Kain
If I have a budget of $5,000 max for a pre/pro, what would you recommend? I am highly considering the Anthem AVM 60 due to its widely praised EQ (ARC) and overall sound quality. Is ARC better than the other "mainstream" EQs? Most do say so but I would like your opinion as well.

By the way, I also sent you an email.
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Blackdevil77
I'm not Mark, but I have had the DHC-80.3 with XT32 and now have the AVM 60 with ARC. In my opinion, the AVM 60 has a much more natural sound than the DHC-80.3, which sounds very "processed" in comparison. I don't know if that's because of the XT32 or the processor itself. The thing with ARC is it doesn't correct past 5kHz, which is usually fine. I found that I got the best results by only correcting up to the Shroeder frequency in my room. Correcting any higher resulted in things sounding a little bloated and smothering some detail. With that being said, I XT32 boosted the highs significantly with the Cat 12C's. After being accustomed to that sound, the AVM 60 with the Cats sounded "veiled" and slightly muffled in comparison. If the Marantz 8802 corrects the way the DHC-80.3 did, without that "processed" sound it had, then I'd say give that one a shot since it's a solid piece. Otherwise, give the AVM 60 a go and see if you like it. If there's a way you can try it in your system for a week or so to see if you like it, then do that with the AVM60. If you don't like what you hear, then send it back for the 8802. 

That's my opinion. I'm sure Mark will chime in when he sees this. 
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Mark_Seaton
Of the value processors with Atmos, I agree the AVM 60 is a great buy and a solid performer.  For those buying and setting up themselves, it has a higher likelihood of getting great results with the settings in ARC.

The other option would be considering something like the AudioControl or Arcam receivers which include Dirac.  Unfortunately the AudioControl M9 preamp is rather pricey, but the Concert AVR-7 & AVR-9 are in the ballpark of your target with Dirac for all channels.  I'm not as familiar with the Arcam receiver models.  Hopefully at some point we'll see a preamp from Arcam.  I'm not holding my breath on the new Emotiva preamp, and unless you are close by in the US I would recommend letting them get a few in the field for debugging for a few months before buying.
Mark Seaton
Seaton Sound, Inc.
sales@seatonsound.net
773-290-8436
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Kain
Thanks for the replies.

Is another possible option to get a pre/pro that has good DACs and "natural sound quality" and just use enough miniDSPs so I have Dirac Live for all channels?
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Kain
Did some quick research...

Found out the AudioControl Maestro M9 has an Arcam chassis so it is pretty much Arcam.

Secondly, I also found out that Arcam has new pre/pro out called the Arcam AV860 (has Dirac Live) which can be seen here: http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,FMJ,AV-Processor,av860.htm

The Arcam AV860 sells for $5,500 in the US. Seems like a perfect fit.
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Blackdevil77
Kain wrote:
Did some quick research...

Found out the AudioControl Maestro M9 has an Arcam chassis so it is pretty much Arcam.

Secondly, I also found out that Arcam has new pre/pro out called the Arcam AV860 (has Dirac Live) which can be seen here: http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,FMJ,AV-Processor,av860.htm

The Arcam AV860 sells for $5,500 in the US. Seems like a perfect fit.


That would likely be a fantastic piece. I was looking at that prior to its release.
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Kain
It seems the Arcam units have issues with Dirac Live and bass management. Have a look at the following post when I asked if they have any major issues:

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-receivers-amps-processors/2194337-arcam-avr-850-arcam-avr-550-a-44.html#post51426113

Looking at the Acurus ACT 4 now. Seems quite stable but is more expensive and only has PEQ.
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Mark_Seaton
Kain wrote:
It seems the Arcam units have issues with Dirac Live and bass management. Have a look at the following post when I asked if they have any major issues:

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/90-receivers-amps-processors/2194337-arcam-avr-850-arcam-avr-550-a-44.html#post51426113

Looking at the Acurus ACT 4 now. Seems quite stable but is more expensive and only has PEQ.


A little further digging came to this post.  In short, it can work fine so long as you set bass management before running Dirac, as the bass management will be in the loop.  In some ways this is very good, in some ways it could cause problems or require re-running if you change any crossover or delay settings.
Mark Seaton
Seaton Sound, Inc.
sales@seatonsound.net
773-290-8436
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Kain
Mark_Seaton wrote:


A little further digging came to this post.  In short, it can work fine so long as you set bass management before running Dirac, as the bass management will be in the loop.  In some ways this is very good, in some ways it could cause problems or require re-running if you change any crossover or delay settings.


Thanks.

I asked around regarding the Acurus ACT 4 and was told someone recently upgraded from an Arcam processor to the ACT 4 and thought it was a whole new level. An RS20i owner was also blown away by the performance of the ACT 4.

View here: https://www.avforums.com/threads/acurus-act4.1974650/page-3#post-24828052

You can scroll back up from that post to see Neil's answer to some of my questions on the ACT 4. Seems like an excellent unit. It retails for $8,499 in the US. I'll see if I can squeeze this into my budget.

By the way, any update on the email I sent? [comp]

Edit: Seems the user deleted his post? Referring to the link above.
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