EAD TheatreMaster Signature A/V Preamplifier

TheatreMaster Signature

Hi-end Digital Surround Processor

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
bkwong73   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 20, 2006]
Strength:

Beautiful musical presentation.

Weakness:

Company is now defunct, so little to no upgrade path.

Back in 2000, I decided to consolidate my 2channel system and my HomeTheater System into one. And the goal was to find an outstanding Preamp/processor that can be both beautiful with music, and floor me with movies. And with the EAD Theatermaster Signature I was able to accomplish that goal. The 2channel music was 3-Dimensional with a deep and wide soundstage. The sound was smooth and easy to listen to. But I found the best cable matching to be with the Cardas Golden Reference for the interconnects. The silver diamond cut exterior really lends the cosmetics to match it's overall musical and movie presentation. If you are looking for a good combo duty preamp/processor look no further.

Similar Products Used: Denon 5600 receiver, Krell KAV 300i preamp, Bent Audio Passive Preamp. Theta Casa Nova.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Tony Streetman   Audiophile [Jan 11, 2001]
Strength:

Everything except the system software

Weakness:

System software glitches - extreme voltage sensitivity.

This is by far the best sounding surround processor that I have ever owned. I would even put this out as a stereo processor, as the DACs in the unit are absolutely wonderful. This unit has the best separation and space that I have heard in any of my components. I have had the Krell HTS, the Lexicon MC-1 and the Parasound AVC-2500u in my system and the EAD is a better unit by far.... of course it costs more as well, but it IS well worth it. There are some minor problems with the system software, related to voltage irregularities. The problem is not as bad now that I have purchased a Tice Powerblock IIIc Signature and have connected my equipment to it.

Do yourself a favor and buy high-quality cables for your system when you get one of these processors. I am currently using the EAD Powermaster 2000 amplifier with the processor and it is GREAT as well.

My next purchase looks like an EAD Theatervision P.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED COMPONENTS.

Similar Products Used: Krell Home Theater Standard, Lexicon MC-1, Parasound AVC-2500u, Theta Digital CasaNova
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott Wang   Audiophile [Oct 12, 1999]
Strength:

Audio Performance

Weakness:

Software Reliability

Here is my recent experience in upgrading my EAD Signature to the latest and greatest software and features. First a brief history of my Signature saga: the original Signature was bought around 6/98; it had a bad remote and other problems with the unit; it was replaced in 7/98. Since then the unit worked very well. The audio performance is tops and I am a very satisfied customer. I am still amazed at how good the Signature analog sections are when doing an A-B comparison on a given digital source by using its analog output.

A brief highlight of my system: NHT 3.3 front main speakers, NHT AC-2 center, NHT 2.9 rear speakers, LFE fed to a NHT SW3P subwoofer; Parasound 2003A feeding the fronts and Parasound 1500A feeding the rear. NHT 3.3’s are bi-amped using two SA3 subwoofer amps. SONY DVP7700 and SONY DSS A4 as main digital sources. TV is a SONY 61” XBR rear projection set.


Now on the upgrade: I shipped via UPS my Signature on 9/7 and received it back on 10/4 for a total elapsed time of 4 weeks. I dealt with Steve at EAD and it was a good experience. EAD can improve on the time it took to do the upgrade. The new software version is 5.05. New features are Auto Phase and Adjustable Digital Flywheel and support for the new remote (OEM’ed from OneforAll). I purchased the new remote and kept the old one as a spare.


First of all, during the 4 weeks the Signature was in the shop I used my previous processor in the Yamaha 3090 integrated amp. I must say I missed the Signature a lot. It was hard going back to the 3090.


Auto Phase: This feature essentially use the auto setup or auto delay to detect whether your speakers are in phase or not. When I did the initial auto setup I found out all my speakers except the right front main speaker were out of phase (- indicators). I was very surprised with the result since I consider hooking up speakers in phase as “stereo setup101” stuff. Both Video Essentials and Avia Guide to Home Theaters DVDs showed my speakers to be set up correctly (and they sounded right). I experimented with switching the speaker hookup at the amplifier outputs a pair at a time and re-ran the Signature auto-setup. To put a long story short, after I reversed the polarity of ALL of the speaker hook ups the Signature showed proper phasing (with all + indicators). As far as I am concerned my speakers were set up correctly in the first place. I don’t know why the Auto Phase cared about the reversing of polarity.
Verdict: this feature is useless from my standpoint.


