Halcro SSP220 AV Preamplifier Reviewed

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halcro_ssp220.jpgThe SSP220 is Halcro's newest iteration of their surround sound processor. Halcro surround sound processors have quickly built a reputation for their ability to compete with anything on the market in terms of sound quality. This latest version, the SSP220 ($11,990), incorporates all of the latest firmware updates of its predecessor, the SSP200, and makes some hardware changes, primarily to increase the physical strength of the unit.

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The Halcro SSP220 is a capable performer. The included features have been carefully chosen. Audio features include multi-channel linear PCM, 7.1 channels with both balanced and unbalanced inputs/outputs, auxiliary channel outputs, dual zone, advanced bass management, THX and adjustable lip-synch. On the video side of things are Oplus video processing, 1080P, 24fps capability, the ability to pass below black test signals, analog to digital conversion, scaling, de-interlacing and component bypass. Additionally, the attractive industrial design includes a front panel display above a drop-down door that hides an input and the microphone connection. The microphone is used to set speaker distance and level but any form of room correction is notably absent. Ten pairs of analog inputs, four HDMI, four component video, four coaxial digital and two optical digital inputs, among many other connections, help ensure that the SSP can handle even the most complex systems.

The sound quality of the SSP is absolutely outstanding on both surround music and movies. The auxiliary channels and advanced bass management let me tailor the sound processing to fit a variety of speaker systems. Uncompressed audio from Blu-ray or HD DVD via HDMI was a revelation and, in many instances, much superior to the traditional DTS or Dolby codecs. The video conversion is now extremely clean and the video processing has gotten much better in the latest units, but I still prefer the Gennum 9351 in my projector.

Read about the high points and low points of the SSP220 on Page 2.

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