Okay folks, the speaker taps are here (thanks Ron!) and I have done my first comparison: My old Sony STR-DE945 HT receiver vs. my old Adcom GFP-555 pre-amp, both fed analog out of my old Carver tube CD changer. Receiver signal out via taps to stock Audeze balanced cable with 4-pin XLR. Pre-amp signal out via headphone jack to standard Audeze single-ended cable. We'll call it "The Old Leftovers Comparo". Except that there is no comparison. The Sony sounds like crap. Not Schiit, though I really don't know what that sounds like, yet. But I do know the Sony sounds like crap.
All of the realism, timbre, lushness, accuracy that the LCD-3s have to offer... gone with the Sony HT receiver. Low end sounds like mud, high end sounds harsh and thin. But the mids aren't totally awful. Just not nearly as good as what I'm hearing from the Adcom. Note that I only made it through 2 Sonia Dada songs before I gave up on the Sony, and I'll probably try a few more things, but there's no sense wasting my time on that option. The Sony can go back to its dusty corner again... The Adcom has now vanquished the Sony and the Burson HA-160 (last summer). Now I'm starting to wonder how good this old pre-amp really is.
I won't find out for a while: the new contenders won't be here for another 10 days or so, since I really won't have time to do a fair comparison until then. But it only took a few minutes to set the Sony up, and I figured I'd try it.
Stay tuned for more exciting action...