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  1. #1

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    Default Looking for a Preamp with Bass Management and Balanced outputs!

    Am I insane??? I have been trying to find a modestly priced preamp with balanced outputs with a built in crossover and bass management system. A decent built in DAC would be nice too :) It has proven to be a much more difficult endeavor than previously thought! I know I might be barking up the wrong tree with 2 channel purists... but sometimes I like a little extra bottom end thump when I listen to certain types of music and watch movies as this system is in my living room.

    What I am currently running is an Adcom GFP-750 pre into a DBX DriveRack PA+ (Pro Audio, I know!). It performs the crossover duties, and room correction if I wish, but it is only functioning as a crossover most of the time. That feeds a pair of Epik Sentinel Subs and my Parasound HCA-3500. For mains I am currently running a pair of CRS+, but I should have my upgraded SDA SRS 2 in a couple weeks. I love the sound of the Adcom direct connected to the Parasound when I am running my SRS 2, but I just like a little more "Boom" every now and then.

    Any ideas? Can someone point me to a solution that won't break the bank? I would like to continue to run stereo subs. The only other option I can come up with is to pick up a miniDSP Balanced 2x4 kit to handle the crossover duties.

    http://www.minidsp.com/onlinestore/d...d-2x4?sef=hcfp

    I have been tempted by the Onkyo TX-8050 to run as a pre... But I am not sure of the sound quality or the quality or type of built in DAC. It also does not have any balanced outputs, which I have some concern about as I had a LITTLE buzz when I was running RCA's. But that might be something in the Adcom. I suppose I would be willing to sacrifice the balanced outputs for the right solution.

    I am looking in the sub $1000 market, but less would be nice. I might be willing to sell my GFP-750 to get there... Depends on what you guys know of :)

    Thanks in advance!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  2. #2

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    I suppose, now that I think a little more, maybe the SRS 2 with the upgrades won't need a sub.... That can be tossed around as an option too :)

    Any and all constructive opinions are welcome.

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  3. #3

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    I think you would be able to find one w/o the balanced pre-outs a lot easier. I think that might be whats stopping you from the "modestly priced" part.

    Why the need for balanced? Is it just a feature you want to play with or one you really need?

    I believe the Wyred4Sound DAC has balanced outputs, Asynchronus USB and a bunch of other stuff, but its upwards of 1k......
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

    Main HT: APC H15 | Pio 51FD | Uverse DVR | Xbox 360 | Squeezebox Classic | Integra DTR 5.9 | Carver AV-705x & M1.0t MKII Opt002 | LSi 15 | LSiC | LSi F/x | Kimber Hero IC & 8VS SC

    Office Rig: Win 7 -> DacMagic w/ Pangea PSU | Pro-ject Debut III | Sunfire TGP-II | Parasound HCA-750ii | Polk RTA 11TL | Cables TBA

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  4. #4

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    I just noticed my system was a lot "quieter" when running balanced interconnects. It was the final straw when hunting down buzz problems. It was almost zero with RCA interconnects, Balanced interconnects dropped noise to ZERO! It might be something with the Adcom, but I doubt it. It is more likely something with my power that is making it through the conditioner as all of my ground are good and this system is on a dedicated ground now, so a group loop shouldn't be an issue.

    Bring on the unbalanced ideas! I would love to hear them!!!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  5. #5

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    Define "moderately price" so we have an idea of the budget we have to make recomendations within
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

    Main HT: APC H15 | Pio 51FD | Uverse DVR | Xbox 360 | Squeezebox Classic | Integra DTR 5.9 | Carver AV-705x & M1.0t MKII Opt002 | LSi 15 | LSiC | LSi F/x | Kimber Hero IC & 8VS SC

    Office Rig: Win 7 -> DacMagic w/ Pangea PSU | Pro-ject Debut III | Sunfire TGP-II | Parasound HCA-750ii | Polk RTA 11TL | Cables TBA

    Bedroom: Uverse DVR | Roku 2 | Samsung LCD | SurroundBar 2000

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  6. #6

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    Less than $1000 is my target. But if there is something that fits the bill at around $500 or even less, I would look at it if the build quality is there and it has all the right features. Like I had mentioned, the Onkyo TX-1050 looks interesting, but I haven't heard much about it yet, and it is coming in right around $350, but I am just worried it wouldn't do my Parasound and SDAs justice

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  7. #7

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    Any opinions on the Outlaw 990 as a 2 channel pre? I have read some good things about it, looks like it has nice DACs, and has several 2 channel modes, including one with bass management!

    I have found one fairly cheap and I am thinking hard about it....

