Proceed PAV PDSD A/V Preamplifier

PAV PDSD

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
windman   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 09, 2008]
Strength:

It’s basically Mark Levinson build and sound quality without the Mark Levinson pricing.

Weakness:

Funky ergonomics.

If you are reading up on a Proceed PAV these days it will be likely as strictly a 2 channel pre-amplifier given that the onboard Dolby Pro-Logic processing abilities serves about as much value as having a spare 1982 Chrysler Cordoba kicking around in the garage for fun. More to the point if you are NOT looking at a Proceed PAV as a 2 channel pre-amplifier than you should be. Why ? Because the Proceed PAV was basically an off the shelf $ 2K Mark Levinson #38 pre-amplifier with a $ 2400 processor added on inside of new sheet metal with the Proceed name on it all.

That is correct; with a $ 4,400 original list price; (not counting the PDSD add-on that pushed the total price up to close to $ 10K) the Proceed PAV represented pretty much the absolute cutting edge, state of the art in Home Theatre of the mid 90’s. Most every H/T magazine editor used at least one Proceed component (or more) in their reference systems and most insiders to this very day realize this is about as close as you can get to Mark Levinson sound and build quality without the Mark Levinson prices.

In short the PAV is a steal; it has incredible 2 channel performance for what it is. Even Stereophile magazine compared the 2 channel performance of the PAV to a $6K Jeff Rowland pre-amp in the day and that is really saying something. It’s that good. I won’t get into the sound quality other than to say you simply have to hear one. It also has 2 sets of balanced inputs and a full set of balanced outputs on top of the standard RCA’s…..You just cannot beat that kind of value and flexibility.

For under $ 1K (what these Proceed’s typically sell for) you will be hard pressed to find better value.

Customer Service

Dead. Bought out by Harman International, but a pretty good product dowload site at least.

Similar Products Used: Levinson, Rega, Krell, H/K, Pass, Threshold, Wadia, Theta
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
fde   AudioPhile [Oct 28, 2008]
Strength:

much option, to enter and symmetrical output, ergonomics

very good preamplifier in stereo mode, very soft sound and detail, very good stereophony effect, sound opened,

Similar Products Used: mark levinson,krell,yba,densen,rotel,nuforce,accuphase,harman ,mc intosh,marantz,proceed amp,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
kenneth   AudioPhile [Oct 23, 2002]
Strength:

control the woofer and sound quality

Weakness:

j45 cable

I bought this unit and I am quite pleased with it and testing against other models in the past . lexicon,krell,marantz I found were very tough to sort out because of the fine feature that inexpensive unit did not have as upgradeablity and download software into the unit. I found the sound is awesome if you put the right cable like Synergistic research for alpha sterling series just does it wonders very detailed and depth is realistic not faded.THe subwoofer has omproved 10x over than old unit I had. I bought a rotel 5 channel amp 100watt per channel does it good but does not have XLR input that I really want to open the soundstage and better detailing in sound effects .I would like to buy proceed HPA-3 amp & HPA-2 for my pav-psd units then I could bow myself away by the fanastic quality of sound. I wish when they say digital cable the would put in connector that a 36 pin not single ended or j45 phone line crap.

Similar Products Used: lexicon,krell,marantz
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
John Fein   Audiophile [Jan 15, 2002]
Strength:

Absolutely fantastic sound and functionality/ build quality

Weakness:

