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Theta Upgrades Preamp, Amp

AGOURA HILLS, CALIF. -A trio of audio products introduced by Theta Digital includes The Casablanca II Music and Cinema Controller, a modular and upgradable preamp/processor that retails for $6,000 to $17,000 depending on configuration.

Enhancements over the current model include compatibility with Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES Matrix soundtracks, 24/96 DACs on nine channels (soon to be 12 as a running change), and up to 12-channel output (including up to five subs) compared to the original’s nine channels.

Other enhancements include greater crossover-parameter flexibility to tailor the preamp’s output to a particular room and the speakers used.

In its standard configuration, it decodes Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks and includes Theta Center Surround processing to deliver a matrixed rear-center channel from Dolby Digital 6.1 and DTS ES Matrix 6.1 soundtracks. Circle Surround is an option that delivers a 5.1- or 7.1-channel soundfield from two-channel or Pro Logic sources.

The company said it might make an upgrade available to deliver compatibility with DTS EX Discrete.

Downstream, the company has added additional flexibility to its modular Dreadnaught amplifier by offering two-channel modules to complement existing one-channel modules.

The Dreadnaught accepts up to five two-channel amp modules or up to five single-channel modules.

The two-channel modules are rated at 2 x 100 watts into 8 ohms. The single-channel modules deliver 200 watts into 8 ohms. A 10-channel Dreadnaught would retail for about $7,000. With five single-channel modules, it would retail for about $6,000. The single- and two-channel modules can also be mixed and matched.

The company also launched its $3,500 Intrepid amp delivering 5 x 100 watts into 8 ohms.

The introductions follow the launch of the Carmen DVD/CD transport at a suggested $3,000. It joins the company’s David II transport at a suggested $5,000. Both play CD-R and CD-RW discs. As a transport, its audio outputs are digital, but its video outputs are analog.