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Aragon Soundstage History and Overview


The Soundstage

The Soundstage represents the pinnacle of Aragon's success at producing a sophisticated digital preamp processor capable of decoding Dolby Prologic, Dolby Digital and DTS, while at the same time serving as a top quality audiophile preamp. The Soundstage's open architecture allows for future hardware and firmware upgrades. The preamp is driven with Class A circuitry for maximum linearity, and furnished with 24 bit premium Crystal DAC's on all channels for the best possible digital sound resolution.

The initial Soundstage sent to us by Aragon was a pre production unit with outdated firmware plagued with a few operational bugs (IE. Sub out gain level set too low, unit locks up when certain sequences of buttons pressed on the remote). However, Aragon sent us a brand new unit within a few weeks with all the bugs fixed.

One Smooth Operator

The Soundstage is the first preamp/processor that I have come across that is as intuitive to operate as an ordinary 2-channel preamp. I didn't get much use out of the operators manual as I found little trouble navigating my way through the remote and front panel display. I was a bit disappointed at first to discover that the Soundstage did not support an On Screen Display (OSD). However, it soon became a moot point once I realized how easy it was to set the unit up. Aragon is committed to preserving signal quality for audio and video, and they feel offering an OSD has the potential to degrade video quality. I am not sure if I share this viewpoint with them, but the Soundstage functions fine without an OSD nonetheless.

The Soundstage allows the user to independently customize speaker levels and bass management settings for Stereo and Multi-Channel modes. This is particularly useful as in many cases I prefer to crossover my sub lower when listening to two-channel music. One intelligent feature Aragon added to the Soundstage is the master volume level last memory settings are retained for each input mode. Speaking of intelligent features, one I really enjoy about this unit is the ergonomics of the remote control with respect to volume level settings for each channel. On the center of the remote lies a circular button configuration with a layout much like a typical 5.1 channel speaker set-up.

All you have to do is simply press the button on the remote corresponding to the positioned loudspeaker you wish to change to volume of and then press up or down.

The Soundstage can fully "Auto" detect signals like no other processor I have found capable of doing. When the unit is configured for "Auto", it will automatically select the proper source being transmitted (IE. PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS). Many other processors can do this, but remain in DTS mode after a DTS CD played is finished and the CD/DVD changer selects a normal CD for playback, forcing the user to reselect the input to unlock the unit.


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