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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:47 am 
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Hi there,
I'm considering budget-friendly ways to upgrade my home theatre. Current system involves a Marantz 8801 Pre-Pro, a Bryston 9BSST 5 channel amp and Paradigm MK3 speakers/SVS subs.

I have no need for video processing and no intention of adding height speakers.

If I swapped my Marantz 8802 Pre for an older, higher-end brand like say a Lexicon 12c, would it matter that I no longer have access to the most recent codecs? Is there a workaround? For example, setting the PrePro to bypass and running my sources through an Oppo 105d?

Thanks in advance for your advice.


Last edited by padboy1 on Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:53 am 
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IMO, letting your player do all the heavy lifting/processing and using an older, higher quality pre-processor with analog inputs is definitely the way to go, and your player is usually updateable to handle the latest codecs.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:07 am 
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The majority of new surround formats require a lot of speakers which almost nobody has. A good quality 5.1 receiver with even just DD/DTS and 5 well tuned speakers will crush a badly setup or poorly chosen new system which happens to have the newest formats. The formats haven't been a problem for 15 years.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:31 am 
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Naturally it depends, and there are many ways to sort through it.

IF your source can process and has analog outputs AND your processor has analog inputs (7.1 etc) then that is a good way.

The way I tend to go about this is to use an AVR with preouts. I leverage the AVR as the pre/pro and use a few of the onboard amps.

Specifically in my case I run an outboard 2 channel amp, while my AVR does the processing, preamping, and onboard amps run the C and RR and LR speakers.

I find the best sounding format for my 5.1 setup is Dolby TrueHD. Yes I know it is a 7.1 format. My Pioneer AVR has no problem producing it in 5.1 and I find it really sounds good.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:35 am 
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padboy1;

I agree with OBI56 but what's wrong with the Marantz 8802 Pre you have? I also agree with planetofsound as
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A good quality 5.1 receiver with even just DD/DTS and 5 well tuned speakers will crush a badly setup or poorly chosen new system which happens to have the newest formats.

Audiois1st

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:15 am 
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Planet Of Sound nailed it in my opinion. I have helped many family members and friends build systems new and used. Setup is key. You don't need a 30.6 system and all the latest codecs. Although if one can afford it. 2 subs is a bonus.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:37 am 
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Much appreciate all of the feedback and responses so far. Thanks very much to everyone.

OBI, I understood that surround cannot be communicated by analog. Is this incorrect?

Audio1st, its not so much about there being something wrong with my Marantz PrePro. It sounds solid, and much better than most systems I've heard; but I would love it if the sound was a bit less bright/harsh/refined/revealing. I wonder if a comparably-priced used-older Krell/Lexicon/Anthem/Classe etc might not have sound that's a bit closer to what I'm hoping for.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:05 am 
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5.1 is great, but no match for a properly set up 7.2.4 dolby atmos/dtsx system.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:25 am 
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padboy1 wrote:
Much appreciate all of the feedback and responses so far. Thanks very much to everyone.

OBI, I understood that surround cannot be communicated by analog. Is this incorrect?

Audio1st, its not so much about there being something wrong with my Marantz PrePro. It sounds solid, and much better than most systems I've heard; but I would love it if the sound was a bit less bright/harsh/refined/revealing. I wonder if a comparably-priced used-older Krell/Lexicon/Anthem/Classe etc might not have sound that's a bit closer to what I'm hoping for.


??? I don't understand what you mean here. The 7.1 analog outputs on your player are already decoded into main front, center, rear and side surround channels + LFE subwoofer outputs, just as they are from the 7.1 preamp outputs on a pre/processor (preamp/processor) or preamp output from a HT receiver.

The main difference between an analog output player and a pre/processor is where the processor itself is located. In the player or in the pre/processor. If you use the processor on the player through its analog outputs, it gets connected to the analog 7.1 inputs on the pre/processor thus bypassing its built-in processing.