Adjustable Digital Flywheel: This feature allows you to set 3 levels of jitter reduction, 1 is the most aggressive and 3 the least aggressive. According to the brief write up on this the level 3 setting is the setting used in all the recent reviews of the EAD TheaterMaster to date. With the setting at 1 and 2 the Signature clicks each time I changed the channel on the SONY DSS A4. It usually clicked more times at setting 1 then 2 when you advance the channel. With the setting at 3 the clicks went away. The SONY DVP 7700 player behaved very well even at setting 1 without any clicks and pops while using the pause, fast forward, etc. EAD made it quite easy to change this level by using F-9-2 to get to the flywheel display and then use F-Enter-1, 2, or 3 to set the level. You can do this at any time at well. Now as far as sonic performance I have to admit I did not hear any difference between setting 1 and 3 listening to a CD on the DVP 7700.
Verdict: this feature is great to reduce the clicks and pops depending on the source material. It is flexible and useful. I will leave the setting at 3 for general use and change to 1 for critical viewing or listening.


The new remote: The new remote works as advertised but frankly I like the old one better (after you get a working one). The old remote feels solid and well built and the soft key layout easy to use. The new one is a typical remote with many many buttons and it feels and looks cheap. I was hoping some of the annoying things such as having to repeat the commands (as though some key presses were not recognized) would go away with the new software and new remote. Well, the new remote also exhibits the same behavior some times. I think the new remote will be the spare…
Verdict: If the old remote works, keep it.



Hope this helps,


Scott Wang

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rob Mackenzie   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 01, 2001]
Strength:

audio performance is definitely its strength

Weakness:

does not have an on screen display which isn't all that bad

This is the best unit I have ever had by far! It does cost a little more but I do not have to purchase another for a while (I hope!). I recently purchased a Tice Power Block III HP series and have had no trouble with the voltage. I would recommend this unit to anyone.

Similar Products Used: Sony e9000es if you call that similar
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott Wang   Audiophile [Aug 28, 2000]
Strength:

Sound. Stereo Audio and multi-channel Home Theater

Weakness:

Occational clicks and pops, though this has improved much with the ability to set the Digital Flywheel

This is a review of the EAD Signature 2K upgrade. First a brief history of my Signature, it was purchased in 6/98 and upgrade in 9/99 with new software, replaced dim display (not the VFD) and the OneForAll remote and now with the 2K upgrade.

A brief highlight of my system: NHT 3.3 front main speakers, NHT AC-2 center, NHT 2.9 rear speakers, LFE fed to a NHT SW3P subwoofer; EAD PowerMaster 2000 amp (20amp option). Speaker cables are Dunlavy DAL Z6’s and Tributaries SCA150 interconnects. The SONY DVP7700 and SONY DSS A4 are the main digital sources. TV is a SONY 61” XBR rear projection set.

Now on the upgrade: I shipped via FedEx my Signature on 7/22 and received it back on 8/16 for a total elapsed time of 3.5 weeks. The new software version is 6.4s. New features are the blue vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) display and the new SRC2000 remote. In addition I also exchanged the ST Glass input on D1 to a regular coaxial digital input. Because I bought the silver color PowerMaster 2000 I exchanged the Signature black faceplate to the silver faceplate. The silver faceplate is gorgeous, I should have ordered the silver right from the beginning. My dealer Bob Avalon at AvalonAV did all the leg work for me and has helped me tremendously throughout the entire sales and support process with both the upgrade and the PM2000 purchase.

VFD display: The new display is great and a definite improvement. It is silent (no more whining) and it stays on all the time. The readability is excellent. It is also very bright. Almost too bright, I actually prefer to turn the brightness to 25% (standby level) at night.

