any price that sounds nearly so good as any of the above linestages for music or video. In fact I'm thinking I may just reinsert my SF linestage back into my HT system(if I can wrestle it away from my son in law who is the major benificiary of my serious case of upgradeitis). I am thinking of posting my ML based HT system on the website along with the front end of the big rig if I can remember how to do it! Aliveatfive, what is a PH7?
 
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aliveatfive

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TONYC -

The PH 7 is the replacement for the REF phono stage. It was shown at CES.
From all available info, it will be killer.
 

twich54

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tonyc said:
garmtz, I am afraid I have to agree with Spike. When my system was integrated I ran the front two channels of my pre/pro through my tubed linestage (1st a Sonic Frontiers SFL-2, then an audio research LS25II, before i got the ref 3) and got much better sound than running my pre/pro straight-even on DVD's and Dish TV. I thought the Parasound was a great sounding pre/pro tho I admit I haven't heard the Halcro (I have however heard the big Halcro preamp and mega buck mono amps driving Wilson X2's. What a relief I felt when the dealer switched to a cj ART). I haven't heard a prepro at any price that sounds nearly so good as any of the above linestages for music or video. In fact I'm thinking I may just reinsert my SF linestage back into my HT system(if I can wrestle it away from my son in law who is the major benificiary of my serious case of upgradeitis). I am thinking of posting my ML based HT system on the website along with the front end of the big rig if I can remember how to do it! Aliveatfive, what is a PH7?
Tony, I agree 100%, and I'm just using an ARC SP-16L. Ahhhh...... the good ole' days....."straight wire with gain" !!!
 

Statman

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Also agree with the above posts. I'm running my B&K thru my ARC LS-25 MKII with surprisingly good result. I'm hoping one day they will make a pre/pro that is sonically matching to the 2 channel pre-amp/line stages that are available now?
 

tonyc

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A new reference level arc phono stage!? Must...maintain course...hold to the plan...Summits, Summits, Summits! Those of you wishing to see my black Ref 3 can go to the following link: www.apogeespeakers.com/gallery/ look under Tony's system. This is an earlier iteratiion of the big rig, sans Ayre and tube traps.
 
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