Theta Digital Casablanca II A/V Preamplifier

5/5 (6 Reviews) MSRP : $6000.00


Product Description

Music and Cinema Controller/preamp between $6000-$17000 depending on configuration


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Reviews 1 - 5 (6 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by KEN MCGLOWN a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2003

Bottom Line:   
NO TIME TO WRITE A LONG DISSERTATION ABOUT THIS MASTERPIECE. SO, I'LL BE BRIEF. I'M NOT THAT HARD TO PLEASE WHEN IT COMES TO MOVIE PROCESSING. THIS THING DOES THAT OUTSTANDINGLY. BUT, WHAT "BLOWS ME AWAY!!", IS WHAT AN EXCELLENT ANALOG PRE-AMP THE CASABLANCA II IS FOR 2-CHANNEL MUSIC THROUGH THE ANALOG DIRECT MODE. NO NEED FOR A DEDICATED 2-CHANNEL PRE-AMP FOR AUDIOPHILE QUALITY 2-CHANNEL MUSIC IN YOUR HOME THEATER SYSTEM WITH THIS BABY.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $6700.00

Purchased At:   FRIEND



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by IN2MUSIK a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 2, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Got this baby dirt cheap, but I would have paid full price if I had to.
I can't say more about the C2's performance.
I had a DVD playing out of this thing in 15 mins.
No I didn't have all the crossovers set, nor did I calibrate it with an spl meter, however I just thought I would mention that since everybody is always commenting on how diffucult it is to setup.
Options , if you can think it , it can do it!
Build quality ,sound quality, and upgradability,
What more can a pro installer ask for? I went through 3 receivers, and 3 proccessors before realizing that the C2 is the one and only!
WARNING, if you listen to the C2 paired with the Dreadnaught and Vandersteens, you better be prepaired to spend some money!!!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by aatish a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 20, 2001

Bottom Line:   
well my unit is original casablanca 2 and not an upgrade from 1, although i am not really sure if there is any difference between C2 and an upgraded C2....the unit comes configured with all the standard features + dts/dd + superior 24/96 superior DA for front and balanced DAC for surrounds and sub....additionally i am running it with theta david transport, krell fpb600 power amp for the fronts and brystons for other channels - sub is sunfire and cables are essentially cardas golden cross, hexlink etc.

this is one hell of a unit - it is great as a preamp and it truly rocks in surround modes - doesn't come with any of those useless cathedral or stadium surround mode thank god...this is audiophile processor which will put you right in the middle of a movie scene (not in the middle of a theatre even)...the 'ambiance sounds' sound like you are there in the thick of it - it is terrifyingly real - luckily i am not into those horror flicks....

to top it all it is stunning to look at (mine is silver), and the blue display is awesome - does run warm to hot like the other reviewer said....and comes from the house of theta - their service i must say is par excellence...buy this loaded with superior dac's - they comes so close to theta's gen5a - its scarry...besides if you are shelling out this much - the superior dac's are worth their weight in gold - so do not hesitate or try to save a few bucks.

i am still playing with the gezzillion settings - be prepared, it will take a long time to have this set up right - try and get the dealer to help set this ... or you will regret it.....playing iwth settings is hard work but fun.....finally, the manual is fairly elaborate with over 100 pages of instructions and daunting to say the least.
you have been warned :o)

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Purchased At:   local theta digital dealer



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eric Stieg a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 11, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is the second time I've had a Casablanca II. Initially, I owned a CI, sold it, bought a new CII, sold it, and just recently realized that this tour-de-force is the piece to own, so I forked out the mega-bucks one last time to own it.

I have it paired with the Dreadnaught, the Ayre DVD Player, Faroudja NR series, 61" NEC Plasma, and a dwin DLP/screen.
Speakers include the Aerial 10T's, Aerial CC5, and 4 surround speakers.

My configuration is different in this CII than the last, and I'll speak to the differences in a minute. The current unit is configured as follows:

Superior DAC's for l/c/r/surrounds and sub, with an additional standard balanced card for side speakers and center surround.

That being said, this is an incredible processor, period. The bass impact is the best I've ever heard (which includes alot of systems). We were watching unbreakable last night, and the part in the beginning, just before the train crash, there was a low rumble that my wife and I looked at eachother and thought it was the beginning of an earthquake (really!). The bass was incredible. The type you couldn't really "hear," but could feel - it rattled our couch!

Excellent sound quality on 2 channel music. The unit doesn't "upsample" like other company's tout, but reality dictates the sample rates are changed, and "true" upsampling doesn't occur in these competitive units.

This unit, with the crossover functionality, center surround capability, and overall ease of use is down right terrific.
I have the center surround out split for 2 speakers, and I like it quite a bit! This unit is so quiet during silent portions of movies, when the "boom" hits, it's down right breath-taking.

The only gripe I have is the unit runs very, very hot. I came home yesterday for lunch, and thought there was something wrong with the unit, because it had been off all night, and the thing was hot to the touch. I suggest a whisper fan and plenty of ventilation for this unit.

Initially, my first CII did not have superior dac's in the rear three channels (surrounds and sub) but you can hear a difference moreso in the superior dac with the sub than the ambient information going to the surrounds. The bass is just incredible. I was never a bass kind of guy, but wow, this is great!

Supposedly, you don't need circle surround option to retrieve the back center surround information - which seems odd to me.

I had a lexicon MC-1 with EX, with the full configuration, and the theta sounds so much better it's ridiculous. (On a side note, I'm THX certified, so I am aware of the proper speaker configuration of an EX system, and the system was nice, but the Theta just blows it away...)

I got a great deal - roughly $8K for the unit, so if you guys want more info or a referral to get the same deal, let me know - I'll be happy to help my fellow HT and hi-end compadres..

This unit will make the angels in heaven sing (maybe that's why Theta's logo has angel wings???)

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $7600.00

Purchased At:   email me for details



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Bob Aidun a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2001

Bottom Line:   
The original Casablanca that I purchased was truly outstanding. Absolutely the best sound I've heard when connecting digital sources directly (CD, DVD, etc.) It even has an analog passthru mode to avoid the A/D/A roundtrip. Infinitely flexible configuration of speakers, crossover frequencies, number of channels, etc. Compared to the other products I have used, the Theta's sound is far more smooth and analog-like. No harshness or any characteristic that makes your ears feel tired after a period of listening. My casablanca had a problem where the unit would emit a shrill noise when auto-switching into Dolby Digital or DTS modes.
I recently upgraded to the Casablanca II. This sounds even better. I think their Jitter-Jail adds a tremendous benefit as does the 24-bit 96 KHz DACs. The casablanca II got rid of the shrill noise when the unit would switch into DD or DTS modes. During the upgrade from Casablanca to Casablanca II status, I received the unit back and Theta had just forgotten to install one of the upgrades (the display) even though I had paid the local dealer and the local dealer had ordered the specific upgrade from Theta. Also, when I received the unit back, all the screws on one side of the chassis were only half way screwed in. It doesn't leave me with a warm fuzzy at all (what else could they have forgotten to do?)
It is expensive, but I don't think there is anything better out there and the upgradability makes it very nice. I've decided not to penalize the product's overall rating due to Theta's lack of quality control during my upgrade procedure since that doesn't affect the units sound or performance.
I use my unit with a Theta Dreadnaught AMP (3x200W and 1 100Wx2 channel, leaves one free slot)and B&W Nautilus 801 speakers.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $8000.00

Purchased At:   Cherry Creek Audio




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