Used processor that could function as a good, no great (dream, dream) 2 channels preamp? -- Sun, 09/20/2009 - 18:20

HI everybody
I wonder after how many years does processor start having troubles, like lost of channel, stop working, etc.

What's your personnal experience: which processor and after how many years did they start giving you trouble, if any?
Or maybe you have your processor since many years and they have been flawlessly since then.

It could give me a guidelide about which used processor to look for.
should I look, or stay away from Classe ssp-60, moon attraction 7.1, krell hts...

I don't really need hdmi, I can still connect my dvd's hdmi to the tv set.
My Oppo dvd player does have an HDMI output, and my tv set too.
Right now, finance does not permit high price processor with HDMI and I don,t want to go back to low end component for the sake of HDMI input-output. I suppose I will eventually, maybe in a few years, buy a blue-ray player. Wharn this happen finance will permit to buy whatever processor I wish, brand new ( no more car payment or mortgage.
Watching lcd tv ( not a 1080) and dvd,
listening to cd ( sometime) and vinyl.

I don't need a phono preamp, I already have a lehmann phono preamp.
It's ok if there's also a tuner, but I don't really care if it's there or not.

Other components:

simaudio amp
B&K reference 20 preamp (defective, no surround, only stereo. This is the one that would be replace. So it must be an upgrade, not a side step).
Oracle delphi 4 turntable, claraudio cartridge.
oppo dvd player (also used as a cd player).
Martin logan Vantage loudspeaker.
I'm interested in any suggestion that you can provide.
Thank you

Boomzilla -- Mon, 09/21/2009 - 06:38

 Hi Dan -
Take my opinion as worth the $$$ you're paying for it, but I'll take a stab at answering your questions.  As to the question of longevity, my experience is that electronic components follow the "bathtub curve of reliability."  That means that if you plot failures on an x-y axis with x being time and y being failure rate, the curve resembles a bathtub.  Shortly after purchase (typically within the first six months) the unit will fail if there are any faulty or borderline components.  After the first year, the rate of failures falls off to a negligible level (this is why "extended warranties" are always such a bad value).  The component typically then will run without problem until the "wear-out-phase" (normally from 10-15 years) after which the failure rates rise as components fail from age.
Exceptionally cheap components (cheap compact systems or anything built in the '80s) may wear out after as little as 5 years (surface mount component technology was in its infancy then and the wear-out-phase came sooner).
Now as to your question of AV processors that also offer audiophile sound.  My guesses (haven't auditioned all of these) would include brands such as Theta, Krell, or Classe.  I have owned a Classe SP-30, and although it was both reliable and sweet-sounding, I finally chucked the preamp (and my Bryston 3B power amp) in favor of a Yamaha RX-V620 AV receiver ( ! ! ! ).  No, my ears aren't tin - the Yamaha actually sounded 90% as good as the Classe/Bryston rig for a fraction of the price.  That extra 10% is obviously dear to your heart - it wasn't to mine.
Were I in your shoes, I might just buy an Audio Research stereo preamp for music, and a cheap AVR for movies.  That's my two cents!  Happy shopping -

 A good sense of humor makes it ALL sound better!

Steve Bruzonsky (not verified) -- Thu, 09/24/2009 - 17:29

Keep in mind that the  Theta CB3 can have a Six Shooter multi-channel analog preamp attached which will be appreciably better sounding than any other surround processor's analog inputs as well as the CB3's own onboard analog inputs. The Six Shooter is detached from the CB3, has its own power cord, but has a data cable attached to control speaker levels and volume from the CB3.
Theta is plodding re its HDMI 1.3 upgrade and concern about this has led to a plummeting of prices for used Theta CB3's at least for now.
A Six Shooter retails for $2500 but they come up on occasion used.
I only mention this is you can bargain and get a great price on used right now.

Hyperion Believer (not verified) -- Thu, 09/24/2009 - 21:09

I had a ROTEL RSP-1098 pre/pro for over 4 years.  I use it in 2-channel mode (internal DAC's for Redbook CD conversion) for almost all music, other than SACD, DVD-AUDIO, or Blu-Ray.  I am extremely happy with it.  Neil Gader (TAS) wrote that even if he never watched a movie again, he would be happy with the 1098 as a 2-channel pre-amp.  IMO, he's 100% correct!

ismarketing (not verified) -- Fri, 09/25/2009 - 15:17

Have a look/listen to the older Enlightened Audio Design (EAD) processors.  They can be had for a song used, and they sound wonderful.  In their day, they were regarded a THE processor to get if you came to HT from hi-end audio.  They had 3 levels - encore,ovation, and signature - later updated to encore-8, ovation-8 etc. because they included a not very elegant multi-channel pass-through.
I use an Ovation as a DAC/pre-amp with a Squeezebox and the sound is just wonderful.  When I upgraded my HT room to an Anthem D1, the multi-channel and stereo sound improved a bit (before room correction), but not by a huge amount.  I'm sure any of the EAD processors would improve the sound of your Oppo (I have one of those too).
You should be able to find an encore for around 4-$500, and Ovation for 6-$700, and a signature for just under a grand.  Remember that for those prices you're getting a pre and a DAC.  One last thing - while EAD is long gone, the units call all be serviced by an outfit in Iowa.
Good luck.

Tom Martin -- Fri, 09/25/2009 - 15:23

This may be useful:

CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC -- Tue, 02/16/2010 - 00:17

I finally bought a slighly used ( 3 months) Classe ssp-600.
It's well beyond my expectation.

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