upgrades have been abandoned

I purchased my PSV/DSD about two years ago with the guarantee that it was state-of-the art and would remain that way for the forseeable future. I was shocked when I e-mailed Madrigal to find out when all the fantastic upgrades
now becoming available for the AVP would be available for the PAV. I was told that no more upgrades would be available to the PAV/DSD platform after the latest software upgrade, to enable a link between the PMDT and the PAV, was released in the near future. Sorry, it's too old and costly to continue upgrading. This isn't what I was told when I was shopping for a new system. I was told it was "FUTURE-PROOF", along with a lot of other promises of longevity. How could this be. If they could upgrade the AVP, which was supposed to be less upgradeable due to hardware restraints, (the PAV has removable hardware drawers designed to make hardware upgrades simple, the AVP does not)I do not understand why they can't upgrade the PAV/DSD, which is also supposed to have much more and better quality processing. I would have bought the AVP for thousands less if I had known that then. I had already traded one expensive Dolby Digital reciever that was only a year old for the latest model because of the new formats that seemed to be endless. Within a year, I found there were more exciting formats available and decided to invest in the "Future-Proof" idea. The Pav/DSD seemed to be the perfect answer to my deams (aside from the price). Up until yesterday (1/14/02) I was quite pleased with my decision and very proud of my Pav.I can't complain about it's quality and above-all sound,it's still quite a fantastic piece of equipment, It's hard for me to talk negatively about it. I am having a difficult time dealing with the fact that the main reason I bought the system in the first place was because of the advertised upgradeability well into the future. With all the new formats becoming available, I had been looking forward to new and better things on the horizon.I had hoped the future would have lasted more than two years.

Similar Products Used: nothing of this calibre
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
1
CB   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 22, 1999]
Strength:

Great combination of analog and digital components. A great musical piece that has the ability for future expansion.

Weakness:

Expensive

I don't understand the complaints of the last poster (Paul). Harmon International actually bought the majority of stock in Madrigal in 1993 and purchased the rest in 1995...This occured before you even bought your PAV. The PAV has never been billed as an expansion (Card cage) based product. They always said that a digital piece would be available that would interface with the PAV (PDSD). The PAV is a completely analog, in order to keep the PAV's strong analog properties, they always planned on adding an outboard digital box. I don't know what your problem is with H/K, but they owned this company well in advance of your purchase. It sounds like you should've done a little more investigation before you made your purchase. Either buy the PDSD...which is further upgradeable, or sell the PAV and get the AVP, which has great atrributes of both at a reasonable price. Madrigal never made any claims that the PAV would be upgradeable in a modular fashion.

Similar Products Used: Proceed AVP, Citation 7.0. Lexicon.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Austin   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 01, 2000]

The PAV/PDSD is an incredible setup for home theater. I have not heard many of the other processors out there, so I cannot really say it is the best. However, have a few concerns about the design of this package. I understand why the PAV was analog, and why the PDSD was designed to work with the PAV as one unit. Although I think there should have been a stand alone PDSD that had all the capability of the PAV. It seems in efficient to have two units. Especially when you consider that an entire set of interconnects must be purchased to connect the analog pas through. Also using two boxes to hold the electronics obviously costs more than if it was integrated into one box. As well as the fact the PAV is many years older then the PDSD. Don't get me wrong, in a no holds bared system this is probably the way to go. I bet out of the other processors this on will have the best Dolby pro logic recording as well as the best analog stereo pre amp. Another reason the PDSD access in my mind is that it has balanced outputs for all channels. None of the lexicon decoders seem to have this. It also has a balanced digital input. With the proceed DVD player this option is provides a digital connection better then any that the lexicon processors provide. The PAV/PDSD is phast compatible. The same goes for most proceed, and mark levinson hardware. As far as I can tell none of the lexicons are phast compatible. As I see it the krell processor is the only other pre-amp that has these options. The lack of information on krell product both on the krell site, and the Internet as a hole has precluded me from making a full comparison. It seems to me the PAV/PDSD could be more competitive if they had made a single unit. The PDSD should have been made in its current form so that PAV owners have a path to upgrade. I still think this is the best processor/pre-amp available. One option I am not clear about is the ability to add a second set of surround channels. With a 5.1 channel source are they just duplicate surround channel outputs, or are there synthesized 6 and 7th channels? I would like to hear what owners have to say about what I have posted. I can be E-Mailed at spacewars@yahoo.com.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Nicholas D.   an Audio Enthusiast [Apr 02, 1998]

I frown on the strictly "preamplifier" category offered on this site, becasue so many of us are mixing high-end audio with high-end home theater, and products like the Proceed PAV/PDSD, Theta Casablanca, etc.--products that strive to function in both realms--get short shrift. In any case, my system is just that: a combination audio/video system, with a strong leaning toward audio. Simply because my preamp/processor can do more than simply deliver two channel stereo should not exclude it from comment on this site.
Which brings me to the Proceed PAV/PDSD. I purchased this when I had the Definitve Technology BP2000 array of speakers, driven by a Krell KAV-500 multichannel amp. I now have the Aerial Acoustic 10t array of speakers (alas! my center channel speaker has blown! Already sent back to Aerial) and I've added the Krell KAV250A for the two front mains. I have two bridged channels of the KAV500 driving the Aerial Center (once it gets back), with one channel each of the KAV500 driving each of the rears. My reference cd player is the Sony XA7ES.

