Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

Home Processors

Processors

Marantz AV8801 11.2 Surround Sound Processor (SSP)

Marantz AV8801 ProcessorWhile Marantz was showing off their new AV7701 preamplifier at CEDIA 2012 last September, there were already quiet rumors at the show that something else was in the works. I remember being at the show wondering why Marantz wasn't showing any products with the latest Audyssey room correction while their partners over at Denon were offering new products with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 functionality. Just two months later, Marantz put the rumors to rest by officially announcing the AV8801 AV preamplifier/processor. The AV8801 features support for 11.2 channels and includes the latest Audyssey MultEQ XT32 processing. The AV8801 enters the market at a price point which is still well below the premium processors on the market while offering a wide array of functionality. Let's take a closer look at the features of the AV8801 and see how well Marantz's flagship processor performs.

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Marantz AV7701 7.2 A/V Preamp/Processor

Marantz AV7701

Marantz came out with their AV7005 processor a few years ago, which contains almost all of the high-end processing and features that people wanted, but at a lower price-point than almost any processor out there. Now Marantz has some back with the AV7701, a replacement for the AV7005 that brings it up to date with the modern streaming functions of current receivers and processors, and adds a few nice other touches as well while keeping that aggressive price-point. Has this update let Marantz keep this little niche to themselves again? I swapped the AV7701 in for my AV7005 to see if I could tell a difference between the two.

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NAD T 187 7.1 A/V Processor & T 975 Seven-Channel Power Amplifier

NAD T 187 Surround Processor & T 975 7-channel Power Amplifier

NAD, which stands for New Acoustic Dimension, was founded in 1972 with one simple goal: to reproduce sound as faithfully as possible. Eschewing bells and whistles, NAD products are all about simplicity, value and performance. From their earliest components, like the legendary 3020 integrated amplifier, to today’s multi-channel amps and preamps, they have never wavered from this mantra. Here, we review separates: the NAD T 187 7.1 A/V SSP and the T 975 seven-channel power amplifier.

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Classe SSP-800 Surround Sound Processor

Classe SSP-800Classé is considered one of the finest audio product manufacturers in North America. They market preamplifiers, power amplifiers, and surround sound processors (SSPs). The SSP-800 is their current processor. It's been around for awhile, and they have no plans to replace it with a new model in the near future, but there have been some firmware updates along the way. So, I decided that Secrets should have a look and listen to what I was sure would be a fine product. Was I right?

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McIntosh MX150 7.1 A/V Surround Sound Processor (SSP)

McIntosh MX150 A/V Processor

McIntosh Laboratory is well known for producing some of the finest quality luxury audio components on the market. I've always been a fan of McIntosh products and I enjoyed visiting the McIntosh suite at CES 2011 this past January. I was intrigued by the MX150 A/V Control Center, which is McIntosh's take on the ultimate home theater processor (SSP). I asked for a review sample, and a few months later couldn't believe that I actually had an MX150 on my front porch.

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