Acurus ACT-1 Preamplifiers

Acurus ACT-1 Preamplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

Delay (15 to 40 milliseconds), Test Tones, Mute, Record, Select, Volume (center, rear & overall), Center Mode, Surround Mode, Auto Input Balance

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 14  
[Jun 25, 2018]
Lawry


Strength:

Discrete decoding stage. Very clear and precise especially compared to my much more expensive Acurus ACT-3. Remote is incredibly functional and elegant compared to modern processor remotes. Simple. Slim chassis looks fantastic.

Weakness:

Build quality like most Acurus equipment is mediocre. Doesn't play modern digital surround formats. Expensive, especially the remote which took me a year to find. A bit noisy, but not terrible like the ACT-3.

Price Paid:
$219
Purchased:
Used  
Model Year:
1999
OVERALL
RATING
4
[Nov 14, 2017]
Bud Purvine
AudioPhile

One of the best values in Home Theater. These sold for around $800.00 street price when new. You can find them for under $300.00 on the used market. I have a McIntosh processor that costs around $4000.00 and this little ACT-1 will give you about 95% of the sound quality if you use it in a small to medium sized theater. I use it in conjunction with a 120" front projector and have watched about 50 movies in the last 4 months. It is a little hard to set up, but once you have it dialed in, the sound is breath taking and you can just leave it the way it is.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 14, 2017]
Peter L.
Casual Listener

I bought this off Ebay a few months ago for $160 to replace an Acurus ACT-3 which I didn't like. It was more than I wanted to spend for a Pro-Logic surround processor, but I like the way this old technology sounds. I rediscovered it after hearing it at a friends house last year. There's something special about the sound of simple discrete processing. The ACT-3 also has discrete processing but in comparison sounds closed in and hazy. Interestingly, I bumped into one of the original Acurus engineers at CES and he explained that the ACT-1 outsold the ACT-3 by 4 times. There should be a lot of used ACT-1 processors but they are relatively hard to find especially ones with working remotes. The ACT-3 by comparison is much easier to find on Ebay....I can only guess because of the lower sound quality and not price which appears similar for units in good condition. My only negative comment about is that it does have a slight hum which is also present in the ACT-3. Oh....I lied...it also doesn't decode any of the newish formats so you're stuck with Pro-Logic Surround which is fine by me. Pro-Logic actually sounds pretty amazing on blu-ray

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 21, 2016]
Wiltse C
Audio Enthusiast

I Bought this used on Canuck Audio Mart for $115 in ok condition. It exceeded my expectations. Just wish it had come with a remote. The lack of a display makes it hard to control, but once you have all the settings dialed in. NBD. Highly recommended if you're looking for first rate audiophile sound quality and don't mind the awkward interface. Oh yeah, it was engineered in the late 1990's so none of the new surround formats which don't really sound too good anyway.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 24, 2016]
K. Kennedy
Audio Enthusiast

All I can say is WOW! I picked this up on eBay for $160. I was going to use this for the kids home theater but now it's in my main system. The sound quality is pretty extraordinary for the price. My Emotiva XSP-1 is more user friendly and versatile but at $1,000 that's to be expected. By comparison, the ACT 1 gives up nothing in sound quality. The clarity and build quality is in another class. Why don't they make stuff like this any more??

The only bad thing is that mine didn't come with a remote so I'm using the Redeye universal App on ios. It's a little clunky, but ok. My next purchase will be a matching ACT 1 remote if I can find one for cheap.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 01, 2016]
Ronald A
AudioPhile

I bought this processor for $100 used 6 years ago for a small bedroom home theater. It comes with a very simple but functional remote that's essential for operation. Best value purchase i've ever made. Sound quality is simply amazing. It easily competes with home theater receivers in the $2,000 range. I use an Anthem DV2 processor in my main home theater and while this processor is much more versatile, the ACT 1 has a much quieter background nearly the same sound quality. I liked the ACT-1 so much, I purchased a second Act-1 for my son last year when he went away for college. Unfortunately the price almost doubled and most units don't come with the original remote.

Still, at $200 this is a real sleeper and giant killer in my opinion. The circuit is fully discrete, e.g., no integrated circuits, and can easily be repaired or modified which is an added bonus. Keep in mind this processor is about 20 years old and some used units may need servicing. Also, if you absolutely must have any of the digital decoding formats created in the last 20 years, the Act-1 will be a disappointment. But in my opinion, for a small room, the ACT-1's discrete Pro Logic discrete decoding is much better sounding than modern digital surround decoding formats.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 17, 2002]
John Cusimano
AudioPhile

Strength:

Great surround very good stereo built great almost 3 years I think , and have never had any problems at all.

