Goodwin's High End

Surround Sound Processors

Arcam Boulder Halcro  
Linn Parasound Simaudio (Moon) Theta

Which Surround Sound Processor is right for me?

The answer, of course, depends upon your priorities and your application. There are many issues to consider.

Issue / Feature Recommendation
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.
Analog Bypass 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.
Music 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.
Dolby Digital 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.
dts 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 have.
Video Switching 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.

 


Arcam

Arcam makes excellent sounding, high-value audio and home theater components. The AV8 is pictured at the left, sitting atop the P7 multi-channel amplifier.

Arcam makes digital componentspreamplifiers, surround sound processors, amplifiers, and tuners.

Local sales only

 


Arcam Diva Series
Arcam AVR250 surround sound receiver with second zone. $Call.
Arcam AVR300 surround sound receiver with second zone. $Call.
Arcam AVR350 surround sound receiver with second zone. $Call.
Arcam FMJ Series
Arcam AVP700 surround sound processor. $Call.
Arcam AV9 surround sound processor. $Call.



Boulder

Boulder also makes pre-amplifiers, amplifiers, and digital components.

Boulder surround sound processor
Boulder Multichannel Control Center. Forthcoming???


Halcro

Halcro also makes digital components, pre-amplifiers, amplifiers and surround sound processors. The SSP80 is pictured at the left.

 

 

 

Halcro logic-series surround sound processors
Halcro SSP80 8-channel surround sound processor. $Call.
Halcro SSP100 8-channel surround sound processor with integrated video scaler. $Call.

 


Linn

Linn 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, amplifiers, speakers, surround sound processors, cables, and tuners. The Linn 5103 (front and rear image) is pictured at the left.

 


Linn surround sound processors
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 preamp. $Call.
Linn Kinos stereo and multichannel audio and video system controller. $Call.
Linn Kisto System Controller surround sound processor/preamplifier. Black or silver. $Call.
Contains the analog electronics from the Klimax Kontrol preamplifier.

 


Parasound

Parasound 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 (Moon)

Simaudio makes the Moon line of electronics. Pictured at the left is the new CP-8 Home Theater Processor.

Simaudio also makes digital components, pre-amplifiers, amplifiers, surround processors, and power conditioners.

 

 


Simaudio Moon A/V Series
CP-8 Surround Sound Processor/Preamp w/2 HDMI 1.3a, 3 Zones, Bal in/out. $20,000.

For more info: CP-8 webpage

Link to a pdf of the CP-8 owner's manual.

HDS-8 HDMI switcher - increases the number of HDMI 1.3a inputs from 2 to 6 for the above CP-8 SSP. $Pricing.

For more 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 & HDS-8.)

 


Theta

Theta makes digital and surround sound processors, and amplifiers. The Casanova and Casablanca are world-class, standard-setting surround sound processors. Both are 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.

 

Theta Casablanca III HD
Theta Casablanca III surround sound processor / pre-amplifier.
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. $Call.
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. $Call.
Casablanca III Video Switching board: 8 s-video. $Call.
Casablanca III Video Switching board: 3 multi-format, 6 S-video. $Call.
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 compatible). $Call.
6-Shooter, Robot Analog Preamplifier. $Call.
Theta Casablanca HD Upgrades
Casablanca I to III HD. Please call.
Casablanca II to III HD. Please call.
Casablanca III to III HD. Please call.

 

   
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