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Sending back the Vega and the Project Pre Box

BDWoody

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#1
After deciding that I absolutely needed to have the vastly improved presence, clarity, soundstage, and rainbows and unicorns all my days that comes with a shiny new DAC, I poked around and bought a couple for home review.
15477322643113259913422563236290.jpg
Obviously my 15+ year old Krell Showcase 7.1 DTS, THX ultra certified preamp/processor is living in the dark ages, and won't be able to come close... Right?

Ummm... Wrong...

Couldn't tell a difference between any of them.

Turns out the old Showcase has separate 24/192 Burr Brown DAC's for each channel, and seems to handle what I send from Tidal/Roon perfectly... Meaning, Losslessly... If that's a word.

The showcase actually has a pretty sophisticated digital signal processing section, so you can play with internal notch, high pass, low pass, etc, as well as eq adjustments, although none of that is automated in any way, just a side note.

Anyway, for about $500 or less used these days, I'm wondering if many of these 'older' preamps might be more capable than given credit, for those looking to save a few $$$. I'm not sure what I'm giving up, other than a thinner wallet.

Has the site ever done any testing of 10+ year old gear of high quality to see if we are better off than we were?

Was there some time in the last 10-20 years when a lot of this settled science became unsettled, leading to actual advancements that can actually be heard by humans in their living rooms?

Anyway, I tend to like nicer used stuff... Especially when it's better than what I can find new in the price range.


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RayDunzl

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#2
Was there some time in the last 10-20 years when a lot of this settled science became unsettled, leading to actual advancements that can actually be heard by humans in their living rooms?
Higher sample rates and wider data buses inside the DAC chips is something that comes to mind.

I don't think the science became unsettled, but the implementations took advantage of more precision/capabilities in the silicon.

Whether those engineering improvements make it out to and through the interconnects is another story, and audibility another yet.

---

On a side note, I don't think computers have advanced much since 1984, when the public was suddenly blessed with mice and a GUI.
 
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#3
Thank you BDWoody for posting your thoughts on this. That Krell does look very capable. My problem with a lot of 15+ year old preamps/AVR receivers is that you need to use an On Screen Display to do setup. I am really ignorant when it comes to video and I see no way of using a computer monitor for the OSD and any other screen in the house seems to want HDMI. I've looked for converters with no luck. My mam cave music system is strictly audio but I'd like to have Multi-channel to play SACD.
 

BDWoody

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#4
Higher sample rates and wider data buses inside the DAC chips is something that comes to mind.

I don't think the science became unsettled, but the implementations took advantage of more precision in the silicon.

Whether those engineering improvements make it out to and through the interconnects is another story, and audibility another yet.
That's true, I realize I am giving up direct access to the decoding of sample rates higher than 24/192, and MQA, and I'm sure plenty more. Given the range of very slick software out there (Roon comes to mind, HQPro, HiFiPlayer, etc) that can optimize the stream before it gets to my 24/192 endpoint limitation, so I feel like I can manage that part of it.

I also like the idea that the only cable/connection my analog signal is exposed to is XLR to the amp.

Just wondering if all the newly available audio bandwidth I can't access could actually matter. If it does, I haven't heard it.
 

BDWoody

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#5
Thank you BDWoody for posting your thoughts on this. That Krell does look very capable. My problem with a lot of 15+ year old preamps/AVR receivers is that you need to use an On Screen Display to do setup. I am really ignorant when it comes to video and I see no way of using a computer monitor for the OSD and any other screen in the house seems to want HDMI. I've looked for converters with no luck. My mam cave music system is strictly audio but I'd like to have Multi-channel to play SACD.
This actually was quite a hassle until I worked it out a bit. You can use any monitor that will take a composite input (the single cable usually yellow RCA one...) Like often shows up on the front game input. Wii uses that input. You can also use component in, which is the 3-together cable with RCA's they used before HDMI. You can also use Svideo... All will output the OSD, so most any monitor can be used.

Alternately, my Lexicon DC-1 v4 (THX Ultra, DTS, etc) only uses the device display, so there's no OSD to mess with at all. With the upgrades that went with the v4 it sold originally for $4k. You can find them for $250 or so. Course, it isn't quite as fancy pants as the Krell, without XLR's and lots of preamp features, as it was primarily sold as a high end theater processor rather than a high end sound/theater processor, but I'm sure it is plenty capable of standalone DAC duty, then you can use it as the base of your 7.1 THX Ultra system, because that's really what it is.

The yellow cable on the bottom is for the OSD. Often, the composite input is ONE of the component RCA inputs, as it is here on my TV.

. 15477440362127098548750748095090.jpg .
 
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Sal1950

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#6
Anyway, I tend to like nicer used stuff... Especially when it's better than what I can find new in the price range.
If your using that Krell in a surround video application, the only real reason I can see to upgrade would be to have the ability to decode the modern lossless Dolby True HD 18 Mbps and DTS HD Master 24.5 Mbps formats? Not sure how audible the upgrade would be over the older compressed formats but that's what is being used on all modern discs and no idea how well the older codex deals with them. Beyond that I very much enjoy the new Atmos and DTS X immersive formats, 2 or 4 overhead channels go a long way in really making the room completely disappear. YMMV
Other than that I believe everything in your current processor should be fully transparent to the source and expensive upgrades will offer nothing in the way of veils lifted or blacker blacks. ;)
 

BDWoody

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#7
It's in a 3.1 right now, and for the formats you mention, I would have to go through the Oppo BDP 93, use its 7.1 analog outs into the 7.1 analog in on the showcase. I got them as a package deal on eBay from the original owner for $520.

