Disappointing Sherbourn PT-7030 Home Theater Preamp Processor

Sherbourn PT-7030 Preamp/Processor

Sherbourn PT-7030 Preamp/Processor

I recently had the opportunity to work on a Sherbourn preamp processor in a large home theater installation. I was very disappointed with many of the adjustments found in this product. While on the surface this is a very fine unit with many inputs and outputs it has several limitations that I find to be very significant.

The first and most significant is with the parametric equalization in this product. While it is available for all speakers and the subwoofer it does not cover all frequencies. I found that you cannot input any equalization band around 500Hz for example. While it has 10 bands for each of the main channels they are limited to a rather narrow frequency range and have gaps where no equalization is possible. The Q (bandwidth) setting is also limited to step sizes of 1 which is rather course.

The second biggest problem I found with this unit is the limited audio processing modes available. These include Dolby PLIIx, Dolby Digital, DTS, Stereo and Multi-Channel PCM. The only two modes available to matrix rear channels are Dolby PLIIx and DTS Neo6. These two modes are shown as music only which would also be a mistake, but they appeared to actually be movie versions of these processing modes which is a better option. It would be nice to have the movie and music modes of these along with Dolby EX processing.

The third problem with this processor is the granularity of the channel level and parametric equalization level controls. These are limited to 1db instead of 0.5db as found in almost all products today. It would be nice if you could get things a little closer with finer level adjustments.

All-in-all I cannot recommend this product. I would choose an Emotiva UMC-200 or Marantz preamp processor over this unit unless they correct these problems in the future.

W. Jeff Meier

ISF and THX Certified Home Theater Consultant

Home Automation Calgary

Thanks for sharing this helpful review here with us about this new product. I was just about to buy this product but now I will think twice.


The Sherbourn is basic, and does have limitations, not doubt, but at the current price ($699) it is hard to pass up. I had an older Marantz and went UMC-200. Now I have just gone for the PT-7030 to replace the (broken) UMC-200. In my room, with my setup, the way I have/had them configured the 7030 is hands down, better for music and leaves the UMC for dead with movies.

By the way, I am not sure if it is a firmware update since you wrote this, or you didn’t manage to find the way to change it (I stumbled onto it) but it has both cinema and music modes.

W. Jeff Meier

I would have to say my experience differs. I have worked with many UMC-200 installations and they are all better than the Sherbourn. I find almost no one gets their gear setup correctly. I suspect you never heard what the UMC-200 could do.


I just got done reading this review and I find it to be such a garbage review. I own this product and I have had many Pre-Pros. The sound quality of this unit is right up there with SimAudio in 2 channel audio I should know I own this product too! My next thing I have to laugh at is the parametric eq. The parametric eq is much different than a standard eq it is a much tighter freq. range designed for more custom installations. And for the different sound fields maybe reading the manual would help since it has plenty but not a bunch junk that no one ever uses. Theis u it has balances in and all balanced out. Sure it doesn’t have all the whistle and bells but it excellent sounding unit and provide a good foundation for excellent audio system

W. Jeff Meier

I am glad you are happy with this unit. I have worked on many that are better.

Here is a link to client reviews from many that agree with my results. https://www.accucalav.com/reviews/

Here is a partial list of the equipment I have considerable experience with.

Speakers: Acapella, Acoustech, ADS, Aerial Acoustics, Angstrom Loudspeakers, Artcoustic, Artison, Ascend, ATC, Atlantic Technology, Axiom, BG Corp, B&W, Bose, Boston Acoustics, Braun, Canton, Crystal Audio, Dali, Danley, DCM, Definitive Technology, Dunlevy, Dynaudio, Eben, era, EMP Tek, Energy, Focal, Gedlee, Genesis, Genelec, GoldenEar, Hales, Infinity, Jamo, JBL, JMLab, Kaiser Acoustics, KEF, Klipsch, Legacy Audio, M&K, Magnepan, Martin Logan, MBL, McIntosh, Mission, Mirage, Monitor Audio, Niles, NHT, Norh, Onix, Paradigm, Pioneer, Polk, ProAc, PSB, Raidho, RBH, Revel, Rockport Technologies, Ruark, Salk, Seaton Sound, Selah, Snell, Sonus Faber, Sonance, Sony, Sunfire, SVS, Tekton, Thiel, Totem, Triad, Triangle, Vandersteen, Vienna Acoustics, VMPS, Von Schweikert, Wilson Audio, Wisdom Audio, Yamaha, Zu Audio

Subwoofers: Aerial Acoustics, Angstrom Loudspeakers, Atlantic Technology, Axiom, B&W, Bose, Boston Acoustics, Cabasse, Crystal Audio, Danley, Dayton, Definitive Technology, Elemental Designs, Energy, EPIK, era, Funk Audio, Genelec, Hsu, Inifinity, James, Jamo, JBL, JL Audio, JTR, Klipsch, M&K, Martin Logan, McIntosh, Mirage, MJ Acoustics, Monitor Audio, MTX, Onix, Onkyo, Paradigm, PSB, Polk, REL, Revel, Rythmic, Seaton Sound, Snell, Sony, Sunfire, SVS, Talon Audio Technologies, Tekton, Triad, Velodyne, Von Schweikert, Yamaha

