Surround Sound Processors
Which Surround Sound Processor is right
The answer, of course, depends upon your priorities and your
application. There are many issues to consider.
|Issue / Feature
|Ease of Use
||Surround sound processors vary greatly in how easy
they are to set up and how easy they are to use. If we
will be installing and calibrating your surround sound
processor, then ease of setup may not be a concern. If we
will be installing a custom-programmed remote control
system, then ease of use of the processor itself may be
irrelevant because the control system we design will (we
assure you) be very simple and clear to use. Otherwise,
be sure to select a surround sound processor that makes
daily operation simple.
|Digital Audio Quality
||When listening to digital sources such as CD, DVD, or
satellite TV, the audio performance of the
digital-to-analog converters in your surround sound
processor will be crucial to the overall sonic
performance of your audio system. Remember that surround
sound processors have 6 channels of D-to-A conversion; an
equivalent level of performance in a surround sound
processor is more expensive than in (say) a 2-channel
external D-to-A converter.
||Will you be listening to high-quality stereo analog
sources, such as phono, tape, or the analog outputs of an
external CD source? Then you should look for a processor
which offers an analog bypass mode, where all digital
processing is avoided. This will maintain the purity of
your analog signals.
||If you will be listening to music through this
system, then you may wish to judge the sonic performance
of the surround sound processor just as critically as you
would a stereo preamplifier. Listen carefully and we
think that you'll find that some surround sound
processors offer very high sonic performance indeed,
whereas other fall short. Depending upon your situation,
you may find that your requirements are best met by
designing your system to bypassing the surround sound
processor entirely for stereo listening. Please feel free
to consult us for advise.
||You must have this for DVD or Satellite use. Our
advise: don't even think about a surround sound processor
that doesn't offer it.
||An alternative digital encoding standard. There are
dts audio discs available, as well as DVDs with dts
soundtracks. Almost all DVD rentals (at least in New
England) are Dolby Digital, not dts (unless the disc has
both). dts has the potential to sound better than Dolby
Digital, but this is only sometimes the case, depending
upon the disc. Most of our clients consider dts nice to
||Many surround sound processors have the ability to
switch your video inputs to follow the switching of the
audio inputs. This is both a convenience and a method of
expanding the number of video inputs. Some surround sound
processors also offer on-screen displays of the surround
sound processor functions, which may make setup and use
easier. If you want to use video switching in your
surround sound processor, be sure that it supports enough
inputs of the type you have (composite, s-video,
component, or RGBHV). For the highest performance, you
may prefer a dedicated external video switcher.
Boulder also makes pre-amplifiers,
amplifiers, and digital components.
|Boulder surround sound processor
|Boulder Multichannel Control Center. Forthcoming???
makes three ranges of products: high performance audio/video products, including
speakers, custom installation products which allow house-wide music, and one-box
music or movie components.. Within these ranges, Linn makes phono
components, digital components, preamplifiers,
surround sound processors, cables, and tuners.
The Linn 5103 (front and rear image) is pictured at the left.
|Linn surround sound
Linn Unidisk SC — CD/DVD-V/SACD/DVD-A audio/video player with
integrated surround sound processor /preamp. Silver or black. $Call.
Linn Exotik stereo and multichannel digital and analog 8 channel
Linn Kinos stereo and multichannel audio and video system controller.
- Linn Kisto System Controller surround sound
processor/preamplifier. Black or silver. $Call.
- Contains the analog electronics from the Klimax Kontrol
NAD makes surround receivers as well as surround processors.
makes tuners, pre-amplifiers,
surround-sound processors, and
amplifiers. The Parasound Model 7100 is pictured at the left.
|Parasound Surround Sound Processors
|Parasound Model 7100 Surround Controller. $Call.
Simaudio makes the Moon line of electronics.
Pictured at the left is the new CP-8 Home Theater Processor.
Simaudio also makes digital components,
surround processors, and power
|Simaudio Moon A/V Series
|CP-8 Surround Sound Processor/Preamp w/2
HDMI 1.3a, 3 Zones, Bal in/out.
For more info:
Link to a pdf of the
CP-8 owner's manual.
|HDS-8 HDMI switcher - increases the number
1.3a inputs from 2 to 6 for the above CP-8 SSP. $Pricing.
info: HDS-8 webpage
Link to a pdf of the
HDS-8 owner's manual.
(Note: see page 8 for wiring hookup back-plate diagram of both CP-8 &
Theta makes digital and surround sound
processors, and amplifiers. The
Casablanca is a world-class, standard-setting
surround sound processor—and is highly modular. Options may
be added at a later date, and updates are simplified. Theta has
an excellent track record of keeping its product current through
updates. Also, both have excellent user interfaces. All functions
can be accessed from the front panel (which is important if you
lose the remote control or the batteries run down). There is a
clear LCD display. Setup is some of the easiest we've seen (given
its power and flexibility.
Theta products are available in silver or black. You can find owner's manuals
in pdf format here.
Casablanca III HD
- Theta Casablanca III surround sound processor /
- The Casablanca III HD is designed for high end audio
performance (both analog and digital),
flexibility in configuration, flexibility in use,
upgradeability, and modularity.
- Depending upon configuration, a Casablanca III HD the price can
vary considerably. The
price will vary with depending upon the options chosen and
the quality and the number of the D-A converters chosen. Please
call 781-893-9000 for help in configuring a
Casablanca III HD for your needs.
- Casablanca III HD chassis
- Includes main and aux digital input board. RS-232, DD, dTS,
Circle Surround II.
|Casablanca III HD base model: w/ 8.75" rack mount faceplate.
Includes main and aux digital input board. HDMI 1.4, RS-232, DD, dTS,
Circle Surround II.
|Casablanca III Premium four channel balanced D-A. $Call.
|Casablanca III Superior II 3-channel balanced D-A output board.
|Casablanca III Xtreme D-2 four channel D-A output board. $Call.
|Casablanca III Circle Surround processing board. $Call.
|Casablanca III Video Switching board: 6 composite video, 4 s-video.
|Casablanca III Video Switching board: 8 s-video. $Call.
|Casablanca III Video Switching board: 3 multi-format, 6 S-video.
|Casablanca III Digital Output board with center channel. $Call.
|Casablanca III Digital Output board without center channel. $Call.
|Two Channel Volume Control box. $Call.
|Six Channel Volume Control box. $Call.
|Casablanca III Optional D-A tape output. $Call.
|Casablanca III Panel Grade Alloy Cover. $Call.
|Theta DS Pro Gen VIII 2-channel external DAC (Casablanca III HD
|6-Shooter, Robot Analog Preamplifier. $Call.
Casablanca HD Upgrades
|Casablanca I to III HD. Please call.
|Casablanca II to III HD. Please call.
|Casablanca III to III HD. Please call.