Weakness:

Stereo and dolby digital and party modes are all I listen to the other modes sound alike and are worthless to me , they all sound like crap. Whats with the white knob ? It looks like the original volume knob broke off and I just stuck whatever I could find on it

I think this is the most pre amp for the money and gives you the best of both worlds. I wanted a pre amp that would still give me good stereo 2 channel and good 5.1 dts surround. It is doin every thing fine. I dont hear nor have I ever heard any hum buzz or noise of any kind. I am running some power threw it front and rear crown macro ref. 760 per chann. and a hafler bridged to mono at 750 for the center my crowns make noise with the cooling fans but Never any noise from the pre amp

Similar Products Used:

None this was my first venture away from 2 chan. stereo

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 07, 1997]
Cotie W. Jones
an Audio Enthusiast

Ancillary Equipment:Marantz CC 43 cd changer, Marantz MA-500 mono amps, Phillips DFA-980 Integrated Amps, Echostar Dish Network Satellite TV, Magnavox HIFI VCR, Magnavox 25" TV, Spica TC-50 front Speakers, B&W DM-601 rear Speakers, M&K VX-7 Subwoofer (Sunfire True Sub is on the way, I can't wait!), Monster Cable Speaker and Audio and Video Interconnect, Straightwire Interconnect (I am going to upgrade to DH Labs Silver Sonic)

I believe in getting the best possible product for the least money. I can say that this product upgraded my system by a couple of orders of magnitude. Previously, my amplification was a 100 wpc Philips DFA 980 integrated amp, a pretty cool consumer grade product with a built in digital to analog converter. I found that the Acurus, controlling two Marantz MA-500's, 125 wpc, is much clearer and cleaner and extended in the highs (sounds less woolly).

I am now using the DFA 980 to drive the rear channels of my surround sound set up, where it works nicely. In surround sound, all of the channels have tremendous dynamic impact, and even my TV's built in speakers, used as center channel are clearer and more dynamic. Even though the ACT-1 is non THX, I get none of the rear "In your head" imaging that I have heard in other systems. Indeed I find the walls just disappear and I hear what sounds like the natural space in the film. The ACT-1 is just as impressive in Bypass mode (normal stereo)

Anyone interested should be aware of several glaring limitations of the ACT-1. It has limited (I think 4), because Acurus doesnt want you to use it as a stand-alone preamp, but rather only as a decoder (they told me this, in so many words on the telephone). I am considering using a switch box to cure the limited inputs.

Also, the ACT-1 is very susceptible to RF noise and line noise. In mute and when it is turned off while the amps are on, it causes the amps to emit a horrible buzz, which sounds like someone is being electrocuted. Use shielded cable and line and RF filters. My remote control is rather quirky as well.

But the payoff is great; to me it sounds like a $3,000 preamp. And that, to me, is what it is all about.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Jun 23, 2001]
David Whiteside
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

As a stereo preamp has clean, detailed sound with good sound stage.

Weakness:

Compared to a tube preamp I have recently switched too, the sound is more cold and seems a little harsh in comparison.

I have never used the ACT 1 for an AV setup but only for stereo. I have a B&K amp with celestion speakers, MIT speaker wire, transparent interconnects, and a velodyne sub. I have been expremely pleased with the ACT 1 in using it as a stereo preamp. The simple or "lean" desogn of the front panel is nice looking but makes changing settings annoying because I have to keep getting the manual out to see what's what. However, that's a pretty minor complaint.

I have never had any problems with hum. I do use a hospital grade power cord, though. I don't know if that makes a difference compared to the experiences of some of the other reviewers. Overall, I think this was a great buy for the money I paid for it.

Similar Products Used:

NAD, B&K

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Dec 21, 1997]
Robert Bolmgren
an Audio Enthusiast

I don't use the ACT-1 as a pre-amp. It is meant to be looped thru yourregular pre in order to keep the music system separate from the home theatre
electronics. If you need more inputs then buy a pre-processor meant for that.
Used as a Pro-Logic processor the ACT-1 sounds good beyond its $899 price
tag. Soundtracks encoded properly have great depth and good separation
of music from dialogue and effects.
It is not harsh and tonally it stands up very well from the bass thru the
treble range.
Downside is "hum"; either from the digital section (my dealers opinion),
or a ground loop. This makes it unsuitable as a line stage(for me).
Also, being always in standby the ACT-1 has audible transformer buzz.
My dealer's ACT-1 was totally free of hum but had the transformer buzz.
Also, the video section is best used only for the menu functions. Of my
two samples: #1. S-VHS section did not work. #2. S-VHS section overloads
easily and causes bad screen "bounce".
My system: CAL transport & DAC; Acurus RL-11 preamp; Acurus A-150 &
Acurus 100x3 amps; ACT-1 processor; Snell CC-1 center channel; Snell Type D
main speakers; Velodyne F-1200 subwoofer and M.I.T. Terminator 2 interconnects
and M.I.T. Terminator 2 Bi-Wire.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 14  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com