Pre-Amp Processor Advice [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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08-10-2006, 04:31 PM
I am looking for advice on upgrading my Pre-amp/Processor. I currently have an Adcom GSP-560 which is only Pro-Logic. I have recently upgraded my mian amp to a McIntosh MC7106 which is a great sounding amp. I've been looking around at new equipment and have been really underwhelmed, not completely sure why. I've listened to Arcam, Rotel, Anthem and B&K "Recievers" and found them very harsh, not musical. The channel separation is really nice, most likely due to the 5.1 or 7.1 DTS. But even after a trip home, I can tell that the Adcom 560 is simply much warmer and smoother and MUCH easier to listen to. I don't need the latest technology and would prefer to buy an older, higher end pre-amp/processor for at or under $1k. Where do I start?

The McIntosh MX-135 sounded great! I just can't justify the expense for me.

Mr Peabody
08-10-2006, 07:24 PM
Something is wrong, either you are just used to the Adcom's sound signature or the other preamps weren't set up correctly for music. Maybe listen again but use the analog inputs or bypass feature that bypasses the digital decoding. The Arcam and Anthem to me sounded very good, but i did not listen to 2 channel when i heard them. Shops that handle that calibur of gear should let you audition at home these pieces, which is your best bet. Either piece will be cleaner and more detailed than the Adcom. I haven't heard the B&K but surprised you found it or Rotel harsh, both are supposed to be "warm".

The Anthem pre/pro was hooked to an Anthem multi-channel amp driving Paradigm speakers. The presentation was very nice. It struck me as lively and airy. The Anthem amp could have better bass.

The Arcam piece at $2,500.00 is a real value. I've always found Arcam fast, detailed and musical. Even their A/V receivers were incredibly hi fi compared to others on the market.

Coincidently, the store that sells Anthem also carries Mac. I personally would have bought the Anthem over the Mac, either a MX-135 or 130, I'm not sure which, it was only a 5.1 version. I was surprised it sound so bad. I suspect something wasn't set correctly. I'd have that Anthem now if I hadn't first run across a killer deal on the Primare I have now. If doing it again, I'd have to listen again but that Anthem would have to impress to sway me from the Arcam.

It could be that yours and my preferences are on opposite ends though. I do not like a rolled off high end, nor do I like the high end to be harsh or grainy. If you took a poll and offered audio enthusiasts their choice of Arcam, Anthem or Adcom, I don't think you'd give many Adcom's away over the other 2. Also, synergy with your other components is a big factor as well.

check, they usually have deals on hi fi gear, including surround processors. They've got some deals now on Audio Refinement.

Mr Peabody
08-10-2006, 08:01 PM
After checking out your gear I have a question. Why the Klipsch center? I'm not familiar with M&K but I am with Klipsch, and that center's sound has to stick out like a sore thumb. Can you get a matching M&K center? Your sound stage would improve a great deal. And if you did audition at home, the Klipsch could be the source of your harshness.

08-10-2006, 08:37 PM
Thanks guys for the responses...

I suspect that a lot of my issues with the sound is set-up. I can't believe that that level of gear could be totally out performed by a 12 year old piece, especially a processor. Technology has changed a lot there. The newer processors had much better channel definition, but man they were harsh. Maybe they were set up too bright, trying to be punchy for a loud movie demo. Impress those with no ears or something. I haven't even tried the newer Adcom stuff. Shortly after I bought this peice, the company tranferred ownership and has not been anywhere near the same since. My impression is that Arcam is kind of equivalent gear of today. Pretty near as good as equipment twice the price.

The klipsch center? Well, I had klipsch surrounds as well. I don't really like them (still have them). I know klipsch is a good name and well liked. I think they are also a bit harsh at times or just lost as a surround. The M&Ks are fantastic. M&K had a lot to do with developing THX sound. They were the first to develop the satellite / subwoofer combo. I really like the sound with the Mac Amp...great combo. I replaced the surrounds recently with the M&Ks. The center doesn't really stick out too bad, maybe I'll replace it someday, but for sounds good.

Part of the issue with me is that I can't see spending over $2k for something that's has better channel separation and is harsh. Maybe I need to do a home demo, set up correctly. I was thinking that I'd try a Krell or Mac or something 1 gen old that I could get at a better price...I just can't figure what.

Thanks again guys!

08-10-2006, 08:51 PM
BTW, M&K is Miller and Kriesel.

Here's their website:

N. Abstentia
08-11-2006, 09:05 AM
I was very surprised by the 2 channel performance of the Outlaw 990, especially at the $1100 price. It's phenomenal.