Preamplifiers: ADA, Alpine, Anthem, Aragon, Arcam, B&K, Bel Canto, Blue Sky, Bryston, Cary, Classé́, Datasat Digital, Denon, EAD, Emotiva, Halcro, Integra, Krell, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, McIntosh, Meridian, Moon, Outlaw, Parasound, Primare, Proceed, Sherbourn, Sony, Sunfire, Theta Digital, Yamaha

Receivers: Arcam, Anthem, B&K, Bose, Denon, Harman Kardon, Integra, JVC, Marantz, Onkyo, Outlaw, Panasonic, Pioneer, Rotel, Samsung, Sherbourn, Sony, Sunfire, Yamaha

Amplifiers: Acurus, Adcom, Anthem, Aragon, Arcam, Artcoustic, B&K, Behringer, Bel Canto, Bryston, Butler Audio, Cary, Citation, Classé, EAD, Clayton Audio, Crown, Dartzeel, Earthquake, Emotiva, Hafler, Halcro, Harmon Kardon, Krell, Lexicon, Marantz, McIntosh, Merrill, Audio, Moon, Music Fidelity, NAD, NHT, Outlaw, Parasound, Proceed, PS Audio, QSC, Rogue Audio, Rotel, Spectron, Sunfire, Theta Digital, Wyred 4 Sound, Yamaha

Equalizers: Anti-ModeTM (DSpeaker), ARC, Ashly, Audyssey, Behringer, Classe, Denon, DBX, Dirac, Elemental Designs, Emotiva, EMO-Q, Krell, MCACC, R-DES (Onix), QSC, Rane, Revel, RoomPerfect, SVS, Triad, Trinov, Velodyne, Yamaha, YPAO

Brian F

Great… A big list of brands copy/pasted from your site.

I agree with the other poster… You might need to check the manual.

What other kinds of matrix processing do you want for the rear channels? Concert Hall? Jazz Club? I think dolby pro logic iix and dts neo6 are sufficient.

I agree that the marantz pre pros are fantastic, but this unit is a bargain!

W. Jeff Meier

I have read the manual and used this product. It has problems. They may not impact you, but I have worked with better units that have fewer problems.


I have this unit for a few months now, and this is my experience:
Digital processing of this unit is very basic, but that is exactly the reason I was looking forward to it. It supports every format available, but there are no nonsense DSP sound programs that are useless anyway (church, hall, stadium…), just pure and direct sound, as it was recorded in studios!
However, great disappointment, and issue that manufacturer will not acknowledge, is that the unit has huge problems with getting the codec locked! It looses the connection as soon as pause is pressed, TV channel is switched, on every start of any digital sound you loose a few seconds, raging from 2 to 10!!! by my measures! And you always hear “click” from all speakers when sound ceases! THAT is what is the problem with this unit… and no matter what connection do you use, coaxial, optical or HDMI – it’s the same!
Then, if you are listening to analogue signal and switch on your TV, which is connected to HDMI out of this unit, unit gets stucked, or should I say “confused”! Sound starts breaking up, display goes nuts… until you switch inputs to any and then back, then it gets good…
This unit in its digital part is ABSOLUTE MESS! It is annoying, unreliable, many things just don’t work (HDMI CEC), and all that work – work the worst possible way there is. I had at least a dozen digital components (receivers, DVD and BD players, TVs) and none had any problems – ever… but this one is a very problematic…
Well, the only good side – is the analogue part of it. It has so good power supply, filters and in/out boards that it sounds absolutely fantastic! Deep, soft, clear…. unbelievable for this money. So, if you have nerves to fight its digital errors on daily basis, you will be rewarded with huge benefit in the sound quality! It surpasses every other Pre/Pro by a huge margin! I finally don’t need separately stereo preamp and AV processor.
Half of its internals is power supply in its metal enclosure, reminiscent of faradey cage… I mean, how many units in this price range have that??? None!
Allas, the most aggravating thing is that people from Emotiva, or Sherbourn, just ignore this problems. They might simply have not enough men power to write a new firmware fot this unit, but still! They were suppose to polish it at least that much so it doesn’t stop working in the middle of listening!
The core of all the troubles is that they have bought cheapest possible digital circuitry from Rotel, and Rotel was very happy to sell it as that electronics made a lot of problems to them as well… just google it… It was unreliable in Rotel, it is the same in Sherbourn. Of course it is, Sh is juts too small to cope with such issues. I even understand that they will never acknowledge the issues, that would kill them.

Some people say that Emotiva support is great, well – that just cannot be true! Here is why:
I am a buyer from Europe. And seller rep from Emotiva was more than happy to send me pdf’s in which it is written that they “thoroughly check every item that is shipped overseas, for reasons of expensive shipment, and they prepare the unit for local power grid”! Ha, ha, ha! Well, they just DIDN’T do any of it!
I had to do myself switching for 220v and changing tiny glass fuse appropriate for my power grid. Shame on them!!!
When finally I sent them highlighted text from that very pdf they have sent me during buying negotiations, they replied: “Well, return the item, we will gladly refund!”
But they didn’t say that they are willing to pay 900$ for two shippings and import taxes I paid, which overcomes the amount I paid for the unit!!! Just… disgusting…


I’ve had both processors…..the Sherbourne absolutely kills the emotiva. It’s NOT the most user friendly, perhaps…but the sound quality for 2 channel, and movies DESTROYS the emotiva. It’s not even close. The Sherbourne has true high end home theater sound, while the emotiva sounds like my demon mid level receiver. I have 7 Gallo ref 3.1 speakers, with 7 bel canto ref 1000 mono blocks driving them.

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