SRC2000 remote: This remote is much better than the OneforAll remote. The Signature manual I got did not include the addendum on the SRC2000. I couldn’t figure out how to turn the back light on until I got the remote manual. The remote set up menu comes up after pressing the menu key for 3 seconds. Aside from the need for the work around to set the Flywheel settings all other functions seem to work fine. Because I am an early user of the Signature I now have all three generation of the EAD remotes. When comparing all three I still have a preference for the original remote layout because everything is visible and you don’t have to change “pages” as you would on the SRC2000. The SRC2000 has more contrast and easier to read however.

The sound quality is first rate paired with the EAD PM2000 compared to the Parasound amps I had. In combination with the new Signature and use of the XLR interconnet to the amp I noticed a definite improvement in clarity and imaging, especially with vocals. The bass is deeper and better defined. I believe the EAD PM2000 power reserve must have contributed here.

The bottom line is that the sound is great, that’s what matters in the end.

Hope this helps,

Scott Wang

Similar Products Used: Yamaha 3090
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Owen Lawlor   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 01, 2000]
Strength:

Incredible sound both analog and digital. DTS. Cool remote and easy setup. Balanced outputs. Looks great

Weakness:

Does not have onscreen display.

Very pleased with this unit overall, tremendous imaging, natural tonal balance, unbelievable A/D conversion. You'd think this was analog all the way in to out. Very musical presentation allows you to listen to unit all day long with no listener fatigue, very dependent upon amplification you mate this to. Worked very well with Rowland 8Ti surround amp. Looks like Rowland too with the machined aluminum faceplate. Listened to everything from Theta and Krell and Meridian before i bought this. Nothing out there was as musical, and the "cool" factor is outstanding. The remote really impresses everyone, and is incredibly convenient. DTS sounds incredible too. Listen to Mickey Hart's DVD in DTS and you'll know what I'm saying. The best I've heard and not anything else is close. Extremely versatile inputs and outputs/configuration/setup/adjustability (crossover etc.)

Similar Products Used: Nothing is similar to this.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Steve T.   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 07, 2002]
Strength:

Everything! Sound is supurb, built like a tank. Looks.

Weakness:

hum. Nothing right now.

System
EAD Theater Master Signature Pre/Pro
EAD Power Master 1000
Cary D-3
Tyler Ref 1 Monitors all around.

The EAD Sigature was the last peice and made the system! The sound is just stunning. I am set for a long time. Or until DVD-A or SACD become more stable. Then the upgrade to 8 channel will be required.

Similar Products Used: Rotel, Deneon
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ed Momkus   Audiophile [Jan 11, 2002]
Strength:

Superb audio; 8 channels; pass-through channels; excellent programmable remote

Weakness:

Balanced outputs only for main speakers;

This is for a Signature 8. My system use is 90% 2-channel audio. This is the first time I have gotten true "high-end" 2-channel sound from an AV preamp. I previously used separate audio and video components. The Signature 8 is incredibly musical with a wide and deep soundstage and lots of "air". very good bass reponse and slam. I previously used the analog output of a Proceed CDP into an Adcom GFP 750 preamp (Stereophile class A)for audio. The Proceed CDP is now only used as a transport into the Signature 8's digital inputs. I have even found that music through a Pioneer DV37 DVD player (used only as a transport)sounds superb. I have also tried the Signature 8's pass-through modes with DVD-A and SACD and it is totally faithfull in passing through the sound. Surround sound is excellent with very good dynamics. The remote is extremely flexible without being too complicated. Break-in takes about 30 hours. Comparable products for audio are much more expensive.

Components used:

B&W Nautilus 802 main speakers
Silver Audio Silver Symphony speaker cables
Mark Levinson 336 amplifier (mains)
Proceed HPA2 (rears)
EAD Theatermaster Signature 8
Transparent Premium digital coaxial cable
Proceed CDP (as transport only)
Pioneer DVP37 (as transport only)
Pioneer plasma video monitor
KEF Center and surround speakers

Similar Products Used: Adcom; Carver
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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