    Thanks!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcmartinpc View Post
    Any opinions on the Outlaw 990 as a 2 channel pre? I have read some good things about it, looks like it has nice DACs, and has several 2 channel modes, including one with bass management!

    I have found one fairly cheap and I am thinking hard about it....

    Thanks!

    Don
    That one might not be that bad. I actually went straight to their site when you listed your price range lol.....


    I would think though you could find a used NAD or something along those lines for cheaper on the 'Gon

    Around 500

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....c-Reference-so

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ifier-with-MM/

    Over 500

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....o-preamplifier (has balanced pre-outs)


    Also check the flea market here....I remember somebody having a B&K Reference 20 (which I think has balanced outs) for sale...
    Last edited by EndersShadow; 08-02-2011 at 03:04 PM.

  9. #9

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    The 990 is looking nice... I am tempted by it definitely. I don't need HDMI switching or anything like that. It seems to be a decent unit. Any NAD solutions with bass management?

    Am I going to be sacrificing sound quality with this type of unit compared to the Adcom GFP-750?

    Thanks again everyone!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  10. #10

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    I'm the one with the Ref 20- that's single ended only. Ref 50 is the lowest B&K with balanced.

    Keep your eyes open for B-stock and used integra DHC-80.1's... they're approaching $1000 these days.

    Or get a Ref 50- missing a lot of options that are on newer pre's, but still pretty solid.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcmartinpc View Post

    Am I going to be sacrificing sound quality with this type of unit compared to the Adcom GFP-750?

    Thanks again everyone!

    Don
    Yes.

    I doubt you can find a "truly" balanced unit in your price range.

    I can make a recommendation if you want to keep the 750 in the loop (so to speak). It has an HT bypass that allows you to use a pre-pro when you want movies and then the 750 when you don't.

    You don't mention, but are you keeping the 750 or selling it to eventually fund the HT pre?

    Not sure you will notice a huge hit in sound quality while listening to HT, but you will notice the 750 sounds alot better for 2ch than the Outlaw. At this point it sounds like it's all about the best compromise.

    With the Outlaw you gain HT management and lesser quality 2ch performance. If you can live with that, maybe that's the way to go. I'd not even add balanced to the mix, just consider it a nice bonus if you happen to fall into a product with it.

    I highly doubt the Outlaw is truly balanced. It seems we've had this discussion atleast a couple other times about the Outlaw.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  12. #12

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    That is the kind of info I am looking for. And to clarify, this system only has Left, Right, and 2 subs. I am not running a full home theater in the LR. It is 2 channel. The SRS 2 might be OK without a sub once I have them upgraded, maybe not. I just love the punch the Sentinels add when watching movies, even in 2 channel.

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  13. #13

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    I would sell the GFP-750 if I could find the right pre to replace it :) A HT processor is not a requirement. I was just looking for the bass management features and possibly a built in DAC.

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcmartinpc View Post
    I would sell the GFP-750 if I could find the right pre to replace it :) A HT processor is not a requirement. I was just looking for the bass management features and possibly a built in DAC.

    Don
    A pre that just has sub management won't be as easy to find as a full blown pre-pro. The pre-pro is going to cost more. What about looking for an Outlaw ICBM to run through the processor loop? Aren;t those for sub managment only?

    Sorry, I'm a bit green when it comes to subwoofer management schemes as I've never considered running subs as I have no reason to in a 2ch set-up.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  15. #15

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    How did I miss the ICBM??? I know it is unbalanced, but I am hoping whatever problem I had with that is gone now! I just found one on the 'gon and snatched it up! I will give it a try as it seems to be exactly what I am looking for. This way I can keep my GFP-750, and add subs when I want to and run straight 2 channel when I want to! Perfect!!!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  16. #16

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    Yep- was just sending you a PM that the ICMB is probably the way you want to go (apart from the unbalanced part). Well-executed bass management is hard to find.

  17. #17

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    Look at the Parasound P7 pre amp. It has bass management.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Look at the Parasound P7 pre amp. It has bass management.
    ^^^^I know it's over your budget and multi ch, but AA has the above factory refurbished for 1500 that will do what you want.

  19. #19

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    I think for now I am just going to use the Outlaw ICBM when I get it. I can run it through the processor loop with a flip of a switch to engage it and run subs. It will maintain the XLR balanced output to my Parasound amp and the subs will run via RCA. This way, it is COMPLETELY out of the loop when I want to run strict 2 channel!!! Flip a switch and I get the extra boom I was looking for, and it maintains the stereo subs. I really think this is the best of all worlds, and I get to keep my GFP-750 in the chain!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  20. #20

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    Well crud.... I just did a little more research and it seems that when using the processor function, the volume and balance controls are bypassed! I thought the processor OUT was variable (Post Volume and Balance), but apparently, for reasons I don't understand, it is fixed. What does this mean for me, it means that when the processor loop is engaged, it runs everything at FULL volume. Now I am trying to figure out how to cable this without introducing a feedback loop and keeping my balanced outputs... I am thinking it is not possible. This is the only config I can think of, but I know it won't work as it will create a loop.