My logic has always been use the best preamp available an the best processor available to you. In a high end older pre/processor compared to a brand new mass market pre-processor or HT receiver, that older high end pre-pro will almost always have the better preamp section. In the case of a new, high-end player versus the older high end pre-processor or HT receiver, the new high end player will always have the better and most up to date processing. This is who those analog inputs and outputs are so essential; they allow your system to be more obsolescence proof.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:37 am 
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No.

Properly setup 2.0 is all you need.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:51 am 
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Thanks very much, OBI. I'm following now. Appreciate the clarification.

I gather that preamp technology has not made massive advances then? Is there a sweet spot in terms of era where price and technology align well?


OBI56 wrote:
padboy1 wrote:
Much appreciate all of the feedback and responses so far. Thanks very much to everyone.

OBI, I understood that surround cannot be communicated by analog. Is this incorrect?

Audio1st, its not so much about there being something wrong with my Marantz PrePro. It sounds solid, and much better than most systems I've heard; but I would love it if the sound was a bit less bright/harsh/refined/revealing. I wonder if a comparably-priced used-older Krell/Lexicon/Anthem/Classe etc might not have sound that's a bit closer to what I'm hoping for.


??? I don't understand what you mean here. The 7.1 analog outputs on your player are already decoded into main front, center, rear and side surround channels + LFE subwoofer outputs, just as they are from the 7.1 preamp outputs on a pre/processor (preamp/processor) or preamp output from a HT receiver.

The main difference between an analog output player and a pre/processor is where the processor itself is located. In the player or in the pre/processor. If you use the processor on the player through its analog outputs, it gets connected to the analog 7.1 inputs on the pre/processor thus bypassing its built-in processing.

My logic has always been use the best preamp available an the best processor available to you. In a high end older pre/processor compared to a brand new mass market pre-processor or HT receiver, that older high end pre-pro will almost always have the better preamp section. In the case of a new, high-end player versus the older high end pre-processor or HT receiver, the new high end player will always have the better and most up to date processing. This is who those analog inputs and outputs are so essential; they allow your system to be more obsolescence proof.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:13 am 
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get the lexicon mc 12 version 2.0, or 4.0 if you want built in equilizer. they are great sounding processor and will outperforme the Marantz. in everyway. for sacd ,dvd audio,and bluray. use the multi channel 5.1 analogue input, and the oppo will do the decoding. lexicon are top performers and easy to use unlike many other processor.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Padboy, yes, preamp technology has made some strides, but that is not the issue.

In todays terms of technology and sound, the Lexicon has a preamp section probably rated as a 85-95/100, but its processor is currently at a level closer to 20-25/100 where it was originally probably closer to the 90-95/100 range (yes, processors get a lot out of date pretty fast with last years processor being considered old and a 2 year old one almost obsolete). On the same rating scale, your Marantz is probably around the 60-75/100 range for the preamp but its processing is probably closer to the 80-85/100 range, maybe lower if it is older than 2 years.

The Oppo's processor is currently in the 95-100/100 range. So in this particular scenario, combining the processing of the Oppo with the preamp sound of the Lexicon gives you the best possible results. The Oppo's processing is upgradeable, making the whole thing more obsolescence proof. Since the processing on the Lexicon can't be upgraded and that its preamp section is already at a higher level than your Marantz is, makes sense to use its best part to your advantage.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:41 pm 
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OBI56 wrote:
IMO, letting your player do all the heavy lifting/processing and using an older, higher quality pre-processor with analog inputs is definitely the way to go...


Absolutely agree... let your Oppo do the heavy lifting with the latest codecs and send analog out to your multi-channel pre - it's how I do it and it sounds fab. Lots of older Bryston SP2s out there that are killer in this setup.

Happy listening... errr... watching...


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:46 pm 
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The one thing I'm wondering is, does the Marantz have a room correction system similar to Anthem's ARC ?. If so it still might be the better choice because room correction makes up for a lot of flaws. A higher end pre amp will likely still come up short compared to a corrected room. Something to think about.

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