I do agree that when the time comes for me to create the 'real' theater with Atmos, etc, it's time for another processor... But short of that I think I'm pretty good for $520.






If your using that Krell in a surround video application, the only real reason I can see to upgrade would be to have the ability to decode the modern lossless Dolby True HD 18 Mbps and DTS HD Master 24.5 Mbps formats? Not sure how audible the upgrade would be over the older compressed formats but that's what is being used on all modern discs and no idea how well the older codex deals with them. Beyond that I very much enjoy the new Atmos and DTS X immersive formats, 2 or 4 overhead channels go a long way in really making the room completely disappear. YMMV
Other than that I believe everything in your current processor should be fully transparent to the source and expensive upgrades will offer nothing in the way of veils lifted or blacker blacks. ;)
 

bigx5murf

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#8
I have an older Anthem pre (AVM20), it does have decent 24/96 DACs. Problem is it can't output it's built in DACs into zone 2-3, only zone 1. Analog inputs can output to all zones. So I still use an external DAC for that reason.
 

BDWoody

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#9
That is something the showcase does not have...multi-zone capability. I feed it with the Shield through the TV optical passthrough, which sync's with all the Chromeaudio pucks I've got scattered around, which is my workaround...

It also does not have headphone output.




I have an older Anthem pre (AVM20), it does have decent 24/96 DACs. Problem is it can't output it's built in DACs into zone 2-3, only zone 1. Analog inputs can output to all zones. So I still use an external DAC for that reason.
 

Sal1950

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#10
It's in a 3.1 right now, and for the formats you mention, I would have to go through the Oppo BDP 93, use its 7.1 analog outs into the 7.1 analog in on the showcase. I got them as a package deal on eBay from the original owner for $520.

I do agree that when the time comes for me to create the 'real' theater with Atmos, etc, it's time for another processor... But short of that I think I'm pretty good for $520.
Then stay with what you have, your all set. Use the Oppo configuration you mentioned to playback SACD's, but then I'd really consider adding the two rear channels . Don't know what kind of music you listen to but there's a huge library of Classical music in 5.1 SACD and a smaller offering of rock. IMHO a good 5.1 playback far surpasses stereo for realistic music reproduction.
 

BDWoody

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#11
My current setup is more based on the reality of my room/house, rather than a lack of appreciation for multichannel sound. I had a 5.1 setup as soon as they were feasibly available through cheap AVR's, and have missed those rear channels. I'm moving in a month to a place that is set up great for several separate listening spaces... And I absolutely plan to get the full 7.1 setup going as soon as I get in there. Lord knows I have enough speakers and amps around.

The showcase goes into a Krell KAV250a/3, which gives pretty much effortless power delivery with the listening levels I use and the speakers I currently have or may ever have. Another used market deal compared to a comparable new amp today.

I will definitely check out some multichannel audio once I get set back up. I listen to a lot of 2 channel stereo music, and the last time I tried listening to multichannel, it was through a system that really wasn't capable of rendering anything very well.

I bet well recorded SACD music through the Oppo and a nice 5.1 setup would sound pretty darn good.

I bet badly recorded music would make you want to go screaming into the night...


If your using that Krell in a surround video application, the only real reason I can see to upgrade would be to have the ability to decode the modern lossless Dolby True HD 18 Mbps and DTS HD Master 24.5 Mbps formats? Not sure how audible the upgrade would be over the older compressed formats but that's what is being used on all modern discs and no idea how well the older codex deals with them. Beyond that I very much enjoy the new Atmos and DTS X immersive formats, 2 or 4 overhead channels go a long way in really making the room completely disappear. YMMV
Other than that I believe everything in your current processor should be fully transparent to the source and expensive upgrades will offer nothing in the way of veils lifted or blacker blacks. ;)
Then stay with what you have, your all set. Use the Oppo configuration you mentioned to playback SACD's, but then I'd really consider adding the two rear channels . Don't know what kind of music you listen to but there's a huge library of Classical music in 5.1 SACD and a smaller offering of rock. IMHO a good 5.1 playback far surpasses stereo for realistic music reproduction.
 

bigx5murf

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#12
That is something the showcase does not have...multi-zone capability. I feed it with the Shield through the TV optical passthrough, which sync's with all the Chromeaudio pucks I've got scattered around, which is my workaround...

It also does not have headphone output.
I'm not using the zones for multi room capability, otherwise the CCA would be a nice work around. I'm using the zones to drive more speakers because my speaker collection is ridiculous. This way I can switch between 3 pairs with a remote. My zone3 is actually hooked up to a speaker selector, so I can manually select 4 pairs from that output. So yes, this is a strange convoluted 6 speaker stereo system.
 

bwcgrx

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#13
---

On a side note, I don't think computers have advanced much since 1984, when the public was suddenly blessed with mice and a GUI.

Computers have actually advanced quite a bit under the hood. The mouse and GUI are just for us limited carbon lifeforms. I think its us that have not advanced much. :)
 

bigx5murf

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#14
I'd have to agree, computers have advanced significantly, look at your smartphone. If cars had advanced this much in the same time period... they's shrink down into a pocketable capusle when not in use like in dragon ball.
 

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