    GFP-750 Main RCA out -> ICBM -> GFP-750 Processor IN

    Parasound would remain on the balanced outs. It may not even allow this.

    I can't wrap my brain around any way that this would work as the full range signal would go out the Main RCA outs and then be fed back in without the lower frequencies. Any ideas, I think I am stuck running everything unbalanced. It should be OK, but it still stinks

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  21. #21

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    OK I need to stop thinking! I did come up with one other solution. I can run the Parasound directly off of the Balanced outputs and then connect the RCA outs to the ICBM. I can turn the subs on and off, but this really isn't any different than just running the subs straight off of those outputs and settings the crossovers on the integrated amps. I still think I am stuck running all unbalanced, but it will work. Any ideas are welcome!

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  22. #22

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    I have one other solution...... It would be adapting a Pro-Audio component for this application.

    The M-Audio SBX Subwoofer has an adjustable cut off, and is made specifically to work with sattelite speakers. You have volume, phase, and cut off frequency control for the sub and your speakers.

    And.... I just happen to have one..... for sale.... and I live in Michigan.... :)

    Downside - controls are on the back, and outputs are XLR. You would need to adapt those for your application. Inputs are 1/4" TRS or XLR.

  23. #23

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    You could do somehting like a Rane ac22 xlr active crossover.

    I have 2 of them in my dj rigs. I have seen a lot of people use them for home also.


    For one of my 2 channel preamps, I am using a McIntosh c-39. It actually is an older HT preamp but, in 2 ch. it does have the option for the sub and a high cut but, it is not adjustable. It is a fixed freq. ( i think it makes a better 2 ch. then a HT pre. Sounds great! )

  24. #24

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    Why not simply just operate the sub from the pre's RCA outputs and it's lowest crossover setting? Ofcourse this would mean no high pass filtering would be applied to the SRS's but it would then be augmenting the very bottom end only.In this way no extra components would be added to the signal path.Some tweaking of level and phase would be in order but it may prove satisfactory.

  25. #25

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    The DriveRack is a Pro Audio speaker controller. It functions as a Parametric & Graphic EQ, Crossover, Sub Synth, and several other functions. It is actually the piece I am trying to get out of my system. Last night I actually did just that. I hooked up the amp via the Main RCA Out 1 and connected my subs to Main RCA out 2. It works, but the mains are getting full signal so there is no crossover on them. I am also relying on the subs built in crossovers.

    What I think the ICBM will provide me is a cross on the main speakers when I want it, exact match on crossover points for each side, and the ability to set the crossover on the L/R channels to Bypass and run the mains full bandwidth and eliminate the subs. I am just hoping that the ICBM doesn't color the sound much if at all as I really like the sound of the GRP-750!

    I will say that I am much happier with the sound of running everything direct from the pre, even on RCAs. The driverack was making it sound too "Sterile."

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Why not simply just operate the sub from the pre's RCA outputs and it's lowest crossover setting? Ofcourse this would mean no high pass filtering would be applied to the SRS's but it would then be augmenting the very bottom end only.In this way no extra components would be added to the signal path.Some tweaking of level and phase would be in order but it may prove satisfactory.
    Hey, maybe I am not as dumb as I look! I was typing my response as you said that! I might end up running exactly that config... It really depends on how much the ICBM colors the sound. I know it is inevitable that is will color the sound, it just depends on how much. From what I understand, it is fairly transparent, but that is subjective. We will see once it arrives. I am going to try it both ways and we will see how it goes.

    I just put my crossovers in the mail to send to Ben, but saw his post that he just lost his house in Georgia, so who knows what the status will be. I am hoping to hear back from him soon. I have had UPS hold the package because I am not sure if he will be there to receive it.

    Don
    Living Room: Adcom GFP-750 (Upgraded), Squeezebox Touch, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Parasound HCA-3500 (Upgraded), SDA SRS 2 P/B (Gimpod, Sonicaps, & Mills)

    Theater: Denon 4311ci, Oppo BDP-93, Parasound HCA-2205+HCA-2200II, Polk LSi9, LSiC, LSiFX, LSi7, Custom 18" TC Sounds sub with 2 18" PR, Sharp XV-Z12000, Pioneer Kuro KRP-500M (isf Enabled)

    Bedroom: HK AVR354, Pioneer DV-47a, Parasound HCA-1500a, Polk LSi9

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