Now, so many have written of the superior quality of the Sony cd player. And it truly delivers. But a great sign of the quality of the Proceed is by making instantaneous comparisons between the sound of the Sony when using its own high-quality d/a conversion, or by using the digital output to the Proceed. The difference is striking. The Proceed offers a cleaner sound, more detailed, and far more dynamic. This is true when it's played in normal stereo mode, or when it's played in Proceed's attractive (but simple) stereo surround mode.

The Proceed likewise offers great sound on other digital sources, such as DVD or LD. For those who have not yet heard the DELOS DVD of the 1812 overture, I can only comment that this is the future of electronically reproduced music. DVD audio, as exemplified by the DELOS selection, is greatly superior to conventional cd players, and I am excited about the prospect of future selections in this mode. I must say, however, that I can't impart the same enthusiasm to the limited collection of DTS cds I have. Perhaps it's the mixing of the production itself, but these sound artificial and "gimmicky" as opposed to the enveloping sound of the DELOS DVD audio. While DTS sounds great on soundtracks, I simply haven't heard any selections that yet compare, purely music that is.

In any case, the Proceed PAV/PDSD combo is just as good as you can hope for it to be. I'm convinced that it's not merely the best surround sound processor available today (and its software-downloadability for future mode upgrades is simply tremendous), it's an audiophile-caliber preamp as well. Interestingly, while I like my Aerial Acoustics, and am still getting to know them, It's the Proceed and the Krell that have made the biggest sonic differences in my system. The Proceed is so versatile and user-friendly, as well as great sounding, that I don't see how you could hope for much more.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Paul Lewis   Audiophile [Oct 21, 1999]
Strength:

Excellent system when you need both a high quality audio system and HT

Weakness:

Upgrading is a joke (see below)

I have had my PAV for 4 years and have loved the flexibility and versatility that it has provided.

The value to me has been very high and I rated it at a "5" until Harmon Kardon bought them out and ruined a 4 year love affair with my PAV.

I was told that the unit could be upgraded with add-on cards (ie. a computer) thereby allowing me to upgrade to new technology (digital standards). Each of the upgrade cards was estimated to be in the hundreds of dollars range... well now I sit here with a different story.

Harmon Kardon purchased the company and now their solution for me is to pay another $4000.00 dollars to add digital processing to the PAV. The $4k price does not include the KY jelly... by the way! No way in hell am I going to do this even though I truly love the PAV. I now am involved in a painfull search to find a replacement for the PAV.

I will not keep this unit nor will I ever purchase another thing from Harmon Kardon again. (I even traded a HK citation 21 amp out of my son's Stereo as not to own it)

I find it difficult to find a system that is both great HT and "musical". You can find each individually, but a mixed system is truly tough.

Similar Products Used: Onkyo, Yamaha, Rotel
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
2
Edward Grzedzinski   an Audio Enthusiast [Nov 12, 1997]

I have had my PAV for about 18 months and just added the companion PDSD (digital surround decoder with Dolby Digital 5.1 capability). I already loved the PAV and was a bit reluctant to shell out the $4,000+ for the PDSD but, in a word, it is fabulous! The PAV/PDSD combo does double-duty as my home theatre and audio control center and it does extremely well with Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital (i.e., video) material. I was slightly disappointed in the PDSD as an outboard DAC for my CD transport, so I have decided to keep the outboard DAC I already had (a Proceed DAP) in the system for CD only.
The PAV/PDSD combination is (at least in my opinion) more than a bit pricey (not even considering the cost of high-grade interconnects to connect the units!), but the results are truly high end home theatre, and an extremely nice job on audio-only pre-amplification.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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